We're hypnotized daily“Everybody gets high sometimes you know, what else can we do when we’re feeling low?”

Well, funny you should ask Justin Bieber. We can go for a run, a walk, do yoga, talk to a loved one, listen to an epic podcast, cook ourselves a great meal, meditate, snuggle with our pets or love, get an early night, watch a great movie. There are literally a million things we can do when we’re feeling low that are approximately 4000 times more effective and holistically nourishing than getting high.

Here’s a definition of hypnosis:

“A temporary condition of altered attention in the subject which may be induced by another person and in which a variety of phenomena may appear spontaneously or in response to verbal or other stimuli. These phenomena include alterations in consciousness and memory, increased susceptibility to suggestion, and the production in the subject of responses and ideas unfamiliar to him in his usual state of mind. (British Medical Association, 1955)

Many people would agree that when they’re deeply engrossed in a song or television show or film, they recognise themselves as being in a trance like state, where they lose their awareness of other stimuli around them, and are almost at one with the media they’re consuming in that moment. We may also find ourselves singing a song in a moment wherein the lyrics correspond strongly with what we’re feeling, without even thinking about it consciously until we’re already in the midst.

While hypnosis and media both have in common that we cannot fully assimilate suggestions unless at some level, however subconscious that may be, we choose to do so, we are often inadvertently being hypnotized by the music and media we consume. This makes me a little frustrated because, taking music as just one example, this particular song (Cold Water) is really catchy, and honestly I rather like(d) it. But since I fully processed the lyrics, I stopped enjoying it because I don’t really want to hypnotise my subconscious to believe that taking drugs when feeling low is normal!

Like many songs, it could be just as compelling with less destructive lyrics, so why embed it with such suggestions? To me, it’s on a par with stage hypnotists manipulating people to dance like chickens. It might seem funny but in reality it’s unethical and dangerous, especially in the presence of vulnerable minds, young or old.

Of course, self discipline and self restraint are key factors in the decision making process for anyone in an adequate state of mind, but two facts remain. Firstly, the subconscious is an extremely powerful force not to be underestimated. Secondly, many are not in an adequate state of mind to differentiate between their subconscious and conscious desires. If someone acts on JB’s recommendations and they’re not in a frame of mind where they’re able to make a fully conscious thought out decision, who’s to blame?

I’m pretty liberal in general, but knowing the power of the subconscious the issue of lyrics promoting violence, drug use and other antisocial behaviour troubles me. Nevertheless, my primary takeaway for you is this. Whatever you believe in and stand for, I encourage you to consume media mindfully and in alignment with your goals and vision. Cull anything which doesn’t align. There’s so much great content out there, including great songs with positive lyrics, make them count.