Browse Category: Healthy mind

Aromatherapy for Mood Management

Many people do not know that the sense of smell is the one sense which is most closely associated with mood and memory.

When oils are inhaled, micro-molecules of the essential oils travel through the nasal passages to the limbic system of the brain which is the seat of memory and emotion.  This is why particular scents can trigger strong, emotional responses which are pleasant or unpleasant according to our own individual experiences.  Think about what scents bring about those triggers for you; the smell of baking bread, pine at the holidays, a departed loved one’s perfume or cologne, even the smell of a baby.  They trigger anchored memories which are tied to our emotions.

Here are some scents that have been helpful in changing other people’s moods, you may want to try diffusing one or more to help you too.

lavender

Lavender has relaxing properties
Citronella helps with fatigue
Black Pepper increases alertness and stamina
Juniper Berries calming without sedation
Ylang Ylang helps with feeling happier
Ginger can be energizing and uplifting
Vanilla helps with sugar cravings

Try changing your mood with these or other scents you find pleasing. You’ll be surprised at how quickly it works.

Some forms of aromatherapy call for the ingestion of certain essential oils; for the purpose of this article we ask that you only smell or diffuse the oil for inhalation.

5 Easy Steps to Make Changes

Spring is here. The weather is warming and things are beginning to bloom in my garden. Check out my Wisteria!

OK, it’s not mine; mine is barely blooming yet. But I love the fragrance and the color.

I have had Sweet Pea blossoms for at least a month now (Southern California weather is awesome) and my Gardenias are budding.

Think about what Spring represents: a fresh start, the promise of a new beginning. Really, every day is exactly that — the promise of a new beginning.

Just because you have always done something a certain way doesn’t mean you have to continue. You can always change your thoughts, your mind, your behaviors and ultimately your life.

Here are 5 Easy Steps to Help You Make Changes

  1. Identify what’s not working for you. Identifying the need for change builds consciousness.
  2. Identify your outcome. Start with the end in sight.
  3. Align and focus on how attaining the outcome will feel. Build a compelling reason to move forward.
  4. Identify the first step. You don’t have to know all the steps to make your changes, just the first one. Let the rest fall into place for you.
  5. TAKE THE FIRST STEP

Too many people get caught up in the details and become mired down by them. All you need is direction and the first step to take action. Remember imperfect action beats perfect inaction every time.

If you need help changing things in your life, contact me for help.

One Way to De-Stress: Toning

They say stress kills.

Studies are actually proving this is true; a recent study of cancer patients shows that stress reduction may prolong lives. We know that prolonged exposure to stress can cause vascular, cardiac, endocrine, and brain function changes. When the body is under stress — whether physical, emotional or perceived — it releases hormones like adrenaline that are responsible for the fight or flight response.

The immediate physical reaction includes:
• Increased Heart Rate
• Accelerated Breathing
• Constriction of Blood Vessels in Some Areas and Dilation of Blood Vessels to Muscles
• Dilation of Pupils
• Hearing Loss
• Tunnel Vision
• Perspiration to Cool the Body

While these responses were once helpful to keep us alive during our evolution and gradual climb to the top of the food chain, they are not helpful in any way shape or form while running late for work, stuck in traffic, or just plain having a bad day. In fact, not only does long-term exposure cause physiological damage, you can become addicted to the chemicals released during periods of stress, thus creating a cycle that’s difficult to break.

Long-term effects of exposure to stress can range from weakened immune system to major cardiac events. It has even been proven to cause visible signs of aging.

Everyone has a different response to stressors in their life. What may put you on edge might be a slight annoyance for me. Knowing what your major stressors are and learning to mitigate your reaction both emotional and physiological will play a major role in your overall well-being and happiness.

Photo courtesy Wiertz Sébastien via Flickr
Photo courtesy Wiertz Sébastien via Flickr

One quick way to immediately reduce your stress response is to place one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest. Almost instantly you become aware of your breathing. Now focus on moving your breathing from your chest down into your belly. Breathe slowly, comfortably and evenly for at least 5 to 10 breaths. Then once you’re sure you are belly-breathing, remove the hand from your belly and with the remaining hand on your chest take another deep breath and exhale while saying “aaah.” You really want to take that sound into your chest and do your best to vibrate your hand.

This is called toning. The majority of my clients report a 50 percent reduction in their SUDS (Subjective Units of Distress Scale) immediately.

Put a Stop to Negative Thoughts and Self-Talk

STRESS. Seamless vector background.There are several methods you can utilize to stop those crazy ass thoughts that are sabotaging you and steering you wrong every time. From Hypnotherapy, Meditation, NLP and just plain ignoring them, it all comes down to choice. You have to choose to change. The reality is that when you really listen, these thoughts are often not even yours to begin with.

You see, we come into this world whole and complete. Just watch a normal 2-year-old and they will prove to you that the world revolves around them. This is not a bad thing. However, things like good parenting, society and other peoples’ limiting beliefs and damage begin to erode that wonderful power of I AM.

Here are four simple methods you can use to put a stop to that negative internal dialogue, which criticizes you, sabotages you, depresses you, berates and belittles you.

Reframing: Reframing is a way to change meaning. Listen carefully to the negative things you are saying to yourself to determine whether there is an underlying positive intention. In other words, maybe the message is negative, but the underlying intent is positive. If so, find something else to say to validate the intention without the negative language. Suppose you’ve been saying to yourself, “I’m too clumsy to exercise.” The positive intention is that you exercise safely, the reframe would be, “I choose to exercise in a safe manner.”

Refuting: When you say something negative and irrational to yourself, convince yourself that the negative message just isn’t true and, in fact, it’s silly and ridiculous. Give yourself the evidence to refute the negative, irrational statement. An example would be “I’m so clumsy I trip on shadows and sunbeams.” There is no reality to that statement; it is pure and simple nonsense. You can begin to let go of your grip on the negative personal soundtrack when you see how ridiculous it really is.

Refusal: Refuse to entertain the negative messages. Refuse to dwell on them. You can say: “Stop,” “Cancel,” “Disregard,” or simply imagine that your mind is like a radio that can play a lot of different things, based on where you set the dial. If you don’t like what’s going on in your mind, turn the dial to a new frequency. Change the direction the negative thoughts are taking you. Make a choice. Sometimes it can simply begin with saying, “Until now” to qualify the thought. For example, if the thought is “I’ve never been happy” add “until now” and see how powerful the new message is.

Replacement: Replace and counter each negative message with a positive message immediately. Again, choice is the key here. Problem behaviors develop because of problematic thinking. Isn’t it strange that so many people are reluctant to think positive thoughts such as “I love and accept myself,” yet are eager to think negative thoughts such as “I’m not worthy”? Those kinds of thoughts keep people stuck. Every thought, negative or positive, is a direct instruction to the mind-body neurology, which strives to make those thoughts come true. The conscious mind is the goal-setter, the creative consciousness the goal-getter. Thoughts are powerful and words are spells.

Change your internal imagery: What movies do you play in your mind? What pictures are you looking at? Do you replay depressing movies of defeat and disappointment? Change your imagery to happy, healthy images with positive meanings. Every accomplishment begins with thought. Your thoughts create your beliefs, your beliefs create your behaviors and your behaviors ultimately create the world around you. Be mindful of your thoughts.

How to Deal with Fear

Fear“If I weren’t afraid, I would …”

These are five simple words they can really get you thinking about what is in your life that’s really holding you back. The first time I heard this statement was a couple of years ago. I went through the exercise, I filled in the blank — several times, actually — and each time it made me more acutely aware of the fact that I was the one holding me back.

Often it isn’t external forces that create our barriers in life but the internal ones, the stories we tell ourselves. Some of the stories come from childhood.

I had a client a couple of years ago who had been working with a story she created when she was five years old; she was now in her sixties. For 62 years she was working off a flawed belief system. The story was a valid one when she created it as a five year old. It served its purpose. She just failed to develop beyond that point, and lived with the story for the next 62 years. It caused her a lot of discomfort and disharmony until she learned how to move beyond it. Once we were able to identify this story as a flawed belief and re-path her beliefs into a valid reality, she was able to release the hurt and anger that was a major theme in her life. She has since reported that happiness comes easier, and the anger and the disappointments that she felt were prevalent in her life have all but fallen away.

Fear can serve a purpose. Its predominant role is to keep you safe, to keep you from taking unnecessary risks. The problem arises when no risks are taken, when no chances are taken, and when there is no momentum at all.

After taking the time to do this exercise I realized that there really is so little to fear in this life. I now understand that fear, discomfort, nervousness, and excitement are essentially all the same energy — the difference is what value we place on it.

From now on I choose to place the value of excitement on things I’ve never done. I choose to place the value of excitement on things I’m nervous about doing. I choose to place the value of excitement and the belief that I can do it on things that challenge me.

Henry Ford said it best: “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t you are right.” It all starts with your beliefs.