The above video is from a class I was fortunate to be able to present in along with Dr. Nancie Barwick and Dr. LindaJoy (LJ) Rose. I hope this helps your Corona Virus 19 Quarantine go just a bit easier!

In my portion you learn a new method of calming down during any crisis. Dr. Nancie will then teach you how to create joy, wherever you are. Dr. LJ was a tremendous facilitator.

walks in the park

This is my story, maybe it will help inspire you, maybe it won’t. What I am not going to do is tell you how you should be dealing with the quarantine. There are plenty of experts who are offering advice. Also,there are a ton of talking heads stirring up your worst fears and then offering ways to calm them down again, until the next headline. Furthermore, there are too many Hollywood stars doling out admonitions from the comfort of their spacious mansions, creating a resentment from their fan base. I am simply going to share what has worked for me and kept my spirits up.

We started early in the quarantine as my husband’s company decided to start work from home (WFH) almost immediately and why not? The company has the technology to do so. This created a change in my living and working as I was already WFH, however, that included most of my clients coming to see me in my home office. Because my husband and I are no spring chickens and because he has a history of heart concerns, we decided that I needed to move towards online work, via Zoom or Facebook Portal or other means.

Initially, I kept busy

with my clients as my schedule always has been, just done exclusively by remote. Then I noticed the palpable fear of the medical professionals and so I added free sessions to anyone in the field. That has taken over a good number of my sessions. I trust that I will be able to get back to a more balanced schedule soon enough, in the meanwhile this is my way of paying it forward.

I like structure in my life. For me, this means I have continued with a routine. Awakening early every morning to walk the dogs and feed them, followed by my normal schedule of cleaning my home and exercise for my body. Next, I ablute and once dressed, head downstairs to my office. If I have sessions scheduled, I begin with those. Otherwise I am working on paperwork and all the background stuff that I do to keep in business.


There is more downtime simply by the nature of this quarantine. That is where it has become particularly important that I use it well. By that, I mean find ways to nurture me. Today, I overheard the backyard neighbors’ little children shrieking with delight as they ran through the water sprinkler. I moved my laptop out to my back porch so I could enjoy the unfettered joy. With my husband home that has given me cherished “water cooler time”. That is time to take a break and just talk about nothing in particular. At the end of our workday, we walk through the park with our dogs. We are in almost total isolation, enjoying the sights and sounds of nature.

I have taken the time to learn new recipes, nothing earth shattering mind you. Still I discovered that enchilada sauce doesn’t have to come from a can. And egg drop soup is relatively easy to make. Claiming a shortage in the meat department, I have even included more plant-based meals into our diet. He is enjoying them!

Although I am unable to physically visit with my sons and their partners, we are fortunate to have the Facebook Portal. Therfore, we have held family happy hours and chat sessions. Most of that time is spent in gales of laughter, just like the old days around our dinner table. Speaking of dinner, we are having our food and supplies delivered. Without the distraction of shiny displays I am saving money! In support of local businesses, we get take-out a few meals a week.

I have had projects waiting for me to have free time. Some of them will still wait, I guess they weren’t a priority. Others, such as going through old photos and scaling back the quantity has given me the gift of recalling some wonderful memories. My plants are happy with the attention given to them now, just like some of my friendships. It is fun exchanging funny memes and thoughts and inspirations with friends and loved ones. It helps me to look for and read what feeds my soul. Selfishly, I am enjoying all the time I have with my husband.

What I am not doing

is overdosing on news. I watch enough to be aware, not so much as to ride the roller coaster that media would provide. Nor am I joining in negativity and trash talking; whether it is social media, texts or phone calls. If a dark moment seems to encroach on my mind or my soul, I do self-hypnosis or meditate. Using the other tools in my toolkit to reframe that moment as well. I am doing my best not to judge anyone else for how they are reacting to this quarantine, no one needs or wants my opinion anyway. Let me note, I refuse to feel guilty if I don’t behave perfectly, these are imperfect times.

Just as I started this, this is my story, it is not meant to “should” on you. I hope it may inspire you. If you have ways of coping that will inspire me, please share! I am always open to new ideas.

I often see people during a time that they consider to be the worst time of their life. Whether it is due to parenting challenges, loss of a loved one, career struggles, divorce or any stressful situation, they turn to me for handling stress. Hypnosis is an amazing tool to use for coping with stress and so I love assisting these people. I have several protocols I use with clients and I used myself during the stress I recently endured with the care and loss of family members. Just as important for me was self-care, the same for my clients.

When stress strikes, self-care often takes a backseat. The ability to care for oneself is related to the ability to go within on a consistent basis and listen to with open, compassionate ears.  However, during those stressful periods, we will tend to focus outward. We diminish or disregard our inner life, ignoring our needs and limits.

This can lead to even more stress as a lack of proper sleep, nutrition and exercise will help to wear the body down. I will check in with my clients to be sure they are taking care in those areas. Once that has been explored it is time to look at other ways we care for ourselves and live more fully. Listed below are some great ways to be sure you are taking care of you!

Deep breathes. Anyone who has ever met me or read anything I have written knows how valuable I feel deep breathes are. Even better, go outside and get deep breathes of fresh air!

Wiggle your toes. Yes, whether it is in the water, in sand, tall grass or just naked tootsies on the couch, wiggling toes helps you release the stress you were storing up in those little piggies!

Listen to music. Whether it is slow and relaxing music or up-beat dance music, music heals the soul.

Create. Painting, crafting or sculpting it is easy to get lost in the creation of your project and tune into your inner genius.

Go for a walk. If you have a dog, that pup will love to join you on an adventure. If not, take along a camera and capture your surroundings.

Work on a puzzle. Crossword, jigsaw or word search. Get lost in the solving and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment when you have completed your puzzle.

Read a good book. It is so much fun to get caught up in the narrative of a great read as well as mentally stimulating.

Dance. Dance like nobody is watching. There are so many benefits to dancing including improved mood, lowers stress and anxiety. According to research carried out by The Arts in Psychotherapy, when the chemicals and hormones are unleashed, they help improve one’s mental state; even one “lively” session of dance can reduce depression.

Scale back. No is an option, use it as a response when you feel your plate is full.

Ask for help. Our friends and loved ones are not mind readers. Give those who love you the opportunity to be there for you.

Be more social. There will be times you need alone time. There are also times that lunch with a friend, hitting a movie with your partner or participating in a book club helps to get you outside of your thoughts.

Whatever works for you, just be sure that you take care of you. Remember that whatever you are experiencing isn’t likely to be permanent and on the other side will be a whole lot of new found wisdom.

foods for stop smoking

During a session to stop smoking, I review practical tips and ideas to assist my clients in the process, including foods to help stop smoking. The research on this may be limited, but smokers widely report that some foods and drinks can help you. Duke University researchers became interested in claims from smokers that certain foods and drinks made cigarettes taste better, so they decided to investigate it by surveying over 200 smokers about foods and drinks which make cigarettes either taste better or worse.

Here is a sampling of what they found:

  1. Milk and Dairy

Dairy products were identified as one of the types of food and drink that made cigarettes taste worse, most smokers said that it gave their cigarettes a bitter aftertaste.

  • Vegetables and Fruits

It is reported that these foods make cigarettes taste less desirable. Furthermore, cigarettes block the absorption of important nutrients, such as calcium and vitamins C and D. (For example, smoking just one cigarette drains the body of 25 mg of vitamin C.) Not only will the former smoker now benefit from those nutrients, any possible cravings are diminished by eating these foods.

  • Ginseng Tea

There is research that suggests ginseng could be therapeutic because it may weaken the effect of dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain that is associated with pleasure (released when smoking tobacco). Studies suggest that ginseng could genuinely reduce the effects of nicotine.

  • Popcorn

Enjoy popcorn, just leave off the extra butter. Popcorn is high in fiber and low in calories, plus it keeps your hands busy. If the popcorn seems bland, try spraying it with a butter-flavored or olive-oil spray and add a blend of herbal seasoning, garlic, and onion powder, or a little red pepper powder.

  • Hummus

Hummus is rich in protein, fiber and vitamins and pairs well with many raw veggies. Our body is ready to absorb the nutrients this snack provides now that the smoke has cleared.

Smoking releases 7,000 thousand chemicals into your body. The result isn’t only damage to your lungs, but also your heart, organs and many other body structures. The good news is even if you’ve smoked for many years, you can reverse these effects and experience health benefits from the first hours you stop smoking to the decades after you quit.

For my clients who have stopped smoking, this is what you have to look forward to. If you are considering stopping smoking, this should help you decide.

Smoke cessation recovery timeline

20 minutes after your last cigarette

The positive health effects of quitting smoking begin 20 minutes after your last cigarette. Your blood pressure, pulse rate and the temperature of your hands and feet have returned to normal. Also, fibers in the bronchial tubes that previously didn’t move well due to constant exposure to smoke will start to move again. This is beneficial for the lungs: These fibers help move irritants and bacteria out of the lungs, helping reduce the risk for infection.

8 hours after your last cigarette

Remaining nicotine in your bloodstream has fallen to 6.25% of normal peak daily levels, a 93.75% reduction.

12 hours after your last cigarette

Your blood oxygen level has increased to normal and carbon monoxide levels have dropped to normal. When carbon monoxide goes away, your oxygen levels start to increase to more normal levels. This increased oxygen helps nourish tissues and blood vessels that were getting less oxygen while you were smoking.

24 hours after your last cigarette

By the one-day mark, you’ve already decreased your risk of heart attack. This is because of reduced constriction of veins and arteries as well as increased oxygen levels that go to the heart to boost its functioning.

Nicotine levels in your bloodstream have also decreased to negligible amounts at this time.

48 hours after your last cigarette

At 48 hours, previously damaged nerve endings start to regrow. You may realize you’re smelling and tasting things better than you were before.

72 hours after your last cigarette

Your entire body will test 100% nicotine-free. Over 90% of all nicotine metabolites (the chemicals nicotine breaks down into) have passed from your body via your urine.  You’ll often find yourself breathing more easily because the bronchial tubes inside the lungs have started to relax and open up more. This makes air exchange between carbon dioxide and oxygen easier. In addition, your lung capacity, or ability of the lungs to fill up with air increases.

2 weeks after your last cigarette

Within two weeks of quitting smoking, you may start to notice you’re breathing and walking easier. This is thanks to improved circulation and oxygenation. Blood circulation in your gums and teeth are now similar to that of a non-user.

21 days after your last cigarette.

The number of acetylcholine receptors, which were up-regulated in response to nicotine’s presence in the frontal, parietal, temporal, occipital, basal ganglia, thalamus, brain stem and cerebellum regions of your brain have now substantially down-regulated. Receptor binding has returned to levels seen in the brains of non-smokers (2007 study).

1 month after your last cigarette

In just one short month, you can experience many health changes related to stopping smoking. You may be feeling a sense of heightened overall energy. You may also notice that many smoking-related symptoms have decreased, such as sinus congestion and shortness of breath with movement. In addition to these benefits, fibers in the lungs that help keep the lungs healthy are growing back. These fibers can help reduce excess mucus buildup and protect against bacterial infections.

For The Science Geek (After 1 month)

(For the science geek) Plasma suPAR is a stable inflammatory biomarker that helps predict development of diseases ranging from diabetes to cancer in smokers. A 2016 study found that within 4 weeks of quitting smoking that suPAR levels in 48 former smokers had fallen from a baseline smoking median of 3.2 ng/ml to levels “no longer significantly different from the never smokers’ values” (1.9 ng/ml)

3 months after your last cigarette

Within three months after quitting, a woman can improve her fertility as well as reduce the risk that her baby will be born prematurely.

11 months after your last cigarette

Smoking decreases the thickness of the brain’s outer layer, the cortex. Smoking induced cortical thinning is associated with poor decision making, risk taking, a lack of impluse control, early dementia, and nearly 14% of Alzheimer’s cases worldwide. According to a 2015 study, it takes 0.9 years (10.8 months) without smoking to recover from the cortical thinning effect of each pack-year of smoking. Congratulations, your cortex is growing thicker and the quality of your thoughts, decisions and actions has improved.

1 year after your last cigarette

After one year of quitting smoking, your lungs will have experienced dramatic health improvements in terms of capacity and functioning. You’ll notice how much easier you breathe when you’re exerting yourself and how much less coughing you have compared to when you smoked. Your excess risk of coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke has dropped to less than half that of a smoker.

3 years after your last cigarette

In three years after quitting smoking, your risk of a heart attack has decreased to that of a nonsmoker.

5 years after your last cigarette

If a female ex-smoker, your risk of developing diabetes is now that of a non-smoker (2001 study).

Your risk of death from lung cancer has dropped by half compared to when you smoked, according to the University of North Carolina.

10 years after your last cigarette

Your risk of being diagnosed with lung cancer is between 30% to 50% of that for a continuing smoker (2005 study). Risk of death from lung cancer has declined by almost half if you were an average smoker (one pack per day).  Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus and pancreas have declined. Risk of developing diabetes for both men and women is now similar to that of a never-smoker (2001 study).

15 years after your last cigarette

At the 15-year mark, your risk for heart attack and stroke has decreased to equal that of a person who’s never smoked before.

20 years after your last cigarette

If a female, your excess risk of death from all smoking related causes, including lung disease and cancer, has now reduced to that of a never-smoker (2008 study). Risk of pancreatic cancer has also declined to that of a never-smoker (2011 study).

Are you one of the New Year’s Resolutions failures? Life has settled back into routine now that the holidays are over, including the old habit you had resolved to change. After all the parties and celebrations came the traditional New Year’s Resolution. According to statistics only eight percent of those who made a resolution will be successful at keeping them. When one doesn’t keep the resolution, it can lead to feelings of failure. I shudder to think that 92 percent of us feel like failures, it brings up images of the walking dead.

I recently had a client tear up as she told me how she has repeatedly failed at her goal of weight loss. She has managed to go down on the scale in the past, only to bring the numbers back up and even surpass previous weights. This year was going to be her year, until she failed again! With that the tears poured down her face. While in trance she discovered that she was sabotaging herself due to old, unresolved family issues. We have worked on forgiveness and learning the lessons from those situations. We have worked on improved self-esteem. What we haven’t worked on is her weight.

Guess what? I am sure you already know; her weight magically has begun to go down. Yep, she is no longer stuffing her emotions or trying to protect herself with those extra layers.

Another woman called me about her desire to quit smoking. She has made it up to 3 months in the past and then always picks the cigarette up again. She told me, “I just can’t fail again, I NEED to quit.” I encouraged her to visit with me, to determine if she was ready to quit. Using ‘muscle testing’ we determined she really did want to stop. Now, we just needed to find the key.

As we chatted, she revealed that she had started smoking with her sister, sneaking cigarettes from their parents. It became a bonding experience for them, one that she continues ‘in memory’ of her sister. Stopping smoking meant she might abandon her sister’s memory. With that we were able to find a new way to memorialize her sister, reminding her that her sister would want her to be as healthy as possible. She stopped smoking in that moment.

A gentleman called me to ask about his son’s nail biting. He desperately wanted to stop biting his nails, made it a resolution regularly, but he would find himself mindless chewing away at his nails once again. The nail biting began during a particularly challenging time for the family, a bad medical diagnosis for mom right as Dad changed jobs due to downsizing. This poor kid felt like his whole world was topsy-turvy.  We addressed what he could and could not control and worked on learning to utilize the coping skills he had and a few new ones learned that day. We didn’t mention the nail biting, however, it has stopped.

There are as many resolutions as there are people making them.

If you find a method that works for you, use it! However, if you are challenged with keeping your goals consider hypnosis. So whether you want to develop an unshakable self-confidence, quit smoking, lose weight or eliminate insomnia, with your amazing inner mind it can be accomplished. Hypnosis is a powerful tool for making lasting life changes. Your mind is very powerful, and you can harness its power for your betterment.

stress less holidays

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

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

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

So here are some choices you can consider to reduce stress

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Initially I was numb, in shock.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two articles that are helpful:

*Practical Information for Immediately After a Loss

*Support After Suicide

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.

The Hypnosis Education Association graciously awarded me this year with an Angel Award. I am humbled and grateful.


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