Basically, there are two types of hypnosis. (Really, there are as many “types” of hypnosis as there are hypnotists. But I’m generalizing styles and techniques into two broad categories.)
The first is “Direct Suggestion.” This is when we get you into a trance and I simply tell you good things about yourself. “You are confident. You are a non-smoker. You eat only healthy foods and only when it is healthy to eat them. You are comfortable and pain-free.” And so on.
Direct Suggestion is a legitimate and effective hypnotic technique. As far as it goes. The main problem with Direct Suggestion is that it often doesn’t last. Generally, when considered successful, Direct Suggestion lasts about a week, maybe two at most. And then it “wears off.” That is because the underlying issue, the “root cause”, remains unaffected. Typically an individual relying on direct suggestion must continually reinforce it with either frequent visits to the hypnotist or listening to a recording.
I mean, really, hear something nice about your person or personality, and absorb it into your being, let it sink down deep into you and have it affect the way you think about yourself and your place in the world?
I didn't think so. Honestly, neither can I. There always seems to be some barrier, some instinctual prejudice against myself, so that I can't easily accept positive observations about me or my character, and have that be meaningful. I doubt I'm unique in this way. In fact, I'd wager that most of us have a pretty well-developed filter against affirming feedback.
If you're anything like me, there's always a nagging voice somewhere that says "this person is just being polite," or "they don't really mean it," or "they obviously don't know any better," or even "if they only knew... I know how it really is." It might even be "they have to say that." Or if the genuine niceness somehow gets through, then "why didn't...
Depression seems at record highs in recent years – and there is evidence to support that. Some point to social isolation with increasing divorce rates and social media. Some point to the increased anxiety in our culture and lifestyle over the past ten-to-fifteen years. But there is also evidence that depression has always been a part of human existence, in every culture around the world.
Now, let me make a distinction between severe, clinical depression and what I call “healthy depression.” There is a healthy amount of mental and emotional reset that takes place when dealing with difficult problems or situations. It could be called melancholy, the blues, feeling down, or “a damp, drizzly November in my soul” (as Herman Melville phrased it). This sort of depression is, I believe, a natural and healthy response to circumstances, and gives us valuable information and motivation, when properly understood.
Have you ever overreacted? I mean, like out-of-the-blue lost it without even realizing why you were so upset? Sure, whatever happened sucked, but the level of anger, anxiety, fear, sadness or frustration you felt wasn't really appropriate to how sort-of-bad that one situation or "thing" was, right? Sure, we've all been there.
Some of us live there.
This happens all the time because when we are responding to something in our lives in the present or even in the future, we are reacting to every other time we've ever felt that way in our entire lives - we just aren't consciously aware of it.
This concept is "resonance." A lot of us know the word in music - if a guitar and a piano are in a room together (and both tuned to the other), if I strike a "G" on the piano, the G-string on the guitar will start to play, responding just to the vibrations in the air. Sympathetic resonance. Most of us know the idea in met...
"You are getting very sleepy - soon you will be in a deep trance - soon your warts will disappear." Hogwash? No, hypnosis. And it may be a formidable weapon against warts.
According to psychiatrist Owen Surman, M.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, "Hypnosis does seem to be a scientifically validated tool for treating warts. Why it would be is subject to guesswork. Currently, people are very interested in this area called psychoneuroimmunology. It's attractive to think that mental phenomena could affect immune function."
In one study, Dr. Surman hypnotized 17 people who had warts on both sides of their bodies for a series of five sessions. and told them that their warts would disappear from one side only. Another 7 people were not hypnotized and were instructed to abstain from using any wart remedies of their own. Three months later, more than half the hypnotized group had lost at least 75 percent of their warts. The people who hadn't been hypnotized still had their warts.
I just spent the last weekend in silence. Or, at least a few moments of it. Actually, I was at a wedding, but my sister's family had booked us all at a beautifully rustic log cabin next to a small lake. Early in the morning and late at night (when the kids were asleep, mostly), it was awesomely quiet.
Then I come home to this article trending among my friends. Science backing up what I knew in my gut already. The best kind. (In addition to the kind of science that blows your mind and reorients you to the universe.)
Turns out, we introverts aren't antisocial - we're on to something. Periods of silence actually encourage growth in an important areas of the brain. Silence causes new neurons to grow in the brain, and also for them to integrate meaningfully into existing functions. Silence allows the brain to process information and to calm itself, while also rebuilding cognitive resources ("thinking juice") for following activity.
We hardly need convincing. We all know that exercise is beneficial in so many ways. Yet we rarely commit to even incremental increases in our physical activity... if we can help it, or until a doctor prescribes it as part of treatment for disease.
Well, I am not your doctor. Chances are I'm not even your coach. But I am prescribing more exercise for you right now. No matter what your ailment is, almost certainly you can benefit from a few more minutes of elevated activity. Let me explain how.
This is Part One of a two-part series detailing how exercise affects our whole selves. This post will explore the manifold blessings of exercise for the body. (The second part will focus on the brain.)
First, exercise - even moderately elevated activity - helps to improve mobility and prevent falls. Daily exercise strengthens the muscles that hold the bones together making the body structure stronger. Th...
Our hearts are deeply important to us - both physically and symbolically (or psycho-emotionally). Is it any wonder that this organ that is so integral to our wellbeing, health and activity is also the symbolic seat of emotions like love, care, empathy? If I may wax poetic, I think there is something to be learned by exploring the biology of the heart metaphorically.
The heart has two sides, two parallel functions that work in tandem to achieve ends as opposite as they are essential. One side sends freshly oxygenated blood to the body, full of nutrients and energy. The other side takes blood full of toxins, waste and carbon dioxide to be cleaned and restored. Blood full of life and energy, and blood full of waste and poison pass within millimeters of each other, moved by the same organ to both nourish and maintain our body. This one organ does both, and they are in fact integrally linked.
Our heart - the symbolic seat of our most powerful emoti...
Common experience is being confirmed by scientific research that when we are happy we are more productive. More surprising, perhaps, is that the inverse is also true: we are happier when we are more productive.
Once we are convinced that there is a causal connection between productivity and happiness (both ways), the real question is how do we make that happen more often? It isn't just magic or chance. We can actually induce this cycle of happiness-productivity, in virtually any task or work.
"Mindfulness" is a buzz word that really means "paying close attention to what is happening righ...
The root of the word "health" is "whole." Which kind of makes sense.
In many ancient worldviews, disease or corruption or even evil weren't so much distinct entities in themselves, but were rather a fall from the original and good whole. Augustine of Hippo, that famed North African Christian Saint and philosopher of the third century, used the analogy of a hole in a shirt: the hole, while bad, isn't itself a thing, but the absence of the shirt. He was working toward a description of evil and sin as being various degrees of "without God," and he represents one ancient application among many of this wholeness-worldview.
The running assumption of this holistic worldview is that health and wellness are the norm, the expectation, the way things are supposed to be, and that disease or illness represents a disruption of that wholeness, an imbalance, if you will.
When my wife and I were pregnant with our first child, we were living in th...