Hypnotherapy for Test Taking

Hypnotherapy for Test Taking

There is nothing more frustrating and discouraging than poor performance when taking a test that you have gone to great lengths studying and preparing for.

Test anxiety is very common, and while nervousness is a normal reaction to stress, for some people, the overproduction of adrenaline makes it very difficult for them to focus or concentrate while taking a test. Whether you are a high school student learning how to study efficiently and do your best on exams, or a college student working on an advanced degree, test anxiety can get in the way of performing the way you know you should.

Using hypnotherapy to alleviate test taking anxiety has helped countless students to achieve great results with their most important exams. There are some important steps you can take to help yourself in the process. I work with many students and have found that they are not practicing many of these strategies that can help them succeed.

Test Anxiety Tips:

1. Be prepared
This seems obvious, if you feel you have prepared adequately, you will feel more confident taking the test. This means taking plenty of time as far in advance as possible to study the materials for the test. It may mean getting extra help for material that is difficult for you.

2. Get a good night sleep
As a student, it is always important to get enough sleep. This can be difficult especially as a college student because of working and having an active social life. The problem is that cramming for tests the night before typically doesn’t pay off as your brain can only retain a certain amount of information in a short period. The other big problem with not enough sleep the night before a test is that your brain doesn’t function nearly as well, even if you did prepare and know the information.

3. Nutrition
What you eat is so much more important than you might think, especially when it comes to brain function in high stress situations. If you are someone who experiences high anxiety with test taking, it is very important that you eat food with certain nutrients. Protein is essential for clear thinking. Protein helps maintain stable blood sugar. This is very important before a test because when blood sugar drops, it can cause many unpleasant physical symptoms. Sometimes it can feel like a panic attack when really it is a blood sugar drop due to protein deficiency. Help yourself by eating plenty of protein in the days leading up to a big test and especially the day of the test.

4. Get to the class or testing site early
This is mostly about preparation, get everything you need ready the night before so that you have time to eat, and get yourself to the class with time to spare. Being late is always stressful and adds to your anxiety for no reason.

5. Have a positive attitude
This may be the area that is most difficult, hypnotherapy can help if you are someone who feels stuck in old ideas about your test taking abilities. It is important to think and speak in a positive way about the future and what you are expecting. It is also important to focus on your breathing. Slow deep breathing helps to oxygenate your brain and help you to feel calmer and more relaxed. Remember that a little anxiety is very normal when doing something important that matters to you. Don’t be too hard on yourself for feeling a bit anxious.

6. Slow down
Read the test material very carefully, read the directions thoroughly and all of the answers before making a choice.

7. Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing
Focus only on yourself during a test. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow anyone else is going. Find the right pace for you, keep track of the time for yourself and if there is time at the end, you can go back to check your work.

If you are someone who follows these guidelines and still struggles with test anxiety, you are not alone. It has nothing to do with intelligence. It has to do with fear, and memories of problems taking tests in the past.

Hypnotherapy can help to change those thought patterns so that you can recall the information you have studied and do well on your test.

Sexual Issues and Hypnotherapy

Sexual Issues and Hypnotherapy

Sexual issues can be difficult to talk about, especially with someone you don’t know. It’s important to know that you are not alone when it comes to problems around sex. As a hypnotherapist I have had many clients who at first were embarrassed to talk about their problems around sex. However, as we get to talking, they become much more comfortable and realize how much better they feel knowing that it is actually more common than not to experience some type of sexual dysfunction at some point throughout your life.

For men this can mean they have difficulty getting or maintaining an erection. It is of course important to consult a doctor for any problem which may have a medical origin. At the point that men are seeking this type of therapy, they have often exhausted all medical resources including prescriptions such as Viagra, only to discover that there is nothing physically wrong with them.

Love, Sex and Intimacy in Relation to Sexual Hypnotherapy

Love and intimacy are the most potentially fulfilling aspects of intimate partnerships, however they represent areas where many people feel challenged. These aspects of a relationship actually enhance our physical and emotional health as individuals.

Love is mysterious, it can bring out both the best and the worst in us, our deepest fears and our greatest hopes, selflessness as well as our possessiveness, our kindness and our insensitivity, our generosity and our selfishness. Learning how to love someone and balance these opposites can be challenging as they are built in human traits.

There is a lot of scientific research showing that a great sex life has tremendous health benefits. Sex is physically good for us because it provides cardiovascular exercise which not only gets more oxygen to the brain but is always good for the heart. Engaging in sexual activity changes our chemistry with the production of pleasure-inducing hormones such as oxytocin, and even pain-relieving hormones helping us to forget negative thoughts or even temporarily alleviate back pain, neck pain, or other physical discomfort we may
have. Research has shown that people who have frequent and pleasurable sex, live longer and healthier lives, have fewer hospitalizations, and take fewer medications than people who don’t.

Intimacy can be defined as how we experience connection and positive vulnerability with another person. Any boundaries that form a sense of separateness dissolve, creating a feeling of blissfulness.

Sexual Problems or Issues Do Not Always Have Physical Origins

The clients I have seen for these types of issues have said that their doctor says there is nothing physically wrong with them. This can be strangely disappointing to hear because we look to medicine to fix our physical problems.

It is important to know though that our minds are very powerful. If you have had a traumatic or even just an uncomfortable sexual experience at some point in time in your life, your subconscious mind may be trying to protect you from further discomfort by inhibiting sexual pleasure in your body.

Your subconscious mind is always trying to protect you from pain or anything which may have caused trauma. That is actually a good thing much of the time, however as we know, it can keep a person stuck when they don’t need to be protected any longer. Typically for men, the problem is usually not trauma but something simpler.

Women share similar problems when it comes to sex, whether they had a traumatic incident (or many), or they have lost the desire to be intimate. This can cause problems in relationships, because if you are the partner who doesn’t want to have sex, it is a completely different problem than the partner who wants to have sex but isn’t because their spouse/partner doesn’t want to.

Using hypnotherapy, we can change old patterns or “hang-ups” that a person might have for any number of reasons. It really doesn’t matter what the reason is. If your goal is to have more or better sexual intimacy, this type of therapy can be life changing.

There are so many resources for help in this progressive time we are living in. When treated in a non-judgmental, open minded way, the seemingly insurmountable problems of the past can quickly diminish and be replaced with new and positive thinking and behavior around sexuality and intimacy.

Stress and Anxiety

Stress and Anxiety

It’s hard to escape the feelings of anxiety or even despair when it seems like there is one huge problem after another. Whether you are struggling with personal issues or the problems in our society, the feeling of helplessness, anger, and sadness can be overwhelming.

If watching the news leaves you with a feeling of hopelessness or anger, it might be time to cut way back on news consumption. Media of any kind has a powerful effect on the subconscious mind. If you are a very sensitive person and feel upset by seeing violence, it is very important for your mental health to avoid those kind of news stories. If watching TV or movies that showcase people in the role of “victim” causes you to feel afraid and overly concerned about being victimized, you will feel much better if you stop watching those types of media.

The problem is that your subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between what is real and what is not. It also doesn’t recognize seeing the same thing over and over again as one incident. For example if you are watching a news program that is reporting a natural disaster and you see coverage of that same incident over and over again, that part of your mind is being re-traumatized, (if it is affecting you as trauma) as if it is a new incident each time. For a sensitive person, this can become very scary and even cause depression. Some people can intellectually keep negative things in perspective and change the subject very quickly when they are done observing the news or whatever negative thing they are watching. Most people are affected in some way by what they are taking in that way, some people more than others.

It is important for good mental health to take you attention off of the negative as often as possible. This is no easy task when we are exposed to news and information constantly whether we want to be or not. Sometimes people feel like they don’t want to watch the news but almost can’t help it. This is because it is a well ingrained habit and just like drinking coffee every morning is a habit, it is most people’s habit to check all their social media, e-mail and news sources first thing in the morning while they drink coffee. Strangely, as bad as we end up feeling after soaking in all the bad news, we repeat the same behavior the next day. If you think about it, this is a terrible way to begin each day.

This habit can be broken, it just takes being aware and caring enough about how you feel to change your routine. Believe it or not, soon you won’t miss it at all and it will actually bother you when you inadvertently take in some media that you don’t like. This doesn’t mean that you can’t stay informed about world or local events. It just means that you are discriminating about when you watch or read news, how much time you are spending on it, and most importantly how it’s making you feel.

Social media is the same. If you don’t feel good when you are scrolling through it, or feel like “unfriending” most of your friends, it might be time to take a break from it. So what do you do instead? It’s time to find some things to do that only feel good. Maybe it’s as simple as taking a walk every day and getting some sun. Maybe it’s reading a novel or a book that is purely for enjoyment. Maybe it’s finding a new hobby that requires you to learn something new, or picking up an old hobby that you haven’t made time for recently. Meditation is also a great way to feel good and there is no wrong way to do it.

If you are feeling “stuck” in negativity, try changing your routine, it can be life changing.

Anxiety and Your Health

Anxiety and Your Health

This month I wanted to address anxiety. With the current state of world events, a lot of people are experiencing increased levels of anxiety. For some people it is about financial problems due to losing their jobs, for others it is fear around getting sick, or fear due to the isolation. The list of what people are worried about right now seems endless.

When people are in a state of high anxiety, they move from normal “Beta” brainwaves to “High Beta” which is also commonly known as “Fight or Flight,” or a state of survival. You may think that sounds strange and that you aren’t so stressed that you feel like running or fighting, but when you are in a constant state of worry, frustration, competition, anger or fear, your body reserves energy for running or fighting even if that moment doesn’t come.

What this means for your body is that all of the different systems of your body that rely on signals from your brain to your autonomic nervous system, are not happening because in that state of survival, your body needs all of its energy for keeping you alive, it isn’t a time for digestion, reproduction, recovery, or the numerous other building projects your body is always working on.

What has happened with human evolution is that we rarely need that strong survival mechanism of fight or flight, however we have conditioned ourselves to respond that way for emotional reasons rather than physical survival. When the fight or flight response is triggered in non-life threatening situations such as giving a big presentation at work, meeting a deadline, disliking or feeling competitive with co-workers, pressures at home with a spouse or children, and the list goes on and on, we can get stuck in that “High Beta” state.

Think about all the times that you or someone you know has had physical problems, health issues that seemingly came out of nowhere but they know they have been under tremendous stress for a significant period of time. Divorce is a good example of long-term stress for many people where they experience health problems, but there are many. Below, I have listed the systems of the body and what they are responsible for. Any or all of these systems are greatly impacted by the stress response.

As you go down the list, consider times in your life when you may have experienced a health problem with any of these systems. What was going on in your life when you had the problem and did it go away when the problem was resolved? The first system on the list is Circulatory; hypertension or high blood pressure is one of the most common problems that people living in a state of survival experience.

1. Circulatory system:
Circulates blood around the body via the heart, arteries and veins, delivering oxygen and nutrients to organs and cells and carrying their waste products away. Keeps the body’s temperature in a safe range.

2. Digestive system and Excretory system:
System to absorb nutrients and remove waste via the gastrointestinal tract, including the mouth, esophagus, stomach and intestines. Eliminates waste from the body.

3. Endocrine system:
Influences the function of the body using hormones.

4. Integumentary system / Exocrine system:
Skin, hair, nails, sweat and other exocrine glands

5. Immune system and lymphatic system:
Defends the body against pathogens that may harm the body.
The system comprising a network of lymphatic vessels that carry a clear fluid called lymph.

6. Muscular system:
Enables the body to move using muscles.

7. Nervous system:
Collects and processes information from the senses via nerves and the brain and tells the muscles to contract to cause physical actions.

8. Renal system and Urinary system
The system where the kidneys filter blood to produce urine, and get rid of waste.

9. Reproductive system:
The reproductive organs required for the production of offspring.

10. Respiratory system:
Brings air into and out of the lungs to absorb oxygen and remove carbon dioxide.

11. Skeletal system:
Bones maintain the structure of the body and its organs.

You may wonder then, what am I supposed to do about this? How can I fix it? The answer is simple yet it takes practice and commitment. In my last newsletter I wrote about meditation. In meditation, you can absolutely strengthen your immune system, you can create health where there was disease.

Think about it, if stress, anxiety happens because of the thoughts you are thinking, and then your body breaks down over time because of being in that state, (that is how it happens), then couldn’t you reverse that process by thinking better thoughts and feeling better feelings? The answer is Yes!!! With practice, you quiet your mind, you focus on what you want rather than all of those problems you used to focus on. You begin to feel a little better every time you focus in that way.

The biological outcome from practicing this is that you signal white blood cells that signal certain genes that begin to activate receptors and DNA that produce proteins called immunoglobulins, they are anti-bodies or proteins that block viruses and bacteria. It is essentially your body immunizing itself.

When you feel the emotions of love, friendship, generosity, kindness, and a sense of being safe, your heart releases oxytocin and nitric oxide, this is just the beginning of the chain reaction of incredible things that your body can do to heal itself.

This is something I as a therapist can help you with and it’s something you can absolutely learn to do on your own. If you are ready to be in control of your mental and physical health, call me today to schedule an appointment.

Hypnosis and Meditation

Hypnosis and Meditation

I hope this months newsletter finds you all healthy and finding new ways to spend time alone or with loved ones. I want to remind you that I am currently doing virtual sessions at a decreased cost per session of $100. This has been working very well for those who have chosen this option.

This month, I’d like to talk about Meditation. The idea of Meditation and “Mindfulness” has been a growing trend for the last few years in the U.S., but we know that it has been around since the beginning of humanity. The oldest documented images of meditation are from India and date back to 5000 to 3500 BC. Wall art paintings depict people sitting in meditative-like seated postures with their eyes half closed, presumed to be in meditation.

Most of my life, I thought meditation was just another way of describing the act of prayer for those who worship or believe in a higher power. Sometimes I heard meditation described as “quieting your mind”. Well, if you are like most people, the idea of quieting your mind can seem like an impossible task. I tried it a few times in my mid-twenties (about 20 years ago) and got frustrated at not being able to stop the constant stream of thoughts. I thought that there was something wrong with me that I couldn’t.

About ten years ago, I read a book called “Wishes Fulfilled, Mastering the art of Manifesting” by Wayne Dyer. This book was basically a “How to” book on meditation. I had read other books about meditation, but none ignited a fire in me like this one. I read the entire book on a flight and I couldn’t tell you where I was flying to, but what I remember was being so excited to get home and begin practicing meditation and creating the life I really wanted. In case you don’t already know who Dr. Wayne Dyer is, he is a very famous author and spiritual thought leader who passed away a couple of years ago. I highly recommend any and all of his books.

Since that time, I have been practicing meditation and it has been life-changing. I learned that it’s called “practicing” because it is something to learn and practice like anything else one wants to become proficient in or even good at. It is not easy. It takes dedication and patience with yourself. I can honestly say that it has been the best thing I could have ever learned in the area of health and self-care. It is also a powerful tool for creating what you want in your life.

At first, it’s not easy and can be frustrating, but then it turns into something very enjoyable, almost an escape from reality. It can become the best drug you’ve ever been on, and the good news is, your own brain produces the chemistry to make you feel better than anything you could find outside of you.

Guided meditation is a wonderful option and there are many to choose from. You can Google, “Top 10 guided meditations for “____” whatever you like, and from there you can find endless resources. For beginning this practice, guided meditation is a great way to start.

This brings me to the question, “What is the difference between meditation and hypnosis?” The answer is, there isn’t much difference. Especially if you are listening to a guided meditation. When a person relaxes and doesn’t have that constant stream of thought happening, their brain goes from “Beta” to “Alpha” or even “Theta” brainwaves. Alpha and Theta are the hypnotic brainwave states.

You could accurately say that we are in a state of hypnosis a lot. This is important to know because when you are watching TV, news, movies, video games, it is very likely that you move into the hypnotic brainwave state. The media that we take in every day very much affects what we think, believe, and how we feel on a daily basis.

When you receive Hypnotherapy for a specific issue, you are given personally tailored suggestion and instruction to create new thoughts and ultimately new behavior, which happens more easily because of being in the hypnotic state. So, you could say then that when you reach that hypnotic state in meditation, which you can absolutely do with practice, you could effectively create changes in yourself if you are thinking the thoughts or imagining what it is that you want.

Maybe during this time of seclusion, you could try it, begin your meditation practice now. I promise, it couldn’t hurt. Below you will find a YouTube video that includes several well-known celebrities talking about their meditation practices. I really like what they have to say about it and I feel much the same way they do. A lot of people could watch a video like this and think that meditation works for these people because they are special, or talented or wealthy and that things just go their way, but I can promise you that there is not a person who cannot create a better life with meditation if they do the work of

What is Hypnotherapy?

What is Hypnotherapy?

When people think of hypnosis, they often think of stage hypnosis because that may be their only frame of reference. Stage hypnosis is very fun and entertaining but very different than Hypnosis used for therapy and behavior change.

A stage hypnotist is very skilled at selecting the perfect people for demonstration. This type of hypnosis for entertainment is not used to change patterns of behavior, it is used to create an immediate response or reaction using the most powerful subconscious part of the brain to show the extraordinary power of the mind.

Hypnotherapy is used to harness that power to make positive behavioral changes, or thought pattern changes. Using hypnosis to change a behavioral pattern usually takes more time depending on what that pattern is and why the person developed it.

Hypnosis is defined as a highly suggestible state. Suggestibility is simply the way a person learns and processes information. Hypnosis is a natural state which we all drift in and out of several times a day, and is just your minds way of taking a break, but it is also a time when accelerated learning can happen.

Everyone can be hypnotized because it is a natural state of consciousness. Hypnosis can be used to heal physical and psychological issues, or in conjunction with medical or mental health treatment.

Some people ask, “Can a person be hypnotized against their will?” The answer to that is no. A person cannot be hypnotized if they don’t want to be. There is a surrendering to the process and you must be a willing participant to reach that brainwave state for effective therapy.

Another common question is, “Would a person do or say anything in a hypnotic state that they wouldn’t otherwise?” The answer is no. Being in a hypnotic state does not cause a person to lose control of what they say and do. Unfortunately, Hollywood makes hypnosis appear as a magic spell put upon someone to control them. This is not the case; the therapist gives suggestion in the hypnotic state according to what the client is wanting to change about themselves. When a person is in a hypnotic state, they are still aware of everything that is happening.

If you are curious about how Hypnotherapy can help you, contact Hypnotherapist Lynda Pulford today!