I think anxiety is something the majority of the population can relate to. We have likely all had it at some point or another or you may still struggle with it. Unfortunately, self-medicating is really common, which can lead to some pretty serious repercussions, or result in addictions. Whether your vice has been alcohol, cigarettes, sweets, pills, or worse, self- medicating is just a quick fix; a moment of instant gratification which is counter-productive, causing even more anxiety, severe problems, and reactions.

Have you ever had a rough day and decide to escape with a night of excessive drinking with the girls (or guys, yeah, you do it too) only to wake up the next day feeling even worse? Not only are you physically destroyed from the debauchery but now you're even more emotionally spent. Everything seems even worse than it did the day before. Well OBVIOUSLY! And don't think I'm pointing the finger...like I said, we've all been there. But at some point, we just CAN'T ANYMORE. And let's be real, we still have days when we simply feel that the world is weighing heavy on our shoulders.

Then the quest begins and you start searching for answers because you know you can do better and because you know a better way exists. Then you see this title: 'Hypnosis'. And you're all skeptical, like, "What?" You read on and it's all mumbo jumbo at first because you probably, like most people, think about that guy on a stage using his hypnosis tactics to do things like making people forget the number 6 exists or make them quack like a duck. BUT....if you're lucky, you dug a little deeper and found that hypnosis can be very effective in treating all kinds of disorders, emotional and physical. And what's more, is that self-hypnosis is all about YOU. You are in control. Now that's comforting, isn't it?

So let me explain a little. Self-hypnosis is in some ways similar to meditation! It's a choice, yes, and you must decide to do the work. It's not like popping a pill nor is it like having a couple glasses of wine. It is an energy changing tool at your own disposal.

So how does it work? Is it magic? Will it change me? Will I do something weird? I know, I know. Those are the common questions, nearly everyone has. The thing about hypnosis is, you cannot do anything under hypnosis that you're not morally ok with. Since hypnosis works with the subconscious mind, you are still yourself (yey!) but more in touch with the part of yourself (your subconscious mind) where all of your behaviors, habits, and decisions come from.

So let's take a look at how we can try out a little self hypnosis. It's simpler than you might think. Here are a few guidlines for getting started:

1. Get cozy. Put your jammies on and make sure you are comfortable.
2. Create a comfortable environment where you can lye down or sit in a soft chair.

3. Find time for just you! Distractions will ruin everything. No pets, no kids, no television, no phone, no noise. JUST. YOU.

4. Set your goals and use positive affirmations. Always use present tense affirmations such as: I have no desire to smoke cigarettes, I am content and happy, I feel totally relaxed and calm, I am losing weight and eating healthy, I am capable and confident. You affirmations will depend on your goals.

5. Close your eyes and imagine you are stress-free and without anxious thoughts. If you experience persistent thoughts, don't try to push them away, but observe them and let them drift away. Repeat to yourself that your eyes are getting heavier and heavier and you cannot keep them open any longer. You can use this meditation information to help with learning how to shut off your thoughts. http://www.how-to-meditate.org

6. Begin relaxing your body from your toes and then continue up the body. Most people report that the most difficult part of their body to relax is their mouth. You can imagine warm water poured over the parts of your body releasing tension or a nice massage.

7. Breathing. Take deep breaths, and exhale while envisioning negative energy and tension being released like grey mist. Then inhale while envisioning the suns light, filled with life, love, power, and positive energy.

8. Now it's time to start with the specific visions. Here you want to start feeling, tasting, and smelling the desired outcome of your goals. For example, imagine you're waking up happy everyday, with positive, ambitious energy. Imagine trying on clothes in a store and feeling perfectly satisfied with how they look on your body. Imagine working out and feeling inspired by it. Taste and smell the smoke-free environment you desire. How good does that feel?!

9. Allow yourself to feel how deeply relaxed you now are. You can imagine the feeling of floating in water, washing all your cares away. Let your imagination take you to your own perfect paradise, and it's elements taking away all of your stress.

10. Exiting the hypnotic state. Here you can create different scenarios, but if you start with the water example mentioned above, you can exit with this as well. Slowly step out of the imaginary water and see how you feel. If at any point you feel uncomfortable, slow down the vision, and take your time leaving the water or your personal paradise.

11. Give yourself time to open your eyes. Then eventually, when you're ready, tell yourself that you are wide awake. You don't have to do this abruptly. Take your time and repeat this process whenever you can!

In a world full of action, movement, and stress, some situations may be unavoidable. But just remember, what matters is how we react to it and how we deal with it. Let's all make better choices, one step at a time, WITHOUT the hangover!

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