HMI College of Hypnotherapy in Tarzana has started offering classes to help people manage Zoom fatigue, including businesspeople.The term “Zoom fatigue” connects the popular online conferencing software from Zoom Video Communications Inc.
with the feeling that accompanies virtual meetings – a lack of mental focus and energy.“There are 250 million people using Zoom on a weekly basis, that have never used Zoom before March of this year,” George Kappas, director at HMI, told the Business Journal. “You have a lot of people using a new medium that they’re not good at, and because of that, I think that’s what’s contributing to a lot of this.”Kappas maintained that virtual meetings, specifically those with participants who have boring backgrounds, fuzzy picture quality and poor lighting, lead to an unstimulating experience for the brain.“People are going into hypnosis,” explained Kappas. “We study how and why people enter the hypnotic state and Zooming has a number of properties that liken itself to that very well. Everyone enters it daily before going to bed at night, and then you transition to sleep.”He compared this consciousness to the fight or flight mechanism. The brain becomes overwhelmed with the visual stimuli on screen and escape into a sleepy, dissociative mental state.“If you’re going into hypnosis because of your Zoom meeting, the natural transition is to feel sleepy,” said Kappas. “It drives you crazy.”HMI’s classes offer a two-fold approach to Zoom fatigue – the hypnotherapist helps individuals recognize when they are entering a hypnotic state, and then gives them the tools to “snap out of it.”“We use hypnosis to help people get out of hypnosis. That sounds odd, but what happens is people kind of get stuck in this state. They’re sequestered, they’re eating badly, they’re sleeping badly, they’re staring at a screen for multiple hours, and they sort of get stuck in this trance state,” explained Kappas. “We take them a little deeper, and then we create block mechanisms and we give them suggestions not to enter the hypnotic state without an expressed intent.”Kappas said that it’s also what people don’t see – as well as a disappointment with what we experience – during a virtual meeting that contributes to Zoom fatigue. Information that we glean from body language, eye contact and environment is missing when we’re only seeing someone from the neck up.“Lacking those things, our mind is searching for that information and it’s not finding it,” added Kappas. “Part of what helps people with Zoom fatigue is to Zoom with other people that know how to Zoom, that have high definition cameras, good lighting, interesting backgrounds. It shows them from the waist up; you can kind of see their body language.”Copying television production as best as one can in the home, Kappas said, is another good way to combat Zoom fatigue for the audience.“It is worth investing a little bit … people really need that interaction, and you want people to interact with you, but what you don’t realize is the fuzzier, darker, worse image you present, the less people want to interact with you. A lot of people don’t think in those terms because they’re not television producers,” said Kappas.