There are lots of people that I encounter who still believe that hypnosis is like being unconscious and that they are blissfully unaware of anything going on within them or around them while they sit having a sort of nap, believing that the hypnotist’s words are going in regardless and they’ll wake up and hallelujah! Changes will be made.

If only it were like that.

Last Friday on the self-hypnosis seminar that I was running in London, I had to do my usual job of asking people to pay attention during the group hypnosis sessions and not just wander off… I spend some time educating about hypnosis and the way to get the most from it, which I think is probably better than me just walking around the room kicking people in the shins if they drift off too far!

If you spend a day being hypnotised on and off and learning a lot of information and in a new environment, it can be tiring, especially if you travelled far and so I like to think of ways to keep people alert and invigorated. So I tell them about some of our afternoon exercises early in the day which keeps them paying attention.

I tell them that they’ll get the chance to experience localised anaesthesia, full body catalepsy and other things and show pictures from previous seminars… And boy do they pay attention then!

However, in life, we can stop paying attention and find ourselves wandering and drifting and do not have a loud mouthed ginger haired hypnotherapist to scare us into alertness! So I thought I’d share some other processes that can be used in conjunction with self-hypnosis to be more alert and not actually to finish the self-hypnosis session feeling sleepy and like a zombie!

Here are a number of ways to use self-hypnosis to be more alert, focused and pay more attention. You do not have to go through any deep structured process for these exercises; simply close your eyes and engage your imagination and use autosuggestion where relevant and they will revive, uplift, and get you invigorated and alert:

1. Stretch your arms and legs out and as you do so, imagine a colour or a sensation or even a sound that represents ‘energy’ flowing through those limbs and spreading through your spine and all the muscles of your body. You can tell yourself “I am more invigorated” and repeat the autosuggestion along with the movement a few times.

2. Imagine the oxygen that you are breathing is sweeping through you, clearing out stuffiness (maybe even imagine it clearing out dust and cobwebs, for example) and is uplifting and invigorating. You might like to imagine your breath getting deeper in a way that energises and uplifts you too. When you exhale, you could even offer up a sigh and a release to let go of what is unwanted and get really focused as you inhale.

With this, you could imagine exhaling stale air, or rubbish, or anything that you might imagine represents lethargy and lack of focus as you expel it and sweep it out of you.

3. I attended a masterclass of direct hypnosis and stage hypnosis earlier this year with Jon Chase. He mentioned that he noticed many people leaving a hypnotherapists office looking spaced out and sleepy. Therefore he brings people out of hypnosis with an increased tempo, and asks the individual to imagine mountain fresh spring water and fresh air reviving the senses as you come out of hypnosis.

I read a similar notion used by Beata Jencks in her own invigoration exercises whereby you imagine being in smog or walking through thick fog as you slowly exhale, but then during each inhalation, you come out of that fog and the air gradually become cleaner and clearer and lifts you up and gets you focused and alert and the air is fresh and cool, like mountain fresh air.

4. In real life, that is not just exclusively using your imagination, you’d do well to go for a walk and get some fresh air and I know I feel very alive and alert after I have been running along the sea front during my marathon training.

You can also imagine doing exactly the same. Imagine running and breathing fresh air, or imagine walking through the countryside at a brisk pace, breathing accordingly, enjoying the sights, sounds and sensations that you get from such. Breathe in time to your footsteps and let it drive you and get you focused.

Jencks even suggests that people could imagine running and suddenly falling down a man-hole and letting the shock stimulate you into alertness. Though I tend to think that this is not so easy with self-hypnosis as you know it is coming up and the genuine shock won’t happen as effectively.

5. When I was at University, I lived in Finland for 6 months of my study. Part of life in Finland is Sauna and we often visited retreats in the frozen countryside for sauna events which involved us then carving out holes in the iced lake surfaces and jumping in after a sauna. I have a vivid recollection of what happens to your body when you do that. You are alert and feeling very alive when you have dived naked into a frozen lake following a sauna.

You can imagine doing the same, or if you are seeking a less terrifying experience, you can imagine taking a cold shower and imagine how you shiver and shudder at first when you climb in.

Engage in the sensation of slight shock and let the sensations travel through your body, notice the vibrations of your muscles and the way you react and respond in detail and let this get you more alert.

6. As well as using cold, you can use light. You can imagine using light to wake up your brain and rejuvenate it. Imagine a light starting at your forehead that travels all around your head and right into your brain; into every furthest corner of it, waking you up, alerting you. Then imagine the same sensation and light moving through your entire body – this can be combined with any of the previous processes too.

7. When we came back from Autumn half term when I was at school, my French language teacher, Mr Roberts used to tell us to imagine raking the soft brown leaves off the surface of our brains to get us active and alive again. I used to find that worked so well and was a big lift for my mind.

You could imagine shaking off fatigue and rolling your brain around (not actually, but imagining it like a pet shakes water off when it dries itself out) to get some life and focus back into it. You could imagine opening the windows of your mind and letting the air sweep through and invigorate too, sharpening up the senses and so on. You could even imagine breaking some strong and sharp smelling salts under your nose while all this is going on or embellish the notion and use it as a single method for getting yourself focused and alert.

A number of ideas to help you be awake, alert, focused and not overcast, lifeless and limp like a zombie.

Hope you enjoy those and manage to find some use for them to help you feel uplifted and fresh with self-hypnosis.