Psychosomatic illnesses are illnesses that involve both the mind and body. Contrary to popular perception they are not fake illnesses. It is well-established that severe and prolonged mental or psychological stress will trigger physical problems. poor diet, excessive smoking, drug or alcohol abuse, lack of exercise, over or under-eating are some of the more typical ones. In turn these may generate ulcers, asthma, migraine headaches, arthritis, cancer and heart disease. Therefore stress – whether rooted in pressure, anxiety, feat, conflict, depression, anger or other negative feelings – can play havoc with our physical well-being and immune system. It can even be the catalyst for life threatening diseases and premature death. Yet, in truth, studies have shown that 99% of the things that we worry about never happen. Thus the potential of the mind for practical and productive thinking is frequently wasted on phantom prophecies of doom. The question then arises how can a stressed individual regain control so that their condition doesn’t ruin their well-being? how can they instead focus their mind onto the virtuous circle of the positive, the productive, the healthy and the creative? one answer is through the proven efficacy of self-hypnosis.
Self-hypnosis is a perfectly safe meditative technique which puts the mind and body into a receptive state wherein the mind can use the power of positive affirmation to create a less anxiety-ridden and more positive approach to life. It is easy to learn, requires only 15-20 minutes per session and a quiet undisturbed space. There are many techniques but most owe something to the 1977 classic the Silva Mind Control Method by José Silva (1914-1999) a successful businessman, athlete, artist, singer, educator, philosopher and psychologist (see “suggested reading” at the end of the chapter).
Some call the self-hypnotic process “going down to your levels” and it implies a voluntary release of the mind from its high level cognitive function of active and reactive thinking. One achieves this by relaxing the body and then taking steps to slow down the activity of the brain. One popular method used is counting down from 10 to 1, feeling the mind and body become less active and more relaxed with each count. The process is repeated until both mind and body enter into a relaxed and trance like state. The mind is then able to become receptive to and filled with positive affirmations.
• Self-hypnosis can be a tremendous aid to your anti-aging strategy. You can use this technique to stop smoking, reduce eating, increase exercise, improve concentration and memory and generally promote your well-being. Crucially, it can be usefully employed as an integral part of a daily stress management routine.
• The best time for self-hypnosis is before you go to sleep. The evening is a natural time of repose and reflection so just switch off the television 20 minutes earlier to create the time. Using this time to prepare positively for the day ahead is a proactive and productive habit.
• If you are sufficiently self-motivated to try it yourself, follow the procedure and tips outlined towards the end of the chapter above.
• Alternatively, consider enlisting on a Silva Method course. There are practitioners in over 131 countries. Find website details at the end of the chapter.
• To fully realize the benefits of self-hypnosis like anything worthwhile in life it must be practiced regularly, Preferably once per day. Initially you may require a very comfortable tranquil setting in order to achieve the desired relaxation, but once these sessions become routine in your life you will find that you can enter this “comfort zone”, with ease, almost anywhere and at any time.