Meditation vs Hypnosis: What's the difference?

When people find out what I do, I am then often asked about the difference between meditation and hypnosis ,especially comparing guided meditation and hypnosis. While I see there are similarities, like the way that you are guided into a relaxed state of the mind and body, I want you to know that they differ in terms of the outcome. Meditation is a practice to quiet the mind, while hypnosis is used to reprogram the subconscious mind.

During meditation we seek to quiet the mind and help create a clam and clear space where we can practice releasing the discomforts, concerns and common interruptions that pop into our thoughts. During our meditation practice we can feel recharged as we connect with our inner self, as it helps release stress and anxiety. Hypnosis does all of those things as well, but it has a greater purpose by reprogramming how we think, react and behave.

Hypnosis happens to us all of the time!

Have you ever caught yourself lost in a daydream, or driving along the road only to “snap out of it” and realize you’re almost to your destination or that you’ve missed your exit? That is because you were in a hypnotic-like state. When we use hypnosis for therapeutic reasons we are able to reprogram your self-sabotaging, self-abandoning, toxic behaviors and thoughts that keep you from achieving your goals. Hypnosis can be utilized for virtually anything you want to either eliminate or improve upon.

How quickly can you change your mindset?

Of course people want to know what type of investment it is going to cost them when they decide to embark on rewiring their brains. And while I cannot give you a specific time frame to when you will change your thought and behavior patterns, I will say that if it has taken you years to create these negative thought patterns, then don’t expect a 180 over night. However, hypnosis does help you move beyond your conscious mind, by helping you access the subconscious mind, which doesn’t know the difference between reality and imagination. Most thought processes, patterns and behavior can be overcome and changed, when given enough time and patience most habits take around 21 to 30 days to overcome. Your subconscious mind is like a giant sponge that absorbs everything around it. These thoughts and images that you envision in your minds eye during hypnosis then become part of your belief system where they are sent out to the universe to become experienced with your senses. In other words your thoughts create your reality!

Meditation offers a powerful insight to the world around and within us

When we do a sitting meditation, or mindfulness meditation, it can be a very powerful tool as we attempt to take a break (over and over) from the thoughts, feelings, emotions and data that race through our minds throughout the day. When we are able to get into the pauses, the quiet spaces of the mind, our creativity, contemplation, curiosity and other kinds of processes flow much more freely. Meditation offers you a very powerful reprieve from the busy lives that we lead as well.

So if you’ve read this far, maybe you’re asking yourself why you might choose one over another, or which one you should choose. This is my general rule of thumb: If you simply want to garner a sense of wellbeing and contemplate on who you are and come to know yourself on a more intimate level, to enjoy your quality of life and find it fortifying - meditation is the tool for you. If you are struggling or trying to break some old ways of thinking that no longer serve you, or you want to implement some new ways of being, then hypnosis is going to be the tool you need.

Hypnosis & meditation use similar techniques to achieve the relaxation response

Whenever I do a guided meditation or a hypnotherapy session, I implement similar techniques to help you achieve a state of relaxation. However in a process like hypnosis, I use metaphors and suggestions that were said in your own words prior to the session. Hypnosis is a much more personalized modality and because of this it will help you overcome your problems faster. Using your own words that are weaved into the hypnosis story benefits us because when we listen to our own words, we find them more believable. If your goal was to manage stress and you said to me during our consultation process “Nikki, I would love to easily let go of stress in my life”, that would be the wording I would use in the story process of the hypnosis, making it present tense and sound as if you are already living a life where you’re stress free.

Meditation, of course, can be used to help you relax and ease the stressors in our life, but the difference is that you will practice watching the things that stress you out come up in your practice and then let it go as you return to the breath. This process is equally as effective, but does take longer than hypnosis when you’re looking for more immediate results. Most of us live in a world that is never silent; it is always moving, ebbing and flowing, very dynamic with energy. We scroll through social media to be “connected” when all we are really doing is tuning out and hurting ourselves with the judgement and comparisons we see on the screen. We put on the TV or the radio to stop the silence that makes us feel uncomfortable. As a result, we are stressed out and feel pressure every moment of the day.

Meditation & hypnosis can both help you take control of your life

Meditation is an incredible tool that can help you in so many ways. By just spending a few minuets a day in silence while keeping your awareness only on the breath, can truly be a transformative practice because it gives you time to reflect and contemplate.

Hypnosis is an equally miraculous tool that will allow you to take control of the parts of your life that may appear to seem beyond your control. This includes your habits and behaviors as well as the emotions, beliefs and feelings that are triggering those unwanted thoughts and actions. From quitting a bad habit, to losing weight, to managing situational stress, to overcoming fears, to setting goals for yourself, to improving academic and athletic performance, hypnosis can be used to improve virtually any aspect of your life.

Nikki is a Certified Hypnotherapist through the American Board of Hypnotherapy. She has a private practice and is available by appointment only . Contact her at