Acting in a Trance: A Simple Self-Hypnosis Practice to Use Before Performing

While hypnosis is often depicted as mind-control or an entertaining party trick, most people don't know the vast benefits that the hypnotic process can have on the mind and body of an individual. Clinical hypnosis has been shown to help with anxiety and depression, chronic pain management, resolve fears and phobias, boost confidence, and so much more!

The coolest part? Hypnosis is a state we move in and out of all the time. Have you ever been driving on the highway only to realize that you don't remember driving the last 10 miles, but trusting that you got there safely? That's hypnosis. Your brain and body were in a state of focus and relaxation, and your subconscious mind was controlling the task of driving to help you safely arrive at your destination.

New research has also revealed the close connection between hypnosis and acting, indicating that acting may be its own form of hypnotic trance! Think about it... when we're on stage, we're focused, relaxed, grounded, absorbed in our imagination, and dissociated from reality (and the audience in front of us). These are all classic characteristics of a hypnotic trance.

Acting has all the classic characteristics of a hypnotic trance.

This means that deliberately bringing ourselves into a trance state before performances, rehearsals, or auditions can help us drop into character, release stress, and embrace the imaginative world to allow us to follow our actor's instincts.

How to practice self-hypnosis before auditions, performances, and rehearsals

While hypnosis with a practitioner allows you to go much deeper and create more drastic changes in the mind and body, there are some very simple techniques you can use to encourage focus, relaxation, flow, and creativity in your acting. Follow the process below to try it out yourself!

  1. Set aside 3-5 minutes to center yourself before an audition, rehearsal, or performance.
  2. To begin, find a comfortable seated position with your feet on the floor and hands on your lap (not touching).
  3. Choose a spot to focus your gaze, whether that be a spot on the wall, a ring on your hand, or anything that is comfortably in your line of vision. Once you've chosen a spot, keep your focus on it and do not look away.
  4. While still looking at this spot, name four things that you can see in your periphery, either out loud or silently to yourself. 
    1. For example, you might say "I see this spot, I see my foot, I see the fan, I see the fireplace"
  5. Next, either out loud or silently to yourself, name four sounds that you can hear in that moment.
    1. For example, you might say "I hear my breathing, I hear the ceiling fan, I hear the air conditioning, I hear a siren"
  6. Next, either out loud or silently to yourself, name four physical sensations that you feel.
    1. For example, you might say "I feel myself breathing, I feel my hands on my lap, I feel my sweatshirt, I feel the breeze from my fan on my face"
  7. From there, you will repeat this process, this time naming three things each.
    1. Name three things that you can see.
    2. Name three sounds that you can hear.
    3. Name three sensations that you can feel.
  8. Repeat the process, naming two things each.
    1. Name two things that you can see.
    2. Name two sounds that you can hear.
    3. Name two sensations that you can feel.
  9. Repeat the process, naming one thing each.
    1. Name one thing that you can see.
    2. Name one sound that you can hear.
    3. Name one sensation that you can feel.
  10. Once you've concluded this pattern, with your eyes still open, release the task at hand. Deepen your breaths, and recognize how comfortable it feels to be still in this moment. 
  11. When you are ready, begin your scene.

This process is called a hypnotic induction. It involves relaxation and focus to bring you into a state of hypnosis, which opens up the mind to imagination and flow. This enhanced experience of focus, groundedness, and mindfulness in the present moment can help you embrace the imaginative experiences of your character, release doubts, and foster a more authentic performance.

Try this practice for yourself, and let us know how it works for you!


Want to learn more about how hypnosis can support your acting career? Click here to learn more and send an inquiry for a free consultation!



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