Monday, March 24, 2008

SLEEP, why is it important?

Do you remember the times when your parents used to tell you that it was your bedtime? But you were afraid that if you did go to sleep, you would miss out on something important. Sleep was boring to you back then and you felt you didn’t need much of it. So you would say, “I am not sleepy,” or “Can I stay up for a little while longer?” Yeah, there were times you could barely keep your eyes open but it was just something you took for granted and you felt it wasn’t important. If you are like many people, the more you stayed awake as a child, the more you created the habit of staying awake as an adult. But why would you need to ‘rest your eyes’ so much? You have so much to do, so many people to see and so many places to go, right?

Why is sleep important? Sleep is good for children’s growth. It also helps fight weight loss and diabetes and increases those gray cells for enhanced productivity.

Lesley Stahl of the hit television show “60 Minutes” researched the importance of sleep in her piece – The Science Of Sleep. In this study, she found that the purpose of sleep is not just to rest our eyes but also, more importantly, to improve our health and well being. Furthermore, she discussed that memory is improved after one learns a new task and later goes to sleep – after sleep, memory actually registered 20 to 30 percent improvement.

We all think we need to stay awake so we can get more done, but this study goes against the grain of this old thinking. In fact, staying up late each and every night may have more negative effects on a person than just being a detriment to memory capacity.

One issue discussed on the program was that of Diabetes – in fact, the Archives of Internal Medicine found that women who slept only five hours a night were 2 ½ times more likely to have diabetes as those who slept seven or eight hours.

Another issue is Growth – ‘beauty sleep’ or deep sleep allows the secretion of the growth hormone to help repair and rebuild body tissues like muscle and bone.

Here’s another one…Lack of productivity – when a person is sleep deprived, getting less than eight hours each and every night, the brain may become dysfunctional and not operate at its optimal level.

I like to tell people this – “Please do not operate heavy machinery if you are sleep deprived!” And this is not a joke – I’m perfectly serious when I give this warning! It has been said that many of the world’s manmade disasters have been caused by the lack of sleep – Exxon Valdez oil spill, Chernobyl disaster, The Three Mile Island disaster and many others.

One other factor which is negatively affected by lack of sleep is Weight. The lack of sleep lowers the level of leptin (a hormone which suppresses appetite) and raises grehlin (a hormone which increases the level of food intake). The result of this would be often undesired weight gain.

The illustrative image above (courtesy of the WHO Regional Office for Europe) demonstrates the effects of sleep and the lack thereof. This picture is posted under an article on the organization’s website on ‘Noise and Sleep’. Does it ring a bell? So the next time you want to stay awake to see that late night movie, depriving yourself of rest just because you don’t want to sleep, think about your health!

Clinical Hypnotherapist & Life Coach
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Monday, March 17, 2008

PERFECTION - trying to get it right!

In my opinion, “perfection” is one of the most unattractive words in the dictionary. Why do I think this, you may ask? As a hypnotist, I see many of my clients carrying around this perfectionist thinking. This type of thinking typically started out in their childhood and now wreaks havoc in their adulthood. Some of these perfectionists are usually dealing with specific types of problems – OCD (minor issues), lack of confidence, strained relationships and procrastination. But after breaking down their situation, I discovered that either one or more of these type of behaviors was part of the underpinning of this problem—the pursuit of “perfection”.

OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) is a compulsion to do it right every time – be it washing, cleaning, organizing or many other compulsive behaviors. However, daily life changes so much, this pursuit of getting it right is very frustrating and will drive a person senseless.

In their pursuit of perfection which almost never comes, one must continue doing one act over and over again until they feel that it is as should be. Fact is, this person doesn’t know when to stop because perfection never arrives. And let’s say for argument’s sake that perfection does arrive – the person is so confused and so entrenched into their compulsive behavior that they may miss their golden moment – perfection!

Confidence stems from completing tasks on a consistent basis and after that, moving on to bigger and brighter things. Perfectionists have a hard time completing tasks and moving on because they are too busy ‘trying’ to get it right.

Perfectionists take issue with their relationship because their mate is not perfect (in his or her look, their love for them, their cleanliness, etc), which eventually puts a muzzle on the relationship and causes divide.

Procrastination, or putting things off, has a perfectionist foundation. It takes valuable time to get things right – hours in certain cases. Sometimes, these perfectionists have so much to do; they know how much time and effort it takes to put into a task and putting it off seems to be the best answer until they feel they have sufficient time to devote to making it perfect. In a busy life with a tight schedule, ‘sufficient time’ is a rare thing to come by – thus the act of procrastinating often.

Another underlying factor with many perfectionists is control. They love to be in control – at all times. Psychologists, in their research in an Australian university, polled 252 participants and asked them questions like “I think of myself as either in control or out of control” and “I either get on very well with people or not at all.”

If the participants answered favorably to the questions of being in control, they were more likely to display the type of extreme perfectionism that lead to mental health problems.

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Monday, March 10, 2008


As a clinical hypnotherapist, people ask me this question all the time – it is probably the most common question I am asked. As health care costs mount up and salaries appear to remain stagnant, I am well aware that the usual fee for hypnotherapists may sound expensive. However, breaking a habit, one of the hardest tasks that man (or woman) would ever have to do in his entire life, is no fun and games.

There are good habits and bad habits, yet everything we do is habit. Think about this:

In the morning when you get up for work or school or for whatever you get up for, what’s the first thing you do? Some people get up and go straight to brush their teeth, others may get up and take a shower, and some may fix coffee or breakfast before doing anything else. Whatever you do, you usually do it the same way each and every day – it’s a routine.

How many times have you driven your car down the same road and stopped at the same stop sign or traffic light on the way to or from work? Yes, there may be other routes you can take to get to work but, for whatever reason, you take the same route each day. There could be times when your mind may think of something else while driving and you just happen to arrive on the job anyway without realizing how you got there.

Habits are just small, medium and large ‘programs’ embedded in our minds. Tying your shoes is a habit. Riding a bike is a habit – even though we don’t think of it that way because we get physical enjoyment out of it, just as we do with another activity such as swimming. But your muscles (hands, feet, thighs and calves) are trained on what to do, whether that is riding a bike or swimming. These two activities may require different muscle groups to be activated at different times, yet they know what to do. Any time you can do it in the dark, without conscious thought or without looking directly at it, it has become habit – which is a program.

Why are habits such a big part of our lives? If we had to relearn everything we do during the day each new time we did it, we would be very frustrated. So our minds are set up so that once we do something (scientists say that we must do it for 21 consecutive days), it begins to ‘stick’ or become habit.

Of course, I never get calls about good habits. My calls come to me when someone has allowed a ‘bad’ habit or negative behavior to ruin their lives. These ‘bad’ habits stem from eating too much, eating the wrong things, drinking too much, swearing too much, too much negative chatter going on in the back of one’s mind, being too lazy, feeling depressed all the time, suffering from a form of addiction, having a habit of attracting the wrong man or woman, compulsive behavior (obsessive compulsive disorder)... and the list goes on and on.

Getting back to the original question – how many hypnosis sessions do I need? In answer, I will quote a good friend of mine Dr. Brady Hurst who is a scholar and a gentleman and has been a great source of information about how the mind and the emotions work. “John, to change habits, the mind needs repetition, repetition, repetition.” This certainly is in line with what the scientists say that it takes 21 consecutive days to make or break a habit.

With that said, I advise clients that they can do however many sessions they are comfortable with (financially). However, if they really want to change or break their negative habits which they have accumulated over a significant amount of time, they would need at least six sessions to start out with and they should gear themselves up for more if the habit requires (oftentimes, this is the case). Nobody said it was easy – but with will and determination and openness, anything is possible.

In addition to attending sessions in my office, my clients would also need to learn self-hypnosis (which I would teach them) and listen to a general or customized*** hypnosis CD especially at night before and during sleep for at least a month. It takes an aggressive approach to eradicate an aggressive, persistent problem.

***(contact me for more info on customized CDs)
Thank you for reading,

Clinical Hypnotherapist & Life Coach
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Wednesday, March 5, 2008


At the extent of not activating your paranoid buttons, and in the same breath stressing that my intent is NOT to speak poorly about all doctors or the medical profession in general, I want to make you aware of the troubling times we are in. Many of our citizens, young and old alike, are experiencing ‘accidents’ inside of the places where they least expect to be harmed – hospitals. In other words, the places where one should feel the safest are turning out to provide challenges to some people’s health.

These ‘slip ups’ are happening at an alarming rate. Whether through administering the wrong medicine, operating on the wrong limb, removing the wrong organ or giving the wrong advice… today, we have entirely too much ‘bad doctoring’ going around in our hospitals and clinics.

A doctor’s reputation, which should be protected through excellence in practice, is teetering on the edge of something unpleasant. Could it be that this is causing some to lose their respect for those whose job it should be to heal? We already know of other professions which do not have much of a good reputation in this day and age – lawyers, car salesmen, politicians and even mortgage brokers, to name a few. Could some doctors be joining these ranks? Are the media spinning too much about these “medical mistakes” – or should the medical staff guilty of these actions be held more accountable for their actions? Should we hold them at a higher standard?

I remember how doctors used to be respected in the community many moons ago. Even when you asked a child what he or she would have wanted to be when he grew up, a doctor or attorney were usually the two professions that came to mind. Was it because he or she saw them on television in a positive light? Or his or her mother or father spoke so favorably about them? Or maybe the kid had an experience in a hospital that turned out better than anticipated, where the doctor really helped? Or perhaps a family member was one of these authority figures and so they thought it was cool to be one? Yet still, perhaps the child's dad was one of these professionals. Whatever the reason for this respect in the past, doctors seemed to do no wrong in the eyes of many! And really, they shouldn’t...because our lives are in their hands.

Today, it is a whole new ball game. It is generally known that the Hippocratic Oath holds doctors to this tenet first and foremost: “First, do no harm”. So some people may wonder - why are so many now allowing their profession to become enslaved to the almighty pharmaceutical industry, which in turn is pushed forward by some very powerful lobbying? Do the doctors have their hands tied, or do they do this out of free will? Furthermore, are they as ensnared in this complicated system of HMO's and Medicaid and extreme bureaucracy as we all appear to be?

I know quite a few doctors personally, people who are really good doctors, and who I would recommend without forethought to my family and friends. I think these people do a wonderful job. They invest most of their time working hard on their vocation and they really care about their patients - this is something I don’t say lightly, and I mean it.

I also like to ask my doctor friends a lot of questions about some things that rouse my curiosity about their profession. Usually, they tell me that they love my questions, and I really appreciate that they take time to enlighten me on these subjects.

For example, I have often heard that it is very hard to read a doctor’s handwriting. I used to wonder if something like handwriting could cause patients problems. A study was done on this very fact. In a BBC article, The UK’s Medical Defence Union said that difficulties often arose because abbreviations can have more than one meaning or might be misread. This study found out that some patients had the wrong limb removed or operated on and others have been given deadly drug doses. In the same article, it was mentioned that in the U.S. in a particular year – can’t remember offhand – there were 30,000 medical errors, some fatal, and it was concluded that 5% were linked to abbreviations in notes.

An example of this… and I quote the article… was a 62 year old who was being treated for a viral infection with the drug “Acyclovir”. His prescription was written as “acyclovir (unknown dose) with HD”, meaning haemodialysis. Acyclovir should be adjusted for renal impairment and given only once daily. Unfortunately, the prescription was misread as TID (three times daily) and the patient died as a result. (Medical abbreviations ‘pose risk’)

In another article… “We have to become better at learning from these mistakes,” said Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson in response to 250,000 bad drug reactions a year in the U.K. alone. (Drug reactions ‘kill thousands’)

And it is not just that everyday common folks that are at risk either. Saturday night live comedian Dana Carvey, 45 and father of two young kids, was told two months after his double bypass heart operation that the cardiac surgeon bypassed the wrong artery. (Make No Mistake: Medical Errors Can Be Deadly Serious)

What can you do as a consumer and patient? Today, we are in the information age! You have at your finger tips access to more information than ever in the history of the world. There is neither rhyme nor reason for anyone to be misinformed about the health care industry – ‘bad medication’, ‘bad medical procedures’ and ‘bad doctoring’. Each person has to be active in their own health. If you are given medication by your doctor, ask about the many side effects before taking it. If there are side effects, monitor your reactions to the medication.

If you have to take medication, please go online and find out about this drug: (; snoop around to find out if this drug is on the ‘hit list’ of the top ten bad drugs on the market. If your pills have always been one color and all of a sudden they change color, quiz your doctor and/or your pharmacist about this change.

We cannot just sit in idle complacency where our lives are concerned. Sadly, we are putting more emphasis on buying a house and a car than on our health. We go online to look for the best cars – we know all about passenger size, the size of the tires, how many miles to the gallon it goes, the warranty length and all other statistics about our vehicles. We go to housing websites to look at the square footage, number of bedrooms and half baths, and the location of the house. We are concerned about down payment and monthly payment. But our health continues to suffer because we aren’t making the necessary effort to take care of it.

When it comes to our health, we cannot continue to walk around like little children waiting for someone to take care of us. We behave as though we are helpless and we don’t know how to search for this information. Yes, ‘Bad doctoring’ is done by a few bad apples and a few careless doctors. Again, we are not condemning all doctors and all hospitals here. Doctors are an important part of our lives. But at the same time, if we do search consumer guides about cars and houses, we should be more active about our minds and bodies.

So please, Patients Beware!

Clinical Hypnotherapist & Life Coach
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Welcome to my new blog!

Well folks, I have finally decided to join the millions of tech-savvy Internet junkies and create my own blog page. The reasons for this are several, but most of all, I want to have a place, a forum, where I can communicate thoughts and knowledge to my readers - and get instant feedback for it.

I hope to be able to entertain you, and at the same time make you think about the many issues we face in the modern world. This blog is not just for fellow hypnotherapists or therapists in general, it is also for the billions of people who want to connect with themselves and those around them in some way.

Here I will be discussing hypnosis related topics, alternative therapies, and every day situations that affect people and require healing.

Of course, I will also be shamelessly promoting my products - my hypnosis and self-enhancement books and CDs - which are getting very positive feedback, I must say. I hope that you will find this blog interesting, informative, and fun.

Clinical Hypnotherapist & Life Coach
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