Finding Deep Relaxation with Self-Hypnosis

“When we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.” – La Rochefoucauld

The word “hypnosis” is derived from the name of the Greek god of sleep, HypnosDr. James Braid went on to coin the word “hypnotism” in 1843.  The current commonly word “hypnosis” became an alternate word in 1876.  While hypnosis is similar to sleep, it is different.  When we are asleep, we are without conscious awareness, whereas in a state of hypnosis, you never completely lose awareness.


Hypnosis can be done with eyes open or closed, and is designed to encourage you to temporarily suspend disbelief.  Upon initial consideration, that might seem difficult, but consider the multitude of ways in which we temporarily suspend disbelief when we are: engrossed in a fascinating novel, riveted by a suspenseful movie, or enthralled with a new video game.  In all of these cases, our brains act similarly to how they would if we were actually participating in these exciting events.  In fact, brain-wave patterns taken from an EEG during hypnosis resemble patterns that actually occur during the activities that the person is only imagining.

The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook provides step-by-step guidelines for how to reap the benefits of hypnosis on your own. Self-hypnosis allows you to experience a wealth of positive thoughts and feelings of your choosing for the purposes of attaining a state of deep relaxation and stress reduction.  Since this form of hypnosis is entirely self-directed, it is can only occur with your full consent and active participation.

Benefits of Self-Hypnosis

It has been reported that self-hypnosis is clinically effective in relieving symptoms of insomnia, headache, chronic muscle tension, chronic fatigue, and minor anxiety.  Since self-hypnosis is probably a new skill for you to acquire, it does require practice to obtain maximum benefits.  It is suggested that significant relaxation effects can be experienced in as little as two days of practice.

In my upcoming posts I look forward to sharing instructions from The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook about how to learn:

  • The power of suggestion
  • Personalized self-induction
  • Abbreviated inductions
  • Hypnotic suggestions
  • Self-hypnotic induction for specific problems

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Davis, M., Eshelman, E.R., & McKay, M. (2008). The relaxation and stress reduction workbook. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

Featured image: Blue Hypnosis by dawnzy58 / CC BY 2.0

About Laura K. Schenck, Ph.D., LPC

I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) with a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Northern Colorado. Some of my academic interests include: Dialectical Behavior Therapy, mindfulness, stress reduction, work/life balance, mood disorders, identity development, supervision & training, and self-care.


  1. James on June 7, 2011 at 9:23 am

    I look forward to reading these upcoming posts! Is self-hypnosis different from visualization? (I used some visualization techniques in high school to improve my baseball game and I liked the results… though I never applied these techniques to anything else.)

    • Laura on June 16, 2011 at 5:41 pm

      James – Guided visualization is indeed a form of self-hypnosis. Since self-hypnosis is a process of giving suggestions to yourself (as opposed to a hypnotist giving them to you), it relies fully on the individual’s ability and willingness to “let go” and accept these suggestions. Guided visualization relies on visualizing metaphorical images in an attempt to access the subconscious. This process of guided visualization combines the principles of both meditation and self-hypnosis, taking yourself on an internal, guided, visual journey. This form of guided visualization can be helpful in accessing the “inner self.”

      That is interesting to hear that you successfully used visualization techniques in high school to improve your baseball game! I have read about visualization techniques being used successfully with athletes and musicians. Visualizing complex bodily movements seems to be a form of “practicing” all on its own. I look forward to exploring the topic of self-hypnosis more in upcoming posts!

      Thank you for your comment!

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