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                                                        Hypnotism, Depression and Laughter

by Devin Hastings, D.S.O.B. (Depressed Son Of a B****)







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“Laughter is no laughing matter.”  I spent around 20 years of my life seriously depressed.  In fact, it should have been lethal but, for some reason, I survived.  I attribute my “surthrival” (vs. just survival) to Grace.  I would thank her but I can’t find her.


Seriously, it is due to my Super High Intensity Training (in depression) that I now happily specialize in helping others who are currently enrolled in the Depression School of Higher Education.


One of the things I share with my clients is that I made a serious study of laughter in order to start getting out of that emotional quicksand.  So here’s one of my favorite hypnotic suggestions: “May you find laughter….in the funniest of places.”


For example, one day I was in the shower and I must have sneezed around a dozen times.  During what turned out to be my final sneeze, my beloved wife flung the bathroom door open and shouted: “Shut up!”  I laughed so hard that I slipped in the tub and knocked myself out.  Just kidding.   But I did laugh like crazy because that was so funny.


The point is this: We can hypnotically open doors of laughter perception for our clients; often with just general suggestions.  Here’s one: “As you hear the sound of my voice and you are noticing other relaxing sensations, you are now starting to look for feelings of laughter during the day.  Sometimes a gentle smile will lighten your face and other times, you will happily find appropriate laughter for certain situations.”


I say “appropriate” so that the following never happens: “Mr. Soggy Waffle, it says here that you were driving 110 miles per hour in a 30 speed zone.  What is your response?” “Bah! ha! ha! ha! Your honor, you should have seen the looks of terror on the little kids’ faces.  You should try it! Giggle. Snort!”


“Appropriate” means a funny twist in perception that is harmless.  Here’s an example: A man walks into my office and says: “Every time I see pennies, nickels dimes or quarters, I have a panic attack!  What’s wrong with me?”


“Nothing,” I reply.  “You are simply afraid of change.”


Depression is the opposite of looking for what is funny in life.  It is an understandable and intense focus on what is bad, what has been bad and what will be bad/painful/endlessly frustrating, etc.


Please keep in mind that this article is primarily designed to give some useful hypnotic suggestions and easy to remember jokes so if it appears I am glossing over stuff, I am. 


However, I am deeply aware of the intensely personal and painful nature of depression so please understand that it would take a big book to completely address areas that some may feel I am leaving out or treating inadequately.


Speaking of inadequate, how many of you feel inadequate in some way?  Go on, raise your hand.  Now, close your eyes (unless you’re driving) and look around with your imagination - you should see almost the entire human race raising their hands.


The point?  We are born mistake making machines.  We were created to make mistakes.  Yet, it is our adherence to the crazy idea that we must be perfect in order to be loveable. And it is this insane idea that often perpetuates depression because no one is perfect.


Here’s another hypnotic suggestion I use: “Please hear me now, with more than your ears.  Hear me with your heart and imagination.”


So please here this (misspelling intended): In my opinion, our job is to hypnotically coach our clients to become better friends to themselves every day, in some healthy, compassionate way.  And yes, that is a hypnotic suggestion I repeatedly give to my clients. 


And, by the way, depressed people are afraid of change.  Why?  Because, they have tried to change many times only to ‘fail’.   That failure is excruciating.  Imagine being depressed and then for a day or two, feeling good.  And then you crash back into the quicksand.  That “fall from grace” as I term it, hurts worse than dying and that pain is why so many often give up on attempting to feel better – it hurts worse than just remaining depressed.  This is why my motto used to be: “I am happy in misery – let me be.” 


But now, things are different.  Last October I was teaching in London.  At the opening of the workshop I stood before the crowd and put on my ‘serious face’ and then quietly said: “I need a moment of silence please.  A few weeks ago, I turned 50 and my ego died a horrible, slow death.”


Do you know why angels can fly?  Because they take themselves so lightly.   I will also often say to my clients: “Close your eyes now because studies show that prolonged exposure to my face causes retinal damage.”


That always gets a laugh.  Well, almost always.  There are those few who say you shouldn’t make fun of yourself.  Why not?   I don’t do it in a mean way.   Besides, when your youngest son touches the hair on your belly and chest and says: “Daddy, you should cut this hair off and put it on your head”, there’s not much room left for ego.


Depression (and laughter) are all about focus.  So, let me offer this last hypnotic suggestion:  “Somehow, in some way, every day, your focus is changing in healthy, happy way.”


Devin Hastings has written 4 books and created over 30 audio/visual products on the applications of hypnosis and behavioral change methods and he is an international speaker on these subjects.  He has given presentations to AT&T, the Better Business Bureau, Law enforcement agencies and many others. 


He has also created the following websites with many self-help articles addressing issues such as anxiety, diabetes, depression, OCD, resentment and more:








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