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Are you on overwhelm? Do little things set you over the edge and into the abyss? If so, then you are like so many of my current clients. While they may come to see me for over eating or to stop smoking or nail biting (you can fill in the blank) overwhelm seems to be a secondary issue.

We have been inundated with negative current events for quite some time now. Politics headline daily, with both sides angry and insulting one another. The hurricanes this season were fast and furious, leaving trails of destruction in their wake. The shootings and terror attacks seem unfathomable. The fires in California have destroyed homes and taken lives. The light being shone on sexual harassment began with Hollywood, but goes so much deeper.  We are all suffering from so much negativity.

The ability to access news from around the world as it happens is both a blessing and a curse, both for obvious reasons. I have shared in the past about how important it is to turn the news off, get off of social media for a few hours and be present. Walking in nature or holding a live conversation can be so much more healing.

I just want to remind everyone (including myself) that it is important to be kind to one’s self. It is human to be imperfect! After all, we learn and grow from mistakes. I have some pretty savvy clients and when I tell them to be kind to themselves, to take care of their needs, they can list for me the things they “do” for themselves. Manicures, pedicures, massages and shopping therapy are a few things they will list for me. All good, but not what I am talking about.

Here are six ways you can be kind to you!

  1. Stop Trying To Be Perfect The perfectionist in us is the instigator to procrastination (if you can’t do a job well, don’t bother doing it).  It is impossible to be perfect, so we set ourselves up for failure if that is our expectation.
  2. Respect Yourself Self-respect means you don’t allow others to create your value. You know your integrity, authenticity and intent better than anyone else. Why would you let someone else determine who you are when they don’t know the REAL you?
  3. Forgive Yourself Maybe you messed up, so who hasn’t? You forgive co-workers, family and friends for mistakes; it is time you did the same for yourself.
  4. Create Me Time We all need time to get away from the crazy. Whether it is work demands, getting the kids to their after school activities or volunteer activities we keep a busy pace going. Everyone does better with some down time, time spent coloring, writing, playing a musical instrument or whatever it is that brings you joy.
  5. Be Aware Of Your Words When my sons were young, I learned quickly to be careful what I said in front of them, otherwise people would hear what I “really” thought. Well, if it can’t be said in front of the kids, I shouldn’t be saying (or thinking) it about myself. So, if you notice you are thinking about yourself in a way that you wouldn’t speak to your kids, your friends or a co-worker, maybe it’s time to change those words!
  6. Practice Self Hypnosis Through utilizing the power of your subconscious you can forgive yourself for any perceived wrong doings, find peace with yourself and others and create solutions for your challenges.

How are you kind?

These are but a few ideas, I know my readers. You can come up with several more ideas that work for you. So, please feel free to share your ideas with me. Let’s all work together for good, leave the negativity behind. I often see the meme online that reminds you to be kind because you don’t know what someone you meet is going through. We do know that all of us have been through a ton, so let’s be kind and supportive of one another, starting with ourselves!

Dear Irma,

Written by:

You did your best to mess with us. You left a lot of damage in your path. I am one of the fortunate ones and so I am going to speak for those who don’t have a voice right now. I realize that life is unpredictable and chaos is inevitable. I also know that regardless of your fury mankind can and does prevail. I see it in the faces of my neighbors who are helping one another with clean up, regardless of any silly differences they might have had in the past. I watched it in Houston as volunteers poured in to help rescue strangers from Harvey. I witness the commitment and strength of first responders, who leave their families to ensure the safety of other families.

You had help from some of the same resources we look to, to keep us safe. Yes, the television and radio news shows warn us of potential threats. Social media allows us to check in on one another. Still, both of those help to ramp up our anxiety levels. There is almost a palpable excitement that exudes from reporters as they interview every  and any one they can find regarding your fury. There are numerous people posting and reposting misinformation by the carload of what to do in order to protect themselves and their belongings. Nonstop check- ins with icons of worry. My phone rang, pinged, dinged and continually interrupted my meditations with people who really love me and were checking to see if I had yet perished because of what they were watching, reading and hearing.

Our ancestors are survivors. Proof of that is the existence of me, my family, friends, neighbors and everyone here on this planet. Whether we descended from Vikings, Aztecs, Mesopotamians or any other continent or culture, we are here because we have survival in our very DNA.  While you and your cohorts tried to create a false sense of reality in our heads, I refuse to give you that power over me. What is more, I encourage my fellow survivors to do the same. We will come together and rebuild our lives. We will aid those who lost more than we did, because we are connected, we are humanity.

You gave us some gifts that I am not sure you had intended. First of all, you left many of us without power, but you didn’t leave us powerless. I opened my doors and the temperature was perfect, the breezes gentle. I enjoyed sitting on my porch and listening to the quiet. Because I have taken social media off of my phone, I had peace. At night the stars were glorious. I slept better than I can remember.  I am grateful to have my phone, never knew how much I love hearing the voices of loved ones. Still, I had time to ponder just what does matter in my life.

We laughed because we could. We made puns and jokes and just allowed humor to chase away fears. We made up silly songs and danced to them. We waited, because we had to. However, creating possible doom and gloom scenarios wasn’t going to change you, just infect us. Therefore we did our best to remain as playful as possible.

Funny, all I had planned on saving were some pictures of family. Relationships matter so much more than stuff. Because of you, Irma, I am ready to continue to pare down the amount of stuff in my life. Less truly is more.

There are many fables in different cultures of how an individual has all the riches of the world, then loses them. As they face certain peril they are reminded that “this too shall pass” or that it is neither good nor bad, it just is. When the Hero realizes that just as wealth and power had passed, so too would uncertain peril, the hero finds themselves returning to a better situation. It is only as good or bad as our perception.  We all knew you would pass Irma, just not how you would do it. For our brothers and sisters in the hard hit islands, life is forever changed. People are resilient and help and love is being sent to them. I will do my best to offer my support to them just as I have the good people of Houston, in whatever small way I can. So, I guess you were a strong reminder that I want to remain connected to what matters and that is relationships I have and the ones I build going forward.

I am glad you are gone Irma and I send out prayers to everyone who was affected by you. Now it is time for me to be the love and the light, to take the lessons and gifts you gave and make this a better place because I can.

I normally close a letter with Take A Deep Breathe, but in your case Irma, I shall simply say, Good Bye!

Good Bye Irma

This was recorded without professional equipment and with limited time, but hopefully what it lacks in professional sound quality it will be made up for in comfort.

There is a fable about elephants that is often told to help us move beyond limiting beliefs. It goes something like this:

Vihan was a good boy who loved animals. He was particularly fond of elephants.  He admired the huge animals for many reasons. However, he never had a chance to see real elephants, he only saw them on the television and computers. He lived in a small village, where there were no elephants and none were brought to his village. He dreamt of one day seeing them in person.

Fortunately, when he was a young man he got a chance to join a crew of wildlife lovers. He asked them about their plans whether they would take him to see the elephants. And they said yes. He was excited! Vihan enjoyed the many places and animals he saw on his journey, but the anticipation of seeing elephants was always

with him. At last the time came where he would see these magnificent creatures.

As the group passed through the forests, they walked past a beautiful village. The team chief told Vihan that the village had more than 100 elephants and he would allow Vihan to enjoy the entire day in that village. The rest of the crew moved on, leaving Vihan to enjoy this opportunity. At last he saw the elephants. He could barely control his excitement.

After spending a brief time just seeing the elephants, he was shocked to notice those elephants tied to a frail fence with only a thin rope. No chain and there was no steel cage nor any kind of shelter where the elephants lived. Instead, there were simple sheds without any doors.

Vihan was surprised as he knew the strength of elephants. He had seen them tied to strong chains on the television. He asked one of the villagers, “won’t they easily break the rope?” The villager replied that they wouldn’t. “How can that be?” inquired Vihan, “They are so big and strong.”

The villager answered, “The elephants have been trained here since they were born. When they were babies we would  tie them with a strong rope and the baby elephants weren’t able to break them. The rope we used to tie them when they were small was strong enough to hold them. If the elephants tried to break the rope, they could not set themselves free. So as they grew, they believed that the small and thin ropes were too strong for them to break.”

Vihan was amazed that the powerful elephant wasn’t strong enough mentally to break free from a thin rope.

Like the elephants we hold on to limiting beliefs.

limiting beliefs

Think of the things that keep you from achieving your goals. Isn’t it usually just your thoughts? Maybe you were teased as a teen about your athletic prowess and so now you don’t think you are coordinated enough to take an exercise class. Or maybe it was a class you took that wasn’t taught in a way that you could understand the subject matter, so you decided you were no good in that area. There are many reasons we develop limiting beliefs, and often they are moments that no one else even realized what was happening.

The good news is we can change those limitations! We have the ability to change boulders into stepping stones. As a child I lived in a house that had a driveway that went up a hill. As a child I thought the hill was so steep it was a miracle I could make it all the way up on my bike. As an adult I had the opportunity to visit that early home and what a surprise to see the tiny upward slope of the drive!

The first step is to recognize what your limiting beliefs are.

Ask yourself what are some limitations in your life that were set up for you either by yourself or by others in your life. Notice the moments you feel insecure or held back and sit with that feeling. You might want to write them down and then decide how strong each feeling is. Recall how those beliefs have affected your life. I once had a client who overcame 17 years of stuttering when he realized it began as a way to get his mother’s attention after she opened an in home child care. Ironically, she had done so in order to spend more time with him!

Next step, decide these are beliefs, not facts!

Remember, just because you think it, it doesn’t make it true. My clients will often spend a portion of our session defending their limitations rather than working on imagining life without those limits.  I like to interrupt and  ask them, “what if what you are telling me is false? What if it is just fiction that you have written in your head?” You can choose to stay the same or you can choose to change.

Third step, imagine yourself without the limits.

I often ask my clients to tell me how they would be different if they no longer had those limiting beliefs. What would change about their self-talk, posture, maybe even facial muscles? Then I will ask them to close their eyes and describe the person who has already achieved those goals in as much detail as they can.

Fourth step, figure out what actions you will take towards your new goal.

Behind your eyelids lies your imagination. So I ask clients once again to close their eyes and we will walk the timeline forward from where they are in my office to the point where they have evidence of the belief switch. I will have them squeeze their hand at each action, so that they will remember them when they open their eyes. When they open their eyes, I encourage the client to write down the actions they recall taking.

Fifth step, practice daily taking action.

It is important to practice daily the new actions and new beliefs. Remember to be kind to yourself, at first you may not do things perfectly. That is the beauty of this, we are all works in progress and every  moment can be a do-over! Notice the actions that you took that were successful and repeat those. Learn and laugh at your mistakes.

 

If the elephant fable affected you as it did me, here is a link to an organization that works to provide a safe haven for elephants who are retired from zoos and circuses. The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee

 

positive goalsThis is a story about a wonderful 13 year old girl who came to my office before the beginning of the new school year started. “Caitlyn” walked in, a young girl who had doubts about her abilities to succeed in school, sports and relationships with her peers. “Some days I can’t get out of my mother’s car and walk into class. I make C’s in school. I just don’t know why I need to go to school.” She was clearly in a negative funk.
There was something special about Caitlyn that seemed to be hiding beneath the layers of doubt. She appeared to brighten as I spoke with her about what she wanted instead of what she didn’t want. “I love to draw”, she said and smiled. I noticed a spark in her eyes. I shared with her that she could be anything, accomplish anything she set her mind to.
When we were ready to do the hypnosis portion of the session, she wanted to focus on improving her grades, doing better as sports and enjoy her passion, drawing. Caitlyn was able to visualize herself with better study habits and the rewards that brings. Success builds upon success, so she naturally moved forward to improved performance her chosen sport, swimming and greater focus when drawing. She began to truly understand that KNOWLEDGE was her key and POWER to personal success. She was able to see herself succeeding, becoming who she wanted to be.
Her parents reported to me later in that school year that she was making A’s and B’s. She had won several swim meets. She found a high school that offered an excellent art program and they were pursuing her attending it the next year. She has already decided on her future college aspirations and is looking at what she will need to accomplish in high school in order to get in!
Caitlyn has returned for a booster shot of Positivity. With her dreams and goals, she wants to stay focused and enthused. Wow! We can all learn to seek our inner strengths and set those goals. Our subconscious will gladly assist us. Hypnosis is a safe, noninvasive and enjoyable tool to make the switch from stinking thinking to powerfully positive. Through hypnosis allows you to see your potential and create the life you desire.
Be Proud Caitlyn! The sky is the limit and you are ready to soar. This is why I work in hypnosis, outcomes just like this!

I recorded this two years ago, the information is just as important today. Remember, got stress? Take a breath. Deep breathing is your how your body calms itself down! If you take the time to breathe, you make the time to de-stress.

You hate smoking. It stinks, it is costly and quite frankly you are tired of Big Tobacco putting their claws into your stop smokingwallet. So, what comes next? If you are like so many people I see, you have tried numerous ways in the past, just to end up picking them (cigarettes) back up again. I have heard tales of people spending days at a smoke cessation seminar, only to buy a pack on their way home again. Yet, I have so many clients who stop smoking in only one session!

We review when you started smoking, how much you smoke and what triggers your desire for a cigarette. I ask lots and lots of questions, really wanting to understand everything about your habit. I understand that no two smokers are the same, so how we work together is bound to be different. I also have some suggestions that are offered to all.

Here are seven tips that may help you stop smoking:

  1. Replace old tired habits with healthy new habits. Times when you used to smoke, brush your teeth, shower, exercise, change activities.  Remember…. the intensity, frequency & length of cravings diminish daily.  You can outlast a craving.  A thought of a cigarette is not a true craving!
  2. Drink plenty of water, up to 6 – 8 glasses per day. Water helps to flush out toxins and the 7000 chemicals that cigarettes introduce into your body in slow, lethal doses.
  3. Do Not Skip Meals – Each puff of the stimulant nicotine was your spoon releasing stored fats and sugars into your bloodstream via your body’s fight or flight pathways. It allowed you to skip meals without experiencing wild blood-sugar swing symptoms, such as an inability to concentrate or hunger related anxieties. Why add needless symptoms to withdrawal? Instead, learn to spread your normal daily calorie intake out more evenly over the entire day. Try hard not to skip breakfast or lunch. It’s not about eating more food but less food more frequently.
  4. If you smoke when drinking, cut down on alcohol, to avoid weakening your promise to yourself.
  5. The Smoking Dream – Be prepared for an extremely vivid smoking dream as tobacco odors released by horizontal healing lungs are swept up bronchial tubes by rapidly healing cilia and come in contact with a vastly enhanced sense of smell. See it as the wonderful sign of healing it reflects and nothing more.
  6. Exercise! In addition to providing a distraction, “exercise may help reduce the craving because exercise helps reduce stress. It’s also useful for minor anxiety or depression — both of which can influence people to smoke. Along with cardiovascular exercise, include lifting weights. Lifting weights has shown some evidence of helping people quit smoking, although this data comes from smaller studies. It may help to keep free weights by your office desk, because they could also provide a distraction from a craving.
  7. Relapse – Remember that there are only two good reasons to take a puff once you quit. You decide that you want to go back to your old level of consumption until smoking cripples and then kills you, or you decide you really enjoy withdrawal and you want to make it last forever. As long as neither of these options appeals to you the solution is as simple as … no nicotine just one day at a time, to stick to your original commitment to … Never Take Another Puff!

What if you have some cravings? Well, it is important to remember that cravings are time limited; usually lasting three minutes, so reducing a craving is often a matter of finding something else to do for that short time. If you sit in a chair and wait for the craving to go away, that’s going to make it much harder instead, change activities such as take a short walk.  Studies show that nicotine cessation causes significant time distortion. Although no subconsciously triggered crave episode will last longer than three minutes, to a quitter the minutes can feel like hours, especially if they panic. Keep a clock handy to maintain honest perspective.

So call me today with your questions and you can become a clean air breather! (727) 781-8483



 

I often speak with my clients about mindful eating. It is a topic with weight management clients as well as those seeking to practice mindfulness. The intent is to take the time to appreciate every aspect of a meal. Notice the appearance and the aromas before even taking the first bite. Spend a moment in quiet gratitude. When you begin eating chew, chew, chew! Notice the textures as well as the flavor of the food. Notice how the taste can change as you break it down with your teeth and the enzymes in your saliva. Breathe out before you swallow, so no air pockets form in your belly.

So, when a friend of mine shared this video with me, I knew I had to share this with you, dear readers. These are dogs, neither one is right or wrong. However, I do want to ask, which style do you resemble when eating?

A woman recently came to see me for her weight. She told me right up front that she is very active (plays an active sport daily) and eats healthy during the day. It is at night time that she has a problem. She believed that she just needed to be more disciplined after dinner and she would be fine. It was just that those snacks were her reward.

So, she wanted me to help her become stricter with herself. I asked her if she was to become stricter, what else would be different about her. She said she would be more at peace, love herself more and feel more accepted by others. This led me to asking her who doesn’t accept her. Tears flowed as she told me how she never felt loved by one of her parents.

We worked on that inner child who needed love.

After the session, she told me she had considered cancelling, that she thought she just needed to try harder. Now she was so grateful she had come, she realized her approach had been a repeat of the harsh way that parent had treated her.

Another client had been successful with me in the past. She changed jobs and schedules. The scale began to creep back up and she was concerned. She called me to say this job was causing her to gain weight and she needed a refresher. Although she liked her new job, she resented the change in schedule. She also had a new room mate who she felt could be intrusive. Topped off with the loss of a beloved pet, she had returned to food for comfort.  Therefore, we worked on ways to feel the same comfort without the food. In trance she realized that writing letters to God would help her.  So the letters began and she is now happily watching the scale go back down.

A gentleman I worked with had watched the scale creep up and up, until he was at a dangerous level. He had grown up in farm country, so he loved beef, vegetables and fresh bread. Changing those habits should be easy enough, except he was hiding some secrets. He grew up very poor. There wasn’t always enough food for him and his sister. As the older brother, he would give the food to her. Now that he could supply his own food, he felt the need to insure there was always enough. Furthermore he had been abused as a young boy. If he didn’t do what was asked of him, there was no food allowed. This extra weight, according to his subconscious mind would keep him safe from abusers. By reassuring that inner child, empowering his adult self and learning to feel safe, he began his journey to a healthy weight.

These are just a few examples of how we create unhealthy habits for good reasons. All three of these individual knew how to eat healthy, what they needed to learn was how to shed the negative emotions in order to shed weight.

There is an uptick at this time of year in the number of people who call me about weight loss. As summer approaches, people begin to wear less clothing and more revealing. Suddenly it seems that not having kept their new year’s resolution matters. Those individuals are often concerned about the appearance aspect of their weight. If that is the motivation, super! Because, once they get into a healthy new routine, the health and wellness benefits become the siren song of a clean diet and getting movement into every day.

For me, walking has long been a movement of choice. I love seeing the sites when I walk, clearing my head and getting my heart rate up. Now that I have the pups, walking is also a necessary part of my day, several times a day. A few years back I discovered the joys of yoga. The stretching, using my body as resistance and of course the philosophy behind yoga of self-acceptance all resonated with me. Therefore I have included it into my routines.

In the past I lifted weights, however, I had lost interest in it. When I came across Wendi Friesen’s s protocol for helping body builders, it did inspire some interest again. However, I didn’t seem to stick with it. Recently I became more aware of just what lifting does for an individual and so I find myself incorporating it into my routines as well.

As my mother (who will be 90 this year) is in a nursing facility, she is getting several types of rehabilitation. The physical therapy includes the use of light weights. This reminded me that you are never too old to lift!

The benefits of lifting for seniors include:

  • improved bone mass
  • lower fat on the body
  • improved strength and flexibility
  • reduced symptoms of chronic illnesses
  • lower resting blood pressure
  • increase serotonin (the feel good hormone) production
  • mental sharpness increases

I found even more great benefits in this article:
Weightlifting: 20 Benefits for Mind and Body

Perhaps I should have listened to Wendi and started body-building when I learned how to help others with it. However, I am not able to go back in time to change that. What I can do and have done is start with now. From now on, weight training is a part of my life. It is not my intent to become a competitive body-builder, just to be responsible for the only body I have. To ensure I stick with it this time, you can be sure that I include self-hypnosis around weight training.

weight loss moveIf you are like many people I encounter, your intentions for making a change in your weight since the first of the year have fallen by the wayside. We start out with New Year’s Resolutions and great intentions. Then life gets messy (or busy) and we slip back into old habits. The days slipped by and now it is spring and you are still carrying that excess weight around. Before you know it, summer will be her
e and that means wearing less layers of clothing, but what about the layers of excess fat?

Not only is fat uncomfortable to lug around, it is hard on your body. Everyone knows that excessive weight aggravates, and even causes, many unhealthy medical conditions. The list includes bone and joint disorders, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary problems, cancer, dementia and diabetes.  Being fat is being inflamed.

Spring has sprung and it is a time of new beginnings. Babies in the animal kingdom are arriving every day. Flowers are blooming and we think of spring as a time of renewal. So, why not renew your commitment to your body?  The days are longer and you want to have more energy to enjoy them, right?

The first thing you want to consider is spring cleaning your pantry. I recently had a client tell me that she would do well all day long and then at the end of the day, the cookies would call to her from her kitchen. She lives alone, so the cookies needed to go, along with the “emergency candies”, breakfast pastries and several other items that were keeping her from achieving her medically needed weight loss.   It is time to fill your kitchen with colorful fresh foods.

Just like those lovely May flowers that need April showers, we need lots and lots of hydration. I encourage my clients to cut lemons or cucumbers or strawberries, whatever flavor they enjoy up and put it into a pitcher of water, infused water at the ready all day long. Drinking water and lots of it is important in any weight loss program. I can’t emphasize enough the value of drinking water when working on weight loss, in fact here is another article I wrote about the connection between water and weight.

Now that the sun is up early and longer, it is a great time to get out and move your body. I have two dogs who keep me moving. We walk often, we walk briskly and we cover distance. It is good for all of us. If walking isn’t your thing, find something that is. Weight lifting, yoga, bike riding, whatever you do, just move!

If you need help getting motivated, try hypnosis for weight loss. With the woman who had to clean out her kitchen, we did a session of visualizing the produce department at her favorite food store. She later reported that she found herself craving veggies and fruits. With clients who need to move more, we may find ourselves lost in their favorite sport or activity. Want to increase your water consumption? We may link water to a color or other visual that reminds you it is time to hydrate. The sessions are geared to your needs, the results are powerful.

If you want some quick easy tips on how to get started, I found this article to be interesting and I love their website!

How To Lose Weight Fast: 5 Evidence Based Steps Anyone Can Follow

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