I write about it often; you highly evolved regular readers of this blog and my ezine are well and truly familiar with the notion of ‘doing things differently’… that is, I recommend that you do different things in your life for your own personal development and self-improvement.
I am not going to write about that again today, however, I do many things differently in my week to get different results and so on and so on. My wife recently latched on to this idea and suggested that she needed to do certain things differently. She had not always been that keen about my particular penchant for sci-fi TV series and so recently, following a very long training run, I decided to share my love of The X-Files, Fringe and other shows with her. This was exciting stuff for me.
We happened to watch a couple of episodes that included aliens who could make themselves feel any emotion or sensation due to certain thoughts they had. This enabled them to seem more human (in the eyes of other humans) and harder to detect from the lobe-slurping, destructive life-forms that they were in reality, causing the usual amount of mayhem for Agents Mulder and Scully.
“Wouldn’t it be great if you could do that in real life…” Was one comment that worked its way into the conversation.
“Well, you actually can pretty much do that… I’ll show you how if you like.” Was my reply, and so here is my instruction on how to go about being able to use your brain to control your feelings.
One of the great things I learned from some of the early Buddhist meditation teachings I had as a younger man, was that if you experience more of a particular emotion, you get more used to experiencing it and it becomes easier to replicate naturally. It becomes more of who you are and occurs more in your daily existence. Buddhists often meditate of concepts of love and compassion for example, so that they can exercise more compassion and love in their lives.
My reason for doing this is not so selfless, quite the contrary actually. I recommend you learn how to do it because it makes you feel truly wonderful more of the time. So let’s learn how to go inside our brains, tune into our bodies and really turn the dial up on any feeling we want to have more often, shall we?
I have seen many hypnotherapists teach students and work with clients using a metaphor of a central control room in the brain to change sensations, physical feelings and so on. My own example here today, is based on the framework given by Corydon Hammond in a book he was an editor of “The Handbook of Hypnotic Suggestions and Metaphors” and there are other derivatives around for similar use.
Just follow these 5 simple steps to control your feelings by creating a control centre in your mind…
Step One: Choose what feelings you would like to instruct your brain and body to experience and amplify in the coming moments — for example, it could be your confidence, your self-esteem, your motivation, your determination, your energy levels, your mental calmness or whatever else you choose. What would you like some more of right now?
Having found a comfortable place to relax and having decided upon the sensation that you want more of, make sure that you are going to be free from interruptions and spend a few quiet moments tuning into your breathing. Allow each breath that you breathe to relax you and imagine your muscles relaxing, melting, softening and get comfortable with the experience of stillness.
It amazes me how few people are capable of or comfortable with being still for a relatively short period of time. Get still and observe what stillness feels like. As I said, tune into your breathing, relax and let go. You can learn how to do this well by reading my self-hypnosis book or you can use a meditative state that you have learnt, use whatever works best for you.
So, in a moment you are going to take a journey inside of yourself, a journey to tune in to your body so that you can send the right message from your brain to your body to experience more of your desired sensation.
Now make sure that you close your eyes and imagine reaching inside of yourself and tuning in to your mind and body in this moment.
Step Two: Having got yourself relaxed and engaged in the moment, get really mindful of your entire body. So become aware firstly of your entire of your body as one… From the top of your head, all the way down into your fingers… and down into your toes. Be aware of your entire body as one… every nerve, muscle and fibre… Don’t try to change anything; don’t try to interfere with anything. In fact do nithing, just observe your body and physical being.
Self-awareness brings a natural sense of harmony and balance into the body, so be passive, be a detached observer, just be comfortable noticing what you notice and feeling what you feel. Tuning in to how you are right now is going to prepare you for what happens in later steps.
Now, allow your breath to guide you and enable you to heighten your self-awareness. Notice the smallest of sensations of your breathing. Including your tummy rise and fall and all the other movements you notice. We want you to get tuned in to your being so that you’ll really notice the changes you deliver from your control room later on.
Now be aware of the entire process of breathing, all of the sensations in your body as one. Be aware of the rhythm of your body and don’t try to change anything. Be a passive observer… let the body do the breathing, all by itself, while you just observe it.
Finally, become aware of the central area of your forehead, right on the centre of your forehead, that place that is often referred to as your third eye, or your mind’s eye. You know the area I mean, zone in on that area. Notice how it feels.
As soon as you feel really tuned in to yourself and are then focused on the central area of your forehead, move on to step three.
Step Three: Now here comes the clever bit — allow that awareness, the mindfulness of that area, to now shift inside of your own head; move your awareness inside of your own brain!
Just move your awareness; focus and imagine that you can actually move it right to the place in the centre of your head, a place where you can be in control of everything that you sense, feel and experience in your body. Find a place inside of your head, inside your brain where you can orchestrate all of the communication, all of the information that gets sent into your body, for your body to experience what you communicate physically.
Reflect for a moment… Here at this control centre in your brain, you can change how you feel, you can send messages, you can create change, just using your thoughts and focus.
Imagine really being in this control centre in your brain, notice any sounds, feelings or images of this place, create it to your own satisfaction and when you are sure you have done that, move on to the next step.
Step Four: All the time, continue to feel tuned in and remain mindful of your body and breathing.
So from this control centre in the brain, start to recall what you decided you wanted to feel more of. What sensation you wanted to enhance and accelerate.
Knowing that in this control centre of your brain, it is here that controls everything in your body. You have created a beautiful level of receptivity in your body right now by heightening your awareness of it. Your body is very open to the messages that you choose to communicate with it.
Start to send the signals and message that you need to the part of your brain that is responsible for giving you more of that sensation. Somewhere in your brain there is a place that controls that sensation, that feeling that you want more of, so tune in to that part of the brain from your control centre (that might be self-confidence, your self-esteem, your motivation, your determination or whatever else you chose in step one) and start turning that feeling up!
That’s right, turn it up and experience that growing feeling in your body.
If you want to, you could use your imagination here; maybe there is a switch or a dial, whatever way is right for you, maybe you change the colour, count numbers to increase it, or maybe you just say the words to your brain that increase that sensation.
Then really engage your imagination and notice those messages being sent to your body from your brain. Sense them and notice what you notice. Notice the tiniest, most subtle things at first and then as you increase it further, notice how it develops.
You are being the conductor of your very own orchestra within you. You are guiding your brain to deliver that glorious sensation!
When you are sure that you have turned it up to the most balanced, most optimum level is for your personal well-being, then you can enjoy the sensations for a few moments.
Do really enjoy this, bask in this good feeling. Isn’t it fabulous to be in control of your body, to decide the way that your body feels? You have this ability and now you know exactly what to do, whenever you want. You can tell yourself that each time you do this, it is more effective and noticeable.
Step Five: Enjoy relaxing, enjoy the amplified, optimised feelings and then when you know your mind has soaked up enough of those good feelings, you can open your eyes and go about your life knowing that you have just given yourself a nice big shot of well-being in the form of that sensation.
Also know and realise just how in control of your own brain and awareness you are. Then let your mind and body begin to deliver more of that beneficial feeling, more of that useful sensation over the coming days and weeks.
Have a wonderful weekend, I am running my hypnotherapy training diploma all weekend and will be right back here on Monday.
You don’t give a date for the Hammond book, which people like me would appreciate. In April 1990, Richard Bandler started teaching people to build a control panel in their mind as the beginning of what came to known as ‘Design Human Engineering’ – his thinking being prompted by his then recent purchase of an Epsonic electronic keyboard. I know this because (1) I was there helping him do it, and (2) I contributed the module on synesthesia. And I have a question for you: you have people locating their “control centre” inside their head. Why not in front of them? A place which is much more natural.
I agree entirely with you Eric, it wound be much more logical and meaningful to have the “control centre” located in front of you. most people cannot really get an approximation of being “inside their brain”/
I spend a lot of time in front of a computer with a virtual recording sutdio so i use the “mixing desk” for my internal control centre because it is something i can readily associate with. a youngster might feel more comfortable imagining, say a joystick attached to a games console. the possibilities are truly endless.
Hello Eric, I tend to (albeit wrongly) assume that it is mainly hypnotherapists who read my blog (it is aimed at them at least) and most of us have the stalwart big red book by Hammond et al that I refer to here and as such know the details of it… The edition I have was printed in 1990 by the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis.
I am well aware of Richard’s teachings which form DHE and have attended one of those trainings. I am also aware of your own contributions. Though I am at a loss as to why you mention this. Because you could enlighten me?
Are you suggesting that this was the first time anyone had ever created such a metaphor of a control panel and as such expect some reference? or were you mentioning it just for interest and if so, thank you for the contribution to the thread. Otherwise, please do tell me, or I’ll be (again, probably wrongly) assuming in order to ascertain the reasons for stating that.
I’d hasten to add that I am not claiming this is the only way to do this kind of thing and not even suggesting that it is the best way to do it. It is however, the way I prefer to do it and on my blog I like the self-indulgence of being able to write about things I like the best.
In answer to your question… The reason for the “control centre” inside their head is because our real, actual control centre – namely, our brain, is inside our head – which seems pretty natural to me.
Plus, this is a self-hypnosis session, whereby people are insular and focused inwardly so it seems natural to keep that focus equally inwardly pointed.
Sean, I think it is a wonderful notion to have people utilise a control panel in front of them too. The joystick is as you say, one other way of doing this and indeed, the variations are as numerous as people that think of them, eh?
Though I am unsure who decides what is more “logical and meaningful” as you suggest. Sean, do you have some evidence other than anecdotal experience that supports your statement that “most people cannot really get an approximation of being inside their brain”? I ask because in my experience of doing this with many students and many thousands of hours of client hours, it is fairly simple to do this.
I found this approach to self-hypnosis very helpful. Being a non-visual learner myself, I’ve always struggled with approaches that rely heavily on mental image-making, but can identify much more easily with imagined sensations and sounds. I liked your technique of transferring awareness from a specific point on the forehead to a control centre inside the brain, and then connecting to a specific area of the brain responsible for a desired emotion. For me this is much easier to relate to than an external control centre. I also liked that you suggested counting as an alternative to a switch, dial or colour, and always use numbers to help my clients identify and reduce stress. As you say, there is no one way of doing self-hypnosis: it’s up to the individual to experiment and find what works best for them. Thanks for sharing this useful technique!
Hi Tim, thanks also for taking the time to write and share that. (got both your messages and both are showing up here as far as I can tell)
Best wishes, Adam.
I posted a comment on this entry a few days ago, but I’m not sure if it got through successfully. Could you let me know?
Thanks very much,
Your original comment was in the potential spam folder for some reason… We get so much of it, your comment got ignored for a while, but has been approved now.
Thank you for your contribution, very much appreciated 🙂
I enjoyed your writing about this. I remember seeing a video on “youtube” doing this “Control Panel” as a meditation, which was enjoyable. But I lost it somehow amongst my other videos, so I’m not sure who created it. Peace, R
Thank you for taking the time to write and say so Rita, I hope it proves useful for you.
With my very best wishes, Adam.