Optimization of autosuggestion in self-hypnosis

The famous positive affirmation, “Every day, in every way, you are getting better and better,” conceived over a century ago by the French psychologist Émile Coué, is an excellent choice to support general health and healing.

As part of my hypnotherapy service, I also provide my clients with a mantra-like autosuggestion to use as a self-hypnosis tool.

For those interested in using autohypnotic methods to reinforce specific behavior changes or mental attitude adjustments, I have found that you will have better results if your autosuggestion is tailored to address your specific problem in a way that is both compelling and empowering.

After more than 20 years of practice, I would like to share these six guidelines for writing a one line autosuggestion that will tend to create the least amount of subconscious resistance.

The first guideline is to use the second person in your autosuggestion instead of the first person when referring to yourself. The word “I” usually means unity, but we seem to have different sub-personalities who often want different agendas.

One part of your ego might say, “I have to go jogging tomorrow morning at 6 am, and then a different part of your ego wakes up when the alarm suddenly goes off and says, “What, now I have to go jogging.” ? Who made that foolish plan?”

“I” can create resistance in the subconscious part of you because your ego has a history of overextending itself, sometimes setting goals or making promises that you can’t or are unlikely to keep.

Referring to yourself in autosuggestion as “you” instead of “I” feels less threatening and is more inclusive of ALL of you. You’ll want to make sure the subconscious part is on board, since it’s the seat of motivation.

The second guideline for your autosuggestion is to use the present progressive tense.

Instead of “will you do this” or “won’t you do that”, which is presented as a demand, use “are you going to do this or that”. “Go to” sounds more tempting when you coax this part of you into diving into the water, so to speak, into accepting the suggestion, rather than pushing it into the pool.

The third is to frame your goal in the positive, focusing on what you want, not what you don’t want.

Articulating your goal in a positive framework will give your subconscious a clear vision of where you are going and what to expect. Using a negative frame is like “trying not to think about a pink elephant.” it does not work

Fourth, your goal must be realistic, specific, and achievable.

You’re not going to hypnotize yourself to win the lottery, of course, that’s out of your control.

And you’re not going to hypnotize yourself to fix a broken arm bone either, that’s a mechanical issue.

But once a doctor has placed the bone, you can use self-hypnosis and autosuggestion to speed recovery and reduce the risk of infection by increasing circulation to your arm.

You need to be able to reach your goal, and the more specific your goal, the better.

Fifth, use “today,” “now,” or “every day” in your autosuggestion to address your subconscious in its time zone: the present.

Fortunately, that part of you is always in the present, adjusting your eyes to the light, your skin to the temperature of the air, beating your heart and digesting your food, etc. The ‘call to action’ in advertising is also always in the present, creating an urgency to bypass your critical faculties.

You’re not going to hear on a TV or radio commercial, “Call next week,” are you? It’s “Call now, operators are waiting, first 50 callers will win a gift.” Or why wait? Offer ends TODAY!” “Buy Now, Pay Later.”

The basic program: seize the day, act, repeat until you succeed.

Lastly, choose a positive feeling to motivate the new behavior.

Feelings are more motivating than gathering more information, and it is more desirable to maintain positive feelings than negative ones. It’s like putting the horse in front of the cart, so that the horse has a good view and can get excited about the destination, unlike the poor horse that pushes the cart, which seems like a lot of work.

The goal here with your autosuggestion is to link a desired feeling to a new behavior that supports the feeling in a total of 12-14 words, making it easier to remember.

To personalize your autosuggest, it’s also helpful to modify some pre-existing language, using one of your strengths, talents, or abilities to describe the new behavior.

I will give you some examples.

A client with a major problem came to see me who was a high-level IT manager for a large corporation. Part of his problem was that he skipped breakfast. We phrased his automatic suggestion as follows: “Starting today, you’ll feel more energized by making breakfast.” That truth I couldn’t erase.

Another client came forward with a stimulant addiction, proudly claiming to be a pretty good martial artist who also competed in tournaments, but kept fighting his urges and losing. So we phrased his autosuggestion as follows: “Starting today, you will feel more in control, controlling and diverting your impulses.” Now, as a martial artist, he had a muscle memory for what that meant, so he was designed to empower it based on his stated strengths.

I once had a client who was an Israeli psychologist with a fear of flying. She was pregnant and faced a long flight back to Israel with her new baby. She couldn’t take any more Xanax because she was going to breastfeed. Her strength was her sharp intellect and, as a psychologist, she had to agree that what she thought about flying affected what she felt about flying. Her automatic suggestion was, “Every day, you’ll feel more relaxed, thinking outside the tube,” which was a game of thinking outside the box, but she was on the “subway” of an airline, and that made the automatic suggestion catchy, like a clever advertising slogan, and it helped push the repetitive thought pattern that was fueling her fear out of her mind.

Once you’ve formulated your autosuggestion, here’s one way you can use it for a style of self-hypnosis that works like self-advertising.

Write your automatic suggestion on 3×5 index cards and, for at least a month, post them around your living environment, such as at eye level when you walk out the door, on the bathroom mirror, next to the alarm clock, on the fridge, and discreetly at work next to your computer… wherever your eye wanders, why not put up a little billboard for something you might really need, like prettier nails and cuticles or better food control for the night?

You can also carry one of the composed cards with you in your pocket as a little reminder of your auto suggestion every time you put your hand in your pocket. You can use just your auto-suggestion wording as wallpaper on your smartphone to help you stay up to date, motivated and connected to the big picture every time you look at your phone.

It’s also very helpful to create a visual shortcut or “hot button” associated with your auto hint as an additional reinforcement trigger.

Choose a symbol, logo or image, with a favorite color, to place on each card. Use the same logo or image on each card. Your symbol can be anything, your own creation or someone else’s logo, or just use a gold star. It doesn’t have to be perfect, you just have to be consistent with the same symbol. Then, when you’re out and about, seeing just the logo or logo color can trigger a boost from your auto suggestion.

Each display of the autosuggestion or “hot button” is an impression. Over time, the impressions accumulate, begin to gain momentum, and provided there is adequate self-interest and enough rehearsal, you will find it easier to follow through and act on the suggestion, as eventually the new behavior becomes a healthy habit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *