Life in lockdown has not been easy, with a large majority of the country still facing an increase of financial pressures and many families are under severe stress of canceled trips, separation from friends, and the large abundance of time being cooped up at home has been putting stress and restful sleep on everyone. Luckily, there are some positive practices to help us relieve this large amount of stress and restore our restful sleep cycles. 

On today’s episode of the Powderkeg Podcast, we’ll be sharing a recent interview and LIVE Q&A we hosted with a special guest, my dad, John Hunckler. Hypnotist and Guided Meditation Instructor, he’s the owner of Bloomington Hypnosis, where he has helped many, many people reduce stress, quit smoking, get better sleep, lose weight, and all-around live healthier lives. 

John Hunckler was introduced to transcendental meditation, zen, and hypnosis in the 1970s, but did not become a certified hypnotist until 2011. He holds master’s degrees from the Universities of North Dakota and Notre Dame in education and business. And worked for eighteen months in a busy practice in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he conducted almost two thousand sessions before opening his full-time practice — Bloomington Hypnosis.

In this episode, I talk with my dad John Hunckler about how to optimize your greatest asset, your mindset, to help reduce stress and live a better life. It’s a particularly relevant topic right now at the time of releasing, because of all the uncertainty surrounding the economy and the coronavirus pandemic which continues to spread around the globe. Tune in for more! 

In this episode with John Hunckler, you’ll learn:

  • Best practices in reducing fears and anxieties.
  • How to be mindful of language and change habits
  • Ways to gain deep, restorative sleep
  • How to become refreshed and energized.
  • And finding your key power pose

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If you like this episode, please subscribe and leave us a review on iTunes. You can also follow us on Soundcloud or Stitcher. We have an incredible lineup of interviews we’ll be releasing every Tuesday here on the Powderkeg Podcast.

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Episode Transcript

Matt Hunckler 00:00
We are going to be talking about how to unlock the power of your subconscious and reduce stress, get better sleep we’re going to talk about how you can start falling asleep faster, reduce maybe some of the fears and anxieties of what’s going on in your world currently, and a lot of our worlds right now, how to quiet your mind how to get deep restorative sleep, and hopefully wake up refreshed and feeling a little bit more energized. And, you know, it is proven that both sleep and reduction of stress can help improve your concentration, your productivity, your overall happiness, and even your immune function, which I think we all need right now. So we’re gonna demystify a lot of meditation. And I’m really excited because I’ve never done anything like this before, in bringing a family member on, this person is one of my first meditation and mindfulness coaches. And that is my dad. I’m gonna tell you a little bit about him in just a moment here. But a little bit of background for me that one of the reasons I’m so passionate about mindfulness is that both of my parents have always encouraged really being in touch with my emotions, being able to sit still, with my emotions, pay attention to what’s going on. My mom is a mental health counselor, and my dad is as I will tell you here in a minute, a licensed hypnotist. So not only is he a licensed hypnotist, and that is what he’s doing almost as his early retirement career, and has been doing it for years here, but has experienced running businesses as experience, even getting his master’s in education. So he has a lot of background and understanding how to teach some of these principles. So John Hunckler, my dad was introduced to Transcendental Meditation, Zen and hypnosis back in the 1970s, but didn’t really become a hypnotist until almost a decade ago, and 2011. He holds master’s degrees from the University of North Dakota and Notre Dame in education and business, and worked for 18 months in a very busy practice in Indianapolis, Indiana before opening his own practice, he’s hosted 1000s of sessions, helping people quit smoking, lose weight, clearing uncontrollable fears, and maybe unreasonable fears, and getting better sleep reducing stress, which again, is what we’re going to be talking about today. Please help me welcome my dad, John Hunckler. Dad, thanks for being here.

John Hunckler 02:28
Thank you, Matt, for the opportunity.

Matt Hunckler 02:31
Absolutely. I’m really excited to talk about this. And, again, if people have questions, please use the q&a function down below. But I I am running the show. So I get to steal the first few questions. And I’m really grateful for that opportunity. I want to Dad maybe to talk a little bit about how you first got introduced to meditation and mindfulness. Do you have any early first memories of what your exposure to meditation was?

John Hunckler 03:00
Well, I didn’t know that it was meditation. But I realized that later as I was exposed to Zen and other eastern meditations that use mantras or not, Zen normally does not use a mantra. But that in my childhood, I was taught because I was raised Catholic, I was taught to pray the rosary, which is a type of mantra meditation that repeats about a six second prayer, the Hail Mary 50 times in the course of saying the rosary once. And during that you’re to focus for each 10 Hail Marys, each decade of the Rosary, you focus on one of the mysteries of the faith. And that is a kind of mindfulness, focused mindfulness using an audible and actually spoken mantra, or prayer.

Matt Hunckler 03:53
Why? Why are mantras or prayers and a mantra as I understand it doesn’t necessarily have to have a religious affiliation. No, not at all. It can you talk a little bit about the power of using a mantra and meditation.

John Hunckler 04:08
Sure, it’s it’s a way of calming the mind and helping it become, I speak of it as blue sky that if you can think of your mind as a blue sky. And then the lights come and go like clouds, like white, fluffy clouds moving across the blue sky of your mind. And you wouldn’t try to hurry a cloud on its way and you wouldn’t try to stop it or or hold it in its path. You simply let it come and let it go. If you treat your thoughts this way, then they don’t become obsessions. They don’t become triggers for any negative thoughts or anxieties. You see them come and you let them go. And that’s part of the effect of a mantra of course, stilling the body is an important part of it as well.

Matt Hunckler 05:00
When you had quite a bit of practice with that, as I understand it, maybe a few years of Catholic school growing up?

John Hunckler 05:08
Sure. Yes, I even went to a Catholic University Catholic High School Catholic University. So I was pretty well steeped in that.

Matt Hunckler 05:19
But I know for your undergrad at Notre Dame, you studied Japanese. And that took you over to Japan and exposed you to Zen for the first time. Do you remember what that experience was? Like?

John Hunckler 05:33
Yes, we visited the Zen temple and actually spent a few days there. And there were some Americans, a couple of young Americans, a man and a woman who were staying at the temple and learning Zen Buddhism, so they could teach us in our own language, what was going on and what their experience was. That was the first time that I heard the expression monkey mind, which is, what we notice when we pay any attention to what goes on in our minds, when we’re trying to quiet down is that our mind continues to go from thought to thought to thought to thought to thought, like a monkey

Matt Hunckler 06:14
isn’t necessarily bad. How can you find ways to? Yeah, sorry, go ahead. I’ll let you answer the first one.

John Hunckler 06:23
It’s just what it is. It’s just what it is. We do have monkey minds. And if we slow down a bit, we can begin to see it as the mind is the blue sky. And the thoughts are clouds that come and go. And it’s okay. That we can. It takes a long time. Zen takes a really long time, and then it happens in an instant. And we know, John Stuart used to end his program with a moment of Zen our local our local newscast is now ending with a moment of Zen and it’s merely they are doing it with pictures of nature, and a calming background music. moments have been moments of Zen usually come unbidden. Not at all, not at the end of the half an hour. With visuals.

Matt Hunckler 07:20
Well, I want to tell you about my first couple of experiences trying to meditate. While I do that, I forgot to tell you to silence your phone bad. So if you want to silence your phone was my first my first experience with meditation. I did it a lot, I think when I was a kid, and certainly there are a lot of meditative experiences from shooting free throws to practicing skateboard tricks to practicing magic tricks, which was something I did as a kid that was a very meditative experience and in some ways act as as a mantra. But I remember as an adult in my busiest years, postgraduation really getting mad at myself and a lot of self judgment and self doubt that I wasn’t doing doing meditation, right, quote, unquote. I imagined that’s something that you run into sometimes with your clients, how do you coach them through that sort of self self deprecation that can be so prevalent?

John Hunckler 08:29
Well, different ways. relaxed and focused is what you want to be in meditation. And that’s actually a good description of what hypnosis is. relaxed and focused, relaxed and focused. The focus can be auditory with a mantra. It can be visual with an icon, which is used in Eastern Orthodox Christian religions, focusing on an icon on a religious icon, auditory visual, but a lot of these things we, in the West like to cut out for our meditation, and then we’re left with other senses. Our bodies and Eckhart Tolle focuses on this breathing. If we focus on our breathing and focus on the sensations of our bodies. It’s it’s also a good way to relax and focus, noticing our sense of touch, smell, even taste, focusing on different parts of the body as a way to simply relax, relax and focus.

Matt Hunckler 09:46
You mentioned the mantra as a way to kind of relax into that. And I know a lot of times, mantras are sometimes words that aren’t even real words or they’re Sanskrit words, so you don’t necessarily even know know the meaning

John Hunckler 10:01
not necessary to know the meaning, right?

Matt Hunckler 10:04
Can you talk a little bit about the power of language and how that connects to this concept of meditation, mindfulness and being more intentional with your thoughts.

John Hunckler 10:19
I love to talk about language, and how powerful it is. But I’m going to move over away for a little bit away from meditation and talk about our daily language. Because we live out of habit, we live more out of habit than out of intention than we want to admit. And it’s a great deal of our lives are lived out of habit, that habits were formed early, and they can be reformed, they can be changed, but we hold them at the very deep level, at the subconscious level, we don’t quite know why we do a lot of the things that we do. If they serve us, we just keep on doing them. If they don’t serve us, sometimes it’s difficult to to change those habits. We hold them at the deep level, and our language either supports them, which it normally does when we’re not paying attention to our language, or language can be used to shift habits that we want to shift. So I work with smokers who want to quit smoking. And the first thing I tell them is begin to talk about it in the past tense. Talk about how you have smoked in the past, when it started, how long you’ve smoked and so on, but speak of it in past tense. Similarly, an important thing for them to remember is that when they become free of tobacco, they should refer to themselves as former smokers, non smokers, they’ll never quite be non smokers, the way of the way an eight year old is a non smoker, they can return to that freedom. But they need to speak of it in terms of being a former smoker, so that they know that for them half a cigarette means they’re going to the convenience store and buying them by the pack or by the garden again. And it’s just that simple. That is a powerful, addictive habit. And it can revive itself very quickly, with a little tickle. So they need to use language to keep that little tickle from happening, and refer to themselves as a former smoker, which reminds them of that. One other example of language. Well, actually a couple of other examples that I thought of this language around our social isolation. Early on, people were talking about being cooped up, I heard it on the news all the time, how terrible it is that people are cooped up and confined. That language doesn’t help at all. Speaking of it as being cooped up, there are other words to use, it can be considered a retreat, it can be considered a vacation or a staycation. And those words have a lot less negative impact on our sense of what’s going on in our lives. So language is really important. One other example is when I went into an MRI machine, and I was completely surrounded, in fact, I had my head pinned and was told what was going to happen inside the machine. And the last thing he did before he put me in the machine was handed me a button. And he said here this is your panic button. Oh, thanks very much. That was a wonderful send off. Terrible use of language. It should have at best been a an abort button. Use only in dire circumstances. Use only as a last resort. Okay, but calling it a panic button suggests exactly what I didn’t want. Yeah, I made it through. I did a lot of stuff. I did a lot of meditation in that too.

Matt Hunckler 14:06
I bet. I bet I really liked that reframe of talking about our experience right now that we’re in instead of being cooped up instead of being on house arrest or any of the other phrases that you hear people referring to this lockdown, and it’s really more of a we’re all opting into it, right? We’re all at the end of this collective experience to try to help flatten the curve. And if you’re listening, I hope you’re helping flatten the curve and listening to this at home. I really liked that reframe. And I think introducing that over the last few weeks I’ve noticed just the benefit of finding more opportunities in this time that I’m at home, not only to meditate, but to do other things that I’ve always wanted to do like play my guitar I’m more or spend more time with my fiancee with Ali. And I really, I really liked that reframe. And it can be very challenging sometimes to as an extrovert, it’s hard. It’s hard to be without that human connection, face to face.

John Hunckler 15:17
Even if you know what you’re doing in in converting the language over, even though you’re conscious of doing it. It’s important, because your subconscious is always listening. And your subconscious is is more primitive and less thoughtful about the kinds of things that you’re feeding it. So again, another example, I tell my clients, drop the word try. I know other people have heard this, drop the word try in your language, because when you say I’m trying to quit smoking, or I’m trying to quit biting my fingernails, or I’m trying to study more hours in the day, what your subconscious hears is that you’re trying and you’ve already succeeded, then at trying, it doesn’t have to offer any support to what you’ve said as your goal, because you’re setting your goal as trying. And you’ve already succeeded at trying. But what you want to succeed at is the thing that you’re targeting, the more you know, a few more hours of study, relaxing, whatever it is, forget about trying and either do it or do not. I think Yoda said something like that.

Matt Hunckler 16:28
He’s pretty wise, I think he’s a few 100 years old. So a good one to quote. Can you talk to me a little bit more about that sort of mind body connection? Because it’s it seems to me sort of that’s what you’re describing is by physically changing the way we talk, which has the benefit of that being a physical act, but also delivering the message, a different message and Reframing the Message, by the way you talk about it, but that there also might be some mind body connection happening there, too. Is there a compounding effect with that?

John Hunckler 17:05
Yes, absolutely. And when I introduce it, one of the first things I say to new clients is we are mind body, you are mind body. And the idea of calling it a mind body connection is really just too many words. It’s two sides of the same coin, we access our minds, through our bodies, we access our bodies, through our minds. We are mind body. And so being aware of that, we use both angles, we use both aspects. Relaxing, physically affects our minds, we know that relaxing our mind, and using proper language helps reduce the stress in our bodies and our minds. And we can feel it in both places.

Matt Hunckler 17:55
Are there ways that people can use their body to shift how they feel and how they think? Because I know, there are some patterns of personally that I have in situations like this, that can be stirred up by the what might seem like or feel like chaos or crisis that we’re in. And I don’t know why I might get the idea of reading through all the headlines of the media right now. But, you know, if you just read the headlines, you might think you’re in crisis. Are there things that we can do with our bodies to shift how we feel?

John Hunckler 18:32
Absolutely. Amy Cuddy did some research out of out of Harvard on Power Poses high power poses and low power poses. And just a simple explanation of it is that when you have an open body position, some extreme examples are Mick Jagger onstage, Oprah Winfrey or Lee Iacocca at the desk. These are high power poses. A simple high power pose that anybody can do is Superman or wonder woman standing with your feet apart, standing Hands on your hips, shoulders back, head up, and standing like that for two minutes. reduces your stress. It reduces your cortisol which lowers your stress. Oh great pictures reduces your cortisol, it raises your testosterone even for women, your testosterone rises, you feel stronger. It’s not enough to develop male pattern baldness but you’re going to bring up energy while reducing stress. It’s the way to go into a job review or a job interview energized, yet relaxed. It’s a great way to do a presentation or to do anything with yourself or other people relaxed and energized as the way you want to come to life and to life’s challenges standing like this for two minutes. And then I add an affirmation that I borrowed from Tony Robbins, all I need is within me now, all I need is within me now, if you simply repeat that as a mantra, all I need is within me now, then you know, it’s a matter of accessing it and you’re actually accessing it as you stand, or sit in a high power pose, relaxing, and yet bringing energy to whatever is next, whatever is now and whatever’s next.

Matt Hunckler 20:26
When I know there’s a lot of research that backs this up, and it’s definitely something that I’ve used, even just before I get onstage at a speaking event, or if I’m feeling like I’m in a negative pattern, or a low energy pattern, getting into this goofy pose, ideally in private, but you know, if anyone ever walks by me in my office, and I’m just gazing into the corner, you’ll you’ll know why. I think I think this example is awesome, because it is so simple. But the the fact that it is so connected to your thoughts and your feelings, and it’s not just your thoughts and feelings that change how you move physiologically, but it works both ways. That’s right.

John Hunckler 21:11
Because we are mind body, so that even crossing your legs will raise your blood pressure, which you want to not do in the doctor’s office, if you want your blood pressure to to show up at its best. Don’t cross your legs, and they will tell you that if they’re aware.

Matt Hunckler 21:30
Yeah, and blood pressure is not the best even if you’re not in the doctor’s office, clean blood pressure is not good. Right? Yes, but some blood pressures. Good point. There, I know there are some other things that you’ve talked about before Dad, just in terms of how to shift how you feel and think one of those being the breath. And I want to talk about that maybe in a minute. But you’ve also talked about just in general, how to even change the way you move your art, something as little as eye movement can have a big impact on how you think or feel. Do you mind talking a little bit about that?

John Hunckler 22:07
Yes, neurolinguistics and the neuro linguistic research and practitioners back from the 70s and through to today have discovered lots of connections between mind and body. Working with well, things showing up in the body that are mental and similarly, using your body to shift how your brain is working, how your mind is working. One of the most valuable ones I found in a quick way to shift how you feel is looking up and holding your gaze up. Not lifting your chin but just lifting your eyes and pretending you could look through your own eyebrows just taking your eyes up as far as they can possibly go. Again, this was discovered and has been used since the 70s neurolinguistics. Rather, neuroscience doesn’t yet understand why it works. But that’s okay, it works. I don’t understand how the internet works, but I use it anyway. The lifting your gaze and looking up shifts your your mind if you think about a hurt from the past, just as an experience for this an experiment self experiment. Think about someone who hurt you betrayed your trust somewhere along the line. And think of them looking down at a desktop or at the floor and feel how it feels in the negative charge around that old offense. And then look up and hold your gaze up and think of the same person and the same thing that they did or failed to do. And you’ll notice that you can remember it, obviously, but that negative charge on it falls away as you’re looking up and holding the gaze up. It’s a wonderfully powerful thing. And while it was discovered in the 70s, it was actually discovered back in the early 40s by a young actress named Lauren Bacall, who married Humphrey Bogart and acted with Humphrey Bogart quite often. She went into her very first, or very first acting scenes in the movies physically shaking like a leaf. And what she discovered was that if she would drop her chin and raise her eyes and make eye contact that way, that she would stop shaking. It became the Lauren Bacall look, and it became her trademark. But for her, it was actually a very practical thing. In those early days of acting. She dropped the shakes and became a very famous actress.

Matt Hunckler 24:43
And if you’re tuning in on the video livestream, you’ll be able to see this, this image that we’ve got pulled up here, but if you’re listening in retrospect, maybe on the podcast, or have it pulled up in another window, we’ll make sure we link this up in the show notes for you as well, as well as the power pose Hey, Dad, I’d love to shift to some guest q&a here. But first, I want to let people know one, we are going to end this session with a totally optional five minute relaxation meditation that my dad will lead. This will be something hopefully that can de stress help you reset and your day before we go back and on our way into our normal lives, but hopefully give a sense of some of the things that we’re talking about here in terms of reducing and relieving stress. But I wanted to make sure before we dive into audience q&a That I remind you, you can click the q&a button down at the bottom, if you’re tuning in here on Zoom. Or if you’re on YouTube, you can drop a question in the comments there. And, and we’ll ship to those here in just a moment. But before we do that, I wanted to talk a little bit about how you ended up transitioning from some of these things that you learned in terms of neurolinguistics in terms of meditation and mindfulness to getting exposed to hypnosis. What was your first earliest understanding of of hypnosis, and what were some of your feelings about it at that time?

John Hunckler 26:14
Well, it’s interesting because I took about a 40 year hiatus from hypnosis between my mid 20s And, and mid 60s I had had had an experience with a hypnotist who actually came to a graduate class that I was teaching at the University of North Dakota, that I had titled other ways of knowing I was having coffee with him and he said, Well, you should definitely include hypnosis as another way of knowing. And so he led about three sessions in in my class group sessions for us. And the third one, I was listening to Bach while after being relaxed into a hypnotic or guided meditation. And I wasn’t using earphones or anything, it was just the turntable and, and speakers and Bach was, I could feel back from my head to my toes, it was quite an experience, a very memorable experience. Then, I met a hypnotist in my 60s, and he’s the one who introduced me to the to the idea that I could be a hypnotist and, and I was well prepared for it.

Matt Hunckler 27:37
That’s really cool. I feel like most people’s first introduction to hypnosis is like the Looney Tunes swirling eyes or some of the movies. A lot of times tend to be scary movies where people get hypnotized and they do things against their will or they end up getting interrupted halfway through hypnosis. And now, you know, they’re permanently rewired the wrong way. Lots of lots of opportunity for good plot, good plot twists, and good, good plot roadmap. But did you have any of those preconceptions or even hesitations with respect to hypnosis?

John Hunckler 28:15
You know, I didn’t in the way that it was introduced to me but but in my upbringing, I was taught that the Catholic Church did not approve of hypnosis did not want you to participate in any kind of stage hypnosis or anything like that, because you’d be giving up your freewill to another person. That is not what hypnosis is about. I do think that there are dangerous people out there who would like to have you do whatever they want you to do, but I don’t think that hypnosis is usually the the way that they want to accomplish that. They would do it through repeated propaganda instead. You retain your freewill in hypnosis, if you haven’t given it up somewhere else, you have freewill. And the hypnotist doesn’t take that and a good hypnotist doesn’t do anything but what you want them to do in terms of shifting an attitude or behavior or even relieving a dis ease or unease with something in your life. And that’s, that’s what I learned. And in fact, the Catholic Church has no stance for or against hypnosis I’ve recently learned and I didn’t have any trepidation because of the people that I was experiencing it with. My trust in them.

Matt Hunckler 29:51
And hypnosis can sound like this kind of magical thing. Can you talk a little bit about what hypnosis This is and have I been hypnotized? Even if I haven’t had someone with a pocket watch, you know, sitting in

John Hunckler 30:08
front of my face? Sure. Yeah, we go into hypnosis every day. Children go into children often live in a sort of hypnotic in and out of a hypnotic trance, mild trance because they live more from their subconscious than we finally do as as adults. But our subconscious is still there. And we go in and out of hypnosis as well daydreaming, highway hypnosis where you miss your exit. And you know it was because you were thinking about that conversation you were going to have with someone and you weren’t paying attention, particularly to the road, your subconscious was doing the driving, but it wasn’t paying attention to which exit you needed to get off on. Similarly, and a good example, is when we go to the movies, when you go to the movies, you naturally go into a state of eyes open, hypnosis, you relax and focus. And that’s the basis of meditation. And that’s the basis of hypnosis. In the movie, you give yourself over to the movie maker, because you came not to be a critic, but to be entertained, to be carried away to a place and a time that’s different from yours. And in that you forget, you mean to forget, and you do easily forget that those are actors, that it’s CGI. And it all becomes very real for you temporarily real, suspending judgment about it. And in that it can move you to be startled and actually jump in your seat. Even previews can do that for me. I don’t go to scary movies. If you care about the not the actor, if you care about the character, you can be moved to laughter or tears. While sitting in that theater seat watching lights on the wall and hearing sounds coming through speakers. That’s a level of hypnosis that everybody understands unless they never go to the movies.

Matt Hunckler 32:11
And when you talk about a hypnosis practice or hypnosis session, I’ve heard you refer to it as meditation with a mission. Can you tell me a little bit what you mean by that?

John Hunckler 32:22
Sure. People ask me what’s the difference between meditation and hypnosis. And it’s it’s practically that simple. Lots of meditation is hypnotic. Lots of hypnosis sessions start with a guided meditation. But meditate meditation with a mission because clients come to me because they want to quit smoking, or they want to eat better, or give up some other fear or doubt or habit that they have. And so the mission that I’m on is to help them with language and suggestion and visualization of themselves living more and more easily and more and more often the way they want to live the way they’ve decided consciously that they want to live. But we’re speaking to the subconscious mind in hypnosis, and getting the subconscious mind on board with this new chosen direction. So that it becomes incorporated into their behavior and, and life. That’s the mission.

Matt Hunckler 33:23
That’s great. That’s really helpful. And we’ll get a chance to practice a guided meditation here at the end, maybe not a full hypnotic trance in the five minutes. That’ll be totally optional if if you’re still listening, just to get an idea of what a guided meditation might feel like. But first, I want to dive into some some audience q&a Did you have something you wanted to add than

John Hunckler 33:49
just that another way to experience that is that I for this, I put together a 15 minute relaxing into sleep, guided meditation, something that you can use to relax your mind and body into a good night’s sleep. Because a good night’s sleep is going to help you in your waking hours. Definitely be more creative, be a better problem solver. reduce the stress the daily stress in your life if you get a good night’s sleep, and oftentimes that starts as you like, lie down in bed.

Matt Hunckler 34:19
I have been using one of those guided meditations that you sent me dad to make sure I’m getting good sleep. And that’s really kind of what gave me the idea of this session during the session and sharing this was I was realizing just how helpful that has been for me to make sure I’m getting enough sleep each night and relaxing into sleep every night and a deep restful sleep, which has just been incredibly incredibly, incredibly helpful. I do want to transition to some q&a here. This first one is from an anonymous attendee. And this question is so as I am, of course at home trying to help flatten the pandemic curve. Question is that I have several roommates, which can sometimes cause a lot of anxiety and sometimes stress as is. But with all of us being home during the pandemic, it’s hard to stand up to that kind of stress. What are some things that you would recommend to help relieve this stress anxiety during this time of lockdown?

John Hunckler 35:28
Okay, well, I’m not sure whether this is stress and anxiety just from the increased interaction with roommates, or whether it has to do with them not using all the social isolation that you are using. So I’ll address both of those. Yes, the simple interaction with other people can be lessened and relieved by retreating. Retreating to your room or retreating to the quiet of your own mind. with closed eyes, using whatever mantra whether it has meaning to you or not, whatever repeated word or words like calm, peace, or something with no particular meaning. Some people use the number one, some people say amen or alluvia, whatever word you want to use in the quiet of your own mind. Do that retreat. In other words, do a retreat of 1015 or 20 minutes, you will find yourself more relaxed, less stressed, and you more tolerant of other people.

Matt Hunckler 36:53
That’s good advice.

John Hunckler 36:54
Now, if you’re concerned about their core social isolation habits outside of your apartment, then you need to retreat into a mask and gloves and lots of hand washing. And try to talk some sense into them.

Matt Hunckler 37:19
That’s good advice to our next question is from Serena. I will bring Serena on to the show to ask her question here live. I think she’s got a a good question here that probably a lot of us have.

Okay, well, my question is, I’ve been on these shows before where you know, there’s a hypnotist and they call people from, from the audience and they do the whole thing with the arm and then say the words. Can you explain what is happening there?

John Hunckler 37:53
I think so.

Matt Hunckler 37:55
Great question Serena.

John Hunckler 37:56
Let me say thank you, Serena. I think so let me say first that the bell curve of hypnotize ability is the bell curve. The people that they want on stage are the people in this tale of highly hypnotizable. Everybody who is interested in being on stage shows up on stage some of them are on the bigger part of the bell curve. And they’re not the best subjects to have on the stage. They’re not the best participants to have on stage and some hypnotist, winnow them out and send them back to their seats. I have had people who’ve come to me years later after being winnowed out and they said, I really don’t think I can be hypnotized because the hypnotist sent me back to my seat. Well, he sent you back to your seat because you’re in the big part of the bell curve. And he wanted the people out here highly suggestible, highly hypnotizable quickly hypnotizable people so that they would do strange things cluck like chickens, you know, dance like Elvis and whatever else he wanted them to do. Most people can be hypnotized. The people who were out in the other tail of the curve are people who can’t follow instructions at all. Just extreme OCD couldn’t be distracted by anything and cannot follow from one direction to the next. If you can follow directions, and close your eyes, you can eventually go into a level of hypnosis that allows you to accomplish things that you can’t accomplish with your conscious mind alone. Does that

Matt Hunckler 39:45
so if those people then dad who are highly suggestible and are the ones in the audience raising their hand and coming up on stage, I know this isn’t what you do, and that’s something you’ve ever done before.

John Hunckler 39:58
Stage hypnosis

Matt Hunckler 40:00
But can you? Can you talk a little bit about what is happening there? So they’re highly suggestible, which means they’re able to act does that mean they’re able to access their subconscious more quickly, and drop into that hypnotic state more quickly?

John Hunckler 40:16
Yes, it means actually, that throughout their life they are they are listening at that deeper level. And taking suggestions from lots of people from commercials, and advertising from propaganda from their mate and friends. They are not inferior for that they are simply different. And out in the tail of the bell curve of hypnotize ability and suggestibility.

Matt Hunckler 40:50
So can you talk a little bit more in that not talking about stage hypnosis now? Even more broadly than hypnosis when we’re talking about meditation, when we’re talking about tapping into the power of our subconscious? What is that difference between conscious and subconscious? And why does it seem like the subconscious thing sometimes has a different agenda than this conscious mind?

John Hunckler 41:21
Okay. Union union psychology would say that it’s because we are like an iceberg. And that the tip that’s above the waterline is our consciousness. And what’s below the waterline is much deeper and broader and actually can tap into a collective unconscious, that’s species wide, and has 1000s of years of history. Okay, but just for the personal subconscious, you were taught things as a child, some of which you learned the way somebody was teaching you and some of what you learned quite the opposite of the way they were teaching you are what they wanted to teach you. We’ve learned all kinds of things when we were little, that the positive things have served us well. And the negative things have been stumbling blocks to us in what we have wanted for ourselves in terms of health and vitality, self confidence, creativity, there are all kinds of beliefs we picked up in childhood, on purpose or by accident that we hold at the subconscious level. And there is, it’s called the critical factor that is sort of like a guard or a gatekeeper. That doesn’t, doesn’t let us access those beliefs, with conscious thought, no matter how much we try. Although affirmations go out, and to some extent, to help us reverse negative or disempowering thoughts. With hypnosis, even people in the bulk of the bell curve can relax into a state where that critical factor that gatekeeper kind of takes a break, and opens the gate and lets us go in and rearrange things at the subconscious level, the personal subconscious level, so that traumatic experiences can be alleviated. Not by re experiencing them, but by restricting them and making them different than they were.

Matt Hunckler 43:38
That’s really helpful.

John Hunckler 43:44
I’ve seen it help a lot of people is it’s a powerful and, and wonderful tool for that very thing.

Matt Hunckler 43:51
Absolutely. I’ve got a great question here from a parent. This is Ryan from the powderkeg. Team. Let’s bring Ryan on the show. Although I know his power went out last night he was sharing in our morning standard this morning. Ryan, can you hear us? I see Ryan, but I don’t know if we can hear Ryan.

About now. Can you hear me now? Yeah. Guys, all right.

Matt Hunckler 44:22
Hey, Brian, what’s your question?

Oh, yeah. So I had been trying to open up my daughter to the idea of meditation over the past few days and weeks, using an app called calm, which is a very, I think, good intro for beginners. I didn’t know if you had any suggestions. She’s kind of resistant to it. She said, Let me meditate in my room by myself in my own way. I was like, Okay, that’s a start. So you have someone who’s closed off to the idea of meditation. Are there ways to maybe convince them? Are there ways to like, I don’t know I’ve already planted the seed. I’m going to kind of keep non aggressively pushing it on not pushing it on her, but like, hey, this might help you. I think you have some issues that you’re aware of. She’s aware she has some anxieties and some fears, some catastrophic thinking, how can we prove to her that there’s this because this can help her, I guess?

John Hunckler 45:15
Mm hmm.

Matt Hunckler 45:17
Great question, Ryan. Yeah, Dad, do you have any advice for people introducing the idea of meditation to others in a way that? You know, I think I can relate to Ryan’s question, because I think we probably all have people in our lives who struggle with one thing or another. And in general, we want to help them. And if meditation has been helpful to us, we want to share that with them. Do you have any recommendations for people who want to introduce others to meditation or hypnosis?

John Hunckler 45:52
Can I do a little back and forth with Ryan? Just to find out a little bit more about this? Sure.

Matt Hunckler 45:59
I think so. If we can bring Ryan back on the show. I think that

yeah, I’m back.

John Hunckler 46:05
Okay, Ryan. How old is your daughter?

She’s 12.

John Hunckler 46:10
She’s 12. Okay. All right. Rebellion,

Arias name. There is a different definite, different, you know, that’s a difficult age

John Hunckler 46:22
for sure. It is a difficult age. Yes, it would probably work better if you told. told to never not

do it. I advise you not to do that. Yeah. Dangerous.

John Hunckler 46:43
Okay, so, gonna give you an idea for a younger child. If there might be some people with younger children out there listening? Yeah, I

have a six year old as well. I have a six year old boy. So. Okay. He’s Oh, he’s more open to ideas.

John Hunckler 46:59
Yes, okay. Find ways that they are already meditating, find ways that they are already relaxing and focusing. Does your daughter listen to any music? Especially music with words that she memorize songs that she listens to? Do you know? Oh, yeah, I’m

sure probably. Yeah.

John Hunckler 47:23
Okay. You might ask her to share some of those with you. Maybe her favorite lyrics, you know, or her favorite line, or something like that. And suggest that you’ve probably already introduced Have you introduced her to the idea of a mantra? No, okay. She’s already using monitors. This might be the best way to work with a teen or preteen around meditation is to see ways that they are already relaxing and focusing.

So like getting into the zone on something like drawing, or

John Hunckler 48:05
Exactly, yes. Yes, yes. And yeah, celebrate how they are already doing that. And in that way, maybe and obviously not heavy handedly. Because then you get the you get the reverse effect, or resistance. But yeah, thanks. dropping hints here and there. In, you know, in the car once once that meals, that sort of thing. Awesome. Has that got for you, Ryan right now? But it could. It could be. Could be the trick.

Matt Hunckler 48:46
Good question, Ryan. And I appreciate you sharing those ideas dad from someone who has had to 12 year old daughters at one point in time, or another? Two different points in time. So if you have questions, go ahead and drop them down below in the chat. We’ll work to get those answered. But we’re coming up here on time. So it looks like we have about five minutes left if you’re still on the call and would like to join for this guided meditation. Dad, can you tell us a little bit about what we’re about to do?

John Hunckler 49:17
Okay, let me do a housekeeping thing to anybody who wants the 15 Minute relaxing into restful sleep? Yes. Patient. Why don’t they ask powderkeg for it. I’ll get it

Matt Hunckler 49:30
to you. Yep. And actually, you said it’s just John at Bloomington hypnosis,

John Hunckler 49:35
John at Bloomington That works too.

Matt Hunckler 49:40
We’ll send that info in a follow up email to all guest attendees as well, so that they can so you can get in touch and share that sleep hypnosis. Thanks for reminding me about that because I want to make sure we’ll have that as well.

John Hunckler 49:55
Good. So what we’ll do here in just a few minutes is As a simple progressive relaxation, my voice and your eyes closed, probably sitting or reclining and relaxing. I’m going to then affirm some of your strengths. I’m assuming everybody on here is intelligent. I’m going to affirm your intelligence. I assume that everybody on here is compassionate. I’m going to affirm your compassion and things like that. Simple things, your wisdom, your courage, and help you see how those things are already active in your life. I’ll be speaking in singular to each person on on this, who stays around to listen to it. It should be very relaxing, and at the end of it, I’ll count you up as if coming up from a meditation or a nap. And that’s it. So very simple.

Matt Hunckler 51:09
Sounds good. Let’s do it. Dad whenever you’re ready,

John Hunckler 51:13
okay. sitting comfortably, or lying down with your legs uncrossed and your hands at your sides or on your lap, but not connected to each other. Take a deep breath in. Take a deep conscious breath in, hold it for one count. And let it goes slowly. Let it go all the way out. And you’ll naturally take another breath. Let that breath be a conscious breath and take it in. Take it in deeply. Fill your lungs. And then let that go slowly and feel the natural relaxation response that comes simply with breathing. Your shoulders may drop a little your body relaxes. Continue to breathe consciously deep breaths. I want you to take 10 deep breaths and so begin to count them on your fingers. Just pressing lightly down each finger in turn with each breath as I continue to give you direction at the end of those 10 deep, conscious breaths, Let your breath go to natural easy breathing. unconscious, natural easy breathing. You can watch your breath if you want to being that conscious of it. That’s okay. As you continue those deep breaths, we’re going to do some relaxation of the body. Imagine warm liquid relaxation like liquid sunshine pouring down over the top of your head and pouring down the back of your head and neck and into your spine and down your spine through each vertebra all the way to your tailbone. Thank it. Imagine it. Invite that relaxation and welcome it. Again from the top of your head. Let that warm liquid relaxation flow down the sides of your head and neck into your neck and shoulders and from your shoulders into your arms down through your upper arms, elbows and forearms down into your wrists and hands all the way to the tips of your fingers and thumbs. Once more from the top of your head let that warm soft liquid relaxation pour over your face. Relaxing the muscles of your forehead, all the muscles around your eyes. Let your nose and cheeks relax your upper lip and lower jaw. If they haven’t already, let your teeth part just slightly. Feel the relaxation that brings to your lower jaw and let it flow over your chin and down the outside of your throat and neck on down across your chest and abdomen and around the back of you into your back. So that your upper torso now from your neck to your waist fills with relaxation fills with that liquid relaxation, every internal muscle fiber bone all to the marrow of your bones and every internal organ relaxes. See that your heart beats relaxed. See that your stomach and intestines digest their food and nourish your body relaxed and you too can do what you need and want and intend and deserve to do relaxed, with your upper body relaxed and relaxing, still deeper with each breath. But that warm liquid pour into your lower body, through your hips and buttocks, pelvis and thighs, your knees, your lower legs, and your feet. Massage your feet with your mind now, tops, sides and the backs of your feet. Besides the bottoms of your feet, heels, arches in the steps and the balls of your feet and your toes. relaxing deeply in body and mind. You are strong. See in your life where your strength shows up. Physical strength and moral strength, see how strong you are. You are intelligent. See how your intelligence shows up in your life and honor that. Honor your creativity and problem solving ability. Honor your perseverance. Notice it and honor it. And you are compassionate. You care for yourself and you care for others. And that’s good for you. And that’s good for the world. Honor how you do that. Notice it and honor it. And know that it’s good. As you relax and find your life to be better. It’s not just self focused. It’s not selfish, it’s generous for when you make your life better, you make the world better. And on that positive thought, I’ll count you up now. I’ll count you up from one to five. When I get to five, you can simply easily open your eyes. Continue to rest until you’re ready to do what’s next one, relaxed and refreshed to coming up. Three taking a deep breath and blow it out strongly. This is an energy breath take it in quickly. Without strongly like blowing out candles for move your fingers, move your toes a little bit. Now, ready for whatever’s next, open your eyes on 512345.

Matt Hunckler 57:34
Thanks for leading us through that den. And I know you’ve put together a special track that is more of like a 15 minute relaxation into specifically for sleep, right?

John Hunckler 57:50
Yes, yes, you can listen to it with background music or ambient sounds, whatever suits you or listen to it all alone, you’ll hear it just as you just heard this, just my voice relaxing and helping you relax into a good night’s sleep.

Matt Hunckler 58:07
That’s super helpful that and if people want that, they can just email you at John Jay o h n at Bloomington If you’re listening, we’ll put that in the show notes as well. But we won’t be publishing this for a week or two. So if you’re interested in grabbing that track, just put in the title or the subject line, just put Sleep, sleep meditation. And that’s that’s one that I know has been super helpful for me. So I encourage anyone who’s listening right now to do that. And we’ll we’ll follow up with that email and follow up email as well. I’m feeling super relaxed right now, Dan.

John Hunckler 58:48
Thank you, Matt. All right, for the rest of your afternoon.

Matt Hunckler 58:52
Thank you. Thanks, everyone for the extra time and thanks for sticking around. That’s it for today’s show. Thank you so much for listening. Also huge thanks to my dad, John Hunckler. from Bloomington hypnosis, make sure you go check him out on Bloomington For links to his social profiles and the other people, companies and resources mentioned in this episode, head on over to powder and check out the show notes. There. We’re going to be doing a lot more of these. So be sure to check out upcoming live stream versions of the podcast with community q&a, expert advice, and a great way to just connect with others. It’s totally free going over to to check out all of those topics and to get registered. And if you’re currently in the market for finding a new role and want to be connected with cutting edge companies, and just some of the best companies doing remarkable things everywhere. You can join our matches platform completely free at And if you’re a company looking to get connected to that talent, it’s totally free to get your own culture profile and join a directory of hundreds of other tech slash sign up. It’s totally free. Ready to get started and get connected to amazing talent, and to be among the first to hear the stories about entrepreneurs, investors and tech leaders doing remarkable things outside of Silicon Valley. Subscribe to us on iTunes and We’ll catch you next time on The powderkeg podcast.