Is it time you pressed pause?

What do you think when you hear the words "hypnotherapy CD"? Chances are, it's Paul McKenna, whose self-help, self-hypnosis CDs appear with many of his bestselling books about how to earn millions and perfect your life into the bargain. But self-hypnosis CDs and downloads are available from many professional hypnotherapists and can be used for all sorts of behaviour or thought modification - from stopping smoking to stress relief. Remarkably, they can be very effective.

Many self-hypnosis tracks have relaxation as their specific aim but even when they are not specifically for relaxation, all have relaxation as a prerequisite - you can't be hypnotised until, or unless, you are deeply relaxed.

So what happens when you listen to a hypnotherapy track? First of all, you make sure that you are in a place and time where you will not be disturbed. Then sitting comfortably, or (preferably) lying down, you listen to your chosen track through headphones as the hypnotherapist-speaker guides you into a state of deep relaxation.

At this point, they pass you positive messages to change your behaviour, but you won't remember exactly what happened after the session is over. Then, you are counted back up to full consciousness, feeling as if you have had a nap, but hopefully more positive about what ails you.

Sometimes, more than one voice track (from the same hypnotherapist) is played at once; even though you can't make them out clearly, your subconscious will hear them and take note.

Here's a selection of some of the best CDs and downloads to calm you down, chill you out, and generally make you feel better about life.

Stress Relief

From: hypnosources.com

Cost: CD £15, MP3 £12

Length: 42 minutes

Background music: no

Multiple voices: no

Are you making your life more stressful by the way you think and react to difficult situations? Hypnotherapist Duncan McColl helps you to relax by talking you through some of the things that might make you stressed and suggesting what you can do to take control of them.

Discover Emotional Calm

From: hypnoshop.com

Cost: MP3 £9.99

Length: 23 minutes

Background music: yes

Multiple voices: yes

Almost all self-hypnosis tracks are voiced by men, but here instead is the soothing voice of Donna Lee. This track is for people who are going through a tough time in their lives. She tells you how to become peaceful and relaxed; reminding you that, while lots of things happen to us that we don't always like, things can and do change and that you can make positive changes yourself. It helps you regain a sense of wellbeing and perspective.

The Magical Forest

From: hypnoshop.com

Cost: CD £11.99, MP3 £9.99

Duration: 22 minutes

Background music: yes

Multiple voices: yes

This track is designed to tap into your creative unconscious, so you can recharge your batteries and gain a sense of profound relaxation. Barrie St John guides you on a walk through the forest where you see birds and animals in your mind's eye. You come out of the session feeling as if you have actually been there, with a sense of peace and happiness remaining.

Stop and Smell the Roses

From: hypnosisdownloads.com

Cost: MP3 $12.95

Duration: 19 minutes

Background music: no

Multiple voices: no

Do you feel that there's too much going on in your life? That you are nothing more than a deadline-chasing whirlwind? If so, this is the track for you. This download is designed to help you see life afresh, to be still and respect the uniqueness of life, to let go of your responsibilities for a while so you can truly live in the moment.

A Calm Peaceful Mind

From Mp3prohypnosis.com

Cost: MP3 $14.99

Duration: 60 minutes (in total)

Background music: yes, on a separate track

Multiple voices: yes

Dick Sutphen is a powerhouse of self-hypnosis, with many types of downloads on his site. His series of RX17 downloads - of which A Calm Peaceful Mind is one - have two tracks: the first is a hypnosis track, where he gives you suggestions or affirmations to follow. Track two is subliminal programming based in music. You hear the music, rather than the underlying messages that are running underneath it. The messages here is to help you to attain quietness of spirit, peace, mental balance and harmony.

Instant Sleep

From: hypnosisdirect.com

Cost: MP3 $12.95

Duration: 17 minutes

Background music: no

Multiple voices: no

I'd like to write in more detail about this track, which is designed to be played as you get into bed, but I can't remember anything about it. I presume it tells you that you will go to sleep, and sleep deeply through the night, as that was exactly what happened to me each time I listened to it. And if it works too effectively, there's always the Bounce Out of Bed track from the same site.

HypnosisDirect are offering readers an Instant Stress Relief Hypnosis Session. See HypnosisDirect.com/guardian for download instructions

Thanks to guardian.co.uk who have provided this article. View the original here.