Altered States of Consciousness without drugs

“Although the use of psychoactive drugs can easily and profoundly change our experience of consciousness, we can also—and often more safely—alter our consciousness without drugs. These altered states of consciousness are sometimes the result of simple and safe activities, such as sleeping, watching television, exercising, or working on a task that intrigues us. In this section we consider the changes in consciousness that occur through hypnosis, sensory deprivation, and meditation, as well as through other non-drug-induced mechanisms.

“Changing Behavior Through Suggestion: The Power of Hypnosis


Franz Anton Mesmer (1734–1815) was an Austrian doctor who believed that all living bodies were filled with magnetic energy. In his practice, Mesmer passed magnets over the bodies of his patients while telling them their physical and psychological problems would disappear. The patients frequently lapsed into a trancelike state (they were said to be “mesmerized”) and reported feeling better when they awoke (Hammond, 2008). [1]


Although subsequent research testing the effectiveness of Mesmer’s techniques did not find any long-lasting improvements in his patients, the idea that people’s experiences and behaviors could be changed through the power of suggestion has remained important in psychology. James Braid, a Scottish physician, coined the term hypnosis in 1843, basing it on the Greek word for sleep (Callahan, 1997). [2]

“Hypnosis is a trance-like state of consciousness, usually induced by a procedure known as hypnotic induction, which consists of heightened suggestibility, deep relaxation, and intense focus (Nash & Barnier, 2008). [3] Hypnosis became famous in part through its use by Sigmund Freud in an attempt to make unconscious desires and emotions conscious and thus able to be considered and confronted (Baker & Nash, 2008). [4]


Because hypnosis is based on the power of suggestion, and because some people are more suggestible than others, these people are more easily hypnotized. Hilgard (1965) [5] found that about 20% of the participants he tested were entirely unsusceptible to hypnosis, whereas about 15% were highly responsive to it. The best participants for hypnosis are people who are willing or eager to be hypnotized, who are able to focus their attention and block out peripheral awareness, who are open to new experiences, and who are capable of fantasy (Spiegel, Greenleaf, & Spiegel, 2005). [6]

“People who want to become hypnotized are motivated to be good subjects, to be open to suggestions by the hypnotist, and to fulfill the role of a hypnotized person as they perceive it (Spanos, 1991). [7] The hypnotized state results from a combination of conformity, relaxation, obedience, and suggestion (Fassler, Lynn, & Knox, 2008). [8] This does not necessarily indicate that hypnotized people are “faking” or lying about being hypnotized. Kinnunen, Zamansky, and Block (1994) [9] ”

“used measures of skin conductance (which indicates emotional response by measuring perspiration, and therefore renders it a reliable indicator of deception) to test whether hypnotized people were lying about having been hypnotized. Their results suggested that almost 90% of their supposedly hypnotized subjects truly believed that they had been hypnotized.

“One common misconception about hypnosis is that the hypnotist is able to “take control” of hypnotized patients and thus can command them to engage in behaviors against their will. Although hypnotized people are suggestible (Jamieson & Hasegawa, 2007), [10] they nevertheless retain awareness and control of their behavior and are able to refuse to comply with the hypnotist’s suggestions if they so choose (Kirsch & Braffman, 2001). [11] In fact, people who have not been hypnotized are often just as suggestible as those who have been (Orne & Evans, 1965). [12]

“Another common belief is that hypnotists can lead people to forget the things that happened to them while they were hypnotized. Hilgard and Cooper (1965)[13] investigated this question and found that they could lead people who were very highly susceptible through hypnosis to show at least some signs of posthypnotic amnesia (e.g., forgetting where they had learned information that had been told to them while they were under hypnosis), but that this effect was not strong or common.

“Some hypnotists have tried to use hypnosis to help people remember events, such as childhood experiences or details of crime scenes, that they have forgotten or repressed. The idea is that some memories have been stored but can no longer be retrieved, and that hypnosis can aid in the retrieval process. But research finds that this is not successful: People who are hypnotized and then asked to relive their childhood act like children, but they do not accurately recall the things that occurred to them in their own childhood (Silverman & Retzlaff, 1986). [14] Furthermore, the suggestibility produced through hypnosis may lead people to erroneously recall experiences that they did not have (Newman & Baumeister, 1996). [15] Many states and jurisdictions have therefore banned the use of hypnosis in criminal trials because the “evidence” recovered through hypnosis is likely to be fabricated and inaccurate.

“Hypnosis is also frequently used to attempt to change unwanted behaviors, such as to reduce smoking, overeating, and alcohol abuse. The effectiveness of hypnosis in these areas is controversial, although at least some successes have been reported. Kirsch, Montgomery, and Sapirstein (1995) [16] found that that adding hypnosis to other forms of therapies increased the effectiveness of the treatment, and Elkins and Perfect (2008) [17] reported that hypnosis was useful in helping people stop smoking. Hypnosis is also effective in improving the experiences of patients who are experiencing anxiety disorders, such as PTSD (Cardena, 2000; Montgomery, David, Winkel, Silverstein, & Bovbjerg, 2002),[18] and for reducing pain (Montgomery, DuHamel, & Redd, 2000; Paterson & Jensen, 2003). [19]

Love ❤️

Laura Zukerman

Owner and Founder

At The Goddess Bibles, A Memoir

Anxiety and Stress

“Some people seem to find it easier to cope in life, have you ever wondered why? I found myself doing just this. My findings were surprising. Research led by Harvard University, the University of Oregon and the University of Texas revealed that very effective leaders all share a similar mindset but, not just this, they also share similar hormone levels. The more powerful the leader, the higher the levels of testosterone.


This simply means that those with higher levels of testosterone are naturally primed to be more assertive, relaxed and confident. They will be less reactive to stressors and be able to handle the bombardment of pressure quite well. In addition, there’s one physical cue which impacts both hormones and that’s body language. So, if you can improve your body language, you will naturally increase testosterone while decreasing cortisone levels and this means, less stress but more confidence.


This leads me directly into power body poses.
Power poses are intriguing. Amy Cuddy is a researcher based at Harvard University and she and her team have identified that different body positions equate to high power or low power poses. High power poses tend to be open and relaxed while low power poses will be closed off and guarded.

“They studied the impact of these poses in a research study on 42 students. Saliva was taken from each of them and cortisone levels and testosterone levels were then measured. Afterwards, each person was asked to sit in either high power or low power poses for approximately 2 minutes. After which, an additional sample saliva was taken and cortisone and testosterone levels were measured yet again.

The results were stunning. High power poses serve to increase testosterone by approximately 20% and they found that cortisone levels decreased by 25%. When you consider the ability to exude confidence and cope with daily pressures, this is significant.
Try this well-known and versatile power pose so you can see what I mean. Its nickname is ‘The Wonder Woman’ pose and, you simply stand tall, with chest out and hands on the hips. It’s certainly a power stance and irrespective of its name, it is just as important to men as it is to women. Try it now and then see how you feel afterwards.”

“I mentioned before that our body language speaks volumes about us. If you are a little worried as to those secretive body language communications, try to build in some body language checks each day and insert a higher power pose into your routine each morning for approximately 2 or 3 minutes.
When you do so, close your eyes, breathing in deeply for a count of 3, you can hold the breath for just a second and then, breathe out fully for a count of 5. If this is difficult, you can reduce the count – say for 2, 1 and 4 counts. You can also combine breathing exercises with power poses for maximum benefits. I use power poses with meditation at the start of my day and I feel great afterwards.

As you are only investing a couple of minutes, you will have time for it.
Body language is important but it’s not everything. One thing for sure is that confidence affects both your mind and body. Your personality and emotional state of mind will no doubt affect your levels of confidence but improving your body language by taking up one of the power poses, will certainly increase physical presence and make you feel so much better.
You can use these power poses quickly and efficiently in every situation.

Think about a difficult presentation in front of your boss or colleagues. Imagine you are waiting to be called in and you start to feel nervous and your hands are sweating. Find a quiet space and take a moment to adjust your posture. Put your hands on your hips, keep your chin up, have your chest out and visualize the pose. If you can just do this for a couple of minutes before you attend your meeting or your interview, your testosterone levels will increase as will your confidence. You will also naturally and quickly lower your stress levels.”

The Goddess Bibles

A Memoir By Laura Zukerman