Years ago, when I first heard about 23andMe DNA testing, I knew I had to try it. I got my kit in the mail, spit into a little plastic vial and sent it off to be analyzed. A few days later, I got an email saying my results were ready.
I was so excited, like I was living in the future. I logged in and learned all sorts of interesting things about my ancestry and health risks, physical and personality traits. Some of it I already knew, some was a surprise. (Like, I’m supposedly descended from a 4th century Irish king, and some of my ancestors moved to Europe from Africa much more recently than anyone in my family had known.)
Fast forward many years and there are now services you can upload your raw DNA data to that will spit out even more in-depth analysis. Researchers around the world are doing studies every day, drawing correlations between specific genes and genotypes and all sorts of personality traits, medical conditions, health issues and even whether you’re likely to prefer sweet or savory flavors.
I’ve learned so many incredible things that have helped me understand myself better. Maybe the strangest thing I’ve learned is that I have a couple of common genetic mutations that effect my body’s methylation cycle. I still don’t really know what that means, but there’s a lot of research into these mutations that suggests I’m likely to benefit from taking certain supplements. So, now I take a few supplements every day, and I no longer have headaches, my mood and energy levels are more stable, and I sleep better. Pretty cool.
Wait, I thought this was about hypnosis?
Right. Yes, you probably saw that the title of this post is Hypnosis. I’m getting to that…
I was looking something up in my DNA results today and saw this sentence that jumped out at me:
“You are more difficult to hypnotize.”
Wait, what? More difficult to hypnotize?
I wasn’t looking up anything related to hypnosis. I wanted to see how a certain medication might effect me. But there it was. I’m more difficult to hypnotize. I’ve never thought much about hypnosis. I’ve seen stage hypnotists a few times, and one of my old friends became a hypnotherapist, plus, The Mentalist is a really awesome TV show… but that’s the extent of my exposure.
The idea that some people may be easier or more difficult to hypnotize based on their DNA kind of blows my mind. So, I started reading more about hypnosis.
What is hypnosis?
Honestly, it’s a little bit overwhelming to read about, and there seems to be some disagreement about how it works. If anyone out there in the Monthly Experiments community has experience with hypnosis, leave a comment or shoot me an email. I’d love to chat.
I like the sound of this definition pulled from Wikipedia:
Hypnosis is a state of human consciousness involving focused attention and reduced peripheral awareness and an enhanced capacity to respond to suggestion.
Focused attention? Enhanced capacity to respond to suggestion? Sounds pretty cool to me.
A lot of the experiments I do are about a focused attention on some aspect of daily life, with the goal of some kind of personal change. The idea that I can use an altered state of consciousness to enhance my ability to transform is really interesting.
I strongly believe that the best way to learn about anything is to just jump in and doing it. So, I’m going to be experimenting with hypnosis for the next month.
Of course, according to my DNA, I’m more difficult to hypnotize. So, maybe this experiment will turn out to be a bust. We’ll see.
How to experiment with hypnosis?
I’m open to ideas on this. I’d like to find a local hypnotherapist at some point during this experiment, but I’m also interested in the power of self-hypnosis.
There are many apps out there that claim to use hypnosis to help with sleep, weight loss, quitting smoking, or reducing stress and anxiety. Most of these apps seem to be built around recorded audio tracks. I’m going to try to find one that focuses on goal achievement more generally. If you have one you like, mention it in the comments.
I’m going to listen to a guided hypnosis app once a day.
At some point during the month, I may seek out a local hypnotherapist and set up a session.
I’ll keep a log of my thoughts and feelings before and after each session, and record any more general changes I notice as the month goes on.
This one is pretty simple.
The main goal of this experiment is simply to learn about hypnosis and see if it’s really possible for me to experience this altered state of consciousness and learn how it might be a useful tool in some area of my life.
That’s it for now. If you have experience with hypnosis, or know of a related resource I should check out, please share it in the comments section.