Self Hypnosis and Meditation – What’s the Difference?

Self Hypnosis or Meditation

There are so many benefits to both self-hypnosis and meditation. If you had to choose, which one would you pick? Well, this article will help you choose the best one for you.

Both self-hypnosis and meditation are very relaxing and are wonderful for reducing stress and anxiety. However, there are some crucial differences. Knowing these will help you decide which one is best for you.

In this article, you will learn more about what meditation is and the profound benefits of this simple practice. I’ll also explain how self-hypnosis works and the issues that it can help you resolve. I will then cover the similarities and differences of each.

After reading this article, you may even decide to use both self-hypnosis and meditation to help you improve your mental and spiritual wellbeing.

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What is Meditation?

Meditation is a technique for calming your mind. It involves focusing on something specific. This could be an object, your breath or repeating a specific word or phrase. 

When meditating with your eyes open, you’ll normally focus on an object in the room.  If your eyes are closed when meditating, you’ll probably focus either on your breath or repeat a certain word or phrase.  This is called a mantra, and it can be repeated silently or out loud.

So a key characteristic of meditation is focusing on something specific. When thoughts arise, you might observe or notice them briefly. And when you do, you want to return your attention quickly and gently to the focus of your meditation practice. 

Aims and Benefits of Meditation

The primary aim of meditation is to calm your mind and feel more at peace. It will help you relax and feel happier. It’s great for improving concentration by focussing on one thing. This also helps you to be more present. You will notice your thoughts and feelings more. This is great for improving self-awareness.

Meditation helps you achieve a very calm state of consciousness or perhaps an altered state of consciousness. This occurs as your brain waves slow down from the beta level (our typical waking brainwave state) to the alpha level. To learn more about the different brainwave states, click here to read my article on how to hypnotize yourself.

Meditation is often part of a wider spiritual practice. It doesn’t have to be, but it often is. 

Meditation can be guided or non-guided.  A guided meditation involves listening to a recording (or a live person). This becomes your focus of attention.  The recording (or a live person) then guides you to focus on different things. This could include your breathing, different parts of your body, or certain positive words and phrases. It might also include guided imagery to help you relax by using your imagination. 

With a non-guided meditation, you are doing it by yourself, by focusing on your breath, an object or a mantra. 

Meditation is incredibly easy to learn and do. You simply focus on one thing and notice what your mind does. And you can meditate almost anywhere! 

What is Hypnosis and Self Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is normally performed by another person, such as a hypnotist or hypnotherapist. Self-hypnosis is when you hypnotize yourself.

The key purpose of hypnosis is to access your subconscious mind and make changes at the subconscious level.

Unlike meditation (which is often not guided), hypnosis is normally guided by someone else. This could be a hypnotherapist or a self-hypnosis recording. With a self-hypnosis recording, you listen to someone else and they guide you through a hypnotic technique or process.

So hypnosis involves accessing the subconscious or unconscious mind. Then using different techniques to make a positive change.

Related Article: How to Hypnotize Yourself | A Self-Hypnosis Tutorial

Hypnosis Techniques

Live hypnotherapy sessions and self-hypnosis recordings often use positive suggestions. When you’re in a very relaxed state, positive ideas, suggestions or affirmations go in to your subconscious mind at a much deeper level.

A hypnotherapist can use specific techniques to resolve and release traumatic experiences or unhelpful memories from the past. This is harder to do using self-hypnosis, so I always recommend seeing a hypnotherapist for help with any traumas or painful memories.

Hypnosis and self-hypnosis are highly effective for accessing and changing sensations, experiences, resolving fears, accessing resources, dealing with obstacles, habits and emotions. These are often difficult to access and change in a normal conscious waking state.  Hypnosis and self-hypnosis is often used to switch off or reduce physical discomfort and pain.  

Similarities between Self-Hypnosis and Meditation

Both involve achieving a different or altered state of consciousness, where your brainwaves change from the beta level to the slower alpha wave level.

They both involve some kind of disassociation. This is becoming less aware of your physical surroundings and external world and developing a more internal focus. You will then have a greater awareness of your thoughts, feelings and emotions

Both involve focussed attention or concentration. For meditation, this could be your breath, a mantra, an object or a recording. For self-hypnosis, this would be the words from a hypnotherapist or self-hypnosis recording.

Both are great for reducing stress and calming your mind.

The Differences between Self-Hypnosis and Meditation 

Hypnosis and self-hypnosis are more goal oriented. There’s a purpose behind it. It could be to increase motivation, develop greater confidence or stop procrastinating. Perhaps it’s eating more healthily so you can lose weight, or to motivate yourself to exercise more. It could also be to stop doing an old habit, such as smoking or nail-biting.

Unlike meditation (which is often not guided), hypnosis is normally guided by someone else. This could be a live hypnotherapist or a self-hypnosis recording. It is possible to perform self-hypnosis without a recording, but it is much harder. It’s very easy for your mind to wander without you noticing. A self-hypnosis recording makes it easier for your mind to stay focussed. A great option is to record yourself and then use your recording to guide you.

Hypnosis is not spiritual. As far as I’m aware, hypnosis is not used as part of a spiritual practice. 

Hypnosis frequently involves the use of visualization and guided imagery. It makes use of your imagination. Some guided meditations may include ideas that activate your imagination, but it’s not normally a key part of meditation.

Hypnosis is a natural state that can happen automatically. Let’s say you’re reading a great book. You become less aware of everything else around you. Or, you are watching a wonderful, captivating and exciting movie and your mind is completely focussed on the movie.  Both these situations are a form of hypnosis, with a more focussed concentration and awareness. So self-hypnosis can happen automatically. 

When using hypnosis, it can be possible to recall things that you wouldn’t normally be aware of in your normal waking state. This includes past memories or unconscious messages or sensations from the body that you would not normally be aware of. 

Hypnosis can help you express and then let go of unhelpful feelings and emotions generated by past experiences. 

Meditation is about being mindful and in the present moment. With hypnosis and self-hypnosis, your mind is often taken to another place. This might be visualizing something that you desire or focussing on a past memory that you want to resolve.

Guided Meditations

In my mind, guided meditations are very similar to self-hypnosis recordings. In both cases, you are focussing your mind on the content of the recording. With guided meditations, the purpose of the recording is to help you achieve a calmer emotional state and a quieter mind. A self-hypnosis recording may do this too, but will often focus on changing a habit, behavior or experiencing something that you want to happen in your imagination.

A guided meditation can also help you reprogram your subconscious mind in the same way as a self-hypnosis recording. Both achieve the relaxed state required to allow positive ideas and suggestions to be taken in at a deeper level.

Which One Should You Do?

Should you meditate or use self-hypnosis? Well, do both if you can. I typically do a 10 minute meditation in the morning. This helps me focus my mind and be more grounded and peaceful. It also improves my concentration. Then at other times, I’ll listen to self-hypnosis recordings to help me with specific goals and skills that I want to improve.

So, if your goal is to feel more peaceful, relaxed and less anxious, then meditation is great for that. If you want to change specific behaviors or habits, then self hypnosis will help you do that.

So now you understand the similarities and differences between self-hypnosis and meditation. I hope this helps you decide which one will be best for you. Or perhaps like me, you’ll do both of them.

Thank you for reading this article.  If you enjoyed it and found it useful, then please share it with other people, or on social media.

Hope you are having a wonderful day!


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4 replies
  1. hypnotherapy Monument says:

    Its resurrection as a legitimate tool for mental and physical healthcare in recent years coincides with a better understanding of how to use hypnosis together with other treatments to improve people’s well-being.

  2. Erin says:

    Excellent article as usual Paul. Informative, accessible and considered.

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