A diagnosis of cancer is never easy to deal with. Even when a full recovery is expected, the array of doctor visits, diagnostic tests, and treatment protocols take control of the daily schedule of your life. In addition, treatment reactions and the effects of the disease can cause discomfort and steal vitality. Whether you’re challenged physically, emotionally, or spiritually, self-hypnosis is a tool that provides you with control over the most important element to your wellbeing – your attitude.
Self-hypnosis can be integrated into your cancer care in large and small ways. Here are some areas where you can use this technique to support your healing path:
- Reduce and control pain
- Manage difficult procedures
- Calm anxiety, fear, and apprehension
- Support your body’s ability to heal
- Maximize the effectiveness of your treatment
- Use idle time in waiting rooms to promote positive outcomes
- Maintain a positive outlook
Your first reaction may be, “I don’t have time to learn something new,” or, “Self-hypnosis is too complicated for me,” or even, “That stuff doesn’t work.” However, self-hypnosis is a technique with proven effectiveness. It’s successfully used to control pain during surgery and other medical procedures as well as childbirth. At its most basic, self-hypnosis is easy to learn and simple to use. The technique gives you a positive use of time otherwise spent waiting in doctors’ offices.
Why Does Self-Hypnosis Work?
You may wonder how it’s possible for self-hypnosis to support healing. The truth is, your body is designed to heal; your body has unlimited healing potential. Self-hypnosis directs your subconscious mind to support the physical processes of healing and counter the debilitating effects of worry and fear. It does this by overriding self-limiting beliefs and replacing them with supportive ones. Everything you say, do and think produces a body response. When you take control of your mind, you exponentially increase your body’s ability to heal.
Self-hypnosis consists of three basic steps: deep relaxation, communication with the subconscious mind, and a return to normal attention. This process offers you enormous support. In deep relaxation, your brain produces coherent electromagnetic waves which allow greater access to the subconscious mind, providing greater receptivity to positive thoughts. When you return to normal attention, you do so bringing a new perspective with you.
Relaxation is a trained response that is essentially easy, although calming disjointed thoughts takes practice and dedication. Your body wants to relax; if only your mind would be quiet. You may already have your own simple technique for inducing relaxation. After you’ve practiced a few times, you’ll be able to induce relaxation at will. All it takes is three deep breaths inhaling relaxation and exhaling tension.
Once your mind is calm, focused, and receptive, you can choose to think simple statements of support called auto-suggestions or affirmations. These thoughts provide direction to your body and produce healing support. It’s important that the statement you create is one you can believe and that engages your imagination. For example, telling yourself, “I am free of all anxiety and fear” is unrealistic. You naturally feel anxiety and fear when confronted with a life-threatening disease or challenging treatments—trying to eradicate fear as a “negative” feeling is pretty much impossible and the failure produces guilt. Self-hypnosis is most successful when you accept the fear and anxiety as natural and direct the energy they create a positive outcome.
For example, using the affirmation, “I release all fear and anxiety now.” works well for many people, but for other people, it is unbelievable to the subconscious mind. It can set you up for failure because every time you feel fear, you prove the affirmation is not true. What if you accepted that the function of fear is to alert you to danger and, instead of trying to suppress or release it, use it to create safety? Try this affirmation instead: “Every time I feel fear, I give love and support to my body by sending healing energy to every cell.” Using this statement, fear quickly lessens its hold on you.
Here are some affirmations you can use to nourish and rejuvenate yourself in a number of situations. Pick ones that resonate and are believable to you, or create your own. When making affirmations, be sure to use positive statements in the present tense. Once you’ve decided which affirmations you want to use you can either memorize or write them on an index card to carry in your purse or wallet. You can read them whenever needed.
To Overcome Fatigue and Promote Vitality
- Every cell in my body is rejuvenated with vitality and alive with life force.
- I am alive with energy, radiating vitality and life-force.
- My life has value and I walk a path with purpose.
To Manage Fear and Anxiety
- I turn worried and anxiety into trust. I am supported.
- I turn fear into love and support my body by sending healing energy to every cell.
- There is meaning in everything I experience.
To Deal with Procedures
- Every sound made by medical equipment deeply relaxes me, deeply calms me, and takes me into an inner sanctuary.
- I am safe. My medical team works with my body to promote health.
- I am strong and courageous. I can do this.
To Maximize Effectiveness of Treatment and Minimize Side Effects
- My body opens to radiation/chemotherapy, escorting these agents directly to the cancer cells and minimizing damage to healthy tissue.
- My body accepts treatments with ease, knowing the therapeutic agents support my total healing.
- My body works in perfect sync with my treatment plan toward the total healing of my mind, body, and spirit.
To Control Pain
- Every time I feel pain, a powerful healing response is initiated that floods the painful areas with cool, healing energy.
- I turn down the volume of pain and turn up the volume of comfort.
- Pain washes over and through me, leaving ease and grace.
To Support the Immune System
- My immune system vigilantly finds and destroys cancer cells.
- My body knows exactly what to do. Each immune cell responds effortlessly to remove cancer.
- I bring cells with cancer back into the program of a healthy mind, body, and spirit.
For Super Healing
- My body knows exactly what to do and has everything it needs to heal quickly, effectively, and completely.
- The path to power and compete healing is clear.
- My body restores and regenerates damaged tissue, replacing compromised cells with healthy ones.
Imagine the affirmation happening. See your immune cells destroying cancer cells, watch vitality flow through your body, and allow pain to wash away. Imagine the effects. See and feel them.
The first two steps of self-hypnosis focus your attention on your inner reality. The third step is to return to outer awareness by counting to three and saying, “Awake, awake, alert.” Now you will find you can pay attention to what is occurring around you and respond from a place of inner calm and assurance. The difference can be astounding.
Self-hypnosis can be used anywhere, anytime. The effects are cumulative; the more you use them, the easier and more effective they become. There are many parts of your treatment that you have little control over. Having control over your attitude is a powerful healing choice.