When you hear the word hypnosis many people will immediately think of stage hypnotists that give the illusion of mind control for the sake of entertainment. This is not the same as the natural state of trance that we can go in and out of several times a day. When we read a book, become engrossed in a film or we are driving our cars, our attention is completely focussed on that one thing and as our brain wave activity lessens we find ourselves in hypnosis. We don't realise this is happening as it is a very familiar and natural state, similar to when we drift off to sleep. We are always in control and know what is happening around us but we choose to concentrate fully on one thing.
The mind is like an iceberg, with the tip of the iceberg being our logical, thinking brain and what is underneath the water, not on show, is our subconscious. This part of the brain is responsible for all of our automatic responses. It controls our breathing, our blinking and has a large part to play in the reason we make certain decisions or react to things in a particular way. Some could be primal survival instincts like running away from a lion or freezing if you see a snake. Other reactions could be learnt behaviour from a parent or in response to a previous negative experience. It controls our autonomic nervous system which is our body's flight, fight or freeze response and the subconscious primary function is to keep us safe.
Keeping us safe includes:
The flight, fight or freeze response - pumping our body with adrenaline so we can run away if we need to, sending blood to the arms and legs and being on high alert.
Red flagging certain activities if a negative experience has happened - driving, childbirth or even going outside.
Avoidance - dogs, heights, anything the mind perceives as dangerous.
On occasion our rationale brain will take over and our logical brain will make the decision but over 85 percent of the time we are driven by our subconscious minds. We have habitual behaviour, perhaps even phobias and we make split second decisions on what our subconscious mind perceives as dangerous, resulting in our autonomic response system hijacking our bodies and emotions.
When we are in a state of calm and relaxation our bodies do not react this way because when we have feel good hormones running through our bloodstream these restrict the flow of stressor hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. We also switch off the logical part of the brain, the tip of the iceberg, when we are deeply relaxed. When we stop analysing and thinking we can access that part of the brain under the surface to reprogram the limiting beliefs and driving behaviours through hypnosis. Our brains are more susceptible to suggestion in this relaxed, calm state and we can alter our perception of what our brains perceive as dangerous or negative.