Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Notes from my Hypnotherapist...

Here are some notes from my last session with a hypnotherapist:
  • The purpose of dreams is to help you make sense of something, to figure it out.  We dream the same dream (recurring dreams) until we work it out.  
     
  • Negative thinkers think about the problem.  Positive thinkers think about the solution.
     
  • A thought or event can trigger shallow breathing if we are stressed or panic-stricken.  Shallow breathing means we are only using 1/3 of our lung capacity and not breathing to the bottom of our lungs.  Our breath needs to go to the bottom of our lungs in order to enter our bloodstream and circle through our body (left to right).  Eventually our brain gets the needed hit of oxygen.
     
  • The brain cannot function without oxygen - we have poor judgment, make poor decisions and don't think straight when our brain lacks oxygen.  Taking 3 purposeful breaths can fix that.  Breathing relaxes you.

Emotions

Embrace and understand your emotions, especially the unhappy ones, and appreciate their meaning - even their beauty - in your life.

from Infinite Possibilities by Mike Dooley

Limiting Beliefs

Limiting Beliefs are a motherfucker.  "Yes" keeps the door open.

When confronted by a limiting belief - from the inner critic or from a naysayer other than me - I like to say:  Fuck that shit.  I say it out loud if I am in my car or at home alone.  I say it in my head if out in public or within earshot.

"I don't know what I'm doing, I'll never learn, I'll be fired!"
Bullshit.
You have figured things out before, you can do so again.

"I'll never succeed because I was not born into a wealthy, well-connected family" or
"I will never succeed because I was not blessed with a high IQ - intellectually or emotionally."
Bullshit.
That is only true if I continue to believe it.  I've got other skills, talents, abilities and resources to succeed.

"I'll be happy once I lose weight."
Fuck that shit.
What does happiness have to do with weight?  Nothing - unless we think, say and believe so.

"I am afraid of failing, being disappointed, being hurt, or not being approved of."
Fuck that shit.
It's time to grow, which can only happen by facing and dealing with your fears and, when possible, following them to the limiting beliefs that have created the false perceptions.

"I feel powerless."
Fuck that shit.
You are, of course, powerful.  You've just lost momentum.  It's like riding a bike; you've got to keep moving in order to stay balanced.  Begin to take baby steps - forcing change in the areas of your life that trouble you most.

"That's the way life is."
Fuck that shit.
That's not the way it's going to continue.  From now on things are going to be different.

"My heart's desires are selfish and foolish."
Fuck that shit.
The truth is that there is enough for everyone, and your receiving your heart's desires does not mean others are going without theirs.  Plus, how can you give to others until you have first received?

Inspired by Infinite Possibilities by Mike Dooley

Hypnotherapy, Relaxation and Health

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) has studied the effect of hypnotherapy and other relaxation strategies on health outcomes.  Here is an excerpt from their website:

Hypnosis (also called hypnotherapy) has been studied for a number of conditions, including:
  • state anxiety (e.g., before medical procedures or surgeries)
  • headaches
  • smoking cessation
  • pain control
  • hot flashes in breast cancer survivors
  • irritable bowel syndrome
If hypnotherapy is a form of relaxation, then learning more about relaxation techniques may be helpful to understand the connection between intervention and recovery/healing:

Relaxation techniques include a number of practices such as:
  • progressive relaxation
  • guided imagery 
  • biofeedback 
  • self-hypnosis
  • deep breathing exercises
The goal is similar in all: to consciously produce the body’s natural relaxation response, characterized by slower breathing, lower blood pressure, and a feeling of calm and well-being.

Relaxation techniques (also called relaxation response techniques) may be used by some to release tension and to counteract the ill effects of stress. Relaxation techniques are also used to induce sleep, reduce pain, and calm emotions. 

Relaxation is more than a state of mind; it physically changes the way your body functions. When your body is relaxed breathing slows, blood pressure and oxygen consumption decrease, and some people report an increased sense of well-being. This is called the “relaxation response.” Being able to produce the relaxation response using relaxation techniques may counteract the effects of long-term stress, which may contribute to or worsen a range of health problems including depression, digestive disorders, headaches, high blood pressure, and insomnia.

Relaxation techniques often combine breathing and focused attention to calm the mind and the body. Most methods require only brief instruction from a book or experienced practitioner before they can be done without assistance. These techniques may be most effective when practiced regularly and combined with good nutrition, regular exercise, and a strong social support system.

People may use relaxation techniques as part of a comprehensive plan to treat, prevent, or reduce symptoms of a variety of conditions including stress, high blood pressure, chronic pain, insomnia, depression, labor pain, headache, cardiovascular disease, anxiety, chemotherapy side effects, and others.

To understand how consciously producing the relaxation response may affect your health, it is helpful to understand how your body responds to the opposite of relaxation—stress.  When you’re under stress, your body releases hormones that produce the “fight-or-flight response.” Heart rate and breathing rate go up and blood vessels narrow (restricting the flow of blood). This response allows energy to flow to parts of your body that need to take action, for example the muscles and the heart. However useful this response may be in the short term, there is evidence that when your body remains in a stress state for a long time, emotional or physical damage can occur. 

Long-term or chronic stress (lasting months or years) may reduce your body’s ability to fight off illness and lead to or worsen certain health conditions. Chronic stress may play a role in developing high blood pressure, headaches, and stomach ache. Stress may worsen certain conditions, such as asthma. Stress also has been linked to depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses.

In contrast to the stress response, the relaxation response slows the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and decreases oxygen consumption and levels of stress hormones. Because relaxation is the opposite of stress, the theory is that voluntarily creating the relaxation response through regular use of relaxation techniques could counteract the negative effects of stress.

The brain needs oxygen to think clearly so when you are stressed - take 3 slow belly breaths to nourish your brain.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Love, Relaxation, and Well-being

Love.

My mentor/father-figure gave me a gift certificate to a hypnotherapy session for my birthday.  The sessions have made a big difference for him in the last five years - he feels like a new person.  I had my second session last night.

Relaxation.

The relaxation achieved in hypnotherapy is deep and delicious.  The lower back tension and pain from my new and long commute (45 min) two days a week went away after the first session.
My dreams have become vivid.  As it turns out she (the hypnotherapist) provided a suggestion, while I was in a deep meditative state, to vent my problems through my dreams.
She is also working on breaking down walls that make me seem less than approachable - "expanding my boundaries" she said.  I feel it working in the "real world" (aka the local cafe where I study).

Well-being.

She said that our immune system works hardest when we are sleeping.  This means we need to relax deeply in order to be healthy.
She said to never feel guilty for taking naps.  Good, because I never do!  Even if I have a paper due - there's always time for a good nap and finishing the paper.
She also did some inner child work with me - she said, "heal the child, heal the adult."
This is going to be good :)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Candidate in Philosophy Degree Update

I got this in the mail today.  It looked so official, it made me happy and I had to share.  It has been such a long road.  After having been through a lot in the last few years, being able to accomplish this is especially meaningful.  When you want something, the universe conspires on your behalf . . .
Here's to wishing that all your dreams come true.


7/17/2013


MARIA ALEJANDRA ACUNA

Dear Ms. ACUNA

Based on the recommendation of the members of your doctoral committee, who indicate you have passed your University Written and Oral Qualifying Examinations, you were advanced to candidacy for the doctoral degree on 7/1/2013. The UC doctoral candidacy fee has been billed to your BruinBill account and will appear as two separate charges.

If offered by the program the Candidate in Philosophy degree will automatically be awarded to you.

Please be aware that you must be continuously enrolled throughout the completion of your degree. Continuous enrollment means you are registered, registered in absentia, or on an official leave of absence.

For information regarding the filing of your dissertation, including filing fees, information sessions, and the formatting and filing guide, please visit www.grad.ucla.edu/etd.

We congratulate you on your accomplishments thus far and wish you success in the completion of your doctoral degree requirements.

Sincerely,



Academic Services
UCLA Graduate Division