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Science of Hypnosis – Deeper Dive FAQ

What if I can’t visualize well in a self-hypnosis session? What if I cannot feel anything? What if I cannot imagine smells? Can I improve my ability to imagine something?

We are all unique in our mix of our preferences for visualization, imagining something based on our kinesthetic (feelings), auditory (sounds) or olfactory (smells) senses.


We can all imagine some visual images, some feelings, some smells and even some tastes. Some of us simply “know” we are imagining something without visualizing or feeling anything.

It isn’t necessary to improve our ability in any of these areas specifically, as we will get better at it with self-hypnosis practice anyway. What we all need, is a little patience

But, here’s what you can do if you want to improve your ability to visualize. Do this a few times in a row, each time focusing on something else in the exercise: 

Practice your imagination:

Take a deep breath and as you exhale, relax the muscles in your shoulders and your back so that you can start to enter a state of relaxation. If you want, you can focus on your breathing while you also target specific muscle groups to increase your level of comfort and relaxation. This relaxation will allow your mind to start to wind down just enough to increase your focus and awareness of your body in space and time.


Once you are more relaxed and calmer than before, you can close your eyes if it isn’t closed yet. Closing your eyes will make visualization easier because your conscious mind can become less distracted by your sense of sight. So instead, focus on what you see behind your closed eye lids. You will see that your visual perception persists, even when your eyes are closed. Like you keep hearing something even when you cover your ears. It is because the neurons in your nervous system remains active. You are essentially still seeing, albeit that your closed eyelids block your vision.


You can achieve the same result if you practice visualization in complete darkness, but only if there is absolutely no light whatsoever, so that even if your eyes adjust to the darkness, you still don’t see anything. When you do this, you will notice that your eyes continue to send signals to your brain, forming shapes and ghostly images that you will know doesn’t match anything in the reality of the world around you.


So whether you sit with eyes closed or in complete darkness, focus on what you still continue to see. Those shapes and colors and sparks and warbles and clouds. The forms change and the brightness dims and shifts and slides across your field of vision the whole time. Nothing remains static for long. 


Let your mind wander to whatever these images remind you of. Like static on an old television set. Or perhaps a calming yet dark, cloudy sky.


Ok, there you are, eyes closed, relaxed, perhaps focused on your breathing. 


In your imagination, pick a room in your house or a room from your past. Or a room created completely in your imagination. 


Imagine you are in that room. The room is as clean and tidy, or as chaotic and messy as you want it to be. 


Now pick an empty spot on a wall in this room. Any open spot. Where there is absolutely nothing to see, except the color and texture of the wall. So at first, become aware of the color of the wall. Then its texture. Imagine you can look at it very closely, like from up close. See the color and the texture from up close.


Now notice something else on that wall. And look at it closely.


Again, notice something else now. Perhaps on the wall, or perhaps in the room. It can be anything else. And focus your concentration on that something.


Now, whether there usually is one or not, right now, imagine that off to the side is a chest of drawers. In a style that perfectly matches the style and decoration in the room. Or it may be completely out of place. It may be plain or it may be decorative. It may be old or it may be new. This is a chest of drawers as you want it to be - whether it exists in a room of your past or whether it is a complete fabrication of your mind, imagine this chest of drawers.


Imagine you pull open one of the drawers. What does it contain? Reach in and find something magical in the furthest corner of the drawer. What did you find? Imagine it in your hand. … Now put it back where it was. And close the drawer.


Now notice what is different about that item as, now, you open that drawer again, reach in and take that item out again. What is different about how you imagine it? Once you have identified what is different this time around, put it back in the drawer. And again, close the drawer.


Return to the open spot on the wall. Focus all of your attention on it. The color and the texture again from up close. Notice what is different.


You may open your eyes now. 


Practice this ability of your mind’s eye. The more you practice it, the more vivid the images would become.


You can practice this using anything you can think of. Imagine where you put your keys last. The way that it lies usually. What is there next to it. Or imagine you take a walk to your front door. Imagine in your mind’s eye, the image of what you know are there.


With practice, your visualization skill will improve. It is a skill like any other. The more you use it, the more your brain becomes accustomed to firing those neurons in your brain. It builds out and strengthens the neural pathways to form known highways for brain signals to get there easier and faster every time.


You can similarly practice your ability to imagine any of your other senses.


This is your imagination. There are no limits to what you can imagine. Try it out.

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