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How Can Hypnosis Help Your Depression?

Laura B. Young
Feb 12, 2008
When most people hear the term "hypnosis" they may think about some kind of mysterious man waving a pendulum in front of someone's eyes. They may wave a pocket watch back and forth, inducing someone else into a zombie-like state and getting them to do ridiculous thinks like barking or hopping on one leg.

The truth is that actual and real hypnosis bears no resemblance of this. What we've described here is what is called "stage hypnosis". It's for entertainment purposes. What we understand as real hypnosis is that subjects of hypnosis are not slaves to anyone. They have absolute and complete free will. They are also not in a zombie-like state or half asleep. Often, they are very alert and attentive.

In the past 10 years, the world's understanding of hypnosis has progressed a great deal, although hypnosis is still a mystery of some sort. We're going to look at some of the more popular theories of what hypnosis is and then explore different methods hypnotists use to do their work.

So what is hypnosis? Many people have argued over what hypnosis is for over 200 years. Science has not been able to fully explain how hypnosis actually happens. All we can do is observe what a person does under hypnosis, but we just can't explain why that person does what they do. There is no end to the mystery of how the human mind works. It's not really likely that scientists will arrive at a definite answer any time soon. But what we do understand are the general characteristics of hypnosis.

For example, if a person is in the trance state, this is characterized by deep relaxation, suggestibility and lucid imagination. It's not really sleep, because the person is alert the entire time. It's more like daydreaming or the feeling of having lost yourself in a very interesting movie or book. You're fully conscious, but you tune out most of the things around you as you focus intently on something. There are every day forms of hypnosis such as driving your car, reading a book, watching TV or mowing the lawn. These can fully engage your focus and emotions. They also involve your imagination and can cause you a variety of emotions, such as fear, happiness, excitement, and sadness. These are also called self-hypnosis. It has been thought that people hypnotize themselves on an every day basis.

Psychiatrists, on the other hand, will focus on the trance states that are brought through relaxation and focusing exercises. This is also called deep hypnosis. This can be compared to the state of relaxation just right between waking up and going to sleep. In this type of hypnosis, you will take the suggestions of the hypnotist as if they were reality. For example, if the psychiatrist suggests that your arm feels heavy, then you'll feel a heavy sensation in your arm. You may begin to slouch to one side. If the hypnotist suggest that you're feeling afraid, your heart may begin to race and you may begin to sweat. Throughout the entire time, you will be aware and know that it is all imaginary. It's a lot like "playing pretend", but on an intense level.

These are just two kinds of hypnosis. Hypnosis can help you deal with depression, anxiety, weight issues and quitting bad habits. Some people have found that through hypnosis they were able to quit life long habits. Others have found that through hypnosis they have been able to have more inner peace and relaxation. Hypnosis, when performed by a trained professional is not dangerous. You can also learn to hypnotize yourself with special books and CDs. In the end, hypnosis can be of benefit for you, if you are seeking an alternative to dealing with depression aside from taking chemicals and drugs.
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