Hypnosis & Neuroplasticity
Hypnosis offers us the chance to make significant changes in our lives. By altering our thoughts in our mind, we can begin to pursue activities that are better for us. When we alter our thoughts and behavior through hypnosis, we utilize a physiological ability to change within our brain known as neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is key to understanding how the brain can make measurable, visible change.
Can the brain change?
For years, scientists believed that we were born with certain genetically programmed thought patterns and abilities within our brain. That our capacity to learn and change was mostly static, if not predetermined. This would mean that improving ourselves from a mental perspective could be difficult as it was believed to be ‘against our nature.’ Recall when talk of a ‘chemical imbalance’ was very popular back in the 80’s and 90’s when referring to people who had bouts of depression, anxiety, or angry outbursts. As if the person in question were doomed to this emotional state due to the structure and chemistry of their brain. But what we’ve learned over the years, through scientific studies and successful therapy, is that people can and do respond to strategies to change their minds in ways that reverse their so-called ‘chemical imbalance’ and lead to healthier moods and interactions with others. Hypnosis is one of the ways a person can make change within their mind, thereby changing their life.
Neuroplasticity: What is it?
The human brain contains over 100 billion neurons, which are interconnected to each other by over a trillion synapses. These synapses transfer and store information between the neurons. Over the years, studies have shown that memories are created and stored in these synapses. Neuroplasticity can involve adding synapses as we gain new memories, experiences, or habits. Likewise, with neuroplasticity we can remove synaptic information as we lose habits, or create new habits which are wired and built in place of the old negative ones.
Another very important aspect of neuroplasticity is a fact now known, that additional neurons themselves can be created even in adulthood. This is called adult neurogenesis. These new neurons can be formed in response to our environment, suggestions, and habits. Even as adults, our brains are constantly reinventing themselves as they grow new neuro-synaptic wiring in response to stimulus. As we forge new memories, learn new activities, languages, or experience new smells, we create and store this information. Our brain is a constantly changing organ that is dynamic, never static.
How does Hypnosis affect Neuroplasticity?
Neuroplasticity is important because it proves that our brains, our minds, are malleable. Our brains can be changed through our own actions. In fact, each day we are changing the neural pathways in our minds by our usual behavior which reinforces existing pathways, or by new experiences which are thrust upon us, and our brain learns and adapts to the situation. We can learn new habits. We can rid ourselves of negative habits. Sometimes we can do this on our own. Sometimes we need a push. Sometimes we need someone to guide us.
Hypnotherapy can help us use neuroplasticity to our advantage to change the neural pathways and strengthen our inner resources to overcome addiction, stress and anxiety, and self-esteem issues. The power lies within our mind, stored somewhere within those synapses. And even stronger information and experience can be achieved during the hypnosis session to help you make the change you need, desire, and want in your life. Hypnosis can help you, even when everything else has failed. Your mind is more powerful than you could ever believe. Just stop and take a look around you. Everything that you can see in our man-made environment was created by the human mind. For all its strengths and weaknesses, the mind is a powerful tool that can be utilized for our best intentions.