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Monday, July 16, 2012

Health Applications of Hypnosis

Can Hypnosis Improve the Quality of Life for Individuals with Chronic Illnesses?

Hypnosis has been used as a psychological treatment for a variety of illnesses with apparent success. While it is unlikely that hypnotic suggestions are capable of curing physical disease, they can be used to enhance relaxation and alleviate pain and other physical discomforts, and therefore they may make a positive contribution to the overall quality of care and of life. For example, several controlled studies have shown that hypnotic suggestions administered to patients who suffer from asthma can reduce both bronchodilator use and attacks of "wheezing", as well as increase peak expiratory flow rates. Hypnosis has also been used effectively in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, hyperemesis gravidarum (persistent nausea and vomiting) in pregnant women, and anticipatory nausea experienced by cancer patients who receive chemotherapy. Hypnotic suggestions have been observed to stimulate and inhibit allergic responses, and may also speed the healing of burns and wounds, but these issues require further carefully controlled study.

Even though the use of hypnosis may be associated with positive therapeutic outcomes, it is not clear that hypnosis itself is responsible for the effects observed. The active ingredient in some treatments labeled "hypnosis" might be mere relaxation, or a kind of placebo effect attributable to the use of a hypnotic ritual. It is well known, for example, that the "relaxation response" meditation technique introduced by Benson can alter blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen consumption, and the levels of certain neurotransmitters. The relaxation response is not the same as hypnosis, but hypnotic techniques may achieve some of their effects by virtue of the high levels of relaxation commonly associated with them. In the case of asthma, however, hypnosis seems to have a specific effect over and above relaxation.

The professional and popular literature contains occasional reports of clinical improvements and even cures of cancer in patients who have been treated with hypnosis or related techniques, such a relaxation and imagery. However, these apparent successes are typically poorly documented, and in the final analysis it is difficult to distinguish such "miracle cures" from spontaneous remissions which sometimes occur in these conditions. The most appropriate use of hypnosis in cancer treatment is as a complement to traditional medical treatments, such as chemotherapy, with the goal of enhancing the patient's quality of life while treatment is in progress.

Can Hypnosis be used in Pain Reduction?

Hypnosis has been employed in the clinic for both medical and psychotherapeutic purposes. By far the most successful and best documented of these has been hypnotic analgesia for the relief of pain. Clinical studies indicate that hypnosis can effectively relieve pain in patients suffering pain from burns, cancer and leukemia (e.g., bone marrow aspirations), childbirth, and dental procedures. In such circumstances, as many as half of an unselected patient population can obtain significant, if not total, pain relief from hypnosis. Hypnosis may be especially useful in cases of chronic pain, where chemical analgesics such as morphine pose risks of tolerance and addiction. Hypnosis has also been used, somewhat heroically perhaps, as the sole analgesic agent in abdominal, breast, cardiac, and genitourinary surgery, and in orthopedic situations, although it seems unlikely that more than about 10% of patients can tolerate major medical procedures with hypnosis alone.

A comparative study of experimental pain found that, among hypnotizable people, hypnotic analgesia was superior to morphine, diazepam, aspirin, acupuncture, and biofeedback. Hypnotic analgesia relieves both sensory pain and suffering. It is not a matter of simple relaxation or self-distraction. It does not appear to be mediated by endorphins or other endogenous opiates. There is a placebo component to all active analgesic agents, and hypnosis is no exception; however, hypnotizable people receive benefits from hypnotic suggestion that outweigh those of plausible placebos.

Does Hypnosis Increase Physical Performance?

From the beginning of the modern era, a great deal of research effort has been devoted to claims that hypnotic suggestions enable individuals to transcend their normal voluntary capacities -- to be stronger, see better, learn faster, and remember more. However, research has largely failed to find evidence that hypnosis can enhance human performance. Many early studies, which seemed to yield positive results for hypnosis, possessed serious methodological flaws such as the failure to collect adequate baseline information. In general, it appears that hypnotic suggestions for increased muscular strength, endurance, sensory acuity, or learning do not exceed what can be accomplished by motivated individuals outside hypnosis.

Can Hypnosis Improve Recall

A special case of performance enhancement has to do with hypnotic suggestions for improvements in memory -- what is known as hypnotic hypermnesia. Hypermnesia suggestions are sometimes employed in forensic situations, with forgetful witnesses and victims, or in therapeutic situations, to help patients remember traumatic personal experiences or the events of early childhood. While field studies have sometimes claimed that hypnosis can powerfully enhance memory, these anecdotal reports have not been duplicated under laboratory conditions.

A 1994 report by the Committee on Techniques for the Enhancement of Human Performance, a unit of the U.S. National Research Council, concluded that gains in recall produced by hypnotic suggestion were rarely dramatic, and were matched by gains observed even when individuals are not hypnotized. In fact, there is some evidence that hypnotic suggestion can interfere with normal hypermnesic processes. To make things worse, any increases obtained in valid recollection are met or exceeded by increases in false recollections. Hypnotized individuals (especially those who are highly hypnotizable) may be especially vulnerable to distortions in memory produced by leadingquestions and other subtle, suggestive influences.

Hypnosis is sometimes used therapeutically to recover forgotten incidents, as for example in cases of child sexual abuse. Although the literature contains a number of dramatic reports of the successful use of this technique, most of these reports are anecdotal in nature and fail to obtain independent corroboration of the memories that emerge. Given what we know about the unreliability of hypnotic hypermnesia, and the risk of increased responsiveness to leading questions and other sources of bias and distortion, such clinical practices are not recommended. Similar considerations obtain in forensic situations. In fact, many legal jurisdictions severely limit the introduction of memories recovered through hypnosis, out of a concern that such evidence might be tainted. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has published a set of guidelines for those who wish to use hypnosis forensically, and similar precautions should be employed in the clinic.

Similar conclusions apply to hypnotic age regression, in which individuals receive suggestions that they are returning to a previous period in their lives (this is also a technique that is used clinically to foster the retrieval of forgotten memories of child abuse). Although age-regressed individuals may experience themselves as children, and may behave in a childlike manner, there is no evidence that they actually lose adult modes of mental functioning, or return to childlike modes of mental functioning. Nor do age-regressed individuals retrieve forgotten memories of childhood.

Does Hypnosis have an Effect on Psychosomatic Disorders?

Hypnotic suggestion can have psychosomatic effects, a matter that should be of some interest to psychophysiologists and psychoneuroimmunologists. A famous case study convincingly documented the positive effects of hypnotic suggestion on an intractable case of congenital ichthyosiform erythroderma, a particularly aggressive skin disorder. Carefully controlled studies have shown that hypnotic suggestions can have a specific effect on the remission of warts. However, the same effects can be achieved by suggestions administered nonhypnotically. The mechanisms by which these "psychosomatic" effects are produced are theoretically interesting, and possibly clinically significant, but it is not yet clear that they have anything to do with hypnosis.

Can Hypnosis be used in Psychotherapy?

Hypnosis has been used in psychotherapy—both in psychodynamic or cognitive-behavioral oriented therapy. In the former case, hypnosis is used to promote relaxation, enhance imagery, and generally loosen the flow of free associations (some psychodynamic theorists consider hypnosis to be a form of adaptive regression or regression in the service of the ego). However, there is little evidence from controlled outcome studies that hypnoanalysis or hypnotherapy are more effective than nonhypnotic forms of the same treatment. By contrast, a 1995 meta-analysis by Kirsch and colleagues showed a significant advantage when hypnosis is used to complement cognitive-behavioral therapy for a number of problems, including anxiety and hypertension. In an era of evidence-based mental health care, it will be increasingly important for practitioners who use hypnosis to document, quantitatively, the clinical benefits of doing so.

Can Hypnosis help with Weight Control?

In the Kirsch study (mentioned above in the Psychotherapy section), the prospects for hypnosis appeared to be especially favorable in the treatment of obesity, where individuals in the hypnosis group continued to lose weight even after formal treatment had ended. In one study, for example, women who received personally tailored hypnotic suggestions for specific food aversions, in the context of a traditional self-monitoring and goal-setting treatment, lost approximately twice as much weight as a comparison group. This comparison group received the behavioral treatment alone (no hypnotic suggestion). However, the actual weight lost by the hypnosis group was only about 14 lb. on average. Given that the patients were approximately 50% overweight at the outset, it is not clear that the treatment actually improved their clinical status. Studies that document the clinical efficacy of hypnosis should pay careful attention to the terms in which outcome is assessed. While hypnosis may seem to offer an advantage over some other treatments, it is not clear that the statistical significance or experimental results translates into meaningful clinical significance or real results for individuals.

Can Hypnosis Help People Stop Smoking?

There have been many attempts to use hypnosis for habit control, however, hypnosis has no coercive power. That is, one cannot be hypnotized against his or her will, and even deeply hypnotized individuals cannot be made, by virtue of hypnotic suggestions, to do things that run against their own or others' interests. You cannot cajole a smoker to the local hypnotist and expect him or her to stop smoking. However, where the patient is appropriately motivated, as in the obesity study described earlier, hypnosis may offer a boost to treatment.

One popular hypnotic treatment for smoking involves a single session in which patients are taught to repeat a simple persuasive message during self-hypnosis. In one large-scale study of this technique, about 50% of patients stopped smoking immediately after treatment; at follow-up one and two years later, however, this figure had dropped to about 25%. Although this study did not include a nonhypnotic control group, this is about the same success rate as achieved with other cognitive-behavioral interventions. However, these other treatments are typically more intensive, so that the single-session hypnotic treatment may have some advantage in terms of efficiency. Interestingly, long-term abstinence was not related to traditional measures of hypnotizability, suggesting that the success of the treatment may have had more to do with the persuasive message than with hypnosis per se.

Caveats for Health Practitioners in the Use Hypnosis with Patients

An important but unresolved issue is the role played by individual differences in the clinical effectiveness of hypnosis. As in the laboratory, so in the clinic: a genuine effect of hypnosis should be correlated with hypnotizability.

It is possible that many clinical benefits of hypnosis are mediated by placebo-like motivational and expectational processes -- that is, with the "ceremony" surrounding hypnosis, rather than hypnosis per se. An analogy is to hypnotic analgesia, which appears to have a placebo component available to insusceptible and hypnotizable individuals alike, and a dissociative component available only to those who are highly hypnotizable. Unfortunately, clinical practitioners are often reluctant to assess hypnotizability in their patients and clients, out of a concern that low scores might reduce motivation for treatment. This danger is probably exaggerated. On the contrary, assessment of hypnotizability by clinicians contemplating the therapeutic use of hypnosis would seem to be no different, in principle, than assessing allergic responses before prescribing an antibiotic. In both cases, the legitimate goal is to determine what treatment is appropriate for what patient.

It should be noted that clinicians sometimes use hypnosis in non-hypnotic ways -- practices which tend to support the hypothesis that whatever effects they achieve through hypnosis are related to its placebo component. There is nothing particularly "hypnotic", for example, about having a patient in a smoking-cessation treatment rehearse therapeutic injunctions not to smoke and other coping strategies while hypnotized. It is likely that more successful use of hypnosis as an adjunct to the cognitive-behavioral treatment of smoking, overweight, and similar habit disorders would be to use hypnotic suggestions in order to control the patient's awareness of cravings for nicotine, sweets, and the like. Given the ability of hypnotic suggestions to control conscious perception and memory, such strategies might well have therapeutic advantage -- but only, of course, for those patients who are hypnotizable enough to respond positively to such suggestions.

A Brief History of Hypnosis

Ancient History

The origins of hypnosis extend back to the ancient temples of Aesculapius, the Greek god of medicine, where advice and reassurance uttered by priests to sleeping patients was interpreted by the patients as the gods speaking to them in their dreams.

Roots in Mesmerism

The more recent history of hypnosis begins with Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815), who theorized that disease was caused by imbalances of a physical force, called animal magnetism, which affects various parts of the body. Mesmer also believed that cures could be achieved by redistributing this magnetic fluid -- a procedure that typically resulted in pseudoepileptic seizures known as "crises". In 1784, a French royal commission chaired by Benjamin Franklin and including Lavoisier and Guillotin among its members concluded that the effects of mesmerism, while genuine in many cases, were achieved by means of imagination and not by any physical force. In the course of their proceedings, the commissioners conducted what may well be the first controlled psychological experiments.
Mesmer's theory was discredited, but his practices lived on. A major transition occurred when one of Mesmer's followers, the Marquis de Puysegur, magnetised Victor Race, a young shepherd on his estate. Instead of undergoing a magnetic crisis, Victor fell into a somnambulistic (sleeplike) state in which he was responsive to instructions, and from which he awoke with an amnesia for what he had done. Later in the 19th century, John Elliotson and James Esdaile, among others, reported the successful use of mesmeric somnambulism as an anesthetic for surgery (although ether and chloroform soon proved to be more reliably effective).
James Braid, another British physician, speculated that somnambulism was caused by the paralysis of nerve centers induced by fixation of the eyes on an object. In order to eliminate the taint of mesmerism, Braid renamed the state "neurhypnotism" (nervous sleep); a term later shortened to hypnosis. Later, he concluded that hypnosis was due to the subject's concentration on a single thought (monoideism) rather than physiological fatigue.

Revival in Europe

Interest in hypnosis was revived in France in the late 1880s by Jean Martin Charcot, a neurologist, who thought that hypnosis and hysteria both reflected a disorder of the central nervous system. In opposition to Charcot's neurological theories, A.A. Liebeault and Hippolyte Bernheim, two other French physicians, emphasized the role of suggestibility in producing hypnotic effects. Pierre Janet and Sigmund Freud also studied with Charcot, and Freud began to develop his psycho-social theories of mental illness after observing the suggestibility of hysterical patients when they were hypnotized.

In the United States

William James and other early psychologists became interested in hypnosis because it seemed to involve changes in conscious awareness. The first systematic experimental work on hypnosis was reported by P.C. Young, in a doctoral dissertation completed at Harvard in 1923, and by Clark Hull in an extensive series of experiments initiated at the University of Wisconsin in the 1920s and continued at Yale into the 1930s. Also at Wisconsin during Hull's time was Milton Erickson, a physician whose provocative clinical and experimental studies stimulated interest in hypnosis among psychotherapists (Hull knew Erickson at Wisconsin, but the immediate source of Hull's interest in hypnosis was Joseph Jastrow, a prominent psychologist, who was Hull's mentor). After World War II, interest in hypnosis rose rapidly. Ernest Hilgard, together with Josephine Hilgard and Andre Weitzenhoffer, founded a laboratory for hypnosis research at Stanford University. Hilgard's status as one of the world's most distinguished psychologists helped establish hypnosis as a legitimate subject of scientific inquiry. Also important in this revival were Martin Orne, Theodore X. Barber, Theodore Sarbin, and Erika Fromm.

Hypnosis FAQ

What is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a natural state of consciousness that we drift in and out of quite regularly. For example, while driving along a highway and then suddenly discovering that you ‘lost’ several miles without being aware of it. This can also happen during reading when you may notice that you have ‘read’ a chapter or two without being mindful of the content.

Hypnosis is basically a technique for focussing consciousness by entering a deep state of absorption. It allows you to shift from your outer to inner awareness and tap deeper levels of consciousness, so that we can re-educate and reprogram the subconscious with empowering suggestions or beliefs.

Will I remain aware during Hypnosis?

Yes! This is the most common misconception about hypnosis. As one goes deeper into hypnosis, a part of you will enter a deeper level of consciousness and part of you will remain aware. This process is called dissociation and is becoming more accepted as a definition of hypnosis. Another quality of hypnosis is the ability to become absorbed which takes you to a deeper level of awareness.

On occasion, particularly if you are quite tired, there may be a brief masking of consciousness as you drift in and out of a light sleep but your inner mind continues to hear the message.

Can Anyone Be Hypnotized?

Hypnosis is a skill that everyone can learn with increased practice. Like other skills such as playing the piano, learning tennis or mastering a foreign language, some persons are ‘naturals’ and can become accomplished with little training while others can increase their abilities with regular practice. Fortunately, most goals in hypnosis can be accomplished in a light or medium state.

How Does Hypnosis Work?

All Hypnosis is essentially self-hypnosis. You can either agree to accept suggestions or you can choose to mentally override them or change them to better suit your needs. As one becomes more relaxed and less critical or analytical, suggestions are more easily received by the subconscious mind.

Why Should I bother to Learn Hypnosis?

Since approximately 80% of most physical and psychological problems are stress related, one of the greatest benefits of the programs will be to teach you how to reduce tension and stress levels in your mind and body. In addition, as suggestions are made directly to the subconscious, you can learn to control most autonomic functions such as a heart beat, blood pressure, healing, the relaxation response and many other processes.

Will I Lose Control During Hypnosis?

On the contrary! As you go deeper into hypnosis, you will have easier access to the subconscious. Since the subconscious controls such functions as pain management, bleeding, blood pressure, healing and the immune system, and much more – you will actually have more control rather than less.

What Is The Difference Between Hypnosis And Trance?

The terms hypnosis, trance and deeper levels of consciousness or awareness are frequently used interchangeably.

How Does Hypnosis Compare to Meditation?

Both hypnosis and meditation involve physical relaxation and a narrowing of consciousness. With hypnosis, it is task or goal-oriented as you are mentally ‘working’ on something such as weight loss. In meditation, consciousness is ‘free-floating’ and it may lead to a greater sense of expanded awareness. Many meditators use hypnosis and one can slip from one state to the other quite easily.

Self –Talk

Change the inner aspects of your mind and you influence the outer aspects of your life.

Become one of life’s winners with the power of positive Self-Talk.
“Think Positive”, is accepted as good advise, but it’s often easier said than done. Our daily life is filled with silent chatter or Self-Talk within ourselves when we are not engaged in a conversation with others or, when we are not concentrating on some activity. What we imagine, desire, expect, either positive or negative is reinforced by our continual Self-Talk. By re-directing our Self-Talk in a positive way, we can overcome our self-doubt that prevents us from reaching our goals. Just as you can have renewed confidence with inspiring words from a friend or motivational speaker, with Self-Talk you can be your own best friend.

Another way to think of daily Self-Talk is that it is a form of waking hypnosis that is constantly programming your subconscious.

Why is Self-Talk so important?

Self-Talk can be a positive force and helpful in achieving goals, or it can be a negative and powerful from of Self-Sabotage. For instance, if recurring themes in one’s Self-Talk are…”I can’t lose weight” …”I always forget names”… “Things never work out for me”, your subconscious mind will find ways to fulfilling the negative suggestions. These Self-talk programs are intended to train you to substitute positive Self-Talk to help you improve yourself and achieve your goals more quickly and easily.

How Does Self-Talk Work?

Self-Talk acts to reinforce what you imagine desire or expect both positive and negative and prepares the different levels of your mind to act accordingly. As you use words, mental picture and feelings to program information into your mind, you develop new attitudes. These attitudes are strengthened through repetition, which leads to new behavior.

Why is imagery so important?

By combining positive Self-Talk with positive mental pictures you utilize much more of the brains total capacity in achieving your goals. For example, imagine watching T.V. with just the sound with no picture. Conversely, what if you had just the picture on and no sound? In both instances, you would be utilizing only a portion of the potential for communication and understanding. The same principle applies in combining Self-Talk with mental movies or imagery.

What kind of images should I create?

There are three techniques you can use.

1. Picture your end goal in detail. Use all of your senses, sight, sound, touch, smell and taste, plus the feeling of joy and satisfaction in achievement of that goal. See yourself in this picture as you would visualize it through your own eyes or as if you where watching a movie of yourself. 

2. Choose an image or symbol that represents the end goal. Such as a new home or financial success and focus on that symbol for the full 30 seconds.

3. Combine both of the techniques above and alternate between the “mental movie” and the fixed symbol. Create new images for each Self-Talk for greater effectiveness.

Friday, March 2, 2012

5 Tips for Overcoming Dental Fear

Some people continuously postpone their dental treatments, mainly because they struggle with fear of the dentist

They cannot stand the white robe of the dentist, the tools and machinery existent in the office, so they prefer not to visit the dentist at all. 

Quite often however, it happens that a simple decay will transform into a very complex oral health problem, and then the patient needs to pay even more money in order to get proper treatment. 
The following are a few useful tips that will help you fight off dentist phobia:

1. Dentist Phobia: At your own pace. 
Make sure to ask the dentist to allow you to arrive for the dental exams whenever it is convenient to you, and to give you a little bit of “comfort zone” time right before starting the treatment. Those few extra minutes will help greatly reducing the fear and the panic you feel when entering the dental office.

2. Dental Phobia: A certain degree of control. 
When your dentist is performing a treatment, and you start to feel somewhat uncomfortable, raise your hand in order for the dentist to stop for a while. Discuss with your dentist, and ask him to agree with this type of signaling. This will certainly help you feel more in control when you are sitting in that dentist chair.

3. Fear of Dentist: Tell your dentist everything. 
If you have gone through a traumatic dental experience in the past, let him know. Dental offices are much better equipped with modern technology and truly efficient pain relievers and your dentist can help.

4. Dental Anxiety: Alternative dental treatments. 
Hypnotherapy and sedation dentistry are two methods through which pain can be controlled extremely efficiently. Talk to your dentist about these options, and see if any of these can be applied in your case. Especially Hypnotherapy helps relieving dental anxiety and panic attacks. 

5. Dental Phobia: Try to relax. 
If your dentist is a friendly professional, talking to him right before the dental treatment starts, could make you extremely comfortable. Then if you believe that music can distract you a little bit, plug in your earphones during the dental treatment and let yourself carried away by the tunes a little.

20 Tips To Reverse Your Trend Of Failure And Succeed Finally

1 Admit that you have failed. Make yourself a commitment to
reverse those failures. Work on it. Start with below 19 tips.

2. Attach yourself with right people.

3. Don’t ignore small tasks. Unfinished /delayed small tasks often
result in big problems.

4. Value time. No one cares your reasons for being late. Especially
your boss.

5. Don’t underestimate yourself. You are important.

6. Do what needs to be done, right now. Procrastination is not just a
problem, it can turn into a disease if you make it a habit.

7. Cultivate the habit of verifying your work. 5 more minutes of 
verification can save your hours of re-work.

8. Don't judge anyone by their first impression. Instead, analyze the

9. Be honest. This tip might have been shared a million times, but
there is a reason for it. It makes you great person.

10. Do smart work rather than hard work. Smart work is not shying away
from hard work, but finding the real reasons why you are working so
hard and automating/simplifying your hard work.

11. Don’t hurry to learn advanced topics. First make your basics strong.
Advanced topics are just extensions of basics. If your foundation is
weak, you might understand/relate things in a wrong way which is
worst than not understanding the things.

12. Try not to push yourself too hard for achieving many things at same
time. Just focus on one goal and put your quality efforts towards it.

13. Make your work environment less distracting. Clean your desk, put
headphone,or put an away status in messenger. Do whatever it takes
to give yourself a productive hour. A focused hour is much better
than a 8 hours of distracted efforts.

14. Don't put hopes on luck, instead have faith in your efforts. Luck is
nothing but known outcome for your hard work.

15. Negative people are more attractive than positive people, because
they speak lots of interesting non-factual things. Best way to deal
with negative people is to stay away from them or make yourself
immune to their thoughts.

16. Always validate your important achievements with your peers. You
might surprisingly receive few valuable tips for improvements.

17. Be consistent in your efforts. Don’t expect results or appreciations

18. Don’t be a busy man. Instead, have proper work life balance. Being 
always busy robs your beautiful years from life.

19. Stop being a consumer always. Instead, try creating something of
your own.

20. Personal development blogs wont change you. They can only inspire
you. What brings the real change is your determined action.


Reduce Your Stress - Learn To Meditate

Learning to meditate is an amazing way to transform your stress and your life! Also, did you know that many of the great success & personal development gurus strongly advocate meditation as a way to help us improve, grow & achieve the life of our dreams?

The reason is, because regular meditation can be completely transformative in terms of your emotional health & well-being and the best way to reduce stress!

Regular meditation helps us to step out of our mind and away from the constant chatter which can often be tiring, negative and even self destructive. Through meditation we are able to connect with our body, and through doing so, experience the wonders of being present, thus helping us to spend more time living in the now.

Meditation also provides a safe place for us to reconnect with our emotions, which are often suppressed. It gives emotions space to come up and for us to develop an awareness of them without having to act on or follow them. This can have huge benefits for us in our normal life. We become more adept at recognising when, for example, we feel anger, and this helps us to realise we have a choice about how we behave or respond as a consequence of experiencing that emotion. We can then verbalise and dilute the emotion by saying to someone "I feel angry!", without having to let that anger take control of us. In this way we do not end up acting out the anger so strongly with possible negative consequences for all parties involved.

Meditation can help us achieve a wonderful sense of calmness and peace. It is one of the best ways to reduce stress. It helps us to become more aware of what is really "going on" in our internal world. So many of us identify so strongly with our emotions that we think our emotions are "us". We say "I am sad" or "I am angry". This can often turn into repeated patterns of negative behaviour which can cause stress, anxiety and sometimes illness. Once we realise that we are so much more than our emotions, we then empower ourselves to be able to choose our response to any given situation. This is not always easy in the beginning, but with practise we can really transform ourselves and gain freedom from destructive and stressful responses which are often the cause of our stress and anxiety.
Meditations which focus on the breath, different parts of the body or sensations which are experienced throughout the body during a session of meditation, can be very strengthening for our immune system. Eckhart Tolle (1997) in his world famous book "The Power Of Now" states that "the more consciousness you bring into the body, the stronger the immune system becomes. It is as if every cell awakens and rejoices. The body loves your attention. It is also a potent form of self healing". Meditation is a wonderful way of giving yourself the opportunity to experience this strengthening and healing of the body and therefore a great way to release stress.

Deepak Chopra (1996), in "The Seven Laws of Spiritual Success", describes meditation as a way of helping us discover who we really are. Here, we connect with "the power of the Self, or real power. When we experience the power of the Self, there is an absence of fear, there is no compulsion to control, and no struggle for approval or external power." In addition, "it draws people to you, and it also draws things that you want to you. It magnetizes people, situations, and circumstances to support your desires".

There are a whole host of other benefits which can be attributed to meditation. These benefits can affect us emotionally, physiologically, spiritually & mentally. All you need is 5 minutes to start off with and those 5 minutes can make all the difference to your stress and anxiety levels and how well you manage your busy schedule!

Four Steps to Making Life Easier on Yourself

How would you like to make life easier on yourself? So often we sabotage our own efforts and projects simply by being too self-critical, or by wanting everything to be perfect. This short article will explore four ways in which you can make life easier on yourself. If you incorporate these four things into your daily life you will find, as I did, that life becomes much easier and less stressful.

* Adopting a positive attitude- Whenever something happens that sabotages our plans, a traffic jam when you are on your way to an important meeting, for example, try to be positive. Instead of worrying about the time try to use it preparing yourself for the meeting. Think of possible answers to the questions you might be asked. At the very least try to look at these unforseen situations as nature giving you some space.

* Self-talk-What do you say when you talk to yourself. When most of us make a mistake, or things don't go as planned the tendency is to start thinking, I've done it again, when will I do things right. This puts us in a frame of mind that anticipates failure and wreaks havoc on our self-concept. If you fail, and most likely you will, tell yourself that it's ok, it is a learning curve. Then get right back to trying again. Go easy on yourself and try giving yourself a boost. Remember that your self-talk influences how you see yourself, if you think of yourself as a failure then you set yourself up for it. Go take a break. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again, as the song says.

* Perfection-you don't have to be perfect. This is a sure fire way of inviting problems into your life. Perfectionists are great procrastinators, they find it hard to finish a job because it doesn't meet with their standards. Sometimes the only way to get things done is to tell yourself that the job is good enough. You have done your best, none of us are perfect. Let it go.

* Gratitude-be grateful for what you have and who you are. Make a promise to write down in your diary three things that you are thankful for every day. See your attitude change and watch as your life becomes easier.
There you are. Four steps to making your life easier. If you start using these strategies on a daily basis it won't be long before you will find yourself less stressed and situations less stressful. You will be making life easier for yourself.

Law of Attraction: Do You Know About The Power Of Flow?

Flow is the quality of ease that can be integrated into a life to give it the look and feel of almost effortless achievement. It's not as elusive as it may seem. We all know people who go through life attracting opportunity after opportunity; or those who have a knack for being at the right place at the right time to connect with the right people.

These people seem unusually lucky; life seems to favor them but in reality they have turned synchronicity and attraction into a habit where most people experience them in random fashion. Our culture has been programmed to link struggle with valor and so the tendency is to unconsciously choose struggle over ease.

This struggle mentality validates the assumptions that life is hard and you have to work hard to get make ends meet or to get ahead. It places the under-achiever in declivity while setting the high performance achiever up for burnout. This struggle mentality is a sickness that is perpetuated by both the unsuccessful and the successful. There is a high price attached to success that is adrenaline-based; there is this unending pressure to go faster, work harder, jump higher, sleep less, and do more. This model of success is very unattractive, very expensive, and is simply a more glamorous form of failure.
The high performance achiever may be relentless at first, but eventually as the burn intensifies, they begin to ask themselves, "Is this all there is?" There is a better way that leads to success that can be achieved and sustained without amputating other important aspects of yourself and your life.
Steven Lane Taylor, author of the book Row, Row, Row Your Boat; A Guide for Living Life in the Divine Flow", suggests that we can intentionally tap into the flow of life's benevolent energy. When we do, we begin to move gently toward our goals instead of racing past them like an Olympic runner being chased by a herd of frightened elephants. The high performance achiever is often the one who is most at risk in becoming trapped in the work harder, faster, longer paradigm.

In Steven's book, he uses the song "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" to provide a simple model for unlocking the mystery of flow.

The Importance of Goals and Goal Setting

Through the use of goals and goal setting we can get to where we want in life. The whole point of goal setting is to bridge the gap between where we are and where we want to be.

If you focus your mind on a certain goal, more than likely you will achieve it. By deciding what you want, and working towards it diligently you can accomplish everything you wish for.

A correct goal gives you all the incentive you need to grow and work towards completing the task in hand. We all have big ideas about where we want to get to in life. Here's a few simple tips on how to construct a good goal and how to stay on track for completing it.

Make It Clear and Stay Committed
The various circumstances of life can easily take you off course unless you are very clear about what you want to achieve. Set clear guidelines about what, why, when and how. By doing this you can ensure you stay committed and focused. Eliminating any outside distractions and moving towards your goal.

Take a piece of plain paper and write what you want to achieve. Then think of all the different ways you could accomplish this goal. Include the different steps you need to take and the time it will take.
Having a written plan is a vital factor in getting to where you want to be. Think of where you are now, and what you need to do to get closer to your goal. What are the first steps you must take? Are there any tasks you need to outsource? What are your strengths?
Focus on what you are good at. In areas of weakness look for guidance or advice from people with more expertise in that area. Don't waste time trying to learn something extremely difficult when it will push your goal further and further away from you.

Have Fun
One of the biggest barriers for not achieving something is having no fun. If you take the fun out of something then it becomes boring, tedious and a drag. Nobody wants to do something regularly that provides no excitement to them and that they don't enjoy. Ensure you have fun whilst working towards you goals. Without it you will quickly become de-motivated and lose focus.
We all have what we need to achieve our goals. Its been within us from day one. Focus your mind and use the simple tips above. Stay committed and ensure you are clear about what you want to accomplish.

Yoga Is a Form of Meditation

There are five different principles to yoga, with meditation being one of them. This is where there is awareness of your mind constantly. In order to perceive one's own self in a clear manner, the mind is made to focus on one particular thing so the mind will become still. If practiced regularly, meditation will let you achieve a better sense of will along with sense of purpose. It will help your mind become clear, drastically improve concentration, while discovering the tranquility and wisdom inside yourself.

What Meditation Means
When you are brought to the present - the here and the now... and kept there, you are in state of meditation. This means meditation can easily be used in your life. Meditation does not mean writing down a grocery list of things you can focus on. You just need to be acutely aware of your being and keep your mind focus and away from random thoughts. When meditating, keep in mind about living in the present or NOW.

  1. For concentration we need to focus on one object or thing: The focus could be how you breath, repeating a word out loud or in your mind, or even a sensation that is being felt inside your body. To live in the present it will involve the senses of listening, smelling, and feeling.
  2. Wandering thoughts should always come back to the object being focused on: The mind will tend to wander around when you are trying to focus on one object. This is normal so do not get discouraged with practice your mind will become quiet. The mind can be stubborn so other thoughts might creep in so instead of fighting the thoughts take a minute and acknowledge them and let them go. There is no for suppressing or trying to hide your thoughts when doing mediation. There will be times when you get distracted it is okay just go back to the original focus.
  3. When doing meditation try ignoring all sensations and thoughts that are irrelevant: You will not be taking to a new place of existence with mediation. If there are people around when you are meditating you will hear them still. The object with Meditation is to stay focused. Focusing will keep you in the NOW.
Meditation and the Benefits
The art of looking deep in your self is called Meditation and means having your mind focus while restraining from other thoughts. With practice you will learn your purpose in life and understand it better while benefiting in your mental health and physically.
As you get better with mediation you will start experiencing better mental and physical health. Some studies claim this is accomplished because of the reduction in biochemical markers and physiological. This means the heart rate will decrease, respiration rate will decrease, the stress hormone plasma cortisol is decreased, pulse rate will decrease, while the EEG for relaxation will increase. Meditation will have you in a deep relaxation state, while our mind is increased for the awareness level. This means your reactions are faster, creativity is greater, and your comprehension is improved.
More benefits:

  • Capacity in the lungs is increased
  • Immune system becomes improved
  • Nervous system is recharged
  • Stress is reduced
  • Memory becomes improved
  • Helps in aiding with asthma treatment
  • The mind becomes open
  • Compassion and patience become amplified
  • Sin, guilt, and temptation you become aware of
  • Faith in your religion becomes increased
Patience, determination, and discipline are all required with meditation. Practice makes perfect so do not think you will have all this the first time you try.