Archive | Stress

How to Stop Mumbling Quickly

There are a number of ways to learn how to stop mumbling quickly and effectively. Usually, the vocal phenomenon known as mumbling occurs whenever your audible sounds known as “voice” are too low in tone and also indistinct. Because of this, most listeners have difficulty making out what is being said on the part of the person who is speaking too low and indistinctly.

If you have a habit of mumbling frequently, chances are high that those trying to listen to you will be unable to do so effectively. However, there are steps that can be taken to end this habit. For one, you can always practice speaking aloud even if no one is there to hear you speak. Additionally, practice reading aloud in a crisp, clear voice. The idea is to inculcate good speech habits.

Those who are just starting out trying to eliminate their mumbling habit should practice thinking about what they’re going to say before they say it. This act of forming sentences in your mind before speaking them is a very effective tool that will create the habit of speaking loudly and clearly in a tone that others will be able to readily understand.

You should also practice vocabulary building. This can be done by taking a dictionary and then looking up words you may have difficulty speaking. Practice pronouncing them several times and then placing those words into a sentence that you will repeat on occasion in order to fix the word firmly in your mind. It never hurts to take a community college speech class, either.

For those with a light mumbling problem, they may wish to consider signing up for a few singing lessons. This may seem strange, but a good vocal coach can help identify hiccups or hesitation in speech patterns and then design speaking and singing exercises that will eliminate the problem over time. There are also several good exercises for speech that are available online. Seek them out.

How to stop mumbling quickly comes down to paying attention to your enunciation and thinking about what you’re going to say before you vocalize it. There really isn’t anything too difficult when it comes to stopping something like mumbling, and for those who have a serious speech impediment it might be advisable to seek out a qualified speech therapist.

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Fear of Break-Ins – How to Cure Fear of Burglaries

Fear of burglaries is one of those fears that is completely justified on the one hand and yet completely irrational on the other hand – at least for most people. The reason it makes sense is that people get robbed every day. The reason it is irrational as a fear is that the odds are against you being a victim of burglary if you take the proper precautions.

Learn to Protect Yourself

One of the greatest ways to overcome fear is through action. Take action and become proactive in making your home, car, and/or person an unattractive target. In the end this will make your fear of burglaries a little more unjustified than other fears you may face. You want to learn how not to be a victim. This is the best defense against burglary and should help erase some of your fears.

Relaxation Techniques

Another great way to ease your fear of burglaries is through relaxation techniques. Get into a habit or create a ritual each night before turning in or every day before you head out on your appointed errands. When you have a ritual in place that you can follow consistently it will help relieve any anxiety you may feel in association with burglary or break-ins.

Know the Numbers

Everything in life is a numbers game. If you arm yourself with the knowledge that the odds are against you becoming a break-in victim it may help calm your fear of burglaries. There is no guarantee that this will be an effective deterrent but it certainly can’t help. In your neighborhood, what are the odds that your home or car will be broken into? You can call the local police station to get the statistics. One thing to remember though is that phobias are not always logical in nature.

Become an Advocate for Defense

Don’t limit your activism to your own home and life. Take it to those who need help. Attend classes, start classes on self defense, begin a neighborhood watch, and hold educational seminars on the latest home security systems. By helping others learn to help themselves you are empowering yourself and everyone who is educated, informed, or helped as a result of your efforts.

Self Hypnosis to Relieve Fear of Burglaries

If, after taking the actions mentioned above you are still struggling with your fear you might want to consider the potential value of hypnosis to relieve stress and open up your mind to a life lived without fear. If your phobia of break ins is impairing your daily life or causing problems with your interactions with others it’s time to try something different for help.

Ending Fear and Moving On

Aren’t you ready to put the debilitating fear behind you and move on to the more important things in life? If you are living in fear of burglaries you aren’t living your life to the fullest -it’s time to make some changes in your life are you ready to do whatever it takes?

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Mental Anguish Is Psychological Suffering

Anguish, is the psychological suffering that is caused by any one of a number of events, which may naturally occur during a person’s life span. These occurrences, can also be brought about by one, or a number of other party’s regular activities, or intentional actions.

The word anguish, when spoken, conjures up thoughts of a distasteful, emotional situation that any one of us might have endured in the past. This situation may have been caused by the loss of a loved one, a business failure, an illness or accident. Any of these occurrences can be considered as a part of everyday life and people should condition themselves to cope with these situations. Mental anguish can also be brought about by poverty, the ravishes of war, imprisonment or loss of self esteem, which are not generally considered to be everyday events, however there are millions of people throughout the world who are suffering from the effects of these calamities.

Individuals suffering from mental anguish are extremely prone to the disabling effects of anxiety, depression and stress, which can also lead to a lifelong dependency on illicit drugs, alcohol or prescription medications.

Anxiety and depression are the two most prevalent mental health disorders identified in America. People of all ages, and those from all walks of life can suffer from depression, which if not successfully treated, can lead to a permanent disability, or in extreme cases, even suicide.

According to the World Health Organization, 121 million people throughout the world suffer from depression, and of those, 75 percent either don’t realize that they are suffering from a mental disorder, or suitable treatment is beyond their means and not available to them. The latter of these can avail themselves of alternative therapies once they become aware of their problem.

Symptoms of depression can be quite obscure, particularly when the condition is brought about by a lengthy term of mental anguish. Poor eating habits and irregular sleep patterns are usually warning signs that anxiety or depression is disturbing a person’s physical and mental performance. By eating regularly, adopting a diet that includes essential vitamins and minerals, performing daily exercise routines, then one’s physical condition will improve and naturally restore sound sleeping habits. This procedure will certainly assist the body to alleviate anxiety or depression and ease the burden of mental anguish.

Use of stimulants such as, alcohol, tea or coffee should be avoided and added supplements of vitamin B complex are beneficial in calming the body’s nervous system. The ancient Chinese art of acupuncture is very highly regarded as a proven alternative therapy for anxiety, depression and stress. People that have access to a competent acupuncturist are well advised to avail themselves of this form of treatment, as well as take any herbal medicines that the practitioner may recommend.

Mental anguish is an unavoidable adversity that is part and parcel of day to day life. When an individual is confronted with the condition he must be mindful of the fact that dwelling on the event may lead to a permanent mental disorder, and as such, would require proper medical attention.

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Ease Panic Attacks Over Money

I received an email last week from Vickie, a 45 year old woman who is on the verge of emotional breakdown over money. Vickie and her 47 year old husband must file for bankruptcy, and she is experiencing frequent panic attacks over their money situation. Married for 14 years with two children, together they own 2 homes, a couple cars, have travelled extensively, and have otherwise lived very comfortable middle-class lifestyles. But over a year ago, her husband, a real estate executive, lost his $300,000 a year job. Now, together they face over $150,000 of credit card debt, plus thousands in past due income taxes, plus mortgages and car notes, and they have no regular income to support any of it. She feels like her whole world is crumbling and she is constantly fighting bouts of gripping panic and stress.

Not Alone

With over 50 million anxiety sufferers and record bankruptcy filings in America, many people find themselves in situations similar to Vickie’s, and can’t see a way out of their circumstance and looking for ways to ease panic attacks over money. As panic sets in it begins to impact everything from willpower to personal relationships and the desire to socialize with others (due to the embarrassment of it all). With so many Americans out of work in what is purported to be the worst recession since the great depression, meeting financial obligations becomes virtually impossible and a feeling of being trapped takes hold.

About Panic Attacks

Panic attacks represent a physiological over-reactive rush of adrenaline in response to a mostly unsubstantiated or overblown fear. In prehistoric times, this adrenaline rush helped humans fight off or run from a real attack from dinosaurs and other predators. Now the dinosaurs are gone, but experts say the feeling of “fight or flight” strikes panic attacks and anxiety sufferers each day. You might say that Vickie’s fear of impending bankruptcy is not overblown or unsubstantiated. In the end, times will be tough for Vickie and her family. But Vickie and her husband still have their health and their marriage, and get this – they both admit their respective roles or lack thereof in getting them into the financial situation in the first place – very important starting point. More importantly, they are beginning to understand that bankruptcy is a form of financial relief and legal protection from creditors – the ultimate source of the unsubstantiated fear. Talk to a lawyer or bankruptcy specialist about the specifics. But ultimately your worst fears about money are most definitely overblown if you are suffering from panic attacks and anxiety over them. You must strategize and gradually lift yourself out of the financial circumstance. And remember, if you must file for bankruptcy, you are not alone. If you check the rolls of past bankruptcy filers you will find names like Donald Trump, Circuit City, Blockbuster Video, and many other company’s and people. Bankruptcy is meant to be a backstop to keep you from panicking and seeing no way out. If Vickie allows her panic and stress to seize her willpower, she will sink into a freefall of fear and discouragement. In the end, she could wind up losing her most important assets – health, family, marriage, faith, etc.

5 Steps To Staying Strong

1. Get in control of spending now. Don’t try to spend your way into stress relief. It never works.

2. Polish Up Your Resume. Know your skills and start marketing them everyday.

3. Create A Financial Plan. Know where you want to be in 1 year, 3 years and so forth.

4. Reward Yourself For Small Accomplishments. If you reach a stated goal or objective reward yourself in ways that celebrate your accomplishment without worsening the circumstance. In other words, don’t go out and spend more than you can afford.

5. Seek Expert Advice with your finances and your panic attacks if they persist or worsen.

Remember that money troubles can be corrected over time with a little knowledge and a realistic view about your resources. Panic attacks and anxiety can lead to far worse problems potentially requiring treatment. Always keep things in perspective and place value on family, friendships, relationships, and other excellent support structures.

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Stuttering and Lazy Tongue Improved With Stress Management Hypnosis Techniques

Symptoms of stuttering and lazy tongue or twisted tongue can greatly be improved with basic stress management technique and hypnosis.

The phrase “lazy tongue,” which I coined, basically speaks for itself. When the affected person attempts to speak, it seems that the tongue is lazy, twisted and simply doesn’t move fast enough to enunciate what is spoken. The result is slurred speech and or stuttering. It often feels as though the twisted tongue is enlarged and because of this feeling it is often easy to bite the tongue or the side of the mouth–rather painful.

Typically stuttering is not necessarily associated with a lazy tongue, but more often simply stuttering is associated with excessive tension in the mouth. Whereas one can begin suffering from lazy tongue at any age, stuttering is often left over from child hood.

The issues surrounding both lazy tongue and stuttering are similar. Stuttering is often associated with a less than healthy self image resulting from a conditioning experience of an embarrassing nature as a youngster, or having an overbearing and critical parent. Lazy tongue, on the other hand, is usually the result of a major stressor such as loss of a marriage, death of a loved one, loss of a job…

With both stuttering and lazy tongue, there is a situation of low self esteem. However, a boost in self esteem (although helpful) usually will not solve either problem without stress management intervention.

For example, Carl was 19 years of age and away at college. Stuttering since elementary school he successfully stopped all stuttering within three weeks of stress management training. He returned home over semester break and promised his father to clean the garage one Saturday.

Carl became distracted and never got around to fulfilling his promise. His dad came home from work later on Saturday, noticed the garage wasn’t cleaned, and called Carl a “stupid shit,” for not cleaning the garage. Carl’s stuttering returned instantly.

This is a case of having an overbearing, over critical parent who in combination with the son’s sensitive nature, contributed to his son’s stuttering which often makes overcoming stuttering a two part program.

1. Using basic stress management skills involving deep rhythmic breathing, and muscle tensing relaxation exercises for the various muscles of the jaw, mouth, and tongue.

The deep breathing into the diaphragm is for composure. The muscle exercises are to stretch the jaw in various directions, stretch the tongue and press it against various locations in the mouth. It also involves tensing the facial muscles. Each time the muscles are tensed, they are tensed to the point of extreme discomfort–almost to the point of fatigue. Then the tension is then released and self mental programming is done as to which feelings are preferred and which are disliked.

2. Self hypnotic affirmations are used to change the perspective so as to build confidence and create building self esteem. Focus is on dealing with the emotions of rejection, disappointment, and frustration. Through hypnosis the individual moves to embrace the emotion and then move beyond it to somehow benefit from the experience.

An enlightened approach to stuttering and lazy tongue involves more than one approach. Whereas many programs only focus on the mechanical, you wonder why the obvious self esteem issues are left out or only dealt with in passing. It’s clearly a mistake to ignore either the stress management or the self esteem issues. Doing the physical exercises and dealing with the mental issues of building self esteem produces real results.

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Sexual Performance Anxiety – The 2 Step Cure

Sexual performance anxiety can be DEADLY for men.

Now of course I don’t mean that sexual performance anxiety will actually kill you…

What I mean is that your sex life will DIE A SLOW AND PAINFUL death if you don’t learn how to tackle sexual performance anxiety.

When you go about having sex with a lot of anxiety all kinds of problems crop up… Like not being able to get “it” up, heavy sweating, premature ejaculation and overall ZERO SATISFACTION FOR HER.

On the other hand…

If you can successfully overcome sexual performance anxiety then anything becomes possible in bed. When you are confident in bed suddenly you’ll find yourself lasting longer because you’re more relaxed. You’ll find you have erections so rock hard it’ll blow your woman’s mind. On top of that, your sexual confidence will be so high that your woman experiences a whole new you and probably ends up having the BEST SEX OF HER LIFE.

The good news is that sexual performance anxiety isn’t a “disease” you catch, a “gene” you’re born with or anything else you can’t change.

Sexual performance anxiety is something you create in your head.

It’s something that happens unconsciously inside of you.

And because you are ultimately the one who creates sexual performance anxiety, this also means you have the power to change it.

So here is my 2 step cure to beating sexual performance anxiety.

1 – Understand What Women Really Think…

One of the top causes of sexual performance anxiety is worrying about what the woman you’re with is thinking.

Typically we, men will worry about how she might be judging us or what she thinks we’re doing wrong.

In fact, the OPPOSITE is true…

Here’s what 95% of women are REALLY thinking.

“What does he think of me?”

It’s so easy to forget that women are people too and they have their own insecurities too.

When we do something wrong in bed, like not last very long, can’t get it up or think we’re not good or “big” enough we’ll typically go into a frenzy of worry…

“What does she think?”, “does she hate me?”, “will she leave me for this?”, etc.

And naturally this gives us performance anxiety.

The reality is that when we do something we think is wrong or bad in bed then OFTEN THE WOMAN WILL BLAME HERSELF.

Say we don’t last very long, the woman might think “what did I do wrong?” or she might think “wow, I must be looking sexy tonight if he came that quickly”.

Or say we’re worried about our penis size, at that same time the woman is probably not even thinking about our penis size and is instead thinking “are my boobs big enough for him?” or “does he think I’m fat?”.

Now, I’m not saying every woman is obsessively paranoid about themselves when it comes to sex. What I’m saying is that in general, we as men spend WAY too much time worrying about what she’s thinking, when in fact she’s probably not even thinking about the same thing at all.

When you realize that she’s probably not even thinking about all the negative stuff you think she is and that she is just as self-conscious as you are, this allows you to relax MASSIVELY.

And of course, when you’re this relaxed, your performance anxiety instantly MELTS AWAY.

2 – Use Visualization

What causes sexual performance anxiety?

Worrying about sex.

And what causes us to worry about sex?

The thoughts going through our head.

This means the simple way to beat sexual performance anxiety is to change the thoughts going through our head.

One of the easiest ways to do this is through VISUALIZATION.

Generally worrying happens when we see pictures of things going wrong in our head.

We see things like our woman criticizing us, us doing something “bad” in bed or we see our woman being disappointed with us.

A dead simple way to get rid of anxiety is to therefore VISUALIZE AND FOCUS ON WHAT YOU WANT AND HOW YOU WANT TO FEEL.

This sounds so simple, but it works.

Spend some time everyday day (5 minutes is fine) visualizing yourself being a new confident you. See how you act confidently in bed. See how you carry your body differently when you are confident. Is your facial expression different? Do you breath differently? More deeply? What do you think about when you’re super confident? What do you say to yourself?

Dedicate 5 minutes a day to this and soon you’ll find yourself acting this new confident way AUTOMATICALLY when you start having sex.

This combined with understanding what women really think will eliminate your sexual performance anxiety in no time.

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Indigestion Cure – Effective and Permanent Natural Treatment

There are many remedies to provide effective cure for indigestion but one has to find out the root cause of the problem to work out permanent treatment to it. Indigestion or dyspepsia is related to stomach and it occurs when digestive enzymes and juices are not secreted properly which slows down the digestive process to cause indigestion. This situation is not only uncomfortable but also causes uneasiness and promotes weakness as person suffering from it for a longer period loose appetite and desire to eat. It also gives rise to other health related issues like acid reflux, heartburn, uncontrolled burps, nausea, flatulence, ulcer, and constipation which can lead to other serious health issues.

Indigestion does not necessarily happen due to digestive issues, sometimes allergy to certain foods also causes severe indigestion, it is good to maintain a food diary to identify such elements which promote indigestion and avoid them. Medicines too can promote indigestion, with the advice of the doctor alternate medicines can be taken to resolve the problem. Some people eat in a hurry, in this they do not chew the food properly and digestive organs require more time to digest the food which gradually can promote indigestion, irregular eating patterns also casts similar effects on the digestive system, such habits shall be avoided to prevent episodes of indigestion.

There are many types of herbal remedies for indigestion and they are very effective too. The concoction made by mixing honey, ginger and lemon in a glass of lukewarm water and consumed once in a day can treat the problem very effectively. Another very effective remedy for improving digestion is consuming herbal tea instead of traditional tea, raspberry, blackberry, mint and chamomile are mixed together and boiled with water to be consumed as tea after straining the mixture. This tea soothes digestive system and improves its functioning to avoid indigestion.

Using ginger in cooking or in raw form in salad helps in digesting the food and regular use of it can keep the problem of indigestion at bay permanently, along with this, chewing 5-10 gm of ginger 3-4 hours before meals also treats the problem of indigestion effectively. Eating a diet that contains different types of foods also promote indigestion as a slow metabolism cannot effectively digest such a diet before the next meal. Drinking a glass full of buttermilk after such a diet can cure the problem or regularly consuming buttermilk can keep the digestion healthy and fit.

Avoiding too much sugar intake, alcohol consumption, tea and coffee helps the body in maintaining proper digestion. Increase fruits in the diet fruits like banana, papaya, figs, use of castor oil in cooking, avoiding spicy and fried food or food low in fiber, high protein diet also help in curing indigestion. Sufficient physical activity is a must for a good health and also for good digestion, walking or jogging can contribute in permanently keeping indigestion away along with the remedies to cure it. Lack of sleep, too much stress, sleeping immediately after meals or lack of water consumption can also promote indigestion.

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Stress Management Action Plan – The Four Things You Can Learn in Order to Control Your Stress

Some years ago I was faced with some very challenging financial situations. The extent of my challenge was such that I was incapacitated with stress. For those of you in this state you will know what I mean. I had the constant tightening of the stomach that very frequently turned to churning in response to many simple events that occurred in my day to day life. This was exasperated by my inability to breathe properly which in turn made me feel worse and resulted in me experiencing hot sweats.

Sleeping became a literal nightmare. What little sleep I did managed to get was laden with dreams brought on by the feeling of impending doom. Of course, little and disturbed sleep causes tiredness during the day and resulted in my under performing in any thing I tried to do. Sometimes I was so low I thought it is all not worth the effort. As things got worse, and compounded, I began to physically shake at times and my body felt like it had become weighted down.

At this point things got even worse when my relationship with my girlfriend was badly affected by all the stress and we agreed to part. I took on all the debts and I began to think everything was really too much. I thought I was in so deep that I would never be able to get out of it both financially and emotionally.

Then I had a lucky break. Someone introduced me to the world of self improvement. Before all of this I always deemed myself as more of a positive thinker than a negative one, so I took to the self improvement ideas pretty quickly. I sought out different materials on the subjects and read in the order that I felt would be most beneficial to me. Below are the four major things I needed to learn to overcome my stress and start getting things done.

The first thing I had to learn was to live life in day tight compartments. In short, the only thing that matters at any point in time is NOW. There is no point worrying about what has happened in the past. It is gone and there is nothing you can do about it. There is no point in worrying about the future, it is not here yet and I realised that 80% of the things in the future we worry about never comes to pass. So the lesson to learn is live life now and cut out the worrying about the past and the future.

The second thing I learned was to look at the worst possible situation. My worst possible situation was that I go bankrupt. I used to look at this as being a terrible thing but I realised that even if I did go bankrupt I would still survive, eat, drink and have a roof over my head in one way or another. I would still have my mind which can be used to create things in the future. So it was important for me to realise that the worst possible situation was not that bad really.

The third thing I learned was that I had to gain control of my own thinking. I realised that I was constantly talking to myself in a negative fashion and I needed to get a grip on my thinking in order to improve my situation. I realised that my negative thinking was giving me instructions to fail and it was my responsibility to change this. I started to monitor exactly what I was thinking and when I caught myself thinking negatively I was pre prepared to substitute this thinking with positive thoughts. I learned that the thoughts that I gave out actually seemed to attract corresponding situations. By thinking positively it seemed to automatically attract positive things into my life.

The fourth thing I learned was that I had to work out a step by step plan to get to where I wanted to be. This requires identifying a challenging goal and putting in place each step that is required to achieve that goal. By doing this you are constantly putting your efforts in the right place at all times. The most important thing here is to set a meaningful goal that is set in stone, whilst always remembering that plans never go according to plan. Therefore, you must be constantly monitoring your plan.

The above four realisations have meant that I was able to turn around my situation very quickly. I was very receptive to learning as my situation at the time felt terrible and I was sick and tired of being in my position. So it was imperative to become receptive to new ideas and knowledge as this will affect the pace at which you learn. Within days I was able to completely remove the stomach churning, the hot sweats, the restless sleep and the tiredness by applying the points made above. After training my mind to think correctly, I was able to sit down calmly and apply my energies to a step by step plan in a direction I believed would gradually pull myself out of my challenging situations.

I know it works from experience. I have been there and conquered it. I know that anyone who really wants to achieve anything must apply the principles outlined above. So if you want to get out of the rut you will have to become receptive to learning, start to control your mind in terms of worry, and of your thinking, and put in place a plan of action designed to get you where you want to be. Most importantly, I know you can do it if you want to.

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Imagery and Visualisation in Hypnotherapy

The use of imagery in psychotherapy has a long tradition. Freud placed great emphasis on the ‘dream content’ and mental imagery of his analysands. For Freud, what seemed most important was to bring ‘a state of evenly suspended attention’ to the analysand’s free-associations of words, images and feelings, avoiding ‘as far as possible, reflection and the construction of conscious expectations,’ trying not to ‘fix’ the things he heard but instead ‘catching the drift of the patient’s unconscious with his own’ (Freud 1923:239).

In other words, and at least in the early stages of his career, Freud believed that the role of the therapist was to enter into a free-floating reflective state alongside the client and allow some kind of meaning to emerge.

Hypnotherapy has long made use of mental imagery to enable people to achieve a cognitive restructuring of their inner experience. The prevalence of the use of imagery in hypnotherapy might be because it seems to become easier for us to follow guided visualisation processes or become more aware of our spontaneous mental imagery when we close our eyes or begin to relax.

Sensory deprivation or distortion

The changes in the way that we experience ourselves proprioceptively in space that are commonly associated with hypnotic phenomena, seem to make it easier for us to shift our attention inward and practise visualisation techniques or become more aware of our own mental imagery.

In neuroscientific terms, studies seem to point to decreased activity in the parietal lobes and a deafferentation of the posterior superior parietal lobule (PSPL). The functional deafferentation suggests a decrease in the arrival of distracting stimuli to the striate cortex and PSPL, enhancing a sense of focus and producing an altered perception of self-experience. This PSPL deafferentation is supported by three neuroimaging studies of subjects engaged in meditation (Newberg and Iverson, 2003) but is not without controversy.

Guided imagery or visualisation

Guided imagery or visualisation might involve asking someone to imagine themselves in a number of situations or contexts, feeling calm, confident, relaxed and having already mastered a particular task that previously challenged them. It might involve them visualising themselves in a situation, whilst ‘borrowing’ resources from a role model (real or fictional) who does this task with total confidence, and then doing the task themselves.

Hypnotherapeutic techniques for physical healing make use of other applications of guided imagery: for example, imagining an affected area and then changing its colour or shape or sensation or using visual metaphors that represent the body healing itself. There are a number of studies looking at the use of guided imagery in physical healing such as: Roffe et al (2005), which suggests that guided imagery may be ‘psycho-supportive’ and may ‘increase comfort’ and recommends further research.

One area of research into hypnotherapy using guided imagery is in the treatment of IBS. A systematic review by Wilson et al (2006) found that out of the 20 studies (18 trials of which four were randomized, two controlled and 12 uncontrolled) and two case series evaluated, over half of the trials (10 of 18) indicated a significant benefit.

Imagery used in research studies includes ‘gut-directed’ scripts such as those developed by Whorwell at the Wythenshawe Hospital, including imagining the digestive system as a river and adjusting the river’s flow.

It is interesting to note that guided imagery can be more or less guided, according to the style and approach of a particular therapist. For example, in the gut-directed work cited above, it might be more appropriate to suggest that a client connects with her own experience of her digestive system – its look and feel and colour or any images or metaphors that come into her mind – and work with these. Other clients may benefit from more specific suggestions: ‘Imagine your digestive system as a river…’ I would suggest that this is an area for further research.

Ability to visualise

One of the common issues encountered in hypnotherapy around the use of mental imagery is the client’s ability to visualise. Some people will tell you that they find it very difficult to ‘picture’ things in their minds.

Visual mental imagery, or ‘seeing with the mind’s eye’, has been the subject of considerable controversy in cognitive science. Scientists do not yet fully understand whether images are fundamentally different from verbal thoughts, whether they share underlying mechanisms with visual perception or how the information contained in images is represented.

What might be helpful in enabling clients to work with mental imagery is to help them to think of imagery in terms of imagination – the ability to form mental images, sensations, sounds and concepts. In this way, mental imagery becomes more than ‘pictures in the mind’ and encompasses the entire spectrum of our experiencing. (The literature on synesthesia may form useful clues in the future to understanding the rich and multi-modal ways that we process and structure our inner worlds.)

One of the assumptions made by NLP, despite a current lack of evidence, is that people structure their experience primarily according to visual, kinaesthetic, auditory (or digital) processes and that a therapist can deduce this sensory preference through subtle ‘eye accessing cues.’ Given the lack of evidence, it my be preferable to use language that enables someone to make use of the entire spectrum of sensory experience in their mental imaginings.

Further benefits

In addition to the kinds of cognitive restructurings that can be achieved through the specific content of guided visualisation (the specific tasks and contexts visualised), it seems that the process itself of repeated visualisation brings further underlying benefits.

As we continue to learn to connect with the inner world of our mental imagery or imagination, we tend to gain an increased sense of ourselves (what the traditional hypnotherapy literature might describe as ‘ego-strengthening’).

In the 1970s, the psychologist Jerome L. Singer, conducted an analysis of the use of mental imagery techniques in psychotherapy (1974) and concluded that clients who practice visualisation techniques develop an underlying sense of confidence and self-control which seems to correlate with their increasing sense of mastery over their own mental imagery (Singer, 1974: 132).

It’s interesting to note Singer’s use of ‘affect,’ suggesting that mental imagery is as much about working with and mastering our bodily affects and emotions as it is about ‘picturing’ things.

The process of consistent and repeated visualisation or mental imagining seems very similar, in this sense, to Jung’s key therapeutic practice of ‘active imagination.’ Jung saw his technique as a way of granting the psyche freedom and time to express itself spontaneously, without the habitual interference of ‘ego’ (or of social and cultural constructs and expectations). Jung also called this process ‘the art of letting things happen.’

According to Jung, the client makes himself more and more creatively independent through the method of active imagination. No longer dependent on his dreams or his therapist’s knowledge, he gives shape to himself in a new sense, by actively imagining himself (Collected Works of C. Jung. XVI, para. 106).

References:

Newberg A.B., Iversen J.,(2003), The neural basis of the complex mental task of meditation: neurotransmitter and neurochemical considerations, Med Hypotheses, 61: 2, p 282-291.

Roffe et al. (2005) ‘A systematic review of guided imagery as an adjuvant cancer therapy.’ Psycho-Oncology Volume 14, Issue 8, pages 607-617, August 2005 which

Singer (1974) Imagery & Daydream Methods in Psychotherapy & Behaviour Modification. New York.

Wilson S, Maddison T., Roberts L, Greenfield S., Singh S. 2006. ‘Systematic review: the effectiveness of hypnotherapy in the management of irritable bowel syndrome.’Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics.Volume 24, Issue 5, pages 769-780, September.

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The Room of 1000 Demons – Lessons From a Tibetan Monk on Controlling Anxiety and Fear

In Tibetan monasteries every five years the ‘Room of 1000 Demons’ is made available to the monks in training. In order to gain enlightenment (nirvana), all they have to do is to walk into the room and out the other side. However, once in the room, the entrance door cannot be opened from the inside and they have to walk across the room and leave it by the exit door.

The problem is that inside the room are 1000 demons, each of whom know what your worse fear is. For example, if you hate spiders, once in the room you’ll find yourself among 1000 of the worst kind of spiders imaginable.

Once this is explained to them, most of the monks decide not to go through this process. They are bid farewell by the elders and advised to go back to the monastery to study some more and in another five years they will have the opportunity to go through the room.

To the monks who are left, and admittedly it is a small number, the elders congratulate them for their courage and are taken to one side. The chief monk advises them as follows:

“You know that to achieve everything you have studied and meditated for you must go through the Room of 1000 Demons. You have been told why the room is so called. I congratulate you for your courage and suggest that you keep two things in mind once the door closes behind you in the room:

(1) None of the demons are real,

and,

(2) Keep moving your feet.”

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