© Donald Robertson (2000)
This simple self-hypnosis routine brings together several different psychological principles. You might feel a little bit drowsy immediately after doing this exercise, don’t worry this is normal and will go away after a few minutes as you become grounded. However, you should avoid driving until you get your orientation back. Find a place to relax where you are unlikely to be disturbed.
Assume a position in which you can comfortably relax, either lying down or seated.
Choose a ‘trigger word’ which will help you to relax, such as ‘sleep’ or ‘relax’; you will repeat this at the beginning of each deep breath.
Choose an affirmation or positive suggestion which you can repeat to yourself. If you don’t have an affirmation try practising with something like “My voice is calm, confident and reassuring.”
Finally, please think of a relaxing scene which you can visualise, perhaps lying on the beach or sitting in the garden.
If you have problems visualising a scene simply imagine that you are being enveloped by a soothing, shapeless cloud of coloured mist. Imagine that your body is divided into three sections which you will relax in turn: (1) from your waist down to your feet, (2) your torso and arms, (3) your head and neck.
1. Allow your eyelids to fall shut, take a few moments just to unwind, focus on your breathing, clear your mind and get comfortable.
2. Take a deep breath in. Hold your breath for about ten or fifteen seconds before letting out a deep sigh and relaxing your whole body. Say your trigger word as you exhale. Allow your breathing to return to normal for a few moments and just be aware of how relaxed your body now feels.
3. Breath in again, in the same way, and this time relax your lower body, from your waist down to your feet, as you exhale and repeat the trigger word.
4. Another deep breath, relaxing your chest, back and arms as you exhale.
5. Breath in again and relax your head, neck and face as you breath out.
6. Finally, to catch any tension that might have returned to your body, relax your whole body again as you breath out. If you want you can also use this breath to imagine that you are expelling any emotional or mental tension.
7. Take a few moments to settle and allow your breathing to return to normal, and your mind to become empty, tranquil and quiet.
8. If necessary, allow your attention to be drawn to any part of your body where tension has returned. Imagine that it is a puff of coloured smoke and visualise it being blown away by a warm breeze.
9. Now visualise yourself standing at the top of a flight of ten stairs or steps, at the bottom is your relaxing place. Slowly descend the steps one at a time, counting from ten all the way down to zero as you do so. Try to feel yourself sinking down deeper toward a light trance with each step you take.
10. When you arrive at the bottom of the steps visualise yourself entering into your relaxing scene. Take a few minutes to try to get a feel for the scene, take a note of the colours and shapes which you can see, and any sounds. Allow yourself to let go completely and enjoy the pleasant feelings of physical relaxation and mental calm.
11. Now, repeat your affirmation to yourself in your own time, for as long as you want. Remember to be aware of your imaginary tone of voice.
12. When you are finished, take time to settle again and to enjoy the feelings of calmness and confidence which your affirmation has given you.
13. When you are ready, count from one up to five. Open your eyes, clench your fists and give your arms and legs a shake to wake yourself up again.