The Life Doctor: Eleanor Bailey

LOOK INTO my eyes. You can control your life. Repeat after me: "I am feeling very relaxed. I will always buy my lovely Independent On Sunday."

Hypnosis is easy. Yet it is shrouded in mystery and the fear that, afterwards, you will tear all your clothes off every time somebody says "turnips". This is unfortunate. In fact we all regularly trance ourselves; we constantly auto-suggest negative thoughts. "I'm too fat", "I'm not clever enough", "I'm a smoker". This is what we should really be alarmed by. A little positive hypnosis can only be helpful.

I visited hypnotherapist Susan Hepburn at her Harley Street Clinic. She was working on my stress levels. "Hypnosis," she explains "is the transition between the conscious and the subconscious state. I am the catalyst to change, putting suggestions into the subconscious mind. It's easy to re- install self-belief which has become suppressed." It is a theory behind many therapies - that we start off with all the confidence we need, but somewhere along the line, thanks to parents, friends, life and the media we ended up the shrivelled mass of neuroses that made Bridget Jones the publishing phenomenon of the decade.

Key to success in any kind of therapy is that the therapist should be empathetic. Many therapists you wouldn't sit in a pub with, let alone share innermost secrets. Fortunately Hepburn is not like that. She nods understandingly and even seems interested. She sits me down in a reclining chair and turns on the vibrator. No, really. The whole chair vibrates, forcing muscles to relax. She speaks in a slow deep voice. There is a window on my forehead, the window to my inner self. The tensions inside me flow out through it. I am sitting in a wonderful place that I associate with total calm. Once I am fully blobbed out, she begins the suggestion process, instructing my subconscious to think differently. I will feel in control of my life.

It's familiar stuff, but the point is that it can work. Hepburn says she has at least a 99 per cent success of increasing confidence rate. But it's almost not surprising, because anything that shuts out the rubbish you've been saying to yourself all these years is going to do some good. Hypnotherapy has been shown to help in controlling blood pressure. From at least the 1880s it was used to relieve pain and as an anaesthetic. It can improve sleep, reduce stress, help depression, calm emotions and open blocked creativity.

When it comes to empathy, no-one understands your problems better than you. So why not try it DIY? The difference between professional hypnosis and, say, meditation is that, as well as relaxing, you are put in the positive. With smoking, for example, write down beforehand why you smoke, where you smoke, what emotional needs it fulfils and how those needs could conceivably be met differently. If you smoke as a work break, you could perhaps get a cup of tea instead. Next, think up positive statements. For example: "I am a non-smoker. I am feeling good about my achievement. I can see myself throwing the packet out of the window and love how good that feels." It will be more powerful if you do it every day and at the same time.

Imagine your body drifting, floating, deeper and deeper for total relaxation. Talk yourself through it. Speak in a monotonous or relaxing voice. Breathe slowly and deeply. Slowly relax every muscle in your body. Imagine yourself in your calm place. Feel, see and hear it. When you are disengaged from your actual surroundings, slowly say your positive statements to yourself, reinforcing them in an authoritative but calm voice. When you are ready (or bored), bring yourself out by counting backwards from ten and telling yourself that you are returning to a state of full consciousness.

You should notice a feeling a greater wellbeing and serenity. At the very least you will no longer be anxious about mentions of turnips.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Housekeeper

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is the holding company of an expa...

    Recruitment Genius: Network Engineer

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Setup, configure, troubleshoot,...

    Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Consultant - Financial Services - OTE £65,000

    £15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Loan Underwriter

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Day In a Page

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
    Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
    Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

    Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

    Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
    Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

    Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

    The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
    Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

    Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

    His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

    Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future