Everyday Hypnosis: On the Road
Many times, when I ask people if they’ve ever experienced hypnosis before, they respond in the negative. Some people insist they cannot be hypnotized at all. Well, what if I told you that you, like everyone else, go in and out of hypnotic states every single day of your life?
Many people believe that hypnosis is an exotic phenomenon used to alter people's minds. The truth is that hypnosis is a very natural state of mind. It is an altered state of awareness often characterized by heightened focus and suggestibility, relaxation of certain senses, and the manifestation of automaticity (carrying out actions either involuntarily or with minimal if any conscious thought)
This is the first in a series of blogs where I will describe moments in our everyday lives we experience elements of the hypnotic effect. Today I would like to introduce you to what is commonly called Highway Hypnosis. Don’t freak out, but if you drive every day, you’ve almost certainly experienced this hypnotic phenomenon while sitting behind your own driving wheel.
Highway hypnosis is a type of hypnotic state commonly experienced when driving on a route you take often and know extremely well, or when you’re driving down a long highway with no stops or turns. Your conscious mind stops focussing on the task of driving, and your go on automatic. This is how you can arrive at work without consciously remembering the last three turns you made, or drive 5 miles past your exit before you even realize you missed it. This autopilot is a manifestation of the hypnotic effect, which permits you to keep doing things without any conscious effort. You know you did the thing, you just don’t consciously remember the details.
One of the reasons the archetypal hypnotist is shown swinging a pocket watch is because staring at a continual monotonous motion easily primes the mind for hypnosis. Staring down an undending highway horizon for long periods of time has the same effect. Additionally driving on routes we know well, like the route home from work, is so ingrained into our unconscious minds that staring at it every single day dulls our attention to it and once again primes the mind.
Even without any aid from a hypnotist, we are all perfectly capable of drifting into hypnotic states on our own. In fact, you would be hard pressed to prevent it. The elements that guide or minds into hypnotic states present themselves to us naturally every day. Don’t believe me; follow me for your more example of everyday hypnosis posted every other week.