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!

People often ask me if hypnosis works. They want to know how effective hypnosis is.

effective hypnosis

Do I really need to say anything more?

June is Rebuild Your Life Month. Whether it is that you have been thrown a curve ball by life and desperately need to make changes or more simply you just feel this is the time to make changes, this month can be a great time to kick off powerful ways to recreate yourself. This is a wonderful opportunity to reexamine your life and take charge of it by removing stressors as you are able.
Recognizing what your stressors are is the first step.  Job stress can, and often does, lead to an increased stress level at home and conversely a difficult home life can lead to an increase of stress while on the job. Therefore it is important to narrow down where the stress is coming.  
Sometimes this is as easy as removing clutter from your home and giving the home a thorough cleaning. Numerous studies have shown how physical clutter can create a mental clutter and cause an increase in stress elsewhere in your life. In Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project, she devoted an entire month to ridding her life of clutter. She extols the virtues of how she truly enjoys the belongings she has chosen to keep and the freedom eliminating the clutter has given her.
Other times, the stress may come from conflict in your life. This may bring about the harsh recognition that a person (or persons) in your life are simply not good for you. There are those in life that we permit, that don’t have our best interest at heart. Cleansing those people from our lives is the healthiest option, even when the initial removal of them can be stressful. The removal of a toxic person from your life can cause an entire shift in how you experience life.
A job can be just as harmful. While it may be a challenge to extract yourself from a toxic workplace, it is important to take the steps to do so. You spend far too much of your life in the workplace, it can create serious health issues to be unhappy that much of the time. In fact, just beginning to look for other options whether it is a change in where you work or returning to school one class at a time in order to change careers can bring about an improved attitude.
Here are some changes you might consider making to lead a healthier, less stressed lifestyle as you rebuild your life.
  • Healthy Eating

In my opinion one of the best changes people can make for creating a healthy lifestyle is to eat healthy. Because of the negative health consequences of obesity, the positive influence fitness has on our self-esteem, and the effects of nutrition on our stress levels and our longevity, switching to a healthier diet brings some of the greatest benefits for wellness. I won’t tell you the best way to eat, as it is different for every individual.  I can tell you that a diet full of fast foods and snacks is NOT in your best interest.

  • Regular Exercise

Getting regular exercise is another wonderful way to keep your weight in check, manage overall stress levels, and stay connected with others. Exercise has been proven repeatedly to help not only the physical body, but also the emotional part of you. Dr. Daniel Amen, a psychiatrist who has written numerous books on the brain and brain health (How to Make A Good Brain Great and Unleash the Power of the Female Brain are two of his books I’ve enjoyed) repeatedly says that 20 minutes of vigorous exercise is better than any drug he can prescribe. 

  • Get Good Sleep

People often underestimate the importance of getting enough sleep, and getting good quality sleep. However, lack of adequate sleep has many negative consequences. Stress can rob you of a good night’s sleep. It is important to utilize stress reducing techniques to enable you to sleep better. It is also important to include good sleep habits so that you are better able to handle the day’s stresses. Self-hypnosis and meditation are two great tools to improve sleep while better handling stress.

  • Create A Happiness Ritual

Whether it is a daily cup of tea and quiet contemplation, coloring in a coloring book or a daily yoga session, find something that brings you joy and practice it. Practice it on a regular basis, so that you are reminded of your value. By consistently practicing your ritual you have those feelings to draw on when you are feeling stressed or sad.


No one has ever promised that life is going to be easy, although, it has been said that everything happens for a reason. Rebuilding your life can be as simple as de-cluttering your home (and your mind) or changing the relationships in your life. By readjusting the sails to navigate away from the past towards a new and improved future can be the best decision you will ever make. So, use this month to start rebuilding your life now. Your destination just might surprise you.
April 16 (the day after Tax Day, April 15) has become a special day to set aside for Americans to become aware of just how stressed they may have become! Everyone feels stressed from time to time and if left unchecked, it tends to be a real happiness killer as well as a threat to your health. This makes it harder for us to live joy-filled lives. Stress has also been reported to lead to a number of major health problems, ranging anywhere from anxiety or severe depression to physical symptoms such as a mild case of acne to life-threatening heart attacks. It is easy to see why it is so vitally important to keep life’s major stressors in check.

Scientists report that psychological stress may exact its toll, at least in part, by affecting molecules believed to play a key role in cellular aging and possibly, disease development.  Anecdotal evidence and scientific evidence has have suggested that chronic stress can take years off your life. Stress can also have an indirect effect on the immune system as a person may use unhealthy behavioral coping strategies to reduce their stress, such as drinking and smoking. It is easy to see why it is so vitally important to keep life’s major stressors in check.
Enough of the dire news and warnings, I don’t need to stress you out more.
Instead, here are some quick tips for changing into a stress free zone for the day and at the end a link  to 3 free audios I have available for you to reduce your stress!
  1. Focus On The Now

So many people live their entire lives in yesterday or tomorrow. The truth is, however, that there is only the Now. Focusing on this moment, right now, provides a wonderful escape from the disappointment of what once was and the fear of what might be, leaving stress stuck in a time warp. (You do remember the Time Warp, right?)

2   Give Yourself A Pep Talk
Sometimes a good talking to is all you need to keep stress at bay. Maybe it is about time you gave yourself a pep talk, reminding yourself what is right with your life instead of dwelling on what’s wrong. Ask yourself how you got so lucky to have a roof over your head, food on the table and the opportunity to experience so much each day.

3.     Get the Giggles
Laughter really is the best medicine. Watch a comedy, share a funny joke, or go to a card shop and read funny cards. I always told my sons to find a reason to smile and laugh as they walked out the door. Maybe you can do the same, then share whatever it is, give yourself time for laughter each and every day.

4.     Use Self-Hypnosis
A still mind is a stress-free mind, so take a deep breath, quiet your thoughts and let the stress melt away. Even ten minutes done daily for the next 30 days will do wonders for releasing stress in your life.

5.     Keep a Happiness Journal
Starting today, spend a few minutes reflecting on the day you just experienced and list five things about the day that delighted you. Review that list when tempted to return to the old stinking thinking track.

6.     Lend  A Helping Hand
Sometimes the best way to deal with stress is by providing relief to someone else. Placing your focus on others needs takes the focus off your own challenges. This will lead to less rumination and therefore less stress. So look around you, see who needs a hand up and offer yours.

7.     Listen To A Hypnosis Audio
I have three audios I have created that are free for you. Just stop by anytime to listen. Share them with your friends, let’s get this stress-less party started! Stress Free Audios

St Patrick’s Day is here and the celebrations are in full swing, from turning rivers green (famously in Chicago and even locally the Hillsborough River) to parades and parties. The reason for the celebration, according to tradition, is in honor of St. Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland. However, as there is little evidence that this island ever had many snakes. Apparently, as snakes in biblical terms represent evil and Pagans were considered the same by Christians, it was the Pagan folks that were driven away (or converted.)
I like to use the metaphor in my life in a bit different way. I am not in any rush to drive Pagans or any other group of people out of my life, but evil can leave. Now, I am not plagued by evil, don’t mean to imply that.  However, anything that stands in the way of my true inner peace can leave now.
Ironically, I once had a horrid fear of snakes. It took some self -hypnosis and contact with the creatures for me to change that.  So, what are the snakes that I and so many others I meet deal with? FEAR is a biggie! Fear can rob us of inner peace as quickly as it becomes a thought.
We have a continuous inner voice that seems to rage on and on when we are anxious or fearful. This self-talk hugely affects our emotions and behaviors. When we start telling ourselves things that don’t line up with reality we get into trouble. We start thinking and believing thoughts that just aren’t true and these false beliefs become a prime breeding ground for unhealthy fears.
Often our first impulse when we experience fear is to avoid the source. When the danger is real, avoidance is an appropriate tactic. When fear is irrational, avoidance is inappropriate and will only make the problem more intense. Many people are in the habit of seeing the negative side of any challenging situation. When we focus on the negatives, we resist taking action and continue to avoid, becoming stuck. The more we focus on the possibility of loss the more anxiety and fear we create.
Avoidance is a serious obstacle to dealing with fear because it works. We temporarily feel good through avoidance. The problem is we can condition ourselves to avoid something rather than face it. As a result, we give a portion of our lives over to the thing we fear, letting it control us. Avoidance will never make fear go away.
You may find it helpful to make a list of any specific fears you have and get them out in the open. In each situation that leaves you feeling hesitant or fearful, try to understand exactly what is holding you back. What is it that you are afraid will happen and why? Are those things really likely to occur, or is there only a slight chance? If you take your fear to the extreme that you are worried about, what are the odd of that extreme coming through?
Next, use a separate sheet of paper and create a list of the benefits you stand to gain by moving forward. Be as specific and optimistic as you can. Remember that dread and fear will amplify your perception of the negative possibilities, which can make the positive benefits seem significantly smaller or less important. So, you may need to work a little harder at emphasizing the positive.
Comparing the two lists, you can then make a balanced decision. You will have a better, more balanced view of your options.
Recently I spoke with a woman plagued with anxiety attacks. Apparently, the onset of these attacks coincided with her beginning a job search. The more we discussed her concerns about finding the right job, the more her fears were expressed. When we took these fears to their extreme, she decided she was not likely to end up a homeless bag lady or dead on the streets of Tampabay. As we discussed the possibilities of what could go right, her fears began to dissipate.
In her case, she decided to move forward with the job search. She is not going to let fear get in her way. So, her snakes have been driven away.
Take a moment today to channel your inner St. Patrick and drive those snakes out of your life. Breathe in that inner peace, picture and imagine the beauty of those Irish hills and wonder what beauty might be waiting for you to enjoy.

Time for the fifth annual celebration of World Hypnotism Day. Tomorrow, January 4th is the official day, however, my event is being held today. As I have traditionally done in the past, I am holding my event at Oak Trail Books. We will be addressing how to Recession Proof Your Mind.

This event is a great chance for the world to see how safe, natural and life improving the practice of regular self-hypnosis is. It is amazing how our bodies are built to help us, if we just pay attention. Deep breathing, helps us to relax, think clearly and even lower our blood pressure. Exercise releases endorphins, those feel good chemicals. Visualization sets the mind on the road to success.

I must keep this short, as I am off to Oak Trail Books. Here are some links to interviews I did on television (local CBS affiliate, 10Connects) This was fun, I was asked to put two different producers under on the air! The St. Petersburg Times reporter wrote a lovely article as well.

If you are local, please stop by, this promises to be a fun event. if not, check out for an event near you.

Last night at Dr. Lara’s office we had a great time. The group was large, yet felt intimate. People openly shared what their downfalls are as they embark upon the journey of healthier living. Over and over the obstacle of stress came up, it was a hot button for sure.

Dr. Lara explained that stress helps in the creation of a hormone called cortisol, which lowers the body’s levels of serotonin (a “feel good” hormone). Lower levels of serotonin triggers a craving for carbohydrates. We discussed ways to cope with stress, diet changes (lean proteins over simple carbohydrates) and practical tips on avoiding eating when stressed.

Here are six tips I can offer you:

  1. Take action! Exercise releases chemicals into the brain that will counteract the effects of stress. 10 – 15 minutes of exercise will distract the mind and allow you to change your focus. I keep hand weights in my kitchen. If tempted to snack, I do 10 minutes of repetitions in order to earn that snack. Nine times out of ten, I don’t want the snack anymore and I begin to collect my thoughts.
  2. Eat consciously. Place the utensil down between bites and chew. Savor the flavor and textures of your food. When you pay attention the taste and smell of your food, meals are more satisfying and temptation is reduced.
  3. Chew sugarless gum. If you grab a piece of sugarless gum, you are less likely to put other foods into your mouth.
  4. Schedule your eating. By keeping a set schedule of meals and snacks, you create a new routine. This will keep hunger at bay and train your mind to remain on target. Forget skipping meals, that only leads to disaster as the night wears on.
  5. Create a journal of your emotions. Feeling stressed, feeling blue? Write it out. Studies have shown that writing about your feelings helps lead to resolutions and solutions to those same issues.
  6. Practice relaxation techniques. taking a long hot bath or trading a massage with a loved one feels a whole lot better than any junk food tastes!

We experienced some relaxation techniques last night. I worked with the group to focus on each muscle group and send it comfort and relaxation. They gave themselves permission to enjoy the moment, feeling safe and serene. Next they were asked to think of a special person, perhaps a child, or another whom they would treat with total respect and love. They were told to feel that emotion for the other, than transfer that to themselves. Knowing they deserve the same love and respect. Reminding them that they love their body, for that is where they live; they would start treating that body with the same love and respect they would treat a loved one with. Finally, we took a journey to a special event, seeing all the foods available. It was easy and natural to choose healthy foods, because of the respect they were now experiencing.

At the end of the night, the room was quiet and filled with a gentle sense of calm and caring. Caring for each other, caring for ourselves. It was a blessing to experience that moment.

With the Thanksgiving holidays behind us, are you one of those people who suddenly feels the crush of the upcoming season? Gift giving season is upon us, along with parties, social events, wrapping up the year before a new one begins, children’s pageants and the list goes on and on. All of this is meant to bring us joy and yet it seems as though we are on constant overwhelm. This year add the concerns that we have been feeling about the economy and the holidays can seem to be turning into nothing but a dizzying array of obligation!

There is hope. Here is how I deal with the season. I breathe. That’s right, deep breathes, allowing my thoughts to clear and my body to relax. Breath is life, we always have our breath with us and yet all too often we get into overwhelm and we forget to breath. When you are stressed, your breathing is quick and shallow. When I recognize that in myself, I stop and take a deep, wonderful attitude changing breath.

The next thing I have had to learn is to forget the fantasy of perfection. If my uncle is a goof ball with outrageous behavior and opinions that he is compelled to spew every other day of the year, why should I expect him to be any different during a holiday event? I have lowered my expectations of how things “should” be. (I am not fond of “shoulding” on myself anyway.) If it is truly a family or friend get together that is important to me, than I focus on the relationships and enjoy the people I am with.

It is my experience that my friends and family would rather get together with a happy sane me, than the one that is weepy and weary because I created the perfect table decorations or had that one extra appetizer that no one knew I was going to serve in the first place. So far, neither Martha Stewart nor Norman Rockwell have featured my celebrations, but my friends and family have all enjoyed themselves as we usually end up laughing about everything and nothing.

With the economy what it is this year, it is a good time to remind ourselves about the reason for this season. Whatever your holiday or your Spiritual beliefs are, keep your focus there. When we take time out to renew ourselves Spiritually, we feel more ready to handle whatver comes our way. I like to remind myself that in this moment, I am safe, I am healthy and all my needs have been met.

Don’t try to buy happiness. Often, when setting a budget and sticking to it, everyone is happier. After all, how much fun is “the gift” in January when the bills start to roll in? Perhaps, the gift of time is what loved ones would prefer. Be honest with friends and family, set limits on the amount spent on a gift, limits that fit your budget.

I enjoy a moment of quiet relaxation, of self hypnosis. When I find my words becoming terse or negative, I stop and think about how I want to feel. I think about who I want to be. Try it. Take a moment now and relax. Breathe deeply and with your eyes closed recall a favorite holiday. Recall the events, the sights, the sounds, the aromas. Most importantly, recall how wonderful you felt. Recall those memories of joy and love. Fill yourself with those feelings of joy and love right now, then take those feelings forward with you through out the rest of your day.

This week is shaping up to be a wonderful week. I have the opportunity to speak at the WIN Symposium tomorrow evening. The Symposium is an annual event, held by Women In Networking, where women can network, attend workshops and visit a variety of exhibitors to find ways of improving their opportunities. Net proceeds benefit the Healthy Start Coalition of Pinellas County and The American Cancer Society. It promises to be quite interesting, I have certainly enjoyed it in years past.

Now, I was with a group of friends on Saturday night and mentioned the Symposium. One of the gentlemen told me to “break a leg”. This made us all laugh, but it also helped to remind me that part of this month’s theme is superstitions. So, I want to reassure you that I will not be carrying a rabbits foot with me, wearing any lucky charms or keep salt in my pocket during the talk. I will however, look into the eyes of my audience, speak to them from my heart and have a wonderful time sharing what I have to offer, in the hopes that my information will help someone walk away feeling just a little bit better about themselves.

As I always do, I will use a little bit of self-hypnosis to calm and center myself before I speak. I hope to have audience participation, it is more fun that way. When they leave, I hope that new affirmations have been created by each attendee, that will take them through the next few days, weeks and months into a journey of fun and discovery. It is my goal that each person feels more self empowered as well. I’ll let you know how it goes!

How I overcame Ophidiophobia or a fear of snakes.  Snakes were never my favorite animal. In fact, I really didn’t like them for most of my younger years. Then something happened to change that dislike into fear. Not just a little afraid, not just, “oh my goodness they scare me” afraid, we are talking overwhelming and completely irrational FEAR! I couldn’t own an “S” encyclopedia fear. I had to leave a pet store that had snakes anywhere in the building. If a snake appeared on the television screen, I had to leave the room afraid. Zoos were painful, because I knew at any moment there would be the inevitable snake exhibit.

What caused this fear? Well, looking back, it was silly school age pranks. I was on a camping trip with my science class. This was an annual trip, that promised to be a great adventure. On one of the days of the trip, the teachers broke the group up into smaller groups and took us tramping through the woods to learn all about nature. We observed moss growing to identify directions, edible versus poisonous plants, we even took water samples from the nearby streams to take back to the lab at the camp site for testing. We felt scientific, grown up, curious and smug.

Then, our young and relatively inexperienced leader (it was her first year teaching) realized that we were lost. That’s right, we could not follow our steps back to the campground. So, we formed a circle and began to call as a group for help. The teacher had contact by walkie talkie, but they couldn’t pinpoint where we were. We called and called, no avail. There was a plate on the ground nearby that looked to me like it might be valuable. (My mother collected antique glassware and I think I was looking for a diversion.) So, I went over, picked up the plate and with that, the coiled rattle snake started hissing and shaking it’s tail.

I screamed at the top of my lungs! The search group found us immediately! The snake never attacked and all was fine. Until that night. The group was rounded up for our nature lecture and the teachers decided to talk about snakes. The boys in the group found this great fun, as I was still a bit squeamish. On the way back to our tents, they giggled in delight as they yelled snake at every turn, pointing up into trees, down on the pathway, everywhere. I survived the trek back and prepared to get into my sleeping bag.

Well, the boys had concocted a plan. They had found a non-poisonous snake earlier in the day and left me a little surprise in the bag. It took every staff member present to keep me sane and alive.

The teachers decided when we returned to school the following week that they would teach more about snakes, to help take the mystery and fear out of the situation. A snake handler was brought in. He lectured and brought some friendly snakes in for us to meet. I went into shock. Everyone was asked to come up and touch the snake. I froze. When the bell rang, I still had not touched that thing. He put the snake down on the floor, so I would have to walk past it. I sat on the table in front of me and started to rock back and forth. It was not going to happen.

I carried this fear forward for many years of my life. It kept me from enjoying kayak rides, golfing anything where the possibility of a snake existed. I began to realize just how much this fear limited me. Further more, when my sons came along, I became aware that boys like snakes. I couldn’t let my fears become theirs nor could I give two creative young men such an easy tool against their poor old mom!

So, I needed to employ the techniques of neuro-lingusitic programming and self hypnosis. I allowed myself to go back in my thoughts as the adult me to revisit the original fear inducing events. I observed them and reminded that frightened child that I was able to survive, proof of that was the adult me today. I gave myself permission to have a healthy respect for snakes, eliminated the need for gripping fear.

Next, I changed my thoughts and words about snakes. I stopped defining myself as a person who was afraid of snakes. Instead, I began to affirm that snakes had a significant purpose on this planet and I was curious about how they helped our eco-system. I began to think of snakes as much more frightened of me than I was of them and even told myself I could have compassion for them because I understood fear.

I began to get pictures of snakes and look at them, imagining how they might feel. Next, I visited a pet store that had snakes and went into the room where they were kept. On my second such visit, I asked the store owner if I could touch one. It felt smooth, not slick. I actually giggled at this! I have since held huge pythons, felt them move around my arms and even my shoulders. I have thought of them as cute! I drew the line at owning a snake, I can’t/won’t deal with the feeding issues.

I recently was poolside at a local club when a native black snake wandered by. There was a tourist there, who was terrified. She called to me to warn me that there was a snake in the vicinity. I smiled and continued what I was doing, until I observed her fear. So, I got up and steered the snake away, in another direction. She was relieved, I felt empowered!

I have had clients come to my office with this same fear. For me, this is a great session to have. I love the freedom that comes with overcoming a fear of snakes.

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