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Gratitude’s Often Overlooked Benefit in the Hypnosis Office

by Erika Flint, BCH, OB on

Originally published in the Journal of Hypnotism
By Erika Flint, BCH, OB


Most people are aware that being grateful can help them feel better. Yet few people realize just how easy it is to achieve this state of mind and how it can serve as a bridge to other positive emotions and feelings.

Many of our clients already know that gratitude can be used as an anti-anxiety technique by diverting some of the energy from a stressful situation to feelings of gratitude.

What sets gratitude apart from other positive emotions is its accessibility. Unlike happiness or joy, gratitude is the easiest state to reach when one is upset. It offers a simple yet powerful way to take a step towards a better feeling, even when other positive emotions seem far away.

We may not feel happy, or loving, or even neutral. But when we focus on finding something to be grateful for, we will find something. We can train our hearts and minds to do so, and in that sense, gratitude becomes a reliable emotion, one that can be turned to even in our darkest moments.

You can think of gratitude as a technique to use when feeling upset or irritated, using it as a bridge to feeling better.

The way I share this technique with my clients is to suggest they have fun with it. It's like they're in a cartoon representing their life, and there's this experience that they now find themselves in. In the moment, they may not feel grateful at all. That's how they know they're doing it correctly; they won't feel grateful! And that's also why it's needed!

Here's the secret to getting it to work consistently: Through doing this work with many clients, I realized there is one secret ingredient that enhances gratitude's tremendous transformative power like no other —and that ingredient is humor. Humor is often the key that unlocks greater understanding for our clients.

It doesn’t matter what it is, but being grateful for the humor is a shortcut to feeling better and shifting our state to being more open and positive.

Why? Because humor represents a deeper understanding and the mind's curiosity kicks in looking for it.

This is one of my all-time favorite brain hacks. Next time you're upset, get your mind to look for the humor and be grateful that you found it. You can start by being grateful that you remembered to start looking.

Now, I’m not suggesting you ignore the things that are upsetting, but the truth is you’re better at addressing any issues in a holistic and effective way when you shift your state back to being more resourceful anyway.

Focusing on gratitude in this way, by adding humor and the wisdom it offers, assists in reshaping our thinking from negative to positive. And in a more open, positive, and resourceful state, we are better equipped to address any situation we're facing in the best way possible.

This method is often called "laughing at the absurdity" and is a favorite of my clients.

If you're open to the challenge, the next time you find yourself upset or irritated at something in your hypnosis practice, stop and look for the humor. Be grateful that you remembered. Notice how you shift. Notice how you got the insight!