In this blog, we will discuss the similarities and differences between hypnosis and meditation. We will discuss hypnosis and then move onto meditation and the various methods.
Hypnosis is a trance-like state where the brain waves start to slow down (to the alpha level). It is described as a deeply relaxing yet focused state of mind whilst being guided by the hypnotherapist, as there are specific goals in mind during hypnosis sessions.
In this hypnotic trance, people in hypnosis usually have a goal in mind and want to focus on something particular, and therefore are open to being more suggestible.
This means that they are more open to the ideas, memories, and desires that come from others around them and from within.
Millions of people would have seen on TV where characters are being hypnotized in fiction works, making us wonder: is it real?
A hypnotic state increases awareness and does not always make the person fall into normal sleep, despite popular depictions.
It is not true that a hypnotist can force a person to act against their values or radically or suddenly change their personality. This is an exaggeration, which can be understood once we answer the question of how hypnosis works.
It is often presented as a kind of “power” or magic, but hypnosis is genuine and not precisely as they present it on TV.
The person relaxes very deeply whilst centered towards their specific goal, gaining access to the subconscious mind and sending particular suggestions to the unconscious mind.
Highly successful people use this tool as it has many therapeutic benefits.
It is possible to enter a hypnotic state in several ways.
Hypnotherapy is provided by a certified hypnotist who accesses the client’s subconscious. Most commonly, the focus is to reduce anxiety, depression, or the effects of trauma, but it can also be a helpful tool in goal focusing and much more.
A state of deep meditation during hypnosis leads to relaxation. Consequently, relaxation allows for a non-judgmental state of mind, helping you get in touch with your subconscious.
Some people practice this technique by learning to enter the subconscious mind with guided audios, which is delivered through videos and audio recordings.
Audios are great self-help tools for individuals who do not have time or extra money to go to a clinic and get support from clinical hypnotherapy sessions. However, remember that this approach is not specifically tailored for your particular belief systems.
Hypnosis has proven clinical benefits for various issues. In particular, it seems to reduce anxiety and stress or help to focus on a specific goal.
It can be a handy tool when it comes to self-healing. Hypnosis can also be used in various holistic modalities, as mentioned by the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis.
Many people find it beneficial for sleep concerns, as well.
Hypnosis can help you access your subconscious mind and awaken your intuition and creativity. A deep meditative state in hypnosis opens the door between the conscious and subconscious, allowing you to connect to your subconscious mind and reprogram it to adopt new, positive thoughts and behaviors.
Due to the brain’s neuroplasticity (the brain’s neural networks can be rewired with learning), hypnosis can rewire your brain and teach you to replace your negative thoughts with thoughts of abundance and success.
Individuals with recurring anxiety, sleep, and other concerns might learn how to practice it to manage these situations at home too.
Meditation practice also represents a state of deep relaxation and awareness. And yes, it can also slow the brainwaves down to the alpha level (only when you reach a specific type of deep relaxation via breath or focusing on a mantra).
This practice is not rooted in a specific religion. Still, it is interesting to find meditative-like traditions across the world, some of the most ancient techniques dating back thousands of years.
As you can see, there are similarities between hypnosis and meditation. When we meditate, we focus on something specific but not necessarily a goal, it’s more like – Our breath, a mantra or phrase, a voice giving instructions, our body, and so on.
So, in a meditation session or meditation classes, there isn’t a particular goal being suggested, apart from the breath or mantra. Instead, meditation benefits come from this enhanced attention and a quiet mind.
Some forms of meditation usually begin with a simple meditation session where you focus your attention on the way you breathe.
This is all we need to do to meditate; bringing our attention gently and without judgment back to the breathing if we get distracted.
This practice has a variety of documented benefits that grow the more we practice it.
The main benefit of meditation lies in its power to improve our emotional and physical well-being.
Meditation can help us feel better and calmer, reducing symptoms of anxiety and some forms of depression.
It provides an inner calm and also might contribute to a longer and healthier life.
Meditation practice can also help us control our minds better, which allows us to be prone to over-thinking and negative thinking patterns that trigger anxiety and similar issues.
It is somewhat easier to master than hypnosis, and it can be done on one’s own or with the help of guided videos and audios.
There are different styles, all of which are beneficial. You can choose whichever type of meditation feels best for you or whichever seems to address a current issue you are having.
Styles of Meditation Practices
In breath meditation, you focus on your breath and keep your attention on this process as it happens, gently.
You don’t need to breathe differently for this kind of practice, just to focus on it as it comes naturally to you.
In mindfulness meditation, you need to focus on everything you are experiencing:
- Your sensations
- Thoughts and
During mindfulness meditation, you will pay attention to your thoughts and feelings without judgment and let your experiences come and go without emotionally engaging with them.
It’s like watching clouds pass in the sky.
In this type of meditation, you focus your attention on an image that you create in your mind (visualize).
For example, you can imagine a peaceful beach or emerald forest, a flowing river or a still, crystal-clear lake, a burning candle or soothing flames of the fireplace, etc.
You can also visualize something vital to you, like a goal you want to achieve.In short, you can imagine anything that engages your attention and relaxes you.
If you want to try this type of meditation, you can exercise your imagination by creating images that you enjoy and bringing you positive emotions.
You can also use guided audios to help you discover what to imagine and walk you through step by step.
This meditation practice is focused on thinking kindly about others and yourself, and it involves an open-hearted presence that fosters feelings of love, compassion and self-compassion, and kindness. You might focus your thoughts on yourself, someone you care about, someone you don’t know very well, and someone you dislike.
During loving-kindness meditation, think about wishing them kindness, happiness, and engage in other positive thoughts.
There are many other meditation styles, each offering mental health benefits.
These benefits grow the more we practice, and regular meditators tend to have significantly better experiences in terms of the practice and the benefits they experience.
• What's the main difference between hypnosis vs. meditation?
Both of these involve a state of relaxation. However, hypnosis consists of a goal or suggestion (an affirmation like “You sleep and rest” or “You feel calm” or “I am at peace”). In the hypnotic state, these suggestions are more powerful.
• Can anyone be hypnotized?
Most individuals are somewhat suggestible.
There seem to be a few who cannot get hypnotized, at least not easily, but some are highly susceptible and can benefit more from this practice.
• Can anyone meditate?
Most people seem to be able to meditate with no issue, although it might take some time to learn the art of being able to “switch off” and focus solely on the breath.
It might not be recommended for people with any psychotic disorders or those who find that meditation worsens their anxiety (always seek advice from a medical practitioner beforehand)
• I have anxiety/sleep/pain. Should I try hypnosis or meditation?
Both of these practices can be useful and can be applied at the same time! The different meditations styles are more accessible to try on your own as a practice to do at home. At the same time, hypnotherapy usually is the better option to get started with a certified practitioner.
Hypnosis can be more effective in a professional setting because a hypnotherapist can help develop better and more tailored suggestions.
• Can a hypnotherapist make me do things I don't want to do?
No, the therapist can’t change your personality or force actions that you don’t want. Hypnotherapy is something that can only help you with goals that are aligned with your values.
Many successful individuals find benefits in using this modality in reaching their goals and visions in life, and athletes also find it very beneficial with pain management.
You will not be unconscious throughout the process of hypnotherapy. Also, you will discuss the process with your hypnotherapist and be aware of the suggestions that are being presented.
• How do I know whether I am meditating correctly?
If you are trying to focus your attention on something specific and bring it back gently when it wanders, you are meditating correctly. Even if you get distracted, it doesn’t matter, as it is a part of the process.
If you are unsure, try a guided meditation that will help you step by step.
Usually, the guided meditation styles are an excellent option for when you have fully occupied thoughts continually spinning around, as the guidance gently redirects your mind back to the focus of your breath.
• Are there any side effects of hypnosis and meditation?
These practices usually don’t have side effects.
A few people might find it to be unpleasant or lead to more distress, but this is very rare. So, if you are unsure, always speak to your medical practitioner beforehand.
Hypnosis is usually used as a self-healing tool that can help with anxiety, stress issues, quitting smoking, and much more.
It is a helpful tool in accessing buried memories and helps with changes in our behavior and emotional state.
• Are hypnosis and hypnotherapy the same?
A certified practitioner usually conducts hypnotherapy, and it is specifically tailored towards your personal goal or concern, taking into consideration your belief patterns.
This self-healing method can be practiced via guided audios which can be purchased online. It can be aligned to your goals, although the audios you purchase won’t be tailored toward your specific beliefs and behaviors to reach that goal faster.
How Does Hypnotherapy Work?
Neuroscience is starting to show the many benefits of hypnotherapy.
When we are being inducted into a profoundly relaxed state, ready for those hypnotic suggestions, our brain starts to shift into a different kind of “brain function”.
We begin to bypass that critical and analytical state of thinking and go very deep into the subconscious. We can accept and record new positive goal-focused suggestions without being critical whilst in the process.
Why Choose Meditation?
Meditation helps improve focus and calm your mind and body. It can help improve mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, restlessness, attention problems, and more.
It has various well-documented benefits for our daily life, our emotions, and our physical well-being.
One of the significant benefits of meditation is self-awareness. Focusing on your subconscious mind can help you tune into your inner wisdom and find solutions to your problems inside, which can enhance your self-respect and confidence.
Like hypnosis, meditation can help rewire your brain to switch from negative past patterns to positive and constructive thoughts.
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