Meditation Vs Hypnosis: What’s The Big Difference?

meditation vs hypnosis

Meditation Vs Hypnosis: What's The Big Difference?

If you either haven’t experienced a meditative state or a hypnotic trance, or you have been in either state and are a bit confused about what the difference is, then read on. My specific goals in writing this blog post is that you will be really clear about what each is, and how you can use either the trance-like state of hypnosis or a type of meditation to achieve positive changes in your life. 

Most people these days are stressed. The problem is, some don’t even know it. We’ve become so used to having stressful lives that it’s almost become the norm. The thing is that human beings aren’t designed for constant stress. All sorts of things start going wrong in our bodies and our minds when we experience ongoing, never-ending stress. So now, more than ever, we all need either hypnosis or meditation in our lives on a daily basis to counteract the stress of our modern lives.

If you’re not entirely sure which one is for you, we’ll discuss the benfits of each, the similarities and the differences.

The Different Forms Of Meditation

The main forms of meditation are

  1. Mindfulness Meditation – Mindfulness meditation is a practice that invites us to pay attention to our present moment experience. It encourages us to observe our thoughts, emotions, and sensations without judgment, allowing them to come and go like passing clouds. By anchoring our attention to our breathing or maybe something external (like a candle), we learn to be present, even amidst life’s distractions. This practice fosters a deeper understanding of ourselves, promotes emotional balance, and enhances our overall well-being.
  2. Transcendental Meditation ™ – this is a meditation technique that focuses on silently repeating a specific mantra. Unlike other forms of meditation, TM doesn’t require concentration or effort; instead, it encourages a natural flow of awareness. Practitioners believe that by accessing a deep, restful state of consciousness, they can experience benefits such as reduced stress, improved focus, and enhanced creativity. TM has gained popularity for its simplicity and accessibility, making it a widely practiced form of meditation.
  3. Standard meditation –  standard meditation is also known as focused attention meditation, involves directing our awareness to a specific object, thought, or sensation. By concentrating on this focal point, we aim to quiet the mind, reduce mental chatter, and cultivate a sense of inner calm. Unlike other forms of meditation, which may involve mantras, visualizations, or open awareness, standard meditation emphasizes sustained attention on a single point. Through regular practice, it can enhance our ability to stay present and centered amidst life’s distractions.
  4. Guided Meditation: This typically involves either been in a class-type environment where someone is leading the meditation, or you may also listen to a pre-recorded guided meditation. If you’d like to experience a guided meditation, you can head over to my youtube channel where I have a number of guided meditations you can listen to for free.
  5. Activity Based Meditation – as the name suggests, this involves integrating mindfulness into everyday actions and experiences. Rather than sitting in stillness, this approach encourages us to engage fully with whatever we’re doing—whether it’s walking, eating, washing dishes, or even gardening. By bringing our attention to the present moment during these activities, we can transform them into opportunities for reflection, presence, and inner awareness. Activity-based meditation reminds us that mindfulness isn’t confined to formal practice; it’s a way of infusing our entire life with conscious attention.

If you are curious and would like try out meditation for yourself, a good way to start is by listening to a guided meditation in the comfort of your own home. You could also find a class in your locality. It’s probably better to join a calss, or group, that’s designed for beginners, rather than joining an established group. When you join an established group and you are the only newcomer, you can quite easily feel like a failure when you can’t experience the same feelings as other more experienced group members.

The most difficult thing that most newcomers to meditation practice experience during their first couple of sessions is intrusive thoughts. No matter how much you try to block them out, they still keep coming back. More successful people who meditate will tell you that the worst thing you can do is get frustrated or keep wondering why you can’t just make them go away. With daily practice, you will start to achieve positive effects.

Main Benefits Of Meditation

  • Stress Reduction: Meditation helps lower stress hormones, promoting a sense of calm and relaxation.
  • Improved Focus: Regular practice enhances attention span and cognitive abilities.
  • Emotional Well-being: It fosters emotional balance, reduces anxiety, and promotes positive feelings.
  • Better Sleep: Meditation can improve sleep quality and reduce insomnia.
  • Physical Health: It may lower blood pressure, boost immunity, and reduce inflammation.
  • Enhanced Self-awareness: Meditation encourages self-reflection and understanding.
  • Creativity Boost: It stimulates creativity and problem-solving skills.
  • Mind-Body Connection: It strengthens the link between mental and physical health.
  • Increased Compassion: Practitioners often report greater empathy and compassion for others.
  • Overall Well-being: Regular meditation contributes to a healthier, more balanced life

Our bodies are a very complex and intricate balance of chemicals and hormones. The way we think and feel, changes that delicate balance. For instance, doing more worry increases levels of adrenaline and cortisol which in turn, can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Years ago, there was a belief that “we are what we eat” but now we realize that it’s a bit more complicated than that. Just by thinking a certain way, we can unbalance our hormones and give ourselves all sorts of health problem, both mental and physical.

The takeaway from this is that just as we must feed our body healthy, nutritious food in order to be healthy, we must learn to keep our mind in a predominantly calm state too in order to ensure a state of good health. Giving your mind a regular diet of meditation makes it more unlikely you’ll suffer from depression or anxiety.

Meditation takes practise. You are probably not going to have an “amazing” experience the first time you try meditation. As a matter of fact, many people find it quite frustrating the first time they attempt meditation. After a couple of minutes, typically, frustration sets in. After the first session, many people give up because they think that they just can’t do it, or maybe it works for other people but not for them. Anyone who finds great enjoyment and a sense of peace from meditating will tell you that they passed through this phase too. They just stuck with it and eventually got the hang of it.

The Different Forms of Hypnosis

different forms of hypnosis

There are two main forms of hypnosis

  1. Practitioner-based hypnosis – this is where you attend a trained hypnotherapist for one-to-one sessions. Typically, the reason a person would book a hypnosis session would be to address certain health issues (eg. IBS), to eliminate negative thoughts or destructive emotions, to overcome a fear or phobia, to achieve lasting weight loss, to overcome an addiction such as smoking or cocaine use, etc. 
  2. Self Hypnosis: as the name suggests, this is where you regularly enjoy the deeply relaxed state using hypnotic techniques that are either self-generated or guided by a self hypnosis audio recording. Using this form of hypnosis, people can experience the same change in heart rate and change in brainwave activity experienced by those who attend a trained therapist. The post-hypnotic suggestions are delivered by the hypnotherapist on the recording and the effects of hypnosis on the unconscious mind can be equally as good as attending a. 

There are several forms of hypnosis and hypnotherapy, each with its unique approach. Let’s explore some of them:

Suggestion Hypnosis:

  • The most direct type of hypnotherapy.
  • Involves providing direct suggestions to the client while they are in a hypnotic state.
  • These suggestions aim to change thoughts, behaviours or feelings

Ericksonian Hypnotherapy:

Also known as indirect metaphorical hypnosis.

  • Contrasts with traditional hypnosis.
  • Utilizes metaphors, stories, and indirect language to create change in the subconscious mind.
  • Developed by psychiatrist Milton H. Erickson 

Cognitive Hypnotherapy:

  • Integrates principles from cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) with hypnosis.
  • Focuses on changing negative thought patterns and beliefs.
  • Effective for addressing anxiety, phobias, and self-limiting beliefs.

Self-Hypnosis:

  • Empowers individuals to induce a hypnotic state on their own.
  • Often used for relaxation, stress reduction, and personal development.
  • Requires practice and guidance initially.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP):

  • Not exclusively hypnosis but often used alongside it.
  • Combines language patterns, visualization, and behavioral techniques.
  • Aims to reprogram the mind for positive change.

Quantum Healing Hypnosis Technique (QHHT):

  • Developed by Dolores Cannon.
  • Involves deep hypnosis to access past lives, higher consciousness, and healing insights.
  • Used for spiritual exploration and healing.

Remember that the effectiveness of each approach varies based on individual preferences and needs. People who are more logical in nature, for instance, probably wouldn’t find Quantum Healing Hypnosis Technique of any benefit to them. It’s quite likely that they will instantly dismiss this use of a type of hypnotic state. This would probably be more effective for people who already believe in past lives and people who have a strong spiritual belief of some sort.

Main Benefits Of Hypnosis

The problem hypnosis has always had is that there can be a major difference between trance states experienced when guided into hypnosis by one hypnotist versus another. Hypnosis is very subjective. I suppose it’s just like what happens in social situations when we like one person and we dislike another. The person we dislike is not globally disliked by everyone. The same goes for the person we like – they are also not globally liked by everyone.

I had an experience many years ago that taught me all about this. My friend owned a hairdressing salon. I was waiting to have my hair cut. It was a unisex salon so there were two women sitting underneath hairdryers. One had a magazine and turned to the other and said “Oh my God – that’s Brad Pitt. He’s so gorgeous!”. The other one replied with a look of disgust on her face and said “oh, if he was the last man in the world, I couldn’t. I think he’s so ugly”. I couldn’t help having a laugh.

I’ve even found massive differences between the occasions where I, myself, have had hypnotic inductions performed on me. On one occasion, I could feel myself dropping really deeply into relaxation very quickly. On the other occassion, the words the therapist was using irritated me so much that I just couldn’t relax and go into trance. No two hypnotists are the same. Therefore, conducting scientific studies into hypnosis is always going to have that difficulty. If the same states of mind cannot be replicated by swapping out the first hypnotist and replacing him or her with another, it’s difficult to get the same results.

5 Main Benefits Of Hypnosis

  • Deep Relaxation: going into hypnosis teaches you how to become more relaxed at will. In our modern, stressed lifestyles, the use of hypnosis is now more important than ever before
  • Deep Sleep: it has been shown that people who regularly go into the state of deep relaxation experienced while in hypnosis enjoy better quality of deep sleep
  • Better Mental Health: people who regularly experience an altered state of consciousness such as that experienced while in hypnosis tend have have a better overall standard of mental health and less incidences of depression, anxiety, etc.
  • Pain Management: people who suffer from chronic pain conditions (eg. fibromyalgia), can be taught powerful tools that can help them lower their level of pain without medication (obviously while being overseen by their doctor). These patients are also taught how to manage their thoughts about their condition and embrace more acceptance of it rather than generating frustration or anger.
  • Overcoming Addictions: hypnosis has long been associated with helping people to stop smoking or lose weight without it being hard work. This happens by changing the subconscious minds judgement about smoking or overeating. Instead of finding it beneficial, suggestions are given to the effect that continuing the harmful habit will be painful but embracing a new healthy habit will give so much pleasure.

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The Key Differences: Hypnosis vs Meditation

The main difference is that the mindful meditation aim to be “in the moment”. The goal of meditation is to stop living in the past or the future and train your concentration and awareness to be present. In this respect, meditation and hypnosis are used for different purposes. In the trance state of hypnosis, the focus is on training the subconscious mind using various techniques, to change for therapeutic purposes or for personal growth.

Another difference is that in hypnosis, there is usually a “hypnotic induction” – in other words, a set way of relaxing you, usually by focussing your mind on your body sensations, so that your brain activity and frequency of your brain waves changes to a level where positive suggestions will be accepted more readily. Meditation does not require you to get so deeply relaxed that you feel different states of consciousness. Instead, as I have previously said, meditative practice is more about training your ability to be present.

Finally, hypnosis tends to be focussed on some specific outcome in the shorter term, while meditation is conceptualized as a lifelong practice.

Similarities Between Hypnosis And Meditation

Hypnosis and meditation have many similarities too. Many practitioners of meditation would claim to have greater mental clarity as a result of their ten or twenty minutes of deep concentration. Many hypnotherapy clients would also use the same words to describe the effects of the deep state of relaxation they have experienced while in hypnosis. While there are differences and similarities, both are beneficial for most people.

The power of suggestion has long been known to change the human mind as long as we are receptive to it. So no matter what theoretical models of hypnosis or meditation you ascribe to, your inner world will probably notice significant difference as a result of regular practice in your daily life. We can either hear those suggestions on a self hypnosis recording or a guided meditation, or we can learn to take more control of the process and use our own imagination to guide the experience.

Which Is Best? Hypnosis Or Meditation?

If you are undecided about which to try, I would suggest to try both. You can easily try out self hypnosis by simply entering your name and email address in the box on the right hand side of this article (a little further up the page on desktop, or just scroll down on mobile). When you sign up, you’ll be sent a free gift of a 25 minute self hypnosis recording. Immediately after subscribing, I’ll send you and email with a link where you can download your Deep Relaxation hypnosis audio straight away. Listen once a day for 30 days and notice how different you feel.

Of if you think a meditation session would be more your style, why not try out some of my guided meditations on my youtube channel? There are various meditations there for various diffent things I recommend starting with one called “The New You“. In this guided meditation, you’ll be prompted to imagine the new you. This is the “you” that you always dreamed of being. Most people who have listened to this have told me it’s a really magical and beautiful experience.

Whichever you decide on, by using one or other of these relaxation techniques, you’ll experience more inner peace. Just have patience with the process and give it 30 days.

Picture of Author: Paul Hunter

Author: Paul Hunter

Although thousands of people read his blog every month, Paul's path to success was not an easy one. Click here to read his amazing story "From Unwanted Baby And Adopted To A Respected Self Help Blogger". If you want to send Paul a quick message, then visit his contact page here

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Picture of Paul Hunter

Paul Hunter

Although thousands of people read his blog every month, Paul's path to success was not an easy one. Click here to read his amazing story "From Unwanted Baby And Adopted To A Respected Self Help Blogger". If you want to send Paul a quick message, then visit his contact page here

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