Are hypnosis and meditation just different terms for the same phenomena? Hypnosis and meditation both produce impressive results when applied properly and consistently. Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years. Hypnosis has been around as long as people have roamed the Earth. However, the idea of hypnotism wasn’t proposed until far more recently.
While they may appear similar, hypnosis and meditation differ in several important ways. One isn’t a good substitute for the other, but both can be powerful tools.
Understand the differences between hypnosis and meditation
1. You’re hypnotized several times each day.
Each time you’re more involved with your thoughts than you are with the outside world, you’re hypnotized. You’ve experienced this while watching a movie or reading a book. Have you ever driven in the car, only to wonder where the time went after arriving at your destination? You were hypnotized.
- It has been suggested that people are technically hypnotized after watching only 7 seconds of television!
2. Meditation attempts to be devoid of thought.
In most types of meditation, the objective is to concentrate on an object, such as the breath, and create a mental state with minimal thought activity.
3. Hypnosis is dissociative.
In a highly hypnotized state, the subject is unaware of his immediate surroundings. It’s akin to being in a dream that’s directed by himself or another person.
- Meditation is the opposite. The goal of meditation is complete presence.
4. Both techniques can be useful tools for managing stress or anxiety.
Both can be equally effective for dealing with mental distress:
- Meditation can help by revealing the reality that stress and anxiety are self-induced.
- Hypnosis often uses visualization techniques to experience new ways of reacting to the same stimuli in the future.
5. Hypnosis could be viewed as experiencing something with your senses that’s not really there.
When you close your eyes and imagine something, you’re hypnotized. When you relive a conversation in your head, you’re hypnotized. How much time do you think you spend hypnotized each day?
6. Hypnosis is more outcome oriented.
Hypnosis is often undertaken to solve a challenge or to enhance performance. Hypnosis is used to get over a trauma, increase self-esteem, lose weight, or quit smoking. It’s directed at a specific outcome. Meditation isn’t normally applied in this way.
7. Hypnosis is aimed at the subconscious.
It’s believed that hypnosis works around the conscious mind and influences the subconscious. It’s easier to address the subconscious while the conscious mind is otherwise occupied.
8. Hypnosis is considered an altered state.
Your perception of reality is flawed because your mind is in another place.
- On the other hand, meditation seeks to eliminate everything except the truth. All opinions, beliefs, and preconceptions are dropped. Nothing remains but mental stillness.
In spite of these basic differences, there are actually many kinds of meditation, some of which could be considered similar to hypnosis.
If you’re interested in learning more about either, both techniques can be learned on your own. There are many books, audio programs and video programs available. As with anything else, a great teacher can be helpful.
You already spend a portion of your day in a hypnotic state. Put it to work! Take control of the trances you enter each day.
Consider adding meditation and hypnosis to your self-improvement activities. Meditation and hypnosis are simple, but require practice. There’s no better time than the present to get started.
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I really wanted to talk about this topic today because I wanted to share some lifestyle-based strategies to improve your overall mindset and mental health, which in turn improves your life. You must do the internal work to improve your overall health. You can do this by learning what motivates you and working each day on improving your mindset. Your thoughts control your feelings, which controls your behavior. You can cultivate certain behaviors and practices that will not only enrich your life, but that you can pass on to your family, friends, and community, so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.
If you are familiar with my approach, I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle modifications, such as stress reduction and mindfulness exercises, can help you feel better about yourself and your life. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy. But I always tell my patients that conventional medications may be appropriate at this time to prevent catastrophic illness, but over time, you can work to make the necessary lifestyle changes to possibly reduce and/or eliminate medications. Please remember to always consult your physician for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any decisions whatsoever.
Tools For Motivation And Mindset
Although you don’t need a cushion to meditate, you may want to consider using one at some point. You could meditate in a chair, or simply sit on the floor if you want. You can also use pillows or cushions from your furnishings to try out. Cushion, chair, bench, floor – it’s all good. Eventually, though, if you’re not sitting upright on a chair, you’ll probably do well to buy a dedicated meditation cushion. The cushion will support your sitting posture and help you create an appealing mindfulness corner that will encourage you to practice every day. I recommend this meditation cushion and mat bundle.
If you struggle with stress, depression, or anxiety, keeping a journal can be a great idea. Even if you don’t have these conditions, journaling can enhance your life in many ways. Having difficulty processing your thoughts and emotions? Journaling can help clear that mental clutter and move towards a positive mindset. Research suggests that keeping a journal can have positive impacts on both mental and physical health. So, to start you on your journey, I recommend this self care journal.
Remember, living a healthy lifestyle including eating a whole foods plant-based diet, regular physical activity, meditation and mindfulness, as well as healthy and supportive relationships are the best ways to support mental health. Please talk with your doctor about any complementary health approaches, including supplements, you use. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.
PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.
PPS. If you or someone you know is experiencing severe stress, anxiety, depression and/or other mental health issues, please contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) or TTY: 1-800-487-4889. This is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.
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