Focus is a necessary trait for success. It is also a much-needed component for effective mind-body techniques such as hypnosis and meditation. For instance, hypnosis is a state of focused awareness with many applications in sports, mental health, and medicine. Most meditation practices also have an element of focus: meditators home in on thoughts or movements to bring about a general level of wellbeing. These techniques have become mainstream in our daily lives, helping millions of people to improve their physical and psychological health. What makes them similar? What makes them different?
What Is Hypnosis?
The state of focused awareness, a.k.a. Hypnosis is a natural and frequent state. You experience it many times during a day: for instance, when you are engrossed in a book, absorbed in a movie, or daydreaming while listening to music. Other examples include driving on a highway or doing a monotonous movement. Soon enough, you enter that state of focused attention, and you lose track of time.
The advantage of the hypnotic state is that you are more likely to accept the suggestions that will solve your problems. When you are having a hypnotherapy session, a skilled hypnotherapist helps re-create that natural state. A self-hypnosis app allows you to access that state from the comfort of your home.
There are many techniques in hypnotherapy: hypnotherapists have always used suggestions, and imagery. But they also can use hypno analytical methods for deeper insights.
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is a practice where a person focuses on a particular object, sound, movement, or activity. There are many types of meditation.
● Transcendental meditation
● Mindfulness meditation
● Spiritual meditation
● Movement meditation (such as qi gong)
● Mantra meditation
● Focused meditation
● Loving-kindness meditation
● Visualization meditation
Most meditations encourage people to stop judging thoughts and to dissociate from them by allowing them to come and go. Many people are relying on meditation apps to cultivate a greater sense of awareness and peace or joining meditation groups to further their practice.
What are the Similarities Between Meditation and Hypnotherapy?
Both are ancient traditions. Meditation originated from the East while hypnosis has been widely used in the West. Both practices remained marginal at first. It was only at the beginning of the 20th Century that doctors started using hypnosis for pain management. James Esdaile, a British surgeon, performed thousands of surgeries in India without any anaesthetics and using only hypnosis. In the 1950s, many medical and psychological associations approved of the use of hypnosis. At the same time, hypnosis was added to birth preparation programs. Meditation has grown in popularity even later in the 1970s. One of the reasons could be its roots in spiritual practices.
According to upnow.com, practice makes perfect and this rule applies to meditation and hypnosis too. The more you become skilled at either one of these methods, the more benefits you achieve from it. It becomes easier for you to enjoy a greater sense of calm and deepen your state. People can practice alone, with a guide or in a group. The guide will be typically called a teacher or instructor in meditation and a hypnotherapist for hypnosis. When a person engages in a hypnosis practice alone, the person experiences self-hypnosis.
Both methods use similar techniques. For instance, both use the progressive muscle relaxation technique, whereby a person tenses their muscles one by one and then relaxes them to induce a state of relaxation. Progressive relaxation is the first induction method taught to hypnotherapists. Most of the time, hypnotherapists will use more advanced techniques for the induction.
Every age group, including children, can benefit from both practices. They are both used in different situations. Meditation is taught in school in stress management programs while hypnosis can help boost academic performance and help release anxiety, phobias, and bad habits.The majority of people can enjoy the benefits of both activities, but these activities are unsuitable for those suffering from psychosis and bipolar disease to practice either one. Those people need to seek advice from their doctor first.
What are the Differences Between Meditation and Hypnosis?
While both methods use similar techniques, the depth and purpose of each technique vary. The two practices include focused attention. Focused attention is seen as an excellent way to fend off distraction and achieve a clearer mind in meditation while in hypnotherapy, this focal state is just a gateway to healing work and focused suggestions.
While most meditators are looking to release stress or have a spiritual experience, those who turn to hypnotherapy are seeking resolutions to physical or psychological ailments.
Hypnosis is a solution-focused therapy whereas meditation is more about altering consciousness and achieving inner peace. In many operating theatres, hypnosis is the only mind-body technique used to help patients undergoing surgery change the perception of pain. Not only has hypnotherapy replaced general anaesthesia in many cases, but it has also helped patients lower their anxiety pre-surgery, which translates into less pain post-surgery. In addition to helping people with achieving weight loss, and overcoming bad habits, there are many more use cases for hypnosis in the field of dermatology and gastroenterology. For instance, hypnosis has been shown to alleviate the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and elevate the wellbeing of those who suffer from IBS.
People who use self-hypnosis and meditation might practice at different times. Many people meditate in times of heightened stress and turmoil. Those who rely on hypnotherapy can also use hypnosis to reduce negative emotions. But more and more people are using hypnosis to build resilience in anticipation of very stressful situations: athletes have used hypnosis to prepare for competitions months in advance. Hypnosis for peak performance is becoming increasingly popular among executives.
Researchers have found some differences in brain scans during meditation and hypnosis. They have started shedding the light on the mechanisms behind those healing modalities. Meditation activates the left prefrontal cortex, which allows for an elevation of the mood. Hypnosis has shown different patterns that explain the increased control we have on our bodies in that state. The executive control network (located behind the forehead) shows a greater connectivity with a part in the brain that regulates activity in the body: the insula.
Mind-Body Techniques are Here to Stay
Meditation and hypnotherapy can greatly enhance our state of mind and physical health. Both practices have different applications. Meditation seeks general relaxation and a calmer mind, while hypnotherapy focuses on more specific goals such as alleviating pain, releasing phobias, and achieving peak performance. Both techniques can complement each other. A study shows that the addition of hypnotherapy could speed up a mindfulness treatment. Similarly, experienced meditators can learn self-hypnosis much faster.
You can naturally improve your quality of life with the help of meditation and hypnosis. By giving meditation a try and experiencing the benefits of hypnosis, you can add peace and calmness to your life.