Many thanks to Caroline and The Business Network for inviting me to host the Hypnotic Loops workshop. It was a great pleasure to present to such a diverse and interesting audience. For those that don’t know, my background is as a stage hypnotist. Throughout the session we used techniques and insights from the world of hypnosis to demonstrate interesting aspects of our existence in a fun & interactive way.
The workshop was built around a model for understanding human experience – and for finding ways to improve that experience for the better – based on a particularly practical and elegant model of hypnosis proposed by James Rolph. We focused on ‘quick wins’ throughout the event: those techniques most helpful for making positive changes to our experience of life with immediate effect.
Here are the 7 quick wins we covered:
- Use your imagination
After investigating the way in which imagined ideas create very real physiological reactions – reactions which govern the emotional experience of a situation – we discussed a couple of ways the deliberate imagination of positive outcomes can be useful.
- The Automatic Imagination Model
While on the subject of imagination, we also touched on Anthony Jacquin & Kev Sheldrake’s beautiful ‘Automatic Imagination’ model of hypnosis. This gives an extra twist to the idea of using your imagination: as well as imagining the positive state, you can then also imagine that it’s become automatic. For anyone who’s interested in knowing more about this, an in-depth article written by Kev can be found at http://www.whatsonmybrain.com/head-hacking-part-3/ .
- Use your physiology
We discussed the usefulness of deliberately adopting the physiology of a helpful emotional state. An excellent description of this idea can be found by looking up Amy Cuddy’s TED talk: we also discussed some other interesting places in which this idea shows up.
- Examine your experience.
Much of the talk was focused on our capacity to create, and believe in, stories about our existence, and on how what we believe about an activity is usually more important than the activity itself. By looking closely at the actual experience of doing the activity, it can be quite enlightening to realise how little evidence there is for your story!
- Re-contextualising draining activities
Continuing the topic of our beliefs around an activity being more important than the activity itself, we looked at how those activities we find the most depleting could potentially become less so. By recognising what the story might be that is making that activity feel draining, it can be possible to find new meaning/priorities within which to improve the experience of those tasks.
- Gratitude journal
A simple exercise for which the benefits far outweigh the effort expended! The technique simply consists of writing 3 sentences each day that begin with the words: ‘I am grateful for…’. In the workshop I explained how the fine-tuning of our attention & awareness that results from practising daily gratitudes helps to make positive occurrences and valuable opportunities more apparent to us.
- Silver Linings work
Another simple technique, consisting of deliberately noticing 1 positive aspect within an otherwise negative situation. When doing this we are never being disingenuous or lying to ourselves – we’re being completely honest that the situation isn’t great overall – however, we’re practising a very useful cognitive pattern, and this practice is another thing that helps us to spot opportunity and to become more optimistic.