I’m asked regularly what the difference is between meditation and self-hypnosis, so todays post will focus on just that!
The difference, in my opinion (and there are many opinions!) is that in meditation we aim to detach from any outcome and be present, while in self- hypnosis we focus on shaping subconscious thought to achieve our desired outcomes!
The truth is, often the most simple and natural things like meditation and self-hypnosis, seem more complicated when we try to describe them!
If looked at from a scientific perspective, the two states are similar because they are natural trance states accessed in the Alpha and Theta states of brainwave frequency.
The good thing is we don’t need to understand what our brain is doing to achieve a meditative or hypnotic state, but if you’re interested I’ve clarified some characteristics below.
We all have five unique brainwave frequencies Beta, Alpha, Theta, Delta and Gamma and they are measured in cycles per second (Hz) on machines such as an Electroencephalograph (EEG).
Beta (14-40Hz) – Awake and Conscious
Beta is the awake state experienced by most people throughout the majority of their day when they are alert, attentive and perhaps concentrating on work and other activities.
Alpha (7.5-14Hz) – Deeply Relaxed
In the Alpha state we are awake but relaxed. Just before we wake fully in the morning or just before we fall asleep we experience the alpha state. The brain actually starts to produce more alpha waves when we close our eyes!
The Alpha state is aimed for and experienced regularly during meditation, self-hypnosis and while listening to relaxation C.ds. It is a pleasant, dreamy state where our minds are receptive and our memory, imagination, concentration, and ability to visualise are heightened.
Theta (4-7.5Hz) – Light Sleep and Meditation
Theta brain waves are present during light sleep, deep meditation and hypnosis. This is where the REM dream state is experienced and the subconscious is accessed as we drift into sleep from Alpha and wake from deep sleep and Delta. This state is often associated with spiritual connection, vivid visualizations, creativity, and insight. In this state we are conscious and aware of our surroundings but deeply relaxed.
Delta (0.5-4Hz) – Deep Sleep
Experienced in deep, dreamless sleep and in very deep meditation, the Delta wave is the slowest of the frequencies occurring while conscious awareness is detached. The Delta state is associated with deep healing and regeneration.
Gamma (above 40Hz) – Insight
Gamma is a recently discovered brainwave frequency measuring at a fast 40Hz. This level is associated with bursts of insight and information processing.
So what does all this translate to? Meditation and Self-Hypnosis at times crossover. In hypnosis people often experience being present in a meditative state and in meditation people often have visual and hypnotic experiences. ”Meditation” and “Self-Hypnosis” are labels and words used to describe naturally occurring states of awareness that we have access to.
So whatever we call it and whatever intention we have going into a meditative or hypnotic state, we can be sure that it is benefiting our mental, physical and spiritual existence. Meditation and self-hypnosis assist us to relax, restore balance and so much more.