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Hypnosis Night #1: Insomnia!

Posted Aug 26 2008 11:41pm

[ photo source]
Yesterday I wrote that one of my plans to lose some weight and start feeling more energetic/healthier is to get more sleep. I know I'm getting enough sleep when I don't need an alarm clock. Lately I've been turning off the alarm clock in my sleep. Not good.

So what happened last night? I went to bed at 11:15 pm and I was wide awake at 4:30 am. BOING! I was hoping to sleep until 7. I lay there negotiating with all the voices in my head for about half an hour and then decided to get up and accept the fact that sleep was not going to return any time soon. This might be more distressing on a week day when I have to be alert and thinking at 7 am, but on a weekend there's always a chance of a nap if I really feel my ship is going down, so I was ok with it.

I suspect the cause was my recent return to exercising. I've had these insomnia bouts before when I've started getting good aerobic exercise again. Small price to pay for doing my body and health some good.

I headed down to the computer and remembered something I'd been wanting to look at for sometime.

Last summer Clinical Hypnotherapist Jennifer Polle [ link ] noticed this blog and sent me two of her CDs: Clearing Emotional Blocks and Intuitive Eating for Weight Release. She asked if I would like to give these a test drive and see what I thought.

While I've done my share of self-help reading (as you can see from this blog), I've never really been drawn toward anything to do with hypnosis. I think because when I was a child, one of my brothers was interested in it and asked me if he could try hypnotizing me. I agreed and proceeded to spend then next fifteen minutes pretending to be a dog for the sake of the 'success' of the experiment. That, combined with so many ridiculous portrayals of hypnosis on tv had me convinced that it was all contrived and the participants were usually terrible actors.

In the past year I remember Ellen DeGeneres talking about using hypnosis to quite smoking. She spoke of how deeply ingrained her habit was and then said that after trying many other methods, she had a few sessions with a hypnotist and felt really confident that her desire to smoke had left her. I have no idea if it stuck (I rarely see her show and haven't heard any update on her smoking) but she was certainly feeling like the session/treatment(?) had changed how her brain thought of smoking (in a very positive way).

So when Jennifer wrote to offer her CDs, these two contrasting thoughts about hypnosis came up and, touched by the sincerity that Ellen demonstrated, I decided to let go of childish things ( lol ) and give it a try.

I decided to settle on the living room sofa, weighing the volume of dear Manley's snoring upstairs in our bedroom against the annoyance factor of our elderly cat Ruby who is leashed in the living room each night for the sake of every one's sanity. (She howls like a maniac for random stretches of time and then regains her lucid mind as if some other nutjob was making all that noise.)

I lay down with the headphones on and played Clearing Emotional Blocks. Some of the first words told me to get comfortable and do things with my toes and I'm very mindful of the fact that I'm about 3" longer than the sofa accommodates but I do my best to get comfortable.

Right away I notice how beautiful Jennifer's voice is. It's very pleasing to listen to. I find myself trying to force myself to pay attention to what she's saying, and then I remember in my email correspondence with her that I warned her I would probably just fall asleep to her CDs (since I never make enough time for sleep and I get very tired any time I sit still during the day) and she said that was just fine.

So I allowed myself to drift. Sometimes I'd be in a daydream and realized I had actually caught what she was saying and my mind was processing it while I was thinking of other things. Her instructions were guiding me to relax but it was as if I was relaxing for some other reason/from some other prompting. I know that sounds a bit insensible but that's how it felt. What I'm getting at is it felt like the CD was helping me relax on a different level than just words and gentle background music telling me to.

There's a part in the CD where Jennifer touches very briefly on possible causes of emotional blocks (past experiences where one was either hurt or upset). Tears just started coming to my eyes. Lots and lots of tears. But the weird thing was, normally when I cry about an unhappy thought, it physically hurts to cry. I've always attributed that to my siblings making fun of me for crying when I was a child (being the only girl in the family and a rather shy, sensitive person), and times where I felt like crying in school. It would have been a fate worse than death to cry in school so I'd do anything I could to hold it in. And it hurt to hold it in. Sometimes I feel that discomfort now when I'm going to cry, even though it's ok to cry.

So I'm laying there listening to the CD with lots of tears in my eyes and my attention just goes to how beautiful the tears feel on my cheeks. I'm thinking about how nice it feels to cry without it hurting. At the same time I'm thinking about things I've done (years ago) that I feel ashamed of and I wonder if, by listening to this thing each day for a month, I could actually let go of some of that. That which to me, seems unforgivable, because when you hurt someone else, you've potentially created another link in the chain.

There's nothing on the CD acknowledging that it might make a person cry. I wondered how many other people might cry to it as well.

I had loaded the CD into the computer player in the dark so I wasn't really aware I was listening to Clearing Emotional Blocks. I was thinking I was listening to something about weight loss/release and I was interested in how there wasn't any talk about weight. The CD seemed to be so gently yet effectively loosening a stone or two from the old mental junk heap instead. Turns out, that was the intention (I assume).

Another funny thing is, this CD is not really chatty and I'm listening to it with no belief that hypnotism is a true and useful process, but by midway through, I'm feeling very deeply relaxed and I'm wishing to myself that it not end. I didn't know how long it was but I knew I kept wanting to feel like that and was a bit worried that the end of the recording would end the feeling.

I don't recall the content after that. I just remember when it was finishing up and everything went softer to fade out, I had this rather euphoric feeling and had to make myself take the bulky headphones off (despite feeling wonderfully limp), so I could go to sleep without them bothering me.

I was awakened a few times by the yowling cat and an early phone call but I still had this very happy feeling and clear dreams. Kind of like I'd just heard something really funny and wanted to laugh except I wasn't sure what was so funny. It's a very good feeling.

That was listening session number one with the hypnosis CD. I went in skeptical, I have no idea what it was doing or how it worked, but it put me into a lovely relaxed state both awake and asleep and I really want to listen to it again.

If you've ever tried hypnosis, I would love to hear about it. I intend to continue writing about my experiences here, hoping to listen every day for at least 30 days. Hello, Time Management!

The Weekend Plan:
- Exercise: No aerobics. Just fun with the kid. Bike riding if it stops raining.
- Eating: eating when hungry, stopping when satisfied. I felt a bit bloated after eating last night at dinner and I do not want that feeling again. It gets worse as I get older.
- Relaxation/Sleep: listen to Intuitive Eating for Weight Release CD.
- Fun: try out the new camera and different lenses.

Jennifer Polle [ link ]
Hypnosis Night #2 [ link ]

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