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What’s the Difference Between Self-Hypnosis and Meditation?

Meditation | Meditation for Beginners

While a myriad of self-help tools seem to spring up every day, meditation and self-hypnosis are the hands-down, app-worthy duo of the horde. However, due to their immense popularity and similarities, it’s easy to confuse the two.

What is self-hypnosis?

Hypnosis, by definition, is “an artificially induced trance state resembling sleep, characterized by heightened susceptibility to suggestion.” Self-hypnosis is simply a way to grab the bull by the horns, so to speak, and use techniques and suggestions to induce yourself into a hypnotic state.

Self-hypnosis has seen a rise in recent years due to its accessibility; in the digital, instant download age, you don’t have to seek out a professional hypnotist to get the results you’re looking for. The “from the comfort of your own home” aspect is appealing and convenient.

What self-hypnosis is not is a cheap way to get a laugh; the days of entertainment-based hypnotherapy is dwindling in light of an increased interest in legitimate, therapeutic hypnosis.

How is self-hypnosis different from meditation?

Self-hypnosis can be considered the more results-driven cousin to meditation. While the main goal of meditation is often general relaxation and ridding the mind of monkey chatter, hypnosis always focuses on the resolution of a core issue. Whether you suffer from addiction, phobia, or pain, there’s bound to be a specific self-hypnosis session at your disposal. In fact, recent studies show that self-hypnosis has a profound effect on pregnant women who learn the ropes:

“Women described their feelings about hypnosis during labor as: a sense of relief and consolation, self-confidence, satisfaction, lack of suffering labor pain, changing the feeling of pain into one of pressure, a decrease in fear of natural childbirth, lack of tiredness, and lack of anxiety.”

It should be noted that some hypnotic techniques can take you to places you may not be ready to go (past life regression, suppressed memories, etc.), while meditation typically aims to soothe and relax. 

Pros and Cons

Just as there are those who “can’t be hypnotized” in a traditional sense, there are some people who simply can’t get into a good, self-hypnotic groove. Self-hypnosis is a form of teaching the mind and body specific ways to relax and achieve a goal, and it stands to reckon that not everyone is cut out for self-teaching. In this case, guided meditation or hypnosis under the watch and care of a licensed hypnotherapist is best.

On the flip side, a definite pro of self-hypnosis is the self-empowerment that it gives the hypnotee. After all, we’re typically the ones that stand in the way of our own healing. Imagine how deep this healing can go if we put the power into our own hands. Again, this technique may work wonders for some, but may not be the most effective route for those who rely on external influences during trance work.

Whether you reap the benefits of self-hypnosis or enjoy a robust meditation practice, you can’t go wrong with either of these two effective forms of self-awareness. The goal and the result is, as always, mindfulness.

Image Credit: Madison Lavern

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