We are always attending to something – whether that’s a particular situation, how our body is feeling in any given moment (especially if we’re experiencing pain or discomfort), or our thoughts. In fact, 9 times out of 10 we get ‘caught up’ in our thoughts without acknowledging what’s really going on – judgments, self-criticism, worries, these are often the main contributors to stress.
Hypnotherapy works with your thought processes in order to make a desired change – it may provide a new and refreshing way of looking at things; it may help someone to revisit past trauma and come back to the present with an altered view of things; it can help to overcome phobias and addictions; it can even help transform pain, or should I say our experience of pain, into something that is more acceptable.
Mindfulness works in completely the opposite way – it doesn’t aim to ‘do’ anything but in so-doing changes do occur. For relaxation, we don’t aim to stop our thoughts – in fact we may focus on them even more, observing them as the transient things that they are, knowing that they will come and go, as they always have done. We don’t aim, necessarily, to have a quiet environment – we focus even more on any sounds we hear, and just let them be. In so-doing our overall experience can become ‘quieter’. When treating pain or discomfort, we have no specific aim of changing it but rather we acknowledge it fully, observe it, give it our full attention, breathe into it – and rather miraculously changes can occur.
Our experience of life depends on where our attention goes and, ultimately what we choose to do with it.