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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pets Help People To Be Happy and Well

girl_with_puppy.jpgAs winter lingers on here in the Northeast, and I write this on a cold day of mixed snow and rain, with a furry companion by my side, I notice my mood being calm and upbeat, not at all reflecting the the dreary scene outside my window.  

Can you name one medication that can lower blood pressure, boost our immune system, increase motivation, lessen the impact of depression, help with PTSD, decrease feelings of loneliness , elevate self-image, and help cultivate our ability to trust?   I can’t either, but these are just some of the benefits of healthy pet keeping.  Under most instances having a pet is a healthy and healing experience, pets can also help people to be more social.

Early contacts between our ancestors and canines clearly benefited both species, and a dependent relationship evolved.  The animals first enjoyed food scraps and eventually accepted and enjoyed physical contact.  There is a lot of pleasure to be had when a place that can't be reached gets scratched for you, right? Mankind benefited by having a warning when intruders were approaching.  Today it is estimated that 50 million households have pets.  Dogs and cats are most popular, but people also enjoy companion birds, pet fish, hamsters, rabbits, and more exotic animals like reptiles, hedgehogs and even tarantulas.

Pets can provide a significant source of emotional attachment that can be as important as the bonds formed between people, sometimes the bond with a pet can even be stronger than those with people, because bonds with many animals are perceived as unconditionally positive.  Pets can be our most personal and trustworthy companions because they are always there for us regardless of how we look or feel.  People can gain structure to the day by caring for our pets and can demonstrate nurturance and love toward them, even when it seems like there is no one else available to receive or understand the love that can be offered.

Of course, even with all the benefits of having a pet, it is not something to be entered into lightly.  Pets need to be cared for, and not only fed, they also require grooming and veterinary care.  Some people’s lifestyles are not suitable for some types of pets, so learning about how to keep a certain kind of pet healthy and happy is important to do before getting a pet.  A person who smokes tobacco may want to stop before bringing a pet home, and make that part of “pet proofing” the home.  Pets demand little from us, yet they are a source of immediate and consistent feedback, a benefit that is often hard to find in the social world.

9:57 pm est

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Do You Know How to Shift from Procrastination to Motivation?

We've all been there before. You know what you need to do, to get moving toward your goals, but you just haven’t be able to bring yourself to do it.
Perhaps you’ve been feeling stuck and going nowhere fast. 

“The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people in life recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation. For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. You'd be surprised how far that gets you."      - Neil deGrasse Tyson
Silhouette of runner winning raceSo, I’d like to share seven quick-and-easy tips you can use to shift into motivation mode, in no time flat.
#1: Rock It!
Grab your headphones and your favorite playlist and turn up the volume a little. Make sure it's music that will really get you pumped up-- exciting and uplifting.
#2: Move it, move it! Ever heard the phrase,
"Motion creates emotion?" Well, now you have, so do it! Go for a jog, grab yourself by the collar and drag yourself to the gym, or just go for a
brisk walk and get the blood flowing.
#3: Relax and restore! Find a quiet place and meditate.
Spend 5 or 10 minutes and completely relax, focus on your breathing and silence your mind.
#4: Use imagery skills! What's your motivating driver? Wanting that new electric car? Request a catalog from the dealer.  A vacation in Maui? Print out a picture from the net or clip one from a magazine. Now tape it to your wall, feel the excitement and put yourself in the picture!
#5: Get Help! Want to really get moving? Have your friends hold you accountable. Jump on
Facebook and tell others about your BIG goal. Now update them on your progress once per day. If that doesn't work for you, perhaps a professional Life-Coach is in order. The fastest way to create changes is through working with the subconscious mind using hypnosis and NLP.

#6: Step Back! Take a second to see the big picture.Doing the mundane, everyday work may be dull but if it's leading you to your BIG goal then it will all be worth it. Stop and think about what you're working toward.
#7: Reality Check! Take a few minutes and write down 10 things that will happen if you DON'T get motivated. (No good, right?!) Now, rip that paper to shreds and write down ONE thing you're going to do TODAY that will take you in the right direction.

Have a friend who could use these tips? Please feel free to share this site. As ordinary people we all have potential to accomplish great things, we just need to have motivation and vision.

4:59 pm est

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Superstorm Sandy, Human Resilience and Healing

Construction workerResilience is a quality that allows some people to be knocked down by hard times in life and then come back stronger than ever. Rather than letting failure and catastrophe overcome them and quash their spirit, they find a way to become the phoenix and rise from the ashes. Psychologists have identified some of the factors that make someone resilient. Among those are a positive outlook, a tendency toward optimism, the skill to self-regulate emotions, and the ability to see failure as feedback. Even after a daunting situation, those who have resilient attributes, are able to shift their thinking and take action toward recovery and healing.

We human beings have an innate desire to make order and sense out of chaos such as has been recently experienced with Superstorm Sandy, but many of us may find it difficult to do this this effectively. The process of moving through challenging life events and coming through those events stronger, wiser, healthier and more resilient is definitely work worth doing.

“It is really wonderful how much resilience there is in human nature. Let any obstructing cause, no matter what, be removed in any way, even by death, and we fly back to first principles of hope and enjoyment.”
― Bram Stoker

Building resilience can be a tough process. Here are a few tips for strengthening your resilience to difficult times in life:

  • Maintain or develop good relationships with your family and friends, and accept their help during times of stress. Get involved in community groups or faith-based organizations which may help give you social support.
  • Step back and look at the big picture of life, and avoid viewing difficult times as impossible. Take small steps toward your goals and take just one day at a time.
  • Understand that change and loss are an inevitable part of life and come to terms with circumstances that you can’t control.
  • Keep working toward your goals every day, and ask yourself "What can I do today to move toward my goal?"
  • Keep a positive view of yourself and your problem solving abilities.
  • Maintain a positive view of life and visualize what you want.
  • Notice how you have changed after a tragedy or crisis. Many people report having more confidence in themselves after a crisis and some even have a deeper appreciation for life. Get what you can out of these tough times.
  • Take care of yourself! Get enough nourishment, sleep, and exercise to keep yourself healthy. This is especially important during times of excess stress.
  • Seek professional help when the situation is too hard for you to handle on your own. A helping professional, can help you to develop a strategy for moving your life forward.
Most of us go about our day with the belief that we will be relatively safe. However, catastrophic storms like Sandy with powerful winds, and an extraordinarily high storm surge, has shaken that belief for many people. This natural disaster has taken lives, destroyed property, altered the lives of millions, and for very many people across our region, undermined feelings of safety.

Storm survivors will process their experience in their own way and with their own personal timeline. Out of the chaos, eventually order will be restored, and rebuilding will be done even for people who are learning to be more resilient.

10:06 pm est

Friday, October 5, 2012

Stress Heats Up as Election Day Nears

Polarizing political opinions creating extra stress in your life? Here are a few tips to survive the election season.

Stress is a natural part of life. Without some stress we would lose our energy for living.  We can thrive with the right amounts; however too much or too little stress will limit our effectiveness. Ideally, we find our optimal level of stress to be the balance at which we are most motivated, but not overwhelmed.  

Prolonged unhealthy amounts of stress can lead to, or complicate health problems. Some people attempt to cope with high stress levels through increased tobacco, alcohol or other substance use, but this really is not a helpful approach to coping with stress. 

There are three ways to eliminate unhealthy stress:

  • Change the circumstances that cause it.
  • Change the way you think and feel about it.
  • Learn and use anti-stress exercises to reduce stress.

Aside from entering into counseling, and learning new coping skills to change the way we think and feel about the stressful things in life, there are a number of things we can do that research has shown as helpful in reducing stress levels.

Colored leavesGet Dirty:

Gardening has been shown to lower cortisol levels and boost mood among many people who had just finished a stressful task. It is thought that doing something that requires “involuntary attention” — like sitting back and enjoying nature — helps to renew ourselves and reduce unhealthy stress. The fall colors are showing get out and enjoy them. Raking leaves later would be a great way to "work off" any frustrated feelings you may have.

Have a Good Laugh:

If you’re feeling stressed, perhaps it’s time to take a little YouTube break. The Mayo Clinic reported that laughter promotes endorphin release in the brain and relaxes the muscles, which are all key for stress relief.  And, a 1989 study in the American Journal of the Medical Sciences showed that “mirthful laughter” is linked with lower blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol.  Laughter can also ease pain. 

Enjoy Some Chocolate:

Dark chocolate is a source of antioxidants having health benefits for the heart, and it can also help to lower stress. A 2009 study showed that eating 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate a day for a two-week period was linked with lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Please keep in mind that chocolate still contains sugar and lots of calories, so make sure you’re eating the chocolate in small amounts, and slowly to make the enjoyment last longer.

What is viewed as stressful is different for different people.  When some of us think of stress, images of rush hour traffic may come to mind, some individuals find holiday stress difficult, and others may think of the pressure they feel while working.  Homemakers and children experience their own personal stress too.

Using Hypnosis For Stress Management:

Medical experts believe that stress causes or complicates about 90% of  health problems and chronic diseases which are treated today.  Using self-hypnosis in your stress management plan will make it much easier to change those unhealthy habits into healthy behaviors and thought patterns, and improve your health and emotional well-being.  Dramatic results can often be achieved with hypnotic techniques including visualization and guided imagery.  The key to guided imagery is to learn to deeply relax.  These natural approaches to health help you experience deep relaxation, and give your subconscious mind suggestions that empower you to alleviate unhealthy stress.  Adding hypnotherapy in your stress management plan will make changing your unhealthy patterns into healthy behaviors and thought patterns happen easily and more quickly than trying to do it alone. 


9:48 am est

Friday, August 27, 2010

Getting Started

It has been said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step.  However taking that first step can at times seem like a daunting task, and it is with this thought in mind that this first blog entry is made. Perhaps not everyone habitually procrastinates, but everyone has delayed making a decision, put off starting a project or stalled commitment to making a change for the better.

Sometimes all we need to get started is a good enough reason.  Colleagues have been encouraging me to blog for several months, and finally I have found my reason for moving forward, from thinking about it to actually doing it.   Once a person has a reason to do something, the task seems much easier.  So if there is something that you think you want to do or work on, find your reason to get started then commit to the process.  This blog is dedicated to health and well-being, and is written in the spirit of sharing.  So here's to our health, feeling good and being successful.

12:51 am est

2013.03.01 | 2013.02.01 | 2012.11.01 | 2012.10.01 | 2010.08.01

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Advanced Hypnotherapy
And Counseling Office
1000 Main Street
Port Jefferson, NY 11777
(631) 473-0405
Long Island, New York location. We're Helping People Solve Their Tough Problems
By Using Counseling and Hypnotherapy
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When you’re going to spend your time and money on counseling and hypnotherapy, you expect to work with a competent, experienced professional, someone who can truly help you, and not hurt you, or waste your valuable time and resources. But do you know how to find one? Do you know how to tell a good therapist from a not so good therapist? Sometimes people put up with unsound and disrespectful behavior from their therapists and counselors, simply because they do not realize that they do not have to.
At our practice of counseling and hypnotherapy, we pride ourselves on providing quality service. We offer a knowledgeable staff, safe and proven technologies, and the latest in modern mind-body health.

Advanced Hypnotherapy
And Counseling Office
1000 Main Street
Port Jefferson, NY 11777
(631) 473-0405

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