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stress less holidays

Decorations are appearing everywhere, Christmas Carols are playing and events are being added to our calendars. It is the holidays. A time to focus on family, friends and our Spiritual beliefs. So, why do I hear so many people saying how stressed they are? Maybe it is because our focus becomes perfectionism instead?

We create expectations of the perfect decorations, gifts, parties, outfits and they all take their toll on our psyche. At the same time,in many businesses the end of the year means reviews and inventories that increase our workload. Added to this is the financial strains many feel with all of the added expenses. So it seems like “the most wonderful time of the year” becomes “the most stressful time of the year”.

So, what can we do? There are many things we can do to reduce “holiday stress.” This involves making choices. The power of our choices is amazing, when we remember that it is the little things that often make the biggest difference, we understand how big choice is.

So here are some choices you can consider to reduce stress

  • Choose to be money smart. Don’t overspend.Create a reasonable budget and stick to it. Remember it’s not about the presents, it’s about the presence.
  • Choose to keep your expectations balanced. You won’t get everything you want and things will go wrong. Remember thateverything doesn’t have to be perfect and don’t worry about things that are out of your control.
  • Choose to watch your diet and remember to exercise. It’s normal to eat more during the holidays, that doesn’t mean you have to abandon all sensibilities. Be aware of how certain foods affect your mood. If you eat fats and sweets, you will have less energy, which can make you feel more stressed and run down. Therefore, it can be very helpful to take a walk before and/or after a big holiday meal.
  • Choose forgiveness and acceptance. If some of your relatives have always acted out or made you feel bad, chances are they won’t change. If you know what you’re getting into, it will be easier to not let them push your buttons.
  • Choose to limit your commitments to those that you will have the time to enjoy. Eliminate activities or events that cause you to feel rushed or pressured. Fatigue, over scheduling, and taking on too many tasks can dampen your spirits. Learn to say no!
  • Choose to take some time for self-care. Whether it is getting a massage or listening to a hypnosis audio for stress relief, make some “me” time a priority.

Imagine if Thanksgiving helped your diet? What if starting a tradition of gratitude resulted in becoming thinner? Well, it just might be possible. According to Dr. Robert Emmons, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis and the founder a research lab that studies the effects of grateful living found in a 2003 research study that participants who took time weekly to reflect on things for which they were grateful reported fewer symptoms of physical illness and spent more time exercising.

gratitude and weight loss

There are other weight management benefits to gratitude as well. A study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology in 2015 found that people who took part in a diary exercise twice a week asking them to document people and things that helped them at work reduced their stress and depressive symptoms significantly. Stress creates cortisol and we have been told how cortisol adds weight to our bodies.

It is often quoted that what we most think about is what we become. Our self-talk tends to be negative and critical, so guess what we become?  If you spend your day thinking about how fat you are, how much you hate yourself and how deprived you feel by your current diet, then you will amplify those miserable feelings. Complaining will inevitably create even more circumstances to despise.

Furthermore, negative thinking can lead to less ability to cope with any annoyances, thus creating a bad day. On a bad day, we will often make the excuse that we have “earned” whatever fattening goodie we consume. If instead, you have turned your thoughts to gratitude, you have more fortitude! It becomes easier to stop before you bite. Feelings of serenity and quiet joy make it easier to brew a cup of tea rather than guzzle a high-calorie chocolate shake and a couple of cookies.

If we are grateful for our food, we are more likely to take the time to savor it. Angry eating or conciliatory eating both tend to be fast eating, which means we consume a whole lot more food before the full signal goes off, if we even listen to the signal!

How to practice gratitude? Manypeople enjoy keeping a gratitude journal. The act of writing down a grateful thought is powerful. It is also helpful to have what has been written down in the past in those “not so grateful” moments. Saying Grace before eating is not only a nice Spiritual practice, it also slows you down, allows you to take a breath and appreciate the food, the person who provided the food and the abundance that it represents.

Try this little exercise:

Close your eyes and take a cleansing breath. Imagine someone for whom you are grateful. Consider what they bring to your life. Now, imagine life without ever having known that person. Allow yourself to experience this fully. Take another deep breath and then add the person back into your life. Now notice how your thoughts change and your body relaxes.

Send all the good feelings and sensations to your right hand, hold on to them. Allow any feelings of loss you may still be experiencing from not knowing that individual to be held in your left hand and then feel your hand open and release them.

Take a deep breath and relax even further. Imagine a mist of color (a favorite color) entering the area you are in and allow yourself to breath the color in. That color now reminds you of the person you are appreciating and the gratitude you feel for them. Breathe in the good feelings, add the color and now add a favorite scent, perhaps the cologne they wear, maybe something special from childhood. Bask in the sensations, make them as real and as intense as you can. Then just relax.

Anytime you see the color from your mediation, stop to take a deep breath and recall the gratitude you feel for that person.

On September 11, 2018, I awoke early with the plans to take my brother (Rafer) out to run errands. He had been in a car accident and his car was totaled, so he enlisted my help. There were many ways he had been getting help from me for quite a while. Allow me to give you a little back story.

Six months after mom was placed in the skilled nursing facility, my father ended up in the same facility. My world became crazy busy. It was up to me to see to their finances and health care. I began visits as close to seven days a week as I could. Rafer had lived with them and now as he was on Disability he would need section 8 housing. He was put on a two year wait list! Every morning I would awaken at 4:30 trying to resolve his housing issues. I made calls, visits to facilities, spoke with social workers and more. He lived in fear of becoming homeless.

Maintaining balance had to become a priority for me. I used every tool I could imagine and even took classes to learn more.

This past July, Rafer was hit by another driver and his car was totaled. It became my goal to help him find a replacement, yet he never seemed to buy. The burden of helping him run errands, visit with my parents and look at car lots was simply too much. By September, his problems (while real) could not become my problems. So, I set boundaries. Therefore, I told my brother he had to find something/anything, and our trips would be less frequent. Our next day to run errands and look at cars was set for 9/11/18.

As I mentioned previously, I woke early that morning. I picked up my tablet and began to look at my email. There was one from Rafer and it was marked urgent, so I opened it first. In the email he gave a detailed account of how to care for his dog and where to find the dog’s food, supplements and other dog supplies. He ended the note with the statement that “he made this decision and he wanted no memorial or funeral!”

I panicked, wanting to head immediately to the house, however, I called 911 and they told me to stay put until they contacted me. While it was a couple of hours before the sheriff was at my door, it seemed like hours. My brother had suicided. He used the same efficient method as Robin Williams, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.

My husband drove me to the house to pick up the dog and his supplies. My younger brother who lives in Georgia was packing and on his way to us. He was a tremendous support to me in many ways. He was also able to be here for the next devastating hit. Two days after Rafer died, my father died of natural causes.

Initially I was numb, in shock.

I promised my husband that if I felt overwhelmed with the grief, I would seek help through Hospice counseling, the same way I encourage my clients. Meanwhile, the “take charge” part of me attended to all the details that follow a death. Being busy was necessary, also it was cathartic.

However, the image I had created in my mind of my brother wouldn’t go away. That is when I made the call to see a grief counselor. Those visits were priceless. The therapist reinforced that I wasn’t responsible for my brother’s decision. Something my husband and younger brother had said, but the counselor doesn’t love me, so it became a valid point of view and not just a need to protect me. He reminded me of tools I use with clients, such as letter writing, mindful walking and self-hypnosis.

For the image, he mentioned something that sparked a recall of a tool I use regularly with my clients. It involves specific eye movements combined with redirecting thoughts. After that session, when I got in my car, before I started it up I used that method briefly. The image was neutralized. When I got home, I repeated the process. The image stopped showing up for me.

Last weekend we were saying good bye to a friend who is moving out of state and my husband mentioned Rafer’s death and in the context it was given, that gruesome image began to creep back in. I immediately went to the bathroom and used the method. Image gone again. With regular self-hypnosis sessions I am really feeling the new normal without feeling so much pain.

I share this with you, not to solicit any sympathy from you.

To me it is important that people understand that suicide is not a reason for shame. It sucks, really sucks for the survivor, but it can’t be kept a deep dark secret. I urge people to seek help, get more tools to help the healing whether they are the person contemplating suicide or the survivor of a loved one’s suicide. Too often, suicide is something we feel shame about and so we keep it a secret. When we keep a secret, we empower shame.

According to a report written by Harvard Medical School, “After a homicide, survivors can direct their anger at the perpetrator. In a suicide, the victim is the perpetrator, so there is a bewildering clash of emotions. On one hand, a person who dies by suicide may appear to be a victim of mental illness or intolerable circumstances. On the other hand, the act may seem like an assault on or rejection of those left behind. So, the feelings of anger, rejection, and abandonment that occur after many deaths are especially intense and difficult to sort out after a suicide.”

After any death, there are the inevitable “what if” questions. However, after a suicide the questions often become more extreme and self-punishing — unrealistically condemning the survivor for failing to predict the death or to intervene effectively or on time. Experts tell us that in such circumstances, survivors tend to greatly overestimate their own contributing role — and their ability to affect the outcome.

Research suggests that suicide survivors find individual counseling and suicide support groups to be particularly helpful. There are many general grief support groups, but those focused on suicide appear to be much more valuable. I chose the route of individual counseling as I mentioned above and I am so very glad I did. It is truly my intention that anyone who is facing a challenge in mental wellness seek help. There is no shame in needing help, it is a crying shame to not get help.

Two articles that are helpful:

*Practical Information for Immediately After a Loss

*Support After Suicide

 

There are times that anyone may experience anxiety. Before making a life changing decision, taking an important test or upon hearing unexpected news. Usually, those feelings pass, they are temporary. However, for the person diagnosed with Anxiety Disorder it can build and continue until it interferes with daily activities.

aware anxiety tool

While  I don’t diagnose, I frequently get referrals from doctors who have patients with Anxiety Disorder that are looking for relief. Hypnosis has proven to be very effective in helping reduce the stress levels and help to reset thoughts. I often record the trance portion of our session to help my client reinforce the new feelings after we have met.

I am always looking for new tools to help in the diminishing of stress and anxiety. So, much to my delight a new tool found a way into my toolbox and I really want to share it. I asked a beautiful young friend of mine who deals with anxiety to give me 3 words for it. She instantly responded with suffocating, tense and nervous.  What she didn’t know was, she was already using the first step of the new tool.  She has used some of the other steps as well in the past. This is simply a lovely way to put them into a quick simple practice.

Right now, if you are suffering from anxiety, pull out an index card and write the word AWARE on it. Aware is an acronym for Accept, Watch, Act Normal, Repeat and Expect. Allow me to explain.

Accept: accept that you are feeling the anxiety and go a step further to name it. Yes, use as many creative words as you can to give it a name. According to a 2015 study1 putting feelings into words can reduce the physiological symptoms of anxiety.

Watch: watch the anxiety. Observe it as if it was something you could rate, give it a number on a scale of 1 – 10. Just by doing that you have removed some of the attachment you might have to the sensations. It is now a number instead of a state. Then take a few slow deep breathes and notice if the number changes. (Frequently it will go down a number or two.)

Act Normal: Take some slow deep breathes, making sure that the exhale is longer than the inhale. (i.e. in to the count of 4, hold to the count of 4 and release to the count of 8.) If you are speaking, calm your speech down as well. Keep your attention on the breathes or the moment you are speaking about. Think about your surroundings instead of your worries.

Repeat: Simply repeat the first 3 steps as needed.

Expect: Expect the best results as that is what you deserve!

By pulling out the card and reminding yourself to use those steps you can redirect your “awareness” from feeling uncomfortable to feeling peaceful. Ironically, the sensations we feel during anxiety are often the same sensations we feel when excited (think the night before your birthday or another big holiday as a kid) and when exercising. Heart pounding, gasping breathes, sweaty palms and shaking can all happen when you are excited or heavily exerting yourself, yet you don’t think of that as an attack. So maybe panic attacks are simply mislabeled physiological occurrences that we tie to negative thoughts.

Once the moment has passed, it is time to move on to keeping that old anxiety away. According to Dr. Daniel Amen, who has written several books on the brain2 daily elevated heart rate (such as walking briskly) improves the heart, the brain and your mood! Therefore, daily exercise such as a taking that brisk walk or dancing around your house will help keep those tigers away.

While fear and anxiety may have a rightful place on occasion, it does not have to control you. Use these tips along with a little hypnosis and take back your thoughts and your joy!

 

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005796715000431
  2. https://www.brainmdhealth.com/education/media/books?utm_campaign=BMD+-+Branded+-+Books&utm_source=AdWords&utm_medium=Paidsearch&utm_kmkw=daniel+amen+books&gclid=CjwKCAjw-8nbBRBnEiwAqWt1zULDpMWpZ6Fj1A9Wal9zmUiVOW-J7FTmkoz3Tl_u7F2aqpgxos0akBoCb8QQAvD_BwE

 

smoke cessation is neededYou have made the decision to quit smoking and you have tried numerous times, still you smoke. Finally, as a last resort, you remember that your Great Aunt Janie quit for life after trying hypnosis and decide to investigate it. After a search online or asking friends, you decide to have an appointment with me. As you drive to see me, you smoke as many cigarettes as you can possibly squeeze in, even lighting one last one up before you come into my office. You are nervous and feeling maybe even a little silly.

As I review your paperwork, you squirm. Maybe even using the bathroom to throw some water on your face. What if this doesn’t work? Even more pressing, will you miss your old friend? You begin to fight tears just thinking about saying good bye.

Sound familiar? Sound possible? Well, I encounter this reaction with many of my soon to be nonsmokers. Nervous laughter, fighting tears or just babbling on without the seeming ability to stop talking. I get it, this is more than just quitting, this is a war on your senses!

From your first cigarette, the chemicals released into your body affect your brain and your body. The intake of nicotine increases the levels of dopamine and epinephrine in your brain. Dopamine plays a major role in reward and pleasure centers. This helps us identify rewards and take action that moves us towards those rewards. Thus we begin to relate cigarettes to reward. Next, there is a release of epinephrine or adrenaline, which increases cardiac output and raises glucose levels in the blood to prepare for a “fight or flight” response. This combination helps create the “nicotine buzz” you experienced with those first cigarettes.

This high causes lightheadedness, elevated mood and pleasure. Bam! This is what makes people want to keep smoking and become hooked.  However, this high will not come again after the first couple of cigarettes because the nicotine raises the brain’s expectations of what pleasure should be. A person becomes reliant on cigarettes because their brain is chasing that feeling of pleasure that they once had. (Sound like the description of a gateway drug?)

Although many young people experiment with cigarettes, other factors influence whether someone will go on to become a regular smoker. Having friends (peer pressure) or relatives who smoke and parents’ attitude to smoking all influence the decision. As young people become adults, they are more likely to smoke if they misuse alcohol or drugs. Regardless of the expense another factor is living in poverty. Because poverty makes it more likely that someone will encounter stress. Most adults say that they smoke because of habit or routine and/or because it helps them relax and cope with stress.

Therefore, I ask many questions about your habit to understand your triggers and motivators. I observe your body language and watch facial expressions. All the while, I am working on helping you to understand how hypnosis works and helping you to lower those doubts and fears. I include stress reduction because as I stated earlier, smokers tend to light up when stressed.

The trance portion of the session is when the “magic” happens. While the conscious logical mind may doubt, argue, fear or whatever emotion comes up for you, the subconscious mind works to give you your wishes. If it is your wish to be smoke free, then smoke free you will be. This portion is recorded and given to you, for back up at a later date, should you want it. You leave the office smoke free because this time you really quit smoking! Here is the true story of one of my former smokers: One Clients Story

 

The best reward for me is the call 6 months, a year or more later, from the friends and family of the former smoker who want to know if I can help them quit smoking too. I dream of living in a smoke free world and each of you who quits, helps to bring me another person closer to seeing that dream become a reality.

While cleaning out closets and decluttering my home I came across a list I wrote over a decade ago of ways to celebrate. This made me smile and think about what changes I have made. Also, I thought about whether I celebrate enough. Do I do the things on this list enough? Do you? How do you celebrate?

(I must confess, I updated #21 as we now have a local float center.)celebrate

  1. Chocolate
  2. Champagne
  3. Daydream
  4. Bubble bath
  5. Sex
  6. Naps
  7. Breakfast in bed
  8. Trashy novels
  9. Lingerie
  10. Hot fudge sundae
  11. Rose petals in bed
  12. Diamonds, gems, jewels
  13. Candle light
  14. Skipping work
  15. Dance
  16. Gamble
  17. “Make a wish”
  18. Watch Petticoat Junction reruns
  19. Facial
  20. Eat pizza
  21. Float in deprivation chamber
  22. Massage
  23. Wear a crazy hat
  24. Rollerblade
  25. Play “Light My Fire” on the piano
  26. Do the twist
  27. See a chick flick
  28. Eat buttered popcorn
  29. Take a limo to buy groceries
  30. Breathe deep
  31. Manicure
  32. Pedicure
  33. High tea
  34. Listen to a Beatles Album
  35. Sing a silly song
  36. Plant flowers
  37. Cheese cake
  38. Lose the phone for a day
  39. Wear a tiara
  40. Watch a sunset
  41. Read a poem
  42. Play a mindless computer game
  43. Call an old friend
  44. Color outside the lines
  45. Fly a kite
  46. Play Chinese jump rope
  47. Light a candle at St Michael’s
  48. Wear a costume
  49. Create a gourmet meal
  50. Practice self-hypnosis

relax with a free hypnosis audioOften, someone who calls me to ask about hypnosis will ask questions such as, “What if I get stuck in hypnosis?” They will express a bunch of concerns that are common. So common in fact, I have addressed them on my F.A. Q. page. Regardless whether they have read the page, they need to hear from me that it will be safe. They want to believe that hypnosis can and will help them, but concerns may linger.

When the time for the appointment arrives, this same nervous individual will come in with such trepidation I know we need to discuss the process again. They might say, “I’m scared to be hypnotized!” “What if I don’t come out of it?” “Will you make me cluck like a chicken?”

It’s natural to be afraid or skeptical of something you don’t understand. I was a bit nervous the first time I tried hypnosis. Still, no one should ever be afraid or uncomfortable about the process. My job is to assist each person in reaching their goal safely. That’s why, when clients come to me for hypnotherapy, we begin with a frank talk about what being hypnotized is, and what it isn’t.

Movies have made hypnosis mysterious and appear to be all controlling. I will joke with my clients that if that were true, I would have been able to make my sons do chores automatically when they were teenagers. We’ll even talk about hypnophobia, the fear of going to sleep or of being hypnotized. People with hypnophobia don’t want to lose control of their normal state of awareness.

Connecting With Different Parts of Your Brain

After we talk about their fears and misunderstandings, I fill them in on the science of hypnosis. Hypnosis is the state of mind resulting from a trained hypnotherapist assisting you into a trance state. Hypnosis gives you access to your subconscious and will create communication with your conscious mind. It is simply achieving a level of focus that has been recorded in Alpha and Theta brainwaves with the intention of creating change.

What is Trance?

The trance state is actually a natural state of mind. In fact, there are many times during the course of a normal day when you enter the same kind of trance you experience in hypnosis. It happens when you’re very relaxed or very focused. In both cases, the subconscious mind is still “listening,” even though the conscious mind is either intently focused or totally distracted.

As I mentioned, in trance your brainwave activity can be dominated by theta waves. Theta waves bring on a state of relaxation that removes any blocks you may have to your repressed memories and deep emotions. Even though to the casual observer you may appear to detached to what is going on, inside your mind, there is a whole world of activity! You’re “turned on” to the world of thought and feeling that is always listening to and recording the things that happen every moment of your life. There is so much you can learn while you’re there.

On my intake form I ask if the individual has ever been hypnotized before. If they mark yes, I ask about the experience. Often, it is a no. Then I know they aren’t aware that you are hypnotized several times a day without even realizing it!

Everyday Chances for Trances

On Your Commute

Have you ever driven to work, only to worry when you arrive whether you stopped at the stop sign because you don’t remember it? Your brain needs a lot of entertainment, so when it does something routine, it no longer pays attention to the details. This can be the case with your commute. It is as if the vehicle knows how to get there, so you are busy chatting on your phone, listening to the radio or some other activity.

That “lost time” you experience while you’re commuting is often because you fell into a trance state.

Listening to Music

Your mind finds it pleasurable to be stimulated by sound, so you get lost in it. Music therapy is utilized for the reduction of stress and management of pain among other uses. I have a client who gets lost in her piano when she needs to keep hands and heart busy. Another woman I know escapes into opera when the “devil” is chasing her.

Watch what happens when you put your earbuds on and crank up the volume on your favorite tunes. It isn’t hard to see that this is another way to get to Theta wave domination, and yes, a state of trance.

Smartphones, Tablets or Television

Kids and adults alike, when playing video games, become entranced by digital interaction and entertainment.   TV is a guilty pleasure for some, and for many, a constant companion. The flashing lights from the screen change your brain dominance. Similarly, your smartphone and tablet flash lights and tricks your brain into a trance. Combined with your impulsive need to interact, this can grab your attention completely.

You’ve probably seen a couple sitting in a restaurant, both on their phones, texting and playing games rather than gazing into one another’s eyes. Some restaurants even provide tablets with games.  Many have TV’s blaring. Someone’s in a trance!

Getting Into the Flow State

When you are in the flow state, whether you’re thinking, drawing, writing, or out on your morning run, you are in a trance. Your conscious awareness takes a break and allows you to experience the ease of being on “autopilot”.  When you feel like you’re at one with the task you’re performing, and you easily filter out any and all distractions you are in trance.

There are many other times throughout your day you are in trance. Maybe now you will begin to recognize them!

“Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.” Mark Twain

April is National Humor Month and so that got me to thinking about laughter. Perhaps you’ve heard the famous quote from the poem Solitude by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, “Laugh and the whole world laughs with you”. It turns out there is scientific evidence to prove that true! Apparently, just like a yawn, laughter is contagious. According to a 2006 study at the University College of London the brain responds to the sound of laughter and preps the muscles in the face to join in the mirth.

It is a fact that laughter itself changes us physiologically. Like exercise, it boosts the heart rate and increases blood flow, so we breathe faster and more oxygen is delivered to the body’s tissues. Our facial muscles stretch. Research published in the International Journal of Obesity found just 15 minutes of laughter a day will burn 10-40 calories, depending on a person’s weight and the intensity of the laughter. That is enough to lose between 1–4 lbs a year. Furthermore, the mere act of smiling can alter your mood almost immediately. You can’t feel sad or angry when you’re laughing, right?

The benefits of laughter

  • Reduces Stress: When stressed, we produce a hormone called cortisol. Laughter can significantly reduce cortisol levels.
  • Helps Reduce Pain: Laughter causes us to produce endorphins, which are natural, pain-killing hormones.
  • Strengthens the Immune System: A hearty laugh decreases stress hormones and increases production of T-cells, immune proteins and infection-fighting antibodies.
  • Helps the Heart: When we laugh we increase blood flow and the function of blood vessels, which can help prevent cardiovascular problems.
  • Relaxes the Whole Body: One good belly laugh can relieve physical tension and relax your muscles for up to 45 minutes.
  • Helps You Recharge: By reducing stress levels and increasing your energy, laughter can help you focus and achieve more.
  • Improves Aging: Sharing laughs with others is related to higher self-esteem, lower levels of depression, anxiety, and perceived stress, and a more positive self-concept.

 

With all this good news, it just doesn’t seem right that we laugh less as we age. Young children are recorded laughing around 400 times a day. Adults are lucky to laugh 10 times a day! This helped create a mission for me. I challenged my husband to join me in attempting to laugh 400 times in one day. Quite honestly, after a while we lost count of the laughs. I posted on Facebook that we doing this and received jokes from friends. We found ourselves making humorous remarks about our day as it progressed. The more we did laugh, the more there seemed to be reasons to laugh.

Maybe it is my imagination, but somehow all that laughter made traffic lighter, in spite of the fact that this is Spring Break time in Florida! When the challenge was over, the laughter lingered. I did notice us becoming less tolerant of people and situations, so back to laughing we went. When stress tried to interfere with my mood, I forced a laugh. It seemed silly, so then a real laugh followed. Suddenly the stress was gone and I could deal with a particular situation clear headed.

I offer you the same challenge. Look around, what is funny? Do you have a good joke to share? Let your inner child out and have a few laughs. Turn the corners of your mouth up into a smile and then give a laugh, even if it feels a little forced. Notice if your muscles seem a bit more relaxed. Let the healing power of laughter be the gift you give yourself and others, you’ll be glad you did!

Laughter For Weight Loss

I have a program called Laugh It Off! It is a weight management program I created to assist my clients get rid of fat and the inflammation it causes. I noticed that some of my clients start to giggle during the beginning of a trance. It is never offensive and always they go deep. So, I had to figure out a way to use it. Well, we now use it to lose it! There are laughter assignments between sessions and plenty to laugh about during. Funny thing (see what I did there) is that it works! So whether you knew it before or not, weight loss is a laughing matter.

Why are you eating that?  If you are supposed to be dieting to shed that ugly fat, why did you put the donut in your mouth? Why did you grab candy from the dish on your co-workers desk? You know it won’t help, but it seems you can’t help it either. Furthermore the co-worker with the candy is thin and never seems to eat her own candy.

The Battle Is Real

Guess what? You aren’t imagining it, the battle is real. It really is hard to diet and your body is fighting you! That’s right; you are a victim of your own brain and genetics and maybe even programming. Every dieter I work with knows how to cut out calories and increase exercise. They all know the formula to shedding ugly fat and maintaining a healthier body.

fats are enhanced

Our taste buds have been genetically engineered to crave high-calorie, high-fat foods because we used to need that for energy—hunting, gathering, exploring the continent, etc. Now we’ve created food that tastes even richer than nature’s, which makes kale a hard sell when compared to a loaded pizza.

The “naturally thin” individuals (NT’s) are blessed with a great genetics. NT’s metabolize at a higher rate furthermore, they aren’t tempted by the same treats a dieter is. If a person on a diet ate the same amount of food as the NT’s it would still be too much food to lose weight. While they fat shame the dieter they also believe the dieter is weak. They are wrong. When we are dieting, our awareness of food, particularly fatty foods is heightened.

Are You Stuck?

So, what can the poor dieter do? Let’s circle back to my original question, why are you eating that? When you catch yourself in the act of eating off diet, stop and ask yourself why? Is there an emotional component? Are you resentful that everyone else can eat the goodies at a party and you can’t? Are you eating for emotional reasons? Does your body need fuel?

Amnesia eating is often triggered when watching night time television and all the food related commercials. After a long hard day, we settle in to relax and reward ourselves. Often we have eaten dinner; still the habit of rewarding with food and the constant barrage of food commercials triggers us to find a snack. Due to fatigue, we eat the easiest choices, prepackaged goodies. Eating those foods triggers the reward center of the brain and we are lulled into a false sense of temporary comfort. In order to help change that habit, I encourage finding something active to do during commercials. Personally, I have a medicine ball and I work with it during commercials. I also enjoy a warm beverage when tempted to nibble.

Hypnosis To The Rescue!

Through hypnosis for weight loss we can level the playing field, that is, we can give you less desire for the foods that have become your nemesis. While I am not a fan of making a favorite food disgusting (because I believe a determined mind will find a way around that) it is possible to give you better control over what you choose to eat. Hypnosis can also be used to amp up the metabolism, more like that of an NT. The mind body connection is powerful and using it to your advantage is exactly what hypnosis is all about.

Hypnosis For Weight Loss

If you are struggling with your eating habits, put down the goodies and pick up your phone to call and ask me how I can help you achieve your weight goals!

worry

If you want to test your memory, try to recall what you were worrying about one year ago today.
 – E. Joseph Cossman

The word worry descends from an old English word ‘wyrgan ‘ which meant to strangle.  If you have ever worried, that can seem appropriate as worrying will affect your breathing and sometimes leave that lump in your throat.

Worrying is a habit that many people develop and then hold on to as if it was a proud memento of their life. Chronic worrying has been called a ‘thought disorder’, but it’s more a misuse of the imagination. I have often teased my clients that they write better fiction than Stephen King, the problem is they believe their thoughts and there are consequences for that. The more we worry, the more stress hormone we produce and the more we dream at night. In turn, over-dreaming caused by unresolved worry can cause clinical depression (something else to worry about!).

A day of worry is more exhausting than a day of work. – John Lubbock

Often worriers believe that they “need” to worry in order to ward off bad things. Therefore they begin to worry about everything, all the time, even if there is no legitimate reason for it. I have had clients who believed that they prevented their vehicle from falling over a bridge because of their worry, nothing to do with the construction of said bridge or traffic flow, etc. Also, many who believe that it has nothing to do with physics or pilot training, but their worry that keeps their plane from crashing.

Hypnosis, like worry can use the imagination. The difference is, with hypnosis we are setting a goal for a positive outcome and imagine our success at doing just that. Many clients will imagine themselves smoke free in my office, to become smoke free. Others will imagine whatever they are worried about turns out okay.  (I have been known to ask my clients, “What if you are wrong and things turn out alright?”)

If you are a chronic worrier, here is a tool for you to use.

When writers like Mr. King write their scary stories, they distance themselves from the horror they are writing about. By removing any emotion from those thoughts they lose power. Therefore I will ask a client to first go as dark as possible. Imagine what they are worried about actually came true. What would that look like and feel like. Then we discuss how likely it is that the worst case scenario occurs.  Next, we will work on distancing themselves from the worry.  Notice I didn’t say stop worrying, which is possibly the worst advice ever! Instead we imagine putting the worrisome situation “over there”. We may place it in a container or just put it on a screen to observe. Then we agree that if they want they can worry again, tomorrow at a set time for a set amount of time. What they will find is that the need to worry diminishes.

Ultimately, worry should be a tool or a signal that lets us know when something might need addressing. We don’t want to lose this tool completely, but no tool should ever be allowed to enslave its owner. Try using your imagination for good, you just might like it.

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