How Hypnosis Changes Instinctive Behaviour
Part 3 in our mini series on Hypnosis – How Hypnosis Changes Behaviour
Yesterday you learnt that
• in REM we learn and lay down new patterns of instinctive behaviour
• your instinctive behaviours are stored in your unconscious mind so it makes sense to go into REM and accesses your unconscious mind to update those problematic instincts
Lets check out how we embed and update our instincts in REM.
Whist I was at a party last weekend, I met a guy who was telling me all about his recent holiday to Sri Lanka. His language was rich and evocative as he regaled stories about the beautiful long sandy beaches, the sunshine that glittered on the sea and the smell of fish being cooked on open fires. I felt like I was there and could almost smell the sea and smoke, it was a lovely feeling. He went on to talk about the local people who are really poor by western standards yet would give you the shoes they walk on – the devastation from the tsunami still evident in many parts and the stories he had gathered from some of those people that had lost so much. I found it hard to hold back the tears, and no I wasn’t going to weep in front of a stranger.
What on earth had happened here to make my emotions cascade through feeling wonderful and then tearful? Quite simply this guy had a gift of telling stories and like all good storytellers he had been able to captivate my attention through evoking my senses. I had lost sight of other friends and fun happening around me and was living his story.
We understand and relate to our world through our senses
Any story that has a meaning to you or that engages you will naturally turn your attention inwards and access REM. A child listening to a scary story will believe that it is really happening and feel frightened. They will not be able to tell the difference between what is real or not. The same goes for us adults, if you think about going for an interview that you do not want to go to, your tummy may turn over with a burst of anxiety. It might be a week away but by imagining that scary time your body really thinks that interview is happening.
On the other hand when you are daydreaming about something you are really looking forward to then you will have pleasant feelings. By thinking about anything that conjures up emotion your instincts will learn to make a partnership. If you love to swim and think about getting into the water your body will begin to produce a good feeling, however if you hate swimming and you think of going to the pool the likelihood is that a pang of anxiety will flit across your stomach. Each time you access these thoughts those practiced reactions will become more instinctual.
Our imagination is a reality simulator
Our imagination works through our senses. Reeling through visual images, sounds, taste, feelings and scents of an experience helps to create a rich and meaningful inner experience that triggers emotional responses as if that event were really happening. The higher the emotion the stronger the mind and body work together to learn and remember that experience.
Emotions glue instinctive thoughts and behaviour in place
So if you have had lots of good times whist with a particular friend you will have a good feelings when you think about seeing them in the future. However, if your experience has been of that person being a bit of a bully or always moaning then you might think about spending time with that person and feel immediate dread or feel that you don’t want to go.
It is emotions that glue instinctive reactions in place. A one off highly charged event would lay lots of emotional glue down where as low level emotional experiences need repetition to stick any instinctive reactions in place.
To change instincts already in place you need to go into REM.
Hypnotherapist’s help you to update your instincts through REM
Using hypnotic language that guides a person into REM – to a more narrow focus of attention. A hypnotherapist or any one that is good at guided visualisation can help you use your imagination to create meaningful experiences. So you can be helped to imagine feeling really strong and in flow in that interview you were dreading. Or have a glass of wine and not have any desire for a cigarette. The more that the senses are involved the higher the emotional glue present to stick the new preferred instincts in place.
When you meet the situation that you have been working on in real life your mind will have a new set of expectations and will automatically deliver a more helpful thought or reaction.
Today you learnt that we navigate our world through our senses and the emotions evoked by these senses are the glue that fixes our instincts in place. Our imagination acts like a reality simulator so when we daydream about something great or sad, or listen to a good story we can believe it is really happening and our body then creates the corresponding responses. In REM our mind and body do not know the difference between what is real and what isn’t. So we can give ourselves an experience that can change unhelpful instincts.
You can do this too
Read the last blog post in the series here and learn how to use hypnosis to help yourself.
Is this the first post you’ve read? Start at the very beginning here.