Altered States

Altered State

What is an Altered State?

When you hear the term ‘altered states’, what do you think of? Often people equate the term ‘altered state’ with ‘mind altering drugs’. While it’s true that these terms are often used together, they can and often do describe very separate phenomena. Drugs are one of the many ways a person can achieve an altered state. Since people often misuse drugs, this might not be a particularly healthy or useful method for getting into an altered state.

If someone wants to improve themselves there are many other ways to enter an altered state. Let’s look at some examples.

Hypnosis

For most people, whether you use self-hypnosis or see a hypnotist, your first aim is to reach an altered state of heightened suggestibility. This allows your conscious mind to drop its guard, giving you the ability to be more inclined to believe the positive suggestions you hear. This allows the hypnotist or, in the case of self-hypnosis, the script you’ve developed, to speak almost directly to your subconscious mind.

Most people find hypnosis to be a powerful, but simple way to enter into an altered state and help to reprogram the subconscious mind. But since I mainly write about hypnosis, lets take a look at some other examples.

Meditation

Meditation is often associated with monks, mystics and other spiritual disciplines but you don’t have to be a monk or mystic to enjoy its benefits. The truth is you don’t even have to be in a special place to practice it. You can even meditate in your living room or while walking.

The purpose of meditation is to clear your mind of the constant barrage of negative distractions we all experience. You know, the noisy neighborhood, talkative officemates, city traffic and unwanted spam. It helps you to relax your mind, so these distractions can gently float away. This leaves you feeling refreshed and focused.

The term ‘meditation’ refers to a state where your body and mind are simultaneously and consciously relaxed. A simple way to think about meditation is an exercise in mental discipline. While people often presume that meditation means attempting to empty your mind, that’s just one possible objective. I personally practice mindfulness meditation. The aim of mindfulness is to keep thinking. As the thoughts pass through your mind you take note of them. This can help you uncover and then deal with unwanted thoughts and beliefs.

No matter what type of meditation you practice it has been shown to be very helpful in improving mental discipline. It does this by giving you mental tools you can use to stay calm, no matter what kind of situation you find yourself in.

Lucid Dreaming

Lucid dreaming is a type of dreaming where you, as the dreamer, are aware that you are dreaming. This allows you to control the direction of those dreams. Now you can use your dreams as a testing ground for experiencing things you couldn’t in real life for therapeutic or other purposes.

Hypnagogia

While lucid dreaming can be beneficial, not everyone is capable of lucidity in their dreams. Not only that, it takes a lot of practice. For most people, it’s easier to try and maintain a state of ‘ hypnagogia ‘ which is the moment just before you fall asleep. In this state you feel you as if you are not quite asleep and not quite awake.

Many great thinkers, for example, Thomas Edison, are said to have used this historically to generate ideas because it puts a person in a state of heightened creativity. The great thing about hypnagogia is it’s an excellent type of altered consciousness that can be used for self-development and, most likely, you’re already in this state at least twice a day!

Martial Arts and Other Physical Activities

Many people get into an altered state by practicing martial arts and other activities such as rock climbing, sky diving, surfing, skate boarding and other activities that take high levels of physical ability and mental concentration. Often these people will work to become so good at these activities that their minds go into ‘the zone’, which is a place of ultra-heightened but relaxed awareness. In turn, being in the zone allows them to accomplish all types of amazing physical feats.

These experiences are just as mind altering as any drug. That’s because these activities actually stimulate the brain to naturally produce drugs that are very similar to ones’ people take to experience a ‘high’.

Altered States and Self-Improvement

The facts are altered states are a powerful way to make swift and permanent changes in the way you see the world. A different perspective will give you different results. That’s the key to self-development.

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About the Author

Wil DieckWil Dieck is an author, speaker, college professor and researcher. He is also a master hypnotherapist, NLP Trainer and master martial arts instructor. For the past forty years, he has taught people, from a variety of backgrounds, how to use simple mind hacking techniques to create habits of success.

He is also a professor of psychology and business at San Diego University for Integrated Studies.

Wil runs a leadership and peak performance coaching practice in San Diego, California. He helps his clients create the belief systems of successful people and leaders, allowing them to make the most of their personal and professional lives.

He is the founder of Neuro Emotional Conditioning (NEC)© and has taught hundreds of people in individual and business settings how to use NEC© techniques to strengthen their mind’s abilities to focus on getting the most they can out of life.