Can hypnosis stop you from catching Coronavirus? This is an interesting question, the answer to which must be yes and no. You see, physically, we contract germs and viruses every day, we just don’t realise it. And we don’t notice because our body does a fantastic job of getting rid of anything which may harm us or make us ill. How many times have you heard that a germ or virus actually lives on our skin or is present in us? Yet we don’t become ill because our body’s natural equilibrium is in force.
However, when our immune system is weakened or compromised, we often catch things because we haven’t been strong enough to fight off the invasion of germs. All making sense so far right? Good!
What you may not know however, is the relationship between the body and the mind. The mind and the body are bidirectional – that is, that they communicate with each other in such a way that whatever is happening in one place will manifest in the other and vice versa. For example, think of something which scares or excites you and then notice what happens in your body. You start to feel nervous, you might get butterflies in your stomach, your hands may feel warm and sweaty, your heart may beat faster. All of these symptoms are because you THOUGHT of something; you didn’t actually experience it! You see the subconscious mind does not know the difference between what is real and what is not real. So whatever you think, will manifest in the body. If you think of your favourite food, you will begin to imagine the flavour, the texture in your mouth, what it smells like; and then your mouth will start to water and your stomach may rumble. Familiar, yes?
Ok, so the same thing happens if you start to think of being ill, or if you start to think often enough about a particular illness. The more you focus on something the more you are likely to experience it. If you keep thinking you have a headache, eventually you will develop a headache. The more you worry that you are going to develop a headache, the more stressed and anxious you become and the more stressed and anxious you are, your mind sends a signal to your body to release stress hormones, cortisol and adreneline. These hormones prepare you for fight or flight and in doing so shut down all but your essential organs. This is why when you’re afraid or nervous, you may feel like you need to go to the toilet as your digestive system gets ready to eliminate. Living in a constant state of stress, worry or fear will ensure a poorly functioning immune system, since ‘high levels of cortisol can diminish the immune response’ ( The Secret Life of the Brain, Alfred David , 2019). This can also cause a host of other issues such as depression and anxiety. This leads to an increased risk of contracting illness and not being able to fight off bugs and viruses.
However, you can take control and use hypnosis to remain calm and relax your body. When you are relaxed you cannot produce excess stress hormones. Instead, your body will secrete other hormones associated with a relaxed state, which are typically known as your ‘happy hormones’.
You can use hypnosis to communicate with your subconscious mind and instruct it to keep you well and healthy. Your subconscious mind believes everything you tell it. And if you are consistent with this, you then consciously start to believe it and it becomes a reality. Further, the subconscious mind understands images and pictures. Therefore if you visualise yourself as well and healthy, that is what you will be.
Think about it; we are always negatively hypnotising ourselves, telling ourselves we are not good enough, or criticising ourselves because we can never get something right. All of this self talk is relayed back into the subconscious mind and you believe it. Obviously then, this is how you behave. If you turn this on it’s head, tell yourself you are brilliant, tell yourself you can do something, then eventually you will believe it and it will happen exactly as you said. It’s the same with illness and this is why the placebo effect is so effective, and the saying ‘what you think, you become’. It is the belief of the thought that makes it a reality. You believe that tablet is making you well and so you become well.
It is easy to self-hypnotise, there is no great mystery. Hypnosis is a natural state which we enter into many times a day. It’s like a day dream; you’re not asleep but your focus is elsewhere; a bit like when you’re talking to someone and even though you may be looking at the person you’re talking to, you’re thinking of something entirely different like what you’re doing later or what you’re having for dinner. When we are in this state, our conscious mind is distracted and our subconscious takes the lead. It is in this trance like state that we can give positive suggestions to our subconscious mind.
It is easy to deliberately induce this state ourselves, though it can take a bit of practice initially. There are several ways to induce trance but we shall keep it simple for the purpose of this blog. First think about something you wish to change or improve. Maybe, you want to protect yourself from catching the Coronavirus. Once you’ve decided what you want to focus on, find yourself a comfortable place where you won’t be disturbed for a while then follow these easy steps:
1. tell yourself how long you want to hypnotise yourself for, maybe for example 10 minutes.
2. make sure you’re sitting comfortably, preferably with a straight spine and uncrossed legs and arms.
3. with your eyes open, simply stare straight ahead at a spot on the wall or whatever is in front of you. Keep staring and don’t blink. Just keep your focus until your eyes get tired and your eyelids start to get uncomfortable and you really have to blink.
4. gently close your eyes and slowly count to ten, focussing on each number relaxing you deeper and deeper. Using your breath to deeply inhale relaxation and exhale tension. The deeper the better as each exhale will take you deeper into hypnosis.
5. clear your mind and imagine the inside of your body, acknowledge how clever and amazing it is, how everything keeps on working as it should without you having to think about it. Express gratitude to your body for this.
6. now think about the part of your mind that is responsible for the functioning of your immune system. Imagine what this looks like (there is no right or wrong, everyone will conjure up a different image); really create this image in your mind, colours, sounds etc. To some people, this part might include an army who go into battle every day fighting off bugs and viruses, using tanks and guns; to others it could be like a giant slaying anything getting in it’s way, or a dinosaur stamping on all the little creatures in it’s path; it could be a team of doctors going round your bloodstream injecting all the bugs and viruses and killing them off or a team of cleaners sweeping and dusting every corner of your body, filling bin bags ready to take to the rubbish tip, keeping it clean and healthy. Whatever the image, it is yours and unique to you. Go wild and use your imagination.
7. now imagine the scenario in your mind. See the cleaners sweeping out all the germs, see the army shooting them dead; whatever it is, visualise this clearly in your mind, turning on sound, colour and smells. Enjoy it, it’s fun.
8. then leaving that image, visualise yourself as you want to be; healthy and happy. See yourself in your imagination happy and healthy, laughing, not a care in the world. Notice what you are wearing, the colour of your clothes, where you are and who you are with, notice what is being said; notice your friends and family commenting on how healthy you look; see yourself eating healthy food and drinking plenty of water; feel how it feels; feel energetic and full of life; see your skin glowing, your healthy hair and nails; make the image as big, colourful and loud as possible and then turn it up some more.
9. say in your mind some positive affirmations such as ‘I am strong, I am healthy, my immune system is strong and healthy, I eat healthy food, I am confident and positive’.
10. gently begin to bring your awareness back into the room, flicker and open your eyes. You will notice that you have opened your eyes at precisely the time you stated you wanted to hypnotise yourself for.
The above exercise will become easier with practice and the more you practice the more you will notice the changes. You will get better results using it daily.
Self hypnosis can be used for anything you like. Anything can be achieved provided it is humanly possible. As the mind is part of our complex make up, self-hypnosis should be used in conjuction with looking after yourself in other ways. It is not a substitute for self neglect, therefore make sure you also eat healthy food so you are getting all of the right nutrients in your diet, drink plenty of water to flush out toxins and get plenty of sleep to rest and repair.
Finally, self hypnosis is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment, so if you are unwell please ensure you see your G.P. This article is written in good faith and is the opinion of myself based on my education, training and experience.
DipHyp, GQHP, GHSC, GHR, CNHC