Part of a series exploring examples of hypnotic trance states in everyday life
Have you ever found yourself gazing out the window, imagining how it would feel to be somewhere else? Perhaps you’ve found yourself thinking about a place you visited long ago. You might remember how it felt. What you could hear, see and smell. Who you talked to and who you were with. Maybe you’ve just stopped thinking about what you were meant to be focused on, letting your mind wander for a while? Welcome to another example of an everyday hypnotic trance – Daydreaming.
Unlike other animals, human beings spend a lot of time thinking about what is not going on around them, contemplating events that happened in the past, might happen in the future, or will never happen at all. Indeed, “stimulus-independent thought” or “mind wandering” appears to be the brain’s default mode of operation (1–3).https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/danielgilbert/files/a-wandering-mind-is-an-unhapy-mind-killingsworthe-ma-science-2010.pdf
According to a large 2010 study conducted by Harvard University, daydreaming is so common that our minds are in that state more often than not. While that study came to the conclusion that “a wandering mind is an unhappy mind”, in hypnotherapy we can utilise this amazing ability to work for us, instead of against us.
Wikipedia defines daydreaming as
the stream of consciousness that detaches from current external tasks when attention drifts to a more personal and internal direction.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daydream
A hypnotic trance is a similar state, except that, instead of drifting, your attention is focused. Focused on specific goals. Focused on positive changes. Focused on the skills you can learn to help achieve those outcomes.
When we daydream we have the ability to recall past memories in such detail, it’s as if we’re actually there. Imagine someone came up to you and asked you what were you thinking about, while you happened to be thinking about a favourite beach. You might be able to recall how the wind felt against your face. The sound of the ocean. The temperature of the water. The feel of the sand between your toes. The names and faces of the people that were there. The warmth of the sun upon your face.
Similarly when we daydream about a possible future, we might be able to imagine how that amazingly comfortable couch you’ve always wanted will feel when you snuggle up on it to read a favourite book.
This remarkable ability allows us to transport our mind and body across time and space. To be so immersed in the experience that it is all we can think of. To imagine great things. To feel deeply moved. To remember the good and the bad, and to experience these thoughts as if they are our physical reality. It’s amazing, isn’t it?
In hypnotherapy we use this amazing ability to help you recover from past traumas. To overcome anxiety. To actively daydream about the things you want in your life, replacing the things that you don’t.
Next time you find yourself daydreaming, try noticing
- how you felt
- who you were with
- what you could hear
- what you could smell
- how things felt to touch
and then remember how real these things felt to you, in that moment. Isn’t that great?
When you’re ready to use these skills to your advantage, please get in touch.
Examples of hypnotic states, or what we sometimes call trance, are all around us. All you need to do is stop, look around, and observe. Notice these in action and you’ll understand how trance is a part of everyday life.