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Stress, Mindfulness and Hypnosis

Everyone experiences stress in their own way and for their own reasons. Stress is a reaction to the views you take on a particular situation – not the situation itself. If your mind is creating stress, it can also create non stress.

People use many tools for managing and minimizing stress. Meditation is one. If you were to observe your breath for a minute or two with your focus on each inhale and each exhale, you may notice thoughts pop up and interfere. The point is to focus on the breath – the inhale and exhale while allowing the thought or thoughts to pass.

Practicing this lets you realize that thoughts come and go. By watching them pass, you begin to identify as the observer of your thoughts. You are in charge, separate from your thoughts. You come to the profound understanding that thoughts and feelings (including negative ones) are transient, fleeting and indeed they can float by like a passing cloud. You discover your thoughts do not define you. You identify simply as the observer.

Some people meditate to take themselves out of their life for a bit. When they return, they hope to find their perspective less reactive and closer to that of the observer. Many people use meditation as a way to access a state of mindfulness. What is mindfulness? There are many interpretations and ways of getting to and being mindful. It is often described as observing things without criticism or judgment. It leads to a way of being and experiencing life. Mindful breathing, simply focusing on the inhale and the exhale, brings your body and mind into the present moment. There are many studies that claim the practice of mindfulness improves immune function, relationships, stress response and brings with it an increased sense of well being and happiness.

Life is simply a collection of moments. It is best to be awake for each one. I like to ask the question what time is it? It is now. It is always now. Manage now well without regret for the past or worry for the future. When you simply decide to make this moment matter more – your life is likely to improve.

Dr. Ellen Langer’s (considered the mother of mindfulness) perspective is the one I love the most. ( She sees mindfulness as playfulness. Since everything in life is uncertain, she recommends choosing to play with the uncertainty. Be in the present and notice new things; create new possibilities. Notice new things in everything. See the newness in yourself, your spouse, your job, your kids, your parents, your neighbors, your friends your boss, your city etc. It enlivens and energizes what you are observing.

In reality things are always changing but we can hold them still in our heads thinking it will give us a sense of control or because we feel stuck in a particular mindset. We can make ourselves miserable with our thoughts and beliefs and/or the desire for control. We often put labels on ourselves and others. We grew up with labels and our culture influences the labels we create. Once you label something or someone or yourself, you see that label. Every time it stays the same. The label is a shortcut created by your mind but it is also is a trap. It steals your freedom of choice. Question your labels. Play with them. They can be created, destroyed or changed simply by choosing to do so.

So what do mindfulness, meditation and labels have to do with hypnosis? Plenty! This is where all the parts come together. The hypnotic state quiets the monkey mind – you as judge or critic. Imagery work activates your creativity and intuition. And once the analyzing, critical part of your mind is relaxed enough, the observer deep inside of you, its awareness becomes heightened, awakened and active. Your body consciousness is there too paying close attention. The messages you choose to receive during hypnosis can be absorbed quickly and deeply. It is a wonderful way to connect and communicate with the deepest parts of yourself in order to manage stress, create change, loosen labels maybe even cracking them open enough so they fall away.