One reason Thanksgiving is such a popular holiday is that it’s hard to
argue with the principle of giving thanks for the good in our lives.
This year, I’m giving thanks using a technique based on lessons from
hypnotherapy. It’s so easy and so productive that I’d like to
share it with you. If you find it helpful, pass it on.
We like to think of the mind as having two areas, the conscious mind
(where you think the thoughts you know you’re thinking) and the
subconscious (where everything in the background gets processed). The
subconscious mind is the seat of both imagination and memory. They
work much the same way, recalling images and sensory experiences and
linking them by association to other experiences and thoughts. Much of the
success of hypnotherapy comes from the intersection of memory and
Hypnotherapists often use a technique called mental rehearsal. You
simply enter a very relaxed, suggestible state and imagine doing the
thing you want to do. You may even step ahead and imagine having
already accomplished your challenge. A client athlete used this
technique to win the 2009 U.S national bike racing championship – by
the time he rode the race, he had already run the course in his mind,
felt his legs pump, trusted his instincts to time his moves against
other riders and torn first across the finish line!
This year, if you’re feeling grateful, why not see what happens when
you extend that thankfulness across time? Being thankful for what
will happen is like programming your future self — your success becomes
Find a quiet spot where you’ll have five minutes to yourself. Choose
three things to focus on (It doesn’t matter if they’re big or small,
as long as they’re specific.) What are you grateful for in the past? In
the present? What would you love to be thankful for next year?
First, take three, slow, deep, relaxing belly breaths. Let your eyes
close down and relax. Take a moment and focus on your thanks for the
past. Really let yourself enjoy the good feeling of having gotten what
you truly needed or wanted. Take a good long slow breath and let the
warmth of gratitude fill you.
Now take a moment to think of the present. How good it feels to have
this person, this luck, this health, this ability – whatever it is
you’re thankful for, let the feeling rise up within you and breathe it
in. Relish this gratitude.
And now simply imagine feeling this happy, this warm, this thankful,
in 2010. Think of it in the present tense: It is 2010 and I AM thankful.
Immerse yourself in the sensations of the air on your face, the
texture of the chair, the sounds from the room next door and imagine you’re
feeling these things again next year. It’s Thanksgiving Day, 2010, and
you’re so grateful to have – what? To have quit smoking? Passed the
test? Found a partner? Had a healthy baby? Released excess weight?
Let that feeling of gratitude warm you, fill you, embrace you and breathe
And that’s it.
To really strengthen this programming, you could end each day between now and next Thanksgiving by simply saying a quick, “Thanks for the …..” under your breath as you lie down for sleep.
May all your days be filled with riches deserving your thanks.
And for me, well, I’m feeling sentimental. So I’ll tell you I’m
grateful to my parents for telling me as a child that I was capable of
anything. I’m grateful to Bill for (among other things) texting me in
the middle of the day just to say he loves me.
And it is 2010 and I AM thankful for …. having had the courage to be
honest and authentic about my struggles with anxiety, which has led to
amazing opportunities to use hypnosis to help others move past their
fears as well.
Love to you all,