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Archive for Mind Relief

Live Your Life to the Fullest

The voice in your head is nonstop: I need to ______, I am ________, I should ________, I haven’t _________, I wish I had _________. The list seems never-ending; continuous and unbroken. It’s your own voice speaking in that monotonous, parental tone, driving you ever onward. If you do finish one project, it seems two others take its place. You’re so busy moving into the future, you don’t even have time to give yourself a pat on the back.

It’s easy to mistake that voice for the real you. Too easy to be swallowed up by a never-ending flow of activity. With electronics, too easy to be connected, to be called to attention by a leash of information. Too easy to move into that reactive state. I heard of a woman who described herself as a FOMA or defined by a Fear Of Missing Out. Always needing to be “in the know.”

Along that line, my computer died a few years back. It just quit on me. The screen went slowly to black. And there I was. You know how it is, don’t you? Feelings of panic and loss overwhelmed me. Up to that time, I didn’t realize how much time I spent with that machine. You might even say it was a constant companion. I had to order another one, and I was lost for a time. I was forced to taper off my chit-chat, my distractions. I also had an excuse to slow down my never-ending movement, the compelling urge to “do something.” Now I’ll admit, gearing down was not quick nor easy, but my brain appreciated the break. I got in touch with myself. Rest and quiet were what I needed, and I think you might, too.

It’s the beginning of summer. Let’s shift gears and take another look: who are you? The nattering voice in your head? Or are you something more? The quiet deep within you is your essential nature, your authentic self. Without the real you, there’s no genuine perception, no original thoughts or real feelings.

But how to get there from here? Let me share a few suggestions I’ve gleaned from my life.

  • Start small. When you’re taking a hike or sitting on the porch, merely be with Mother Nature. Be aware of your physical sensations: the way your feet feel on the ground, the breeze gently touching your face, the feeling of your clothes on your body. It doesn’t take hours of meditation. Get reacquainted with the real you.
  • Take a break from electronics and television. Distraction can be beguiling, moving on to the next diversion, adding to your mental clutter. Turn off your phone. Get away from the computer. Tuck away the Kindle. Just be for a while.
  • Slow down, then silence the voice in your head. Ever notice when you’re running around in circles with tasks in the future and heaviness of the past, your inner voice speeds along barely taking a breath. Take a disruptive sentence (I need to call Aunt Martha) and slow down the words. Or scatter the words into nonsense. Or toss them into the sky and watch them float away.

The voice that matters is the silent, kind voice of aliveness and awareness. Ready to venture into an astonishingly serene place? Or are you satisfied with where you are now?

Spider Webs and Your Mind

Spider webs have a special significance for me. As they glisten in the sun, the beads of dew sparkling in the light like asymmetrical diamonds on a necklace, they carry a message. Their thin structure belies their strength. Even though they are spun from thin strands of silk, they can support the weight of the dew and create a trap for nourishment in their nets. This concept brings to mind a symbol of the weaver, the spider herself.

She is a reminder that I have the ability to weave my life into a strong, useful, lovely work of art. I also have the reminder that what I do is temporary. The spider’s web will last for a particular time, then it is gone. And what I create in my life will be the same. As good as I can make it for that time, and then it dissipates.

Among Native American traditions, creativity is the hallmark of spider medicine. The spider’s eight legs represent the four winds of change and the four directions of the medicine wheel. Her body is the shape of an infinity symbol, representing infinite possibilities. Just like the myth of the Fates in Greek mythology who weave the tapestry of life, spiders are reputed to weave the creative forces that develop the patterns of our lives.

The spider web also reminds me not to get stuck. Just as the hapless fly gets caught in the beauty of those strands, my mind can also get stuck in patterns. While some are positive, others are no longer useful to me. Some are quite harmful. Our brains are wired to catch the negative far more quickly and persistently than the positive.

Let’s wander into physiology for a moment. The amygdala is that part of your brain designed to trap the negative (trauma, accidents, hurts, anger, tragedy) from your experiences, replaying it over and over again. Ever had an endlessly repeating song in your mind? That’s the function of the amygdala. Its purpose is to warn you if something like that negative happening is coming your way again.

But what to do if the warning is unnecessary? How to break that train of thought? One way is to sing over it. Pick your favorite song and override the insistent jingle. I did this the other day when out for a hike. Negative chatter kept me company for no good reason I could see. Much to MacDuff’s dismay, I began to sing Oscar and Hammerstein’s Oh, What A Beautiful Morning from Oklahoma! The negative nattering was gone.

Another concept came from Heart Math Institute in Boulder Creek, CA. Slowly take a breath in through your heart. Then breathe back out. As you do this, focus on your breathing. If you choose, you can make your breath a color. Or you can make it sparkle. Simply breathing in and out in this manner will slow down your mind.

If a spider has wandered into your life, bringing her web energy on a walk or in the corner of a garage, she may have several messages. Perhaps it’s time to open the doors to more creativity in your life. Or maybe it’s time to sweep the hurtful cobwebs from the corners of your mind. Remember: the spider web is strong. And you can be too. Live unstuck.

Bringing over 30 years of experience to her practice, Joan is a highly qualified NLP practitioner and hypnotherapist. She specializes in anxiety, panic attacks, fears, and phobias, using her knowledge to help her clients become no-limit people. Many have found her friendly ways and precise techniques to be the easiest road toward a better life.

Stop the Chatter

You attract the things you think about the most. If you envision having a successful and fulfilling day, you will probably have one. If you wake up each morning dreading the day ahead, the universe will give you lots of irritations to add to your to do list. While I understand this to my bones, it isn’t always easy to keep those positive attractors top of mind when unexpected aggravations get in the way. Sometimes, when I actually make time to get still and listen to the rush hour irritation going on in my head, I chuckle when I realize just what an errant and playful child the mind can be if left on its own.

For example, I will think about an article I need to write. Then another task I wanted to do yesterday. Then the phone will ring, or text or email, or a knock on the door will enter the scene. Suddenly I am in the midst of so many demands that I forget my original plan. When I finally sit down to set my sights on the day, that list seems so long. I’m wracked with frustration about how I will “find the time” to get it all in. People are counting on me! Then my mind will really start racing. Where do I begin?

At this point, I can feel so overwhelmed that I may turn on the football game. Or worse, graze when I’m not hungry, just to escape having to take any action. But I have found a marvelous way to stop endless chatter by simply slowing down my inner dialog. For example, if I feel stymied, I say to myself very slowly, IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII… FEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLL… SSSSSOOOOOOOOOOOOO. FRRUSSTRATTTTTEEED. Then slowly, again and again, until my thoughts find an exit ramp to a more quiet place. Once the mind has stopped whirring out of control, it is easier to make the right decision about a starting place for the day.

If you find yourself in the grip of an endless sea of mind chatter that is getting faster and faster, remember this simple tip. This 3-minute exercise is so quick and easy that I created a Stop the Chatter HypnoSnax as my free gift to you when you sign up for my newsletter. Just fill out the form on this page.

Sometimes, though, the chatter will chase you like a spoiled child and disrupt your peace of mind. It can make you feel like you are defective somehow. This endless chit-chat will do this until you find out why your inner child is so unhappy. Hypnotherapy and NLP are two of the best methods I know of to reframe a past that is filled with pain, unrest, “not good enough” mind chatter. These simple techniques will help you move forward into a more comfortable future. Science has found that emotional energy doesn’t go away, but it goes inward and causes lots of damage in the form of illness. Do your cranky inner self a favor and call for an appointment. You’ll be back to attracting more of the good things you want in your life, joyfully and with peace.

Fall is Here

Autumn is just beginning to make itself felt, with light fingers of cooler weather in the mornings. As I step out for my morning jaunt, I pull on my hoodie for some warmth. Halfway through the sashay, off it comes for my body is moving right along by then. The afternoons are still warm, punctuated by monsoon thunderstorms. But early fall is in the air.

The aspens are beginning to get the brown and gold tones of the change in the season. As I walk through the neighborhoods and through the forest, the sounds seem softer and gentler as the days grow shorter. The birds are getting fewer as they wing their way south in that familiar V formation. What surprised me this year is the migration started in mid-August, much sooner than I remembered.

Our snowbirds are still with us, and I for one am grateful. Those summer visitors bring a different energy and vitality to the Mountain. I look at what’s happening in our town and am proudly amazed. So many activities to choose from! Beautifully restored cars are also starting to appear, possibly in preparation for Run to the Pines and the Fall Festival. Wow! Its right around the corner. Seems the pages on the calendar are flipping by so quickly!

In the evenings, the forest animals tuck themselves in for the night. The birds with their sleepy chirps, the squirrels curled up in the warmth of their tails and the bears arise from their daytime slumber to forage at night. They all have their familiar rhythm.

The outstanding Arizona sunsets have been gracing us with their presence with a palette of colors. At times, there is a weather condition that throws these colors back to us. The sun casts a light peach over the scene, soft and comforting as the sun goes down. Everything that’s visible is this warm tone, coloring everything in a bowl of warmth and color. As the sun goes down, the stars come out, with their twinkling glow. Such a comfort to be able to close the day this way. It’s time to shut down the mind and settle in for the night. Slumber is not that far away.

Are you the same way? Is it easy for you to tuck yourself in for the night and sleep soundly? Want to stop the chatter to drift off in peace? I developed this short 5 minute HypnoSnax to help you put an end to sleepless nights and get unstuck. Try it for free tonight, but not (of course) while driving. Fill out the form on this page (title Bothered by constant mind chatter?) You’ll receive a link to download this Stop the Chatter HypnoSnax. You will quickly calm your thoughts. You can enjoy a peaceful and restful sleep.

I’m curious: what are your feelings about the fall season? Are you able to quell your thoughts and fall asleep quickly? I’d love to hear in the comments section below.

Bringing over 30 years of experience to her practice, Joan is a highly qualified NLP practitioner and hypnotherapist. She specializes in anxiety, panic attacks, fears, and phobias, using her knowledge to help her clients become no-limit people. Many have found her friendly ways and precise techniques to be the easiest road toward a better life.

Stuck in the Rabbit Hole of Self-Esteem?

 

Alice: How long is forever? White Rabbit: Sometimes, just one second.

Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Have you ever noticed how mischievous our minds can be? In some ways, we can spend the whole day trying to keep what we consider inappropriate thoughts from surfacing into the social atmosphere. “If I truly said what I think, what would people think of me?”, you may ask yourself. So we keep the sentry at the door, ever vigilant to avoid a social pothole. Our faces and actions may show that all is well in our world, but the mind will say things like, “I feel so stupid for saying that.” Or the mind will enter into always/never land… “It seems like I will never be good enough.” When the judge appears (the inner critic), down the rabbit hole the mind wanders and in a second can become forever lost in our cranky, critical thoughts. Thoughts that are not anything like the way we would speak to a beloved child or cherished friend. Why is that?

Why are we not as likely to say grand things about our own behavior? Like, “I handled that like a pro” or “I’m the best.” Somehow being nice to ourselves in our inner thoughts can feel more painful than the disparaging ones. We’ll do anything not to appear to be full of ourselves. What DO we say to ourselves then? Many experts agree that the answer is simply to let the mischievous mind wander where ever it wants or needs to go in a process called “cognitive awareness.” What that means is simply to be aware of your mean or grandiose thoughts but stop short of putting a label on them. So an inner voice that says “you screwed that up again” could be met with a response like “hello little gremlin” or even simply “stop delete.” Our body’s responses will tell us when we have gone down the rabbit hole into judgment land with headaches, stomach problems, overeating, undereating, anxiety, depression and illnesses of all varieties.

If this cycle sounds like your daily routine, there are ways to get unstuck and make friends with your gremlin. It requires just 3 things:

  1. Be aware when an emotional guidance signal sends you pain. Stop and look at it. Let it run its usual script.
  2. Get playful and have some fun with that nasty, critical thought. Give it a name or visualize it in all sorts of ways so that you can picture IT rather than judge yourself. (Mine is a sparkling purple with striped red and white socks.) When I chase IT down the rabbit hole, I focus on this image instead of the critical thought. Like Alice in Wonderland, I can get “curiouser and curiouser” which keeps me from reacting to the judge.
  3. Learn to love your gremlin instead of trying to hold him/her down. Know this gremlin is there to help you. When you talk to it with love and acceptance, it will be a calmer companion.

If you find that your gremlin is too big to tame, I have a few more ways that will help you get unstuck and play your way into healthier self-talk, often in as few as 1 to 3 sessions. If you’re ready to trash those nasty habits with an investment in you of $90 per session, call me at (928) 367-8208 or email me using the Contact Form on the website. Bringing over 30 years of experience to my practice, I am a highly qualified NLP Practitioner and a certified clinical hypnotherapist. Many have found my friendly ways and precise techniques to be the easiest road toward a better life.

Acceptance

One of my ongoing goals is finding and expanding inner peace. And I have found that discovering that peace within is a wonderful but difficult process. It is so very easy to look for it outside, totally overlooking the quiet place within. Some days are better than others, with the best days coming when I live in the moment. I want to share some of my tried-and-true thought patterns for getting to that balance, that peace.

Simplify. If I allow it, my life can be full of bumps and potholes. And persistently simplifying my life helps me to avoid the potholes and smooth out the bumps. When deciding to simplify my life, inner peace begins to fill the cracks and crevices. How to do this?

  • Prioritize my to-do list. If the day is jam packed with “I’ve got to do this” or “My list is endless,” my mind goes into overdrive. By sorting through what is most important and letting the rest go, I can slow the inner frenzy.
  • Set personal limits. If I find myself worrying about a project or a situation, I set a limit on how long I will fuss about it. When the inner timer goes off, I either elect to make a decision, set up a series of smaller steps toward achievement or table it for future thought. I also work on grounding myself with nature, feeling the earth beneath my feet and hearing the buzz of a hummingbird. Even looking at the trees and sky through the office window can help to anchor me to the earth. This gives me inner peace, for I am gaining control over my thoughts and emotions.
  • Promote tranquility. Keeping things simple helps me to avoid the ping pong of those turbulent thoughts. Finding time to enjoy the wisps of clouds on the mountainside or that tiny bright yellow flower gives me a strong connection to nature.

Accept. By being in the moment, I foster acceptance. I am coming to the conclusion that the world is not always as I perceive it, that the more I resist, the more complex and challenging it appears. When I choose to accept what is, I stop feeding into resistance, opening space for what could be. Then, the problem is not made more powerful and sticky in my mind with my galloping thoughts. Much of its power is gone, and I feel a stillness inside.

  • Accepting doesn’t mean giving up. It merely allows me the flexibility of having other options, different strategies that would open new doors.
  • Acceptance gives clarity. By clearing whatever is going on, I am able to make better decisions. Or, probably even tougher, I can let the situation go.
  • Accepting the essence of life. When I truly stop and sense all that is going on around me, I get in touch with the squirrels chasing each other up and down the Ponderosa pines or hear the ducks and geese calling to each other. I can feel life’s rhythm.

Do what I enjoy. When I make the decision to enjoy what I’m doing, whether it’s cleaning the house or writing an article, I feel as if a weight has been lifted off of me. A natural peace arises and the way toward that inner quiet is cleared. I am aligned with my outer world, avoiding the potholes of “I’ve gotta do this” or “I am overwhelmed’. These dissonant thoughts create an inner tension, just one more obstacle to overcome.

  • Be curious. Life goes by so very quickly. There’s not enough time to be stuck in a pattern that is not useful. And there’s so much to see, so much to discover. Again, I’m finding that my perceptions color what my life is like. Doing something new, be it archery or canoeing, frees new areas of my mind for new connections. Being open to more and different makes a huge difference.
  • Be adventurous. It came as a surprise to me that in being open to new adventures, I was cultivating inner peace. Exploring life has given me opportunities I never even considered before, opening doors to new paths and an appreciation of different people and friendships.

Pencil yourself in. By setting time aside for the things I hold important makes me a better person. An early morning walk, a run at the park, rock-hounding: all of these can loosen the ties of what is. I am the one that created my hectic to-do list. Why not pencil myself in too? The result is an inner stillness, a tranquility I had been searching for and found within.

These simple guidelines have helped me pursue my goal of inner peace. It also encourages my ability to enjoy the beauty of the Mountain. It provides a way for me to get in touch with myself, to be able to sleep at night. To truly enjoy life. I suspect they will work for you too. You too can enjoy all that is.

I hope I have opened the door to enjoying the little things here on the Mountain and in your life, for I do love the seasons of nature and life itself.

Bringing over 30 years of experience to her practice, Joan is a highly qualified NLP practitioner and hypnotherapist. She specializes in anxiety, panic attacks, fears, and phobias, using her knowledge to help her clients become no-limit people. Many have found her friendly ways and precise techniques to be the easiest road toward a better life.

Stuck In Couch Potato Doldrums?

It’s spring break, y’all. Winter is ending. And when it does, we’re going to have to wear shorts. Oh dear. No more sweats. No more baggy winter clothes. The time to snuggle down in front of the TV with the bag of chips is coming to an end. The sun is coming up earlier and the air oh-so-much warmer. And that brings us to the shorts that fit so well the end of last summer. And reminds us of what we used to do outdoors: playing tennis, hiking, swimming, golfing. Whatever your movement of choice is beckoning. But your “get up and go” has “got up and went.” You are stuck in couch potato doldrums.

Relate to this scenario? You’ll know if you are a movement slug if:

  • Even the thought of exercise of any sort makes you hyperventilate. Enough of an excuse to head back to the couch, right?
  • You think of exercise as cruel and unusual punishment. It hurts. It is painful. And it takes time. Anything but that.

The key to get in shape for spring (and staying that way) is to keep it simple. A few tips to help you are:

  • Stop waiting to feel like exercising. Trick your mind into gently moving into an exercise routine. Perhaps the first day you time yourself and walk for 15 minutes. To the end of the block and back. Then gradually stretch out the routine. When I first started in this years ago, it took me 60 minutes (that’s right, one hour) to walk up and back down the ¼ mile hill next to my home. But that was my benchmark. The next day, it was 59 minutes. I eventually got to 3 miles in 50 minutes. Celebrate!
  • Write your goal on a piece of paper and put it on your alarm clock or steering wheel. Even getting gold stars to put on your calendar when you exercise is cause for motivation. Remember 1st grade? How proud we were when we got a gold star for reading? We haven’t changed. Dig deep to find that thing—thought, feeling, goal, reward—that gets and keeps you moving.
  • Don’t skip your walk or workout. Before you sabotage yourself, ask: will you regret not exercising? Ask: is there any reason I can’t put off deciding how I feel about doing this until after it’s done? Make motivation easier by eliminating your excuses before they happen. Pencil yourself in for that walk or workout. Your mind and body will thank you.

But if you find yourself still celebrating being stuck on the couch and addicted to your haute couture of sweats, Unstuck Living can help you find relief in as quickly as 1-3 sessions 90% of the time. Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) is not therapy. It is an easy and tested method to help people move through old patterns and get unstuck. Everything you need to change your life is already within you. All you need is to have the tools to tap into those resources.

If you’re ready to relieve your couch potato syndrome in 1-3 sessions with an investment in you of $90 per session, call me at (928) 367-8208 or email me using the Contact Form on the website. Bringing over 30 years of experience to my practice, I am a highly qualified NLP Practitioner and a certified clinical hypnotherapist. Many have found my friendly ways and precise techniques to be the easiest road toward a better life.