Hypnosis can be easier than meditation for worriers who struggle to clear their minds.

Whenever a friend tells me they’re considering undergoing hypnosis to quit X bad habit (and in Brooklyn I hear it a lot), I think about the hypnotist my college hired at the beginning of every year to humiliate my classmates in front of each other. It was the high point of every homecoming: A guy wearing a Britney Spears–style hands-free microphone would invite a few of the bravest and most annoying students onstage, put them to “sleep,” and ask them to do something embarrassing, like gyrating along to a recording of a nursery rhyme, or shouting the name of the person they had a crush on. Obviously, I never volunteered—both because I was sure hypnosis wouldn’t work on me, and also because I was afraid of what my subconscious might do if it did.

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