The Most Powerful Hypnotist in the World: FEAR

By (February, 2016)

I have been a Consulting Hypnotist for more than a decade, practicing in Palo Alto, California. Not only do I feel blessed by our beautiful weather, but also by the openness that hypnosis has received in this area. People here are very welcoming to alternate ways of healing and self-improvement, as complements to mainstream medical and therapeutic approaches. Only occasionally do I get a mostly jokingly surprised look by someone, saying, “Are you going to put me in a trance and make me do something silly when I look into your eyes?”

The truth is that a skilled hypnotist doesn’t so much put you into a trance rather he or she knows how to guide you out of your trance into a place of peace where you can see and live your full potential.

Let me explain what I mean.

Have you ever been in a very peaceful, calm and centered internal place and noticed how clear and focused your mind was, how easily you could access your intuition? A moment when you just knew what was right for you and you made decisions that were in your best interest easily and effortlessly. A moment where you simply felt at one with yourself knowing who you are.

Contrast this with what happens when you are experiencing a strong emotion like fear. Can you still think logically? Is your mind clear and focused? The answer is most likely “no” and it is not supposed to be, because fear activates the fight-flight or freeze response for survival. When in a situation of real or perceived harm or danger this fight-or-flight mechanism activates a cascade of chemical responses that prepare the body to either “fight or flight”. One of the most noticeable physical effects is an increase in heart rate, as well as blood flowing to the periphery of your body, away from the brain to the extremities. When this happens you might feel like you are having tunnel vision. In a situation like this there is no time to think. It’s time to act. That’s why, when fear hits us like this, we often experience a temporary impairment in our ability to make rational decisions.

For example, have you ever been talked into buying something out of fear that you might never need because it gave you a false sense of safety? I don’t know if you have noticed that a lot of advertisement is based on this principle. First they instill fear and then magically they have just the right solution to keep us “safe”. Fear is a great hypnotist because in a state of fear you don’t think clearly. It has been used by many leaders and emperors throughout history as a very effective tool.

Believe it or not, calm and peace is supposed to be our most natural state of being. This is where we function our best. How often do you find yourself in this place, especially with all the horrible news we hear every day, let alone our own daily stressors that seem to threaten our survival. Many of us find ourselves in a state of constant fear or worry. Fear leaves us vulnerable not smart. It keeps us from living up to our full potential. Some people stay in unhealthy personal or work relationships because they fear to be alone or not finding a better job that pays their bills. Fear is a powerful hypnotist. It keeps us in a trance.

Allow me to be even a little more specific.

In hypnosis we use a term called the Conscious Critical Faculty (CCF). In fact, the US government defines hypnosis as “the bypass of the Critical Faculty and the establishment of acceptable selective thinking.”

The CCF is used to describe the ability of our brain to compare new incoming information from our sensory organs to what we already know/ believe to be our “truth”. For example, people who grew up in a very safe and loving, supportive environment often feel very safe and secure in themselves. However, individuals who grow up constantly hearing how stupid or unlovable they are most likely learn to perceive themselves as just that. It has nothing to do with their innate truth, yet they start to believe and act as if it was true. When these individual later in life get praised for something well done or a confirmation of their lovability they might not be able to accept or even recognize it. The positive reinforcement is too foreign to the belief they already hold about themselves.

In healing hypnosis we use various techniques to bypass the Critical Faculty to access those subconsciously held beliefs and challenge them so the individual can live in harmony and alignment with who they really are. Creating happier, healthier more successful lives.

One might ask: “How did those erroneous beliefs get in there in the first place? Wouldn’t it be easy to just reject them?” It’s quite simple, strong emotions like fear also create a bypass of the Critical Faculty and suggestions, even if not true are more readily accepted especially when given repeatedly. Most of us have been surrounded by “hypnotists” throughout life to various degrees without even knowing it and a lot of this happens unintentionally. It doesn’t have to be an ill-meaning parent. Even a very loving parent/caregiver can create a fear-induced suggestion because they want to protect their loved ones from harm. I was working with a client once who was very afraid of dogs and didn’t know why. As I was working with her we uncovered when she was a baby her nanny always grabbing her to protect her when a dog would come close. Fear combined with the action created a message for the little girl that dogs are something to be afraid of. Children are by nature more susceptible to suggestions, especially until the age of 6.

However, adults can be equally receptive to powerful suggestions given by others especially authoritarian figures when combined with fear. Bruce Lipton describes this in his book “The Biology of Belief” as the “nocebo” effect, the power of negative beliefs, where a man diagnosed with esophageal cancer dies a few weeks after his diagnosis. Everyone in the medical community “knew” he would. The autopsy however, found very little cancer in his body. He might have died with cancer but in his case it was agreed upon that the cancer was not enough to kill him.

Once we undo fear we can uncover misbelieves and challenge the mind to a new and better belief system. We “un-hypnotize” the mind so to speak. As for the above example it is well known by now that hope and positive believes (the opposite of fear) have tremendous impact on the healing and recovery from illness. If the fear remains unchallenged we continue to live with limitations.

Especially in this time and day we all need a sense of community, belonging and support for each other in order to feel safe, happy and healthy. We are all in this world together. Togetherness not separation empowers and makes us feel safe. Fear creates invisible boundaries, isolation, and competition and can keep us from living to our full potential. People have been under the spell of fear for a long time. Now is the time to get UN-Hypnotized.

You might already know a professional hypnotist in your area who can help you with this. Make sure this person understands how emotions impact our mental and physical wellbeing and how to help you move through those. If you have more questions or would like to work with me in person or via Skype, feel free to contact me via phone 650-996-9911 or email alexandra_bley@yahoo.com.

Preventive Hypnotherapy

By (July 2012)

Isn’t the way the human body functions quite amazing and intricate? It knows exactly how to regulate and heal itself. We don’t have to tell our heart when and how fast to beat or the GI-tract how to digest food. We don’t have to instruct our lungs how to breathe or the immune system how to fight off infections. When we cut ourselves, the body knows exactly how to heal the wound. The human body has evolved to be healthy, strong and resilient. However, in order to function properly, the body’s internal environment needs to be in balance. Similar to a chemical reaction performed in a test tube requiring precise conditions of the right chemicals in the right amount, ratio, temperature and pH-balance.

A body out of balance can’t function properly. Everything in the human body is fine tuned and interconnected. If one area is imbalanced the proper functioning of other parts of the body are affected. The body is in a state of dis-ease.

What creates imbalance in the physical body? It is widely accepted that improper nutrition, dehydration, as well environmental factors such as pollutants, toxic chemicals and even electromagnetic radiation, can have a negative impact on our health and wellbeing.

There is growing evidence and acknowledgment even in traditional western medicine that there is an important connection between an individual's mental/emotional state (psycho) and the functioning of the body (soma). Our emotional and mental wellbeing affects not only our behavior but also our physical health.

Some physical diseases are believed to have a mental/emotional component derived from the stresses and strains of everyday living, meaning the symptom(s) are at least partially caused by mental or emotional disturbance. They are referred to as psychosomatic disorders.

For example after a particularly stressful event, like the loss of a loved one an individual might develop high blood pressure shortly afterward or even have a heart attack. In another person, the same situation might lead to a gastric ulcer. A third individual, equally grief-stricken, might not get physically ill at all.

Common examples for psychosomatic diseases are: tension and migraine headaches, gastric ulcer, IBS, certain cancers, rheumatism and arthritis, fibromyalgia, TMJ, arterial hypertension, allergy, asthma, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, eating disorders (anorexia and bulimia) and dermatitis. In children, some examples are: chronic abdominal pain, enuresis (bed wetting), appetite troubles, eczema and asthma.

Everyone has to deal with daily stressors to one extent or another. While the human body is well equipped to handle short-term stress via the fight-or-flight response, it is widely accepted that chronic stress can have a detrimental effect on our physical, mental as well as emotional wellbeing. I like to differentiate between external sources of stress (e.g., work, family, finances, or natural disasters) and internal stress, meaning the EMOTIONAL response to our surroundings. The impact of internalized negative emotions on physical health seems still greatly underestimated in our society.

Each individual responds to stress differently and has a different stress thresh holes. One might ask: “Why does one family member have a certain symptom while their sibling or even identical twin is perfectly healthy?” An individual might have genetic predispositions or be vulnerable to a certain condition. For example, someone might be prone to heart disease, another person to skin conditions, migraine or bowel disturbances. However, I strongly believe that a particular genetic predisposition doesn’t necessarily manifest itself in a less stressed, balanced individual. Under constantly elevated stress levels the body becomes more vulnerable. Eventually, the chain breaks at its weakest link.

Often we have little or no influence on the external amount of stress. However, we each have a choice about the amount of internal stress we are willing to carry. It is unhealthy to be too angry, too sad, too frustrated, too worried or afraid and simply ignore it.

I have successfully worked with many individuals with a wide range of symptoms to various degrees by using a unique blend of hypnosis and emotional releasing methods. I am still amazed at the body’s ability to recover once the internal stress is reduced or eliminated. In my experience, the most efficient way to regain health is to reduce built up negative emotions. The lower the internal stress the better the body is equipped to handle external stressors. A less stressed, healthier body promotes a calmer, more positive mindset which is known to be beneficial for our health.

Sadly, most people come to my office when they are in a crisis mode already. Why wait until it starts impacting life? We exercise to stay healthy, eat in a health promoting way, get our teeth cleaned regularly and go to annual preventive medical exams. Amongst all precautions our emotions seem greatly overlooked. Negative emotions do cause stress!

In my opinion, emotional stress is much more detrimental to our physical health than the lack of exercise or a diet that is not ideal.

Bad feelings don’t magically disappear. We can’t eat them away, drink them away or smoke them away. We need to learn to listen, know their meaning and most importantly what to do with them.

I strongly believe that everyone can benefit from a regular emotional tune up or at least learn the tools to do their own emotional housecleaning. The skillful us of hypnosis with a mind and body approach provides a wonderful tool to achieve and maintain mental, emotional and physical balance. I personally encourage clients to come for a regular tune up to maintain good health. After all, in a state of inner calm and with a positive mindset it is much easier to eat in a healthful way and excercise.

The Power of Positive Thoughts

By (January 2012)

It is well known by now that positive thoughts have a positive impact on our health and well-being. Positive thoughts create optimism and hope and allow focusing on a solution rather than the problem more easily. Positive thoughts promote relaxation and internal peace, which creates the environment for a healthy body.

Our bodies are meant to be healthy and have the natural ability to do so. Stress in whichever form either through external sources, e.g., work, family, finances or internal sources in the form of unresolved negative emotions, create an imbalance in the physical body. A body out of balance is much more prone to diseases.

It is beneficial to have positive thoughts and many leaders in the field of self-growth are talking about it. However, I often find something missing in the way it is being taught. Attempting to monitor the quality of your thoughts 24/7 can be quite challenging if you are trained like many to focus your thoughts predominantly in a negative, worrisome way. I tried it and it was not only exhausting but frustrating. I was getting mad at myself not being able to focus my thoughts in a positive way all the time. In addition to what was going on in my life, I was beating up on myself for not being able to shift my thinking.

Redirecting your thoughts in a more positive way does require some conscious practice but it doesn’t have to be a battle. There is a tremendous difference between forcing or pretending to have positive thoughts and having positive thoughts more naturally and effortlessly.

Some of my clients have asked me "I have been using affirmations for a long time, they don’t seem to work!" Affirmations CAN work really well, don’t get me wrong. Frequently there is simply a missing link that keeps them from working. If those affirmative words don’t ring true while you think or say them they can’t work or only for a limited time unless you have the endurance to keep repeating them forever…which I don’t!

You can have a big influence on your health and well-being and shift to be a more optimistic person quite easily. But there is something to be aware of.

All thoughts create feelings. Authentic positive thoughts usually create positive feelings or sensations in the body, whereas negative thoughts create negative feelings. You cannot have a negative thought and a positive feeling at the same time.

If you are in a safe place and don’t have to focus on something that requires your full attention try this: Close your eyes for a moment and think about a positive experience. As you do focus on how it makes you feel. Notice the physical sensations in your body.

Now, focus your thoughts on something not so pleasant, maybe a car cutting in front of you on the highway on your way to work this morning. Notice how your body feels when you focus your attention on these thoughts. Become aware of the difference in your feelings in correlation to the quality of your thoughts. Which thought feels better?

Now, tell yourself "I am a great, worthwhile, lovable person." That’s a nice positive thought in itself, isn’t it? When you think or say this thought with your eyes closed notice how your body responds. Does this statement feel correct? Do you get a warm, fuzzy feeling "yeah, that is right" or does it seem rather artificial and fake, maybe even frightening? If this self-statement gives you a good feeling congratulate yourself because you are amongst the minority of people who believe it. If not don’t worry you are not alone! You just need to add another step in order to get there.

Frequently, the missing step in the creation of a positive, hopeful attitude is leaving the emotions out of the equation. As I mentioned earlier every negative, self-defeating statement causes one to feel bad. Feeling bad usually creates more negative thoughts and thus more negative emotions. Once in a really bad mood it can be rather challenging to find something positive to think about. Negative feelings tend to be much stronger than the power of the conscious, logical mind trying to overwrite them with a positive self-statement.

Attending to the feelings first with the intention of releasing and healing negative, painful ones allows positive thoughts to rise more naturally. I teach my clients various, simple releasing techniques they can even use at home after their session. Once FEELING better, the tendency to focus our thoughts more positively occurs automatically and more effortlessly. The mind and body are connected through thoughts and feelings. In order to successfully make lasting changes it is important to work with both aspects.

The body is a good indicator of the quality of one’s thoughts and believes. Just stop occasionally during the day and ask yourself how you are feeling. Then notice what has been going on in your day or in your life. This in itself might be a challenge because many of us either didn’t learn or have untrained themselves from body awareness. However, simply noticing how you are feeling can be much easier than trying to monitor thoughts. Our bodies are wise. They tell us. We just need to learn to listen.

If you would like more information or help in shifting your life in a more positive direction and reaching your individual goals more easily please feel free to call my office in Palo Alto, CA at (650)996-9911. I am here to help.