This month is Halloween month. Around my neighborhood, the decorations are already being put outside. Some are lovely, fall themed displays. Some are cutesy Halloween ornaments. Then there are the decorations of the scary nature. For obvious reasons (I believe) scary becomes a theme during this time of year. So, it seemed appropriate that I take some time this month to discuss fears, phobias and superstitions.

These are scary times for many of us. The value of the dollar in the US seemingly plummets with every day right now. Jobs, even bad ones, seem precious. Homes have for sale signs all around. This can allow us to become paralyzed with fear. If you are a small business owner, as I am, it is easy to focus on the negative warnings of the news media and fear, then become paralyzed, unable to make any clear cut business decisions. America’s financial crisis is fueling chronic stress and limiting some people’s ability to think clearly, control emotions and regulate bodily functions in a healthy manner.

Now, in fact, is the time to take control of emotions. We can better regulate the mind-body stress responses. It is important to understand that there is productive worry and unproductive worry. Productive worry is thinking about situations in which you can take control and using those thoughts to conceive pro-active behaviors. Use productive worry to help you create a plan for taking actions that will reduce your stress. Unproductive worry is stinking thinking, focusing over and over on situations over which you have no control. Allowing that worry to create adverse reactions in your body.

Using productive worry, you can create budgets, eliminate unnecessary extras and come up with creative ways to make saving a family affair. As a business owner, return to basics, what has worked in the past? What does your business offer that makes you special? Who is your customer, what are their concerns? The same thing applies to you as an employee, what are your best attributes?

Perhaps you want to list those qualities for yourself, as a reminder. I am a big believer in making lists. Focus on yourself (or your business) and begin to list all those qualities that make you special. When you take those thoughts from the abstract to the concrete by putting them in writing, they become yours at a deeper level. You own them!

While it is a good thing to remain informed, take a break from the news. Rather than watching, reading and following every pundit’s thoughts on what is going on, go for a walk with the dog, read a good book or enjoy a moment of self hypnosis. Visualize yourself someplace happy and safe, filled with the memories of calm, serene moments.

Stay connected with your friends and family. Don’t isolate yourself from your support systems. Be sure to pay attention to loved ones and keep involved in your daily routines. Enjoy social occasions. Play!

Stress and worry take a physical toll, so be sure to use self hypnosis for relaxation of the body as well as the mind. Remember to breathe! Your breathe is always with you, breathe deep.

It has been said over and over that stress causes us to hold onto extra weight. Whether it is the result of emotional over eating, elevated cortisol which causes our metabolism to slow down while our appetite doesn’t, it makes the battle for weight management a real battle. Stress also affects our aging processes. In adults, telemeres shorten with age, this stress-related shortening of the telemeres correlates with aging, corresponding to 9-17 years.

It seems as thought every day I am hearing from clients, friends and even strangers in the gorcery stores how stressed they are. There are many factors that produce these feelings prevelant in our daily lives. The price of food, housing and gasoline contiues to rise. Jobs are threatened in many industries. The media cries out the woes of our times continually. On and on it seems to go.

I cannot solve the issues that many of us our plagued with. I wish I could. What I can do, is listen when friend needs to be heard. I can share a smile or a laugh with a stranger. I can keep myself in order, the best ways I know how.

For me, keeping in order includes daily exercise. I enjoy the clearing of my head that exercise creates, the release of endorphins and the muscle fatigue that leads to peace after a good work out. Yesterday, I rode my bike along a nearby beach causeway. I rode hard against the wind and enjoyed the freedom when the wind was at my back. I pushed myself a little harder, with the intent of stretching myself.

Another way I keep myself together is to use neurolingusitic programing on myself. I noticed the thoughts I had and created ways to turn them into positive affirmations or desires. I became an observer. My husband commented on how I seemed to see so much on our ride. I noticed a tiny little snake, a baby who crossed our paths and a rabbit who peared out from the bushes along the trail. I saw a couple linked in a romantic embrace, back from a ride on their kayaks. I watched a sailboat pick up speed and almost seem to fly.

All of those moments reminded me how rich my life is. I live in an amazing paradise, filled with opportunities to smile, relax and enjoy. I can continue a treadmill pace to keep up with all that life will throw at me, or I can take a moment and enjoy what life has waiting for me in it’s treasure trove.

I use my self hypnosis to relax and visualize the life I desire. My life may have stepping stones along the way, I don’t know of a life that doesn’t. I am happy that I have been given the tools I have to create my life. I enjoy when I can share those with others.

My daughter is preparing to begin the school year, once again. Any suggestions for making this a more successful year academically?

Without knowing more about your daughter, her routines, her strengths and her weaknesses, it is difficult to give a pat answer. However, here are some great ideas for boosting brain performance.

Sleep More

Few people realize how important sleep is! It has been known since the 1920s that sleep improves recall in learning. However, only recently, research by Dr Robert Stickgold, assistant professor of psychiatry at Massachusetts Mental Health Center, demonstrated that sleep is necessary for learning! Without sleep we reduce the retention of facts we have learned the previous day. During sleep our brains release growth hormones essential to growth, development and alertness. We should aim for an optimum of between 7 to 8.5 hours of sleep each night.

Studies show that 20 minutes of sleep in the afternoon provides more rest than 20 minutes more sleep in the morning. Power naps can help you with tasks that require sustained attention and concentration. Contrary to popular opinion, napping isn’t for the lazy or depressed. Famous nappers have included Bill Clinton, Lance Armstrong, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and Buckminster Fuller.

A 15 minute self-hypnosis session often refreshes and allows a person to feel as though they have had a 3 hour nap!

Feed Your Brain

To prevent memory loss, enhance learning, decrease stress, and improve productivity and concentration, the brain requires healthy food.
Start your day with a protein-packed breakfast full of vitamins. Try eggs and whole wheat toast or fruit and yogurt.
Evidence is accumulating that a diet that draws heavily on fatty food and only lightly on fruits and vegetables isn’t just bad for your heart and linked to certain cancers. It may also be a major cause of depression and aggression. The brain is almost 60 percent fat, therefore, it can easily get clogged up with trans-fats that will slow you down. Avoid processed foods, and refined sugars. Keep your brain well-oiled with Omega 3 Fatty Acids and DHA such as those found in fish, flax oil, olive oil, avocados and almonds.

Retrain your appetite to include healthy, natural foods through neuro-linguistic programming if need be.

Get Physical

Aerobic activity boosts the flow of oxygen to the brain and this extra oxygen helps promote rapid growth of new brain cells. I mentioned the importance of exercising your brain in yesterday’s post Monday Morning Musing it is also true that physical exercise is an important factor in brain health.

A recent UK study found that schoolchildren who exercise four times a week get higher grades on exams than those that don’t. Prolonged sitting allows the blood to settle in the posterior and the feet. So when you tire of studying, get out there and get your blood pumping.

Change a habit

Research into the neuroplasticity of the brain has shown that if you make changes in sensory input patterns to the brain it helps activate new neural pathways, improving brain power! For instance, if you normally brush your teeth with your right hand, change to your left for a few days. A recent study showed that London taxi drivers have more developed areas of their brains due to their need to navigate a complex maze of city streets. Try taking a different route to school or work and make your brain bigger. Or walk around your house or yard with a blindfold on and make yourself smarter-just be careful not to bump your head! Think of the self confidence you will develop at the ability to change old tired habits and ways of thinking!

It is Monday afternoon and I am just now sitting down to muse! That is actually a good thing. I had a fabulous trip away. I took time to rest body, mind and soul. My husband and I put bunches more miles on our bikes, I love when that happens. I have said before, biking for me is a moving meditation. I also spent some amazing time in self-hypnosis, focusing on what I enjoy as my goals and what I am doing right now that allows me to meet those goals.

One of the things that became apparent for me, was that I have not been practicing what I preach nearly enough. One of my favorite sayings is: “just because you are extended an invitation to turmoil, doesn’t mean you have to attend.” Well, recently I have had several invitations. I thought I was remaining on the fringes, but in reality, I was somewhat emotionally charged by the situations. Being away from the fray, allowed me to completely disengage. What freedom that is!

So, I have decided to remain disengaged in those particular circumstances. I am also going to listen to my body and my thoughts more clearly. Do I hear and feel at peace or am I looking for the charge of chaos? When I am truly peaceful, so is my body. I enjoy the great feelings that riding my bike or walking gives me. I also enjoy moments of gratitude. Perhaps this trip was about my reconnecting with my gratitude for my life, just the way it is.

No, I am not writing myself a letter. Not that I am against that. In my morning journaling, I often write letters. Sometimes to God, sometimes to someone I need to get clear with (in my head) and sometimes to me (Debbie)! This time, however, I am including some questions that have been sent to me. I have been receiving questions for awhile now. Usually, I write an email back. It can be a few lines in a quick response or a missive, depending on the question, the day and my mood.

I have decided to start including some of the questions here when appropriate.

Hi Debbie

A few further thoughts of mine.
If I settle down in the way you describe I’m liable to fall asleep. Is that always so? If so, how do you waken yourself up?

How do you keep your mind concentrated on the thoughts you want? Are there any particular techniques? This is linked really to falling asleep, because when my mind wanders off, that is when I fall asleep, at least when I’m lying down!

Many of my clients are concerned that if they take the time to relax and focus they might just fall asleep. I often have clients in my office voice the same concern. I jokingly tell them, I am not that nice, they won’t be permitted to sleep. In all truth, there are times I have seen that a client would benefit from a few moments of sleep, so I do some of the work we need to do, let them go deeper into a sleep state briefly, then bring them back up for some final thoughts as they return to awareness.

If you find that you are concerned about falling asleep, perhaps it is the time of day you are practicing self hypnosis. You may want to try early morning when you feel fully rested, or just before lunch, perhaps right before dinner. You know your patterns, find a time of day when you feel most alert. Secondly, sit upright in a chair, as opposed to laying down. This will help prevent going to sleep.

I often tell my clients who listen to audios I prepare for their use at home, that if they fall asleep listening to it, they won’t hear what is said once they are asleep. However, the good news is, the last thing their subconscious heard as they fell asleep was positive and empowering and now part of their new habits, behaviors, etc!

The subconscious mind knows exactly how to wake you, if you set the intention. Remember, the number one job of the subconscious mind is to protect you. So, if finishing in, let’s say, 20 minutes is best for you, you will awaken in 20 minutes. As a precaution, use a timer at first. Set it for the amount of time you wish to dedicate to the exercise and then when it goes off, you will hear it, even if you have heard nothing else the entire time!

Allow normal thoughts to pass through your mind. If you fight them, that becomes your focus. Remember, what you resist will persist! As you allow a thought to occur and then release it, remind yourself what it is you want to accomplish, eventually, the mind will do this with ease. Perhaps a white noise machine or music without words will help. (I have music dedicated to this for both home and office.)

Hopefully these ideas will help you as you begin on your journey. On my website there is a free download for stress reduction. It is a great way to begin using self hypnosis. Go to this link, try it out and let me know what you think!

Stress Reduction Free Download

There was more to this letter, I will address the rest in another post.

For now, happy stress reducing!

Often I am asked about hypnosis. Just this weekend with the college kids, they wanted to know all about what I do. These were bright kids. They all held majors like, math, physics and organic chemistry. Still, they thought of hypnosis the way it is presented in many movies. They thought of it as if it were mind control and very mysterious. (It is neither.)

I had a conversation with a buddy who wants to quit smoking. His wife is due with a baby soon, he has another child and he wants to be around to enjoy them. Plus, the first born is getting to the age where he will figure out why Daddy sneaks out of the house and returns smelling of smoke. This friend is well educated and well read, a bright man. Still, he mentioned concerns about hypnosis, based on misunderstandings about how he would feel and whether he would be safe.

Then I received an email from a reader of this blog, wanting to know how to use self hypnosis to improve her life. Without an understanding first of what hypnosis is and is not, it is hard for me to explain how to use it. So, today I am providing a link to my website. There is a short video my web master and I produced that explains hypnosis better. Please, if you want to learn about hypnosis, watch it, then send me your questions. Perhaps this can create a better understanding for each of my readers and a chance to learn how to make use of this powerful tool in your life.

So, here is the link:

watch video

Enjoy and let me know what questions I can answer for you!

Monday morning arrived fast this morning. I spent the weekend with family, doing chores around the house and having some fun as well. Yesterday I took my youngest son to a concert. I remember why I don’t attend them anymore. They are loud, it was outdoors and so very hot and smelly, it was crowded and did I mention that they are loud? Oh well, my son and his buddies had a very good time. I had been given the tickets for free, so I can’t complain about the cost. (Except for the hearing aides I’ll be needing now.)

There are many things I might have preferred to accomplish besides attend the concert. Nothing was as important as how great it made my son feel though. Feeling great, isn’t that what we all want? So, as the adult me sits on a Monday morning thinking about the week to come and all I need to prepare, I begin to feel a fret coming on. Then I remember what it is I do for a living. I help others feel great, gee, wonder if that might work for me too?

So, I begin by asking myself, what do I want to do. Not what do I need to do. Well, writing this blog is something I enjoy, so why don’t put that down on my list. I enjoy feeling organized, so why not list the tasks for the week and line them up in order of priorities, that feels better. There was even time to chat with my mother. I am so very grateful to have both of my parents still alive and healthy. It is important to me to take the time to enjoy that. Oops, I almost forgot a very important activity, a few moments of self hypnosis to relax and all of the sudden, I am feeling good.

The mind is programmed to reject anything that is potentially difficult, thus the difference in need and want. When I thought of everything I needed to do in my day/week, it became a rat race. When I stopped, took a breath and applied that knowledge based on Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) I was able to restart my day in a powerful, positive way. I was able to release that old stinking thinking. Do your best to stop, breathe and change the needs to wants whenever you can. It feels amazing!

My son and his buddy posed with a character that shows up to many local events, The Cowbell Kid. To avoid the obvious questions: My son is the one on the right, Cowbell is the one with the blue hair.

Did I mention it was loud?

Enough serious chat for the week. It’s Friday and I am in a great mood. I have had a busy and productive week.

My oldest son has been home visiting from college, Spring Break! The best part of Spring Break, is that we live in the land of Spring Breakers, sunny Florida. So, the kids are all here having fun and I know they are safe. It helps that my son is a Math Major (as well as Chemistry and a Physics minor, but I digress) because Spring Break coincided with National Pi Week. Pi, my favorite number and my favorite dessert.

We have tried to have a pi amount of pies! Only a byte of each however…..

OK, enough silliness here, time to return to silliness with the house full of kids. Let me leave you with this self-hypnosis thought:

After you read this through, close your eyes and imagine what I have written.

Taking a deep breathe, eyes closed. Allow your body to relax, the way you relax when on a warm, sunny beach. You can feel the warm sun upon your face and the gentle breezes blowing on your skin. It feels perfect. The waves are gently rolling up onto the shore and back out again. Up and out again. Perhaps you hear the birds soaring above, singing the songs of freedom. Perhaps it is simply the quiet gentle sounds of the waves and peace of knowing that you are alone on this beach, with your thoughts. Smell the sea air and allow yourself to relax into this wonderful, safe moment. Perhaps your mind will wander back to a time you spent by the shore that was fun, safe and happy. Perhaps it will create a new memory of such an event.

However your mind chooses to work, just allow this moment to be safe, calm and serene. Take this moment to create the perfect vacation for you. A momentary escape from all the expectations in your life, beginning your weekend in a wonderful, relaxed way. As you open your eyes, breathe in the moment and feel the freedom you have created in your life to enjoy the moment.

Happy Friday friends!

A segment that the Good Morning America team are doing that has truly been inspirational, has been the dares the hosts are challenging one another with. They are attempting to stretch themselves beyond their comfort zones and therefore inspire their audience to do the same. I have the joy of observing people do the same in my work.

First of all Robin Roberts was dared to walk the catwalk in a fashion show. Robin is currently undergoing treatments for breast cancer. While she is an attractive and slim woman, her self image has been more athletic than glamorous it seems. She has taken a hit to the ego with her loss of hair (and energy, I imagine) from the chemotherapy. So, she was challenged to walk the runway with beautiful, young, runway models. Robin walked with style, in bright red and without her wig on! She was fabulous! It brought me to tears.

Next, Sam Cuomo fell from a 51 story building in a stunt team descender. The mental preparations once again were astounding. My stomach lurched with him as he left the ledge of that building. I was glad he was safe and laughing at the end of his stunt.

Then Diane Sawyer was challenged to do a fire walk. Now we’re talking something I would enjoy. (And not just because I am cold even in warm, sunny Florida!) Fire walking, a right of passage into the belief that you can accomplish anything for many cultures through out history. In preparation for this event, Diane and her team went to see a hypnotist. The piece they did on hypnosis was fabulous! They were factual and informative. They included an expert from Harvard Medical School as well as Dr. David Spiegel, a psychiatrist at Stanford University

Click here for the link to the video:
Diane And ‘GMA’ Staffers Prepare For Their Dare.

Whats challenges can you create today? How can you stretch yourself just a little further than you thought possible? Do you use self-hypnosis to stretch? Wow, I’m excited as I write this, thinking I have only begun to find out what I can truly accomplish.

Imagine if you could create 10 daily habits, that empower you. Just ten things you do daily, that create a sense of who you are and why you are here. You already have daily habits, brushing your teeth, maybe coffee and the paper or walking the dog. Just think, if you began to do some things just for you. How fabulous would you feel?

I include self-hypnosis into my daily routine, when I miss it, I really miss it! When I miss my daily self-hypnosis, my family reminds me, because they miss it too. (Funny how family will let you know when you aren’t quite right.) I also drink a gallon of water every day, encourage myself in the mirror every day (making eye contact) and listen to inspirational/motivational audios when driving. I want to work up to ten. I will start with just one more at a time, once it is a real part of my day, I can add more.

How about joining me? Imagine if we all worked towards ten daily habits that brought more joy, prosperity and excitement into our lives?