Whatever it is that you are wanting to change, finding a way to incorporate the following techniques will definitely accelerate and ease the way. Anyone with symptoms of anxiety, addictive behaviours or would simply like to sleep better will benefit enormously from any of the following simple, quick and powerful practices:
SELF HYPNOSIS: This is a great technique to practise when you need some time out or at bedtime or when you wake up during the night. It can be done lying down or sitting as long as you are comfortable.
The starting point is to create three areas of tension. With your arms next to you or on your lap, extend your fingers so that it causes tension in your forearms. Then curl your toes up towards you which creates tension in the legs. Relax your neck and keep it in a normal position while lifting your eyes to focus on the space between the eyebrows or imagine that you are trying to look at a spot behind your head.
While keeping the tension in these three areas, take your attention to the rest of your body and start to consciously relax it. At the same time that you relax your core, notice how that relaxation feels compared to the rest of you. Then take your attention to your normal natural breathing and simply be aware of the rise and fall of your chest. Breathing is a subconscious activity and when we become aware of it and start to take conscious control by slowly starting to lengthen each breath, it becomes an entry point into your subconscious mind.
Slowly start to breathe a bit deeper, down into your abdomen and gently expand your chest as if blowing up a balloon. When you are ready, take a really deep breath in and hold for a few seconds. When you need to exhale or close your eyes, let both happen together and feel the wave of relaxation all the way down the body while keeping some tension in your toes and fingers. Observe the different sensations in the body and which body parts start to feel heavy or light as your eye lids close down tighter.
Take a few normal relaxed breaths before the next deep inhalation, hold and slowly exhale as you relax your arms and fingers. Feel the relaxation spread like a warm wave all the way to the tips of your fingers. Imagine how each finger warms and relaxes with every relaxed breath. Noticing again what is happening in the rest of your body and mind while keeping the toes curled upwards and some tension in the legs. Repeat the process for relaxing legs and toes.
Before zoning out completely take another deep breath in, hold and then exhale every last bit of tension from everywhere as you feel yourself sink into the chair or float and drift and dream….
From this point there are infinite possibilities in which to engage your creative self in any direction you desire. You could count yourself down to your peaceful place, making suggestions to yourself that every number and every breath relaxes you more as you use your imagination to go anywhere that pleases you and/or combine with any variation of breaths below.
1.The Physiological Sigh: Take a quick double inhalation, hold for a few seconds and then exhale as slowly as possible. A calming, slow exhale means subconscious receives message that there is no threat to self. This can be done anywhere at any time and is a quick, real time way to reduce anxiety and let go of cravings. The more you practise, the more effective it becomes. Click here for an inspiring explanation.
2.The 4-7-8 Breath: Exhaling can be done through the lips so that you can hear it or from the back of the throat like an ujjayi yoga breath. Quick inhale for 4, hold for 7, exhale for 8. Click here for a helpful and practical demonstration.
The theory is that the shorter inhalation stimulates the sympathetic nervous system and the longer, slower exhalation engages the parasympathetic system while lowering CO2 levels. The gap in the quick inhale of the physiological sigh, pulls CO2 from the alveoli. The inhale into your abdomen pulls the diaphragm down which gives the heart space. This causes a signal to increase blood flow and a speeding up of the heart rate. Holding the breath while engaging core muscles activates the vagal nerve which is responsible for relaxed bodily functions. The long slow exhale pushes diaphragm up again, causing less space for heart which slows the beat. As you consciously start taking control of these normally subconscious functions, the better your ability to manage stress, anxiety and take control of your physiological response in any situation.
Practising breathing in times of calm means it becomes your subconscious automatic response in times of stress. It is good to do at least twice a day – especially when going to bed and when you wake up. Can also practise while driving or standing in a queue etc. A couple of minutes is all that is necessary, two to four rounds is ideal. After some time of regular and even irregular practice, you will start to notice subtle changes in the way your mind and body respond to things that normally push your buttons..
To master a martial art like karate, a person needs to practise the katas until the movements become automatic and so it is with much of what we do. Being conscious of what you are practising means you take control of where you are going. Knowing where you want to go and how you want to be is the first step along that path.
OTHER MINDFUL PRACTICES: Neuroscience shows that spending some time every day in nature is enormously beneficial to your psychological well being. It can be as simple as looking closely at a flower, watching the clouds, rain or forest while taking a moment to tune in to all your senses in a conscious way. When you notice what you see (colours, movement, shapes), feel, smell, hear and taste, it connects you to yourself and the present moment.
Part of what makes smoking so addictive is the smoke break – going outside, looking at the blue sky or greenery of the plants and breathing deeply. I’m not suggesting that you take up smoking as a mindful practice but definitely start taking breaks from whatever you do and look up and out. Between meetings or study sessions, instead of looking at your phone, rather step outside and stare into space or look out the window and breathe… This practice has an immediate calming effect on your neurology and means you go back to work with greater focus.
Everything discussed here will be elaborated on during the hypnotherapy sessions which makes them easier to naturally incorporate into your daily routines. Please feel free to mail me with any questions or comments.
“Dreams are the seeds of change. Nothing ever grows without a seed, and nothing ever changes without a dream.” Debby Boone