How Hypnotherapy Helps With Stress And Anxiety

Posted Posted in Interesting

Stress can be defined as a state we experience when there is a mismatch between perceived demands and our perceived ability to cope. Stress can also be defined as an adaptive response by a body to change in the environment. Stress response evolved to enable humans to deal with life-threatening dangers or stressors such as being confronted with a wild animal or perhaps a hostile human. Situations like this required action – the activation of stress response to wither stay and fight or to run away.

Today we hopefully won’t have to face the same dangers as our ancestors but the stress response to demanding situations we face is still with us and our mind and body still prepare for fight or flight when confronted with this equivalent of the wild animal. This is where the problem may begin as activation of the fight or flight response with no physical outlet, such as if we are stuck in a traffic jam and can’t fight it or flee it, or maybe an unfair confrontation in the workplace where once again the response for action may be triggered but we can’t vent it by fighting or running away without consequences we would rather avoid. Perhaps both of these events and more are experienced on the same day, perhaps every day, and the stress builds within us until it can damage our health if a solution is not found

Stress isn’t always bad – the stress response was designed to help and protect us and some people even place themselves in stressful situations they know they can handle for excitement and ‘the rush’ as it is often called.

We all experience stress in different ways depending upon our personality type, conditioning and possible training also.

When we face a stressor but perceive we have the ability to deal with it successfully a feeling of success and achievement can be gained. Getting the balance right between good stress to motivate us and encourage us to grow, and our ability to cope with the stress is possibly the key to remaining healthy, positive and active in whatever arena of life we find ourselves.

Our ability to cope with stress can be affected by our diet and the intake of good substances that out body needs to remain strong and flexible and to repair itself when needed. Also we should avoid anything that could cause us to be more stressed or weaker such as drugs, alcohol, smoking etc.

Finally, stress can be external, some event or situation that is causing stress, or internal, attitudes or emotions that lead to stress (anxiety, guilt, low self-esteem, fear, etc.)

What is the Fight/Flight Response? Why do we still have it?

The ‘Fight or Flight Response’ is a physiological reaction and is the body’s response to a stressor.

Changes in hormones prepare a person to either stay and deal with a stressor or to take flight/run away. This immediate state of alarm is when the body prepares to take action, and in this state a person will be extremely alert to their surroundings but also very anxious and possibly unable to concentrate.

The body will slow down systems not vital in responding to the stressor, such as the digestive system, which is why a person in a fight or flight situation may have a dry mouth and a nervous/upset stomach. The body will make other preparations such as improved cooling for the body as more energy is used and this will result in perspiration.

The fight or flight response is a very old and very basic response and has been with us for a very long time. It was originally a response to danger that would prepare our ancestors to fight the wild beast or the enemy who might suddenly threaten or confront them, or to take flight and literally run away from the danger.

This response is triggered when we send a message of alarm to a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. This area of the brain will then send a signal to the glands to release adrenaline, cortisol and endorphin into the blood stream. Increased levels of adrenaline increase heart rate and blood flow which in turn brings extra oxygen and glucose to the muscles. Cortisol causes an increase in amino-acids and sugars in the blood. Amino-acids are crucial for the repair and recovery of damaged tissues which may occur under stress and the blood sugar adds to the availability of glucose (fuel) for the body.

The release of endorphin, which is a morphine like substance only more powerful, provides the body’s natural tranquilizing system. Pain is blocked and a feeling of euphoria may be experienced, both helping to get the body through the situation it may find itself in due to stress.

We still have this response, as it is still necessary to prepare and protect us in times of alarm, such as being involved in an emergency situation of any kind, or being confronted with any form of potentially life threatening danger.

Once the initial stages of this fight or flight response are over, a person will have a psychological reaction to the stressor which will be based upon many variables including, personality type, conditioning, age, physical and mental ability, and their knowledge relevant to the situation to be dealt with.

It is very often the resulting symptoms of this fight or flight response kicking in that we tend to call a panic attack. what actually happens is that we may be in a situation where we can’t fight or flight, such as a meeting or on a train, and so we become more and more anxious and may feel as though we will pass out, or be sick, or any one of a number of responses. What often happens then,is we find we have a desperate need to urinate, and that is another way the subconscious mind will sometimes attempt to gain our attention and force us to leave the arena in which we find ourselves at the time. It is normally the feeling of not being able to escape, and knowing that we might have this strong feeling to fight or flight that causes much of the anxiety and expectation of problems for most people who find they need help to overcome their problem.

Also, many people….no…that should be most people who suffer from panic attacks and anxiety will normally have the need for some obsessive-compulsive actions in their life…it can often be a type of coping, or controlling strategy.

Why hypnotherapy is totally different from any other form of therapy?

Hypnotherapy is different from any other form of therapy because of the way in which the therapy part happens while one is in hypnosis. Put another way, hypnotherapy is a very effective combination of hypnosis, a trance or altered state of mind and deep relaxation, and the chosen therapy, which might be for example; suggestion therapy, regression, ego states therapy, or neuro-linguistic-programming.

Hypnosis allows an individual to enter a state of deep relaxation which in itself is a very useful therapy for combating stress. It also allows one to become calm and focused, as all parts of the mind work together and concentrate on solving the problem at hand, and therefore making the very best use of the chosen therapy as it is applied.

Why hypnotherapy is so helpful in cases of stress, anxiety and panic attacks?

Hypnosis is a state in which the conscious critical faculty is temporarily suspended or distracted and in which all parts of the mind work in harmony for the good of the whole being.

When in hypnosis an individual can become very relaxed and at the same time very aware and ‘sharp’, mentally focused.

For the computer literate, I would liken hypnosis to the ‘safe mode’ on a computer, where if a part of the system is acting up or malfunctioning, placing the system in safe mode allows for investigation and repair to be carried out safely while minimizing the risk to the normal operating systems. In some sports it would be like a ‘time-out’, where all parts of the team come together briefly to review the current state of play, to identify where poor choices may have affected the outcomes and to choose a new strategy to move forward with.

In the normal whirl of life we seldom take a time out, or to go into safe mode to pull together our resources and to calmly take stock and plan our best way forward. Hypnosis then, is a safe, relaxing state in which we can let go the tensions in and around us for a short period, and in which, if we desire it, a skilled therapist can guide us through the stages of investigation, discovery, planning and repair we may need.

Hypnotherapy therefore provides relaxation (and clients of good therapists learn self-hypnosis so they can find this deep relaxation for themselves) and is therefore useful at even this basic level, as a kind of first aid. The good therapist will help the client to find any repressed emotions, triggers and false instincts from the past that are a kind of out-of-date, erroneous, or maybe just no longer wanted or needed programming, that loops around once triggered to cause us much anxiety and feelings of panic, but we often don’t know why. Following this, the wonderful power of hypnotic suggestion, and Neuro-Linguistic programming techniques will be used to provide new and efficient programming to support moves forward into a much more positive life with a better outlook on everything.

About the Author:

Marc is an award winning, certified stage and clinical hypnotist, author and motivational speaker with experience entertaining both large and small gatherings.

Marc uses his skills and talents in a variety of areas that include self-improvement or clinical hypnosis, motivational speaking, and comedy stage hypnosis.  He has worked with individuals and corporations throughout the United States to improve outcomes in personal lives and organizations.

As a clinical hypnotist, he has helped people resolve sleep issues, lose weight, stop smoking, deal with long held fears, deal with stress and anxiety, manage pain, improve sports performance, eliminate addictions, and improve sexual function.

His performance resume includes appearances on live shows for Refinery29 Live and Elite Daily’s TrashED.  He has performed internationally for major corporations, at comedy clubs, fairs and , and for schools, proms, graduations, conferences, conventions and corporations.  He was a featured performer for New Jersey’s premier First Night Celebration – First Night Morris for New Year’s Eve 2018.

Marc’s book, “Staying in the Moment – Helping Students Achieve More Through Mindfulness Meditation” helps educators, parents and students get better results in the classroom through the adoption of mindfulness exercises as part of the curriculum.

For more information about, or to book an appointment with Marc visit his website: www.hypnomarc.com or email info@hypnomarc.com.

What Sleep Experts Aren’t Telling You About How to Get a Great Night’s Sleep…

Posted Posted in You Can Fix That

Tossing and turning night after night, then waking up exhausted and feeling miserable is an all too common complaint that I hear from clients.    The sad reality is that sleep disturbance is one of the major problems facing people today.  According to government studies, “Sleep loss and sleep disorders are among the most common yet frequently overlooked and readily treatable health problems. It is estimated that 50 to 70 million Americans chronically suffer from a disorder of sleep and wakefulness, hindering daily functioning and adversely affecting health and longevity (NHLBI, 2003)”.   It impacts every aspect of our lives (health, relationships, and work) and creates a negative behavior loop that results in more anxiety, stress, sleeplessness and weight gain.  So, if you are one of those who suffers, YOU are not alone! And while misery loves company, you want answers and more importantly, you want to sleep now.

To better understand the contributing causes, it is helpful to understand  how our bodies function and how this impacts sleep.  The human body and our subconscious minds are wired to protect us.  One of the primary ways this happens is through the release of cortisol.  Cortisol is a powerful hormone that is triggered during the fight/flight/freeze reaction.  When faced with imminent danger the adrenaline rush that we experience is triggered by cortisol.  Our bodies are in a heightened state of readiness to respond. This state of excitement interferes with sleep.  Once we become aware of some of the causes, we can learn how to deal with those factors most likely to disturb your sleep.

There are many studies that show a clear link between foods high in sugars and carbohydrates and sleep disturbances.  The conclusions in these studies show that consumption of these foods negatively affect our sleep.  These studies go on to link sleep apnea and other sleep disorders to a rise in diabetes and obesity.  Here, we have a negative loop of sleep deprivation attributed to sleep apnea and sleep apnea being exacerbated by weight gain  The weight gain is attributable to increases in cortisol resulting from stress.  (Miller, et al., 2014) (Knutson, 2007) (New Study Links Blood Sugar Levels With Sleep Apnea, n.d.)

The most obvious food sourced chemical that impacts the quality of our sleep is caffeine.  This is not a newsflash. This psychoactive chemical is present in more foods and beverages than many people are aware of.  We are aware of the obvious sources like coffees, teas and chocolates.  Caffeine however, is also present in non-cola soft drinks like Mountain Dew® and Sunkist® Orange Soda.  Lesser known hidden sources of caffeine include protein and energy bars, ice creams and frozen yogurt, certain vitamin waters and over-the counter pain meds such as Excedrin® Migraine. (Lodato, et al., 2013). 

Another contributing factor to sleeplessness or sleep disturbance is our connection to our smart devices (phones, tablets, and computers).  They keep us connected and stimulated, and this is not necessarily a good thing.  The tendency among many of those who come to see me for sleep issues, is their constant contact to jobs and clients.  In a society where people demand immediate responses, we have no ability to decompress and step away from the stressors of work.  It is common to see couples out to dinner constantly checking their smart phones to insure they haven’t missed a text or email message.  Further, people attempt to multi-task, even while engaged in social events, in an effort to be “more efficient.”  Since the brain is not wired to multi-task, we create additional problems for ourselves including making more mistakes which increase anxiety levels, as well as interpersonal relationship problems by becoming more socially disengaged.

Our devices create issues that are even more problematic.  Smart devices keep us highly stimulated.   The brain cannot differentiate between threats and stimulating gaming.  Engaging in long periods of video gaming or viewing sports programming everywhere we go, also increases cortisol levels and keeps us in heightened states of physical and mental excitement.  Clients have reported that they are on their phones right up until they go to sleep.  This type of behavior is often a prime source of their sleeplessness.

Sleeplessness can also be caused by or compounded by medical treatments or conditions.  Among the most frequent of these are diabetes, heart disease, chemo and immuno-therapies, reflux disease and Parkinson’s.

Ignorance of the causes is costing us billions of dollars in medical costs and lost productivity.  But the impact is also much more serious.   Sleeplessness is responsible for more than 40,000 motor vehicle accidents and more than 1500 motor vehicle deaths annually.  One of the proximal causes of these accidents are the residual effects of sleep medications that people receive from their physicians.  Commonly prescribed drugs such as benzodiazepines and antidepressants or antipsychotics often come with serious side effects, including dependency and abuse.  The sad fact is that these should be the last resort of medical professionals and not the first.  Longer term results come with empowering people to learn healthy, drug-free ways of relieving stress and breaking the sleeplessness cycle.

One of the most effective, and the safest method of breaking the negative loop of sleeplessness and the anxiety of not being able to sleep is hypnosis and mindfulness meditation.  Hypnosis, unlike prescription medications, does not have any of the dangerous side-effects of addiction or abuse.   Even more important, is the ability of hypnosis and mindfulness to improve feelings of general well-being, peace and calm.    As with many other presenting complaints, clients seeking to deal with sleep deprivation or insomnia, find that hypnosis empowers them to take back control of their lives.  It is this empowerment, along with the immediately recognizable phenomena of relaxation and calm, that creates a new, positive resource state that the client can use in all aspects of their lives.

The use of hypnosis as a means of resolving a host of issues, including sleep disturbances, dates back more than 4000 years to the Egyptians.  There are many documented instances of the presence of sleep chambers or sleep temples that utilized trance states to heal and improve various conditions.

The process of guiding people into a hypnotic trance state is fast.  The hypnotist can generally accomplish this in a matter of a few minutes.  During the session, the hypnotist works with the client at the subconscious level to resolve behaviors that are causing stress or other behaviors that are interfering with the sleep process.  Additionally, the hypnotist can install tools or anchors that help the client to relax quickly and once again experience satisfying sleep.  Additionally, the hypnotist will teach the client how to achieve the same relaxful state through the process of self-hypnosis.  Success builds on success and once again the client can return to a more productive life being more restful and present.

As more people feel the impact of increased levels of stress resulting from demands at work, little or no intimacy in relationships, or a general sense of unease because of world political situations, it is reasonable to expect a further uptick in those seeking help getting to sleep.   Hypnosis and mindfulness meditation give people the tools to untether from their computers, tablets and smart-phones, leaving them with the ability to shutoff from the constant bombardment of information and stimulation.   They report improved intimacy with others and lower levels of stress and most importantly greater satisfaction in all aspects of their lives.  The process of hypnosis and mindfulness meditation teach the individual how to take back control of their lives and begin to enjoy life by being present, perhaps for the first time.

One of the most effective tools that I have developed to assist those with difficulty sleeping is a special audio program.  The program is specially designed to be highly effective in reducing the stressors and other distractions that cause sleeplessness and induce a refreshing sleep.  The audio program, “Sleep and Dream for a Happier You”  is available for immediate download at: https://goo.gl/o5nghd .

About the Author:

Marc is an award winning, certified stage and clinical hypnotist, author and motivational speaker with experience entertaining both large and small gatherings.

Marc uses his skills and talents in a variety of areas that include self-improvement or clinical hypnosis, motivational speaking, and comedy stage hypnosis.  He has worked with individuals and corporations throughout the United States to improve outcomes in personal lives and organizations.

As a clinical hypnotist, he has helped people resolve sleep issues, lose weight, stop smoking, deal with long held fears, deal with stress and anxiety, manage pain, improve sports performance, eliminate addictions, and improve sexual function.

His performance resume includes appearances on live shows for Refinery29 Live and Elite Daily’s TrashED.  He has performed at comedy clubs, the Monroe County Fair (MI), the Osceola County Fair (Kissimmee, FL), the Red River Valley Fair (Fargo, ND), and for schools, proms, graduations, conferences, conventions and corporations.  He was a featured performer for New Jersey’s premier First Night Celebration – First Night Morris for New Year’s Eve 2018.

Marc’s book, “Staying in the Moment – Helping Students Achieve More Through Mindfulness Meditation” helps educators, parents and students get better results in the classroom through the adoption of mindfulness exercises as part of the curriculum.

For more information about, or to book an appointment with Marc visit his website: www.hypnomarc.com or email info@hypnomarc.com.

References:

(n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.statisticbrain.com/sleeping-disorder-statistics/

(n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20313656,00.html

Colten, H. R., & Altevogt, B. M. (2006). Extent and Health Consequences of Chronic Sleep Loss and Sleep Disorders. Retrieved 4 10, 2018, from https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/nbk19961

Durrant, K. L. (2002). Known and hidden sources of caffeine in drug, food, and natural products. Journal of The American Pharmaceutical Association, 42(4), 625-637. Retrieved 4 11, 2018, from https://sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/s1086580215302345

Knutson, K. L. (2007). Impact of sleep and sleep loss on glucose homeostasis and appetite regulation. Sleep Medicine Clinics, 2(2), 187-197. Retrieved 4 10, 2018, from https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc2084401

Lodato, F., Araújo, J., Barros, H., Lopes, C., Agodi, A., Barchitta, M., & Ramos, E. (2013). Caffeine intake reduces sleep duration in adolescents. Nutrition Research, 33(9), 726-732. Retrieved 4 11, 2018, from https://sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/s0271531713001528

Miller, B., O’Connor, H., Orr, R., Ruell, P., Cheng, H. L., & Chow, C. M. (2014). Combined caffeine and carbohydrate ingestion: effects on nocturnal sleep and exercise performance in athletes. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 114(12), 2529-2537. Retrieved 4 10, 2018, from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00421-014-2973-z

New Study Links Blood Sugar Levels With Sleep Apnea. (n.d.). Retrieved 4 10, 2018, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/07/blood-sugar-sleep-apnea_n_5084131.html

(Colten & Altevogt, 2006)

 

Photo Credit – Photo credit: Schmirn on Best Running / CC BY

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Improving Sleep with Hypnosis

Posted Posted in Interesting, You Can Fix That

Improving Sleep with Hypnosis

 

Over the years, I have had many people come to me because of non-biologically based sleep issues.  Some of these issues are related to Post Traumatic Stress (PTS).  Some are related to work; some are related to relationship challenges; some are because of diet.    And others present with no consciously apparent cause.

For those clients who present with a specific issue such as trauma or stress, our work to clear and address these issues is frequently all that is needed to help them once again enjoy life and resolve the challenges that have created the negativity that has been controlling their lives.  In the case of those that are unable to specifically pinpoint a cause or causes, I work with them to clear those less than positive experiences that the subconscious mind is focusing on and which is playing out as a negative loop when they are trying to sleep.

It is the negative loop that needs to be broken in order for the client to move forward and experience success.  Hypnosis, unlike prescription medications, which have significant and often dangerous side-effects, including addiction and abuse, improves feelings of general well-being, peace and calm.  As with many other presenting complaints, clients seeking to deal with sleep deprivation or insomnia, find that hypnosis empowers them to take back control of their lives.  It is this empowerment, along with the immediately recognizable phenomena, that creates a new, positive resource state that the client can use in all aspects of their lives.

The use of hypnosis as a means of resolving a host of issues dates back more than 4000 years to the Egyptians.  There are many documented instances of the presences of sleep chambers or sleep temples that utilized trance states. [i]   The process used by the Egyptians is well documented through hieroglyphics.  Other later civilizations, including the Romans and Chinese, also utilized hypnosis for resolving and treating many maladies or to reach enhanced states of awareness.

One of the more interesting phenomena that I have recently noticed is an uptick in the number of new clients who are seeking help to resolve sleep issues.  The majority of these clients are reporting increased levels of stress resulting from demands at work, in relationships, as well as feeling uneasy about the world around them.  Most of these people are tethered to their computers, tablets and smart-phones, leaving them no ability to shutoff the constant bombardment of information and stimulation.   They report less satisfying or no intimacy with others.  They seek activities that will help them escape, only to discover these don’t work.  Hypnosis, however, provides these people with the tool they seek to finally close off the “noise” of the outside world and get the sleep and relief they are searching for.

While I am able to address a broad range of concerns in my individual or group hypnosis sessions with clients, I also get inquiries from people who want to see what hypnosis feels like without having to come to my office.  Through these recordings, individuals get some of the benefits they are seeking and often provides them with a positive hypnosis experience.  This positive experience with the specially developed recordings, eventually leads many of them to contact me and move forward with a more comprehensive hypnosis session.  If you, or someone you care about, suffers from insomnia or other sleep related issues, and are not yet ready to make an appointment to see me, consider purchasing a no-risk recording to improve your sleep.  This link will take you directly to my secure store-front where you can quickly and easily download your recording and start sleeping better tonight for just $8.99. Buy Now - Sleep Tonight

 

[i] Chokroverty, S., & Billiard, M. (2015). Sleep medicine: a comprehensive guide to its development, clinical milestones, and advances in treatment. New York: Springer. (Sleep in Ancient Egypt, Tarek Asaad)

High Anxiety . . . College Admission Test Anxiety

Posted Posted in You Can Fix That

High anxiety is not just the title to the 1977 Mel Brooks homage to Alfred Hitchcock, but more accurately describes that “pit in the stomach” feeling that so many people get when having to take those all-important college entrance or promotional exams (SAT, ACT, LSAT, MCAT, GRE).  Sure, you’ve spent hundreds or thousands of dollars taking classes to get you ready.  You’ve spent weeks on practice exams and studying.  But, you can’t shake that uneasy feeling; the test anxiety that gets in the way of you performing your best.  You don’t want to walk out of that test saying . . . “I knew the answers to those questions!”

Studies have repeatedly shown that stress and anxiety are major contributors in our inability to recall important information at critical times.  The stress of achieving a score that makes you the optimal candidate for your new position or college entrance works against both the ability to learn and retain information, as well as the ability to easily recall it.  This is where hypnosis can be most beneficial.

Hypnosis provides you with the ability to reduce or eliminate stress so you are open to receive and effectively process the material you get from those prep classes.  More importantly, hypnosis to eliminate test anxiety provides you with the ability to recall and apply knowledge you have obtained throughout your experience, not just in your preparation classes.  This allows you to perform with confidence and at your best.  Contact me today to schedule your session and learn how to “Marshall the Power of Your Mind.”

With offices conveniently located in Westfield, NJ and Shaftsbury, VT you can finally feel confident. For more information or to schedule your appointment visit – www.hypnomarc.com – or email me at: info@hypnomarc.com . Convenient weekend and evening sessions available.   Marc Marshall, CH HypnoMarc, LLC