How Hypnosis works – updating our instinctive behaviour

Part 2 in our mini series about hypnosis

Yesterday you learnt that hypnosis is not some weird watch swinging process that happens on stage. It is an essential part of what it takes to be a human being. Hypnosis is a natural state akin to dreaming which happens during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) phase of sleep. Today we are going to learn why REM paves the way for beneficial change.

In REM we lay down new templates of understanding

During the last trimester of pregnancy a foetus spends vast amount of its time in REM. During this time instinctive behaviours are programmed so when the baby is born it can grasp, suck and build rapport.
REM factors large in the first seven years of life, you would have spent much more time in REM than you do now. This is when you would have learnt more than at any other phase of your life. So, as an adult it makes sense to go back into REM when you want to change your instinctive behaviour or embed new learning.

Problems are held at an unconscious level

If problems were held at a logical level oh how easy would it be for anyone to stop thinking or behaving in ways that caused difficulties. A smoker would be able to sit down, give himself a good talking to and never want another cigarette again. However this is not the case. Even if a smoker manages to stop, there would be many who got a whiff of a cigarette who would be consumed with longing. That’s because their instincts have been programmed to expect a cigarette. Even though their conscious mind has been strong enough to resist reaching for one, their unconscious mind perpetuates creates the craving.
Lots of thoughts behaviours and feelings are generated and stored at this unconscious level. For example, if you think of a time you were embarrassed or nervous, my guess is that you didn’t think ‘ok now I am going to bring on a blush’ or ‘I am going to start to panic in two minutes.’ No, you realized you were blushing like a beacon way after your body had started the chemicals rolling to create those flushed cheeks. And no matter how much you tried to stop that heat flooding your face you couldn’t. That’s because reaction is instinctive. Your mind somehow learnt to associate something with embarrassment and once it gets the trigger it goes on to produce the corresponding emotional response.

We need to go into the REM state to update instincts

If your mind has learnt to associate cigarettes with feeling calm it makes sense if you want to stop those cravings that you go to the place where the problems hang out. This is the case for any unconscious response that you want to change.

Last year I worked with a lady who was very stressed and prone to frequent bouts of anger. Although she was petite she described how her rages terrified her husband and children, screaming and shouting she just kept ‘loosing it.’ She was at her wits end because even though her husband had threatened to leave her, she couldn’t stop the flood of emotions. I needed to help her update her instincts so that she no longer felt that overwhelming flood of emotion. After guiding her into hypnosis we were able to work together to update those instincts so that they no longer generated those uncomfortable feelings. One week later she called to say that she could not believe that she felt so calm and happy. Even when one of her children had a tantrum that she would have got highly stressed over she said it didn’t bother her at all. This lady had not had to stop herself getting angry and stressed – she just felt different. Her reactions were different because her instincts had changed.

Today you have learnt how hypnosis works. REM we learn and lay down new patterns of behaviour. And that it is your instincts that are responsible for many of the problem reactions you would rather not have. These reactions are stored in the unconscious mind so it makes sense to go into REM to update those instincts.

Learn how your mind updates its instincts in REM by reading the next post here.

Read the first blog post here.

Jill Wootton (47 Posts)