What gives you joy in your life?

Rob complained that he never felt truly happy. I told him that people tend to feel good and feel happy when engaged in activities that please them. Rob needed help in figuring out what gave him joy. He used the following list to help him decide how to spend his free time.

Do you like to:

  • Shop ‘til you drop?
  • Swim?
  • Take a class?
  • Travel and sightsee?
  • Visit family?
  • Visit museums?
  • Watch movies?
  • Watch TV?
  • Read?
  • Do you prefer to be with a group, or with just one person, or by yourself?
  • Do you prefer to spend most of your time outdoors or indoors?
  • Do you need music to be in a good mood?
  • Do you need Internet access to be in a good mood?
  • Are you more comfortable talking to people who share your opinions or those who have different values?
  • Are you cautious or impulsive? Careless or careful?
  • Do you have the quiet strength of a shy person or are you an extrovert?
  • Do you do your best planning ahead or is spontaneity good for you?
  • Do you enjoy intense emotional connections?
  • Do you like to lean on others or do you like to lead others?

Like Rob, you are the expert on yourself. Becoming aware of your needs will inspire you to include more of certain activities in your life.

The hypnotic suggestion that worked for Rob is:

Include activities that are good for you when you plan your daily and weekly schedule. Avoid situations that are not consistent with your needs. When you identify what you need you will then find suitable activities and your happiness level will rise.Read the full blog post

The best hypnotic suggestions for losing weight

A weight-loss client reported that the hypnotic suggestions that worked best for her were:

  • Eat only while seated at a table
  • Substitute fresh fruit for fruit juices
  • When the meal is finished leave the kitchen/dining room/restaurant
  • Don’t eat food that doesn’t taste good

She said, “Of course, I knew all this. But somehow I couldn’t follow this advice until I had hypnosis. When you told it to me while I was in a trance it made perfect sense. It is easy for me to follow these guidelines. Sometimes I dash out of a restaurant right after coffee and if I’m on a date I have to explain that I’ll meet him outside.”  She went on to say, “I don’t care if some guys think I’m weird. For the first time since high school I totally control my food and I am almost down to my high school weight.”… Read the full blog post

Be careful when recovering lost memories

Be careful about hypnotists who want to help you recover lost memories and investigate your past. It is easy to come up with a supposed memory while you are hypnotized. And the memories that people come up with are so convincingly real that there is no doubt in their mind that the event did happen. However, a large percentage of memories retrieved under hypnosis are false. They never happened.

The mind can play tricks about memories. I get many requests to help people find hidden items – “where did I put that ring before we left on vacation. I know it’s somewhere in the house,” and “I hid the money inside one of my books and it will take me days to shake out every book in the bookcases.” I can’t help these folks. The solution they believe will reveal itself will probably not be accurate.… Read the full blog post

Susan: Seek out situations that make you smile

Susan was having trouble living alone. She was in a new city and her job was in a two-person office so she had little opportunity for socializing. Happiness levels increase when something or someone truly amuses you. I hoped she would find something that could make her smile and then laugh out loud, with gusto, several times during the day.

It could be a movie, a TV sitcom, a comedy show, a ridiculous memory, or perhaps a certain friend, a book, a YouTube video, a cartoon in a newspaper or magazine, a joke that’s circulating on email. I explained to Susan that it didn’t matter what got her to smile and laugh as long as something did.

The hypnotic suggestion that I offered her is:

You will seek out situations that make you smile and that make you laugh. Smiles and laughter will be part of your everyday life. You will get in the laughter habit.Read the full blog post

Vic: Trying Something New

Vic complained that he was in a rut. I suggested he do something new, something he never before did. It could be something as simple as watching a television show he had never seen or as complicated as signing up for opera singing lessons or as spontaneous as taking a trip to Timbuktu. Maybe he would wear a style of clothing he’d never before worn or maybe eat certain food he’d never before tasted. The goal was for Vic to do something slightly out of his comfort zone. Maybe he would enter a store he’d never been in, invite someone to his home for the first time, investigate a particular website that requires some participation, or take a walk or a drive into a new neighborhood.

The hypnotic suggestion that I gave Vic was:

You will be brave, even if the idea of something new frightens you. You will carefully choose your activity and then go ahead and try it. You’ll do it with an open mind and it will be worth it.Read the full blog post

Eileen: Analyzing her way towards calm and happiness

Eileen came to her hypnosis session complaining that daily events annoyed her, particularly at work. She was frustrated when her boss didn’t understand that she was working way beyond her job description. Her boss, and eventually others in the office, got on her nerves. There was yelling in the office and unfair accusations.

I asked Eileen to stop defending herself and stop feeling angry as we talked. I asked her to put her energy into figuring out the boss’s motivation. Eileen wanted to keep her job, she just wanted to tolerate it without an elevated stress level. The solution is to wonder why the boss behaves in that difficult manner. Eileen must refrain from actually reacting to her boss. I suggested Eileen try to figure out why the boss does what she does and why the boss has such wrong ideas.

When you develop the habit of analyzing and not personalizing you do not feel so unhappy, you do not feel victimized and you do not feel misunderstood. Instead, you feel calm; happiness follows.

The hypnotic suggestion that I offered Eileen is:

Think about your boss as a pathetic person who is intimidated by your superior ability. When people get on your nerves, analyze, don’t personalize.Read the full blog post

Jack: Finding success through hypnosis

Jack had an unusual problem. He came to my office because he was bored with success. He claimed that his job was easy, he made more money than he needed, his family loved him, he had many friends, but something was missing. He was hoping hypnosis could give him the courage to take on a challenge that would make him happy.

I explained that happiness comes when you reach a goal, particularly a goal that encourages you to stretch and then succeed. That means you set a goal for yourself that is neither too easy nor too difficult. You stretch by putting forth effort, and then stretch some more, and then you reach your goal.

Some examples: You might decide to play basketball better than ever or to teach your dog a new trick or to finally organize your photos. Maybe you’ll do some pushups or walk faster than usual. Maybe you’ll clean out that closet or answer your emails or paint your front door or call Aunt Mary.

Jack and I discussed that he would like to work with sick children but was concerned that he was not capable of it. We identified a hospital that had an extensive training program for volunteers and he hesitantly agreed to check it out. After several conversations with Jack I realized he needed some extra help.

The hypnotic suggestion that worked for Jack was:

You will set a goal for yourself and you will be sure it requires considerable effort yet still it will be a possible goal. You will investigate the feasibility of volunteering at a children’s hospital and eagerly enter their training program.Read the full blog post

You’ve been in a trance before – you just didn’t know it!

Did you ever drive for a while, reach your destination, and then wonder, “How did I get here?” Whenever that phenomenon occurs it is because you inadvertently put yourself into a hypnotic trance. You functioned on automatic because your mind was focusing on something else. Did you ever stare at the television screen – maybe a ball game, maybe an intriguing drama – and when someone called your name you took a while to respond? That, too, is inadvertent hypnosis. You were in a trance state because you were so engrossed in the television show that you were absorbed to the point that you were oblivious to everything going on around you.

If, while you were in that trance state, a family member tapped you on the shoulder and asked, “Got a dollar?” you would probably reach into your wallet and give them a dollar without even looking up. Under different circumstances you’d want to know why they need money and when you would be repaid.

Similarly, when you are hypnotized you are so focused on the image that the hypnotist has helped you create in your mind that you will permit instructions to be absorbed by your brain even if you usually argue against those very instructions. When I offer a hypnotized client the hypnotic instruction, “you will hate cigarettes,” they agree. Prior to entering the trance they would say, “no way.” My clients and I work together to come up with a list of suitable suggestions they wish to hear when they are hypnotized. Then, I simply read that list and those suggestions guide future behavior.… Read the full blog post

You’d be surprised to know who uses hypnosis these days

Amongst my clients last week were:

  • a Lincoln Center performer who was aiming for peak performance
  • a corporate manager who was nervous about getting stage fright when delivering his first office-wide presentation
  • a middle-aged woman wanting help to stick to her exercise routine in preparation for her daughter’s wedding
  • a high school junior seeking increased concentration skills and motivation to study

One session is usually sufficient to accomplish these goals.

Because hypnosis is considered a legitimate, approved medical technique you are likely to find nurses, physicians, and psychologists who use hypnosis as part of their practice. I recently spoke to a psychiatrist who said that before prescribing an anti-anxiety medication for patients he first hypnotizes them and suggests ways to calm themselves. That hypnotic intervention often precludes the use of a pill.… Read the full blog post