The brain, the mind and hypnosis

brainwaves, conscious, hypnosis, mind, subconscious -

The brain, the mind and hypnosis

The brain, the mind and hypnosis

What is the difference between the brain and the mind?

I guess that most people wouldn’t really give much thought to this question. However, when we come to consider the effects of our thoughts, feelings and behaviours, then the difference becomes more significant.

So what is your brain?

Your brain is a visible and tangible part of your body and is the physical element of your thoughts.  The brain is made up of billions of neurons (nerve cells) that control your every thought, emotion, behaviour and movement and does this through a series of electrical impulses known as brain wave patterns.

Then what is your mind?

Your mind is the product of your brainwaves. Whereas your brain is a physical organ, your mind is metaphysical; it is the conscious and subconscious elements of your thoughts. A way of summarising the relationship between brain and mind is to say that the brain produces your thoughts and your mind intellectualises them and makes the decisions related to those thoughts. Our mind operates on two levels; the conscious level and the subconscious (unconscious) level.

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Here is an example of how this all works

A fly lands on your nose. Sensory nerves in your skin react to this and tell your brain you have an itch. Your brain decodes this information and signals to you to scratch it and you don’t consciously have to think about it. This is because your brain is working at a subconscious level by processing information that you don’t even realise you have stored.  This is information that has been processed and retained as a result of your life experiences.

Alternatively, you see the fly coming towards a tasty piece of sausage on your plate. Your brain processes this information and you have a number of choices open to you. You could just let the fly land on the food. However, you want to eat the sausage, so you could attempt to kill the fly, bat it away or just ignore it and hope it flies away. Your mind consciously makes a decision based around known or assumed factors; your knowledge of your ability to kill the fly or bat it away, your moral ethics about killing another living creature and also the strength of your desire to finish your food. You then consciously take the action that most suits the outcome of these thoughts.

In the first example we observe the brain processing information and signalling our automatic response via our subconscious mind.  In the second example we observe the brain processing information, signalling our mind to take action and our mind then consciously responding by making decisions based on the known or assumed factors.

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The brain, the mind and hypnosis

The correlation between hypnosis and brainwave states is nothing special. Hypnosis is about deep relaxation, in fact you can unintentionally get to this state driving down the motorway and losing touch with reality through the boring monotony of the journey. Your brainwaves can go from Beta (working) brainwaves to Alpha (relaxed) brainwaves and possibly even to Theta (daydreaming and light sleep) brainwaves without any conscious awareness.  The problem is that when you are driving this could have serious consequences. You can get to an even deeper trance-like Delta  state of relaxation through meditation, and of course all of these levels are part of our nightly sleep cycle.

Hypnosis is therefore quite natural and is used as a form of therapy whereby a subject enters into deep states of relaxation.  During the course of this deep state of relaxation the receptive and creative side of your brain can be accessed.  When we are in these deeper stages of relaxation, our conscious mind which represents the logical and rational side of our thought processes, starts to switch off.   At this point a skilled hypnosis practitioner can make a connection with a subject’s more receptive and less sceptical subconscious mind. In doing this, they can help a subject to make life-enhancing changes which can be permanent and powerful.

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