Usually when practicing self-hypnosis, we are doing so for a reason. We want to change something in our lives or achieve a specific goal when we are no longer in hypnosis. The power of posthypnotic suggestions helps to make this possible.
A posthypnotic suggestion is a suggestion which is given during hypnosis for an action or response to take place after the hypnotic experience. These suggestions may be for an action, a feeling or an internal physical change to occur.
Posthypnotic cues are used to trigger posthypnotic suggestions after the hypnosis session has ended. A posthypnotic cue may be an action, thought, word, image or event that is used to trigger a response implanted during trance.
These powerful tools can be used in self-hypnosis to allow you to change your behaviour and responses during your everyday life, outside of hypnosis.
For example, suppose your goal is to be able to feel more calm and relaxed in stressful situations. During self hypnosis you could make the association between deep breathing and feeling relaxed. The posthypnotic suggestion is to be able to relax and feel calm at any time. Deep breathing becomes a cue for triggering this feeling of relaxation. When faced with a tense or stressful situation, feelings of calm and relaxation can be quickly restored with a few deep, slow breaths.
Some further examples of the use of posthypnotic cues and suggestions might be; feeling full when opening the fridge door, helping to achieve the goal of eating less; feeling calm and safe when fastening the safety belt in an aircraft to help conquer fears about flying; use turning off the light as a cue for yawning and feeling sleepy to help with sleeping.
One of the simplest and most common uses for posthypnotic suggestions is to help you re-enter trance more easily in future. For example, during your self-hypnosis session you might give yourself suggestions such as the following;
"Anytime in the future I wish to renter this comfortable and pleasant state of calm and relaxation, I will find I can do so just by making myself comfortable and breathing deeply and slowly for a few minutes... and I will be able to return quickly and easily to this level of deep relaxation and focussed awareness whenever I choose."
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