Surviving Thanksgiving Dinner When Your Family Voted Wrong

Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude, family and faith. Gathering together is meant to be a wonderful time to share and enjoy our friends and family. After this recent political season, many families are left in need of healing. The differences seemed expansive and the emotions on both sides of the aisle are raw. How are you going to handle  Thanksgiving politics over your dinner?

Start With Self Care

I encourage you to first work on your own coping skills. I have greatly reduced my use of social media for a while. I want to take a break from name calling, crying and anger that is running through my feed. There are just too many opportunities to escalate feelings or fall into destructive debates. Furthermore, when we witness stressful, high-pressure events, our brain identifies with it and even mimics the tone of whatever we’re seeing.
Spend some time in nature. Go for a walk. There is something very grounding about walking outside. For me, there is always something new that gives me pleasure, whether it is a bird singing, a new flower that has bloomed or simply the change in the tides. Additionally, moving while outside helps reset my brain to a more peaceful state of being.
It shouldn’t surprise you by now that I recommend taking deep breathes while walking and throughout your day. Deep breathes allow the oxygen to flow through your body, warming and relaxing muscles, clearing your mind and with a simple “Ahhhh” as you exhale it resets how you feel.
As you enjoy the breathes or the walks outside, squeeze your thumb and index finger together. Every time you have a moment that brings a smile, a laugh or any good feelings, squeeze those same fingers together again. The more you do this, the more you anchor good feelings into your system This will give you a simple method of feeling good at another time, a simple squeeze of the fingers.

Wrangling Guests

Now that you have worked on you, it’s time to think about your guests. First of all, as you are ready to sit down, make a group agreement to leave politics off the table. This makes it a group effort and allows for everyone to be a part of the group gathered. If you want, prior to guests arriving, create a few code words to be shared with others that indicate it is time to redirect the conversation. Have some topics ready for discussion, such as the kids school year or upcoming travel plans.
I have suggested to some to have a bowl on the table for collecting money. Anyone who violates the no politics rule has to put $5 in the first time, $10 the second and on and on. At the end of the night the money goes to a charity of the host’s choosing. You can label the bowl the “GOOD DIGESTION” bowl as you will have better digestion without the stress.

Remember You Love Them

Remember you care about these people. When you’re talking with someone at Thanksgiving try not to confuse the importance of the topic you’re discussing with the importance of the conversation you’re having. No matter how sad, mad or disappointed we are about anything in our lives – be it politics or not – there is also joy in the world and it is always available to us. Try to keep that in mind, and find some joy in being with your loved ones this holiday season — even if they do all vote the wrong way.

Do you find that you count calories all day long, behaving really well and then the evening sets in and the snacking/binging becomes out of control? Late night snacking has long been rumored to cause weight gain. In actuality, the notion that nighttime eating is more fattening than daytime eating or that our metabolism slows down at night isn’t based on recent scientific findings. Research says that it isn’t eating late that is the problem. A calorie is a calorie regardless of when it is consumed, the problem is that the total number of calories consumed and the amount of activity one has throughout the day.

If you have been “good” all day long, ask yourself what that means. Unfortunately for many people it means they skipped meals or eaten sparingly during the day. These people are trying to save up calories knowing they are nighttime snackers. That is a recipe for disaster. Depriving ourselves of food leaves us hungry, keeping food in our awareness more than those who eat to satisfaction throughout the day.

Furthermore, people eat at night for a variety of reasons that may have very little to do with hunger. Satisfying cravings, coping with boredom, stress or fatigue are contributors to night time binging. Often, after-dinner snacks consist of large portions of high-calorie foods (like chips, cookies, candy) and are eaten while sitting in front of the television or computer. This creates a lack of control and it becomes all too easy to consume the entire bag, carton, or container without thinking about it. Besides those unnecessary extra calories, eating too close to bedtime can cause indigestion and sleeping problems.

Lack of sleep disrupts appetite hormone levels which help regulate satiety and tell your brain you are full. Particularly true in the evening, this could be why people crave snacks after dinner. In addition, research found that sleep-deprived people with late bedtimes ate significantly more total overall calories and ate more late at night than well-rested people.

Ask yourself, ‘Why?’ What’s eating away at you, causing you to eat? Overeating at night may be depression or simply a deeply ingrained habit fueled by less serious but still insidious feelings like frustrations over the day, loneliness, anxiousness, or boredom. If you desire to reward yourself at night, particularly after a difficult day, reward yourself with non-food pleasures. Prepare a list you can turn to. It might include shopping, listening to music, taking a soothing bubble bath, getting a massage, going to the movies, going out dancing, playing a sport, or spending time with a friend.

Regardless of the reasons for your night time binges, you want to stop. You are done with the self-sabotage as you are trying to shed weight or simply maintain the weight you are at currently. Hypnosis can help with these issues. Whether your reason is emotional, habitual, sleep deprivation (or any combination) through hypnosis the cause(s) can be found. Then changes are made to assist you in stopping the late night snacking and binging.

Nine tips to help stop late night snacking:

  1. Make bedtime a priority and get at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night
  2. If hungry, eat a small, healthy snack in the evening to avoid binge eating.
  3. While watching TV, shoot nerf ball hoops, floss your teeth, take up knitting, or write notes to friends. Use hand weights during commercial breaks, stretch on the floor, walk on a treadmill, or ride a stationary bike.
  4. Create a future mind-set. Imagine yourself with your eyes closed looking and feeling the way you will once your weight goal is achieved.
  5. Keep a “food and mood” diary
  6. Structured eating and sleeping times will help you spread your food intake over the day so that you’re less hungry at night. Having a routine for meal and sleep times can help you break unhealthy cycles of behavior. This can help if you have no appetite during the day or tend to binge at night.
  7. If you eat due to hunger, include protein and a good quality fat at every meal may help curb your hunger. Protein will keep you fuller longer. (Good fats are nuts and seeds, avocados, coconut and olive oil)
  8. Don’t drink your calories: Sugary, liquid calories in the form of sodas, juices, lattes, sports drink  for example, will spike your insulin and blood sugar causing cravings.
  9. Drink a warm beverage such as an herbal tea.

One costume that has been making the rounds before Halloween is even here is the scary clown, not to be mistaken for the beloved circus clown. They have created a lot of fear as there have been sightings of these clowns along roadsides. Some reports speak of an attempt to pull children away from safety. Here is an article from Scientific American that explains a little bit about clowns and fear and the current trend going on. I found it interesting reading.

Why Clowns Creep Us Out

Just a reminder, if you have an irrational or paralyzing fear of clowns, hypnosis can help you!

Halloween can be such a fun holiday for children and adults alike. The decorations, costumes, parties and trick or treating all add up to creating a festive mood. Creativity soars as we look to create fun decorations, carve interesting jack o’ lanterns and inspired costumes. costumes
Halloween in recent history was thought of as primarily children dressing up to go trick or treating. Today more money is spent on adult costumes than children’s costumes – nearly 1.25 billion dollars. Plus another $330 million will be spent on pet costumes.
Halloween costumes can allow us to dress up and try on an alter ego. Costumes are a way to explore who you aren’t. For example, it’s unlikely a nurse will dress up as a sexy nurse – or any other type of nurse for that matter. But she might choose a sexy waitress and the waitress might choose the nurse or another profession.

Here is a quick review of how some Halloween costumes might be interpreted:

Disney Princess
If you are going as Elsa, Cinderella, Snow White or another Disney princess, it is likely you are sentimental and romantic. Cinderella was your favorite movie when you were 12 and you know all the words to “Let it Go.” Wearing the dress of your favorite princess reminds you of your childhood when life was simple, anything was possible, and every little girl was royalty.
Fantasy Characters
Stepping out as Obi-Wan Kenobe, Gandalf or Arya Stark? If dressing up as your favorite fantasy or sci-fi character is your top costume choice for Halloween, perhaps you enjoy the escapism of these fantasy worlds. This is your chance to step into the shoes of your favorite character and play for a night in a fantasy world.
Historical Figures
Going as Amelia Earhart, Abraham Lincoln, or Cleopatra might indicate that you are a bit of a realist or that you have a strong connection to a particular period in history. Although such representations  are often romanticized notions about particular eras, the figures are usually legendary people who have left a powerful mark on history. Stepping out in the character of such a figure could indicate a need to be larger than life, powerful, and celebrated.
Horror Creatures
Zombies, vampires, monsters, witches, and frightening ghouls are perhaps the figures we most often associate with Halloween. By wearing these costumes, you might be exploring your darker side. It does help to minimize the power of that which frightens us. For example, people fear death, so dressing as the Grim Reaper helps us to make light of that fear. Macabre and grotesque both terrifies and fascinates us.
Last-Minute DIY Costumes
You waited until the night of the party and wrap yourself in an old sheet and grab a wreath for your head. You are most likely no stranger to procrastination, in fact, it is likely you putoff things in your everyday life as well. It could simply mean that you are too busy doing other things to give serious thought to a once-a-year event. Either way, you probably don’t think too much about your costume, or really care what other people think about it either.
If you’re dressing as your favorite superhero, whether it is Iron Man, Wonder Woman, or Captain America, you might be trying to get in touch with your own inner hero. It is a common fantasy to daydream about being the hero or saving the day. Superhero costumes help feed into this fantasy. It is also possible wearing such costumes might be an attempt to overcome underlying feelings of inadequacy or weakness.
Sexy Costumes
Wearing a sexy or revealing costume might mean that you’re an exhibitionist and that you want to be noticed or conversely it is possible that you are very conservative in your normal daily routine and this allows you to explore an alter ego normally kept hidden.

Costumes are communication devices

They say something about yourself to others and are meant to elicit a response. They reveal a bit about our inner fantasy life and are meant to elicit a response. Normally one doesn’t put on a costume to sit home alone. Costumes are vehicles of social connection. So, be creative, have fun and send the message that you want others to get!
I love my daily walks, several of them with my dogs. I am getting lots of miles covered, according to my Fitbit, I am well above average when it comes to the steps I take. However, just like my clients, I know I need to do more. Yoga is one form of exercise I love, bike riding, even working with light walking for exercise
Over the summer though, it gets hot and humid. Really hot and really humid. So, I don’t enjoy the walks as much, I set a goal of daily yoga and I plan on bike riding. Then life gets in the way and after all, it is hot and humid. So, exercise can get forgotten. That is until my waistline screams at me because clothes aren’t meant to stretch that much.

Lazy Labels Are No Good, So exercise Caution!

Then, like everyone else, I need to get myself motivated again. It is then that I have to dig deep, beyond the instant gratification of getting inside to the air conditioning and instead, move it! I want to do things that will help me enjoy exercise, playful movements. I also want to remember that that labeling myself as lazy isn’t helpful.
It is important that I think of myself as someone who exercises or someone who is healthy. I choose an exercise-friendly identity that I want to adopt.  You see, the human psyche goes to great lengths to be consistent with one’s identity.  The subconscious mind is very willing to accommodate the belief that I am lazy.
I hear from clients all the time that they believe they are lazy because they haven’t included working out into their routine. However, when they tell me all they do, I know it can’t be true. Sometimes it is just a matter of revamping their daily routine to include exercise, sometimes it is getting a workout buddy so that there is not only accountability but company!
So thinking of yourself as a harried, stressed-out person creates a self-fulfilling prophecy with little room for exercise.  But thinking of yourself as a really busy healthy person might create just the tweak your mindset needs. I use self-hypnosis to help me get motivated for exercise and get myself back on track. How about you?

smoke cessation is neededSo  many times when I answer the phone, the caller on the other end (often a smoker) doesn’t wait for me to say much of anything as they dive into, “I need to make an appointment for smoke cessation, but first I have a few questions. How does hypnosis work, what is your success rate for smoke cessation and what if I can’t be hypnotized?” I have to take a breath and begin with one question at a time.

How does this hypnosis work?

I explain that hypnosis is safe, non-invasive and a natural occurrence. Awareness of a problem is the first step, desire to change is the second. Next comes taking action. By calling me, the future nonsmoker has begun to take action. The subconscious mind is receptive for any ideas we want to embrace.

If your first associations with smoking were positive (status among peers, a sense of maturity, an opportunity to step away from a stressful situation) then that is what the subconscious mind has connected with smoking, regardless of the threat of illness. It is our goal to uncover those early associations along with smoking triggers. Triggers are related to the habit of smoking. They can be things such as finishing a meal, having a cup of coffee or tea, driving, talking on the phone, etcetera. Then we rewire our habits and associations. No longer is smoking cool, smokers are not banished to the outside for their habit. We find alternative behaviors for the former smoke breaks. We work on breathing exercises, stress management and even address eating and exercise. All of this together makes for a smoke free, more confident and authentic you.

What is your success rate?

While I can tell you that I give it my all and most of my clients leave nonsmokers, I would be very creative to give you an actual percentage rate. I know about the success stories when they write me six months or even several years down the road to say they are still smoke free. But, if someone falls off the wagon and is too embarrassed to admit it, I might never know. There are those in my field who claim 95% success (or something similar), I cry foul!

It is important to remember that tobacco has had a brilliant marketing campaign for years. During the second World War our brave soldiers were given cigarettes by the government! Many veterans have told me they began smoking during basic training, because, smokers got a break and nonsmokers had to remain in formation at attention. Smoking was a fashion statement, a rite of passage and a reward. It became  a way of life for many, even a part of a smoker’s identity.

So, while I love seeing my client leave the office smoke free, I never judge if they pick up the habit during a stressful time. What I ask is that they let me know right away. It makes it easier to reverse, go back to living smoke free.

What if I can’t be hypnotized?

For many reasons people will believe they cannot be hypnotized. Perhaps they have been told that you must be gullible or artistic or visual. Actually you can be any of those or none. For hypnosis is a natural occurrence. The same brain waves that are experienced (and have been measured) that one experiences during the day, when daydreaming or when falling asleep are the brainwaves measured during hypnosis. If you have a good imagination, if words sting you easily, if you become so involved in a sporting event that you tense and try to assist them with your own body movements while sitting on your couch you are probably a good candidate for hypnosis. You can have any of those qualities or all of them. For more information on hypnosis and a fun little quiz to determine how hypnotizable you are click here: Hypnosis FAQs. For the test scroll down to the bottom of the page.

If you are tired of smelling like an ashtray, coughing and hacking or even just being exiled to the outdoors or being controlled by BIG TOBACCO, maybe you are ready to stop smoking. Call me today for your smoke cessation session and let the smoke clear and give yourself the gift of a healthier, longer and better quality life!

As a young girl, I was convinced like many of us, that my parents knew everything. It was as simple as black and white, their beliefs became mine. As a teen, of course, that changed as I struggled for autonomy and had a few life experiences under my belt. Still, I believed that I was right; if others disagreed they were mistaken. Everything was open to judgement, religion, politics, books, music and child rearing, even housekeeping!
The story I told was mine and the more I repeated it, the more I became invested in it. Until one day my world changed and my opinions were challenged. You see, I did not believe in divorce. Did not believe it could ever happen in my picture perfect world. I was wrong and everything in my world went topsy turvy. At first, I became the consummate victim, telling my story repeatedly. Once again I became heavily invested in my truth, my new world view.
Neither world view was really suited to me, however. I began a journey of exploration, trying on other’s opinions. This was something I had not done in a long while and certainly not to this degree. What I discovered was that I could change beliefs, modify beliefs and even understand another’s views without fully agreeing on all points. With less judgement of others it became easier to be less critical of myself. I stopped labeling myself as right or wrong (usually wrong).
Many times my clients come in with a story that they have been telling for a long while. They speak of the problem they have, what created it and all the accompanying guilt, shame and fear. Some will try to warn me that I am going to think they are crazy or weird, as if that will soften the blow if I were to say they are beyond help. Others will preach to me about their world views, assuming I agree and it is the rest of the world that is crazy. Still others just dump as much as they can, hoping I will make it all go away.
While it is important to feel heard and I do listen to what someone is sharing with me, there are times when it is just as important to “break state”, that is to interrupt the “trance” of their own story. For example, after someone has told me numerous times how mean their spouse is, I might tell them my pen just ran out of ink and ask them to hand me a pen near them. This allows me to now insert a new direction to lead the session. It is then that I can introduce my three favorite words, “Up until now”.
For example, “Up until now I believed my child was naughty when she threw a temper tantrum. Now I understand she doesn’t have the skills yet to deal with the situation at hand.” From there we can begin to strategize the tools and lessons we want to share with the child. This allows us to transition from a battle (where someone has to lose) to a win for all. Imagine no longer feeling like a failure as a parent or a child! With those magical three words changes to understanding and compassion.

  • Up until now, I believed I was lazy because I haven’t exercised. Now I know I just needed the socialization of a class to get me motivated.
  • Up until now, I believed I was stupid because I hated math. Now I know I learn better with math games.
  • Up until now, I believed I was not likable. Now I realize it was me judging myself harshly.
  • Up until now, I believed my boyfriend’s family didn’t like me. Now I understand there are cultural differences in how we express ourselves.

Now Create Your Own “Up Until Now”

Up until now, I believed ________________. Now I understand ___________________________.


Definition of Quantum when pertaining to physics:

the smallest amount of a physical quantity that can exist independantly, especially a discrete quantity of electromagnetic radiation.

My son and I were laughing together over the use of the word quantum. People regard quantum as the definition of a large quantity, while referring to it in physics. Actually, in physics it is the smallest amount. So we asked, is a quantum leap really a bunny hop?

Either way, the smallest of shifts can make huge change. Think of the difference 1 degree makes in water, from hot to boiling! I had a friend tell me how a 3 foot shift in engineering made the difference whether a highway went through a skyscraper or a right of way that was already in existence. (This created a difference of millions of dollars and months of labor, not to mention relocating many businesses!)

What if you made one small change today? What if you decided that no matter what, you would not allow a complaint to pass your lips for 24 hours? What if you only used words that uplifted the people in your life? Would that change how they react to you? Would it at least change how you feel about yourself?

My husband and I had a 24 hour challenge over the weekend. Complaints were banned! We both noticed how much more we enjoyed one another’s company. We laughed even more! Traffic improved, store clerks were more efficient, it was crazy. Crazy good, that is!

Pleasure of missing out“I wish that I could be like the cool kids,” is the hook for the hit song by Echosmith, with over 68 million views. At one time or another you may have been preoccupied by the idea that someone, somewhere, is having a better time, making more money, or living a more exciting life.  Social media has made our lives public and we feel the need to make our lives seem glamourous. We take selfies in glamorous places, we post our every meal and drink and we tag one another at galas. All in the name of proving we are one of the cool kids. Thus, in 2013 the term FoMO (Fear of Missing Out) was added to the Oxford English Dictionary.

There isn’t anything wrong with wanting to keep tabs on friends and family, it is a part of our humanity to want to be social. However, our party selfies are having a whole lot more fun than we are. We share links to news articles in order to look savvy and yet according to research done by Columbia University and the French National Institute we don’t read what we are sharing!  (Yes, I read the report.) This causes me to think about the Jimmy Fallon Lie Witness News bits where he interviews people with fake facts and they answer as if they had seen it on social media.

We enjoy a pants free night. You know the kind of evening where we can sit around the house and binge watch the latest episodes on Netflix or maybe even play endless hours of chase the string with Kitty. It could include take out for dinner or trying a new recipe. It is just nice to have that time at home without obligations.

Apparently that concept is catching on. There is a new phrase in town, PoMO or Pleasure of Missing Out. According to Yelp Eat24 CEO Mike Ghaffary, the delivery orders have risen by over 50% in the past several years.  When people opt out of all the events they are invited to attend on Facebook, Twitter, Meet UP, etc. they leave room for breathing. They create space for real connections and they save money that could be used for say, a vacation? To me, this is a wonderful reframe. Perhaps we can live in a world full of social media and still find time to put down the phone. Maybe connecting with our friends and neighbors can once again become enriching. More importantly, imagine taking time to connect with your true self? I have mentioned before how our addiction to technology can be dangerous if we don’t remain aware. If you want to go from FoMO to PoMO and need some help with that, think about trying hypnosis. Now that is a real connection with yourself!

letting go fistMake a fist. Make a very tight fist and hold it while reading this. Into that fist you can place whatever is bothering you today. Place rude or angry remarks, heavy traffic causing you to be late for an appointment or work, jealousy or whatever it is that has been robbing you of your focus today.  As you place those things into your fist,imagine the emotions you felt when they initially occurred as if it was happening now. Amplify the feelings to the level that you have been carrying them around with you. Count to 5 and tighten the fist with each number.

Now in a moment I am going to ask you to release that fist (keep holding for now) and when you do, imagine that everything you placed in there flies out and up to the stratosphere. It is all sent to the heavens where it can be fixed, deleted or improved as is appropriate. When you release the fist, take a deep breath and say, “ahhhhh”.  Ready, set, let it go! That should feel really good.

In order to catch monkeys in India or Africa it is said that the hunter drills a small hole into a coconut, attaches it to a base and fills it with peanuts. Then they scatter peanuts and bananas around the area. The monkeys are lured in by the goodies. Once those are gone, the monkey will put his hand into the coconut to retrieve the peanuts. The hole is large enough to get the paw in, while too small for a fist full of peanuts to pull out. The monkey will hold on to the peanuts until the hunter returns rather than let go. In other words, he will hold on to the very thing that will take away his freedom.

I have been guilty of the same, how about you? Holding on to an argument, because I was right and the other person was wrong only serves to keep my thoughts from being free. Holding on to insults, even making them my truth in retrospect seems silly. All the power I gave away, sigh. Sometimes by holding on to our grievances we become defined by it. Without our pain, we have no story. “If the other guy hadn’t cheated, I would have gotten to promotion.” Our bodies can reflect what we hold on to as well. Unrelenting anger can cause heart problems, affect our immune system, our weight and even cause damage to our lungs!

I don’t want you to try to never feel anything but happy, not only is that unrealistic it can cause more harm than good. Learning to express anger in an appropriate way is actually a healthy use of anger. I have worked with people who wanted to be perfect, never upset and so while they may smile on the outside, the weight continues to pile on or smoking increases or any other maladaptive behavior persists. Instead, choose your battles carefully and with the things not worth ruining your health over, make a fist and let it go!

1 3 4 5 6 7 43