Welcome to the October newsletter. I hope it finds you all doing well.
Thoughts from Me
The day when the Sun rises exactly east is called the 'Equinox' because it brings days and nights of equal length. The end of September brings such an Equinox. The two equinoxes are a natural time for rebalancing. That may be one reason why in spring we feel an urge to clean and why now so many of us may feel an urge to set our lives straight. This is an excellent time for us to reinforce a sense of balance within ourselves and our lives.
This is also the time when I start thinking about the holidays that are approaching.
I love the holidays, pretty much everything from Halloween up to (but not including) New Year’s Eve; however, I am reminded regularly by news stories and my clients that there are many, many people who suffer from depression and this depression is so frequently worse during the holiday season.
This time last year I dealt with depression and I think that perhaps it is a good time to deal with it again, not only depression, but balance and a balanced life. In this newsletter I’ve got even more information and ways to help. So, first, let’s start with what depression is, then we’ll deal with what we know, and finally, ways to help.
Even though depressed people may share a common cluster of symptoms such as sadness, sleep problems and/or exhaustion, suicidal feelings, an inability to feel pleasure and a variety of physical discomforts, conditions and illnesses, this doesn’t mean that these symptoms are the result of the same cause. Mood is affected by dozens of genes, thought patterns and thought habits. You may be asking right now just what exactly are thought habits? I’ll go into this later and how we can take control and change, if we want to, our thoughts.
Most research today is focused on the physiology of depression, yet clinicians have found that approaches which combine medical and psychological treatments are by far the most effective. Therapists have discovered that if they can get patients to probe the unconscious (or subconscious) roots of their problems, finding solutions becomes much easier. Techniques like cognitive therapy teach patients to recognize destructive patterns in their lives and develop practical steps for changing these patterns. In addition, researchers are pinpointing the genes that are involved in depression. If this work fulfills its potential, patients will receive treatment based on genetic makeup. For more information on decoding depression at the molecular level, read Dr. Miller’s article “Managing Every Shade of Blue” at www.newhypnotherapy.com. Dr. Miller goes on to stress, however, that even with the new sophisticated tools and treatments becoming available, it is important to cultivate a sense of well-being.
As research continues in this area, we are learning that we can develop new interconnections between our neurons. This is an area that I have been spending more and more time on with my clients. It is the backbone of my workshops and is particularly beneficial for those who suffer from negative behavior patterns, thoughts, depression or a sense of helplessness and hopelessness.
According to Dr. Jill Ammon-Wexler, pioneer brain/mind researcher and author of The Secret World of Brainwaves…
“… Today's research has proven your brain can continue to physically grow -- even into very advanced old age.
You might have also thought that you can’t grow new brain cells (neurons) once you reach adulthood. Whether or not that is true (the decision is still out) does not really matter.
Here's why: You have billions upon billions of neurons. In fact, if your brain neurons were laid out end to end, they would stretch all the way to the moon and back.
The secret to a lively brain is not your number of neurons - it is the diversity of interconnections between those neurons. Researchers like Dr. Marion Diamond who analyzed Albert Einstein's brain found it was different in only one way -- Einstein had more interconnections between his neurons.
AND -- here is what is really exciting: Such an unusual supply of interconnections is not inherited. No one is born with such a brain -- it is created.
Your brain follows the same rule as your muscles -- use it or lose it.
Unused neural interconnections actually shrink and die. But if you engage in regular mental workouts, those interconnections then expand and strengthen.
And if you manage to ‘overload’ your brain with the right kind of sensory information, it is forced to physically reorganize itself and grow. (Such an overload is the mental equivalent of the muscle overload techniques used by body builders to build strong, healthy muscles.)
The right kind of mental overload leads straight into quantum brain growth. This expands your mind power into entirely new dimensions of thought and experience….”
So, it is important to remember that as you change your thoughts you develop and build new and different neuro pathways. But it is equally important to remember that unused neural interconnection can actually shrink and die and in time the old neuro pathways can and will atrophy and become ineffective. Think about that a moment. This is hugely important! All our thoughts, images and emotions travel through our neurologic system along these neuro pathways and interconnections. You can actually take active control of your thoughts and change the way you think permanently by choosing which neuro interconnections you want to strengthen and which you want to atrophy and die.
What we think, what we say to ourselves, that internal dialog that we all have is actually considered as a fact by our subconscious no matter how ridiculous or silly or stupid it may be and this is why it is so crucial to say and think about only those things that you want in your life and perhaps even more important NOT to think about those things that you don’t want. Too often we focus on and think about all the things that we don’t want. We may think to ourselves “I want a happy, fulfilled life” and believe that we are thinking positive thoughts. But if we actually analyze our thoughts we usually find that what we really think to ourselves is something more like this: “I want a happy, fulfilled life. I don’t want to be around negative people, I’m tired of being unhappy or disappointed in my relationships. I’m tired of feeling stressed and under pressure, I just want to be happy.”
Is that a positive thought process? What is that actually talking about? Look at it. Pretty much it deals with everything you don’t want! It is all about those things that you want to move away from rather than the things that you want to move towards. The subconscious doesn’t register the difference between those little words “do” and “don’t”. What it does understand, though, are all those bigger thoughts such as “negative people”, “unhappy”, “disappointed in my relationships”, etc.
What we resist will only persist. A catchy phrase but so very true. By continuing to worry about not finding a lasting relationship, a fulfilling job, a happy life, that is exactly what you will keep in your life because you are focusing on what you want to run away from rather than what you want to run towards most. Remember this, if you spend your time struggling so hard against what you don’t want, you will keep your focus on just that and it will keep coming to you and you will use up all your energy in resistance and trying to run from it.
So again, what you focus on is what you get. What thoughts you think about most develop the neuro pathway for that thought. Pay attention to what you are thinking. When there is negative thinking, reflect on the contrary. Reflect on the positive, 100 times more. Take responsibility for your thoughts. At the end of this newsletter is an exercise to help you consciously take control and do this.
In addition to this exercise, one of the best and most effective ways of cultivating a sense of well being and changing negative thought processes and self-destructive behavior patterns is by working from the inside out, using hypnotherapy to talk directly to the subconscious. Reinforcing within the subconscious positive thoughts, ideas and goals that you have consciously decided you want.
Meditation, hypnotherapy and biofeedback have long been championed as proven stress relievers but it has also recently been discovered that in addition to providing relaxation and emotional relief, these techniques may actually lower levels of cortisol, the hormone that is frequently found in elevated levels with depressed patients and which can interfere with insulin sensitivity.
Studies have long established links between the incidence of depression and several other diseases, including cancer, heart disease, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, stroke and Alzheimer's. "Depression almost certainly has multiple causes that produce similar symptoms," observes Dr. Bruce Cohen, president of McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts. People with such afflictions appear to run a higher risk of disability or premature death when they are clinically depressed.
More and more doctors and patients recognize that depression and physical well-being are intimately connected. An unhealthy body can lead to depression, and depression can trigger or worsen diseases in the body. Fixing one problem can often help the other.
As more and more people are dealing with the effects of depression (20+ million in the United States alone), many people are also realizing that much of their pain, whether it is physical or emotional, is originating on a deeper, subconscious level. If the pain is not dealt with at that subconscious level, it will continue to go on.
There are wounds that do not naturally heal with time. Instead they start hurting again given certain "weather conditions" or what I like to refer to as trigger points. If this occurs, subconsciously we will withdraw into ourselves, become angry or oversensitive and react in a hurt manner without apparent reason, sometimes we become particularly hurtful or destructive without actually wanting to.
It is when these trigger points occur that we have the opportunity, the ability and capability to bring these painful experiences into the light. We can look at these experiences under the soothing blanket of hypnosis and we can release them. It is in this way that we can more effectively begin the healing process.
By using timeline therapy you can go back to the first trigger point and consciously burn away and release those negative emotions that are attached to it. This is the first step in the process of moving forward. When you burn away and release the anger, hurt, fear and guilt, you take back control of your own life. You feed your spirit and you increase your capacity for joy, love and happiness beyond measure.
Trying to accomplish this by yourself, without instruction and guidance can be a slow and uncomfortable process. By using the relaxation techniques utilized in hypnosis, it is possible to not only increase the effectiveness of the burning away and releasing process, but to replace the negative images from your trigger points with a positive image (or snapshot) that you choose to take with you into your future, working from the inside out, and freeing the spirit so that the healing process can take place.
Simply knowing something intellectually gives you very little power. When you can take a truth and internalize it, with the aid of hypnosis, so that it can become a part of you on a cellular level, on a subconscious level, you radiate that truth outward and your entire life is changed. “Repeat a positive statement often enough and it will become ingrained in your subconscious” says Adrian Calabrese, Ph.D., Woman’s World, October 18, 2005.
A client of mine from a few years ago sent me an email recently that simply made my day and put such a smile on my face that I have to share some of it here now. Because of confidentiality issues, I’ve had to cut much of it and obviously there can be nothing that might reveal identity. I’m sure you all understand and would expect the same respect for privacy with your own issues.
"Linda, I know you won't be surprised to hear this, but my depression is gone - totally and completely as far as I can tell... I spent years in therapy with psychiatrists and psychologists - I can't tell you how many sessions - hundreds!! Compared to the two sessions with you. 10 years of medication and disability for it and after your hypnosis - GONE!!
I talk up hypnosis and you/your site as often as I can!! My mother tries to raise her ugly little head from that trash bag down at the bottom of the stairs in the trash room you gave me, but I just push her back in!!
D in California"
Granted, these results after only two sessions were amazing, but not entirely unexpected. This stuff works!!!!
Linda Simmon, C.Ht.
I started a poetry section last month and am continuing it from now on.
I have an amazing and artistic daughter who also enjoys reading poetry. Well, as a matter of fact she pretty much enjoys reading everything, but I’ve asked her to give me one of her favorite poems and here it is:
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.
Thank you Shannon
With heart issues and high cholesterol being so prevalent these days and also the thing that took my mother from me, all health tips today revolve around cholesterol. It just seems that so many people have such misinformation about this subject that it might be a good thing now to share some facts:
Those furrows between your brows? They may mean your cholesterol's rising.
When the pressure is on at work, take time to unwind — and not just for the sake of your face. According to research, there is a correlation between job stress and high cholesterol levels. But if even a 15-minute walk is out of the question, try this: Deeply inhale through your nose, then slowly exhale through your mouth. Repeat three or four times while visualizing a positive image; feel the calm flow through you
Sesame seeds aren't just for the birds. They help fight high cholesterol, too.
Tiny. Rich. Nutty. Birds love 'em. People, too. But many people don't know about their one-two nutritional punch: (1) Sesame seeds lower cholesterol by keeping your intestines from absorbing the stuff. (2) The seeds contain a powerful antioxidant that may play a role in blocking cancer. Sprinkle them liberally over steamed veggies, salads, and stir-fries.
Good carbs versus bad carbs: Do you know the difference?
Carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap, and that's a shame. Eat the right kind of carbs -- the low-glycemic index (GI) kind — and you'll lose weight and lower both LDL and total cholesterol. Eat the wrong kind and . . . well, your heart suffers the consequences. GI index refers to how quickly starches break down and affect your blood sugar. Opt for low-GI lentils, beans, bran cereal, and high-fiber fruits and veggies to reach your lighter, heart-healthier goals.
Opting for a lower fat diet can help improve your overall health, but don't go too low.
A diet with a moderate amount of fat in it may be best for health. In a recent study, both moderate- and very low-fat diets of similar calories helped overweight people lower their bad cholesterol, but only the ones on the moderate-fat diet maintained their healthy levels of good cholesterol. The caveat: the moderate-fat dieters stuck to unsaturated forms of fat.
Is your 30-minute workout always last on your to-do list? Here's help.
Whether you're constantly time-crunched or just exercise averse, it's possible to get many of the same health benefits without freeing up a full half hour. Research consistently shows that three 10-minute sessions are as effective in many ways — including controlling cholesterol — as a solid 30-minute workout. So even if you're stretched thin between work and home, you can still make fitness a top priority.
Avocados, nuts, olives, and seeds — even if you have high cholesterol, don't give 'em up.
In case you haven't quite gotten the whole fat thing down yet, unsaturated fats are your friends when it comes to lowering bad LDL cholesterol and raising good HDL cholesterol. So if your salad looks a little dull tonight, make your stomach and your arteries happy: Toss in some walnuts, sunflower seeds, or avocado and use a dressing made with olive oil. Then, eat up.
Tempted to go overboard on fresh strawberries? Go ahead.
It's peak season, so they're cheap, juicy, abundant, and one of the healthiest fruits around. A string of recent studies credit strawberries with helping to smack down the effects of bad LDL cholesterol, inhibit disease-fueling inflammation, fight the development of cancer, and even benefit the aging brain. Whew! All that and irresistible flavor.
- If you don't touch the hard stuff but would love some of the highly touted health benefits attributed to red wine, pour yourself a glass of grape juice instead.
Like wine, grape juice is full of protective pigments known as flavonoids. Unlike wine, it doesn't stop you from driving home safely if you over-indulge. And the juice's heart-smart reputation is growing. For instance, when people drank Concord grape juice daily for two weeks in a study, their "bad" LDL cholesterol became less dangerous and their blood levels of disease-fighting antioxidants rose.
A plan for reducing stress may be the perfect complement to your cholesterol-lowering strategy.
In a recent study, researchers discovered that acute stress temporarily raised cholesterol levels in the study participants. And those with the greatest stress-induced spikes were most likely to have high cholesterol three years later. Use strategies such as deep breathing, yoga, visualization, positive imagery and meditation to minimize stress.
Neuro Pathway Exercise
The first step is to get a picture or several pictures of what you want. A picture of a goal big or small of whatever you want in your life to replace those things that you don’t want any longer. Keep in mind that you can develop one picture or a picture for different parts of your life such as your job, relationship, activity, yourself, whatever. So, now get a clear image of this picture and make it as detailed as you can. Now find a word or a very short phrase that when you think it or say it this image instantly comes to mind.
Here’s an example of one of mine:
I want my own ranch or enough space and land where I can have all the animals that I want and love to have around me and, my guy and I are in love, happy and having fun together.
Here's my snapshot:
I'm standing outside on my ranch next to my horses, there are a couple of dogs running around in the background and a couple of cats sitting on a fence post. I'm laughing and my guy is there smiling with his arms around me and he has that little sparkle in his eyes that he gets at certain special times. Everything simply glows with joy and pleasure.
The word that will instantly bring this picture to my mind is “Ranch”.
Whenever I find my thoughts drifting to that negative self talk that we all occasionally have or when I get to feeling a bit depressed about ever getting that little ranch, I say to myself RANCH. I keep saying ranch until that image, that picture fills my mind and those other images fade away.
At first it sometimes took a while for the negative images to completely fade but with just a little bit of persistence and practice, you will find that the image comes faster and easier and you will also find that those old nasty images appear less and less until they pretty much disappear.
So, give yourself the gift of taking control of your thoughts and your life. Keep your focus on what you want and what you want to move towards rather than those things that you would rather run from!
Be well and enjoy the magic that can surround your Halloween.
Linda Simmon, C.Ht.