April 18, 2017

HelloMind Hypnosis App + Adaptogen Hot Chocolate

HelloMind Hypnosis App + Adaptogen Hot Chocolate

When I was in middle school, each year there would be an event held in the auditorium where a hypnotist would choose a group of peers to go up on stage and get hypnotized. He would then instruct this group to do a variety of embarrassing tasks to make the audience laugh. One time my sister (a year older) was chosen for this, and acted the part while on stage. At home, I asked if she had actually ben hypnotized. Her answer, “no. I was acting the whole time.” Major eye roll. And also what an odd middle school I went to.

From this moment on, I have been skeptical of hypnosis, as I pair it with tweenagers acting foolishly for the sake of a few laughs from peers. So when HelloMind (a hypnosis app) approached me to try the app, I was interested to see if I too would have to act to fall into a state of hypnosis. Upon discovering the benefits of hypnosis, I really wanted to give it a wholehearted effort.

The app is marketed to assist with low self-esteem, stress, fear, poor sleep, and unhealthy habits. The goal is to break and eliminate bad habits through hypnosis. The sessions are about 30-45 minutes long, though there are also quick fix sessions that only last about 5 minutes. There are different categories. The overall goal is to connect the conscious with the subconscious, all while maintaining control. According to HelloMind, you’re “guided through the door and towards the root of the problem, where you’re then handed the tool to address or eliminate it.”

Without going into much detail, the past few months have not been entirely pleasant. Coping with a breakup and a loss in the family stirred up some similar unpleasant feelings of past loss. These feelings can sometimes be overwhelming, and in the past my coping mechanisms were largely nonexistent. Though now (through self-care, therapy, diet, and exercise) I feel fairly confident in my psychological resilience, I really want to have as many tools in my tool box as possible so as to deal with them intuitively, rather than relying on behaviors that simply mask or ignore the problem / are entirely unhelpful or self-sabotaging: e.g. eating too much, not eating enough, overexercising, not exercising at all, withdrawing from loved ones.

I have always been a huge proponent of therapy, and so thought I would expand my psychological self care to that of hypnosis.

Hypnosis has been found to have a range of benefits for things ranging from anxiety to eating disorders to surgery. In one study, pre-operative patients in a hypnosis group were significantly less anxious as compared with patients in the attention-control group and the control group (1). In this same study, the hypnosis group entering the operating room reported a significant decrease of 56% in their anxiety level whereas the attention-control group reported an increase of 10% in anxiety and the control group reported an increase of 47% in their anxiety (1).

Hypnosis is even more effective when combined with cognitive behavioral therapy. One study, in fact, found that the hypnotic CBT treatment produced significantly greater improvements in depressed patients on the Beck Anxiety Inventory than CBT alone (2). Self-hypnosis also helped alleviate anxiety during unexpected and unprepared Caesarean sections, anxiety in cancer and burn patients, as well as helped lessen migraine tension headaches, and anxiety in burn and cancer patient (2). Hypnosis was also helpful in patients with anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder. One study showed that hypnosis was used successfully in treating 50 patients suffering from anorexia nervosa, as the intervention is most effective in treating symptoms like “hyperactivity, distorted body image, failure of interoceptive awareness, feelings of inadequacy, perfectionist tendencies, and resistance to therapy” (5). One specific case study documented a male who used automatic word processing (AWP) and self-hypnosis techniques in treatment of his binge eating, anxiety, insomnia, migraine headaches, nausea, and stomachaches. He developed a new cognitive strategy through word processing and hypnosis, after which his binge eating resolved and his other symptoms improved (6).

One asthma patient was even able to reduce her dependence on bronchodilators when combining her medical therapy with regular use of hypnosis. This patient was ultimately weaned off of her systemic steroid therapy, showing the usefulness of hypnosis with anxiety and asthma (3).

Beyond medical issues, hypnosis was also effective for test anxiety and improving academic performance in college students. 44 introductory psychology students received 4 sessions of hypnosis and 50 Hawthorne controls received no treatment over the same time period. There was a decrease in test anxiety and improvements in achievement for the hypnosis group. The treatment gains were maintained at 6-wk follow-up. So not only did the students in the hypnosis group perform better on one test, but they maintained the achievement and habit a month and a half later (4). Kind of really cool.

Overall, self-hypnosis training and practice results in improvements in physiological measures (e.g., heart rate) and has the potential to enhance immune function as it reduces stress (2).

I honestly do feel this app was helpful when I was in the thick of a life rough patch. If anything, it was just nice to set aside 30-45 minutes a day to devote entirely to brain health. I definitely had difficulty “letting go” at first, and allowing myself to go deeper into my mind – in the beginning I would either think how stupid it was or just fall asleep. But after a few sessions, I really did feel a change in my anxiety levels and found it much easier to shut down the (sometimes) incessant mental chatter and just be.

What’s especially helpful is if I pair this app with adAPPtogenic hot chocolate. Reishi and ashwahandga have really help with my anxiety levels, as does the high magnesium content of cacao. Here’s cac-how to make it:

  • 1 cup homemade almond milk
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tsp maple syrup or 1 date
  • 1/2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • few dashes of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp reishi powder
  • 1/4 tsp he shou wu powder
  • 1/4 tsp ashwagandha powder

I was not sponsored for this post, but was given a year trial of the app. I honestly think it is just such a cool concept, and something people should know about.


(1) Saadat, H., Drummond-Lewis, J., Maranets, I., Kaplan, D., Saadat, A., Wang, S-M., & Kain, Z.N. (2006). Hypnosis reduces preoperative anxiety in adult patients. Anethetsia & Analgesia, 102, 1294-1396. doi: 10.1213/01.ane.0000204355.36015.54

(2) Hammond, D.C. (2010). Hypnosis in the treatment of anxiety and stress related disorders. Expert Reviews, 10(2), 263-273. doi: 10.1586/ERN.09.140

(3) Anbar, R.D. (2003). Self-hypnosis for anxiety associated with sever asthma: A case report. BMC Pediatrics, 3(7). doi: 10.1186/1471-2431-3-7

(4) Marty, S. (1991). Hypnotherapy and test anxiety: Two cognitive-behavioral constructs: The effects of hypnosis in reducing test anxiety and improving academic achievement in college students. Australian Journal of Clinical Hypnotherapy and Hypnosis, 12(1), 25-31.

(5) Gross, M. (2011). Hypnosis in the therapy of anorexia nervosa. American Journal of Clincal Hypnosis, 26(3), 175-181. doi: 10.1080/00029157.1984.10404160

(6) Anbar, R.D. & Savedoff, A.D. (2006). Treatment of binge eating with automatic word processing and self-hypnosis: A case report. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 48 (2-3), 191-198.

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  • Emily

    I just want to say that I LOVE and appreciate the amount of research that you put into your work!!!! There are so many bloggers/health gurus that just tell us “Hey, this is good! Do it!” But dont say why, or the reasoning behind it. You are amazing! Thank you!

  • Samantha

    I’m sorry to hear you’ve been having a hard time lately.
    You are a wonderful person who spreads a wealth of unbiased, well researched information and all of your readers so appreciate you taking the time to do your research and post, especially when you aren’t feeling your best!
    My deepest sympathies to you and your family in your time of loss.
    Hope you are feeling better soon!

    • Katie

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Samantha! So grateful. Tapped into some extra family time and took a break from social media during this period. And did a lot of yoga, meditation, and trying to laugh with friends. Soothed the soul immensely. As does comments like this! Thank you again xo

  • Alexandra Moresco

    Hi Katie! Have you ever heard of Chris Jones? He was on AGT and is a clinical hypnotist.

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