Self-hypnosis program

Anna Bush (left) and Rosanna Bonfilio of the Olean Unitarian Universalist Community will conduct a free self-hypnosis program beginning at 11 a.m. Sunday at the Olean Meditation Center on Dugan Road. The women are holding candles that are lit by the group during services. 

OLEAN — If you have ever driven home from work and couldn’t remember part of the ride, don’t panic: You likely experienced a self-hypnotic state.

On Sunday, Anna Bush of the Olean Unitarian Universalist Community will teach people how to harness these powers and use them for the good during a program titled “The Power of Habit and the Subconscious Mind: Make that New Year Resolution Happen!”

The event will be held at 11 a.m. at the Olean Meditation Center at 2275 Dugan Road and is free and open to the public. Those who attend are welcome to bring snacks to share after the one-hour session. 

“During the program, I’m going to explain how habits are formed and the subconscious works in relation to habits,” said Ms. Bush, who is a hypnosis and holistic coach with Positive Moves Consulting. “I’m going to introduce people to self-hypnosis. We’re going to walk through the steps for whatever they decide, such as if they want to drink more water every day.”

In learning self-hypnosis skills, participants will be asked to first focus on a specific habit they would like to change or induce. Participants will then be instructed on how to use a one-sentence statement to achieve this goal.

Ms. Bush said she taught simple self-hypnosis skills at a recent luncheon. During the event, people learned how to focus on relaxing during the holidays and not “getting caught up in the commotion” of the season. 

“Some people said they were going to remember to rest” through self-hypnosis, she continued. “For myself, I used self-hypnosis to get out of bed” in a more timely manner during the cold winter months. 

“I used self-hypnosis to tell myself ‘It is easy for me to joyously get out of bed,’” she said of the one-sentence statement she used to foster the early-morning habit. 

Self-hypnosis and hypnosis brings one’s conscious thoughts down to the subconscious level, Ms. Bush said.

“Current research says that we do about 95 percent of what we do on the subconscious level without thinking,” she continued. “Hypnosis is a very natural state. Have you ever driven somewhere and couldn’t remember doing it?”

If so, the individual may have experienced a self-hypnotic state, or mild trance.

Famous athletes such as golf’s Tiger Woods and former boxer Mike Tyson have used self-hypnosis to help them perform better, according to Ms. Bush.

“You’re allowing the subconscious to create this automatic behavior that you want, instead of what you don’t want,” she explained. “So hypnosis is a very natural state; it just depends on how you use it and the different ways to use it.”

Rosanna Bonfilia, a steering committee member with the Unitarian Universalist group, said the congregation has met at the Olean Meditation Center for the past three months. 

The group’s services are available at 11 a.m. the first Sunday of each month and at 5 p.m. the third Sunday of each month.

“We accept anyone, regardless of what they believe and don’t believe,” Ms. Bonfilio said.

“Normally during our gatherings, there is singing and lighting of candles for joys and concerns,” Ms. Bush said, adding there are people from New York and Pennsylvania who attend. 

(Contact reporter Kate Day Sager at kates_th@yahoo.com)

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