Part of a series exploring examples of hypnotic trance states in everyday life
Has there ever been a more trance-inducing device than the mobile phone? Tiny blocks of silicon and glass, these devices are now so common that they can be seen in the hands of people of all ages, across all countries. Beginning as simple devices that allowed you to make a telephone call while not connected to a landline, they have matured into powerful mobile computers, or “smart” phones, capable of bringing you all the wonders of the internet, in the palm of your hand. According to a recent study, there are now more than 3 billion of these devices in use, with that number expected to grow exponentially, making the mobile phone one of the most widely used devices in human history. You might be reading this on one now.
You can travel to any part of the world and watch people in beautiful, ugly, safe and scary locations, looking intently at their phones, seemingly oblivious to what is going on around them. The ability to focus so deeply, to become so absorbed, that you can filter out what is going on around you, is a fine example of a hypnotic trance state.
Depending on the environment, this trance state could be considered to be a good thing. If you’re in an environment where the ability to take a mental break for a few minutes (or hours) can give you the ability to recharge, relax, and come back feeling refreshed, then the dopamine hit from some online activity could be a positive part of your life.
What happens then, if you become so absorbed in your mobile phone that you lose the ability to step back from this trance state? What happens if it begins to affect your ability to interact with others, to be truly present in what’s going on around you?
Having worked in the entertainment industry for many years, I have a deep understanding of the amount of work, thought, and dedication that goes into preparing a live concert event. Many hours are spent in the design, preparation and rehearsal of a live event in order to bring you not just a performance, but an uplifting, sensory experience.
The best shows are where the combination of sound, light, staging and performance come together so well that, for the period of the concert, you are transported into a trance state where you become one with the music, and all the cares and worries of the day you brought with you are forgotten, at least for the duration of the show.
Prior to the arrival of mobile phones, audiences had little to distract them during an event. They came along expecting an experience, and the lack of distractions allowed them to deeply focus on the performance taking place.
It’s now uncommon to go to a live concert event and not see a forest of mobile phones sprouting from the hands of people in the audience. Instead of becoming absorbed in the experience, these mobile phone users become absorbed in their devices, concentrating on choosing the best orientation of their phone, adjusting the lighting, selecting the best focus or filters, before finally taking one or more photos of themselves to prove they were there. Without actually “being” there.
Convincing someone that they can be “in the moment”, without actually being in the moment, because they’re more focused on their phone than what is going on around them, is one of the most impressive hypnotic states ever created.
Trance states can be positive or negative. It all depends on the context, the environment, and how aware a person is that they’ve entered that state of mind.
When you become aware that trance states exist in everyday life, you can begin to recognise these states in your own activities. By learning to recognise them, you can begin to make active choices about keeping the states that are positive for you, and about discarding those that are negative. Remember this the next time you find yourself reaching for your mobile phone.
In hypnotherapy, we use this amazing ability we all have to enter a focused, absorbed state, to give you control over the changes you want to make in your life.
If you have any questions about everyday trance states, or would like to know more about how hypnosis can help you, please get in touch.