Health & Fitness

Sports hypnosis: An advantage to improve your performance

Sports hypnosis is a little-known technique often used by athletes during physical training. But the question is, how can it improve performance during sport and how can one benefit from it: By practising self-hypnosis at home or by consulting with a hypnotherapist?

Hypnosis and sports

Hypnosis and sports

Hypnosis consists of voluntarily altering the state of consciousness, ranging from a brief escape from everyday life similar to that encountered during reading to a state similar to that of sleep. This technique has been used for a very long time, with various aims, such as personal development, psychological relief, cessation of certain addictions or reduction of pain. A hypnosis session can be carried out by a professional like a hypnotherapist or independently through self-hypnosis suggestions.

When applied in the field of sports, hypnosis can be used with different objectives:

  • To reduce stress or anxiety before a competition.
  • For better mental preparation and to increase self-confidence to improve performance and to believe in one’s abilities.
  • For stimulation of the recovery mechanisms.
  • To boost visualisation and concentration.
  • To alleviate fear and obstacles.
  • For other relevant objectives.

The main principles of hypnosis

main principles of hypnosis

During a session, the hypnotic state is obtained progressively, through several stages:

  • The anamnesis: This consultation phase is not part of hypnosis as such, but it is very important. It consists of taking stock of the objectives pursued, defining the limits that the athlete wishes to overcome through hypnosis and clearly formulating the expected results. This step is essential in the consultation phase so that the hypnotherapist understands your expectations, but it is also very useful before starting self-hypnosis at home.
  • Induction: This phase is the transition between the state of wakefulness and the initiation into hypnosis. It goes through speech, sometimes storytelling, visualisation and also involves deep breathing to encourage letting go, just like meditation.
  • Dissociation: During the hypnotic state, the mind is active and the body is totally relaxed. Depending on the hypnosis technique used, the practitioner puts in place suggestions that will be perceived by the subconscious mind, taking advantage of your relaxed state to suggest positive thoughts or habits to you.
  • The last progressive phase is the awakening: You slowly return to your usual state of consciousness, feeling generally relaxed and calm.

Who is hypnosis for and how is it practised?

Who is sportive hypnosis for

Sports hypnosis can help you if:

  • You would like to change certain habits or introduce new techniques into your training or your life.
  • You feel that you are stagnating or blocking an important step in your progress.
  • You find it difficult to concentrate or to stay motivated.
  • You are afraid to return to sport after an injury while you are physically recovering.
  • You want to better manage stress before a competition.
  • In addition to a balanced diet, you want to boost your weight-loss plan and limit snacking or sugar cravings through hypnosis.
  • You are suffering from insomnia and would like to get some good sleep.
  • Other issues.

It is best to to start with a hypnotherapist, at least for the first few sessions: They can then teach you how to use self-hypnosis to help you continue to believe in your abilities by practising alone at home.

Self-hypnosis: Practising at home

Self-hypnosis consists of entering oneself in a altered state of consciousness. Often used to treat insomnia or manage anxiety, self-hypnosis exercises can be performed by anyone. After having clearly defined your objective, choose a specific suggestion that you wish to convey to your subconscious mind: Write it down if necessary.

Sit quietly in a chair or sofa and repeat your suggestion out loud several times. Also say out loud what time you want to leave the hypnosis session. Next, relax by doing abdominal breathing, then relax each of your muscles from your head to your toes. To reach the hypnotic state, you can imagine yourself going to a place, for example down a staircase, or count slowly. At the end of the session, you will slowly regain contact with reality.

For convenience, you can find audio materials that relate to your objectives on the Internet, such as self-hypnosis guides recorded by hypnotherapists.

A typical session with a hypnotherapist

A hypnosis session with a hypnotherapist usually lasts 45 minutes to 1 hour. After a personalised interview (the anamnesis), the practitioner will offer you to sit or lie down comfortably. They will guide you with their voice, gradually leading you into the hypnotic trance, making suggestions when you are most receptive and then helping you gently return to your usual state of consciousness.

Afterwards, an evaluation about the session takes place between you and the therapist, in order to review the session’s progress and to prepare for the next one, as several appointments are often necessary to obtain a successful and lasting result.

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