Confidence: Using Your Hypnotic Hero To Increase Your Confidence

From very early on and throughout our lives we are constantly learning from others around us. We observe what others do in their interactions, with certain behaviours, skills, phrases, responses and we often absorb and integrate things we have seen and learnt into what we do and how we do it.

Recently, I've been learning to play the guitar. The most effective way to learn a new skill like this is through watching someone else play and then practising and learning that for yourself. If you are like me then it can take some practice and guidance, breaking things down into small chunks, and then more practice (and then even more!). Through watching online tutorials and lessons on the internet, and with the guidance and support of my guitar tutor, my playing has progressed massively since I started last year. 

And it's the same on other areas of life. When I joined bootcamp I had to watch what others did so I could learn and replicate it. In running, you watch and talk to other runners, you learn from their approach and attitude and you then seek to take elements of this and incorporate them into what you do.

Watching and learning from others involves a process of attention, retention, production, and motivation. Firstly, you pay careful attention to the person being observed. You then commit the observed act to memory through techniques and go about putting it into practice. To benefit, you need to be motivated to attend to, remember, and practice the observed behaviour in order to perform the skill accurately (Bandura, 1977).

Whether it's a skill, behaviours, attitude or mindset, we can learn from observing others and seeking to replicate positive elements in a way that fits with who we are. If you want to be good at something, then it makes sense to find someone who is already good and observe and pay attention to what they do and how they do it (through observation, talking to them, reading about them and so forth).  

One aspect of life that we can all improve upon in some areas is our confidence and self-belief. Some people worry that if they become more confident then they will become arrogant, but these are not the same things. Being confident involves thinking in particular ways, having certain beliefs, patterns, habits, thoughts and feelings. Sometimes you can get stuck in your own limitations of what you think is possible for you and think you can't do something or that you are not good enough or not confident at that thing.

As I've mentioned we can learn from observing and paying attention to what confident people do and then 'trying it on' for ourselves, in a way that fits with our own values and desires. In this article we are using the concept of a 'hero' or 'role model' to help you become more confident in certain aspects of your life. 

confidence hypnosis ely

 

The Hypnotic Hero

The hypnotic hero is a technique that involves using your imagination to draw upon the qualities of someone you admire or respect, or who possesses the kind of qualities and attributes that you admire. Inside your mind, you can take these positive things and start to apply them and internalise them for your own benefit. You get to engage your imagination, belief, modelling, motivation, learning and expectation to gain positive results.

Tilton (The hypnotic hero: A technique for hypnosis with children, 1984) discusses the hypnotic hero technique and it's application for hypnosis with children, however, it can work nicely and successfully at any age. And whilst it can be applied to many things, it works well to help you increase your confidence and self-belief.

Using the technique for hypnosis with children, Tilton describes how the child is asked about their favourite heroes (e.g. from television, sport or books) and then a hero is chosen who can best help with the chld's problem. Within hypnosis, the child images being present with their hero and suggestions are made to the child as if they are coming from their hero.

In many ways it's a kind of vicarious learning and modelling experience that can then be used within a form of mental rehearsal to practice and apply new skills and learning. 

And in many ways it replicates a form of natural role-play, learning and experimentation that we all engage in from time to time. For example, in past marathon training when out on my long runs I've often imagined being an athlete with grit and determination to keep going and never give up (like the triathlete Brownlee brothers, for example). And who hasn't played their imaginary air guitar whilst listening to a good song and pretending to be on stage in front of thousands of adoring fans?! (Please tell me that's not just me!). 

We often learn from watching others that we admire, maybe a friend or a work colleague, and then trying something similar out for ourselves. It's quite common for someone who wants to get better at public speaking to watch people they think are good speakers as a form of learning about what those people do and how they do it, so that it can be internalised and adapted to improve presentation. 

And it's perhaps not too dissimilar to when actors take on a role and immerse themselves into it to such a great extent that they become that character in their thoughts, emotions and behaviours.

 

Confidence Boosting Hypnotic Hero

So how can you benefit from all of this to increase your confidence and self-belief? Here are the steps you can take, that build upon aspects of observational learning research, mental imagery and the use of a hero or role model.

1. Think of the person you admire for their levels of confidence and self-belief. It could be someone you know, a famous person you admire or a character from a film, show or book. Take a moment to think of your confident hero/role-model and the kind of traits, attributes and qualities they have. Have a think about what it is that you admire about them and their confidence in what they do and how they do it.

2. With that person in mind, sit somewhere quiet, take a deep breath and close your eyes. If you know self-hypnosis or meditation techniques you could incorporate these here. Start to extend your out breath and say the word 'relax' to yourself on every breath out. You could tense and relax each part of your body or tell yourself that each part of your body is relaxing. You could imagine a calm colour or sensation spreading through you or fill your mind with a relaxing sound. You could engage your imagination and imagine being in a remembered or created place of calmness, seeing the sights and hearing the sounds. Or you can draw upon and utilise any other ways that allow you to feel comfortable, calm and relaxed. Your aim here is just to feel as safe, calm and comfortable as you can right now.

3. Now, picture your confident hero in front of you. Inside your mind, imagine they are standing there in front of you. Make the image life size and as vivid as you can as you picture this confident person in front of you.  Notice their confident posture, the look behind their eyes and the expression on their face. Notice the way they move, breathe, walk and talk to others. Start to consider and imagine the kind of thoughts they think to themselves, their mindset, attitude and other qualities and attributes that they have and that you admire (you may have to make educated guesses about some of these elements, or draw upon your knowledge of this person and what they do).

Importantly, notice what it is that tells you they are so confident. Imagine watching them displaying the kind of mindset, attitude and attributes you recognise in them and admire in them. As you imagine them inside your imagination, notice what the are doing and what it is about them that tells you the are doing well at it. Spend a few moments and enjoy watching, noticing and observing their levels of confidence and self-belief.

Drawing upon what you know, consider the thoughts they have, how they talk to themselves and communicate with themselves inside their own mind. Think about the kind of focus they likely have, what they pay attention to and any other thoughts, images, self-talk, motivations, confidence  and self-belief that they have. Think of what you can learn from your confident hero here today that you can learn and apply and that will benefit you.

4. As you look at your confident hero, keep thinking of the things you can learn from them; their behaviour, mindset, attitude, emotional responses etc. Start to think about how you can apply these to feel more confident in yourself and to benefit you. Maybe already think about how the confidence and those qualities could help you in particular situations or circumstances in your life.

And then imagine stepping into your confident hero. Step into their body and see through their eyes, hear what they hear and feel the feelings of confidence they have. Really imagine being this person. Adopt the mindset, think in this way, feel the confidence. Really experience what it is like to access these qualities and feel comfortable with them.

Notice where in your body you feel the feelings of confidence the strongest and give them a colour that spreads into every part of you. Make the colour of confidence bigger, brighter and bolder and spread it into every part of you. If confidence has a sound for you, let it resonate throughout every part of you and really feel that feeling of confidence growing and spreading. Let it happen and believe that your confidence is growing and getting stronger.

Really notice how you experience this feeling of confidence, where it is in your body, how you hold yourself and the expression on your face. Notice the confidence and self-belief in the thoughts you think and how you encourage yourself and feel comfortable in yourself.

5. Now, imagine taking this confidence into particular times, places and situations where you will benefit from being more confident. Imagine being there in those kind of moments, seeing the sights, the colours, the details, the shades of light and hearing the sounds around you. Run through these situations and circumstances now being confident in your feelings, having the kind of behaviours and responses and dealing with things as someone who is now more and more confident and, as you imagine being there, think to yourself how you are now more and more confident in yourself. 

And as you think to yourself how you are now more and more confident, think it to yourself like you mean it, with real belief and conviction. Repeat it over and over to yourself and get it lodged firmly inside your mind. Take on these confident thoughts, feelings and behaviours and experience them in situations in your life. Be your confident self with these qualities and this mindset. Think it, feel it and know it. 

Imagine being in the kind of situations, environments and circumstances where you will benefit most from all you have learnt from your confident hero. 

6. As you imagine being more confident and benefiting from being more confident, maybe even think of some situations in your life which may be more challenging (maybe those situations where in the past you found them difficult or hard in some way). Imagine being there now, seeing, hearing and feeling confident. In the way you move, think, act and react, imagine being there and handling, dealing and coping with things more confidently. Experience it as someone who is more confident now. 

7. Tell yourself how you have internalised and integrated this confidence into yourself now. Enjoy knowing that you have benefited from what you have done here today. Then, having done that, and to bring this process to an end, take a deep breath, count up from 1 up to 3 inside your mind and then open your eyes and reorient yourself to your surroundings. 

Make good use of this process, repeat it regularly and enjoy finding yourself feeling and being more and more confident more easily and readily.

To your growing confidence and self-belief,

Dan Regan

Online Skype and Zoom Hypnotherapy  

Face-to-face hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket

 

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References: 

Bandura, A., 1977. Self-efficacy: toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological review84(2), p.191.

Tilton, P., 1984. The hypnotic hero: A technique for hypnosis with children. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis32(4), pp.366-375.