Music’s Healing Power — The Perfect Therapy

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Music’s Healing Power — The Perfect Therapy

You’re about to be wheeled in for surgery. You’re very nervous, and nothing anyone says is going to make you feel better. Finally, someone turns on some incredibly soothing music. You finally feel the peace wash over you and you know everything is going to be okay. Is it just a feeling, or does music actually have any
influence over your health?

The evidence is stacked up strongly in favor of music’s healing
power!
A positive link has been found for those suffering from things like autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Tourette’s.

Why Does Music Have a Healing Effect?

There are neuroscientists who are working to discover exactly why music
has healing powers
. After all, it’s pretty amazing that it can stimulate certain areas of the brain, speed healing, and decrease anxiety and increase optimism.

There are different components to music that can have an effect. Pitch, harmony, frequency, melody, and rhythm all effect the brain in different ways. We know that some of the brain locations are involved in helping to heal and soothe the body as well.

The brain can be taught and stimulated to perform better — and it seems that music is the
perfect vehicle to do that.

Musical Therapy

There are around 5,000 registered musical therapists in the United States. Their services are used to soothe people, stimulate recovery, and more. As we now know from scientific evidence, music has an actual physical effect on the body as well.

What Can Music Heal?

Music can be beneficial in just about every circumstance. However, scientists are looking into some specific uses where it has been found to be particularly effective.

Those who have had strokes often have trouble with their speech. It’s thought that the act of
singing or chanting can increase their fluency! It also has a strong effect on optimism and a positive outcome in
recovery overall.

In fact, the same effect has been seen with those who stutter. Music and singing can completely take the stutter away for a time. This is a great relief and a definite boost for someone who is tired of stuttering.

Parkinson’s disease affects movement. The rhythm of music can be a great help because it can stimulate the brain to allow more movement. It can help a person with Parkinson’s disease to move smoothly and vibrantly!

Memory is one of the biggest areas of study for music’s healing power. Research in the area of Alzheimer’s disease has been particularly promising. While it doesn’t take away or lessen the disease, it can help to stimulate memories for the patient.

It’s apparent that music has a special place in both our hearts and our minds, since even those who have nearly completely lost touch with reality can recognize and sing songs they have loved throughout their life.

Music has also been tested to be an amazing de-stressor. You’ve probably seen its effects yourself! You can come home and pop in your favorite CD at the end of the day and the worries that troubled you during the work hours instantly melt away.

The Science Behind Music’s Healing Power

However, there is science behind this and its healing power. Dr. Mike Miller of the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, set out to study this.

He used high-tech imaging to measure blood vessel size while listening to music. What he found was that the lining of the blood vessel relaxed and opened up. It also produced chemicals that help protect the heart.

There is a catch here. It has to be music the person enjoys! If they do not, the vessels close up. This is a stress response — the opposite of what we want.

Music can heal indirectly as well. You see, stress can have terrible effects on the body and mind long term. It can cause the blood vessels to become rigid, which does not allow the blood to flow freely. Arteries can harden as well. Blood pressure can rise overall. All of this is a recipe for heart attack and stroke!

Stress has a negative effect on the immune system as well. People who are stressed tend to get sick far more often. Those who are stressed often experience fertility and performance issues. Stress can even lead to anxiety and depression. It’s an all-around bad mixture for the body!

That’s why we see such positive effects from calm music. Music can make you feel great! When your mood improves, the stress gets chased away. It follows, then, that listening to music consistently can improve your health because it eliminates the factor of stress and its effects on the body and mind.

Hospitals Recognize Music’s Healing Power

Many hospitals and doctors are starting to recognize the wonderful healing effect music can have. They know that it can reduce stress and anxiety. It can help improve the recovery period — and it’s incredibly cost effective.

You can try this as well! There are so many ways you can integrate music into your daily life. Whether you have a condition you feel could be helped by music or not, music can positively affect your mood and overall health.

Researchers do note that you should change up the music you listen to. That way, it is kept fresh and alive, and the effects remain strong. You are now in a great position because you know that music can be so beneficial. If you should ever need surgery or to overcome an illness, you’ll be well aware of the amazing
benefits music can hold for you.

It’s a great thing that music’s healing power is not only being studied, but utilized. We’ve used music to heal since the beginning of time — it’s part of who we are. We will come to learn much, much more as scientists dedicate their time to this important area of study. Even more important, however, is that you make
music therapy a part of your everyday life.

Share it with those you love! If you know someone who is stressed or healing, the chances are high they could use some healing power. The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to the wonderful effects music can have on your body.

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Subliminal Messages: How Do They Work?

 

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You’ve probably heard of subliminal messages. There are lots of urban myths about how companies and advertisers use these kinds of messages to persuade customers to act in certain ways. The truth is, however, that subliminal messages won’t make you do or feel anything you’re not already inclined to do or feel. And, ironically, that’s what makes them such effective and powerful self-development tools.

 

The word “subliminal” is made up of two parts: sub, which means under or below (as in submarine) and liminal, which means threshold (as in the word limit). These kinds of messages are therefore presented “below the threshold” of your conscious mind. So even though you aren’t aware of the information, your subconscious mind picks it up and locks it away in your brain.

 

You Can Literally Change Your Mind

 Download your free subliminal MP3s now at www.subliminalguru.net

Here’s the thing – your subconscious mind is where the real power lies. Everything you think and believe is stored away in there. If you want to make real changes in your life, you have to be able to make changes at the subconscious level.

 

Imagine your subconscious mind is like a robot you’ve built. The first thing you do is program it to work in a certain way. Unlike any sci-fi movies you may have seen, this robot is incapable of doing anything it hasn’t been programmed to do.

 

Your subconscious mind works just like that. Over the years you’ve been “programmed” by the things you’ve seen, the things you’ve heard, and the things you’ve done. Your thoughts and beliefs are embedded in there, and they get fed out to your conscious mind, making you think you’re deciding all this stuff consciously… but you’re not.

 

That’s why so many people find it hard to quit smoking using their willpower alone, or to find the motivation to exercise more, or to lose weight. It’s almost impossible to make any real changes that have a significant impact on your waking or conscious life, unless you first make those changes at a subconscious level.

 

Sublimely Effective

 

With subliminal technology, your subconscious mind gets bombarded with positive messages that can literally change the way you think. They bypass the conscious mind completely, below the threshold, so that this logical mind doesn’t get in the way. The more your subconscious mind is exposed to these new ideas, the easier it is for you to alter your behavior, and that gives you the chance to change your programming from the inside out.

 

Subliminal messages are presented in the form of audio or visual stimuli – background sounds or flashing images – that you aren’t even aware of. They sneak into your subconscious mind and start working to change your attitudes, making it easy to break bad habits and develop new, positive ones, and giving you that extra push you need to take your life in a whole new direction.

 

You might have enormous willpower and determination, but on their own they simply aren’t enough. That’s why so many people give up on their New Year’s resolutions after a month or two… because deep down they haven’t actually changed anything. To do that, you need to get at your subconscious mind and input the new programming that will help you change your beliefs – and ultimately allow you to reach your goal.

 

Download your free subliminal MP3s now at www.subliminalguru.net

Brain Exercises

Unleash Your Genius with Genius Brain Power

When people think of exercising it often involves physical exertion to strengthen muscles. The human brain is also an important “muscle” in the body and with the right brain training and brain exercises you can help keep your mind fit, alert and ready to handle the rigors of a typical working day. Often brain exercises come in the form of games that help train the brain improve memory, strategize and think in advance. Some common forms of brain exercise include chess, memory games and mathematical problem solving.

Another way to exercise the brain is through brainwave entrainment. Isochronic tones are computer generated tones that are pulsed at specific frequencies to achieve desired effects such as productivity or relaxation. Although brainwave entrainment is not a new practice — binaural beats have been used in brain training since the mid-1800’s — the use of computer generated isochronic tones has become more popular lately and are also proving to be more effective in helping people improve their memory and intelligence.

Unfortunately when most people stop formal schooling, either by achieving a degree or choosing to drop out, the study habits and brain training that was part of their daily schedule also ends. The memorization and critical thinking that helped get us through school shouldn’t have to stop just because a specific goal has been reached. In fact, if you don’t keep up with brain exercises your mind will become lazy and won’t function in the as sharply as it used to.

Keeping the brain sharp requires exercise the same way muscles in the body require regular work outs to maintain a defined shape. The more you train your brain with brain exercises including strategy games, meditation and brainwave entrainment the better your memory, cognitive thinking and problem solving will be. We can’t expect our brains to always operate at the highest levels possible, but we can take proactive steps to help improve our focus, retain information and prevent memory loss.

8 Tips to Ensure Life Success

Personal goal setting is one of the best things you can do if you truly desire to be successful in life. Sadly, only a small percentage of people actually make goals for themselves regularly. But those are the most successful people you will meet!

Following are eight tips to help you use personal goal setting to achieve those things that are truly important to you.

1. Put your goals in writing – this will solidify them and make them very real. It also is the first step, and taking action is a key factor in reaching your goals. Writing them down also makes them more real. Unwritten goals with no game plan are really nothing more than wishes. And wishes don’t get you very far – but written goals will!

2. Prioritize them – When it comes to personal goal setting, it is essential that you prioritize your goals. Decide which ones are the most crucial for you to achieve. Those are the ones on which you want to devote the most energy. Those that end up at the bottom of your list may not be truly important to you, and they can be addressed at a later date in time if needed.

3. Write your goals down as positive statements. For example, rather than “lose 20 pounds” or “stop overeating”, you might write “reach the healthy weight of ____ pounds” or “eat only until I’m satisfied”.

4. Make your goals very clear and specific. With personal goal setting, if your goals are vague, you won’t likely succeed because you’re not really aiming at anything specific. An “iffy” goal is like throwing darts blind-folded (which I don’t recommend!). You might, by chance, hit the dart board but it is highly unlikely. Vague goals would be things such as “lose weight” or “make more money”.

Make them more specific; for example “make $10,000 per month”. That way you can measure process and you will know exactly when you have reached your goal. (After all, “make more money” could mean that you’re earning $5 more per month – which probably isn’t what you are striving for – right?)

5. Create specific timelines for reaching each of your goals. Not having a clear time frame in mind is very similar to having vague goals – you may never reach it because you take forever getting there. Creating a timeline gives you a sense of urgency, and will help spur motivation. Urgency and motivation are two important factors in personal goal setting.

6. Make sure your goals (and timelines) are realistic. For example, if you weight 250 pounds and your goal is to reach 150 pounds, you probably want to give yourself more than a month or two to reach your goal! Unrealistic goals and timelines are a quick path to failure when it comes to personal goal setting.

A note of caution here: there’s a delicate balance between being realistic and keeping your dreams alive. No one believed the 4 minute mile barrier could be broken – until Roger Bannister showed everyone that it could. And soon after his victory several people began running the mile in less than 4 minutes – most likely because now they believed it was possible.

So, go ahead and dream big – dreams are what make us feel alive and can fuel us with the motivation to achieve what may have seemed impossible (or what others tell us is impossible).

7. Break big goals down into multiple smaller, more doable goals. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by a really big goal. It may seem absolutely impossible – until your break it down into small steps. This is very important when it comes to personal goal setting!

For instance, if you’re just starting college and your goal is to become a surgeon, you may quickly become discouraged at the very long road ahead. However, if you break it down into sub goals (and then sub goals for those sub goals), the task won’t seem so daunting and you will be more likely to succeed.

8. Reward yourself when you achieve a goal (or sub goal). It is important that you acknowledge and reward your successes along the way, as success breeds more success. Treat yourself to something nice. It doesn’t have to be something big or expensive. But it is important that you celebrate each success along the way. You will be more likely to remain motivated and it will make the process a lot more fun!

If you are looking for more information on ways to achieve personal goals and live a more successful and fulfilling life, check out Amazing Self:

http://www.amazingself.com

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Six Benefits of Brainwave Entrainment

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  1. Enhance Your Whole Brain Operation

The quality of your entire life can be transformed if you improve your brain function. The word holographic comes from the word whole. The fascinating feature of a hologram is its wholeness and its inability to be divided into parts. The human brain can be used in a whole, holistic, or holographic way. On the other hand, your brain can be used in a partial, unbalanced, or fragmented way. Unfortunately, in our world right now, using our brains in an unbalanced and fragmented way seems to be the norm! Most of life’s illusions, difficulties, and limitations are directly related to unbalanced brain function. The first benefit of brainwave entrainment is that it synchronizes your two hemispheres into working in a holistic way.

Get your 21-Day trial of Brainwave Entrainment here.

2. Stimulate Clarity in Your Thinking

Have you heard of the “Mozart Effect”? Just look it up in Google. In the early 1990s, a team of psychologists discovered that sound waves could improve your brain’s ability to think. In writing his great music, Mozart “accidentally” improved brainwave function in those who listened. People still buy Mozart CDs today to help students learn math and other subjects better. However, with scientific design and feedback, today’s Brainwave Entrainment audios can stimulate the brain even better. When your brain is functioning properly in this way, you simply think more clearly.

One of the best brainwave entrainment audios I’ve ever listened to is the Brain Evolution System. 30 minutes of listening helps to refresh me, center me, and balance my thinking.

3. Abolish Your Addictions

Fragmenting our consciousness causes addictions. We divide our brain experience into past, present, and future. When we divide our awareness in this way, we actually start to believe that we are a victim of our circumstances. When we play the victim role, we experience fear, anxiety, depression, and other limiting emotions. We also experience procrastination, need for approval, difficulty in making decisions, and other ineffective feelings and behaviors. When we lack confidence, we engage in compulsive and addictive behaviors for temporary relief from tension and anxiety. What we are really seeking is wholeness and peace, but addictive behaviors never satisfy. Proper brainwave entrainment can reestablish harmony and wholeness in our brain and end these addictions.

Get your 21-Day trial of Brainwave Entrainment here.

4. Ignite Your Creativity

Have you ever had great ideas in the shower? How about while immersed in nature? These experiences help our brain to open up and break free from rigid pathways. Brainwave entrainment audio tracks can also ignite your creativity by “hooking up” parts of our brain that normally are dormant. These new brainwave patterns help us solve problems in new ways. Creativity isn’t just about artistic pursuits. Creativity means better relationships, better finances, and better health. Seeing the world in bright new ways will help you in every area of your life.

5. Intensify Your Energy Level

Here’s what the brainwave entrainment audios actually do, in very simplified form. The headphones give you slightly different frequencies in each ear. Your brain takes those two frequencies and creates a third frequency, which then aligns your own brain waves into a different pattern. Your brain kind of takes the “difference” between the two frequencies and matches that. When I listen to the audios I go into a very deep relaxation state that rejuvenates me more than a nap! Our modern world makes it hard to get into those deeper relaxation states. Thus, we feel tired most of the time. Brainwave entrainment makes it possible to hit those deep wave states, and this gives us increased energy levels.

Get your 21-Day trial of Brainwave Entrainment here.

6. Increase Your Productivity and Financial Situation

The increase in productivity comes from all of the other factors listed above. When you think more creatively and have more energy, you can’t help but do better financially! Some of you will get promotions as your skills and confidence increase. Some of you will start your own small business or home business with your new ideas. Whatever you do to make money, you’ll do it better with your brain operating at full power.

Go ahead and get your free 21-Day trial of the Brain Evolution Entrainment Program and experience all six benefits.

Now, here’s a bonus question for you. Why Do We Need Brainwave Entrainment? Well, why are our brains so fragmented and working at half-speed? Think of our world situation and the forces that affect our bodies and brains. Most people run a hectic schedule and never get enough sleep. They use computers and cell phones that disrupt their brain patterns. Other reasons for poor brain function include poor nutrition, emotional denial, and relationship conflict. Brainwave entrainment isn’t a cure all, but it sure can help you handle life more successfully. You also need life balance, proper sleep, time in nature, and sometimes therapy or counseling. The best thing for you to do is to give the brainwave entrainment a try. You can start your 21-Day Trial by clicking on the link below.

Brain Evolution 21-Day Free Trial

How Conquering Procrastination Can Help You Reduce Stress

I believe that procrastination is the No. 1 cause of stress in our society today. Throughout history, great thinkers have noted the connection between the failure to take action and the feeling of anxiety. The American philosopher William James once said, “Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging of an uncompleted task.”

If you have the habit of putting off tasks you fear-if you tend to avoid situations and events that terrify you-your fears have grown out of proportion. Every time you decide not to do something because you’re afraid of failing, your self-confidence takes another hit. There is only one way to overcome fear-you have to force yourself to do the thing you fear. When you face your fear and do it anyway, your confidence gets a big boost. Soon you will laugh at the imaginary fears that have kept you from becoming all that you can be. And you can do something about it today.
Establish goals. Prioritize. Measure your progress. Ask friends and office mates for feedback. Adjust your goals if necessary. Reward yourself when you finish jobs. If you’re a leader, get procrastinators to encourage each other. Help them overcome their fear of getting things done. Find a mentor to help you overcome your fear. When I have to do the thing I fear, I recite a verse from the Bible: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13)

Be as truthful as you can in your estimate of how long it will take to do the things you dislike. Many of the tasks we put off are simple ones. They cause an amount of stress in our lives that is altogether out of proportion to the time they require for completion. Think of when it took you much less time to do a dreaded job than you thought it would take. Can you learn something from that experience that could be applied to a task that has been left undone? Research shows that workers waste as much as a third of their workday. These same workers habitually complain about chronic stress caused by not having enough time to finish their jobs. Can you see the connection? The less you accomplish, the more you suffer from the sensation of stress and anxiety.

The only way to get at the root of the problem is by measuring how you spend your time. Keep a log of how much time you spend on things that you don’t need to do. Make a note of the things that could be done more efficiently. Try to do this for one full workday. When you analyze your list, you may be shocked at how much waste has seeped into your workday. Treat those items as a list of wasteful activities that need to be kept in check or completely eliminated. You probably don’t control the cause of all the wasted time you’ve identified. Ask yourself what you can do to eliminate those things that you can control.
As the Mad Hatter said to Alice, “If you knew time as well as I do, you wouldn’t talk about wasting it.

What Is Depression?

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Depression is a mental disorder where a person has a prolonged period of sadness, unhappiness, helplessness, hopelessness or worthlessness. These feelings often get worse over a period of time, causing a person to have feelings of self-doubt, severe despondency and dejection.

Depression is an extremely common illness. There are approximately 350 million people living in the world today who are affected by it and it is the leading cause for a visit to see a GP or doctor. Depression also has a stigma attached to it that people who suffer from it are weak which leads to them not seeking treatment – less than half of all of the people with depression are currently engaging in any kind of treatment for it. Long-lasting and moderate or severe depression can be a serious health condition. It can cause an affected person to suffer terribly, leading to problems with work, breakdowns in close relationships and lead to poor physical health.

The worst cases of depression can lead to a sufferer taking his or her own life. An estimated 1 million people worldwide every year commit suicide because of depression. Half of all the people who die by suicide have major depressive disorder.

The World Health Organization have reported that by the year 2020, depression will be the second biggest cause of premature death in the world, heart disease will be the only illness or disease that causes more.

What Causes Depression?

There are many different causes of depression. It has many different triggers and there are multiple reasons it can develop.

Personal Factors are known to trigger depression. Those who have a tendency to worry a lot, have low self-esteem, are sensitive to personal criticism, are severely overweight, perfectionists, or those with a self-critical and a negative mindset all have a higher risk of developing the condition.    

Depression has been known to run in families and some people will be at an increased hereditary or genetic risk. This does not mean that a person will automatically experience depression if a parent or close relative has had the illness though. Life circumstances and other personal factors are still likely to have an important influence.

Having a serious medical illness can trigger depression in two ways. Serious illnesses can bring about depression directly, or can contribute to depression through associated stress and worry, especially if it involves long-term management of the illness and/or chronic pain.

Drug and alcohol use can both lead to and result from depression. Many people with depression also have drug and alcohol problems.

Symptoms of Depression

Signs and symptoms of depression include:

  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.
    A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
  • Loss of interest in daily activities.
    No interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
  • Appetite or weight changes.
    Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
  • Sleep changes.
    Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping.
  • Anger or irritability.
    Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
  • Loss of energy.
    Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
  • Self-loathing.
    Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
  • Reckless behavior.
    You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
  • Concentration problems.
    Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
  • Unexplained aches and pains.
    An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.


How is Depression Treated?

The most common form of treatment for depression is the use of Antidepressant medication. Nobody can say for sure at this moment why antidepressants can alter a persons mood, because nobody knows for certain exactly how AD medication works. It is only thought that by increasing or decreasing certain chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin, that this has an effect on the brains neurotransmitters.

Currently, 10% of all Americans over 12 years old take antidepressants daily, and among females in their 40’s and 50’s, that figure increases to 25%. Approximately 254 million prescriptions were written for them in America in 2010, resulting in nearly $10 billion in costs. This figure is also expected to have risen dramatically in the following years.

However, antidepressants do not cure depression, they only lessen the symptoms for a minority of people who take them. A recent report published in The Journal of the American Medical Association stated that the drugs work best for very severe cases of depression, but have little or no benefit over a placebo in less serious cases. It is extremely difficult to put an exact figure on the percentage of people who experience decreased depressive symptoms as a result of AD medication, as reports and results vary wildly depending on the people in the study and their severity of depression, and whether a study is done by an independent body or by a pharmaceutical company. It is thought though, that the overall “success” rate of the drugs is approximately 36% – slightly higher than that of a placebo.

Antidepressants are also known to have side effects for the majority of people who take them. Patients will usually experience one or multiple of the following; nausea, increased appetite and weight gain, loss of sexual desire and/or other sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction and decreased orgasm, fatigue and drowsiness, insomnia, dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, dizziness, agitation, irritability, anxiety, and increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior – especially during the first month of treatment.

Antidepressants come with no guarantee that they will work, on any level of success.

Further treatment options include counselling, psychotherapy or talk therapy. This has a much higher success rate than antidepressants overall, but again the figures at hand vary wildly. The cost of seeing a councillor, therapist or psychiatrist is also very high – the average is around $150-$200 for a 60 minute session. It is not unusual for these professionals to charge upwards of $500 for an hours’ session though – and the sessions usually need to be on a regular weekly basis to have maximum chance of success. It is thought though, that because has a higher rate of success than antidepressants, that it is more cost-effective as a result. Again though, there are no guarantees of success.

Other treatment Options

It is interesting to note, that many health professionals believe there are much better ways to treat depression. Irving Kirsch, the Associate Director of the Program in Placebo Studies and a lecturer in medicine at the Harvard Medical School is quoted as saying; “Depression is a serious problem, but drugs are not the answer. In the long run, psychotherapy is both cheaper and more effective, even for very serious levels of depression. Physical exercise and self-help books based on CBT can also be useful, either alone or in combination.”

CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) has a much higher success rate than medication. Studies have shown it decreases severity of depression in most patients who maintain a CBT course, with many patients reporting they never relapsed into depression. CBT based self-help books sees an even larger percentage of success rates and numbers of people reporting to be cured, with very little cost involved – so why is this form of treatment not more widely used?.

It seems the answer is quite simple – there is nowhere near as much money to be made from curing depression as there is from helping people live with it. There is little money to be made from a healthy person, or indeed a dead person – however in sick people there is billions of dollars to be made.

Due to the pharmaceutical and medical industry’s wide-reaching influence and the money involved, and due to health professionals who deal with depression and other illnesses being afraid of offering a treatment which may upset those powerful companies, very few are willing to publicize findings that depression can indeed be treated naturally, safely, extremely cheaply and in just a few weeks. One of these few researchers who dares to go against the current trend is James Gordon, a UK-based researcher and former depression sufferer, who is doing a lot of work to try to make these findings available to the general public. He is the creator of the “Destroy Depression System™” , a simple, 7 step guide to self-curing depression naturally using an amalgamation of all the research done in the area, together with his own self-experimentation with which he cured his own depression.

5 Ways to Stress Less

Panic Miracle

By Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.

5 Ways to Stress Less
Stress is different things to different people. It’s also different things at different times to the same person. In other words, stress is very individual, and whether something becomes a stressor to you depends on a variety of variables, according to Richard Blonna, Ed.D, a nationally certified coach and counselor and author of Stress Less, Live More: How Acceptance & Commitment Therapy Can Help You Live a Busy Yet Balanced Life.
Specifically, he defines stress as a “holistic transaction between the individual and the potential stressor resulting in a stress response.” For example, being stuck in traffic on your way to work is a stressor. But traffic on a leisurely Sunday isn’t a big deal.
In addition, your response to the stressor also depends on your physiological state. “Each transaction we’re involved in takes place in a very specific context that’s affected by our health, sleep, psychoactive substances, whether we’ve had breakfast [that day] and [whether we’re] physically fit,” Blonna said. Lack of sleep and many cups of coffee can heighten stress, whereas a great workout and a big breakfast may buffer it.
Still, oftentimes, it can feel like we’re powerless to stressors. That we have no choice but to get bothered by traffic, the flu, taxes and bills. But we do have some control over our response to potential stressors, as Blonna said. Here’s how to empower yourself along with how to cope effectively with stress.

5 Ways for Better Coping with Stress

When trying to manage stress, Blonna said that many people mistakenly look for a Band-Aid approach. They look for one approach to work with all stressors in all situations at all times. But realistically you can’t rely on one technique. For instance, diaphragmatic breathing is an effective stress reliever but you might not want to use it in a certain situation because you’re feeling self-conscious and don’t want to bring attention to yourself, he said. Similarly, while Blonna is a big believer in meditation, he said it doesn’t work if you’re stuck in traffic, since it’s dangerous to close your eyes.
Instead, “What we need is a toolbox that’s full of techniques that we can fit and choose for the stressor in the present moment,” he said. Stress is complex, so your approach to coping with it has to be “broad-based and adaptive,” he said. Years ago, he developed five levels of strategies for coping with stress or the “five Rs of coping model.” Each level has multiple strategies.
1. Reorganize.
As a health educator, Blonna knows the importance of a healthy lifestyle, especially for stress management. He said that “reorganizing your health” and “develop[ing] hearty habits” provides more energy and builds coping resilience. For instance, exercise not only improves physical functioning but it also helps your brain work better and process information better, he said.
In fact, maybe you “won’t even get stressed in the first place.” Blonna aims to get at least 30 minutes of cardio four to five times a week. As he said, physical wellbeing isn’t “merely your health insurance, but [your] basic defense against stress.”
2. Rethink.
What your mind tells you “about a potential stressor determines whether it becomes an actual stressor,” Blonna said. He gave the example of a student who’s terrified of failing a final exam. He keeps focusing on how he isn’t smart and will do poorly, instead of focusing on the things that will help him do well on the exam, such as meeting with the professor, scheduling a study session with others and studying for the final. The goal is to get over your negative thinking and accept that while you may not be an expert in a certain subject, like in this case, you can still try your best and do what you can to learn the material.
Our scripts from the past also can turn potential stressors actual ones. They can stunt growth in the very areas that we value. From the perspective of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), Blonna said, we carry mental and emotional baggage about past events and experiences. When similar experiences come up, these old scripts lead to negative self-talk. Take the idea of a new relationship, he said. This can be a potential stressor if other relationships didn’t go well. While you’re very interested in this person and you value relationships, old images of past failed relationships, self-doubt and negative scripts keep coming up.
If we let these things become barriers to moving forward, then “we aren’t living lives with what we value,” he said. He likens this baggage to carrying around a duffle bag. “Each of us has this duffel bag filled with negative thoughts, mental images and dialogue.” We have two options: we can “let duffle bag drag us down [or] we can just drop it or put it away.” It’s the idea of accepting that this baggage does exist—”we can’t eliminate it”—but “I don’t have to let it stop me in my tracks,” he said. Plus, once you experience a positive relationship or experience, you create a healthy frame of reference.
In general, “be aware of that baggage and how it’s affecting [your] life in the present moment; how it’s influencing your ability to enjoy life now” and to accept “the fact that that’s how [your] mind works.” But you do have the power to change those negative thoughts and push through self-doubting scripts.
Blonna gave an example from his own life when he was considering becoming an ACT trainer. He had various negative scripts running in his mind, including how he’d inevitably fail and who did he think he was to train psychotherapists with years of experience in the first place. He “almost said no.” But after a while, he decided that he’d do several training sessions. If they were “total failures,” he’d stop. The result? The training sessions went exceptionally well, and he continues to train others.
3. Reduce.
“Sometimes we’re stressed out because of the sheer volume of things we’re involved in,” Blonna said. When you’re overwhelmed, even fun things lose their appeal and become stressors. Take running, for example. If you’re rushing around and have to force running in between two other commitments, this passion may become another source of stress, he said. The key is to find optimal stimulation, so you aren’t understimulated (i.e., bored) with your activities or overstimulated (i.e., overwhelmed).
To do that, consider all the things you’re involved in. It can help to keep a journal to track your activities and your feelings about them, Blonna said. Also, he suggested asking yourself, “Do they mesh with my goals and values? Am I doing things that give my life meaning? Am I doing the right amount of things?”
Other questions that may provide you with good insight: “When you wake up in the morning, do you look forward to what’s on your plate? Are you excited to start the day? Or do you dread getting out of bed because you don’t have any energy?”
Understand that getting to this balanced place takes trial and error. Also, it takes saying no to things that aren’t that important to you. For instance, Blonna has worked with students who take on 19 credits to please their parents, but they get incredibly overwhelmed with the course load. “They can only handle 12 credits and would rather cut back and enjoy the process of learning but allow others to bully them into toughing it out yet they’re miserable,” he said.
4. Relax.
This level is “designed to put your body in a state that’s incompatible with stress,” Blonna said. Interestingly, “a lot of people are so stressed [that] they don’t know what the absence of stress or a calm mind feels like,” he said. But practicing clinically proven relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or systematic muscle relaxation, for about 20 minutes a day can help tremendously. While you won’t always have the time to devote to these techniques on a daily basis, he said, it is important to make relaxation a priority.
5. Release.
Here, the goal is two-fold, according to Blonna: to reduce muscle tension and to “use up energy that’s mobilized during a stress response.” He divides physical activity into mild, moderate and vigorous activities. Maybe in addition to your physical activity routine, you need something more vigorous to release the tension so you lift weights or go on a brisk walk.
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To learn more about Richard Blonna, a certified coach, counselor and health education specialist, please visit his website.

I Don’t Call it Brainwashing I Call it Dry Cleaning

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JOURNALING

I have notebooks filled with everything from profound revelations to plain gibberish. There is an old saying “the faintest ink is more powerful than the strongest memory.” I read back through my journal and think “wow, what kind of an emotional state was I in when I wrote that.”

Every night I make an effort to write down what I learned that day. I also write down my plans for the next day. I may not follow them to a “T” but I have cleared my mind of all the clutter and I sleep better knowing I have made some attempt at a plan of action.

Some of my scribbling is just numbers, names, goals, affirmations, and incantations. I even have a fine selection of cornball slogans (that have saved my life on more than one occasion). The most important thing is I am taking positive action. Remember when I write these down they burn into my subconscious. The subconscious as I have said before cannot distinguish between what is real or imagined. That last statement has helped me more than I would have ever imagined. I changed my beliefs and values about past situations. This allowed my healing to shift into autopilot.

Writing has made me push through different thresholds of stagnation. It allowed me to gain control of my emotional state. It is a MUST to be in charge of this wonderful mechanism called the subconscious mind. I have taken tragic events from the wars and turned them into positive living experiences. Willie Nelson said, “Everyone has their own snakes to kill.” What may have destroyed me might not have even fazed you. This is why putting it on paper takes the fear out of it and puts it into a different perspective.

Remember if we keep doing what we have always done, we will get what we always got (pain).

You can act your way into right thinking but one can never think their way into right acting. Look at the first three letters of the word ACTion? There is a story about two old crows sitting on a fence and one of them says to the other “I think I’m going to fly over and get some corn.” How many crows are on the fence now? Two, because the one said, “I think.” He never took action.

Action is the thing that makes your life plan become a reality. The crow had a plan, flying to get some corn but he never left the fence. Make a plan for the actions you want for the next day every night before you go to bed. This does two things, one it clears your head of an awful lot of what I call “Grand Central Station” thinking. Two, it gives you a plan of action to follow.

The next day you may not get to every item you have on your list but this will keep you from sitting around all day like the crows on the fence and going insane.

Sanity is defined as soundness of mind. With PTSD when we are alone we are not in very good company unless we are meditating or putting something positive into our subconscious, TAKE ACTION!

It doesn’t get any easier later it just gets later…

Peace be with you

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