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How Do I Choose Between Hypnosis and Meditation? The Mind Unveiled

Is there anything more fascinating than the human mind? The human mind is how we experience the world around us, both the seen and the unseen. For centuries humankind’s curiosity has led to a quest for understanding of the mind and its powers.

Meditation and hypnosis are two effective ways to explore the mind. Both paths can lead to improved levels of inner peace and facilitate personal change and self improvement. Meditation and hypnosis are two different ways of inducing altered states of consciousness, although they differ in their approaches and objectives. This article will shed light on their unique characteristics, similarities and differences, and will help you understand what would work best for you – meditation, hypnosis, or a combination of both.

How are hypnosis and meditation similar?

Both meditation and hypnosis share the common goal of inducing altered states of consciousness. They offer a departure from the ordinary waking state, allowing individuals to access deeper levels of awareness. These altered states promote relaxation, focus, and enhanced receptivity to suggestions and self-reflection.

Relaxation and Stress Reduction

Both practices have shown effectiveness in promoting relaxation and reducing stress. By engaging in meditation or hypnosis, individuals can calm their minds, release tension, and experience a state of tranquility. The deep relaxation attained during these practices can have positive effects on physical and mental well-being, including reduced anxiety and improved sleep quality.

Enhanced Self-Awareness

Meditation and hypnosis facilitate an increased sense of self-awareness. During these practices, individuals learn to observe their thoughts, emotions, and sensations without judgment. By cultivating mindfulness, meditation encourages self-reflection and a deeper understanding of one's inner world. Similarly, hypnosis allows individuals to explore their subconscious mind, bringing to light suppressed thoughts, memories, and beliefs.

How are hypnosis and meditation different?

Intention and Focus

One key distinction between meditation and hypnosis lies in their primary intentions. Meditation emphasizes the cultivation of present-moment awareness and self-transcendence. It seeks to detach from thoughts and attain a state of pure awareness. Hypnosis, on the other hand, is goal-oriented and often involves the use of suggestions and imagery to achieve specific outcomes, such as behavior modification or overcoming phobias.

I believe this is one of the most important differences between these two techniques. Many professionals recommend a consistent, daily or near daily approach to receive the benefits of mediation. For example, in this article from Mindworks, they state that the benefits of meditation will start showing up in a few weeks and gradually increase over time.

Hypnosis is quite different. The first difference is that hypnosis is focused on a goal instead of a general approach to well-being. If you have a goal, like eliminating a phobia, healing a relationship, overcoming an anxiety or changing a behavior, hypnosis is often effective in just a few sessions.

Control and External Influence

Meditation places a greater emphasis on self-control and internal exploration. Practitioners are encouraged to observe their thoughts and emotions without interference or attachment. In contrast, hypnosis frequently involves an external facilitator, such as a hypnotherapist, who guides the individual through suggestions and imagery. This external influence distinguishes hypnosis as a more interactive and directed practice.

Depth of Altered State

While both meditation and hypnosis induce altered states of consciousness, the depth and intensity of these states differ. Meditation typically aims to achieve a state of deep relaxation and expanded awareness without losing consciousness. Hypnosis, on the other hand, often involves a deeper level of trance where individuals may experience selective focus and heightened suggestibility. This deep trance state is very helpful for changing unproductive thoughts.

Do I have to choose between meditation and hypnosis?

Yes and No. Yes, you can’t do both at the same time. While they feel similar, they are not the same. Hypnosis has a goal; meditation is a more general approach to well-being. If you have something you want to work on and are hoping to see results soon, hypnosis may be the better approach.

However, the answer to this question is also no, you don’t have to choose. Now that you understand the similarities and differences, you can use both techniques (just not at the same time!).

Altered State of Consciousness, Science Direct, 2013

How Meditation Affects Your Brain and Boosts Well-Being, Right as Rain by UW Medicine, October 26, 2020


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