Last updated: 21 May 2018
It’s a popular question… “What is self-hypnosis used for?”
Self-hypnosis is an effective technique that allows you to achieve an altered state of consciousness so you can make profound transformations in your life.
For example, you can use it to get rid of a bad mental habit, such as rumination. Or for finding answers to questions and solutions to problems.
For wiping away limiting beliefs that are holding you back; or making peace with a traumatic event from your past that is preventing you from living your life to the full.
Or you can use it to improve things, such as your self-confidence or your ability to learn things quickly.
The reason self-hypnosis is such a powerful tool is because it allows you to connect with your unconscious mind – which is where you can access your full potential, innate creativity and empowered self.
Self-hypnosis a little like meditation, except more goal-orientated, which is why many success-driven people are drawn to it.
The Many Uses Of Self-Hypnosis
It’s no wonder that self-hypnosis is growing in popularity across the globe. Just look at what you can accomplish when you put it to use. As well as the things already mentioned, you can:
- Boost confidence and self-esteem
- Fight phobias
- Overcome sleep disorders
- Relieve stress
- Reduce fear or anxiety
- Manage weight loss
- Battle depression
- Improve your relationships
- Manage pain
- Set achievable goals
- Boost creativity
Amazing, right? It’s all about tapping into your unconscious mind and accessing your own inner resources. And the same technique will help you improve your happiness, well-being and stress levels by boosting specific brain and body chemicals.
But how? To get a better understanding of exactly how self-hypnosis works at a biological level, we thought we’d look into the chemicals that are potentially released or stimulated during hypnosis.
And here’s what we discovered.
1. Serotonin: Get Happy With Hypnosis
Serotonin. Is it a hormone, or is it a neurotransmitter?
There doesn’t seem to be complete agreement one way or the other. However, most people think it’s a neurotransmitter found mainly in the brain, bowels, and blood platelets.
It’s created when tryptophan is combined with tryptophan hydroxylase, forming 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), commonly known as serotonin.
One thing we do know is that it’s a chemical responsible for regulating mood. That’s good moods and bad moods. More about that shortly.
Studies show serotonin affects appetite, sleep, social behavior, memory and sexual desire. But what exactly does it do?
As a neurotransmitter, serotonin makes it possible for nerve cells in the brain to communicate with each other. It also contributes to a number of important bodily functions:
- It regulates the bowels and appetite
- It helps clots to form when there’s a wound
- It encourages nausea and vomiting to expel toxic or harmful substances
- It has a huge impact on mood and levels of happiness
People with low levels of serotonin can feel depressed and suffer from a poor memory. In other words, too little serotonin can cause depression. It follows, then, that if you boost your serotonin levels, you should also be able to boost your levels of happiness.
Perreau-Linck and colleagues ran a study that showed how “self-induced changes in mood” had an effect on a person’s serotonin levels. If you look closely at that statement, you’ll notice that it’s exactly what happens when you practice self-hypnosis. You “self-induce” changes of mood.
That means it must be possible to use self-hypnosis to achieve the same thing, to raise your serotonin levels so that you become happier, healthier and less stressed out.
2. Melatonin: Hypnosis Can Keep Your Body Clock Ticking Over
Melatonin and serotonin sound like they could be cousins. Apart from that, however, they don’t have very much in common.
Melatonin is a hormone produced in the pineal gland in the brain. It’s responsible for regulating your circadian rhythms, so you sleep at night and stay awake during the day. That’s the human body’s natural rhythm, and the pineal gland works to maintain that rhythm by suppressing melatonin in the daytime and releasing it at night.
Like serotonin, melatonin is involved in a whole bunch of other bodily functions, such as:
- It’s an antioxidant
- It has anti-inflammatory properties
- It strengthens your immune system, although we’re not sure exactly how it does that
- It fights cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and tinnitus
Although your body produces melatonin, there are times when supply doesn’t meet demand. If you’re not getting enough sleep, for instance, possibly due to illness or because of a stressful lifestyle. In such cases, melatonin can be prescribed in pill form specifically to treat sleep disorders.
You know how important sleep is to your body. It helps regenerate, reinvigorate and re-energize every single system in your body. It gives your brain time to absorb and organize all the information it came into contact with.
Without the proper amount of sleep, people get irritable. They find it impossible to concentrate. They feel lethargic and unable to perform even the simplest of tasks efficiently. Maintaining those circadian rhythms, then, is vital.
That’s where hypnosis can help. The 3 major causes of insomnia are stress, anxiety and depression. And there are plenty of hypnosis techniques available to deal with all of them.
>> Check out this article for more information: Hypnosis For Insomnia: End Sleeplessness Fast With These 8 Proven Hypnosis Techniques For Better Sleep, Health & Energy
The point is that hypnosis is one of the most powerful techniques for dealing with stress, anxiety or depression.
Even the simplest relaxation induction can go a long way towards helping someone stay calm, feel better about themselves, and even drift off to sleep.
That’s why a lot of people practice self-hypnosis at night, just before going to bed. It helps them find their way into the land of nod more quickly than they might normally do, encouraging the release of melatonin at the same time.
3. Endorphins: Get A Natural High Using Hypnosis
It’s a well-known fact that hypnosis is a great tool for helping people manage pain. It’s also a well-known fact that your body produces its own natural painkiller, called endorphins. Put the two together, and what have you got? A feel-good factor you can enjoy almost any time you want to.
Endorphins are neurotransmitters produced in the hypothalamus and the pituitary glands. Their job is to relieve stress and pain. They’re responsible for the “runner’s high” you might experience after long and vigorous exercise.
People with low endorphin levels can suffer from depression, so naturally the opposite is true as well. The more endorphins released in your body and brain, the happier you’ll feel.
Research suggests that yoga and meditation can both help to relieve stress. Likewise, any activity where you can relax and focus your thoughts inward (i.e. hypnosis) should be able to do the same thing.
According to the folks at Medical News Today, there are several different ways to boost endorphin levels naturally. These methods will vary from person to person, of course, because everybody’s different. But they help to make you aware of some of the possibilities, which include:
- Regular exercise – PET scans of athlete’s brains after intense exercise show an increase in endorphin levels
- Giving – doing something to help other people triggers pleasure centers in the brain, which scientists believe also boost endorphin levels
- Yoga, meditation, mindfulness & self-hypnosis – can all help to lower stress by encouraging relaxation and inner peace, pleasant sensations that could stimulate endorphin production
- Spicy foods – research suggests that spicy food triggers mild pain in the mouth, which might promote the production of some endorphins
- Chocolate – good quality chocolate and cocoa powder contain flavonoids, antioxidants that reduce the risk of cancer, stroke, heart disease and asthma. They’re also believed to fight the signs of aging. Studies also suggest that eating high quality chocolate could boost endorphin levels.
- Laughter – it turns out that laughter really is the best medicine, since laughter has been shown to release endorphins in the brain.
4. Dehydroepiandrosterone DHEA: Live Long & Prosper With Hypnosis
There’s one hormone in your body known as both the mother of all hormones and the fountain of youth hormone. It’s called dehydroepiandrosterone, which gets abbreviated to DHEA for obvious reasons.
DHEA is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands, gonads and the brain. Its main function is in the synthesis of estrogen and androgen sex hormones. For this reason, DHEA is thought to enhance athletic performance, so any athlete taking it as a supplement risks getting banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Although DHEA is thought to have anti-aging properties, there is no proof to support this claim. What we do know is that the less DHEA you have, the fewer years of life you have left.
Here are some other facts we know to be true about DHEA:
- It makes your immune system more efficient
- It balances your body’s ratio of lean muscle and fat tissue
- It helps to maintain optimal brain function
People suffering from depression have less DHEA in their blood. So that could mean that positive thinking is important in maintaining adequate DHEA levels. Regular exercise is also another way to stimulate your body’s natural DHEA output.
Dr. Vincent Giampapa is a renowned anti-ageing researcher and is the former president of the American Board of Anti-Ageing Medicine. His recent research has demonstrated how meditation dramatically affects the production of a number of hormones, including DHEA. Dr. Giampapa found that through consistent and deep meditation, DHEA levels can be boosted by almost 45%.
Taking DHEA artificially can result in a series of unpleasant and often dangerous side-effects in some individuals. That being said, it’s obviously important to keep DHEA levels as high as you can. And we also know that there are two really good ways to do that: through regular exercise, and through deep and focused meditation.
If self-hypnosis is a regular part of your life, you’ll already be aware of the deep focus and relaxation it can bring. So by combining it with regular exercise, you can raise or maintain your DHEA levels naturally and safely.
5. Cortisol: Hypnosis Helps Keep Stress Levels Balanced
When you experience stress, your body produces cortisol. Cortisol is the stress hormone, made in the adrenal glands which are found at the top of your kidneys. It’s best-known for the role it plays in your fight-or-flight response, giving you the energy and strength you need to cope in a crisis situation.
As you might have guessed, however, that’s not all cortisol does. You’ll find cortisol receptors in almost all of the cells in your body. That’s because cortisol plays a role in a bunch of different functions, such as:
- It regulates your blood pressure
- It manages blood sugar levels
- It controls the way your body uses carbohydrates, proteins and fats
- It contributes to your body’s circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle)
Despite the bad press it gets, stress is not all bad. If you didn’t feel stress you wouldn’t be able to react to danger or threats. In those kinds of situations, your body sends out extra cortisol to help you cope with whatever is happening. Your heart rate speeds up and more blood flows to your major muscle groups, giving you an extra burst of strength and energy.
Once the threat is dealt with or the danger has passed, your body’s systems should return to normal. If they don’t, then that’s when too much cortisol – and too much stress – becomes a problem.
Likewise, if your occupation or lifestyle puts you under constant stress, then it’s possible that you may be producing more cortisol than you need. That means your body never gets the chance to calm down, and it can lead to a whole heap of health problems, such as:
- Heart disease
- Digestion problems
- Difficulty sleeping
- Memory and concentration issues
- Anxiety and depression
The According to the WebMD website explains how cortisol works with your brain to control your mood, your motivation, and your response to fear. It also adds this statement: “The easiest way to keep your cortisol levels normal and functioning the right way is to cut stress.”
It’s no secret that hypnosis is one of the best all-natural stress-busting techniques. Even the most basic hypnotic induction helps you focus on your breathing and on finding deep relaxation. And obviously the more relaxed you are, the less stressed you are.
That’s important, because your body automatically adjusts the amount of cortisol produced depending on your needs. If you’re blissfully relaxed in a peaceful hypnotic trance, there’ll be no need for extra cortisol production. So you’ll have the power to switch it off and enjoy some quiet, stress-free time using nothing more than a simple self-hypnosis induction.
6. Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA): Improve Your Mental Health With Hypnosis
According to the World Health Organization, mental illness accounts for approximately 15% of disease in the world, with depression and anxiety disorders figuring largely. Both depression and anxiety are also associated with low levels of GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid).
GABA is a neurotransmitter whose main role is to slow down or inhibit nerve cells in the brain. In this way it helps to control fear and anxiety, which is why GABA is sometimes referred to as the calming chemical.
Interestingly enough, researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and McLean Hospital discovered how practicing yoga could raise a person’s GABA levels. What’s even more interesting, however, is that yoga and hypnosis have so much in common. They’re both trance-like states in which your body is highly relaxed while your mind is intensely focused. So if you can raise your GABA levels using yoga, you must be able to do the same using self-hypnosis.
But why would you want to raise your GABA levels? Well, low levels of GABA are believed to contribute to anxiety and depression. Raising the levels is thought to be able to help you boost your mood and to stimulate relaxation in your nervous system.
In fact, people take GABA as a supplement in an attempt to:
- Improve their mood
- Eliminate anxiety
- Sleep better
- Cope with premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
But wouldn’t it be better if you could increase your GABA levels naturally? Without having to fill your body with supplements that may or may not produce the required effect?
That’s where self-hypnosis can help. Comfort and relaxation are at the very core of hypnotic inductions, and it’s impossible to feel anxious when you’re feeling totally relaxed and at ease.
Likewise, there are many hypnotic tips and tricks for boosting your mood, such as reframing and revivification. It’s easy enough to re-live a time when you were happy, when you were successful, and then bring those resources forward into the present and the future.
The deeper you go into trance, the more relaxed and focused you’ll become. And that applies to your body’s nervous system too. So it’s entirely possible that your GABA levels will be raised at the same time.
To sum up…
Hypnosis doesn’t just help you feel better. It helps you be better. It’s a great way to get rid of stress, eliminate anxiety and destroy depression on the one hand, and a terrific technique for boosting creativity, solving problems and achieving more of your goals on the other.
That’s why it makes sense to practice self-hypnosis on a daily basis. It’s free, it’s painless, it’s totally non-invasive. You can practice it anywhere, at any time. And with so many potential benefits to your body and your mind, it’s worth the minimal time and effort it takes to learn this life-altering skill.