There's still stigma attached to hypnosis since most of our exposure to it comes in the form of a man swinging a pocket watch side to side in front of his willing participant. But in actuality, hypnosis is less like that visual – which usually ends with the volunteer channeling his or her inner cat on-stage – and much more related to meditation and mindfulness. In a conversation with Lively, world-renowned hypnotist Grace Smith proved this to be true by sharing two quick techniques to help relieve stress. (And in case you were wondering – yes, she practices both when she's in a time crunch.)
Prepare to be hypnotized.
"The first thing we want to do is stop the monkey mind in its track," Smith, who created Grace Space Hypnosis in an effort to make hypnosis mainstream, tells Lively. "That record that's playing over and over again and obsessing about whatever it's obsessing about."
The way to do so is simple if you follow Smith's two-step process.
"You pick one spot directly in front of you and you slowly let that go out of focus as you look out of the peripherals of your eyes. And then your mind completely quiets," says Smith, who shares that she uses this particular technique to get her clients "out of that downward spiral."
She adds: "What happens is the first time you do that, you're like, 'Oh my God, it's true, I'm not thinking anything! That's amazing.' And then the thoughts come back in as soon as your eyes go back into focus. So, you just practice again. You just breathe. You look at that one thing in front of you and then you look at your peripherals and then your mind goes completely silent. Something happens when you realize you’re in complete control and that you don’t have to think those incessant thoughts all the time."
Think you've mastered the first approach? Then it's time for a mini self-hypnosis session. First, find a spot where you're most comfortable, and close your eyes. Repeat the following statement out loud or in your mind as you count down from 5 to 1: "I'm going deeper and deeper."
When you reach 1, say a color you love out loud. "Imagine that color forming at the top of your head, flowing all the way through your body, out the bottoms of your feet, back to the center of the earth. And that color washing away that stress, washing away any worries,” she says. Then repeat the words, "I am safe. I am calm. I choose to be here" three times.
Smith stresses that this second technique doesn't require much time commitment. All it takes is a fraction of a minute.
"The most important thing is to remember it’s conditioning," she adds. "So, the more you do it, the deeper it goes. It doesn't have to take long at all. It can be two or three minutes."