Taming the Mind

“You can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it.”
~Albert Einstein~

That quote of Einstein’s has always rung a bell with me. It just makes sense that whatever my mindset was that led me to make certain choices would need to be changed if I wanted to make a different choice. Or, which is more to the point, to clean up a problem that the choice had created.

The problem is that HOW to change your mind to see your way clearly to a better solution isn’t often easy.  The real difficulty becomes apparent when the unconscious mind with its old (sometimes self-defeating or limiting beliefs) teams up with the emotions and creates a real uproar. Imagine a toddler screaming at the top of his lungs while you are trying to make a decision. He may be saying:

Don’t try to get that job! You don’t know enough!
You’d better not ask her/him out!  They won’t like you!
Don’t even try to quit smoking! You’ll never be able to stick it out!
People in our family have never been able to make much money!

Especially when it comes to making life changes, our emotions, particularly FEAR, gets into high gear. And when you consider that different parts of the brain are responsible for different functions, and in a way, “speak different languages,” it seems like a miracle when we pull off meeting our goals.

No matter how stuck in a rut we are, there is comfort in repeating the familiar patterns. In some ways part of our brain functions like any other animal brain. Your dog knows what it means when you reach for the tennis ball on the closet shelf.  He knows just where his food dish is, and where he sleeps and what time of day you come home.

Although you may hate your job, you know how to handle it. Or you may be unhappy in a relationship, but it’s familiar and you know how to negotiate it. And although you are afraid of the consequences of smoking, the thought of going through the discomfort of quitting keeps you lighting up.

The more engrained the limiting belief and the more potent your fear or anger, etc. the more difficult it is to use that part of your brain which is great at imagining a new outcome or solving the problem. Fortunately we all have that rational pre-frontal cortex…the creative, conscious mind. But we have to calm the amygdale, center of emotions, in order to change the limiting beliefs and get to new solutions.

Fortunately there is a method you can use to calm your emotions, change your limiting beliefs and access creative solutions that will serve you. I have been using EFT or tapping for a number of years, and teach it to my coaching and psychotherapy clients. EFT is a scientifically proven acupressure technique that is self administered. It’s simple to do and calms the emotions and reduces stress. In other words, it’s a great way to tame the mind!

Here are some times you may want to consider using tapping:

When feeling very angry or disappointed in someone’s behavior.
When feeling overwhelmed with a big job or something new.
When procrastinating with any task.
When preparing to make a speech or presentation or public performance.
When you are having trouble forgiving yourself or someone else.

You may access information about EFT by clicking on the “Tapping Solutions” widget in the right column on this blog. You may also want to download the free eBook on the website, or order the movie that is featured there. If coaching for EFT interests you, you may contact me through the page at the top of the blog.  I also recommend a  Tapping Into Ultimate Success by Jack Canfield and Pamela Brunner.

I hope you will be empowered in finding solutions to tame your mind and to reach whatever goals you have in your life.





Creating: Seeing what Already Exists

“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” 
~Philip K. Dick~

At the beginning of every new year I hear a running argument about whether making resolutions for change is a waste of time or not. Cynics will maintain that their “good intentions” to lose weight, stick to a budget, etc. is useless because they usually last less than a week.  The more optimistic types will at least plod along, sticking to the practice of resolving or intending to make changes in what is important to them.

Research has found that there is power in clarifying intentions and resolving to make change, regardless of the time of year. In other words, if you intend to make a change in your life and are clear about what that will be like, you are much more likely to succeed at it than if you don’t.

Let’s consider this is a broader way.  As I have pointed out in previous posts, you are creating the life you have whether you are intentional about it, or not. This thought can be a little disturbing if you are unhappy about how things are. It is far easier to point the finger of blame at someone or something else. No need to run through the usual list of excuses; I’m certain that you have heard them all and likely at some point have used them yourself.

Instead I’d like to learn to be a more effective creator, and hopefully you do too.

An essential skill to learn and master in creating the life you desire, is to assess reality, or to see clearly what already exists. This sounds deceptively simple. Just open your eyes and look!

Several years ago I took a course in the fundamentals of drawing at the local art association. Having a life-long interest in art, I have always admired artists and had a hankering to create art myself. And so I arrived at the first class with sketchbook and tools in hand, eager to learn. What I soon discovered was that it is difficult to draw with my hand what my eyes are seeing!

Just as musicians are trained to hear music accurately and to identify it, artists are taught to draw what they see and to do it clearly. In a similar way, we need to develop the skill of viewing reality objectively. You may find this surprisingly tough to do and it may make you squirm. For many, seeing reality is uncomfortable.

We often are taught to view reality in certain ways that our parents, religious and ethnic groups and society in general, prefer. We get messages such as, “Our family always….,” or “Americans are….,” or “Methodists are…” You can insert whatever group name applies. As individuals, we may have gotten messages that we are the smart one, or the pretty one, or the athletic one, or the one who is difficult to get along with. Until we become conscious of it, these hidden beliefs form a kind of lens through which we see reality. Facing this bias and seeing through it can be uncomfortable at first.

If you are in a problem solving mode you may lie to yourself or rationalize the situation in order to feel better. Well meaning friends and family may help you with this, supplying justification or excuses for why things are the way they are. Of course this is not helpful.

What really does help is to ask for some expert assistance in objectively measuring the present situation. If you want to feel more energetic and healthy, then make an appointment with your doctor for a check-up. You may justify your level of blood sugar by saying that you celebrated too much, and that it isn’t that bad. But the numbers from a blood sample will give you a realistic picture. Or rationalizing about your bank account numbers will give way to a realistic picture if you work with a CPA or planner.

Yes, you will have to endure some discomfort.  Deal with those emotions of fear, anger or sadness by writing about them, talking to someone you trust or using EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). Then take the realistic information you have gathered, touch base with the end goal that you established, and get ready to take action!

You must see clearly what your present situation is and then compare it to where you desire and intend to be. Doing so will be a big boon to energetically moving forward with effective action!  This will move you toward your goals in creating the life you desire. Don’t waste more time. Do it now!


Can Hypnosis Help My Self Esteem?

“No amount of self improvement can make up for a lack of self-acceptance”
~Robert Holden~

 Self esteem has been called the psychological “Magic X-Factor.”  Why is that?  No doubt because the self image we hold in our minds forms the bedrock for almost everything we think and how we feel and behave in all areas of life.  This powerful element begins to be formed at a very early age and continues to be affected and shaped by the experiences we have throughout our lifespan.

Self-esteem is one of the most important aspects influencing your performance and success in many areas of life.  It can help you get a job (and keep on getting promotions!). It can help you make friends and get dates. And people with high self-esteem generally feel happier, healthier, and more stable and secure.

Don Hamachek is a highly respected author and researcher in the field of psychology. He’s had a big influence on studies of self-esteem and interpersonal relationships. His research was published in Encounters with Others (New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Wilson, 1982). Here are some of his and other’s findings on the importance of self-esteem:

People with high self-esteem . . .
* Usually see other people in a better light, too.
* Expect other people to like and accept them.
* Perform better in high pressure situations, and do better work when the standards are high.
* Feel confident and secure enough to shrug off negative comments from others.
* Put good self care on their schedule.  Don’t feel “selfish” when they take time for vacation, go to the gym, relax or take a nap.
* Allow themselves to have fun and tend to enjoy their work.
*Are willing to take risks in making changes that will bring them to a higher level of work or relationships.
*Tend to be accepting of themselves without expecting perfection.

On the other hand, people with low self-esteem . . .
* Frequently dislike others.
* Expect that other people will dislike and reject them.
* Have trouble performing under pressure, and find it hard to work in demanding environments.
* Are more vulnerable to negative comments and reactions from others.
* Can’t remember when they last had fun, and if you ask them what fun is, they can’t tell you.
* Often put caring for themselves last on their list.  Taking care of kids, spouse, friends or job almost always takes precedence.
* Are more likely to feel unhappy and dissatisfied or victimized at work and in relationships, yet are very reluctant or resistant to changing anything.
* Tend to be very critical of themselves.

These tendencies can spill over into all areas of a person’s life, with big consequences. That’s why self-esteem is the critical factor – it’s one of those make-or-break variables that has the power to transform your life, for good or bad. High self-esteem is a little like a magic spell that works in any number of situations.

If you’re struggling in any area of your life, whether personal or professional, it’s possible that your problems are just symptoms of a bigger problem: low self-esteem. Find a way to improve your self-esteem, and you can expect things to start improving in lots of ways.

Is hypnosis therapy a useful tool in improving your self esteem?  Yes, it has been shown to be so.  Clinical hypnosis is now recognized by the medical profession to be an effective treatment modality.  It is safe when you are following the suggestions of a certified professional, because really all hypnosis is self hypnosis.  It is an intense focus of your mind, and you are not going to do anything that would be contrary to your own beliefs and standards.  No one can make you do anything against your will.

There are many great applications of hypnosis that are available for helping you improve your health, alter bad habits, eliminate anxiety, and improve your self esteem.  If you have been frustrated in the past, I urge you to explore the hypnosis options for resolving those “sticky wickets” that may be plaguing you!

Core Inner Strength, a hypnosis program developed by Dr. Shirley McNeal, is a fun and easy way to improve your self-esteem. In just four hypnotic sessions, you will discover the life-changing secrets behind experiencing comfort and safety in yourself, raising your self-esteem and self-confidence, and finding your inner strength.

To learn more about Dr. McNeals’s program, click here:http://www.coach4lifechange.com/wp-content/plugins/url-cloaker/url.php?u=aHR0cDovL3d3dy5oeXBub3Npc25ldHdvcmsuY29tL2h5cG5vc2lzL3NlbGZfZXN0ZWVtLnBocA==

Adapted from The Hypnosis Network. All rights reserved.

A Day of Stinkin’ Thinkin’

Several folks have told me this week that they woke up feeling awful or anxious or something else negative.  And that it was downhill from there for the rest of the day.  Not that unusual a conversation starter in my line of work.  And then I had a day like that myself…first time in a long time.

By 10AM I was well mired in doom and gloom, and then by 10:15 asked myself what was up with this?  Several things occurred to me.  Asking that question pushed me into Observer Mode rather than Reactor Mode.  One thing was for sure:  I was in the midst of doing some stinkin’ thinkin’ which was responsible for my glum mood and low energy.

This is how it works; it’s a big chain reaction in which one event gives rise to the next, and on and on, over and over again throughout the day.  Or a few minutes if we are paying attention and intercede.  Or a week, month, year or lifetime if we don’t.

  • The Trigger Event is something that occurs outside of us; something that we generally have no control over.
  • The Trigger Event in turn brings up a Thought.  There are times when an emotion is instantly triggered, but it’s usually a thought.
  • Emotion is then shaped by the thought.  And these two factors, thought and emotion can go back and forth either strengthening the emotion or bringing up different emotions.
  • Behavior comes next.  We choose a behavior and this is the point where we have all the choice in the world, as well as the responsibility for whatever we do.
  • Consequence is the last link in the chain.  There is always some kind of consequence to the behavior that we do, and while we may predict it, the full consequence is out of our hands or control.

Here is an example of how this chain works.  Robert is getting ready for work and half watching and listening to a morning television show while he dresses.  He hears some bad news about the national economy (Trigger Event).  His immediate thought is something like, “Things are just getting worse everywhere!  What’s the use?” (Thought).  This in turn evokes feelings of fear and helplessness (Emotion).  He goes on for awhile thinking more along these lines until his emotions are amplified.  By now he is taking this personally and wondering when his own job might be terminated, probably without notice.  When his wife comes into the room to ask about when she should ask for time off the vacation they have planned, he curtly replies that she should forgot about a vacation this year; they can’t afford it!  (Behavior).  His bewildered wife asks why on earth he is saying this since they have saved for the vacation, and all their expenses are already covered.  An argument ensues and as they both drive off to work, they both feel angry and frustrated. (Consequence).

If you were to ask Robert what was wrong, he would likely tell you about the news event, how it “made him feel”  and go on a rant about how bad things are and how he wouldn’t be at all surprised if his employer would lay him off at any time.  As he sees it the bad news is responsible for his bad mood and it doesn’t help that his wife “just doesn’t get it.”  Her head is obviously stuck in the sand or she would be ready to cancel their vacation too because it is a frivolous waste of money, in light of how bad things are.

If Robert were aware of his own thought-emotion chain, he could see that he is reacting to the news story and that he has other options.  There are no doubt many other people who saw the same news story and had very different reactions to it.  It isn’t the trigger event itself that causes Robert’s misery; it is his thoughts about it that are responsible.  If he becomes aware and challenges his thoughts, beliefs and assumptions, it is possible to have a perfectly fine day, be in a good mood and continue planning the vacation with his wife.

When you hear yourself make comments such as, “You make me really mad!” or “You make me really happy!” or “So-and-so is driving me crazy!” or “Such and such made me worry all day,” pay attention because you have just zipped down the Trigger Event-Thought-Emotion-Behavior-Consequence chain of events.

The truth is that no one and nothing can “make” you feel anything.  Each of us is responsible for the emotions we feel and what we do with them.  If the responsibility seems daunting, when you challenge yourself to pay attention and change them, you will feel much more empowered.  And isn’t that what we are going for?


Quotable Quote

“Every morning you are handed twenty-four golden hours.
They are one of the few things in this world that you get free of charge.  If you had all the money in the world, you couldn’t buy an extra hour.  What will you do with this priceless treasure?  Remember, you must use it, as it is given only once.  Once wasted you cannot get it back.”

~Source Unknown~


Dealing with the Nitty-Gritty

“We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence then,
is not an act, but a habit.”  ~Aristotle~

The other day a woman was telling me about her husband, who surprised her by announcing that he was going to clean the house.  Not something that he typically does…or ever does, according to her.  She had errands to run, and when she returned to the “cleaned” house, she saw that he had pushed everything to the perimeter of the living room and vacuumed the middle of the floor.  And he called the job done.

We chuckled about this novel approach to house cleaning, but it occurred to me that it serves as a metaphor for life.  And that probably if we care to take a peek into our own dark corners, we will likely find something akin to the husband’s method.

This morning I was looking around the office that I occupy, and when hunting for a file I need, was amazed to find all sorts of things that I jammed into folders thinking I would use it someday.  Needless to say, I haven’t.  There is a pile of paper in my “in basket” as well as in my “out basket.”  (Would someone please remind me of how this organizational tool is supposed to work?)  And I have to admit that I am behind in posting financial information that I will need for tax time.

But the middle of the floor is clean!

We do this in the figurative sense as well as the literal.  “The devil is in the details,” as the saying goes.  Those things you are procrastinating about have a way of piling up.  How long have you thought about increasing the vegetables in your diet?  Or making an appointment with the dentist?  Or taking courage in hand and joining a meeting or group that you think would be interesting?  Or meeting with a financial planner?  Or having a conversation with someone that you are afraid might be touchy?

You can go on about the daily round of your life (the middle of the floor, so to speak) and not think too much about what you are pushing to the perimeters of your life.  But those nitty-gritty details seem to speak to us.  Sometimes in dream time, and sometimes in vague mounting anxiety or dread.  Or sometimes someone else will bring it up, or a deadline is looming and you know it’s time to pay the piper.

Know this:  some sort of resistance is at work here.  And we all have to contend with our resistance.  Perhaps it is an outdated negative belief that you hold.  Perhaps it may be some shame or embarrassment that you haven’t tended to it before this.  Or maybe the energy required to overcome inertia seems too much.

When you face it squarely and ask yourself what is up with this? (and take the time to listen to the answers) you will discover the root of your resistance.  And when you do that, you are on the way to rooting it out and overcoming it.  Use your journal to clarify your insight.  Use Meridian Tapping or EFT to resolve and release the emotion and limiting belief that is stopping you.

You really don’t have to limit your success or happiness by hanging onto the burdens of negative belief.  Affirm the kind of human being you want to be; clarify your intentions and then with courage take the baby steps every day to love your life fully.


Clearing Out For Life Success

Do you consider yourself to be a student of life success?  Whether you have thought of yourself in exactly those terms, I suspect you are or you likely wouldn’t be reading this.  And if you are not yet training for success, I suggest you get started right away.

In clearing out files and shelves in my office, I came across some coaching material that I used several years ago.  As I read through it along with my notes, I felt some enthusiasm for an early step in developing life success strategies.  And that is to clear out the obstacles that are in your path, as well as remnants of the past and those things that clutter both your living space and your mind.

Let’s suppose that you have done some preliminary work of determining for yourself exactly what success would look like, feel like, be like in your own life.  That such a definition should fit you perfectly is vitally important.  How you define success will not be the same for your father or mother, your best friend, People Magazine or Donald Trump.  You need to come up with your own very clear picture or list.

Let’s further suppose that you have made an assessment of what you need in order to proceed.  You need to pack your own parachute, to borrow a phrase from the 1970’s. Do you need to take a course in order to be prepared?  Are you in need of some research? You need to know at least what your starting point will be and what you are going to need.  You may even be able to see what the first few steps will be.

Very soon you will encounter some resistance within yourself that may come up in the form of excuses, or fear that you will fail (or succeed!) Or you may be puzzled or frustrated by your procrastination.  Or you may discover that some old unfinished business really has to be completed before you can proceed.

This clearing out can take many forms.  So consider how to declutter the following:

  • Unfinished projects, both large and small.  If there is something laying around (or stuffed into a closet) that is your last great idea, either finish it now, delegate it to someone else who will enjoy doing it and be good at it, or pitch it out.  Even if it was a great idea, it has no value and will hamper your progress laying there as a reminder of what you didn’t get done.
  • Items that you have not used during the past 6 months.  If these things have value to someone else you can sell them or donate them or give them to someone you know will appreciate them.  If not, pitch them out.
  • Is there some physical checkup that you have not had done?  Is there a follow-up that you didn’t tend to?  Have you been to the dentist lately?  Were you intending to make some dietary change that you have avoided?  Do you need to make an appointment with a trainer in order to meet an old fitness goal?  Or is it time to finally call the acupuncturist for help with your back pain? Now is the time to put those routines or checks in place.
  • Do you have some untended relationship to care for?  How about that person you have said “Let’s get together for dinner sometime?”  Now is the time.  What about the thank you note you haven’t written?  Don’t worry…there is no statute of limitation on gratitude.  Is there some conflict that you walked away from that really needs to be addressed?  Do you need to make amends for something you said or did or neglected?
  • Is there someone that you need to forgive?  Perhaps even yourself?  Have you wasted time and energy looking into the rear view mirror feeling resentful and victimized?  Unresolved grief, anger and resentment form the heaviest rocks that you carry in your backpack.  For your own health, you must unload them!  Forgiveness is something that we do for our own sake, and if you don’t do this work, you really won’t get very far with your new life intentions.  Get help if you need it.
  • A financial inventory will tell you if there is anything that needs to be cleared up here.  Those who practice abundance principles say, “Money is energy.”  Really in quantum terms, everything is energy in some form or other.  Is your money/energy in short supply?  Do you owe anyone money?  Have you accumulated debt?  Do you know where your money is going every month (aka budget)?  Do you have a plan for your money (aka budget)?  Do you contribute money to causes you care about?  Are you saving money?  Are you investing it?
  • Does your self image match up with your picture of a successful life?  A quick inventory of beliefs that you learned from your “tribe,” especially as it pertains to your goals, may reveal some conflicts.  The person, whose life success strategies include starting his own business in mid-life, will have some contrary beliefs if he grew up in a family that valued “security” by working for the same company for 30 years.

As you can see, there are many types of unused or unfinished things that clutter our lives.  From the physical objects that are collecting dust in your rooms, to unfinished or outdated emotional business that distracts and preoccupies you, we must tend to clearing them away as we proceed.  You would be correct in thinking that this work is not once and done.  You will come back to it repeatedly just as surely as your kitchen or bathroom needs to be cleaned periodically.  The important thing is to assess what needs to be tended to, and to begin at once.  Don’t delay.  Your successful life depends on it!


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