Dr. Liz teaches a simple technique of warming the hands to feel calmer where ever you are. She talks about the usefulness of the technique, where and when you can use it, and gives tips for different ways to access the feeling.
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About Dr. Liz
Winner of numerous awards including Top 100 Moms in Business, Dr. Liz provides psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, and hypnosis to people wanting a fast, easy way to transform all around the world. She has a PhD in Clinical Psychology, is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and has special certification in Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy. Specialty areas include Anxiety, Insomnia, and Deeper Emotional Healing.
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Listened to in over 140 countries, Hypnotize Me is the podcast about hypnosis, transformation, and healing. Certified hypnotherapist and Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Dr. Liz Bonet, discusses hypnosis and interviews professionals doing transformational work
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Hi everyone. Dr. Liz here. Today we’re going to talk about warming in the hands. Can you hear my hands? you’re warming the hands. This is such a simple, easy technique that applies to helping you deal with all kinds of problems. They teach this technique to decrease headaches and migraines. Actually to prevent them sometimes, which is pretty amazing.
They teach this to lower blood pressure. They, I keep saying they, but it’s really we hypnotherapist psychiatrists, licensed mental health counselors, psychologists, mindfulness instructors.
Warming the hands is a signal to the parasympathetic nervous system, which is a system that helps control all kinds of automatic functions in you.
But it’s also the one where it’s once you activate the parasympathetic nervous system or move into it, then it calms your system down. It calms down the nervous system. So warming the hand is a signal to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. When you can do that, you’re activating it, you’re feeling calmer, and your whole system follows that signal.
I’m going to teach you a quick technique. Now, once you learn how to do it, it does take some practice to do it in stressful situations, let’s say. So sometimes someone will come to me because they have a white coat syndrome, which means that their blood pressure shoots up when they’re in the actual doctor’s office.
This has happened to me in the last year where I had one slightly high blood pressure reading and then I went in again and I was nervous that it was going to be higher again, because my doctor was like, whoa, we should put you on blood pressure meds. And I’m like, no, not yet. . You know? So now I’m nervous that it’s going to be a higher reading that creates a higher reading.
It’s an awful circle that goes into. But what I know to do, and also when I work with someone else who’s had this, it’s not super common that I work with these people, but they show up from time to time, is that we really teach them and myself to be in a calmer state. Wherever you are, but particularly in a stressful situation the doctor’s office, if that has become stressful for them.
Now, myself as a hypnotherapist, I have a couple of different techniques that I can use for this, but one easy one that I’m going to teach you today is to warm the hands. Children have no problem doing this because they don’t think that they can’t, okay? They learn it really quickly. So that’s something to know.
So if you’re an adult listening to it. You too can do it. I’ve never met anyone who couldn’t do it. Some people take more practice than others, but everyone really can do it.
Now I’m going to overview the technique for you right here, and then I’m going to just talk you through it, a brief version of it.
Now the overview is that you would slow the breath and use a technique to do that, you would start to put yourself into a more relaxed state by relaxing all the muscles in your body, perhaps doing a progressive muscle relaxation, which works from the top of the body down to the bottom, where some people work it bottom to top.
But I think about, ooh, relaxing down for some reason. That’s wonderful imagery for me. And activating seems more up energy to me. But you would do that and then you would imagine a situation where your hands are warming in real life, and that would actually help you warm the hands in your imagination, but then it transfers to real life because in this moment you’re warming the hands.
That’s real life. And then if you’re not going really deeply, you can just stay in a relaxed state, still interact with whoever you want to.
Now, when you become very practiced at doing this, and I’m going to say skilled at doing this, you can be talking to the nurse taking your blood pressure, or you could be going about your life, and at the same time, moving into a more relaxed state and thinking about warming your hands and doing that on the spot.
I have a friend who’s a music instructor at a big university, and she was talking about her blood pressure rising one time because of student auditions. Now, I could imagine that student auditions. It could be a stressful situation. You’re looking for the right student. I’m sure you’re scoring them on certain things. Um, perhaps the music isn’t great for some of the students. It’s not pleasant to listen to if they’re making lots of mistakes or something.
And at the same time, I said to her, isn’t it possible to close your eyes for a minute or so? Pretend that you’re listening to the music and warm your hands.
As a way to bring down her blood pressure. So that’s an instance of she doesn’t have to go into a deep trance when she practices this skill. She can do it pretty quickly on the spot. And that has been my experience when working with people. Okay, so we’re going to do a brief one here. We’re not going to do super long with the whole progressive muscle relaxation.
I’m just going to give you some tips right here. You’re going to do a little bit of breathing though. Now if you’re driving a car, this is the one where you can continue driving the car . Okay? You really can continue driving the car or doing whatever you’re doing. You do not have to stop the recording.
We just want you to listen. So here we go. You’re just going to take a deep inhale. Exhale wherever you are.
And now let’s take an inhale to the count of. and then exhale to the count of six. So inhale, 2, 3, 4. And exhale, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. And inhale, 2, 3, 4. And exhale, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. And inhale, two, three. Exhale. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
So this is also a signal to the parasympathetic nervous system to just soothe and release just a little bit, move into an aware, relaxed state.
Now, let’s imagine that perhaps you’re holding. . Either a kitten or a puppy, and they’re nice and warm and soft.
Or perhaps you hear the crackle of a fire and you see all the different colors and the smell of the fire, and you’re near the fire and you hold out your hands just to warm them by the fire.
Now you can make this scene as elaborate or as simple as you the hands, feel the transfer of the heat and feel so nice and soothing.
Perhaps you’re sitting somewhere cozy and you’re holding a cup of tea or coffee or hot chocolate.
You can feel the warmth of the cup as the heat transfers into the palms of your hands.
The hands are warm, relaxed. They feel so good.
And now you can take another deep inhale. Exhale
And one more. And if you can even take a third breath and continue about the rest of your day.
So, as you can see, this is an easy technique to practice. You may find an image that works for you better than another one, but those are just three simple ones. Oh, another one is often hands and warm water.
That’s another one that people use. I didn’t say that one before but that’s an easy one. Imagining in a warm bath or a pool or perhaps a warm ocean or the hands under a faucet that’s running warm water. Sometimes you do that when you do dishes.
This reminds me of the first time I really discussed the concept of mindfulness. I was in grad school and I was talking to a friend who was more into Buddhism than I was. I mean, I was aware of Buddhism at that point, but I wouldn’t say I knew a whole lot about it. But I was talking about how I do the dishes and how the water feels so nice and warm as it runs over my hands. And if I just think about that, it’s easier for me to do the dishes. This becomes a pleasant experience.
And she looked at me and she said, oh, that’s mindfulness. That’s what you’re talking about. And I was like, okay, whatever. I hadn’t really heard of mindfulness at that point. And I said, yeah, I guess so. My attention really is on the sensation, the feeling of the warm water on the hands and how it feels so good.
So that’s another image for you to use, a warm water running on your hands that helps you warm the hands.
Now again, you can practice these with a more extended relaxation at the beginning if you like, or you can practice just the quick technique. Now you can buy a thermometer that measures your finger temperature or most smartphones have apps on them or an app you can download where it’s measuring your temperature. Basically you’re putting your fingerprint on it. It’s measuring your finger temperature. You can use that to practice in releasing the temperature of your hands. To make the hands warm if you want to get technical about it.
But no need to really get technical about it. Chances are you could feel the difference even with me just talking you through it. I know I can when I do it.
I was reading a whole book about using kind to behavior therapy to decrease Chronic migraines and chronic tension headaches and they were talking about warming the hands as a very good technique to actually stop a chronic tension type headache from coming on.
Migraines. Typically once you get those first signs, you can also shorten them. It’s more difficult for migraines to stop them once they’ve started. So a lot of the CBT is about figuring out the triggers, decreasing that, decreasing stress, using the progressive muscle relaxation and warming the hands as part of decreasing the migraines overall.
And in this book, which is a very academic book. In this book it talks about autogenic training, which is a way to warm the body, warm the hands, and prevent the headache or the migraine from happening. And I have a free hypnosis for autogenic training that I offer. If you click on my link tree that’s in the show notes, or you head over to my website, drlizhypnosis.com it’ll say, join the newsletter and get a free one to reduce anxiety.
But when you get to that thank you page or the email that’s sent out, it has autogenic training on there as well. And that is a technique to, to practice warming the body and relaxing the body. If you feel you need an extended one to practice this technique that is yours for the taking, head over there and get it.