Online Free Self Hypnosis – Pain and Stress Reduction

by Benjamin Langley on June 5, 2010 · 45 comments

Who cares about pain and stress reduction?

  • 54% percent of Americans are concerned about the level of stress in their everyday lives.
  • 62% of Americans say work has a significant impact on stress levels.
  • Two thirds of Americans say they are likely to seek help for stress.

Statistics from an APA Survey in 2004

headache, pain and stress reduction

An estimated 50 million Americans suffer from persistent pain each year.

from an American Pain Foundation poll

tendonitis, pain and stress reduction

These numbers dwarf the number of cases of ‘new and exciting’ problems which are frequently called ‘epidemic’.

Clearly this is a widespread problem… the question for this article becomes:

How can the techniques from the Online Free Self Hypnosis series help with these challenges facing so many people?

The first step is to recognize that both of these conditions, stress and pain, take place in consciousness.

This doesn’t mean that “they are all in your head”… but your experience of them is.

If you are unconscious… there is no stress… there is no pain.

The real solution isn’t to become unconscious (this is rather inconvenient to say the least)… the solution is to understand that your beliefs, attitudes and intent (all aspects of consciousness) will determine your reaction to stimuli, which will in turn determine your experience of pain and stress (as well as pleasure, peacefulness, etc.).

Where can we confirm this in daily life?

A roller coaster and a car accident are very similar.  Physiologically speaking, they are almost identical.  You get jerked around violently.  Your heart rate and breathing increase.  Your perception of time tends to change.  So what’s the difference?

In the car crash, you expect pain and possibly death… so it is terrifying.  On a roller coaster, you expect to have a good time, so it is fun and exciting (this isn’t true in all cases… many people don’t like roller coasters, and I’ve even met one person that enjoys rollover accidents).

For different views of what might be called ‘painful’, look no further than a massage, pain and stress reductionmassage therapist.  For people who are used to it, and people who are good at relaxing… deep tissue massage is wonderful, and can help you release much more than tension.  For people who aren’t good at relaxing, or don’t like body work, deep tissue massage is like slow torture (which lasts for many days after it is finished).

Are pain and stress useful?

Before we let them go, it is important to note that pain and stress can be useful feedback mechanisms.  They both let you know you are having an adverse reaction to a stimulus.  The easy (and sometimes appropriate) response is to avoid that stimulus.

hot stove, pain and stress reductionThe classic example is a hot stove… If you put your hand on a hot stove, you get burned.  The simple yet powerful self hypnosis technique I will be describing in a moment isn’t necessary.  The even simpler self hypnotic affirmation “I’m never touching that hot stove again!” will work best here.  Useful techniques will serve you best only if you use them when and where they are useful.  This seems obvious, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people, in effect, attempting to fix a window with a hammer.

With that said…

How do we get immediate relief from pain and stress?

The 3 Ahhs Technique

This technique is a quick way to give you a little bit of space, peace, and clarity.  It is best used when you first notice a very little bit of stress and/or pain.

  • Take a deep breath, and as you exhale, relax and say “ahhhhh”
  • Repeat two more times, allowing  yourself to relax a little bit more each time.

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When you use this technique consistently, it begins to build a momentum of peacefulness and relaxed pleasure.  It works the same way the pain or stress built up momentum… only in the opposite direction.

This may not eliminate stress and/or pain entirely the first time you practice… but the more you practice, the more you will experience easy pain and stress reduction, and an increase in satisfaction and happiness throughout your life.

Important Note:  Even if you eliminate your stress and/or pain entirely with these techniques, do not change the dosage of any medications you are taking without consulting your doctor.  If you are taking meds, discuss all options of changing dosage or ending the use of medication with your doctor first.

What about other techniques?

Using the countdown, or any of the other techniques I cover in the Daily Meditation series on a daily basis (whether you are experiencing any pain or stress at the time or not) will gradually make you a much more peaceful person… much less likely to experience pain and stress.

It is important that you commit to living a pain and stress free life… and be willing to lovingly work as hard as needed to realize that goal!

When you regularly practice the techniques I describe with the intent to let go of pain and stress… they will have profound results.

One final note:  Please understand that these techniques are primarily for:

  • Relationship stress
  • Work stress
  • ‘Nagging’ pain from old injuries
  • Pain during injury recovery
  • Pain control in the event of serious injury (while seeking medical attention)

If unexpected or sever pain and/or stress occur, please contact a medical or psychiatric professional as appropriate.  They will likely encourage you to use these techniques or techniques similar to these to help manage the stress and pain, but other processes may be necessary as well.  As with all techniques, these are meant to be applied with intelligence and good judgment.

Play with Self Hypnosis.

Make it a part of your everyday life.  The more you practice relaxed and peaceful acceptance of what arises, the more you will recognize that you are more than your mind and body.

This recognition will eventually allow you to let go of all suffering from stress and pain!

keep smiling,

Benjamin

P.S. I added these pictures just to give you some positive images to replace the ‘negative’ ones earlier in this post (or to use in general throughout life):

The Happy Baby

smiling baby, pain and stress reduction

The Satisfied Cat

pain and stress reduction

A lovely smile…

smiling, pain and stress reduction

Spread the word to fellow Explorers!

{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

lance nelson June 6, 2010 at 2:39 AM

Hi Benjamin,

The three aahhs eork. Thank You1!. I have just done this an i feel better… it was a after a small and gentle bike rie to buy today’s newspaper. Toay is going to be great . thanks again.
.-= lance nelson´s last blog ..YouTube Video: It’s Serious Fun For Travel Bloggers =-.

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Benjamin June 6, 2010 at 8:51 AM

You tried out the drill and you reported your results… Thank you, Lance!

The magic is in the application…

The more you practice, the more it becomes part of who you are!

keep smiling,

Benjamin

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Bruce "the Mid-Life Mentor" June 6, 2010 at 5:12 AM

You say “the solution is to understand that your beliefs, attitudes and intent (all aspects of consciousness) will determine your reaction to stimuli” Our response to stress is in our control. This seems to be the revelation to many. We are taught and encouraged to be victims in many ways. This simple technique brings us into personal control and out of victim mode.
.-= Bruce “the Mid-Life Mentor”´s last blog ..Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-05-30 =-.

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Benjamin June 6, 2010 at 9:22 AM

Very true, Bruce!

I suppose I could have shortened the statement to simply say “Take responsibility”… and the people that paid attention would still enjoy much benefit. :-)

We are encouraged to be victims (as the victim is somehow morally superior) in this society… large companies dodge responsibility, governments dodge responsibility… so naturally, every day men and women get the idea and start doing the same thing.

This is a path of weakness!

Victimhood eventually strips a person of everything except their victim identity… and their distorted perception of ‘moral superiority’.

The path of Power is to recognize you are the primary influence on all that you experience in life. It’s not necessarily easy. Things may not change overnight. But when real sincerity in practice is present… things can change surprisingly fast!

keep smiling,

Benjamin

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Cathi Churchill August 9, 2010 at 5:40 PM

In my work as a stress management consultant, I have learned over and over that most people were never taught that emotions are a by-product of a thought, whether conscious or subconscious. It’s good to keep getting the word out.

Thank you.
.-= Cathi Churchill´s last blog ..Aug 9- Does Stress Cause Grey Hair =-.

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Benjamin August 16, 2010 at 4:04 PM

Thank you, Cathi.

Our consistent mental activity is the most profound place to focus our awareness, and this is possibly the most poorly known/applied bit of personal development wisdom in the western world (perhaps the whole world).

And it sounds like you are getting the word out with your blog as well…

Very Nice!

keep smiling,

Benjamin

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Beat Schindler June 6, 2010 at 7:07 AM

Hi Benjamin, in your blog you stress – pun intended :-) – that your techniques “are meant to be applied with intelligence and good judgment.” My experience with stressed people – including myself – shows the more they’re stressed the more those qualities – intelligence and good judgment – are likely to be AWOL. But your techniques no doubt work. Let’s hope many people discover and use them. Less stress, more love, would do the world much good.

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Benjamin June 6, 2010 at 9:08 AM

That is an excellent point, Beat!

Stress, pain, and any form of intense emotion tends to distort perception.

When I had road rage, once it really hit, I didn’t want to meditate or do breathing exercises… I just wanted all those huge morons to learn how to drive!

These techniques are best applied before stress and pain are out of hand… as soon as you notice them is the best time.

The way I overcame road rage, was to start monitoring my state (the sensations in my mind-body) moment by moment. When even a little bit of irritation would arise, I would relax, accept, and let it go… gradually, this changed ‘who’ I was.

I have also used the ’3 ahhs’ and other techniques to overcome some fairly intense stress and pain… but this is definitely the more challenging way to apply it.

If a practitioner just develops the willingness to apply the technique as soon as he notices even minute pain or stress… even if he messes up the technique, frequently the intent alone is enough to overcome the mild pain and stress… and as you said:

“Less stress, more love, would do the world much good.”

Thanks again, Beat!

keep smiling,

Benjamin

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Michelle Vandepas June 6, 2010 at 9:52 AM

Loved hearing you breathe! Funny my last interview was also on 3 breathes. I must need this information badly
.-= Michelle Vandepas´s last blog ..Doug Stevenson – Storytelling in Business =-.

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Michelle Vandepas June 6, 2010 at 9:54 AM

humm. why didn’t my last post show up correctly? (shameless self promotion for my breathing interview! )
.-= Michelle Vandepas´s last blog ..An Interview: Spiritual Teacher Marlise Karlin ‘The Simplicity of Stillness’ =-.

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Benjamin June 6, 2010 at 10:02 PM

looks like it’s there one way or the other…

:-)

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Benjamin June 6, 2010 at 10:00 PM

Glad you liked it, Michelle!

Sometimes consciousness is like an alarm… we like to keep hitting ‘snooze’ but eventually we have to wake up.

Occasionally I’m very stubborn… and refuse to wake up for quite a while. ;-)

I’ll have to give that interview a listen…

keep smiling,

Benjamin

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Michelle Vandepas June 12, 2010 at 8:28 PM

Well I forgot to breathe all day today. I guess I need a 3rd reminder so I came back here for it..
Breathing now.. Breathing now Breathing now.
.-= Michelle Vandepas´s last blog ..Please Vote for the Oprah TV Show Auditions! =-.

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Benjamin June 13, 2010 at 10:04 PM

The great thing about forgetting to practice… is that it feels so good when you come back to it.
;-)

I do the same thing on occasion (forgetting to practice)… and it’s funny, sometimes I actually have the thought… “Wait, didn’t I write a post on this recently?”

As mere mortals we are imperfect (I’m an excellent example of imperfection, by the way :-) )… and there is no reason to masquerade otherwise. All you can do is the best you can do… and as you keep doing it, things will tend to get better. There will be challenges, bumps in the road, hurt feelings, and a variety of other calamities on the way… but taking the long view… stepping back and looking at the big picture of your life (or life in general)… as you continue doing your best to do your best… your life will continue to get better on all levels.

And that’s pretty cool!

keep smiling,

Benjamin

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Corinne Edwards June 6, 2010 at 3:09 PM

Dear Benjamin -

“This technique is a quick way to give you a little bit of space, peace, and clarity. It is best used when you first notice a very little bit of stress and/or pain.

Take a deep breath, and as you exhale, relax and say “ahhhhh”
Repeat two more times, allowing yourself to relax a little bit more each time.”

The “ahhhhh” on the out breath makes all the difference.

Thanks.
.-= Corinne Edwards´s last blog ..Decision – Decision – what to do what to do =-.

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Benjamin June 6, 2010 at 10:08 PM

Thank you, Corinne!

There is magic in the ‘ahh’…

But the real magic is in the intent.

keep smiling,

Benjamin

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David Rogers June 7, 2010 at 12:32 AM

Whilst not in pain I’m getting to the stage where I’m becoming more receptive to using mediation to improve my life. This has been a useful starter, thanks.
.-= David Rogers´s last blog ..Time for Change =-.

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Benjamin June 7, 2010 at 5:30 PM

Thank you, David!

You can also use the 3 ahhs to go into trance… or awaken from trance.

Intent is the key!

keep smiling,

Benjamin

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Debbie @ Happy Maker June 7, 2010 at 7:28 AM

Great tip for reducing stress. One thing that I have learned is just to slow down. Things aren’t as important as people make them out to be. The breathing exercise you refer to does just that. Helps one slow down and take the moment to enjoy. The way I see things these days is like we are on a fright train that is out of control and by slowing down we can reduce the stress and enjoy life more. Get that train under control and enjoy the ride.
Debbie
.-= Debbie @ Happy Maker´s last blog ..Why having a great argument is one of the keys to happiness… =-.

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Benjamin June 7, 2010 at 5:41 PM

Thank you, Debbie!

And I agree completely… slowing down is a must.

I’ve done a couple of articles on it recently:

Online Free Self Hypnosis – Slow/

and

Daily Meditation – Slow (5-31-10)

keep smiling,

Benjamin

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Andrew @ Blogging Guide June 7, 2010 at 8:23 AM

The next time I get stressed, I’m going to try the one-minute solution of ’3 ahhhhhs’.

Sounds ideal.

ANdrew
.-= Andrew @ Blogging Guide´s last blog ..SexyBookmarks Plugin Upgrade =-.

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Benjamin June 7, 2010 at 5:31 PM

Thank you, Andrew.

Quick. Easy. Painless.

The ’3 ahhs’ technique is tough to beat!

keep smiling,

Benjamin

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Cheryl from thatgirlisfunny June 7, 2010 at 11:42 AM

Hi Ben,
I love how Andrew just called it the “one minute solution of 3 ahhh’s”. It works beautifully to have my brain stop mulling over whatever it is that’s stressing me out. Adding your voice with the instruction was very helpful too. Your voice is so soothing..
thank you!
.-= Cheryl from thatgirlisfunny´s last blog ..What Are Your 5 Favorite Roles in Life? =-.

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Benjamin June 7, 2010 at 6:04 PM

Thank you, Cheryl!

‘The One Minute Solution’ sounds like a great product name (or has someone else already used that?)

I would love to take credit for my incredibly soothing voice… but the magic is in your willingness to relax. When you have the willingness and the intent (the two go hand in hand), then you can use virtually any technique successfully. Vividly imagine my voice, or something you find even more relaxing… imagine the deep relaxation… and notice it as it happens.

keep smiling,

Benjamin

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Joel June 7, 2010 at 1:28 PM

Very interesting, something I’ll have to try. Often I use a technique my wife uses of yelling. Not at each other of course but like the ahhh it feels like a release, and if I’m stood up and relaxed, shouting, in a non-angry way, really does make my body feel more relaxed. Not sure about the mind though!
.-= Joel´s last blog ..Making The Jump To Writing Your First Blog =-.

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Benjamin June 7, 2010 at 5:56 PM

Thank you, Joel!

There is a whole system built around the practice of yelling to let go of anger:

Primal Scream Therapy

I have attempted screaming into pillows as loud as I can in times of anger, and I’ve never really had fantastic results, though it certainly has an effect.

I’ve spoken with people who swear by ‘primal screaming’, though, so I’m convinced that it works.

The ’3 ahhs’ is a great technique for keeping calm, relaxed, handling minor anger, dealing with stress and pain… etc.

The primal scream might be a better tool if you are already in a fit of rage… at this point it’s hard to even do the ’3 ahhs’, let alone get the benefit of it.

keep smiling,

Benjamin

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Joel June 7, 2010 at 8:54 PM

I don’t get into rages that often really, mainly stress and frustration sometimes. But I’ll be giving the 3 ahh’s a try!
.-= Joel´s last blog ..Making The Jump To Writing Your First Blog =-.

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Jen @ York Hypnotherapy June 8, 2010 at 1:00 AM

We all give the three ahhs a try as blog writers Joel, every day – reading, riting, and ‘rithmetic :-)

…sorry. Couldn’t help myself!
.-= Jen @ York Hypnotherapy´s last blog ..On being a real life living book… =-.

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Benjamin June 8, 2010 at 7:31 AM

I’m from the south in the US, and I currently live in the midwest… so it took me a little while to catch this.

Maybe if I pronounced “R” a little less like a pirate… :-)

Mitch June 7, 2010 at 7:41 PM

Ben, I often find that just taking the time to stop and read one of your articles is kind of a good chill out time then with the added drill in this one, just more good stuff
.-= Mitch´s last blog ..Weekly Boxing Roundup 6/7/2010: Cotto Back to Winning Ways, Maidana Comes Clean =-.

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Benjamin June 8, 2010 at 7:29 AM

Thank you, Mitch!

I’m glad you’re finding it useful.

Good hypnotic drills seem to work like compound interest. Just a little bit invested consistently will yield huge dividends over time.

keep smiling,

Benjamin

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Jen @ York Hypnotherapy June 8, 2010 at 12:55 AM

I’m not sure which was more positive for me this morning when I read your post – the message, or the image of the cat which is truly lovely!

So many ailments are caused by emotional disturbance and stress. If we are more mindful of our stress levels and teach ourselves to check in and see how much tension we are carrying, we’d all be much healthier I think. Hypnosis is a superb way of getting to a great state of relaxation in minimal time, and I think it’s a technique which has the potential to combat our current stress epidemic.
.-= Jen @ York Hypnotherapy´s last blog ..Anagrams – an example of people with too much time on their hands =-.

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Benjamin June 8, 2010 at 7:28 AM

Thank you, Jen!

Agreed. I think stress reduction/relief is the most straightforward and obvious use of self hypnosis… and it has powerful effects across your life.

Unfortunately, hypnosis is an incredibly under-appreciated discipline… but hopefully that’s beginning to change!

keep smiling,

Benjamin

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Lisa June 8, 2010 at 1:32 PM

Hi Benjamin — Love the “aahhs technique.” I am at work, always stressed here, and I just tried the aaahhs — it helped! My favorite part of your post is: “It is important that you commit to living a pain and stress free life… and be willing to lovingly work as hard as needed to realize that goal!” Investing time in myself is not something I do often — thanks for reminding me to do so.

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Benjamin June 9, 2010 at 8:41 PM

Thank you, Lisa!

You already did the hardest part… you gave it a shot!

It’s challenging to be kind to others without kindness for self… simple techniques to relieve stress (like this one) are a fast and easy way to give yourself a little love.

With time and sincerity, that love and kindness continues to build.

keep smiling,

Benjamin

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Tyrone June 9, 2010 at 5:25 AM

Hi Ben,

It’s good to practice meditation and again, thanks for sharing this technique to relieve all-day stress from both online and offline acquaintances. I find meditation a good source of energy as well because when I get to that positive spirit, I always feel energetic along the way without being interrupted. :)

Breathing deeply and rhythmically for instance is important because when you give in oxygen to the body, it actually refreshes your system that tends to relax every stressed muscle — be it on our hearts, body parts, etc. that makes meditation possible.

I’m smiling!

Tyrone

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Benjamin June 9, 2010 at 8:43 PM

Thank you, Tyrone!

Meditation is a powerful practice on multiple levels.

Awareness and Acceptance.

Love and Sincerity.

Meditation can transform your life in many positive ways… body, mind, and spirit.

Not only meditation, but also meditation’s ‘near sighted’ but brilliant sister… self hypnosis.
;-)

glad you’re smiling,

Benjamin

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Raymond Chua June 9, 2010 at 11:24 AM

The power of hypnosis is unbelievable.

I have tried it. It is awesome and I’d recommend it to anyone who can benefit from it.

Thanks for the excellent sharing!
.-= Raymond Chua´s last blog ..Attracting Wealth With the Law of Attraction =-.

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Benjamin June 9, 2010 at 8:47 PM

Thank you, Raymond!

Incidentally, I’ve found self-hypnosis to be an excellent tool for applying the Law of Attraction.

I would love to hear thoughts on this.

keep smiling,

Benjamin

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Eat Smart Age Smart June 9, 2010 at 2:42 PM

Benjamin,

Alas, I’m also one of those people dealing with pain!

I’ve had carpole for while now and this post is close to home for me.

Krizia

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Benjamin June 9, 2010 at 8:53 PM

Thank you, Miss K!

I was medically discharged from the Army for problems with my back. On occasion, it ‘flares up’, and becomes really painful.

By using the 3 ahhs, I’ve never eliminated the really challenging pain when it arises… but I have significantly reduced it… or gained ‘space’ from it.

Much of what we perceive as pain is rooted in the stress and emotional pain that spin off from physical pain… and they are usually relatively easy to control/reduce/eliminate once you know how.

keep smiling,

Benjamin

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Amy LeForge June 13, 2010 at 10:00 PM

Benjamin, it’s hilarious but I can never read through your posts without taking a deep breath and feeling better at some point. :)
.-= Amy LeForge´s last blog ..Fresh Air 2010 =-.

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Benjamin June 13, 2010 at 10:36 PM

Thank you, Amy!

I really love it when it happens without trying.

keep smiling,

Benjamin

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