In recent years, meditation has become more and more popular and people all over the world are coming to realise the positive benefits that this practice can bring. In some cases, you may feel as though you are in a hypnotic state when you practice a guided meditation. However, it is important to note that there are clear differences between a guided meditation and a hypnosis session.
Most notably, a guided mindfulness meditation is designed to help a person relax and quiet the mind, whereas hypnotherapy is designed to help the participant change certain aspects of their life. Many people try hypnosis to tackle problems such as weight loss or phobias.
In this article, we are going to be answering the question of the differences between hypnosis and meditation and looking at the goal of each of these popular disciplines.
What Is The Difference Between Hypnosis And Guided Meditation?
According to hypnosis expert, Kelley Woods, the main difference between meditation and hypnosis is that meditation is a way for an individual to quiet the mind. In contrast, when you see a hypnotherapist, they will work with you to use your own thoughts to change how you think about things. This enables the hypnotist to help people to focus on the something that they want to happen while using their thoughts to help the person alter how they think about any particular challenge.
Another key difference between hypnosis an meditation is that the latter requires a person to develop a practice that stays with the throughout their entire life. You simply cannot do just one meditation session and hope that your mind will remain clear for the rest of your life; this is something that requires dedication in many ways. You will need to spend time each day doing meditations and will need to remain consistent with this.
However, a lot of people who find that meditation is too time-consuming, too difficult or is not producing fast enough results, try hypnosis as a quicker way to reach their goal.
Many would say that hypnosis is much like being asleep but with a degree of self awareness. Conversely, when we meditate, we may go into extremely relaxed states but we rest between sleep and wakefulness.
According to another hypnosis expert, Richard Barker, while both a guided meditation and hypnotherapy place a lot of attention on relaxation, the latter comes with added suggestion. However, it may surprise you to learn that, while hypnosis is something that a lot of people turn to, there is much more scientific research to show the benefits of meditation. For anyone who wanted to access a method that has proven results, meditation is typically the way forward.
But that is not to suggest that hypnosis is useless, far from this, a lot of people swear by self hypnosis and have notice positive results in many ways. It is merely that there has not yet been sufficient research in the field.
That being said, there has been research conducted on how a hypnotist, or indeed, even self hypnosis can affect your brain activity.
How Do Meditation And Hypnosis Affect The Brain?
One of the things that is certain is that both a guided meditation and self hypnosis have the ability to physically affect the body; most notably, in the brain.
The mind is an intricate and amazing system and something that people are learning is that, to an extent, we are able to control the mind through various techniques.
Let’s start by considering hypnosis. There are now hundreds of hypnosis downloads allowing an individual to take part in self hypnosis from the comfort of their own home. But even if you do not feel comfortable with self hypnosis, there are many hypnotist sessions that you can attend where the hypnotist will use their years of experience to put you into a hypnotic state, which is a similar experience to what many would call a trance.
According to research, someone who is in a trance-like state after using a self hypnosis technique or working with a hypnotist would have an altered blood flow to the brain. Essentially the individual would enter into a different function and this can have an incredible amount of power.
The very definition of hypnosis therapy is to get the participant into a trance state where they can focus their awareness on a particular issue without worrying about what is going on around them. Someone in this trance would then have much greater control over their body and feel much less self-conscious than if they were to be in their regular state. But what is even more interesting is that your imagination can have an impact on whether you are a suitable hypnosis candidate.
Studies have shown that a subject may be more susceptible to the power of hypnosis if they are more trusting of others and if they use their imagination more intensely than others. This type of person is the ideal subject for both self hypnosis and working with a hypnotist.
You have likely seen the ‘celebrity hypnotists’ in the media, controlling a participant with a process that almost seems magical. They will use certain stimuli to control the interaction as they take their subject into an altered state of consciousness. Often, when hypnotism is done this way, it is for entertainment purposes, and the hypnotist will click his fingers and announce ‘sleep’ before demanding that the participant does some wacky act.
But true hypnosis, for therapeutic reasons, does not do this. While this process does work with the mind, and can alter the blood flow, directing it to one particular area of the head, meditation has the ability to alter the brain waves.
During meditation, one would close the eyes and place their awareness on the breath, aiming for an experience of deep relaxation and a quiet mind. Everything about meditation is based around your mind and while our states of consciousness can be altered, there is no suggestion that attempts to influence the mind and how we think.
Often, a guided meditation will involve using the imagination as the meditation leader guides us with words and images. As we place our attention on this, there is a proven shift in the brain waves which move to a higher frequency. Certain parts of the mind are affected and this enables you to access different parts of the meditation experience. For example, when the frontal lobe is activated, you are able to relax.
What Is Hypnosis Meditation?
Considering everything we have looked at, it would be easy to assume that meditation and hypnosis are two entirely different things, and to a degree, they are.
However, you will often hear about hypnosis meditation which is essentially just a form of self hypnosis and many experts will tell you that meditation is another way of accessing a hypnotic state. It is for this reason that many people consider themselves to be able to get into this sort of state through guided meditation. However, some experts would say that the absolute difference between meditation and hypnosis is that hypnosis require the person to work under the assistance of someone who has completed hypnotherapy training and who can guide them through the process.
Nonetheless, more and more people are using guided meditation as a way of hypnotising themselves. But the question that often comes up is whether this is safe.
There may be times that this type of treatment is not safe; in particular, there are some types of mental illness that would make hypnosis unsuitable. In addition to this, according to the Mayo Clinic page there are some possible side effects to this technique and some people may experience false memories or strong emotions. For this reason, you may prefer to work with a professional rather than performing self-hypnosis since they will be able to guide you through the session with appropriate words and assistance.
What Is A Similarity Between Hypnosis And Meditation?
Whether you are interesting in doing a guided meditation or want to experiment with hypnotic states, the thing that makes hypnosis and meditation similar is the things that they can treat.
Regardless of which method you use, you will be able to benefit yourself in similar ways. Both hypnosis and meditation are known to have stress relieving effects and can help to manage such conditions as anxiety, depression and addiction.
Furthermore, as we have discovered, both of these practices put a great deal of attention on relaxation. While being in a hypnotic state has other aspects, this is a key similarity.
While you may focus on the difference between these two practices, it has also been noted that both meditation and hypnosis have the ability to lower the heart rate which is not only good for your health but is also another factor that allows you to relax during this type of activity.
There is no denying that meditating is good for the soul and that this state of mindfulness and relaxation has a world of benefits. However, there is another state that is often compared to meditation; hypnosis. But is there a difference or are these do these ways go hand in hand with working with the mind?
A meditative state and a hypnotic state are similar in some ways but there are differences. Most notably, the two interact very differently with the brain causing a change in frequency and altered blood flow respectively.
Meditating is primarily used to relax, whereas hypnosis is typically used to help the participant work through problems in a safe and focused way.