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Use Hypnosis to Change Your Life

Office gone boring.

Have you ever had one of those “ah-ha” moments? The kind that wakes you up out of a sound sleep or makes you sit up straight at work? The kind where your next thought is, ”Man that is so obvious. Why didn’t I see that before?” That’s the way Martin described his experience to me on his third visit. Martin was struggling to finish writing his 2nd book. His publisher had begun pushing him for pages, but Martin was stuck, embarrassed and unable to write.

Hypnosis to Find the Problem

To help Martin explore his “stuckness,” I had used a hypnotherapy age regression technique to explore the ways stuckness had shown up throughout his life. Martin found times when he felt stuck dating back to age 5, when he was asked if he was excited to start kindergarten and he couldn’t answer the question. The little boy inside Martin remembered tearfully feeling like he “should” say yes. But “excited” wasn’t how he felt. He had stood by his mom’s chair staring at the flood until huge tears rolled down his face.

Describing this scene as an adult in my office had really surprised Martin. I had given him the assignment to “spend time with the experience” until we met again. I suggested that he journal about the experience, that he simply notice his thoughts and daydreams, that he perhaps make notes on his dreams during the week. Finally, two days before he was scheduled for his next appointment, he texted me to say he had had one of those “ah-ha” moments that woke him from a sound sleep. Martin was very excited to come in and talk about what he’d discovered.

When Martin arrived that Thursday, his whole body telegraphed his enthusiasm. There was almost no chit-chat before he said, “I realized that I have a core belief that I don’t deserve to succeed. To have good things come to me.”

A core belief is a belief about ourselves or our experience with others that was formed early in life and influences all our decisions. Some core beliefs help us grow and prosper, such as “I am competent and talented.” Others are what we refer to as limiting beliefs.

A Limiting Core Belief

Martin had discovered a limiting belief that was keeping him stuck. His deep belief was that he didn’t deserve to complete his book and find success as a writer, so his subconscious mind helped him fulfill his belief by keeping him blocked. We needed to go in there and “repair” that belief right where it formed, at the age of 5. We needed to help 5 year old Martin let go of that limiting belief so he could grow up believing that he does deserve to succeed, helping him make decisions that bring about his success.

But the past is done, right? How do we go back and have a do-over in our childhood. That’s where hypnosis excels– helping people with problems that occurred even decades earlier.

Using Hypnosis to Time-Travel

Using hypnosis, Martin was able to travel back in time to discover several experiences, which had caused him to develop his limiting belief. While he was in trance, we brought resources to those experiences to help his younger self handle each experience in a healthy and successful way, thus healing the problem. He was then able to express a new belief: I deserve to be successful.

Office work on a PC and tablet - combo.

Next he time-traveled into his future and carried the new belief into a hoped-for experience. He experienced himself succeeding in a couple of things he planned to do in his future.

Finally, Martin returned to his current self and was helped to experience all the feelings, thoughts, and sensations in his body while being successful. At the end of the session Martin said he was eager to get back to his computer and start writing. He indicated that ideas were popping into his head already. Martin was no longer stuck.

Success From a New Core Belief

A few months later Martin sent me a text telling me that he had completed his manuscript. He promised to send me a copy when it was published.

Most people have some limiting belief that holds them back from fully living the life they dream of. Hypnosis is one tool that is exceptional at helping you heal your “stuckness” or other form of limitation. If you are interested in pushing forward, call today for an appointment. Don’t let the past hold you back. Call now 801-494-7612

4 Tips to Increase Your Confidence

Nervous young woman biting her nails

Amy is a gentle, soft spoken 24 year old woman. She looked me straight in the eyes and declared, “I’ve done a lot of work to control my anxiety and the hypnosis has help a lot. When can I stop waiting for ‘the other shoe to drop’?”
Amy had been seeing me for about 2 months. She was plagued by worry and anxiety when she first came, but she was right: She had done a lot of really good work. Although she still felt some anxiety prior to each new experience, she was able to use all the new skills she had learned to sail through them. Yet still she worried that she would find herself once again back in the throes of high anxiety.
Amy told me of Brad, a copy writer in the cubicle next to her at work. She wanted to ask Brad to join her at the company picnic. He had been open and friendly with her but she lacked the confidence to take the next step.
Maybe you too have done a lot of work to conquer your anxiety and yet wonder how long it takes to become confident of your ability to act without anxiety. Here are 4 tips to help you develop confidence.
1. Get specific
Anxiety tends to make us think globally. So a person may say, “I’m just not a confident person,” but that can’t be true about everything. There must be SOME things you are confident about such as brushing your teeth, remembering your birthdate, or using your cell phone or computer.
Change “not being confident” into not confident about _______ (fill in one specific thing.) Now that is something you can work on. Take a moment now to write down one thing where you lack confidence and would like to improve.
2. Decide what confidence looks like to you
Confidence has a look and a feel to it but many people focus on what they lack rather than on what they want to gain. That’s common but not helpful. After all, when you toss a dart at a bulls eye, do you aim for all the places you don’t want to hit?
It is much more helpful to focus on positive changes. Now that you have written down one specific way you want to gain confidence, take just a couple of minutes to write down a description of what it will look like when you have it. Maybe some of these questions will help you with this exercise:
How will you stand when you are confident?
What will your expression look like?
What will be your tone of voice or demeanor?
What things might you be saying?
What would someone else see when you are very confident in the area you’ve written down. Take this opportunity to write a lot of detailed specifics.

Funny couple laughing with a white perfect smile and looking each other outdoors with unfocused background

3. Act confident
Fake it till you make it: It’s a cliché…because it works. Act confident consciously until you’ve done it long enough that it becomes an unconscious habit. Stand tall, smile, make eye contact “like a confident” person. The interesting thing is, as research shows, that “acting” confident causes us to “feel” confident.
4. Practice, practice, practice
Set yourself a new confidence goal each evening. Start with something small but outside of your comfort zone, such as smiling at a total stranger, striking up a conversation with another pet owner at the dog park, or sending an email to a new person in your office to arrange your break together.

Take a few minutes to close your eyes, slow your breathing, and see images of yourself calmly and confidently accomplishing your goal. Before you go to bed, write down your confidence goal and the next day, DO IT!
Follow through meeting your confidence goals for even just a week and you will be surprised how quickly acting confident turns into being confident.
With the help of hypnosis, Amy practiced feeling and being confident in several of the situations that had previously caused her to become anxious. This was the final effort for her to step out into a wider world knowing that whatever came along she would be able to handle things.

Last week, Amy said she and Brad had enjoyed the company picnic so much that she had asked him out on a date. They’re going out to dinner and a movie. Now that’s confidence!
Doing the work to take charge of your anxious feelings is very important but giving yourself time to practice feeling the benefit of that work is equally important. Use these tips to put into practice all you’ve learned about healing your anxiety. With practice, you will soon succeed at being a confident person. Nothing succeeds like success.
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5 Ways Hypnosis Helps With PTSD

Pain.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is the final condition we’ll look at in this series that has covered conditions related to anxiety and trauma. Since some of my earlier blogs have covered various aspects of what PTSD is, this blog will address how Hypnotherapy can help to heal the 5 categories of symptoms of PTSD. The categories are : Exposure, Intrusion, Arousal, Avoidance, and Alteration.

EXPOSURE

When a trauma occurs, the flight, fight, or freeze reaction causes the entire perception of the event, the smells, sounds, sights, feelings, and beliefs, etc., to be stored in your body and brain in chaotic ways.

In hypnotherapy, you are able to access all the data stored throughout the physical body, the subconscious mind and the body’s energy fields. This information can then be gently processed. Your negative beliefs are corrected, the pain released, and your sense of safety restored.

INTRUSION

Nightmare, flashbacks, intrusive memories, and over reaction to “triggers” (cues from the environment) keep the trauma alive in your present life. Many people suffering with trauma feel they have lost control of their lives.

In a hypnotic trance, you have a chance to develop multiple tools and resources, which help you begin to take back your sense of control. You develop the means to regulate your emotional states through mindfulness and the deep relaxation of hypnosis.

AROUSAL

A victim of untreated trauma will try to work things out subconsciously. This may manifest in physical illnesses, hyper-startle reflex, sleep issues, high anxiety or even high-risk behaviors.

To heal trauma, it is imperative that you have a chance to take action to complete the movement or effort that was frozen at the time of trauma. I use hypnotherapy to look at what the (maladaptive) symptoms are trying to express and give you the means to finish such an expression. Perhaps you needed to be able to say, “NO!”, or run away, or tell a trusted person what happened, or some other act.

In trance, in a safe and supported way, you are able to complete the action and release the pain, anxiety, and other symptoms associated with the trauma. You can then formulate new positive beliefs about yourself and others.

AVOIDANCE

Most trauma clients say they would do almost anything to avoid the on-going symptoms of their trauma and many do consciously avoid specific people, places, and experiences that remind them of the trauma. However, sometimes the dissociation of substance abuse or addictive behaviors serve the same purpose, albeit in a way that creates more problems for you.

Hypnotherapy gives a voice to the parts of you that were split off at the time of the trauma, allowing a reintegration of your physical, mental, and spiritual selves. In trance, you receive the help of resources that were not available to you at the time of the trauma. This changes how memories are stored and how you experience past trauma in the present. You are no longer held hostage by your traumatic past.

ALTERATION

Trauma alters mood, memory, personality, and cognitive functioning. It impacts on all your relationships, current and future ones. Almost all victims of trauma develop negative conclusions about themselves such as, “I deserved it; I’m bad. It was my fault.” They may also develop negative beliefs about others such as “The world is dangerous place” or “People are evil.”

The work done in trance allows you to change these distorted beliefs. A negative belief such as “I’m bad” may be replaced with “I am good.” The physical sensations and emotional context of such a belief then change to support your new belief.

breath breth woman profile isolated smile

Hypnotherapy works at the subconscious level, getting to the root of the problem, by-passing self-limiting beliefs and other distractions and inhibitions. Hypnotherapy tends to be faster and much less re-traumatizing than other forms of therapy.

If you suffer from trauma, with or without PTSD symptoms, call for an appointment. Free your hostage-self; take back your life. You deserve to enjoy every day of the rest of your life.

                      801-494-7612

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stop Your Panic Attacks Now

Surprised OMG shocked woman pop art retro style. The girl in the emotions. Wow effect

Today let’s talk about Panic Attacks. If you’ve ever had a panic attack, you know first-hand how terrifying it can seem, especially the first one.

Peggy’s First Panic Attack

Two months after Peggy’s husband Fred died, she went to a movie with her best friend. Sitting in the dark theater, she watched the characters and the fast action with a sense of detached numbness, barely tasting the popcorn she held. As the hero in the story slammed the door in the face of his lover, Peggy’s right hand began to shake uncontrollably. At first she put her popcorn in the cupholder and tried to still the shaking with her other hand. When that did not work, she rubbed her wrist and hand hoping to calm things down, but there was a pressure growing inside Peggy. Suddenly she grabbed her purse and rushed from the theater. Reaching the fresh air outside, she leaned against the wall. She was trembling all over, her heart pounding in her ears, her chest heaving in great gulps of air, a pain running from under her left cheek down her arm. “This is it,” she thought, “I’m gonna have a heart attack and go be with Fred.” When her friend finally joined her, Peggy was leaning against the wall, her eyes wide in terror. Her friend called an ambulance and waited with Peggy until the ambulance pulled away from the curb.

In the emergency room, tests were run and a history taken. Finally the ER doctor told Peggy, “Well, it’s not a heart attack.” Peggy was shocked. For 45 minutes Peggy had felt that she was going to die and now she was being told there was nothing physically wrong with her. The doctor said, ”I’m afraid you’ve had an old fashioned panic attack.” They gave her a pill to help reduce her anxiety and a prescription for a few more of the same. They suggested that she follow up with her personal doctor.

For three days Peggy struggled to understand how watching a movie could have brought on a panic attack. After all, it was a “chick flick,” a somewhat sappy love story. No major drama or breathless action movie with doom and danger in every other scene. She wondered what was wrong with her mind that she would unravel like this.

Peggy’s doctor referred her for counseling. The counselor used a combination of hypnosis and cognitive behavioral therapy to help her deal with her general anxiety and learn how to stop panic attacks before they took over her life. Peggy also began to do her grief work and reconnect with the friends and family she had avoided since her husband’s death. After a few months, Peggy had reengaged with her normal life. She knew that her heart would take some time to heal from the loss of her partner but she saw hope and joy in her days again; and the fear of having more panic attacks had disappeared altogether.

Fear of Fear

“Fear”, that’s what panic attacks are all about. In fact, panic attack can be generally described as a fear of fear. We are all wired to feel panic at certain times. We call it a “fight-or-flight response.” That is how we evolved to ensure the survival of our species. The mind makes “sloppy pattern matches” with things that remind us of danger-a case of better safe than sorry. After all, in ancient times if we took time to think about a potentially dangerous situation, it might be too late by the time we took action. However, in a world where circumstances are only rarely life-or-death-important, we sometimes get triggered incorrectly.

While panic is wired in to every person, it’s very survival purpose ensures that panic is not harmful in and of itself. It really wouldn’t be of survival value if you were to have a heart attack when faced by a predator. In fact, the panic response can be compared to a fire alarm. When it goes off appropriately, it may save a life. When it goes off inappropriately, it simply causes chaos.

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Healing Panic Attack

It may be that a door closing on a woman in the movie was a subconscious reminder of Peggy’s loss. Maybe her mind saw a parallel to the closing of her husband’s coffin. Whatever the case, Peggy was suddenly faced with panic and high anxiety. She was fortunate to find some fairly quick answers for dealing with both.

As Peggy learned that no part of the panic attack is harmful or dangerous, she was able to gradually let go of her fear of another panic attack. This helped prevent her from developing panic disorder, where a person experiences random and frequent panic attacks. Peggy also learned that the physical symptoms of panic that she experienced are virtually identical to the sensations of excitement. Only the context and interpretation were different. This also helped with her healing.

The earlier the treatment for panic, the more successful the outcome. If you experience panic attacks, call now for an appointment. Let me help you regain control of your life.

                    801-494-7612

 

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: An Anxiety Disorder

Close-up of young melancholy sobbing woman

 Mei Khimme came to see me because her obsessive compulsive behaviors, constantly rearranging her closets, pantry, and furniture, had become the focus of conflict between herself and her husband.

Mei explained, “Once I get my husband off to work and the kids out the door for school, my daily schedule is set. I begin in the kitchen, rearranging all of the cupboards, but especially the spice rack and my dishes and cook ware. When I finish there, I reorder everything in the bathroom. Fortunately, our bathroom is fairly small. Next are the bedroom closets and the drawers in all dressers. I want everything in its perfect place, so we’ll have more time to spend together as a family.” Mei said she spent at least 5 hours every day rearranging her already well-ordered home.

I asked Mei how her family responded to the constantly changing environment. Mei said, her kids were usually uncomplaining about the changes but her husband had been making unkind comments about it for about three months and his comments had now become quiet harsh, leading them to argue. She said she was now having sleep problems and had started rearranging the furniture in the front room too. Her husband had put this foot down and insisted she get some help.

 Mei agreed that her arranging and ordering compulsion was excessive. She further stated that not only did it not help her family spend more time together but they were all handling their feelings by spending time with outside friends. It was just the opposite of her intention.

 A short review of Mei’s marriage revealed the point when Mei had become fixated on ordering as a way to gain control over her anxious feelings. In the second year of her marriage, her husband’s Mother had come to visit and stayed with the young couple for two weeks. Mei said her Mother-in-law was a stern, stand-offish woman of nearly 6 feet in height. She rearranged the cupboards in Mei’s home every day of her visit, telling her that if she didn’t learn to get her house in order her husband would find a more organized woman to marry. By the end of the visit, Mei was totally frazzled.

Two hours after her Mother-in-law had driven away Mei and her husband had “the biggest fight of our married life.” Soon Mei began to notice her husband’s comments about how well things had been reordered by his Mom. It didn’t take long for Mei to begin trying to please her husband by arranging things differently. At first it was just a few things occasionally, but like many compulsive behaviors, as stresses increased the behaviors increased as well.

 Now Mei’s life revolved around the activities of ordering and rearranging. And her family was tired of the constant unnecessary changes.

 OCD is Born of Anxiety

 OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, manifests in many different ways, but always it is a thief that steals your time, energy, relationships, and sometimes much more.

 It is generally accepted that OCD is an anxiety disorder, an attempt to stave off anxiety associated with not doing the behavior. It may present as mild, hardly noticeable, moderate, or severe and even at times life threatening.

While many people make statements such as, “I’m so OCD,” about certain preferences, OCD is actually a very emotionally challenging disorder. It may be very challenging to treat as well, occasionally requiring medication.

 Treating OCD With Hypnosis

 

Portrait of crying girl during visit in psychiatrist office

 One form of therapy used to successfully treat OCD is hypnosis. OCD isn’t a disorder of thought. Most people with OCD know that their behavior is excessive, whether it is checking to be sure the stove is turned off after use, counting, hand washing 100 times a day, or other OCD behaviors. If thinking were enough, very few people, indeed, would be controlled by the anxiety and fear that drives the behaviors.

OCD behaviors are a way to cope with fear and anxiety, which come from the subconscious and that is where hypnosis does its work. Perhaps you’ve heard the tale of the man who was looking for something under a street light in the dark of night.

             “What are you searching for?” asked a passing stranger.

            “I’ve lost my keys,” replied the man.

            “Where did you lose them?” asked the stranger.

            “In my house.”

            “Then why are you out here looking in the street?”

            “Because there’s more light to see by under the streetlamp!”

 Trying to solve the problem of OCD with the cognitive abilities of the conscious mind, when the problem originates and is maintained by the subconscious, is like the man looking in the wrong place simply because the light is better. While there are other methods to treat OCD, hypnosis helps you create genuine change in the feelings that drive the problem behaviors.

 Hypnosis is also a great way to help the central nervous system calm itself. Relaxation allows a person to reduce or eliminate fear and anxiety. With fear and anxiety gone, there is no purpose to or need for the compulsive behavior.

 There are many other reasons why hypnosis a great way to successfully treat OCD but these two are a good place to start. If you suffer with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or know someone who does, call for an appointment. Begin your journey to peace today.

                       801-494-7612

 

Social Anxiety: Fear From Our Past

Lack of confidence. Shy young handsome man feels awkward isolated on grey wall background. Human emotion body language life perception

Jim is a shy man of 27. He is slender and always dressed in casual jeans and a tee-shirt. A soft spoken man with a delightful sense of humor, he always starts off our sessions by asking me sincerely how I am doing. Jim has come to see me because he has no friends, struggles to join in conversation with others, works at a job that is rather isolating, and sees no way to change his life. But Jim isn’t just shy; he has Social Anxiety.

From his paperwork, I discovered that Jim has always been a rather solitary figure, who barely finished high school. He described his experience with people: He fears that someone will ask him a question and all eyes will turn to him in expectation and find… NOTHING. Jim enjoys being around people but he doesn’t know how to join in a conversation. He has never asked a girl on a date, rarely spends time with friends, and panics at the idea of going into a store or library. He struggles even to talk with his boss at work about his responsibilities. Circumstances like these are common to many people with social anxiety.

Some people with social anxiety become anxious any time they are with others, some suffer when in groups, and others only when they go to specific places, but the over-riding issue for people with social anxiety is a fear of being observed and judge; that is, a fear of rejection. There’s a good reason for this fear.

The Purpose of Social Anxiety

For early man, safety was found in being part of a group–the tribe. Having no tribe could mean fending off large predators alone and that could spell death. No wonder we developed a deep need to belong to the group. We evolved to “fit in” and when we feel like we do not it causes fear or anxiety.

Fear is meant to focus our attention just like a convex lens focuses light into a bright spot. However, just as that magnifying lens can cause a light so bright (hot) that it causes fire, so too much fear can overwhelm and cause us to act in such a way that we lose the very thing we fear losing. We call this a self-fulfilling prophesy.

A socially anxious person feels so threatened that he acts in a way that makes others feel uncomfortable. He may struggle with making appropriate eye contact, or not contributing in a conversation, or never having an opinion. This appears unfriendly to others and they may exclude the awkward person. This is the very result he feared and was trying to avoid.

Happy group of students with thumbs up

Healing Social Anxiety

It all starts with feelings and that’s where the solution to the problem lies, in the emotions.  One of the best ways to restore social comfort or confidence is with hypnosis, a process that works in the subconscious mind where emotions are located. By working on the emotion of fear, while in hypnotic trance, you can learn to calmly approach anxious situations while remaining in a deeply focused and highly relaxed state. With some consistent effort the body and mind learn to associate the calm relaxation, instead of fear, with the situation.

Social anxiety can be devastating to the person experiencing it. It leaves a person socially isolated and lonely. It can erode self-esteem and short-circuit relationships but social anxiety is treatable. If you suffer with symptoms of social anxiety call for an appointment today. Don’t suffer a minute more.

                             801-494-7612

Stop Phobia In Its Tracks

Frightened girl over isolated white background

In this continuing series on Anxiety Disorders, we’ve talked about general anxiety, negative imagination, and worry. Now let’s talk about phobia.

What Is Phobia?

A phobia is an excessive, persistent fear of a situation, activity, or thing that makes you want to avoid it. It is a based on a survival tool called pattern matching where the brain is able to associate one dangerous thing with another to save time in choosing safety. Phobia ranges from fairly mild and humorous to severe and debilitating.

Some conservative estimates indicate that more than 6 million Americans suffer with phobia. People who experience phobia often also experience other anxiety issues such as panic disorder, PTSD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or others.

All Shapes And Sizes

There are many varieties of phobia. Some experts say there are as many phobias as there are situations. So what does it look like to have a phobia. The following is one woman’s experience of phobia:

Marci walked into the office with moist eyes. Even before she sat on the couch her tears were streaming down her cheeks. Handing her a tissue, I said, “Tell me what’s going on.”

“I’m a terrible mother!” Marci cried. The words then tumbled out in a torrent, a story of her son’s 3rd birthday party where a close friend had brought balloons and a beautiful cake for little Jason.

The party was held poolside in Marci’s back yard. Marci’s friend and neighbor walked through the living room, out the patio door and onto the pool deck balancing the cake in one hand and holding balloons in the other. Jason was so excited that he ran laughing to his mother to tell her that he had a cake.

Marci turned around and saw her friend coming toward her. What happened next took everyone by surprise. She began to shriek “like a crazy person”, threw her hands up in front of her face, thrashing, and pushed the cake out of her friend’s hands and into the pool. Marci then ran into the house and sat trembling and rocking on the couch in the front room.

Marci’s friend got Jason and the other party guests settled playing a game of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. She then went in to check on Marci. Marci was cowering in a corner of the couch, rocking. Slowly sitting down near her friend, she said softly, “Marci, what just happened?”

Marci looked up from telling her story, and as her soft brown eyes met mine, she said in a whisper, “I don’t know what happened? I can’t stand…. balloons. I’m afraid of…balloons. They scare the crap out of me. Not just a little. They terrify me. What’s the matter with me?”

The more I learned of Marci’s history the more convinced I was that she suffered with globophobia, or fear of balloons. I learned that Marci had been afraid of balloons since she was a pre-teen. Over time she had developed panic symptoms (racing heart, shortness of breath, trembling, etc.) when around balloons or if she believed she was going to be near balloons. Other than her phobia, she had very few other anxiety symptoms.

Coping With Phobia

Marci had learned to cope with her phobia by avoiding anything, and everything, associated with balloons, such as children’s parties. She had trained her family members to help run interference for her by having them check out certain venues where balloons might be, such as the Labour & Delivery unit at the hospital when Jason was born. Marci struggled to discuss balloons but unlike some people who suffer with this phobia, at least she was able to say the word without developing panic. Yet it clearly made her very uncomfortable to talk about it.

Highly Treatable

Alert woman sitting with her therapist talking to her in a private session

We used hypnotherapy to break-up Marci’s globophobia. That gave her immediate relief. Then some cognitive-behavioral therapy helped her to change the thinking patterns that had grown her fear and kept it alive in her imagination. Marci chose to pursue the source of her phobia in therapy but many people have no desire to know where the phobia comes from. And it isn’t always necessary to know that in order to let go of the phobia.

Phobia is just one more place where anxiety shows up in life. For those who experience phobias it can feel like they are being controlled by unreasonable forces. Many people feel a great deal of shame when they cannot force themselves to ignore the anxiety and panic that arise from their phobia.

Phobias are another example of sloppy pattern matching, a survival tool gone wrong. But phobias don’t have to rule your life. If you struggle with a phobia, call today to take back the control.

            Call 801-494-7612

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Anxiety: The Fuel of Dreams

Beautiful girl sleeps in the bedroom .

Have you ever awakened from an intense dream and wondered, “Now what does that mean?” People have wondered about the meaning of their dreams for thousands of years. A quick Google search of “dream interpretation” shows more than 25 million entries and in many book stores, the shelves groan under the weight of the many dream dictionaries and interpretation guides.

We are all fascinated by the possible meaning behind our nightly adventures, at least those of us who remember some or all of our dreams are. Many people have little to no recall of their dreams, while others bring fragments or whole stories into the waking world. Regardless whether you remember your dreams clearly or not at all, be assured that you do dream. Simply put, dreaming is required for mental and physical health. So why do we dream?

Why Do We Dream?

Recent research, using ƒMRIs and PET scans of the human brain, has begun to shine a light on the purpose and procedure of dreaming. Dreaming is the brain’s way of discharging emotions during sleep, which you have been unable to deal with while awake. For example, if you have an angry yelling match with your neighbor because his dog has dug up your prized Begonias for the 4th time you probably won’t have a dream related to this emotional situation. You already dealt with the emotion (however inappropriately).

warrior and a dragon

However, when your Mom tells the world on Facebook how you forgot her birthday, your brain is likely to create a dream scenario that mirrors this issue in a metaphor that releases the energy of your pent-up emotion. Battling a huge dark monster fills in for the unresolved emotions left unexpressed in your waking experience. You awaken refreshed and forget the dream instantly as the emotion is now discharged.

Rumination (chronic worry) while we are awake is one of the most common ways we create unexpressed emotional arousal that needs to be discharged in dreams. Worry or rumination is generally future focused and mostly takes place in our thoughts, where it is much harder to resolve. If you are unable to resolve the issues that cause you endless worrying, the chances are high that your dreams will be intense, frequent and exhausting.

Too Much Dreaming Can Harm Your Health

The work that is done by the brain in sleep takes as much or more energy as the problem you worried about. This is where dreaming can indicate a waking problem that needs your attention, because the energy expenditure of dreaming can leave you tired even after a good night’s rest. This early morning fatigue may indicate the start of a downward spiral of anxiety and depression.

If you find yourself deeply tired upon awakening and the fatigue lifts as your day goes on, it’s time to take a close look at how you are managing your stress, and how you solve the emotional issues that come up for you on a daily basis. Even if you don’t remember your dreams, there is a good chance that “over-dreaming” is the source of the fatigue and unresolved emotion is the source of the over-dreaming.

Learn Daily Coping to Sleep Well

Learning coping skills to bring emotional issues to conclusion will ease the load on your brain each night. Increasing the depth of your relaxation through exercise, healthy eating, and self-hypnosis or meditation can also help to discharge the emotions before they provoke extra dreams that rob your body of the rest it needs.

A good night’s sleep is Mother Nature’s best medicine and dreams are the way a healthy brain deals with the stored emotional charges that linger from a normal day. If sleep and your dreams have left you dragging early in the day, call for an appointment. Learning relaxation is easy and fast and one of the best ways you can secure a good night’s sleep!

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Make Worry Your Friend

Worried Concerned or Thinking Deeply

Too much worry makes you feel like things are “spinning in circles”. It can make you sick. You feel like you have no control. This kind of worry can result in physical symptoms like increased blood pressure, poor sleep and fatigue, and even lowered sex drive. That certainly sounds like something you want to avoid, right? Actually, while too much worry can wreak havoc on the human body and mind, some worry is helpful to a fully functional life.

Why We Worry

Worry is fundamental to our survival, from primitive man to modern man. Worry was how we thought about our past experiences plus our present needs, and used that to plan for the future. We worried to avoid predators, to execute planting and harvesting crops to carry through winter, to making today’s tax preparation or putting aside enough for retirement. In this form, worry is a basic strength of human beings. The trick is learning how to worry well.

writing words ' STOP WORRYING ' on gradient background made in 2d software

How To Worry Well

Worrying well is all about planning. For one thing, don’t let worry take you by surprise when you are hungry, anxious, experiencing a low mood, or tired. Your thinking isn’t at its clearest at these times. (An acronym to help you remember what to avoid is HALT.)

Limit the amount of time you let yourself worry. Some people set an appointment with their worry, say 30 minutes early in the day after they’ve had breakfast or done some exercise. When a worrisome thought comes up outside of your appointment time, write it down. Putting worries down on paper makes them concrete and allows you to be more objective in how to handle them. And finally consider the following template for each of your worries:

  • I am worried about…
  • The worst that could happen is…
  • The best that could happen is…
  • This is what I can do now…
  • I should also remember this…

If, after you’ve followed this plan, you find yourself dwelling on the worry with no resolution, you may need to take a break from that particular issue. Set it aside for a few days and spend that time calming yourself with extra self-care: nutritious meals, plenty of sleep and exercise, and some additional relaxation exercises. When you are ready to take another look at the issue, you may have an improved perspective.

Remember that becoming too emotionally involved in worry gives power to the problem, which tends to snowball. Chronic worry leads to feelings of helplessness. Consider the difference between what is possible and what is probable based on your previous experiences.

Make A Friend of Worry

Whether you worry over your kids, your job, your relationships, or other things, worry is only helpful if you control it. Try the above tips to control worry and take back your peace of mind. Make a friend of your worry and learn to save time, energy, and pain. Worry effectively today to find a brighter tomorrow.

If worry is wearing you down or doesn’t respond to the tips in this article, call for an appointment. You don’t have to let worry control your life.

           Call 801-494-7612

How Imagination Causes Anxiety

Worry word cloud on a white background.

Do you use your imagination to be happy or to increase your anxiety? You might ask yourself, “what does imagination have to do with either happiness or anxiety?” Good question. Let’s take a look.

In children, we expect imagination to show up as play, daydreaming, or even “invisible friends”. We assume that in adulthood, imagination has changed to something far more sophisticated, like the ability of invention. While that is certainly true, it limits our thinking about the ways imagination is used every day by most people.

Imagination For Survival

Imagination developed so that we can project into the future and make plans. At its simplest, imagination allows us to take the lesson of one threatening experience and consider how it might come up again tomorrow, next week, or next year. In this way, we can make plans to avoid the same painful thing happening again. So if I am in a car accident while turning left at a four-way stop light, I can imagine how to avoid a repeat of the accident. I imagine and plan to enter the intersection much more cautiously, watching the traffic for any sign that others are not paying attention. This thinking makes me feel nervous each time I come to an intersection.

The downside of using imagination this way is imagining things going wrong excessively– thus creating excess anxiety. Anxiety is imagination run wild.

Intense or frequent misuse of imagination leads to worry, a chronic low grade anxiety and this can become a habit. Repeated worry tends to increase fear until you see upcoming events as catastrophes. That’s how using your imagination can lead to increased anxiety.

Imagination For Happiness

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One way to use your imagination for survival and increase happiness, is to get yourself into a calm and relaxed state and then imagine the event with the outcome you want. So the next time you anticipate having a painful or difficult conversation with a friend, family member or, perhaps, your boss, take the time to rehearse the future event in a safe way, while remaining calm. Hypnosis is a great tool to do this.

There are many solutions to deal with worry but at the heart of them all is the need to calm your central nervous system. We’ll discuss some solutions to end anxious and worry in the next segment.

In the meantime, when you’ve had enough of anxiety and worrying too much, make an appointment to learn how to let go of worry. Learn to use your imagination to create a happy future.

                  Call me at 801-494-7612

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