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Floating for self-hypnosis, hyper-suggestibility, hyperawareness
Hypnosis or a state of hyper-suggestibility is, in truth, a common mental state that most of us drift into and out of without being aware of it: as we watch TV, listen to music, brush our teeth, drive our cars or even jog.
The 2 essential elements of self hypnosis are relaxation and focused attention. Any time you have these elements you are at least in a mild state of hypnosis. To make a conscious state of hypnosis, we need one more element: suggestion.
Experiments have proved that:
Whenever we become deeply relaxed (more then usual in day to day life); eliminate distractions by focusing on something (such as a word or music), we enter a state of hyper-suggestibility. Whatever statements are made to us in this state enter directly into our mind, bypassing the mental filters and other mechanisms by which we usually judge these statements. The mind accepts suggestions, and virtually any information with complete ease and lack of judgement.
There are several suggestions as to why this happens:
Some scientists trace it to the reticular activating system (RAS), which is that part of our brain that filters out things that we do not need to pay attention to. (such as traffic noise, background music etc.
They suggest that I a deep state of relaxation, with external stimuli eliminated or restricted by the focusing of attention, the RAS system “turns up the volume” in certain receptive parts of the brain, so that when suggestions are made, the are received with more attention then ordinarily.
Others suggest that it has to do with the dominance of the left brain.
In a relaxed state with external awareness turned off, the usually dominant left hemisphere (logical thought and word processing happens here) is restrained, while the right brain (the seat of emotions and imagery) gains power, reaching a state of equilibrium with the left brain. In this state the words of the suggestion are received and linked with deep emotional associations, the rational meanings of words strengthened by the images the call forth from the right lobe. Get access to this state and stay in it and a lot of work gets done very quickly. In this state we get the uncritical acceptance of verbal material, or almost any material we can process.
In a floatation tank this hyper suggestible state is easy to achieve and sustain. Everything is intensified. Relaxation is far deeper then outside the tank, the ability to concentrate is enormously enhanced since there are no distractions, and as a result receptability to suggestions is increased dramatically.
Floating activates a physiological response that is parallel to and as powerful as it’s opposite fight or flight reaction to stressful situations.
This response mobilises the body’s resources to bring about an active, alert, positive and beneficial state of deep relaxation.
Relaxation is not something that just happens when you are not busy. In fact it is no more natural to be in a state of true relaxation then it is to be in a state of fight or flight arousal – relaxation is a distinct physiological response that involves the coordinated activities of a large part of our service system The parasympathetic nervous system is engaged by floating, to release bio chemicals that bring about a a sense of well-being, pleasure, safety, and euphoria. This relaxation response to floating is similar to the effect gained form transcendental meditation – except in the float tank you do not need years of experience and disciplined practice to achieve it.
Regularly eliciting this relaxation repose benefits the individual with increase emotional, mental and physical strength and stability, decreased consumption of drugs, cigarettes and other dependencies, and an increased ability to deal with everyday life.
The difficulty in attempting to eliminate harmful programs, or de-condition ourselves, is that our habits and beliefs tend to cling to us like leeches while we remain engaged in living our lives. While we are in the environments that affirm our negative perceptions of ourselves.
The answer is to do our reconditioning while completely separated from the world in which our habits and beliefs have their being.
The most effective means of getting away from it all yet discovered is the float tank.
It is the perfect de-conditioning tool, since while we are floating we are completely separated from our normal relationship with the world, including our habitual responses, our conditioned acts and attitudes.
At the same time the tank is an ideal place for reconditioning – offering ourselves suggestions that counteract and supersede the unwanted beliefs and habits.