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When I’m stressed out — which is pretty much always — I can get into a place emotionally that prevents me from breathing deeply. I physically can’t fill my lungs up with air. It’s gotten to the point where if I’m in a group that is practicing deep breathing (many trauma-centered groups do this) I simply stare at the ground and wait for everyone to be finished because I can’t join in. No matter how hard I try, it just doesn’t work.
Thank God I came across self-hypnosis. You might remember me blogging about it before; it was my miracle cure to easing my stomach pain that had prevented me from eating anything but the blandest food for years. The book Self-Hypnosis: The Complete Manual for Health and Self-Change helped me record my own tape by reading aloud some of their techniques.
Yesterday I woke up with more stomach pain than usual, and since my puppy was still asleep, I decided it was a good time to do some self-hypnosis. I grabbed my iPod and went back to bed, listening to my own voice. Once I was finished the twenty-minute session, my body was much more relaxed. I could breathe deeply again! Once I can breathe deeply, everything else in my body follows suit and relaxes. Yesterday’s session worked so well that I can still breathe deeply today. I have to focus to do it but I can do it. And now that I can breathe deeply, I understand why it’s so important. I feel much more grounded and calm. I feel more in control of everything.
The trick for me now is to stay in tune with my body so that I can recognize when it becomes hard for me to breathe again. It could be later today or tomorrow or even in a few days if I’m lucky. It can become extra complicated, though, if I get too stressed out. If I’m in a panic, it simply doesn’t feel safe to let my guard down enough to do self-hypnosis. I refuse to even close my eyes for that long in case I am attacked.
So, even though I’ve found a way to deal with my breathing difficulties, it’s still a battle. I really need to make it a priority to do self-hypnosis frequently so I stay practiced in relaxing my body.
If you’re curious about self-hypnosis, I really recommend Self-Hypnosis: The Complete Manual for Health and Self-Change by Dr. Brian M. Alman and Dr. Peter Lambrou. I bought the book off Amazon (here) and like I said before, it changed my life. Once you can relax your body and your mind, your subconscious is much more open to suggestion, so it can be a shortcut to helping things like low self-esteem or quitting smoking.
Contrary to popular belief, you are still in control of yourself when you are hypnotized. Look at it as a way to speak to your inner self without your negative self-talk interrupting. Our minds are POWERFUL tools, and hypnosis helps us use those tools to get better.
Erin Schulthies is the writer of Daisies and Bruises, a blog about "finding her way one step and one word at a time". After losing most of her youth to severe depression, she decided that since death was no longer an option, she had to find a way to live. This is it.
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