STOP reading this Right Now! And answer this question . . . WHO ARE YOU? Say your answer out loud and then just close your eyes for a few moments and feel what those words mean. Where do you feel that in your body? Is there a sound associated with that feeling? Why are you that and not something else?
If you have ever been to one of my corporate motivational talks, or my group personal improvement sessions you will recognize this question as something that I often open with. The first response that I frequently get often refers to the person’s job or role in society. And there is a very strong reason for this. It is the reason when asked about their job that people will answer – I am a… doctor, baker, teacher, pizza delivery person. We are defined, or better stated, we define ourselves by what we do. It shapes how we see ourselves and how we project ourselves to others we meet. People don’t say I fix cars or I bake cookies, or I cut grass. They say what they are.
The problem is that when our job disappears because we are fired, or furloughed or as in the case of the COVID19 pandemic, the government shuts it down and we can no longer have that job and don’t know if we ever will again, we lose our identity. We no longer know who we are. We lose our self-esteem, we stop being us and the fallout from that loss of identity is devastating. It initiates the most basic of survival mechanisms, fight/flight/freeze. It creates stress, fear and anxiety that cannot be resolved by the means that we have used and learned from our prior experience. The social isolation, the constant bombardment of negative information and reports of higher death tolls places stressors on us that weaken us physically, spiritually and emotionally. I recently wrote about that dynamic and how we as a country, perhaps even as a world community, are witnessing the greatest mass hypnosis of all time (https://www.hypnomarc.com/2020/04/08/we-are-witnessing-the-greatest-mass-hypnosis-of-all-time/). The response I got from that article continues to validate my observations and concerns that the end result of this coronavirus pandemic has forever reshaped our society and in many instances, not for the better.
This past weekend (April 12, 2020) Chris Bryant (@chrismbryant) wrote an opinion piece for Bloomberg that appeared in the Star Ledger, made some points that those of us in the entertainment and gig industry better sit up and take notice of. Bryant writes: “…Instead of visiting far-flung places and seeking out mass entertainment, I’m sure there will be a bias toward more modest, local activities.” He goes on to opine: “ Looming above all of this is the damage that the lockdowns are inflicting on people’s incomes. The longer the economic shutdown lasts, the more reluctant the world’s consumers will be to spend, period.” The hospitality industries- travel and leisure, cruise lines, hotels and casinos are being reshaped as this continues. Bryant speaks of the changes he sees already happening in fitness and education industries as well as pointing out there will be new opportunities for those who have a vision to look outside the box. (My words, not his.)
In his closing statement, Bryant makes the following statement: Faced with uncertainty or disaster, humans respond by trying to strengthen their communities.” While that is a statement which many may agree with, I believe there is a strong caveat that needs to be added. Humans can only respond with efforts to strengthen their own communities when they are not facing the fundamental imperative of survival. And as Bryant states, the longer it lasts the more reluctant we become. The constant barrage of negativity from the media, the bombardment of the death toll, the inability of state governments to respond to jobless claims and the heavy burdens the restrictions place in the “name of the public good” and to break the back of the virus, are just burying the survivors.
We are, as humans, hardwired to seek connection. Study after study shows that people, especially, infants fail to thrive when they are deprived of human touch. Social touch is a powerful force in human development, shaping social reward, attachment, cognitive, communication, and emotional regulation from infancy and throughout life[i]. Yet, the social isolation, imposed loss of identity through job loss, unrelenting stress triggers, and continual uncertainty by politicians and fear mongers who continually move the “cheese” as we run through the maze, just exacerbates the deleterious effects on each of us.
As a clinical and stage hypnotist and motivational speaker, I make my living by changing peoples’ focus. Sometimes I am helping them move past a debilitating trauma, other times helping them to forget the pressures of life as they immerse themselves in the insanity of a comedy hypnosis show, but in all cases, what I am doing is simply changing their present focus. I am taking them out of their “head” and moving them into a present moment or experience. David Snyder (@davidsnyder) a respected authority on Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) defines hypnosis as moving from one state of mind to another with a change of absorption and focus. The more absorbed you are, the more focused you are, the deeper the trance you are in.
And it is this deep trance that has been created by the constant beat of the drums, the actions of the media and politicians, to keep us hypnotized so that we cannot take those important steps of clearing the fog from our minds and begin the process of rebuilding our lives, our community and nation. I saw a meme recently that spoke more truth that most are oblivious to – “Quarantine is when you restrict the movement of sick people … Tyranny is when you restrict the movement of healthy people.”
Sadly, people will die from this virus. How many more are going to die or be destroyed by the trauma, isolation, stress and anxiety that is unrelentingly heaped upon them as this continues without end? How many will die from alcoholism or drug abuse or depression and suicide brought on by the impact of hastily imposed actions in what was originally an honest effort to protect society? This is not about right or left, about Democrat or Republican. No, it is far more important than that. It is a recognition that in order to recover, we must wake up now and be able to answer the fundamental question that I asked at the beginning of this article WHO ARE YOU?
If you would like to know what it would be like to move past the stress, anxiety or fear and can imagine what it would like to live in the present and learn more about how I can help you move past these feelings, I invite you to reach out to me and see how hypnosis can help you or to schedule an interview by using the link below. It is time to start moving forward and rebuilding our lives … Isn’t It?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marc Marshall is a certified clinical and stage hypnotist, medical hypnotist and certified mind-body specialist, author and motivational speaker at the New Jersey Hypnosis Center in Summit NJ. He specializes in dealing with trauma, sexual trauma, pain, medical hypnosis and works with clients to empower and teach them how to improve their lives through hypnosis and mindfulness practice. For more information or to schedule an appointment or interview, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website – www.hypnomarc.com
[i] Social touch and human development
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