Hypnosis and Meditation: What’s the Difference?

Want to learn a little more about the difference between hypnosis and meditation? We’ve got you covered in this guide!

Main image courtesy of La Jolla Recovery


Throughout our lives, we will need to deal with challenges and difficulties. As humans, we need to find a way to deal with and address stress in order to feel our best—both mentally and physically. There are a few ways you can work with your mind and body connection in order to help meet your physical and emotional goals. Some of the best ways to do this are through hypnosis or meditation. But what’s the difference between the two, and which one should you think about including in your life?


In this article, we’re going to go over:


  • What hypnosis and meditation are
  • The difference between hypnosis and meditation
  • Which one should you try?


What is Hypnosis?

Let’s discuss exactly what is hypnosis, and what it is not

man on a couch for a therapy session
Hypnosis is a proven way to use your mind and body connection to help you deal with physical or mental conditions. Image courtesy of Medical News Today.


When you think of hypnosis what comes to mind? Do you see someone laying down in an office while a trained practitioner hypnotizes them? Or instead do you see a performer using hypnosis on someone from the audience to walk and cluck like a chicken for laughs? Or maybe both come to mind! Hypnosis is defined as a trance-like mental state where people are more open to suggestibility and awareness. 


Hypnosis suffers from a lot of misconception and trivialization, most notably by those performers who seek to make it look silly. In reality, hypnosis can be a very useful therapeutic tool to help overcome physical and mental health issues. There are many stories of people successfully overcoming or learning to deal with anxiety or pain through the use of hypnotic sessions. 


There are a few ways in which you can go through with hypnosis including:


  • Guided hypnosis. This form involves becoming hypnotized by a voice recording such as those on apps.


  • Hypnotherapy. You can have hypnotherapy sessions with a licensed medical practitioner who is trained in hypnotherapy. Whether you have a physical or mental condition, these professionals will work with you through hypnosis sessions.


  • Self-hypnosis. You can even learn to hypnotize yourself if you may feel this might be more beneficial for you.


If you’re looking for help with a particular problem, you may want to consider a hypnotist. Whether that’s finding a way to deal with stress, pain, anxiety, or other ailment. Contrary to what might be shown in TV and movies, a hypnotist cannot make you do anything you do not want to do, and people cannot be hypnotized without their willing participation.

What is Meditation?

What exactly is meditation anyway?

woman meditating on a couch
Meditation is a great practice to include in your daily routine. Image courtesy of NBC News. 


If hypnosis is defined as a mental trance-like state that allows someone to become more aware, or open to suggestions, then what is meditation? Meditation refers to techniques that are used to promote awareness and focused attention in order to achieve calmness, mindfulness, or clarity. Although meditation seems to be very prevalent now, it only spread out of Asia in the early 20th century.


Different cultures and a variety of religions have been practicing meditation for thousands of years, and reaping the benefits that come along with it. Some of the benefits of meditation include:


  • Better stress management
  • Increased pain management
  • Increased self-awareness and mindfulness
  • Better emotional health
  • Improved immunity
  • More empathy for others


You can practice meditation daily, but in order to see the benefits, you’ll also need to be consistent. It’s best to start off with a few minutes each day. By calming down and focusing on your breath, you allow yourself the chance to change the way you perceive yourself, and the world around you. 


Meditation is typically done at home, in a comfortable position. Make sure to turn off distractions, and start to focus on your breath. Although your mind will wander, just keep bringing the focus back to your breath. Some people mistakenly think that meditation means they will stop their thoughts completely. The goal of meditation is not to clear your mind, but rather to use a technique like breathing to keep bringing yourself back to the current moment. 


What’s the Difference Between Hypnosis and Meditation?

How do you know the difference between hypnosis and meditation?

man meditating on a mountain

Both hypnosis and meditation are useful practices to promote the mind/body connection. Image courtesy of American Lifestyle Magazine.


Hypnosis is a trance-like state that allows a person to be more open to suggestions, and meditation is a series of techniques used to bring awareness and focus to the present moment. Both practices can be very beneficial. Where they differ the greatest is that hypnotherapy is typically used to help someone achieve a goal, such as relieving pain or reducing anxiety or depression. You will meet with your hypnotist and work towards this goal each time you are hypnotized. 


Meditation on the other hand can be used daily to help you become more aware, present, and mindful. You can do meditation on your own in your home and reap many benefits from it. By introducing this mental activity into your day, studies have shown that the physical structure of your brain can change.  

Which One Should You Try?

How do you know which one is best for you?

In order to decide which mental practice you should include in your life, it’s best to first ask yourself what goals do you want to achieve. Are you interested in reducing chronic pain from a condition like rheumatoid arthritis? Would you like to find a better way to help you deal with the symptoms of anxiety? Then perhaps finding a licensed hypnotist could be what you need.


If you’re looking to include a daily way to remember to be present and focus on the now, then meditation could be what’s missing. Meditation can also teach you to slow down and focus on your breath when things start to get stressful.


Whichever one you choose to try, both meditation and hypnosis are proven to offer many benefits to your daily life.


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Bridget Houlihan

Bridget Houlihan is a writer, poet, and cat mom living in Pittsburgh, PA.
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