How to Avoid the Fog of Overwhelm Part II

Overwhelm

In my last post, Avoiding the Fog of Overwhelm Part I, I discussed the state of overwhelm, what it is, how it happens and how it affects us.

To recap briefly, overwhelm happens when there is too much information (message units) coming into our conscious awareness. Our minds only have a certain capacity, like a cup that you can only pour so much water into. When are minds are filled to capacity, and stuff keeps pouring in, we lose the ability to cope.

At this point, our ancient survival mechanism, that good old fight or flight, gets triggered. When that happens we become what is known as “hypersuggestible” which means that we are susceptible to whatever is coming into our minds. We are actually in a state of hypnosis, but the suggestions we are giving ourselves are not positive, like the positive suggestions you get in a hypnotherapy session.

Usually, when we are overwhelmed, there is an accompanying state of stress; the conversations we are having in our heads are usually negative conversations. So, when we are overwhelmed, we can literally be programming ourselves for negativity and fear and we end up with a reinforcing cycle of overwhelm.

Each persons’ response to the state of overwhelm varies, ranging from a complete shutdown where someone might just slump into a chair and begin to cry, to irritability or anxiety, or to a feeling of being disoriented or “spaced out”, which I call the fog of overwhelm.

The end result is the same: we become ineffective in dealing with the challenges of life. We may lose the ability to be focused and on task, turn to avoidance or procrastination, or begin to feel anxious or depressed.

It’s important to note that for many of us, the modern American lifestyle lends itself to consistent feelings of being overwhelmed.

So what can we do to avoid the fog of overwhelm? Most of the things we can do involve basic self care.

  1. Get adequate sleep and take naps if you need to. Remember how your mind is like a cup? Every day it gets filled up with tension, pressure and the stress of living. Sleep is the time for your mind to empty the cup. Strive for a healthy sleep schedule and avoid stimulants such as caffeine, electronic devices, and working out just before bed.
  2. Don’t skip meals. Some people are prone to anxiety and overwhelm due to low blood sugar. Blood sugar, or blood glucose, is the main fuel for your body. Your brain uses more glucose than any other organ in your body. Do you ever get that feeling of lethargy or lack of focus in the late afternoon? Take a break and eat something with protein.
  3. Take breaks. Taking regular breaks throughout the day allows your mind to process incoming information more effectively. Breaks are scientifically proven to boost productivity and focus. Consider working in hour or 90 minute spurts, then taking a short five or ten minute break. This includes taking regular vacations and days off.
  4. Exercise. I know, you’re tired of hearing it, but exercise allows our body and minds to release tension and stress. If nothing else, get up and walk around.
  5. Meditation, yoga and other mindfulness practices. Powerful ways to feel more calm and more focused more often.
  6. Focus on one thing at a time. Multitasking can create overwhelm. Your focus is sharpest when it’s narrow and concentrated. One thing at a time: first this, then that.
  7.  Keep your vices in check. Alcohol and marijuana are hypnosis inducing drugs, not only when you are under the influence, but the next day as well. Check in with yourself to see if you need to make some changes in these habits.
  8. Count yourself out of hypnosis/overwhelm. When you find yourself overwhelmed, and starting to stress out, count yourself out of that negative state. Say out loud to yourself, if you can, “12345 Eyes open wide awake!” Clap or rub your hands together to get back into your body and out of your head.  This really works.

Take some time to go down this list and see what you can tweak and make better. You’ll find that you’re happier, more focused and productive, and a lot nicer to be around.

Having trouble sleeping? Challenged by anxiety? Need motivation to exercise? Click here to contact me for a free 30 minute consultation. 

Photo by Sb2s3

Avoiding the Fog Of Overwhelm Part I

fog of overwhelm

An example of overwhelm: driving in the worst fog I’ve ever encountered, many years ago. I couldn’t see anything except the two red brake lights of the car ahead of me. I couldn’t see the lines of the road, and I dared not pull over to the side of the road for fear of being hit by another car. All I could do was keep my hands on the wheel, pray that the car in front of me knew where he was going, and hope that I would be able to see the sign for my exit.

I had no point of reference. I was overwhelmed by the fog and unable to do anything but hurtle through the mist, wishing for some clarity.

It reminds me of the time I was at IKEA, the furniture store, for the first time. They had the coolest stuff I’d ever seen. I wanted to see everything but apparently so did everyone else because the place was packed with people. However, after 2 hours, all I wanted to do was get the hell out of there. I literally wanted to run for the door, shove aside anyone in my way, and go find something to eat. I was getting more and more irritated by the minute and I felt like I wanted to scream, but I also felt like I was going to shut down at any minute. Ever felt like that?

I was overwhelmed. If you’ve ever felt this way, then you have experienced the fog of overwhelm.

Are you saving enough for retirement? Are the tires on your car in good shape? Have you called your mother yet? Are you ready for that event? What about taxes? Have you returned that phone call? When are you going to clean your house, fix the faucet, call the insurance guy, talk to your boss, pay that overdue bill, and schedule a physical? What are you going to fix for dinner tonight if you ever make it off this damn freeway?

This is the overwhelm of modern life.

From the time we wake up, to the time we manage to lay our heads down, we must think, remember, plan, manage time, deal with people, get lots of stuff done and hopefully, eat three meals and try to breathe.

There’s a potential cost to this: we spend our lives in a haze, irritable that we can’t see our way out, lost in a fog, stuck on a track with no scenery, with little choice to pull off because we’re too tired, too confused or too uncertain.

Here’s why: your mind has a certain capacity; like a cup, it will only hold so much. Continue to fill it past it’s capacity and you’ll have a big mess.

From the time we wake up, our minds start getting filled up. Our minds are designed to handle many incoming messages. Let’s call each bit of incoming information a ” message unit.” Your mind also has a filter (critical mind) that is designed to disregard things that don’t matter.

What determines how many message units our minds can handle? Many things: how much sleep you get, what you eat, your health, your level of organization, your level of confidence, your past, your genetics, to name a few.

Let’s say you went to bed too late, and woke up late for work. Now you are rushing around, no time to eat breakfast. You’re running late, and traffic is terrible. You try to text your boss but you almost hit the car in front of you. You arrive at work and there’s an important meeting that you are supposed to be in. You need a cup of coffee but there’s no time to get one. You end up working through lunch and now you are starving, tired, and headache cranky. That’s a lot of messages units coming into your mind.

What happens when you are in overwhelm? 

Your mind cannot take in more information because you are incapable of dealing with the onslaught of message units. You are experiencing the fog of overwhelm.

At this point, your critical mind, the part of your mind that is designed to deal with incoming message units,  is failing. You no longer have the ability to critically deal with what’s coming at you. You are now running around like the proverbial chicken without a head. Message units are flowing into your mind unchecked, like a dam that has burst. Guess what happens next?

Your flight or fight response, that ancient survival mechanism designed to prepare you to run or fight, kicks in. Congratulations, you are now in hypnosis. 

The technical definition of hypnosis is: an overload of message units, disorganizing the critical mind, triggering the fight/flight response, creating a state of hyper-suggestibility, creating access to the subconscious mind.

However, this is not the good kind of hypnosis where a nice gentlemen like myself is speaking to you gently using positively wonderful suggestions while you recline in a comfy happy chair.

Nope. This is the bad kind of hypnosis where you can’t think straight, can’t see straight, can’t make a decision to save your life, and you are giving yourself positively dreadful suggestions like “I can’t stand this, how did I get here, I want to kill someone, I’m so tired, I’m so angry and irritable, I hate this, and all I want to do is run screaming out of here before I punch someone out.” (Did I mention that in this state you’re hyper-suggestible which means super open to suggestions?)

It’s quite difficult to be effective in the fog of overwhelm because there is no clarity and you are like a zombie. Difficult to make the right decisions, difficult  to keep your cool when someone gets snarky with you, because you are now reactive rather than pro-active. But it’s easy to forget stuff, let things slip through the cracks, and easy to allow negativity or anxiety to overtake you.

Think about how many people are in this state on a daily basis. 

So what can we do? How do we handle the fog of overwhelm when we are so turned around we’ve lost our bearings and there are no signposts available? I’ll talk about this in my next post “The Fog of Overwhelm Part II.” Stay tuned. 

p.s. Check out my podcast Ted In Your Head Episode 21 “Are You a Zombie?”

 

 

l

Social Anxiety: How to Feel Comfortable Socially

Social anxiety

The first time I went to a business mixer, I was so nervous about meeting other people, that after getting a drink, I went and stood in a corner next to another guy who also seemed to have the same problem. That’s where I stayed the whole night.

Have you ever walked into a social situation with fear or dread about what you will say or do in front of other people? If so you have experienced social anxiety. 

Social anxiety is a feeling of discomfort or fear in social situations where a person is concerned about being judged or evaluated. There’s usually an intense fear of what others are thinking about them.

Social anxiety is typically a part of childhood development, and most kids grow out of it. If they don’t, however, it can turn into chronic social anxiety in the teenage years or even into adulthood.

Of course, we want to be sensitive to social norms, and we expect to be judged to some extent on how we are dressed, how are act, what we say and how we interact with others. This is a normal part of the social process. If this fear of the expectation of others becomes too severe it can affect a person’s quality of life.

Social anxiety that is chronic and disabling is called social anxiety disorder. This is social anxiety that interferes with a person’s daily activities. According to Harold Leitenberg in the  (1990) “Handbook of Social and Evaluation Anxiety”, roughly 40 million American adults 18 years or over have an anxiety disorder.

People that suffer from social anxiety usually feel all the symptoms of anxiety including:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Sweaty palms
  • Trembling
  • Dry mouth

There is the tendency to have negative and unrealistic thinking:

  • I’m such a loser.
  • Everybody is looking at me.
  • Everybody knows that I’m nervous
  • I don’t belong here.

This leads to unproductive behaviors such as:

  • Arriving then leaving quickly
  • Using alcohol or drugs to cope with social situations
  • Excessive grooming so that they look “perfect”
  • Spending too much  time on phones or devices or hiding in a corner to avoid contact.

Almost everyone can benefit from healthy social interaction. Avoidance because of social anxiety not only leaves one alone and isolated, but can affect self esteem and result in lost opportunities for meaningful personal and business relationships.

You can learn to be comfortable in social situations and release social anxiety. It takes practice.

Here are some tips for dealing with social anxiety.

  • Become aware of when your social anxiety gets triggered. Is it at the supermarket? Parties? Meetings? Get clear about when your feel the most uncomfortable. You can then be better prepared for those situations.
  • Take someone with you. When I got back from the mixer that I told you about, my wife asked me how many people I met. I said “None”. She went with me to the next mixer and introduced me around. It really helped. Find someone that is more outgoing than you are, and have them help you meet people and show you how it’s done.
  • Ask questions. If you are concerned about what to day in a social situation,get good at asking questions. Everyone likes to talk about themselves. Ask questions such as: What do you do? Where are you from? What made you come here today? Get people talking and you won’t have to fumble for things to say.
  • Create a script. Have a script of things you want to say or talk about. Don’t wing it, be prepared with questions you can ask or topics you can talk about.
  • Make sure you eat. Social anxiety can be triggered by being hungry. If you are going to put yourself into a situation where there might be some social anxiety, make sure you eat something before you go.
  • Practice. Find someone you trust and practice making conversation comfortably. Or join  clubs or take classes where you will become “desensitized” to social anxiety through exposure to situations where you will be meeting new people.
  • Mental rehearsal. Before you go into a social situation, imagine yourself feeling calm, relaxed and comfortable. Take some time to relax your body. See yourself having interesting conversations, smiling and having fun.
  • Be realistic in your thinking. Are people really judging you? Is everybody really looking at you? How do you now the other people are better or smarter than you? Examine and try to replace thoughts that don’t serve you with positive affirmations such as “I can do this!”

As a hypnotherapist, I help people deal with social anxiety. I offer a complementary 30 minute phone consultation. If you are ready to release social anxiety, don’t wait any longer. You can contact me by clicking here.

Ted

Photo by Durdana shoshe

Are You a Single Professional Woman with Money Anxiety?

money anxiety

According to a recent survey by a multinational financial services company, 49% of woman that responded, including high income earners, have money anxiety. They fear becoming broke and homeless.

A professional woman that becomes suddenly single due to death, divorce, or separation can find herself overwhelmed with fear and money anxiety. It can be difficult to focus on financial security because of the demands of work and family.

Being overwhelmed by money anxiety can can lead to three major mistakes with serious consequences:

  • Inability  to address money concerns because of fear and avoidence.
  • Loss of confidence in the ability to create abundance
  • Failing to plan for the future.

Release Money Anxiety!

On February 21st, I’ll be presenting a workshop designed for the single professional  woman on her own on how to release money anxiety and create a “money mindset.”

This event, called “Attracting Abundance: Creating a Money Mindset for Single Professional Women” will be held  at the Fuller Seminary Guest and Conference Center located in Pasadena from 9 am to 12:30 pm. The cost will be $77 dollars to attend. Click here to register.

Participants will discover how to create a “money mindset”; a confident feeling of belief and power that allows you to attract opportunity, wealth and prosperity. With the help of powerful exercises and techniques, you can develop the thinking and actions you need to take control of your financial future and release fear and money anxiety.

In this workshop you will also discover:

  • What money really is and what attracts it and repulses it.
  • How to identify thought patterns, beliefs and habits that are keeping you in stuck in scarcity and how release them.
  • How to release money anxiety.
  • How to quickly develop the habits and beliefs that create prosperity consciousness.
  • How to avoid the most common mistakes people make with money
  • How to become “magnetic” to money and what to do with it.

Click here for more information and to register!

This event is designed for the single professional  woman on her own who desires to release fear and anxiety about money anxiety as well as worry, fear, and negativity about money.

If you are a single professional women dealing with money anxiety, you it to yourself to check out this event. It’s only $77! Click here for more information. Click here to learn more.

Hope to see you there,

Ted

Questions? Contact me by clicking here.

Fear of Public Speaking: Worse than Death?

Fear of public speaking is a fear worse than death

I’ll help you get out of that speech…

 

It’s been said that fear of public speaking is a fear worse than death for some people.

I’m not sure how many people have the fear of public speaking so bad that they would rather die, but many people do consider speaking in front of a group on par with a root canal on the list of their favorite activities.

Nobody is born a good public speaker. As with all fears, fear of public speaking is learned, and what is learned can be unlearned. When someone says “I have a fear of public speaking because I’m not a good speaker” all they are really saying is “I haven’t developed the skills to be an effective speaker.” Becoming comfortable in front of a group is a skill you can learn.

You may someday be called upon to speak to a group, maybe at a wedding or funeral. In today’s business environment, you will almost certainly be required to give reports or presentations to colleagues or clients. If so, consider learning to speak in public as necessary part of your personal and professional development.

If you are someone who gets the fight or flight response (sweaty palms, rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing, inability to think clearly) when asked to speak to a group, the good news is that you can learn to overcome the fear response and speak comfortably. It doesn’t  have to be  stressful. Many people who once suffered from fear of  public speaking  have gone on to become very good speakers.  Here are some other things to remember:

  •  You don’t have to be a master orator in order to be effective. You just need to be yourself. Don’t try to be or think of yourself as a “public speaker”.
  • The audience is on your side, wanting you to succeed.
  • The chances of you loudly passing gas, fainting, throwing up, totally forgetting what you were going to say or  the audience throwing stuff at you rarely happens and if it does, you can probably make a joke out of it.
  • You don’t need to memorize a lot of information or even impart a lot of information. That’s what notes and handouts  are for.
  • It’s ok to feel a little nervous, that’s natural.

Of course, there are different levels of fear of public speaking. On one end of the spectrum, you might be challenged by social anxiety disorder to the point where even talking to someone one on one is a problem. On the other end, you may feel  fear or nervousness that makes the prospect of public speaking just another stressful thing  in  your life. Either way, if you want some help, click here to contact me.

Tips for dealing with fear of public speaking

  •  Practice but don’t over- prepare. Have an outline for what you are going to say. Put your notes on 3×5 index cards that are numbered in order. Practice saying the words out loud. Practice in front of someone you trust that can give you some feedback is one of the best ways to deal with fear of public speaking. Record yourself to see what vocal tics you might want to work with. Practice in front of a mirror.
  • Don’t be boring. The worst sin you can commit as a speaker is making people wish they were somewhere else. Although there are many situations where one may need to speak, try to craft your message to your audience so that what you tell them has some impact on them.
  • Humor is good. People want to laugh, and when they do, you’ll  feel a lot more comfortable. Just use common sense to avoid offending your audience.
  • Humility is good. Don’t try to come across as an expert if you aren’t. Even if you are, remember, people don’t care how much you know unless they know how much you care.
  • Make sure you eat something. Diet and your level of anxiety are intimately related. Don’t go in front of a group on an empty stomach or over-caffeinated.
  • Monitor the conversation in your head so that it supports you. It doesn’t help to say things like “I just know I’m going to screw this up.” or “I have so much fear of public speaking!”. Be realistic in your expectations and show this in your language to yourself. “I can do this, it’s only ten minutes.”  or “This is a great opportunity to show my stuff.”
  • Do a little mental preparation before you speak. Psyche yourself up, see yourself doing great, give yourself some positive suggestions.
  • Use EFT to release anxiety.

I help people  let go of the anxiety and  fear of public speaking that keeps them from getting ahead. If you want to excel as a public speaker, there’s a lot of instructional material out there including books, DVDs and audio programs.   Toastmasters is the most well known and respected venue for people to hone their skills, and I highly recommend that you check out your local chapter. Check out Barbara Rocha’s programs as well. If you have a fear of public speaking, you CAN learn to be comfortable whenever you’re called upon to “show your stuff.”

Ted

If you want to hear a podcast of this blog with a funny story, go to tedmoreno.com/podcast, episode 32.

Click Here For a Free Guide to Relieve Anxiety

 

How to Ease Anxiety About Dental or Doctor Visits

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Want to learn how to ease anxiety about dental and doctor visits? Watch this video.

I was recently asked by Dr. Jack Von Bulow of Temple City Dental Care to give a presentation on how to ease anxiety about dental and doctor visits.

We all know that to maintain our dental and physical health, we need to pay regular visits to the dentist or doctor.

However, many people are prevented from getting the care they need because of the fear and anxiety they have about going to the dentist or the doctor or even thinking about a doctor or dental visit.

In this video recording of my presentation on July 30th, I discussed five simple things that you can do to ease anxiety about dental or doctor visits.

Download handouts on how to ease anxiety about dental and doctor visits.

 

Handouts were available at the event,  including “5 Things You Can Do to Be More Comfortable, Calm and Relaxed When Visiting Your Doctor or Dentist” and Dr. Jack has generously provided them for download on his website.

You can get them by clicking here.

If you do even one of the five things I’ve suggested, you will get some relief. If you do all of them, you may experience a definite reduction in your fear and anxiety. I’ve even provided step by step instructions on the steps to take leading up to your appointment.

If you know anybody that suffers from fear and anxiety about going to the doctor or dentist, please forward this information to them.

Ted

 

 

 

 

Back to School Challenges? These Special Offers Can Help.

 

Back to school challenges

I remember some  back to school challenges when I started 3rd grade. I was pretty nervous. My teacher was going to be Mrs. O’Brian and I heard that she wasn’t very nice.  My mom had taken me to school for the first day of 2nd grade at my new school, but since she now had 7 other kids to care for, I was on my own and I think I even had to walk to school that day.

Turns out Mrs. O’Brian wasn’t very nice. She yelled a lot and I was afraid of her. I think teachers were a lot different in 1969.

Not only that, but it seemed like my fellow students got meaner in the 3rd grade. More fights, violent games, bullying. I can say that I started to feel stress in the third grade; more homework, projects, reports. Of course, my parents were having back to school challenges of their own, with kids in kinder, 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades and 4 more at home.

Back to school challenges can cause stress for parents and children, as well as adult students returning to school. Just helping my kids with homework makes me want to have a drink. For many parents, myself included, getting kids up, dressed and to school on time has the potential to ruin a day.

Students often have to deal with anxiety about tests, more homework, scary teachers and fellow students, and the transition from no school to back to school.

If you or your child is experiencing any of these back to school challenges, I can help.

  •  I work with kids age 12 on up to help them with back to school challenges such as general anxiety regarding transitioning into the next grade level or a new school, as well as test anxiety, focus and concentration, and sleep problems.
  • I also work with adult students going back to school, some for the first time in years. Dealing with back to school challenges after being out for a few years can be a stressful adjustment. I can assist with text anxiety, focus and concentration. In addition, I can help with time management, procrastination and motivation.
  • I help parents deal with the stress of back to school challenges. I’m very aware that my mood and attitude in the mornings can affect my kids and their day. In spite of that awareness, I still find myself getting frustrated and impatient. Fortunately, there are many tools that can help me have the attitude and patience to send my children off to school in a way that is productive and conducive to learning. These are the tools I am able to teach to parents as well as using the Moreno Method for Life Transformation to change negative habits and patterns of thinking.

So for those experiencing  back to school challenges, I’m offering back to school specials!

 If you are an adult student, I’ll offer you a student discount for four sessions that gives you $100 off of my regular fee for four sessions. (That’s a value of $548 for only $447) (Sorry, no phone sessions)

 If you are a parent and you have a child 12 or over that needs help, pay for four sessions for your child and I’ll give you a complementary hour and half session with an audio recording of the session that you can listen to at home. I’ll give you a copy of my book “The Ultimate Guide to Letting Go of Negativity and Fear and Loving Life,” and my “Peaceful Place Relaxation CD” After you drop your kids off at school, of course.  (That’s a value of $685 for only $548) (Sorry no phone sessions)

What if you’re not a student, have no kids in school, but need to work on something to make life better? Come in for four sessions (or do phone sessions), and this is what you’ll get:

Geez, what am I thinking, that’s a $693 value for only $497. Maybe I’m just happy that it’s cooling down here in SoCal. If you are interested, click here or call me local (626) 826-0612 or  toll free (855) 837-8477. Oh, by the way, this offer expires the first day of Autumn, September 22nd, 2013. After that, prices go up!  (Note that all sessions must be paid in full at first session.)

Why not give yourself and your student the chance to overcome those back to school challenges and have more calm, comfort and concentration? Click here or call me at (626) 826-0612 or toll free (855) 837-8477.

Wishing you, and your family and warm and relaxing Fall season.

 Ted

Test Anxiety: How to Deal With It.

test anxiety

At the end of July all over the country, thousands of people will take the bar exam and fail due to test anxiety.

The failure rate in California in 2004 was 56 percent. Although some will fail because they are not worried enough, many will fail because they are worried to the point of test anxiety.

Test anxiety can show up as early as first and second grades as well as in high school. A 2006 U.S. Department of Education-funded study conducted by the Institute of HeartMath and Claremont Graduate University with 980 10th-grade students found that 61% of all students reported being affected by test anxiety.

What is test anxiety?

It is a psychological condition where the test taker feels severe distress before, during and after the test; one can get so nervous and anxious about doing well (or just passing), that performance on a test is negatively affected. If you know how a college final can produce this type of anxiety, then imagine having test anxiety while taking the bar exam, or an exam for licensure, where the stakes are high and there has been a significant investment in both money and time.

It’s normal to have some type of nervousness about taking a test and in fact, this nervousness can be helpful by getting us into a state where we are pumped up to do well. When this nervousness escalates into test anxiety, however, it can not only interfere with recall of information but may create a reaction so intense that it some people give up taking the exam entirely, or continue to put it off until “someday”.

 Test anxiety is a form of performance anxiety.

Performance anxiety is where someone is extremely nervous about having to produce a result in a limited time period or in front of people who are judging them. Test anxiety, stage fright, fear of public speaking and “choking” in sports performance fall into this category.

Symptoms of performance anxiety are similar to most other forms of anxiety reactions: rapid heartbeat, sweaty palms, shortness of breath, shakiness, confusion, or other physical aches or pains such as nausea or a stomach ache.

In my work as a hypnotherapist with people who are challenged by test anxiety, I notice that many of these people share similar characteristics, such as being prone to high stress, having perfectionist tendencies, or worrying a lot. Most instances of test anxiety can be dealt with in just a few hypnotherapy sessions, but here are some suggestions you can put to use right away.

Tips for dealing with text anxiety

Diet can affect your ability to think and recall information. If you are skipping meals or eating meals or snacks high in carbs while studying for an exam, then you may be experiencing episodes of low blood sugar (blood glucose). Since the organ that uses the most glucose is the brain, a balanced diet can be helpful in creating optimal brain power. Have healthy snacks while you study.

Sleep seems to go by the wayside when students are preparing for exams. Plan your study time for when you feel the most alert, which for most people is not usually late at night. But if that works for you, then make sure you’re getting the amount of sleep that’s right for you. It’s probably more than you think. It makes sense to be well rested in the days leading up to a major exam, yes?

Lack of preparation can cause test anxiety. Last minute cramming can leave you feeling like you are not ready, creating anxiety. Manage your time by organizing your schedule to give yourself the best conditions for learning. Decide ahead of time when, and for how long you will study. I suggest studying in periods of 50 minutes to one hour, with 10 to 15 minute breaks in between.

Effective Preparation. Many people will only prepare for an exam by cramming the information into their heads. This is only half the equation; taking the test will involve recalling the information. Prepare for the exam by taking as many practice tests as you can as soon as you can. This will also clue you in as to what areas require more study.

Watch your self talk. Self talk is your internal language or thoughts. Avoid scaring yourself with inner conversations like “I know I’m going to just blank out right in the middle of the test!” or “I just suck at taking tests!” Give yourself encouragement and support. Use positive affirmations in the days and weeks leading up to the exam. (Click here to read more about affirmations.)

Mental visualization can be one of the most effective techniques you can use to mentally “rehearse” taking the test while feeling calm, relaxed and comfortable. See yourself walking out of the testing location feeling good about your performance. Imagine receiving the information that you have passed. Setting a goal of passing with a particular score increases the chances that you will.

Extreme self care might be getting massages in the days or weeks before the exam to release excess tension and stress. Get a good night’s sleep the night before the exam, and don’t even thing about showing up without eating a good meal with protein. Daily walking or any type of exercise can also be a great stress reliever. Remember, anxiety comes from prolonged stress and tension. Find ways to release it.

For the most part, test anxiety is a learned response. With practice, you can unlearn test anxiety and learn a different reaction. Have faith in your brain, and cultivate a strong and abiding belief that you can and will pass!

Ted

Getting Free from The Hypnosis of Your Mind

candle

One of the most fun and common ways to get hypnotized is to go the movies. When we see a movie, we believe what we’re seeing is really happening. We get scared, feel happy, and maybe even cry.  We literally become hypnotized to the point that we forget that none of it is real. We are so caught up in the content of the movie, we forget about the context, which is the fact that we’re in a building, watching light projected onto a screen. (Hold that thought for a second…)

People that come to me really want only one thing: Liberation. Like all of us, they want to be liberated from thoughts, feelings, sensations or behaviors that don’t serve them.   I help them be aware that none of those things is who they really are. I help them see that the things they want to be free from exist as the content of the mind: the ongoing, always changing stuff of the mind. That’s what minds do: they produce content, and we are trained and conditioned to look for content. We’re attached to content.  If we can develop the awareness that as human beings we are hypnotized by the content of our minds, then we can see the truth of what’s going on, and see that we have a choice.

What’s the content of our lives? Beliefs, thoughts, feelings, everything we think we are: the past, our future goals, and the details of our life situations. So what’s the context?  Like the screen in a movie, it’s the awareness that all this content is projected onto. The content is always changing but the awareness of the content is always present, even if you are unaware that you’re aware. And most of us are unaware of our awareness.

This is where we can lose our power. Just like watching a movie, we get hypnotized by all of this content. We get involved in the drama, the story. We become attached to it. We identify with it and we say this is who I am, this is what I believe. And we can become so invested in this content, so invested in what we believe and feel, that we may be willing to die or even kill for it.

Take anger, for example. Nobody ever really makes us angry. We make ourselves angry by thinking “It/he/she/ shouldn’t be like that.” The divide between how it is and how we think it should be is what creates anger for us. But how we think it should be is not real. It doesn’t exist. But our tendency is to believe that everything we think is true. But I’ve got news for you. Most of what we think is true is simply theory, belief, opinion, generalizations and habitual patterns of thinking.

Take fear. When we say “I am afraid”, we’ve now become the fear. Then we might say “I shouldn’t be afraid. Why am I afraid? I hate being afraid. I hate that thing that makes me afraid.” This is just more content. All we’re doing now is keeping the fear alive because what you resist persists because you are putting energy into it. The truth is, “I am aware of the emotion of fear, which will soon pass or fade.” What’s even closer to the truth is “I am awareness”. This is the context out of which all this content arises.

So we can look at anger or fear or any other negative emotions from the context of awareness. We can acknowledge “I’m having the experience of fear.” As humans, we will experience fear, of course, as well as courage, hope, despair etc. But instead of saying “I should not feel afraid”, we can stop shoulding all over ourselves. We can say “OK right now, I’m feeling fear and that’s what is. It’s ok to feel fear because I’m only human. And just because I’m feeling fear doesn’t mean that it has to stop me.”

What happens when we feel fear and we keep on going? Fear changes and starts to become courage, then confidence, then competence. It’s always changing. Because content is transitory.

How can we liberate ourselves from our mind stuff and identify more powerfully with the awareness of this content? (Which in my opinion is who we really are.) We can start by being the observer of our own process. We can notice when anger, worry or any other negative emotion, feeling or thought comes up. We can say “anger coming up” or “anxiety movie starting now”.  We can disengage from “I don’t want or like what is happening now” and just be with what is going on within us, without judgment or wishing it was something else. Now we are no longer reacting. Now we can be responsible which means “able to respond.” That’s freedom, the ability to choose a response instead of reacting.

Here’s something to try that is very simple. It will take 5 minutes and will give you the chance to see your content in all its glory.

Find 5 minutes where you won’t be disturbed, put a candle on a table, light it and set a timer for 5 minutes. Focus on the candle flame. Very quickly, you’ll notice your focus being taken off the flame and drawn towards your mind’s content. It might look like this: “I don’t have time for this…I’m tired…There was something I needed to do…This reminds me of…that candle smells good…that person is such a …”

Just observe what is happening. Watch the stuff just roll on by without getting attached to it.  This is the essence of meditation.

Let me ask you a question: what would happen if you were to do this every day for 5 minutes? I invite you to try it and see.

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Your companion on the path to Transformation,

Ted

A Simple and Effective Technique for Pain Relief.

If I showed you a simple and effective technique for pain relief, would you use it? How about if it worked for stress? Anxiety?

It’s called EFT or “tapping” and I’ve been teaching this to almost every one of my clients for years. I even posted a video demonstrating it. I use it, and it works for me.

When I was first introduced to this technique, I dismissed it. It looked weird.  But I kept hearing about it from other hypnotherapists, wellness practitioners, and thought leaders such as Joe Vitale, Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra. I decided to learn it, and the first person I taught it to came back and said “Wow, that really works.”

In fact, tapping has become so popular there is now a Tapping World Summit!  The video above was produced for the Tapping World Summit but has really good info about tapping.

Check it out, and if your curiosity is aroused, then check out the official EFT website. You can also type “tapping” or EFT into YouTube and you’ll find hundreds of videos on this very useful and effective tool.

Hope this info is helpful!

Ted