Thought Games

“Asking questions is a healthy activity & one should spend a good part of the day asking them. However, be sure to stay tuned in for the answers.”...Elizabeth Bohorquez, RN, C.Ht

We tend not to recognize how many times we ask questions to ourselves during our waking hours. If you practice tuning into your own thought processes, you will hear them. Sometimes it’s almost laughable. I asked participants in a graduate seminar to write down some questions they remembered asking themselves on the way over to the meeting.

“I wonder if I’ll be able to find this place. Should I turn here?”

” How will I be able to understand this material since I have no experience in the field of self-hypnosis? Will I come across as a jerk?”

“I wonder if she can read my mind.”

“Should I stop & go to the bathroom before arriving?”

“What should I do if I fall asleep during the hypnosis?

“Will I ever get my eating under control?”

While we’re all great at asking questions, few of us tend to pay attention to the answers that are delivered in response to them. In case you were wondering, these answers come from your powerful & creative subconscious mind.

Think about some of your own self-conversations, especially those containing questions & notice if you expect answers, or are you just rambling on auto-pilot. If you are listening for the answers, kudos to you. However, if you are not, why not plan on doing so. You will be pleasantly surprised.

THE ANSWERING SERVICE

I like to image the subconscious mind like a big library & that’s not too far from the truth. Everything you have ever experienced, be it a thought, a sound, a taste, a touch, an idea is stored here & it’s all in order. All one needs to do to access something is to “ask” the right questions, so now you see how important questions can be. The stored material in the mind can also be utilized in other ways. This is where creative thinking comes into play & once again, “asking” the right questions.

There is so much to learn & experience when working with the subconscious mind that it is actually mind-boggling. Because the material & research is so vast, I like to teach through imagery. I encourage questions from my students, clients, readers & listeners because this gives me a new opportunity to design yet another teaching image or metaphor.

Here are some questions I received over the past few weeks.

Q – I’ve been following your blog & I’m very interested in the area of release or letting go. Here’s my issue. If I release something, why does it reappear in my life? How can I  clear to my subconscious mind if I don’t want this any longer? Is there a special technique of suggestion for this?

Behavioral & thought patterns are usually pretty heavily etched in the subconscious mind & tend to present themselves on automatic pilot or when triggered by certain experiences or other connectors. When you practice releasing or letting go, you are actually interrupting these old patterns & then placing something new in their place. It stands to reason that it may take a bit of interrupting BEFORE you begin to see or experience a lessening. It is important to interrupt each & every time you become aware of the thought or behavior you do not want. This is how you tell the subconscious mind that you do not want it any longer.

MIND EXERCISE

Notice whatever it is that you do not want. Label or name it, just as if it belonged in its own file. This type of “isolation” assists the subconscious mind in knowing exactly what it is. Next, breathe from your center. This slows the brain waves & will allow you to place a suggestion on your mind screen OR to give a verbal cue to your subconscious mind. I like to utilize a positive image on the mind screen…..something that I want. Because this follows the labeling & the centering breath, the inner mind understands this as a replacement. It doesn’t matter if the two are unrelated. The subconscious mind cannot judge. It just understands that you want to replace one with the other.

Q – I’m a secret eater & wonder how long it takes to get something like this under control. I can’t imagine living without bingeing on junk & sweets. The stress in my life is huge & this is the only time I truly feel at peace. Is there any hope for me?

Eating issues, be they secret or not, are multi-faceted & so it can take a while to get all of the facets into some sort of management plan. Imagery, especially re-framing can truly help to move things along a bit faster. I’ll give you an exercise in a minute, but what you also need are techniques for releasing your stress in a healthy fashion. Right now you are only getting to that peaceful place through unhealthy bingeing & that can prove to be a big health risk. As for there being hope for you, of course there is. No one needs to accept being held hostage to their addictions.

MIND EXERCISE

Relax into the moment. If you have been following the blog you do know how to do this. Tilt your eyes up & locate your mind screen. Place an image of a house. Notice you can reach in & open the door, just like opening the door on a dollhouse. Peak in & pay attention to what is going on. There is the kitchen, stocked with healthy foods, a gymnasium with state of the art equipment, a spa for relaxing, areas for resting, reading, socializing & a garden for meditating. An image of you is participating in all of these areas. Simply follow yourSelf around, noticing how content & at peace you are…. it feels so good to have a healthy discipline. This is just a start for you….I’d like to suggest that you visit this area before going to sleep each night & find out more.

Q – I’m interested in managing my thoughts & emotions, especially fear. I have social anxiety that takes a toll on my career. I balk at conflict & find it difficult to speak up when I have a different opinion. What’s weird is that people don’t know this about me. They think I’m all together. What kind of imagery would help me?

Yes, you are living behind a mask & so your self-efficacy is low. You can begin to design the “you” that you prefer to be. Your subconscious mind will believe whatever you tell it, as long as you relax deeply & energize the desired “you” with hot desire & positive emotion.

MIND EXERCISE

Relax deeply into the moment. Locate your mind screen. Place an image of yourSelf there. Now invite in others who you admire. You don’t have to know them, but stay focused on the characteristic that they have that you want to be a part of you. Have them line up & then……..one by one invite them to step inside you & leave their characteristic gift & then exit the other side of you. When all have passed through, notice yourself enjoying the inner gifts. Walk into different scenes in your life & experience these…. sense gratitude, peacefulness & perhaps most of all…….have fun.

Freeing the Self

“Everything needs space in order to breathe. This includes everything you own, including yourself. If you are lost in clutter, or have become the clutter, then it’s time to release & let go”….Elizabeth Bohorquez, RN, C.Ht

BURIED ALIVE

I met up with Kate over the weekend. When she walked into my office, her back was bent over, as if carrying a heavy weight. The image was so real that I almost asked her to please put it down. She sat in the chair & looked up at me as if she were looking at me from inside a hole where she was residing. Kate is only 20 years old, but her burdens have aged her well beyond her years. It’s always sad for me to meet up with the Kate’s of the world.

I ask Kate to tell me about herSelf. She looks at me as if I am speaking a foreign language.

“What do you mean?”

This is a hiding, low self-image & self-esteem answer to my question. As a clinical hypnotherapist, I’m already forming the metaphors that will hopefully help Kate out of the hole. I still don’t know how long she has resided there, nor how stuck she was. However, my experience tells me that the right metaphors can yank her out, even if she prefers living down there.

I smile quietly, relaxing my body into the chair, looking to build rapport slowly, not wanting to frighten the bird. I communicate with Kate’s subconscious mind through spoken & unspoken words. There is no need to rush, no need to panic. While time is always an issue in our busy lives, we must stop rushing. It’s next to impossible to free the Self when rushing or when being with others who rush & push. The tonality of my voice delivers the chosen words of my own subconscious mind, somehow knowing how to travel forward.

“If you could give me anything you don’t want, what would it be?”

Kate smiles….“Oh, just one thing?” 

This is a good opening. The question was playful, bringing her into the metaphor without a direct challenge. Smiling back, I relax deeply into my chair, taking Kate deeper into a relaxed state. We are on our way.

“Let’s take a shopping cart & walk the aisles of your life, starting in the aisle of “right now” & then going backward. you can put as many things in the cart that you would like to give me.”

The metaphor forms a framework that allows the mind to open & to release. The release is paramount to freeing the Self. When we are highly cluttered it is often impossible to focus on the issues or problems. We are suffocating, but can’t seem to move the garbage so we can breathe. The baggage on Kate’s back indicated the level of clutter she was carrying around with her.

CLUTTER ISSUES

The truth about clutter is that it’s difficult to see, even if we are surrounded by it. This is true for both tangible & intangible clutter. It’s possible for someone to sit at a desk piled high with papers, magazines, old coffee cups, personal & business junk, etc. & not be aware of the disorganization. One can live in a house with clutter coming out of the walls & be blind to it. The refrigerator can be storing moldy vegetables, old take-out containers, empty catsup bottles & the like without being able to communicate with the owner.

It’s impossible to free oneself when one can’t see the clutter.

Kate resides in her hole because she believes she is safe from her confusion or clutter, but unfortunately, there is no hiding place. Also, residing in the hole is not free. There is rent to be paid & that can be quite hefty, as the hole is very demanding. Kate pays her rent by being swallowed by her compulsions & addictions that range from shopping to daily wine consumption.

But….If we choose to be free we can move along in life. However, we must be willing to see & then take ownership of the clutter, be it tangible or intangible. Changing behaviors & patterns will be part of the equation & that is how Kate will exit her hole.

TANGIBLE VS INTANGIBLE – WHAT TO CLEAN FIRST

The good news is that all clutter is related. As tangible clutter is opened & cleared, it’s intangible counterpart will also release. We begin where we are.

Clutter equals confusion. If the environment is confused, then the mind also lives in confusion. We tend to own too much stuff & have trouble releasing or letting it go. “What will happen if I throw that away? I’d better keep it. If I move it, then I won’t be able to find it. I’ll read that later. I want that. I need that. That makes me feel good. I’ll fix that later. When I have time I want to spend time with that.”

The conversations go on & on.

Clutter breeds clutter. We never seem to have enough. Shopping lists & desire lists tend to get longer & longer. We want & need more things. We equate things with feeling safe & contented, but it is fleeting. The compulsion to buy, to store, to hoard intensifies. The addiction is busily forming itself into its own monster shape. The credit card reports the story on the tangible side. Anxiety, tension, depression, lack of concentration tells the story on the intangible side.

Kate heads for the hole.

Kate pushes the cart down the first aisle. It fills quickly. We go back for another cart & it will be one of many. There is much that Kate wants to release & so this is good news.

MIND EXERCISE

Look around you? Take a cart & begin…

Thoughts are Things

The mind is a servo-mechanism. What you think is what you get, not only in your thoughts, but in your reality.”….Elizabeth Bohorquez, RN, C.Ht

We all have an inside Self, but few of us truly get to truly know this part of us & for many, it remains a secret. Without getting to know yourSelf & developing a relationship, one tends to stay in old holding patterns. This is not surprising because few of us have been educated or trained to work with the different, distinct parts of our Self, nor with our body. Instead, we live on autopilot, absorbing whatever comes along…..often complaining that we don’t like what’s going on in our life.  Then, because the mind is a servo-mechanism, we get more of the same. This can not only get us into trouble but we miss out on working directly with our creative source, that part of the mind that is rather like a genie in the bottle.

While we have an inner or secret Self, there is no secret about how to communicate with it. The techniques to do so are really quite easy. The difficulty lies in developing both a practice discipline & then an application discipline. It’s rather like sports. Those who practice with the mind goal of being a weekend athlete will never reach the same level of play as someone who practices with the mind goal of going to the Olympics or becoming a professional athlete. It’s the same with training the mind.

DIRECTION – DECIDE ON WHAT YOU WANT & THEN ASK FOR IT.  THE REST WILL TAKE CARE OF ITSELF.

When I first learned meditation, I came to find out that my big issues weren’t with the actual practice, but with the idea of the discipline of meditating twice a day for twenty minutes. I remember my internal arguments, as well as the emotions that worked earnestly to get me free of this “burdensome” task. These emotions were not strangers to me & what amazed me was how they knew to turn up on occasions such as this. Each time they appeared, they were more & more powerful, displaying both mental & physical angst.

It took me a long while to decide on what I truly wanted & so the chatter & arguing lived in my mind & body for this entire time. Quite frankly, the inner arguing was exhausting. This is another example of how procrastination leads to burnout. This is a common happening that tends to repeat itself in most of my patients & so when I write CD’s or mp3 programs, I do have to address this issue, because if not, the reader or listener is not going to step into the action & to stay there.

The above “direction” is absolutely true. Once I committed to what I wanted, the rest simply followed. The key was not just the word or idea of commitment, but much more. For this, I utilized the written word. I spelled out all of the details of what I wanted “as if” I already had achieved it. Then, I emotionalized it. For those of you who are following the workshop blog, you already know about the inner mentor. Here was another opportunity to plug into this part of my creative Self.

When working with the development of the inner discipline, the outcome must be very clear & concise & there is no negotiation with the thoughts or emotional states. It is truly set in stone. When the subconscious mind comes to know this, then the plan for success is demonstrated in real time. If you have never experienced this, you have lots to look forward to.

DIRECTION – THOUGHTS ARE THINGS THAT YOU MANUFACTURE. THEY ARE DELIVERED BY THE EMOTIONS & ARE ALWAYS IN TRANSIT & AVAILABLE FOR EDITING.

I was stunned to learn that I had this power. Forever I held the belief that I was my emotional states. In fact, my language reinforced this to my subconscious mind. Other people also helped greatly with the reinforcement process. As my self-image & self-esteem were lowered by these beliefs, it was now easy to understand why I was so gullible, absorbing whatever someone told me about myself. But, this was about to end. Never again would I be opened to this type of programming, either from mySelf OR from anyone else.

Working with special tools of Awareness Meditation, it’s not difficult to locate the problematic mind programs & especially if you ask your own subconscious & unconscious mind to make these available to you. Throughout the blog & other areas on my websites,  I’ve given examples of some of my own mind programs, as well as those from my patients & students. Now is the time for you to begin to study your own.

MIND EXERCISE

Find a quiet place & enter stillness. Deepen the stillness, either by body scanning, mental biofeedback or imagery deepening. There are examples of this in other sections of the blog or in the mp3 programs. It just takes a minute or so to become sufficiently relaxed in both mind & body. Next, place your fingertips on your lower abdomen & either observe your breath OR repeat a word mantra. Stay with that focus. Very soon you will sense a thought…..simply notice it & then return to your mantra or belly breath. Continue along like this, noticing the thoughts that flow through.

Imagine that you can take any thought & hold it in the palm of your hand. The thought is a “thing.” It also has many facets, as well as a marinade. As you become more skilled you will be able to change the strength of the marinade, as well as to edit the facets. But for now, just practice noticing & returning to the focus breath or mantra.

LIVING EXPERIENCE

The other day I was flying up to Providence. We were about to begin the decent when the flight attendant came on the loudspeaker. “I’m sorry to deliver BAD news! There is a storm over the airport & the air traffic controllers SEEM TO BE CONFUSED about where we can land safely. We are running out of fuel & so, we must hurry up to Boston BEFORE the fuel runs out.” This is truly what she said & not an exaggeration. Now think about how these words were playing out as mind & body programs in each of the passengers.

Luckily, I’m very well mind-trained & so I used a specific image to protect my own mind & body from the kind of energy that must have been flowing around that cabin. There was no way that I could or would allow any negative thoughts to enter my space.. I have a powerful image that I use in circumstances such as this. First, I relax into the moment…..deepening. Then, I place a golden egg shape around me. In this instance I placed one around her & then around each individual in the plane, sensing everyone deeply relaxed & visiting our separate mind screens. On mine, I future-paced images of being in the airport in Boston, looking around the different shops & finding some unique items. Then, we were over Providence & landing beautifully.

For those of us who work in the field of mind & body, we are keenly aware of the power of emotional energy & the law of attraction. Unfortunately the flight attendant, for whatever reason, put out negative energy that could easily pull the energy of all of the passengers onto a path that obviously no one wanted. This is extremely dangerous & so we come to know not only the power of the words we use but the energy that we apply to them. In addition, if someone is in the position of power, then this can worsen the situation.

We did land safely in Boston & I’d like to say that this was the end of the flight attendant’s poor judgment, but unfortunately, it wasn’t. There was a small mutiny of the passengers, who began to take matters into their own hands. Luckily nothing negative happened, but it was interesting to observe how people refused to be programmed, even though this woman was in a leadership position.

CATEGORIZING THOUGHTS

There are many ways to work with thought processes & categorizing them is just one way. This technique teaches you to set up mind folders that are labeled with your most frequent categories. These can be negative or positive. Building this type of discipline is very helpful in the area of focus, flow & mind flexibility.

Keep in mind that thoughts are things that are in transit & can be edited. Also, remember that the mind is a servo-mechanism, delivering back to you what you think. Therefore, why would anyone want to be playing thought files of failure, anxiety, depression, low self-image & esteem, lack of confidence, etc?

Designing An Inner Mentor

“The mind is a fertile place, but that’s not enough for it to produce high-quality plants. Other things must be added & that must be an ongoing process”…..Elizabeth Bohorquez, RN, C.Ht

Peaking in on a recent workshop conversation with Katya….

I don’t like to change & change is very difficult for me, so please tell me, “How long do I have to do all of these things & do I have to do all of them at once?” At the most, I could possibly change one thing, but not two & they will have to be in the same area of my life. Like, I can’t change something about my eating & then also change something else at the same time. For example, I might be able to change what I eat for breakfast, but I couldn’t start exercising at the same time. Or, I might be able to start caring for my bitten nails, but I wouldn’t be able to organize my daily activities in that same week. All I can say is that I certainly wouldn’t be able to manage all of the things you talk about & write about, so what are the chances that I’ll be successful? 

DIRECTION – YOUR BODY PERFORMS HUNDREDS OF FUNCTIONS AT THE SAME TIME & SO YOU ALREADY HAVE EXPERIENCE IN DOING SO. YOU ARE MUCH MORE THAN YOU THINK YOU ARE. CHANGE YOUR THOUGHTS FIRST & THE ACTION WILL FOLLOW.

It is quite a shock to wake up & to find out how many things need to be changed in order to succeed. It doesn’t matter if it is food-related or in other areas, there is usually never just one thing that needs attention. In the above conversation, it’s obvious that Katya is truly frightened & I can bet that this is not the first time she has had this conversation. Even if she hasn’t had it with others, more than likely it plays regularly in her mind, keeping her blocked, stagnant in her problems, while success flows away out of her reach. I say this because her conversation is quite orchestrated, each excuse following the other in an organized fashion.

Katya has sold herself this entire list of garbage. She thinks in negatives & in excuses & so this is what she attracts. She perceives herself as a very limited individual, a victim of the world-stage & this is what she has become. Her words form images of failure & she knows without being told that success is not within her reach….. not if she thinks & verbalizes like this.

WHAT YOU THINK & SAY IS WHAT YOU GET.

It is very dangerous to walk around having conversations like Katya’s. Even though she may think that she is talking about food-related issues, her subconscious mind is connecting all of her liabilities to every area of her life. She is literally digging a very deep hole that can keep her captive forever unless something or someone comes to her rescue.

Katya is on automatic pilot & truly not aware of what she is doing to herself. She is also under the very wrong assumption that she has unlimited time to make important changes. She has no awareness that her body is changing in every moment & the decisions she is making or not making are causing change. Killer diseases, such as heart & circulatory disease, are examples of diseases that are built by bad decisions made over a period of time.

Katya lives a stressful life & accumulated stress is a known killer. So, for Katya, there is no time to waste.

DIRECTION – YOU ARE WHO YOU THINK YOU ARE.

We all have a Higher Self. This is not the same as a Higher Power, but the two can be thought of as working together. Some people are not comfortable with Higher Power discussions & that is fine. However, we do need to accept that we have a Higher Self. This is our Self that is free of emotions, one that is mature & capable of high-level discipline & achievement. I often call this “our Therapeutic Self.”

Katya maintains that she is completely “incapable” of making the changes needed to take care of herself. This is an infantile position & one that will take her down very dangerous roads. For Katya & those like her, it’s necessary to build or create a Higher Self & then to allow that creation to take control of her life actions. This is done both consciously & subconsciously. Katya will become the new mentor image in her own mind.

I ask her to make a list of the characteristics of someone who is capable of running a healthy & creative life. I do not ask her to make a list of what she wants for herself. To do so would invite blocking. Her insecure & victim Self would not be willing to open to such a suggestion.

Katya has little trouble describing others who she admires & with some guidance, she makes a list of some characteristics.

1. Confident
2. Compassionate & forgiving
3. Consistent & persistent
4. Focused & disciplined
5. Cheerful inside & out
6. Forthright, trusting & loyal
7. Assertive
8. Honest to self & others
9. Peaceful
10. Creative

I ask Katya to relax deeply & I help her to deepen further. I want her to be below the alpha state, just like the level of relaxing before going to sleep at night. Anxious & tense individuals can relax quite deeply when assisted with self-hypnosis suggestions. The mind & body do want to go to balance or homeostasis.

I bring Katya’s attention to her mind screen & ask her to image her new inner guide or mentor. Then I ask her to describe her to me & to tell me her name. Katya’s response is very quick….a good indication that she is deeply relaxed & involved in the imagery. “Her name is Johna.” This is a rather unusual name because it is both male & female. I then ask Katya to deliver the characteristics that she designed to “Johna.” They are to be delivered one at a time & Johna will absorb them, just like a marinade.

Katya is now ready to enter the mind screen to meet Johna & to establish a relationship with her.

I suggest to Katya that she notice the characteristics once again, also noticing that Johna has many others…… perhaps like other woman or even men that she knows. She has a strength of character, determination, perseverance, confidence, discipline, a sense of humor, creativity, focus….. of so many things. Kaya watches Johna as she walks around Katya’s life, taking care of things. Speaking out to others, relaxing as she does…. feeling great & sensing her inner power. Now, Johna invites Katya to step inside of her. And now, Katya walks around her own life inside of Johna….guiding her, making suggestions that are easily birthed from the characteristics. I ask Katya to feel or sense what it feels like to be inside of her.

I’ll place a trigger for this, such as two fingers touching. This will enable Katya to re-enter this mind-state of Johna whenever she consciously feels a need. However, the subconscious mind will be making changes without conscious input.

Inner Schooling

Lighten up”…Elizabeth Bohorquez, RN, C.Ht

We all have dark sides, but how we manage them makes all the difference in how we get to perceive & then live our lives. Our experiences equal the amount of light we choose to shine our way, as well as what we choose to share with the world at large. Keep in mind that we are walking billboards, advertising our behaviors & emotional marinade.

DIRECTION – IT’S TIME FOR INNER SCHOOLING

Staying focused on emotional states & what’s underneath them is easier said than done…..unless you have been schooled in the practice of Heightened Awareness. This includes emotional & thought management, as well as the physical sensations or body communications. Just about everything is tied up in this nutshell. Here’s the catch….learn these skills or your emotions & thoughts will not only rule you but your body as well & this can be a huge gamble.

As strange as it sounds, we only have a vague idea of what we look like on the outside. Many of us can’t bear looking at self-photographs & work hard to keep cameras away. Even if we like the way we look, what we get to see is only a momentary image caught by the lens, now seen through our own perception & inner judging program. For certain, we do remain a mystery, both outside & inside.

A very large percentage of what resides inside of us, physical or emotional, tends to remain mysterious for most of our lives, mainly because we’re not attentive to the clues sent up by the body departments. Sometimes we awaken if the body part screams loud enough, but even then, little is done about the underlying cause. We may turn to medication to obliterate the symptom, or to another substance to mask the truths. If the family & personal history pulls towards addiction, these symptoms then become the hooks & an unhealthy pattern of behavior is actually etched into the subconscious mind.

KNOWLEDGE HOOK – WORKING WITH MOMENTS

The practice of Interactive Awareness helps us to work where the action is, right in the middle of the moment. When working with the skill of isolating moments it is important to have a working image tool, representative of an actual moment. In my practice, students & readers/listeners of my books & CD’s work with dry lentils, keeping a jar of them on their desk. Some have two jars. One symbolizes moments that are left in life & the other representing those that were missed due to inattentiveness.

Of course, we cannot catch all the moments, but we certainly want to catch key moments.

I came to notice that when I am involved in my disorderly eating patterns, my body fills with tension. I’m a runner & on those days my injuries feel even worse. Perhaps the most frightening thing to me is the feeling of underlying anxiety that doesn’t seem to be connected to anything that is going on in my life. This is called GAD, or generalized anxiety disorder. My concentration & focus are off & my emotions are in roller-coaster mode.

INTO THE BODY

We begin our quest for Heightened Awareness in the body & begin to work with a tool called mental biofeedback or body scanning. This mind-tool holds a big advantage because, in any moment in time, the person practicing mental biofeedback can release & change a body sensation, an emotion or a thought. There are also other advantages. As one learns to observe the momentary body sensations over a period of time, the body sensation patterns become clear. One can observe how they are attached to particular emotional states, or perhaps to triggers such as situations or relationships.

Another advantage is the feeling of self-confidence in being able to change an unpleasant or frightening sensation, right at the moment, whether it be peaking or just beginning to build. This includes behavioral or emotional patterns as well.

CONTAINMENTS & RELEASE

Containments are invaluable because they allow us to work in big areas of our lives without feeling overwhelmed. Body sensations can be overwhelming, especially if they are not contained or released. In addition, if a sensation is not released, the mindbody connection will produce even more. This is because the mindbody senses this as a “goal.” The only way for us to tell the mindbody that we don’t want something is to practice the skill of “release.”

MIND EXERCISE

Take a moment to relax deeply. Locate your mind screen on the back of your eyelids. Now draw or think a circle around your head. Notice that the cells move apart from each other. When we are tense, the cells tighten up, literally hugging each other. The circle is the image that instructs them to part, floating away from each other. Make some inner circles around your eyes, TMJ joints & chin, once more noticing the cells floating apart.

Now place a circle around the front of your neck & then the back. Pay attention to the cells floating. Travel down & encircle your right shoulder…..cells floating…..left shoulder….cells floating. You get the idea. Place a large bag around your right & left arms, inviting the cells to float. Circle around your chest & next the lower abdomen, following the same process. As you do this, you might notice some body parts calling out. They do this by reporting a sensation. Simply notice & place a circled around it. That’s all. Now, place a large bag around your left leg & then the right. You know the drill.

When you have finished, mind-draw a golden egg shape around all of you, so you are actually contained inside of it. This is your private place on the face of the earth & from this position you can now program your mind screen for observing thoughts & emotions.

It’s very important to release your body frequently. Once you skill-build, it can actually be accomplished in 1/200th of a second, just by having a flash image of your process. Then, you are ready for high level, mind screen performance.

Each moment carries a series of body sensations, emotions & thoughts. As you work to catch these in the practice of deep relaxation, noticing & release, you will then be able to edit or change them, right then & there. As you catch & open, the subconscious mind is also ready for new programming.

The Disbelieving Self

“We all have a part of us that doesn’t believe that we can do something. The job of that “disbelieving” part is to question positive images or ideas we might have & then to design “creative negative-proof” that we are incapable & so we remain stuck. And so, it’s time to pull the mask off of the disbelieving part.”…Elizabeth Bohorquez, RN, C.Ht

QUESTIONING…

A comment from a reader, “Oh yes, I love the image of the director chair that you have & I want one, BUT I need proof that I can have one.”

The “inner child” is alive & no, not well, but instead dis-functioning….raining on the parade. This is like window shopping & then when you want to go into the store to purchase something that you would truly love to have, you find yourself blocked at the gate.

LEARNING & ACCEPTING…

It’s easy to know that this is the child-Self manipulating & making trouble at the door. The leader-Self would never utter these words. The leader-Self is mature, focused, quiet, powerful & very assertive. The leader-Self knows what he/she wants & plants the image of that in the “theater of the mind” as if it were already present because it is.

This is a KEY CONCEPT, following how the mind works. There must be a leader & it cannot be the child-Self. To allow this is to invite all sorts of problems & interference. Life & choices do not have to be complicated. Return to simplicity…..”do you want this CHAIR? Well then….CLAIM IT AS YOURS.”

Many of us have spent lots of time window shopping & have stayed outside the store. Some of us have even stopped going to the window. We tell ourselves, “It’s of no use. I’ll never be able to solve my issues & to have the things  I want.” This is the “disbelieving Self” in action. Sometimes the messages are even more depressing, flowing into other areas of life including work & relationships. So you can understand why it is so important to move to the leadership position of the Self & to take charge.

“Just the idea of this makes my knees shake.”

DIRECTION – NO ONE EVER SUCCUMBED TO SHAKING KNEES.
SIMPLY PRETEND THAT YOU ARE LOADED WITH CONFIDENCE.

Take some quiet time for yourSelf & relax into the moment. The deeper you choose to relax, the better for you. Not only will your knees stop shaking, but you will begin to feel your own confidence pooling inside of you. Perhaps you are wondering if you have confidence & of course, you do. You started building confidence as a young baby & your collection of confidence moments have built over the years you have been alive. You not only built confidence from things that were easy for you, but you also found it in very difficult moments. This is “resilience confidence” & is very powerful. Travel on your time-line & find samples to bring back.

As a baby, you learned to turn over, to hold up your head, to sit, to stand, to put things in your mouth & a whole host of other things. As a toddler, you found confidence in new things every single day. Going forward, look to your pre-school era & up through your elementary school. No, everything wasn’t easy & that’s the point. You survived. You learned. You traveled forward. Junior high, high school, early adulthood & right up to where you are now in this very moment. Take your time & fill your basket with samples from these years. Now, notice how your basket fills up. These are your accomplishments, both big & small; some harder & more resilient than others.

Now, relax deeply as you hold your confidence. Look to the mindscreen & find the store window. Notice you are window-shopping & now you are entering the store. Standing tall & assertive….relaxed & quiet in your assertiveness. Listening….I AM. This is your self-esteem talking to you. You are a person of value. This is your Self-Efficacy….ownership of yourSelf. You are the leaderSelf & you make the choices & then the decisions. Sense this as you wander about the store. Truly sense or feel it inside of yourSelf. Notice the childSelf is observing & admiring you; pleased to be a child & without the responsibilities of being the leaderSelf. Now, you have this straight.

In the corner of the store is your Director Chair. Make the purchase….& take the chair out with you. Listen…..non-sense to proof. You wanted it & now you have it. You are in charge. Truly sense it in your body……& now in your mind.

HOW INTERACTIVE SELF-HYPNOSIS WORKS

Hypnosis is a natural activity of the mind & body. It can be very healthy if one is entertaining positive, healthy images while inviting the body to relax deeply. The brain waves are slowed, the stress chemicals are diminished & the subconscious mind is ready to accept suggestions.

In the practice of my original Interactive Self-Hypnosis, the individual, even the reader, relaxes very deeply & then the suggestions are either verbalized or written. The subconscious mind accepts the suggestions, especially if they are coated in a marinade of highly positive emotion. The emotion can be delivered through spoken or written words. I like to take the individual into the action “right in the moment” & to teach them how to change mindsets to suit the purpose of their chosen journey.

In the small practice above, the reader is disarming the disbelieving child-Self & taking back the power of leader-Self. While this sounds like a simple little story, it is evoking big changes in the memory bank, re-framing areas for enhanced self-image, self-esteem, self-efficacy & self-confidence. The individual is now looking through different lenses & seeing/sensing what is possible. In addtion, action is made without any fuss or efforting. This is the way it is supposed to be.

We live in the world surrounded by nay-sayers & other kinds of negative energy, much of it under our same roof or hat. We have the power to change this in the wink of an eye. Remember, the subconscious mind will accept whatever is delivered in the state of slow brain waves, as long as it is presented with emotional marindade. Make certain that yours is always of the positive variety. If not, you may get to taste something that you don’t want !

The Disobedient and Mischievous Self

“Being willing to look inside oneself & to be a fully present witness, takes quite a bit of courage, as well as a very good sense of humor, especially as we come upon our child-Self, who is a true dichotomy of nature.”…Elizabeth Bohorquez, RN, C.Ht

WHO CHOOSES?

We are all familiar with our inner conflicting voices, like two children who want to run in opposite directions. “Should I or shouldn’t I?” Will I or won’t I? I want plan A. I want plan B. I don’t want to do that. I do want to do that.”

I came to know mine very well when I was cleaning out the clutter in my home…and my life.  My husband had passed four months earlier. I needed an activity that not only kept me busy, but had a goal at the end of the process.

I had set a rule that I had to “touch” every single item that I owned, the reason being that I was so unfocused that I simply didn’t see things that truly existed. Once I touched or identified something, then came the decision. Did it meet the criteria to stay? If not, did it go to trash OR to the goodwill give-away pile? You might remember that I was “brought” to the conclusion by my inner-director, that I owned too many things & so in order for something to stay, it needed to be evaluated against the rather tough-love criteria.

In the beginning, I didn’t understand why I needed to learn this lesson & believe me, I had no idea how difficult this was going to become. Enter my child-selves, each pulling me in separate directions, acting like completely out of control children.  They had become even more mischievous since my husband passed, having been ignored during my months of caregiving to him.

Honesty Check ….I’m a junkie & now the discipline is being handed down. Part of me rejoices from being saved, but another part reports being anxious & even mad as hell.

DIRECTION – WITNESS THE MIND

My child-selves don’t want to play by the rules. They don’t want any rules & why should they? They have grown up fairly rule-free until now. Yes, I AM A JUNKIE!

Who thought up the idea of letting go of things, especially good things; things we like & love? Isn’t this a stupid & wasteful activity? Hey, what if I need those things again next week or even next year. So, I have to go out & buy it again? Some of these things can’t be replaced, especially all those pez containers. What about all of those things that are gifts from people we love? How will we remember them if we toss these out? What kind of person does something like this? I know just what to do…..I’ll hide things & keep them secret.

DIRECTION – KEEP WITNESSING

Did you hear the rules about the food? Who dreamed these up? So I have to plan meals now? Does that director person have any idea how busy I am? I don’t like the food on the list. I never had to eat it before, not even when I was little. When do I get to eat pizza & chocolate? I’ll pretend that I’m going to do it, but I know how to get what I want. There are plenty of excuses & I’m an easy sell. Who cares about all these diseases that I’ll never get anyway. I’ll think about it tomorrow, or maybe the day after that. I have time. Oh, I feel better now that all this is cleared up.

ABSOLVING THE CONFLICT

I have to admit, it’s embarrassing to listen to my inner workings. I share this with my patients & in my writing because everyone can connect with inner musings such as these. We’re all pretty much the same. We may be dealing with food issues, or alcohol, or drugs or compulsive shopping or nail biting or hair pulling or experiencing an emotional roller coaster that takes us towards other abuses, either to ourselves or to others, but our child-Selves speak the same language.

DIRECTION – THE MATURE SELF IS RELAXED & ASSERTIVE

OK…. & so, now what?

DIRECTION – ENGAGE & BE THAT

Oh….goodness, I’m a bit anxious about this. I’m not used to being assertive with my own inner child-Selves. They usually over-power me & so it’s just easier to let them have their way, but now I can see that if I don’t stop them, they are going to make me terribly ill. I’ve never seen it so clearly before & so, I’ll gather myself together & step up to the plate.

MIND EXERCISE

I relax deeply & enter the theater of my mind. I like it here because I have a director-producer chair. When I sit in it & use my bull-horn, I feel like I’m in control. I sit down & observe the activity on the stage. This is not what I want here. Many things need to be changed including the set, the script & even the players. My mind is working well now. I’m directing one thing after the other.

There is full respect from the “players.” I’m rewriting the script & exiting negative mind-states that have gotten me in trouble in the past. I’ll not write any excuse-making into the script. There, that was easy.

I’ve been arguing or running away for so long, that I forgot that I could choose just not do those things. I observe as I practice letting go of things & decide to have fun doing it. Yes, that will make a nice change. Wonder why I never thought of that? Guess there was too much noise or I was simply not taking charge. As I observe the mischief of the child-Selves, I’m aware of how creative they are & decide to send them off to a creative area I just formulated. Yes, there are many details that need my attention, but the idea no longer over-whelms, but instead, it brings freedom & exhilaration.

Lessons from the Closet

“All of the lessons we need are available all of the time, but often we have to wear our creative hat to access them.”….Elizabeth Bohorquez, RN, C.Ht

DIRECTION:  EVERYTHING MUST BE CLEANED and CLEARED

For a while I thought this was a sinister mind game of my manipulating Self, finding a way to get me to get rid of clutter,  so my attitude reflected that, as I approached the tasks with my deepest nasty Self in tow. My body presented a series of ongoing complaints ranging from headaches to a badly aching back, but what was worse was my mind activity, including an excruciating case of procrastination. Pushing myself day after day became an ongoing battle of wits. I mentioned in my last blog that it took three months to complete the task that was delivered by my Higher or Mentor Self. Of course, time is relative. In  this case, it was a very long  painful time in my life, but not just for the reasons mentioned above.

Entertaining my nasty-self day after day became tiresome. However, this part wasn’t a stranger to me.  I grew aware that it was a familiar visitor in my dealings with my eating issues. I was tired of many things that had to do with food. Yes, I was sick tired of daily meal planning, cooking and everything that went along with it.

My Self snarled, “Why shouldn’t I be tired. It’s been decades and decades. It’s not going to end. So take that and stuff it. And now you want to talk about dieting and cooking special things for YOU? Give me a break! And now you have me clearing out the house. What a servant you are!”

Oh…..big Self-Block.

The bathroom closet was not kind to me. I was forced to admit my poor organization skills. Wastefulness once again. There were bottles upon bottles of shampoo, conditioner and all sorts of creams that promised a better this, that and the other, obviously none of them successful. As the garbage bag filled up, I started counting the money I was throwing away. Guilty shameful Self yelling at me; truly kicking me right in the gut. Ouch…

The giver of Directions stepped in asking the kicker to step back. This was a learning experience. While I was meant to “wake-up”, I was not to be attacked, either physically or emotionally. I could almost see my little child-Self wiping her eyes, promising to learn the lessons… to stay awake.

DIRECTION – FORGIVE YOURSELF FOR ANYTHING and EVERYTHING

I started to feel better that day. Yes, I could face the music, but I didn’t have to go down on my knees. No wonder it had been so difficult to look at all of my mistakes in judgment, the lack of attention to what I was doing. I was terrified of the guilt and shame, feeling that I always had to pretend that I was “good and worthy” The secret was that “I was not.” Oh….. But, I heard the voice tell me that I was a good human being that had just made some mistakes. Yes, I could learn these lessons I could get over these things. Of course, I would have to make some changes. Now this became part of the directions.

DIRECTION – CHANGE IS GROWTH, SO CHOOSE TO CHANGE

All of the closets had suggestions for me. I learned how easy it was to organize the bathroom if I just kept an eye on it, I could decide when we needed something replaced. My shopping list had a special column for the bathroom closet. Nothing was purchased unless it was formally listed. I rather liked that…..formally listed made it special to the child part of me. It sounded like something important to do.

My clothes closet had plenty of suggestions about when to purchase things,when enough was enough. Oh….. big lesson here. This one would carry over to the kitchen as well. I was both amazed anddisheartened that I owned clothes that I didn’t even like. Now, who would do something like that…..especially a grown-up? I was directed to remove the things I didn’t like, but to saved enough clothes to last me until it was a formal shopping excursion. There’s that formal word again; Once again the child liking the idea of going on a special excursion. As a hypnotherapist I came to understand that these were great “containments” that would help me to be in control. Of course, every time I was in control, that would carry over to other parts of my life.

A great surprise greeted me in my “special closet.” Here is where I kept ALL of my hobbies.  Goodness, there were so many. I was directed to take all of them out  line them up in the middle of the room. I was called to explain when I would be completing these half-started or not-started-at all hobbies while evaluating how much money was sitting in the middle of the room. The bully stepped forward, but was immediately blocked by the “giver of directions.” I had to honestly confess that I didn’t know if I would ever have time to do these things. As for the amount of money, well point well taken. Lesson accepted.

DIRECTION – CLEAN and CLEAR.

You may have one indoor hobby and one outdoor hobby. It’s time to simplify life…to open the door to change. Everything else goes to someone else, so they will finish these up for you …of course, they will then belong to them.

FORGIVE YOURSELF FOR EVERYTHING … TAKE YOUR LESSON AS YOUR GIFT. Now bring all of your lessons and gifts to the KITCHEN, for it is time to apply these to taking care of yourself in new ways….

Return to the Kitchen

“Opening the mind is a glorious experience, for indeed there are many more flowers than weeds.”….Elizabeth Bohorquez, RN, C.Ht

Returning to the kitchen after three months of cleaning and clearing has painted a whole new set of fears in my body. No matter how knee deep I was in the clutter and emotional strife from acknowledging and owning the mess I had made in other areas, somehow knowing that the kitchen was waiting, made me want to push it right to the rear of my mind, if not further, for I still believed that the kitchen was the true culprit to my secret eating issues . No matter how much strength or support I had gleaned from my three month’s work, I still felt like a small, defenseless child in relation to my perceived villain.

DIRECTION – RETURN TO THE KITCHEN and BE STILL

This was a first. I was never “still” in the kitchen. Either I was involved in the hateful task of preparing or cooking meals that truly didn’t appeal to my bingeing mind OR I was looking to participate in my secret eating activities. So, I was either in the dark zone OR on a true high. The idea of being “still” in the kitchen habitat frightened me. I didn’t want to “just be” with myself. My thoughts in this overwhelming place. Whenever I was in the kitchen I stayed busy, so whether positive or not, my thoughts were controlled in some way. Being still meant that my thoughts and emotions had free rein,so generalized anxiety surfaced.

Those of us who secret eat, or have other addictive or emotional secrets, know that it isn’t just about the secret. It’s about the anticipation, the sneaking, mixed with the anxiety of being “found out” that bring the most exhilaration.

But, my directions were clear.  After three months, I came to the realization that I must follow and I must trust.

So, I become still…..waiting for what I don’t know. After all, it’s only a kitchen. Like a shy child, I look around at the appliances.  I look at the wallpaper that I never liked, but never took down, in this moment questioning why I left it since I didn’t like it. The earlier closets had taught me to question things like this. Why was I so absent from my own life? Absent from my own environment? Why was I so absent from my own self-care?

I wait with my own mind for about twenty minutes. Nothing happens. I feel stupid just sitting here like this. What would I say if someone came in asked me what I was doing? Oh….I’m just being “still” with my kitchen. Eye’s rolling up as I engage in more self-criticism, but at least I recognize it and shut it down myself. I know from the activities of the past months that I am doing something important here, even if I don’t know what it is. I don’t always have to know the answers! That was something I learned from the closet in my office.

The clock struck the hour. I realized what I was doing here. The kitchen was not the enemy or villain. It didn’t do anything to me. It remained “still” right along with me, as if waiting for ME to begin the activity. Yes, I am in charge here. I make things happen here. There is no boogie man under the bed or in the closet or in the kitchen. I have nothing to fear here. I’m in charge.

DIRECTION – MAKE IT AS YOU LIKE IT

I open the cupboards, I find the items I don’t like. So many things I don’t like, including the chipped plates, the glasses that don’t match; silverware that has seen better days, frying pans that look like they have a long history stuck to their bottoms. The pantry announced spices that had expiration dates almost as old as my children, some of which had never been opened. Why do I have these? This is the “over and over again” question. Remembering that I am free of guilt, free of shame.  I can throw these out. I am free to forgive myself, to learn…free to change.

I don’t like rice.  I own three kinds. What is this craziness? The refrigerator and freezer speak of their own secrets. Vegetables that come to live there, only to grow mold,  to be thrown out. Leftovers that are never consumed, but secretly disappear when no one is looking. Fruit left to spoil. I notice other sad, wasteful activities. The freezer mentioning the many cases of freezer burn, as well as left-overs stuck in the back, so no one would see them.

DIRECTION – MAKE IT AS YOU LIKE IT

I can do this. I take two large plastic garbage bags for the foods I don’t like. I take everything outdated.  I designate one box for the chipped dishes, unmatched glasses , the frying pans and other items that no longer meet my needs. I wash the cupboards. I measure fresh shelf paper putting it in place. I make a short, but detailed shopping list, placing smiley faces next to the items. I will only purchase what I need, what I like, what I enjoy.  I have that right. How good this feels.

I clean the refrigerator, the freezer, oven, and stove, noticing how uncared for they have been.  I commit myself to these kitchen helpers in very positive ways. I will care for them, only cook in healthy enjoyable ways. I can change my mindset. I can decide to be creative, I can have fun here. It is my choice. I decide to choose in my favor.

I place two cookbooks on the shelf . I leave the others for another time. Perhaps I have too many, but that will be decided later. I have time now. I do understand.

Anticipatory Grieving

All losses bring a period of mourning, but this time in one’s life is not static. Looking closely, it’s possible to observe the movement forward, rather like a gentle, flowing stream. If desired, it’s possible to swim along with the flow . On this particular journey mourning flow will bring great resilience or inner strength to the swimmer.”….Elizabeth Bohorquez, RN, C.Ht

ANTICIPATORY MOURNING OR GRIEVING

When delivering or writing programs for individuals, it’s important to remember that just the thought of living without someone or something can provoke great anxiety. It doesn’t matter if the relationship or habit/behavior isn’t good for that person. The level of grieving can be just as big, if not more than for a happy, healthy relationship, or habit/behavior. Much of this has to do with the individual’s perceived self-image or level of self-esteem. If one has become accustomed to receiving or giving punishment to the Self, then there is a part of the Self that simply wants or needs the pain. Not to have it is interpreted as emptiness or deep sadness. Such was the case of Aida.

Aida was a patient of mine.  She came to the program with the idea of “just finding out what it was all about.”  Her history of failure over the years left her non-believing and non-trusting, but she could “forgive” herself for this, if she attended the program or read the book, etc. Then she was free to “sell herself the story” that this, that or the other just wouldn’t work for her OR she had already tried something she considered “similar.”  Her story tells her that it doesn’t or won’t work. This is simply an inner battle or resistance to change.  It is there to protect her from the sadness that will come from the loss of the negative behaviors. This is a common outcome for so many. so it’s important to understand and pre-empt this part of their behavioral patterns.

Aida was petrified of waking up.  She knew that she was obese, but she would/could defend her patterns to her death. Imagining her life without them and their many facets left her in a state of high anxiety. She didn’t want to think about or feel any part of the perceived loss so she stayed in denial.

Listen to Aida, “I’m simply not ready. Maybe when I can take a long vacation and dedicate some time to myself OR when my daughter goes off to college OR when I win the lottery and don’t have to work for a living.” Of course, the more she defends, the more ridiculous the fantasies. And because she is an intelligent woman, even she is surprised by the caliber of stories she can manufacture. However, it takes a bit of time before she is willing to let me know what she now knows about herself.

Sometimes when writing programs, we feel estranged from our reader or listener, but it’s very important for those of us who work in this writing or coaching genre, to see or sense our audience right before us. Only then can we build the kind of rapport that we need to be able to help them. Keeping Aida’s needs in mind, helps me address issues for a general audience because I’ve witnessed enough of these trends in my private practice to know the very same are harbored in a large percentage of those who will read or listen to my work.

Most of us have heard about the four stages of grieving. Now I’ve added the fifth….anticipatory, which of course, comes first and may contain the other four stages as well. So, even though the loss hasn’t occurred as yet, the resistance to the perceived loss can be huge. The defense mechanism can include denial, isolation of the Self, anger, bargaining and then finally, acceptance.

My job is to move the reader/listener through all stages while in the anticipatory stage. Keep in mind that the individual will not realize that he/she is in a stage of grieving, nor rarely will they choose to admit to “defending.” This would be perceived as “being weak” and is the opposite of what they want. If you’ve ever met, which I’m sure you have, individuals in this position, you might agree that they are not the friendliest beings to be around.

So it’s easy to understand why they can “isolate” so well. It’s key not to back down or to back away when sensing their resistance, EVEN IF you don’t know the individual because you are a writer or teaching through the Internet.  The truth is, that they want you to sense their resistance and help them…….but not to fight with them because that is filled with “judgment”.  This is exactly why their secrets and problems exist in the first place.

MIND EXERCISE

Find a time and place  to allow for deep relaxation. All you need to do is to make the place and time ready.  Listen  to the sound of my voice or to read the following. Then go there by memory.

There is no reason to judge because there is nothing to judge. All that is important is what you do from this moment forward. What you are going to do is to awaken. There is nothing frightening about awakening for you do this every morning, only now you are going to awaken to things in your life and behaviors that you have adopted that aren’t helpful. There is nothing you need to do but to simply awaken. Notice how easy it is for you to think in this way….

To awaken means to be aware.  There is nothing frightening about being aware. You practice this thousands of times each day. Think for a moment about the things you were already aware of today…. perhaps this morning…..this afternoon….and right now. What are you aware of right now?

Now I want you to relax deeply into the chair where you are reading or listening to this. Feel how good it feels to give yourself this special time.

In the past, you awakened to many things and then let them go. Notice that you can see some examples of these over there. You are simply watching them and not participating in them because they already happened. If you like, you can watch them on the movie screen behind your eyelids or even sit in the back row. These are things that you let go of in your past. Notice how many of them there are….. some small, others big, but all successfully let go.

And now you have new awakenings that show you additional things that need to be let go. These have to do with secrets that have formed around eating issues or other issues for which you have developed unhealthy coping behaviors or habits. Notice them over there and at the same time notice how these secrets, behaviors and habits keep you locked up in a small corral.  Notice how all parts of you are ready to be free… the parts that you thought were anxious or frightened or grieving letting go are not that at all.  They are simply excited about experiencing health and wellness, for this is what this is about……nothing else. Now, who wouldn’t choose to be healthier and to experience wellness? I’m sure you can agree that you would welcome health and wellness if it came knocking at your door……… notice that it is knocking now. You are answering the door and welcoming it in. Feel the joy as your welcomed visitors enter.”

SYNOPSIS

The above short mind exercise walked the reader/listener through many reframes that allowed for letting go of fear and apprehension about entering change. Obviously, there are many reasons for being anxious and fearful….many having to do with self-image and self-esteem issues, but we can choose not to address them here.  We could decide to make the needed changes be about something that no one will argue about and that is completely unthreatening……..health and wellness fall into that category.  In the future, I will be assisting the reader/listener in building their inner core image and esteem, but right now, I want you, the reader or listener to move past the initial grieving into the action.

The next blog will be about the ongoing re-appearance of the grieving process and how you are already in the position to take charge.

Phobias and Specialized Fears

Anxiety & Panic Disorder is often accompanied by phobias or specialized fears. Just about anything can turn into a phobia. It’s very important to learn how to take charge of these because it’s not uncommon for them to multiply into other areas…Elizabeth Bohorquez, RN, C.Ht

Question: Lately I’ve noticed becoming fearful of many things. Some of them are new, but others seem to have intensified over the years. Some of them are really getting in my way such as driving on highways. Air travel has also become more difficult. A new one has to do with cleanliness in restaurants. I keep looking at the hands of people serving the food.  I feel a compulsion to go into the kitchen and spot check the place. How does one stop these fearful reactions? JC

Answer: Would everyone reading this column who has experienced a phobia please raise their hand? I can see hands waving all over the internet! The question is, have phobias become more prevalent, or are people just owning up to them more often? Whatever the answer, the key lies in knowing how to manage them. Let me give you some direction about this. Most phobias are blown-out-of-proportion “fear files.”

While it is a fact that people preparing food can have dirty hands, planes crash and cars have accidents, your subconscious mind has bought these ideas forward, convincing your neurological system that you are in imminent danger. You have sparked off the fight or flight reaction. You are literally pouring stress chemicals into your body preparing you to meet the enemy. When no enemy comes forward, you are left with a body filled with them. If this negative experience is not reprogrammed in a positive frame, the next time you have the opportunity to play it again, the probability is that your negative reaction will be enhanced.

TOOL #1. Each time a thought arises having to do with one of these “fear files”, simply notice. Now take a grounding breath through the bottom of your feet. Let the breath sit in the lower abdominal area. This will automatically slow the stress chemical production. Take a few moments to observe your breath in this area. I like to have my clients place their hand there so they can feel it. When the breath is felt in the area of the chest, stress chemical production is higher.

TOOL #2 – Learn to observe the triggers for the irrational thought files. Once you get good at this you may notice the triggers coming way before the actual event and maybe not even having much to do with it. This is the way of the subconscious mind. It is important to learn how to monitor the mind activity and to direct it. If you do not learn to do this, it is rather like having a puppy running around who hasn’t been trained. Your mind activity can either help or hinder you. Once under stress, if not trained, the mind will automatically go to the negative fear files. It is a built-in safety, but one that works against the person in most instances.

TOOL #3. It is important to change or edit the old files having to do specifically with the phobia or fear. This can be accomplished with a mindbody tool called Interactive Self-Hypnosis. It is a form of imagery or visualization that has been around in one form or another for hundreds of years. In a nutshell, with your body in a very relaxed state, you go into the inner recording system and just like a movie producer/director or book editor, you re-write the script. It will then be filed in your subconscious library in the newly edited version. This means that the stress chemical codings will be changed. The next time the triggers present themselves, you will be ready to take that puppy out on a leash!.