The upcoming winter months prompt the return of the flu shot — and disagreements between alternative and traditional medical professionals, and even the general population, about its importance. Reminders of the flu vaccination for Pioneer Valley residents become more and more common, and like every year, people of all ages tend to forget or skip their yearly flu shot
The Massachusetts Department of Health states the shot is vital to stay healthy during the flu season. The flu causes thousands of hospitalizations each year and can even result in death, especially for those who are more at risk, including pregnant women, infants and the elderly. Those with medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and a weakened immune system are also at risk for health complications. Read more
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For many years, I thought of myself as someone who is NOT a public speaker. Sitting at the introvert end of the scale, I often found myself quaking in my boots at the thought of merely introducing myself in a work meeting, let alone standing up in front of a room full of people to give a presentation.
‘It’s totally fine’ – I thought, I believed, I basically convinced myself.
‘I’m not really a high-achiever anyway, I don’t WANT to have that kind of job where I have to stand up and talk’.
And so, I kept my head down in meetings, not brave enough to share my opinion. I ducked out of big events in case I’d have to speak. I even went as far as to turn down an interview for a dream job opportunity because I’d have to do a presentation as part of the selection process.
‘It’s fine,’ I said. ‘I don’t want that kind of job anyway’.
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I could fill an entire book listing, in chronological order, my failed attempts at weight loss. Instead, I’ll just offer some highlights: Seven halfhearted rounds of Weight Watchers; two days each of every crash diet you can think of; two juice cleanses; training for and running three half-marathons; and diet pills that were basically prescription meth and made me such a raging lunatic my now-husband threatened to call off our wedding if I didn’t stop taking them.
Sure, I’d lose three pounds here and seven there — except for those diet pills; I looked damn good on those — but I always ended up where I started, or heavier. Slowly, those extra 15 pounds I’d never been able to shake turned into an extra 20, then an extra 25.
Friends, family, and even some doctors had told me to stop worrying and accept my body the way it was. And maybe I didn’t need to lose it — not everyone needs to lose weight. But my issues went beyond the scale. It was clear I had a complicated, if not clichéd, relationship with food.
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Goblins and ghouls are coming – as they have every year for millennia. I know because my kids have been talking for weeks about what to wear for Halloween. My daughter wants to be a super-spy and my son has chosen Freddy Krueger.
Actually, dressing up – or guising as it was called – is an ancient tradition. Celtic people apparently believed the autumn festival time offered an opportunity for the dead and assorted spirits to pass from their realms into this one, and dressing up like them was a protection.
All the same, dressing up like someone else can be fun. Throughout the year, I meet people who also want to be someone else; or at least want to change an important aspect of who they are now. As Woody Allen once said: “My one regret in life is that I’m not someone else.”
If you want to change a part of your life, the first step is being able to explore how that part is currently not getting you the results you want. I suppose it’s like opening the hood of a car and actually looking at the machinery. The best way that I know of how to do that – not the only way – is through mindfulness.
With mindfulness you stop paying attention to the story that you’ve been telling yourself. The content doesn’t really matter that much. Person A is afraid of dogs and person B is afraid of pickles. Yet in both cases there is a structure to how each individual is making themselves afraid, and mindfulness is an excellent way to explore that structure.
The next step is about creatively imaging things in a way that makes you salivate. You know how good menus stimulate your imagination so that you can practically savour the food? Well, utilising your imagination so that the new you is equally irresistible eliminates the need for self-discipline at this stage. Who needs discipline to eat something delicious? Hypnosis is the best way I know of to utilise your imagination.
The final step is conditioning and practice.
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It may sound ridiculous, but it was pretty effective.
Source getty images
I’ve had this habit of messing with the pores that I haven’t quite been able to shake since I started doing it at the age of 15. It wasn’t to the point that I was pulling actual chunks of skin off my face (apologies for the visual), but if there were something, anything, trapped inside a pore, you better believe I would not ease up until I freed it. I would analyze and zero in on each specific spot, only to end up stepping away from the mirror defeated, red-faced, and with certain half-moon-shaped nail-marks indented into my skin. The habit got better year by year, but it was still present, and so freaking embarrassing at that.
Whispers around the internet claimed that hypnotherapy could help deal with the issue—people swore it helped them quit smoking, pulling out their hair, picking at their nails, and more, so with that, I decided to hit up hypnotherapist and stress relief expert Grace Smith. It certainly couldn’t hurt.
Perhaps due to the magic shows you see on cruise ships, people assume hypnotherapy will prompt them to make animal noises until some Gob Bluth a la Arrested Development type snaps his fingers, and you return to the real world. Smith assured me that the real deal was nothing like that.
“Hypnotherapy is more along the lines of meditation with a goal, and the way it works is that I help people relax into a state where they feel safe,” Smith explains. “Most people try to make a change when they’re really stressed out, angry, and fed up, but when you’re coming from that state, your subconscious isn’t going to make a lasting change because you’re in panic survival mode, whereas when you’re relaxed, you become open to suggestion.”
For the longest time, I just thought I had terrible skin—constantly breaking out and in the belief that I was still going through puberty, so I felt compelled to pick at it, or punish it for being bad if you will. Whether it’s hair-pulling or picking at either your cuticles or skin, Grace assures me that it was all driven by anxiety, which made total sense. On the nights I happened to be freaking out about something, I’d spend the most time in the magnifying mirror. In hypnotherapy, she would change the habit from the subconscious level, and your logical mind would follow accordingly.
“There’s some part of us that feels good when we squeeze that whitehead out, it’s weird. The conscious, logical mind knows it’s not good for us, but the subconscious doesn’t, so that’s why these behaviors continue,” she tells me. “Logic means nothing to the subconscious mind. It’s all about emotion and habit. We have to tell the subconscious that no matter how good the emotional release may be, it’s actually bad for us, but we can only have that conversation when we’re feeling safe.”
It had worked for Smith’s clients in the past—she told me of a young girl she previously worked with, who had problems with pulling out her eyelashes, and was able to stop after one session (and she has the adorable new school pictures to prove it). Of course, you have to want to make the change in order for the session to work.
“If someone wants to quit, they’ll be able to do it in a few sessions, whereas if a woman is bringing her teenage son to me and asking me to make him stop smoking because he doesn’t want to quit, it can take almost 50 sessions,” she says. “The efficacy of hypnosis is based on how much you want the result.”
Suffice it to say that I really wanted it.
Grace and I had our session over FaceTime, so after I commandeered one of the focus rooms at the office, we settled in. She told me that if I did have external thoughts that didn’t completely have to do with the session, that was fine, and just to go with it. She began talking me down and getting me to a calmer, more meditative state. Despite the noise and activities happening outside of my little pod, I was able to relax and listen to her, guiding me to visualize a safe space.
My skin was my friend, she told me. We were going to have a better relationship, I would leave it alone, and I promised to behave. It may sound ridiculous, but it was pretty effective.
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There is a growing trend of people using hypnosis and meditation as a way to improve their sex lives and relationships. Hypnosis for sex and relationships is a new approach to relationship therapy but extremely effective since sex is an emotional experience and the body literally reacts to what the mind is thinking on all levels.
Hypnotist Richard Barker has been working with couples for sex and relationship issues for quite some time with very interesting results. Richard Barker, a world renowned Hypnotist, has been teaching couples and individuals, through the power of hypnosis, how to have better sex.
Barker said, “The power of your sex life is all in your mind. You can choose to have better or worse sex depending on your thought process. Everything first begins with a thought, and the thought then translates into an action. Every thought has a tangible response to it, usually demonstrated through emotions; actions and behavior.”
Barker goes on to say “Clients that were feeling anxious or nervous in and out of the bedroom, have seen exciting results from the ability of hypnosis to influence and change the thought processes towards sex and relationships.”
In this month’s issue of Women’s Health, Richard Barker is featured helping a couple with a six-month dry spell in the bedroom. The article details how this kind of hypnosis relationship work benefits couples facing a variety of issues. It can help with any anxiety problems that affect performance in the bedroom and during a relationship.
Barker said, “Some people come to see me individually because they feel anxiety about sex or just don’t feel good about themselves. If a woman, for example, has been told by a previous partner for years that she is ugly or just not worthy, it manifests itself into the subconscious, and can have a seriously negative impact on any new relationships.” Barker added, “Once the negative perceptions are removed and replaced with positive affirmations, she can be on the road to a greater relationship.”
Barker removes the previous negative baggage many clients carry with them, and help them to feel great about themselves and sexy again. Barker also believes in the affect couples can experience in joint sessions. It provides an extremely effective platform for helping couples improve their sex life together.
Tiffany Beverlin, CEO of Dreams Recycled, a website for divorcees, said, “One of the more challenging things about moving on after divorce, is getting back in the saddle sexually. Divorcees express a lot of anguish over not only finding new people to date, but in being sexually active with them. A woman may not have sexually been with anyone but her husband, or maybe hasn’t had a new partner in years. I have seen how hypnosis helps people relax, feel confident in themselves and regain the courage to really let go and enjoy the ride.”
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“It’s a procedure where the patient is under hypnosis and has a virtual gastric band installed.”
Patients who request plastic sur-gery procedures to alter their ap-pearances, may in fact believe that creating somewhat of an idealistic figure from the outside, will fix the issues they carry deeply inside, stressed a UAE psychologist.
Naser Al Riyami, psychologist and hypnotherapist at SKMC, said those who wish to have pro-cedures carried out, should first talk to a professional. Read more
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“So, this person on the next episode is gonna try something called ‘hypnobirthing,'” I told my husband.
Six months pregnant with my first child and preparing to watch what must have been my 375th episode of A Baby Story, I uttered these words with barely concealed skepticism and disgust. At the time — nearly 11 years ago — my primary knowledge about childbirth had come from three main sources: (1) birth horror stories told to me by friends and family, (2) film depictions of labor that were rife with emergency cesarean sections and flailing women whose necks were one vertebra shy of a Linda Blair spin, and (3) you guessed it: A Baby Story.
Mostly, these sources had taught me that labor was the only time where it was socially acceptable for women to threaten to murder the people around them. They had given me no indication that self-hypnosis would be anything but an ineffective, possibly laughable labor comfort technique.
In fact, I thought that hypnobirthing sounded on par with juggling bowling pins or invoking the mighty hammer of Thor in terms of its potential usefulness during labor. I wanted no part of it. Unless, of course, I could take part in a little schadenfreude as I watched what I assumed would be Read more
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In Beyond Science, Epoch Times explores research and accounts related to phenomena and theories that challenge our current knowledge. We delve into ideas that stimulate the imagination and open up new possibilities. Share your thoughts with us on these sometimes controversial topics in the comments section below.
Hypnosis is a much maligned and misunderstood aspect of mind “tinkering.” Many people think of hypnosis as a person clucking around like a chicken on stage after having a pocket watch dangled in front of his eyes. There’s more to this field of study.
A pocket watch is going through a hypnotizing motion.
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