Jocelyn

The Power of Words

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We’ve been enjoying the books of neuro-scientist Andrew Newberg and business and personal development coach, Mark Robert Wladman, in particular, “Words Can Change your Brain”.

An astonishing discovery is that even a single negative statement increases brain activity by releasing dozens of stress producing hormones and neurotransmitters. The functioning of the brain is consequently interrupted especially with regard to logic, reason and language.

Conversely, positive words and thought drive the motivational centres of the brain into action and they help us to have greater control over our emotions.  Research shows that if you practise staying relaxed and repetitively focus on positive words and images, anxiety and depression will decrease.

The authors claim that to have the most loving relationships, the most thriving businesses and the greatest sense of well-being, we need to generate the 5 – 1 positivity ratio.  Their research shows that if you have less than 3 positive thoughts for every negative thought or feeling, you’ll end up becoming angry, irritated and over time clinically depressed.

Why the conscious bias in terms of the positive?  Scientists have known for a long time that the brain is hard-wired to respond to the negative more quickly and with more force than the positive because fear-based negativity is interpreted in the brain as a threat to our well-being and survival.

Newberg and Waldman’s conclusions are correlated by the studies of Positive Psychologist Barbara Fredrickson who found that college students with a positivity ratio above 3:1 were significantly more likely to have high mental and social health.   The relationship guru John Gottman, over the course of dozens of studies can predict whether a couple will divorce with over 90% accuracy.  A key factor of that prediction is the ratio of positive statements to negative statements the couples express during an interview.

Psychologist, Marcial Losada works on developing high performance business teams.  During his research he observed teams of eight whilst they developed strategic plans.  Once again, the ratio of positive expressions to negative expressions was highly predictive of team success.

Negative thinking is self-perpetuating and it takes a conscious effort to break the cycle and develop a ratio of positive words, expressions, statements and feelings to negative ones which will benefit our health and well-being.  It has been shown that just seeing a list of negative words, even for a few seconds, will make a highly anxious or depressed person feel worse.  The more these words are ruminated upon the more the individual can actually damage the structures that regulate memory, feelings and emotions; sleep and appetite are disrupted and the ability to experience long time happiness and satisfaction.

It’s 2020 – let’s be conscious of the words we are using and the messages they convey – and if you notice that one negative thought has led to another to another to another – break the pattern by consciously relaxing and having a mantra of 4 or 5 positive words ready to intercede, and stay with it until  you feel a bit better.

We wish you Peace, Joy, Health and Happiness for the coming year.  Peace, Joy, Health, Happiness, Peace, Joy, Health, Happiness……………………………………….

Warm Regards,
Jocelyn and Kristina at Trance-Formed

Be Kind to yourself

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. Dalai Lama

You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. Buddha

Jay Rayner has been on TV and radio recently promoting The Claire Rayner Scholarship for the study of Compassion in Nursing and Midwifery Care at Huddersfield University.  In her role as Chief Executive of the Patients Association, Claire Rayner campaigned for care and compassion in all health matters.  She was disturbed by what she saw as routine neglect in some hospital geriatric units.

It may have been this news item that prompted our thoughts about compassion this month, however, it is not the lack of compassion for others that Claire witnessed that is evident in our practice, but a lack of care and kindness towards the self.  We find clients are often excessively self-critical and use words to berate themselves that they would never use on another. A disapproving and judgemental attitude towards ourselves is damaging to our sense of wellbeing and to our health.

The health and mental health communities are getting an increasingly better picture of how our brains work and how our thinking can impact our health.  Chronic inflammation, as we know, plays a key role in almost all ill-health including major illnesses such as certain types of cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and arthritis. The vagus nerve is the major inflammation reducing mechanism in the body and scientists, in recent studies, have shown the link between the health of the vagus nerve and compassion.  Dacher Keltner at the University of California found that people who are the most compassionate have higher vagal tone and Barbara Fredrickson, a psychology professor at Emory University School of Medicine demonstrated that feelings of compassion for the self and others, stimulate the vagus nerve. In a related article, Dr David Hamilton, suggests that perhaps we could slow the aging process by expressing compassion, as inflammation is one of the major accelerators of aging in the body.

We’ve got everything to gain by being warm and understanding towards ourselves rather than getting frustrated, angry and disappointed when we think we don’t measure up in some way.

Try this:

Become more aware of your critical self-talk

Focus on one thought and say it in your head

Where is the voice coming from?

Change the direction.

Change the volume.

Change the tone.

Change the emphasis.

Change the rhythm.

Notice the change in how you feel.  Practise to re-train the brain.

For the tappers:

Start the set-up with “Even though – then add the phrase you are using – eg. “I was stupid when I ………………. (Remember to be specific)  and follow with “I choose to accept myself anyway and speak more kindly to myself in future.”

Warm Regards,

Jocelyn and Kristina at Trance-Formed

The Law Of Attraction, EFT & Hypnosis

“Make the best of where you are and do your best to line up your Energy from where you are, because any bit of struggle or any bit of regret only holds your cork under the water and doesn’t allow you to connect with the Energy that would allow anything to improve”.

Abraham Hicks

“The Secret”, EFT, and Hypnosis

The movie “The Secret” which came out in 2006 has probably done more to inform people all over the world about the Law of Attraction than any other single medium.  The film is a series of interviews with those in the personal transformational field who write and broadcast about this universal law. However, you won’t find Esther and Jerry Hicks in the list of contributing gurus on most of the dvd’s, which is an unfortunate omission, but that is another story. We certainly introduce their teachings in different measures to our clients.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Law of Attraction the basic premise is: that which you put your focus/attention on will come into your life. So, if you think only of health and happiness then that is what you’ll get, but if you focus on your lack of health and happiness, you’ll get more poor health and more unhappiness. A great example of someone who must have her focus right around financial abundance was in the news. Joan Grinther from the USA scooped her fourth, seven figure jackpot win. With the odds of four multi-million pound/dollar wins at over 200million to one, Joan’s recent lottery scratch card gave her the $6.6m top prize.  Joan must think about the freedom and ease plenty of money can provide, unlike the majority of us who spend a lot of time thinking about not having enough.

It should be so simple to think about life the way we want it to be, but we all know it’s not. Within our subconscious minds there are habitual patterns of thought, many of them negative; we harbour repressed emotions, we have pasts that are wounded to some degree with trauma (either Trauma with a big T or traumas with little t’s) and all this gets in the way of  our feeling good and focusing on what we want. Another huge barrier to our experience of happiness is the media which does its best to keep us focused on fear.

Hypnosis and EFT, in our view, are the quickest and most successful means of changing negative beliefs and destructive thought patterns, thus giving us space and time to think about what we really, really want. The starting point is recognising thoughts which are not serving us, thoughts of fear, lack and loss and then using either EFT or hypnosis or both, to eliminate them.

For the tappers: well tap away those negative thoughts – here are a couple of examples but you will have to create your own.

The reminder phrases are underlined.

Even though I don’t believe I can have what I want, I now choose to focus on health and abundance.

Even though I feel___ because I’ve never found the right partner and perhaps s/he doesn’t exist , I now choose to believe that s/he is just around the corner.

Try this:  Set aside 10 – 20 minutes a day to dream about how you would like your life to be: imagine the way you look, imagine having lots of energy and vitality.  Imagine the perfect, home, partner, job, whatever it is you want. Try to bring all your senses on board – hear people complimenting you on your success; smell the leather in your new car and feel the luxurious fabrics you are wearing.  You get the idea.

Just think consciously and choose thoughts that bring you pleasure, it could be the start of wonderful new change. Sceptical?  Okay, but thinking about what you like and want, as if you had it, will certainly make you feel better and what’s wrong with that?

Let us know how you get on.

Warm Regards,

Jocelyn and Kristina at Trance-Formed

Procrastination

“When you feel enthusiasm to do something, it means you’ve lined up the Energy, and you are being inspired to take action from that point of alignment. When you don’t feel like doing it, don’t push yourself, because your effort is not worth it. But, when you line up the Energy, the feeling of procrastination goes away”.     Abraham Hicks

The P Word: Procrastination

You have a Presentation to prepare but find yourself on Instagram or watching Netflix instead, does this sound familiar to you?

Procrastination, as we are all very well aware, is the putting off of something we “have” to do, or need to do, and doing something else instead. We choose any distracting behaviour to quell the anxiety experienced when we know it is time to do the thing we are most dreading. Avoidance activities, however, only make us feel better in the short run.

Just about everyone has negative beliefs and thoughts that block action that needs to be taken.

Occasional procrastination, though frustrating, doesn’t generally affect our wellbeing. However, studies have shown that chronic procrastination can have high costs which undermine health. If procrastination is affecting any area of your life you are likely to feel overwhelmed, or agitated or helpless or perhaps all three.

  • Are you procrastinating now as you read this instead of completing your tax return as you promised yourself you would?
  • Do you get a sinking feeling in your stomach just thinking about it?

We can re-programme our subconscious minds to stop this self-sabotaging behaviour. Self-awareness is the starting point – admit to yourself that you are procrastinating, then look for the negative beliefs that could be running your behaviour. Perfectionists often have unrealistic expectations of themselves and are consumed by thoughts of self-doubt. Some people with issues around control and authority are also procrastinators especially when they feel that something has GOT to be done.

So if procrastination is an issue you have been putting off, here is some help:

Tappers

Tap on the bodily sensations that arise when you think about attempting the dreaded task.

Tap on the feelings that arise, eg. fear. Tap on the resistance, eg;

“Even though I don’t want to do this……”

“Even though it is impossible to start….”

When you think about THE TASK ask yourself, “What does this remind me of?” and tap on all aspects of the memories that come up. It might be a maths lesson at school when you were humiliated or a memory when a judgmental parent criticised your efforts when you made a meal for the family.

And/Or Use repeated visualisations to change your feelings and behaviour.

  • Relax your body.
  • Get into a drowsy, meditative light trance and fill your mind with a movie of the way you would like things to be, knowing that your subconscious mind can bring it about in the easiest way.
  • See yourself settling to the task with enthusiasm in the knowledge that you will be able to complete it to your complete satisfaction easily and enjoyably.
  • Bring all your senses on board. What can you see, hear, feel, smell and taste?

Repeat this mental movie regularly after reaching a really relaxed state.

Warm Regards,

Jocelyn and Kristina at Trance-Formed

It’s a well-known secret – Diets don’t work

“You must begin to think of yourself as becoming the person you want to be.”  David Viscott

It’s a well-known secret – Diets don’t work; Well, not for 99% of people who try them and this can lead to feelings of frustration, hopelessness, guilt and in some cases, self-loathing. The diet industry is gargantuan, turning over billions of pounds every year, but it doesn’t deliver.

Diets tell you what to eat, how much to eat and when to eat, but they don’t tell you how to handle the stress and anxiety you may have in your life that can trigger overeating.

Many people soothe themselves with food when they feel stressed.

Stress changes cortisol levels in the body which affects the production of hormones which in turn makes your body hold on to weight, especially in the abdomen. Others overeat (or choose another substance such as alcohol or a recreational drug) to distract themselves from painful emotions or because they experience some sort of lack or a feeling of emptiness. It is also common for some people to overeat as a form of self-protection; they are not hungry for food, but hungry for love or acknowledgement.

We are all also aware of negative childhood influences which can impact on our beliefs around food: “You can have dessert when you’ve eaten everything on your plate,” or “Finish your dinner. Think about the starving children in the Third World.” Sound familiar?

Our relationship with food is complex and unless the reasons why we overeat are addressed then we will continue to gain with all the attendant health problems.

If you have been struggling with your weight try the following:

Trance/visualisation to re-programme your subconscious:

Sit quietly and take three deep breaths. Imagine yourself, as vividly as you can, at your goal weight. Look at yourself in the mirror? How do you feel about how you look? How do you feel in your body? What are you wearing? Intensify the wonderful feelings.

Imagine yourself in a situation where people look at you admiringly. Hear what they are saying to you and what they are saying about you. Receive their compliments. Feel the joy of your new body. Imagine eating without worrying. Taste delicious foods, really concentrating on the smell and texture of food.

Imagine enjoying your food and being at peace with yourself while you do so.

Do this as often as possible, imagining new situations in which you can see yourself as you want to look.  Bring all of your senses into the visualisation.

And for the tappers – Say out loud: “I have reached my goal weight.” and see what thoughts and feelings you experience.  Do you feel safe at your new weight?  Do you feel deprived, vulnerable, undeserving.  All negative thoughts and feelings that arise are keys to your reasons for being unable to achieve your goal weight and you can tap on all of them.

For Example: (Reminder phrases are underlined)

Even though I won’t feel safe if I reach my goal weight, I love and accept myself.

Even though I don’t deserve to reach my goal weight I love and accept myself just the way I am.

Warm Regards,

Jocelyn and Kristina at Trance-Formed

Talking about…..

IMG_3960How often are you aware that you are talking to yourself, in your head or even out loud?  Self-talk is the internal conversation, the voice in your mind, that comments, questions, evaluates and judges your behaviour and experience.  Experts consider it to be a subset of thinking and it can be positive – when we congratulate ourselves or use it to motivate, or negative – when we criticise, judge, catastrophise and ruminate.

All self-talk influences our feelings and behaviour, but scientists are discovering that it is not only what we say to ourselves that is significant, but also how we address ourselves.  As part of research on self-talk conducted at the University of Michigan, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Ethan Kross, and his team measured electrical activity in the brain as subjects engaged in different kinds of self-talk.  They discovered that when subjects used the pronouns “I” and “me” during self-talk the “worriers” had to work much harder to talk themselves into a more positive state.  “They engaged in a vicious  cycle of rumination, anxiety and more rumination.”  However, when subjects deliberately used their first name instead of personal pronouns, there was a dramatic reduction in their anxiety.

“In our study, participants who silently referred to themselves in the second or third person or used their own name whilst preparing for a five minute speech were calmer and more confident and performed better on task than those who referred to themselves using “I” or “me”.  It didn’t matter whether research subjects were anxious or calm at baseline, both types of people benefited from the simple change of personal address.

“When dealing with strong emotion, taking a  step back and becoming a detached observer can help”, Kross explains.  “It is easy for people to advise their friends, yet when it comes to themselves they have trouble.  But people engaging in this process using their own first name, are distancing themselves from self.”

The research findings suggest that for those of us who would like to improve regulation of our emotions and behaviour, the substitution of our first name for “I” when talking to ourselves is an easy and  effective way to reduce anxiety, improve self-control and clarify thinking. It is a simple and easy change to make, and perhaps….. best done silently!

Warm Regards,
Jocelyn and Kristina at Trance-Formed

Feeling Overwhelmed?

“I feel overwhelmed”, is a phrase we are hearing more and more in the therapy room. The state we call “Overwhelm” is not the anxiety and impatience that is experienced when our list of “To Do’s” is too long, but a very uncomfortable emotional state when there is a sense of being stuck; a lack of motivation to do anything; an inability to decide what’s important and what can be left, and a tendency to ignore what has to be done. Those who experience “Overwhelm” are likely to be short-tempered and confused, feel bodily tension and have a general fear of impending catastrophe.

“Overwhelm” doesn’t happen overnight. It is a state that is reached gradually and we need to recognise when we are feeling overloaded by the demands upon us and take action before we reach a tipping point.

There are certain thought patterns and behaviours that increase the likelihood of reaching this uncomfortable state. Those who try to please everyone by always saying “Yes” thus taking on more than they can handle is common. Perfectionist thinking when individuals have high and often unrealistic expectations of themselves and others can lead to feelings of incompetence and being out of control. Those who demand a lot of control and feel highly responsible can also fall victim to “Overwhelm”.

If any of this applies to you, it is necessary to acknowledge your feelings and become aware of self-defeating thoughts and behaviours so that action can be taken to avoid “Overwhelm” or resolve it as soon as possible.

Learning to find comfortable ways to say “No” and accepting that you can’t do it all, nobody can, is an important step.

It is helpful to spend ten minutes every day visualising how you would like things to be and how you would like to feel. See yourself achieving your goals easily with time to spare and enjoying your activities. Imagine feeling motivated, in control and easy about everything you do.

And if you do have a “To Do” list that is bothering you, try Franklin Covey’s method of prioritising. It works for us!

Go through your list labelling each item with one of following letters:

A = urgent and important

B = important not urgent

C = urgent not important

D = not urgent or important.

If you only achieve the As in your allotted time, you can be confident that you have completed all that is essential.

Phrases for the Tappers (reminder phrases are underlined)

Even though I feel overwhelmed, I accept myself and all my feelings

Even though things are out of control, I accept myself and how I feel.

Even though I can’t decide what is important, I choose to relax, breathe and take it slowly.

Warm Regards,

Jocelyn and Kristina at Trance-Formed

Turning back the clock

IMG_3184A few years ago we were excited to learn that Jennifer Aniston proposed to co-produce and star in a film based on the book, “Counter Clockwise Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility,” written by the Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer, whose research interest is in how attitude affects both health and the rate of ageing.  This film would have introduced Langer’s research findings to a new and wider audience but sadly, it seems that after the initial publicity the project has been discontinued.

Langer’s book records a study she did in 1979.  Eight elderly men in their late 70s and 80s spent a week in a disused monastery that had been designed in every detail to recreate the year 1959.  Even the magazines and newspapers were from that era.  The men were asked to talk and behave as if 1959 was the present.  At the end of the week significant measurable improvement was shown in some cognitive processes, vision, hearing and strength of the study’s subjects. Their joints were more flexible and posture straightened.

Many studies support the idea that our beliefs about old age affect our health and well-being and the assumption that old age means physical and mental deterioration is not a minor problem.

Becky Levy and colleagues at Yale University report that their studies show that a negative attitude to ageing in their subjects didn’t only affect performance and attitude but that their beliefs contributed to serious illness and death.  Holding positive views, conversely increased life expectancy by about 7.6 years.

Professor Felicia Huppert from Cambridge University suggests that society’s structures and attitudes are not keeping abreast of the new reality of ageing.  “Positive psychology is helping to challenge people’s views of the old and of ageing and questioning taken for granted assumptions.”

Clinical neuropsychologist, Dr Mario Martinez, is uncompromising in his book “The Mindbody Code”.  He claims that “ageing is a cultural concept of how our biology “should” respond to the passing of time.”

Langer’s study suggested that mental attitude can reverse the effects of ageing and as most of us can now look forward to a quarter of our lives in retirement challenging cultural beliefs about ageing could serve us well as accepting assumptions about mental and physical deterioration could be self-fulfilling.

Warm Regards,
Jocelyn and Kristina at Trance-Formed

Three keys to improved relationships

Today, we seem to be obsessed with the significant relationship and you may wonder why given the number of failed relationships and divorce figures. Cell biologist, Bruce Lipton, explains “our biology is pushing us to bond….It is a fundamental biological imperative.”

If you are in a happy and fulfilling relationship then taking time to reflect and appreciate will activate your parasympathetic nervous system, relaxing the body and reducing stress hormones so doing you a great deal of good. If your relationship is not all you feel it could be and you are willing to take a little time to improve things, here’s some advice that we’ve found to be most helpful to clients

1) Take responsibility –

For anything you think is not right with your relationship or partner. Whether we are aware of it or not, negative patterns of thought and behaviour often resulting from suppressed emotions from the past, will play out in our relationships. There is no need to try to work out why you think and behave the way you do, just decide to stop blaming, judging and criticising. Know that you needn’t be a victim or a martyr. Take responsibility for what happens. S/he is not at fault.

2) Focus on what you like in your partner –

Take five or ten minutes each day to think about something you like about your partner. Writing it down is a powerful exercise. In addition think about why you like the aspect you have chosen. Positive emotion habituates rapidly.

3) Show gratitude –

Not just in your thoughts, but acknowledge something good about your lives together out loud to your partner every day. Saying “Thank you” is a good start or, if you wish, write a gratitude letter to your partner and make that part of Valentine’s Day (for example) every year. Studies show that practising gratitude can increase happiness levels, enthusiasm, determination and energy.

Like everything else, if you bring your awareness to the positive aspects of your life together and give them your attention, it will become easier and easier to do and you and your partner will reap the benefits.

Warm Regards,

Jocelyn and Kristina at Trance-Formed

Build Resilience

A priority in all therapy is to nurture and strengthen clients’ resilience. Psychological and emotional resilience is the ability to cope successfully with day to day frustrations and disappointments and the bigger challenges if they should come along – crisis and trauma. Resilient people tend to bounce back and sometimes be strengthened by their adverse experiences. They accept what’s happened and soldier on, whereas those who are less resilient can become overwhelmed by circumstances and lose their purpose and direction. Research tells us that we are all born with innate resilience but that some children and adults develop “learned helplessness” by giving into doubts and worries and consequently feel powerless to alter or change unwanted circumstances.

No two people are the same, but psychologists list optimism, hope, a positive attitude, adaptability and an internal locus of control among the factors that add up to a resilient attitude. Locus of control refers to the extent to which individuals believe that they can control the events that affect them. Resilient people take control of their lives believing that they influence what happens. Those with an external locus of control are likely to see themselves as helpless victims with little control over their own lives.

We’ve written before about neuroplasticity – the capacity of the brain to change, to grow new neurons and connections between neurons and how we can consciously engage in practices that influence the function and structure of our brains. There are many techniques that strengthen our capacity for resilience so that we can move through life’s challenges with increased ease. One such technique comes from the field of NLP – by exaggerating and enhancing positive memories of times when we successfully coped strengthens our resilience in the present and for the future.

  1. Sit quietly, take three deep breaths and begin to relax.
  2. Bring to mind a memory when you successfully achieved something yourself or a memory when you coped well in challenging circumstances. (It doesn’t matter how insignificant the memory may seem to you.)
  3. Notice what you feel, see and hear when you recall the memory.
  4. Exaggerate and enhance the memory to increase the feelings of control, competence and success. Make the memory brighter, clearer and increase the sounds to heighten the positive feelings.
  5. Enjoy how you are feeling and notice where in your body you are feeling the sensations of control and success.

 

Do this as often as you like. After all it is pleasant in itself and you will be strengthening neural pathways to increase your resilience.

Warm Regards,

Jocelyn and Kristina at Trance-Formed

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