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

How to Stay Sane During the Holidays

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We all know that it can be hard to stay sane during the the holidays! They can be quite stressful.

There’s money anxiety: “How am I going to be able to afford buying gifts?

There’s family: “I just hope we don’t get into a big argument!”

There’s travelling: “Flying isn’t so much fun anymore.”

There’s food: “I hope I don’t gain a ton of weight!”

And of course, there’s parties: “He go SO drunk last year!!”

Anyone of these by themselves or in any combination can make us crazy. So how do we stay sane during the holidays?

The key to remaining sane during the holidays.

Stay awake! That’s the key. By that, I mean stay conscious and aware of what’s going on within you and without you. Understand that in your journey through the holiday season there will be situations that trigger emotions, reactions and responses. Stay connected to how you are feeling, observe the story you are telling, and be aware of what you are thinking. With this kind of awareness,  you can make powerful choices that serve you and help you stay sane during the holiday season.

For example, say you feel sad during the holidays. That’s a good thing to be aware of: “I have a tendency to feel sad during the holidays.” Accept that about you, but don’t make it mean anything other than you’re a human with emotions. Making up a story about it would be ” I’m such a terrible person for feeling sad during the holidays.” Don’t do that!

Perhaps you can take some quiet time to explore these feelings and bring awareness to them, maybe by journaling or sharing your feelings with someone you trust. Why do you feel sad? Perhaps you lost someone at the holidays. Maybe you feel lonely at the holidays. Allow yourself to feel and give yourself permission to express those feelings. Stay present and understand that it’s ok to feel sad.Then make a conscious choice. You may choose to have a good cry. Or, you may decide that you are going to spend as much time as you can with people you like and love.

Insanity during the holidays comes from not wanting to deal with what is. Remaining sane during the holidays means looking at what is squarely in the eye and making a choice as to how to deal with it. For example: “I hate that the holidays are so commercialized!” But the fact is that they are commercialized and that you are the hater! Choose to do your holidays in a way that is meaningful and significant for you.

Another example is insane stress during the holidays. You must first have an awareness that this isn’t working for you anymore. Then acknowledge your ability to choose your holiday experience.  It could be as simple as getting more sleep, taking supplements or not letting your exercise program fall by the way side. It could be a choice not to over commit your time or energy. Or it could be the decision to do all your shopping online or not shop at all.

Take some time now to be aware of:

  • What staying sane during the holidays would look like for you
  • Who you really want to be with during the holidays
  • What  you really want to do during the holidays

In addition, get clear about:

  • Where you are not sane during the holidays every year
  • Expectations that are thwarted every year
  • People that are not healthy for you to be around during the holidays

Then decide what you’re going to do to have the holiday experience you want and DO IT.

To stay sane during the holidays always remember that it’s YOUR holiday movie. You get to direct it and say who’s in it and how the story goes or not even make a holiday movie. It’s up to you to make it something you enjoy sitting through.

Ted

p.s. Need some help staying sane during the holidays? Click here to contact me for a free phone consultation.

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

Ten Radical Steps for Freeing Yourself from Insane Stress

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Do you ever get the feeling like you are being carried along by circumstance, expectations and habit over the stress cliff and into the overwhelm pit?  Have you recently looked around you with the sneaking suspicion that insanity rules the day? Well, desperate times require desperate measures. Here’s 10 radical steps to help you avoid going over the edge even though it seems that everyone around you is. Read more

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

Ready for 2013? Let’s Start by Breathing Away Some Stress…

Serenity

The holidays are over. What’s next? A brand new year brimming with possibility. Ready to start working on what you are going to create in 2013? Why don’t we start by letting go of any stress that we might have dragged into the New Year?

In other words, let’s get centered, grounded and clear in mind and body. Today’s post is written by Dr. Harrison Darling of Health Advantage Health and Wellness Center in Pasadena, CA. In this excellent article she gives us an effective technique for breathing away stress. 

It’s the middle of the night. You are all tucked up warm and safe in bed when the quiet is shattered by the explosive sound of breaking glass. You are awake instantly, heart pounding, acutely aware of your surroundings, and moving before you have the time to figure out where you are going. Read more

The Ebb and Flow of Life

starfish on the beach

Last month I was watching a documentary titled “The Love We Make”, which followed Paul McCartney as he organized the The Concert for New York City benefit concert in October of 2011.

As I watched, there were things that McCartney did that I found interesting. Now, unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last 20 years, you know that McCartney is one of the most famous musicians on the planet, recognized everywhere he goes, and one of the richest men in England. He’s also a former member of that musical group that changed the face of popular music. Yet, he seems pretty normal and well adjusted, seemingly able to avoid the pitfalls that a lot of famous performers fall into.

What I noticed is that backstage and in his dressing room, Read more

A Technique for Creating Immediate Calm and Relaxation

 

Water lilies

If you are close to my age (I was born 12 days after the 60s started) you may remember a bit by the Three Stooges called Niagara Falls. Every time Moe hears the word Niagara Falls, he goes into a rant about his girl running off on him and beats up on Curly.

This is a humorous example of a trigger –  something that happens that makes us feel an emotion or exhibit a behavior. There are positive triggers and negative triggers depending on how they make us feel.

An example of a positive trigger for me would be the smell of a gardenia. When I smell a gardenia I think of pleasant memories from childhood: playing in the sprinkler on a hot summer day in our back ward where  gardenias bloomed.

A negative trigger would be when you look in your rear view mirror and see a police car with flashing lights. Makes me feel yucky thinking about it.

Unfortunately, many of us have negative triggers that are much more frequent than seeing a police car in your rear view mirror. Common examples are a supervisor or boss, a fellow employee, a phone call or even a discussion about a particular subject with a particular person. This is an example of conditioned response; something happens, and before we know it we are angry or irritated, sad or blue, uncomfortable or anxious.

I’d like to share a very simple technique that I use with just about every client to help them deal with those common everyday negative triggers. I call this technique anchoring, or using an anchor.

Thinking about the common usage of the word anchor, think of a ship in a harbor.  If a big storm or hurricane came along, you would want to have your ship’s anchor dropped to prevent you from being blown out to sea, capsized, or smashed on the rocks. In the same way, a positive anchor keeps you calm and in control when the storms of life come along as they inevitably do. A positive anchor is simply a positive trigger. I’m going to show you how to create a physical anchor.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Sit  or lie down in a comfortable position, take a few deep breaths, and allow yourself to get centered and grounded. Take your shoes off and loosen and tight clothing. Do this at a time when you are NOT being negatively triggered, but are feeling neutral,  or relaxed and calm.
  2. Taking just a minute or two, focus on your body with the aim of releasing tension and stress in your body. Begin by taking a few deep breaths. Focus on your feet first, and notice any sensations or feelings that are pleasant in your feet. You might feel tingling, warmth, coolness, whatever. Just make sure it’s a comfortable or at least neutral sensation.
  3. Tell yourself, either in your mind or out loud “This tingly feeling/sensation (or whatever feeling you feel) is relaxing me more and more with every breath I take. I feel this relaxation moving into my heels and my ankles.” Continue to focus on each body part, relaxing the body part by part. This can be done in one to three minutes, or if you are a person who is wound pretty tight, it might take five minutes.
  4. After relaxing your body, imagine, pretend, visualize or remember a place that you have been to, seen photos of, or perhaps can just create in your mind, that is the most relaxing place you can think of to be. Common examples are the beach, the mountains, a lake, a garden or even your backyard or some place in your house. The idea is to see if you can bring up the same feelings of calm, relaxation, peace, serenity, comfort etc. that you would feel if you were really there. Try to imagine what you would see, hear, smell, taste if you were in that place. Imagine laying down, sitting or standing. (note: some people aren’t great at visualizing. Instead, try to get a sense of, feeling of, or memory of what it would be like to be at this peaceful place. Try to get in touch as much as possible with the positive feelings, that’s  what is important.
  5. Now do something physical. I teach my clients to rub their thumb against the first two fingers of their dominant hand (or use both hands.) Some people just touch them together.  This is discreet and can be done, for example,  in front of a person that is negatively triggering you.
  6. While doing the physical anchor, take three deep breaths. On the exhalation of each breath, say a word or mantra or affirmation that will support you in feeling how you want to feel. For example, you might say to yourself “I am calm” or “Relax” or “Peace.” Whatever works for you, keep it short and simple.
  7. For about 30 seconds or so, just imagine you’re in your peaceful place, while rubbing your fingers together to anchor the positive feelings into your body.

To summarize, First get yourself comfortable, centered and grounded, breathing deeply, and relaxing the body, then imagine a “special place”, using all the senses to get connected to being there, especially positive feelings, then do something physical with the body to anchor the feelings into your body while breathing deeply with a positive affirmation on the exhale. The whole thing should not take more than 5 minutes, ten at the max.

The next time you feel yourself being triggered by a certain negative situation or person, rub the fingers together, take three deep breaths and say out loud or in your mind your phrase. You will feel different immediately. This works for most people, but not all.

I usually do this type on anchoring while my client is in hypnosis so it that it takes effect right away. I would do it three times in a week just to make sure. The key is to feel the positive emotions while doing the physical anchor anchor with the breathing and affirmations.

Questions? Email me or use the comment section below.

If you liked this post, please leave a comment and/or share it with your social networks using the buttons below.

Your companion on the path to transformation,

Ted A. Moreno

Certified Hypnotherapist
Success Performance Coach

How to Release Negative Emotions Quickly and Easily

In an hour hypnosis session, the hypnosis part is only about 20 minutes. The remainder of the time I’m talking with my client, getting information, setting goals, and teaching them various techniques to add to their transformation toolbox.

One of the most valuable tools that I teach almost every client is EFT, which stands for Emotional Freedom Technique. EFT is in my experience  quite effective for quickly letting go of negative emotions such as fear, anxiety, anger, and sadness. It can also be used for physical problems as well.

In this short video I teach how to do EFT. It’s simple, easy and effective. To learn more about EFT go to www.emofree.com.