Have you ever been hypnotized without even knowing it?

The title question goes along with other questions or statements about resisting hypnosis or embracing it.

Perhaps it would be helpful to give examples of how people go in and out of hypnosis daily. In addition, it might be beneficial to provide a working definition of hypnosis with an example.

Have you ever driven home and didn't remember passing a landmark you always see? Has someone had to call your name or touch you to break your focused concentration on something? Have you ever been so focused on a movie or TV show that you didn't notice something happening right around you?

If you answered yes to any of these examples, you were in a light hypnotic trance. When you go from wakefulness to sleep, you go through a special time of hypnosis called a hypnagogic trance state. When you wake, you go through a hypnopompic trance state. Children operate in the subconscious mind more than the conscious mind for the first 8-10 years of life.

Commercials are masterfully produced using hypnotic language to guide you to buying something you usually would not purchase. But the commercial has planted a post-commercial suggestion (like a post-hypnotic suggestion) that you buy the advertised product. Other examples of hypnosis in everyday life include church pastors who generate good feelings and comfort following their sermons and through church fellowship.

In a medical journal, I recently read about a person with an estimated IQ of 70 undergoing major surgery using hypnosis as the only anesthetic. He underwent the entire surgery and afterward reoriented himself with no residual drug effect or pain.

Can a person resist letting themselves go into a hypnotic trance? Sure, most authorities agree that all hypnosis is self-hypnosis, and you don't have to drop into that state of internalized focused attention if you don't want to. However, virtually all humans experience some degree of hypnosis every day.

Hypnosis is "the internal focus of attention to the extent that you ignore your external environment and become hyper or overly open to suggestions within your field of focus." Here is the example I use. You go to a movie theater, and you notice your chair squeaks, the air conditioner is blowing on you, and there is an odd smell in the theater. That is your external environment. The movie starts, and you focus on the screen to the extent you ignore your external environment, and a puppy runs out in the street and is hit by a car. While watching the movie, you have a visceral or intense emotion or feeling as that scene is displayed. The feeling is the hyper receptivity to the idea that the dog was hurt and died even though you know no animals were injured in the movie's production. That example meets all the requirements of a hypnotic state.

Hypnosis with Jim Macy

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