10 Tips to Calm Stage Fright

MUNYauditionPanelDoes just thinking about that audition coming up get your heart racing? Here are some practical steps (besides lots of practice!) that will keep you in the Zone to ensure that you will do your best. First of all, realize that you do need a dose of anxiety to provide pizzazz to your performance and lift it above your daily practice.

  • Way before the audition date, learn basic relaxation skills that will help you manage stress. You might try yoga or meditation or something as simple as loading your phone with music that calms you.
  • Even easier and more basic, learn to breathe deeply and slowly. When you are too nervous, you breathe more shallowly. This is counterproductive to the strong breath you need for a rich, deep tone or to hold long notes, or even to introduce your piece and project your voice. Exhale fully and hold it a short time before starting the inhale. Hold it again before the exhale, making the exhalation slightly longer than the inhalation. As you exhale into deeper relaxation with each breath, say “Peace” to yourself.
  • Mentally rehearse each passage of your piece. Olympic athletes imagine themselves going through each motion that will bring them over the finish line and see their arms raised in glory.
  • Mentally rehearse your stage presence. See yourself taking nice deep breaths before walking on stage, taking a few moments to gather yourself and breath before greeting the faculty and then signaling to the pianist.
  • Carry yourself as if you are the chosen performer. “Fake it till you make it!” Watch Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk on Power Poses. Changing your posture doesn’t just make you feel and look more confident, but it gives you a surge of hormones to make it true!
  • Allow plenty of time to park, find the room, go to the bathroom and do your self-soothing techniques. Nothing worse than getting stuck in traffic and rushing to your appointment.
  • Take time to eat! Keep your blood sugar levels stable by having some protein. Don’t just grab a quick pastry. Anxiety is lot worse with blood sugar crashes.
  • Sleep! Get to bed early enough that even if you spend some time tossing and turning, you sleep as much as possible. Use your deep breathing skills to drift off and get restored for the next day.
  • Limit caffeine. This is not the time to go “cold turkey” on your morning cup of coffee, but don’t overdo it. Limit the ice tea and caffeinated sodas, too.
  • Dress comfortably. Yes, you want to look like a successful performer, that’s part of “faking it till you make it”, but it’s not the time to squeeze into something a little tight, or wear a complicated accessory that might slip off, or shoes that hurt your feet.

And finally, say a little mantra to yourself as you begin, like 16-year-old gymnast Laurie Hernandez did, right before winning the gold in Rio, “I’ve got this!” and know that you really do!

Call 720-460-0758 for your Free Consultation and click here to find out more about the Hypnosis for Stage Fright Program!

 

Quit Smoking by Using Your Mind!

Cigarette Smoke

Technologies of the Self’s Smoking Cessation Program is very effective.  If you are truly ready and motivated to quit smoking, you should be able to stop smoking with just one 2-hour session.  Most people do. Research shows that hypnosis doubles the effectiveness of any other approach, so combining tools intensifies its power!

We will be meeting 3 times in my office. The first time is a Prepare to Quit Session. We will explore your smoking history and related issues, as well as why and when you smoke. You will set your QUIT DATE and go home with a list of recommendations to prepare for success.

Your Stop Smoking with Hypnotherapy Session will then be individualized to fit your own particular motivations to quit smoking and what benefits you see that it will bring to your life. For some it’s to go backpacking in the mountains without being short of breath; for others it’s to prevent lung cancer, to have better smelling clothes or to avoid wrinkles. Whatever you tell me, I will use your own words to suggest them back to you, when you are in a deep state of relaxation and your subconscious mind is open to take in the desires of your conscious, rational, health-oriented  mind. During your intense session, you will be guided through a number of techniques and visualizations to gain your freedom from cigarettes and start your new healthy lifestyle with easy, clear breathing.

The program is $349, which includes-

1) Preparing to Quit meeting (1 hour)

2) the Stop Smoking with Hypnotherapy session (1 1/2 -2 hours)

3) a take-home reinforcement Stop-Smoking CD (20 minutes)

4) follow-up Reinforcement Session. (1 hour)

Payment may be made by check, cash or credit card.

Call 720-460-0758 to get started on your way to FREEDOM.

 

Mind/Body Explorations-New MeetUp Group!

Denver area friends, wanted you to know that I have a new Meetup group that I think you’d enjoy-Mind/Brain Explorations for Living. To help you create the life you are meant to be living, we will learn, explore, meditate and create on our journey to wellness and personal/spiritual growth.Technologies of the Self

Topics range from learning self-hypnosis techniques, stress relief, meditation, pain management, brain optimization, weight loss, and recovery support, to sound healing. Are you the type that loves to keep growing? We will have a creative, rewarding time together. I will be sharing a lot of the same information from my workshops and leading you through some hypnotic visualization sessions. So, this is a very affordable way to experience and learn. Each session will give you take-home exercises, techniques and info to support your creation of the New You!

Our next session, this Tuesday evening, is about willpower, how to access it and how to strengthen it. It’s pretty surprising stuff, based on the work of Dr. Kelly McGonigal.

Besides looking at this fresh new approach to habit change, I will be sharing a very simple 5-minute meditation that anyone can do, in fact, she says it works even better if you’re not good at it!

Space is limited to 8, so make sure to RSVP through Meetup, the rest of the info is there, too-
Mind/Brain Explorations for Living

Is Asthma Part of Your Life?

Fortunately, studies consistently demonstrate significant improvement in the severity of symptoms with hypnosis for chronic or exercise-induced asthma with adults and children.Woman Coughing

A review shows a 50-74% improvement in the severity of symptoms, reducing the number of times a bronchodilator is used and length of hospital stays, less wheezing and coughing, that it helps to manage the emotional states that exacerbate airway obstruction, and stabilizes airway hyper-responsiveness. The same approach also helps with “habit cough”, also known as a “cough tic.”

Because my clients learn relaxation and self-hypnosis techniques to use at home as needed, they feel empowered knowing that they have tools to reduce the severity of bronchospasm. They feel more in control, so their anxiety doesn’t make things worse. A feeling of confidence contributes a lot to their day to day feeling of well-being.

If Depression can Lead to Illness, What Causes Depression?

So much more to learn about the relationships between the mind, emotions and the body!

neurocomic7  Trauma image

Dr. Esther Sternberg’s “groundbreaking work on the link between the central nervous system and the immune system, (explored) how immune molecules made in the blood can trigger brain function that profoundly affects our emotions, (and) has revolutionized our understanding of the integrated being we call a human self.”

Despite that now it is mainstream to believe that our emotions, like depression, can cause illness in the physical body, “we need to ask what the molecules and nerve pathways are that cause depressing thoughts.”

The Balance Within: The Science Connecting Health and Emotions looks fascinating, I just ordered it. If you are interested too,  the latest post at Brain Pickings offers a good summary.

 

 

Dark Days-10 Tips to Live Happier till Springtime

Evening GloomWhen the days are short and the nights are long, do you feel like crawling in a cave or at least under the covers until springtime? Do you feel like Lord Byron expressed-“I am always more religious on sunshiney days”?

Mood variation dependent on the amount of sunlight affects many of us, mostly women. Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder, as it is called, mimic those of depression-fatigue, lack of interest in things that used to be pleasurable, cravings for carbohydrates and weight gain.

If this is describing how you are feeling, here are 10 Tips:

  1. Get outside even if it’s just to rake leaves or shovel snow at least 10 minutes a day.
  2. Open all the blinds and curtains in the house to let all the sunshine in that is available.
  3. Take your laptop or book to sit by a window.
  4. Make sure you are taking enough Vitamin D.
  5. Replace your light bulbs with full (broad) spectrum ones.
  6. We are mammals. If you are getting sleepy earlier than usual, don’t fight it. Go to bed.
  7. If you must start your day before sunrise, set a timer on your bedroom light to come on a half hour before the alarm goes off.
  8. If possible, plan your vacations in January or February and go south to sunnier climes.
  9. Push yourself out of the cave. Get together with friends and do something fun. Join a Meetup group.
  10. Remember it won’t last forever. Each day from today on will have a few more minutes of sunshine!

3 Steps to a Happier Brain

Did you know that our brains have a preferential bias for the negative? Rick Hanson, Neuropsychologist, Rick Hanson, Ph.D., says that our brains are like teflon for positive experiences, but toBrimming Brain ensure our survival and keep alert for signs of danger, they are constantly scanning for the negative out there and then latching onto it like Velcro. No wonder we get depressed and anxious!

Thank goodness Hanson suggests three steps to overcome our negativity bias-

  1. Turn positive events into positive experiences. When someone compliments us or something good happens, we need to pay attention and not deflect it like teflon like we habitually do.
  2. More than just noticing it, we need to fully experience the pleasure, savoring it and intensifying the good feelings. As we allow our bodies to feel the positive emotion it gives the neurons more time to fire together and actually change the structure hardwiring of our brains.
  3. Now sense and focus intention on bringing this emotion deeply inside of you to the extent that you experience it becoming a part of you, ” becom­ing woven into the fab­ric of your brain and yourself.”

Positive thinking doesn’t just make us feel better, it actually changes our brains in visible ways, changing how it scans the environment and allowing us to see the world around us as kinder, safer, friendlier and happier. Read his interview for his book, Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom, http://bit.ly/1w559ca.

HOLIDAY PRESENCE

 Christmas Old Fashioned

Does your chest tighten and heart race, just thinking about the next few weeks? Do you wonder how you’re going to get everything done? Are you already dreading having to spend time with certain people? Are you worried about your finances?

No matter what our religious beliefs, December in America can run us through the gamut of emotions-love, joy and happiness, if we’re lucky, but also loneliness, anxiety, guilt, resentment and frustration. Just when we need it the most, we may also find ourselves not taking the time for our health and peace of mind.

Here are a few suggestions to make sure that you and your loved ones are able to enjoy the love and fun that the season promises and that you have time for spontaneity and to experience truly meaningful traditions.

1.  Take a few minutes to go back in time to 3 of your most beloved holiday experiences. What elements made it so special? Have you had any similar times in the last few years?
2.  Make a list of your top values and desires for this time of year.  To spend time with friends and  family, to show  generosity, to connect with your spiritual community, to have time for reflection  and for renewal?
3.  Now look at your to-do list and your calendar.  Are your desires reflected in your plans? Have you actually booked downtime?
4.  Now cross out everything that isn’t going to help you experience your truest desires.  Add back in time to get outdoors, listen to music, have a massage and visit some friends you haven’t seen for a while.
5.  OK, back to the list. . . of course there are some things that just have to be accomplished, but slow down and instead of viewing the holiday period as one long season, Wayne Dyer, in Holidays: How to Enjoy the Christmas & Hanukkah Season to the Fullest, suggests making every little facet a special experience. Be present and appreciate the acts of gift wrapping, decorating, and baking. Take in the aromas, sounds, textures and colors. Try to see it all again with the wonder and awe of a child.
6.  Don’t expect or even attempt perfection! Enter into the festivities with a light heart. Have you laughed out loud lately?
7.  Show by your example that it is not necessary to do anything for love and acceptance, starting with yourself!

HAVE A TRULY JOYOUS HOLIDAY!

My Gift to You-a Holiday Time Out Stress Relief Session

$25 off a one hour session (usually $85).  Available in my Wheat Ridge, Colorado office or for those of you further away, Skype and phone sessions are equally effective.

Call  720-760-0758 or email Victoria@technologiesoftheself.org  (Use by 12/23.)

 

 

 

 

Tis the Season to be Grateful, Next Month We’re Supposed to be Jolly

Sea Cliff Driftwood

Saying GraceWhat’s the difference? If you’re jolly, aren’t you grateful? According to Dr. Robert Emmons, the author of THANKS! How the New Science of Gratitude can Make you Happier, while there are many things that we can be happy about, the uniqueness of gratitude is that we realize that we have received a gift that we don’t deserve. It’s “the acknowledgement of goodness in one’s life” and secondly “recognizing that the source(s) of this goodness lie at least partially outside the self.” We can only be grateful to others, not to ourselves, so it brings a sense of humility along with the gift (4-8).

Offering grace at the family table, Bart Simpson prayed,

“Dear God, we paid for all this stuff ourselves, so thanks for nothing.”

Donald Trump stated,

“All of the women on The Apprentice have flirted with me-consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected” (148).

Gratitude is knowing, at a deep level is an appreciation that what we have received was “freely bestowed out of compassion, generosity, or love” (7). The International Encyclopedia of Ethics defines it as “the heart’s internal indicator when the tally of gifts outweighs the exchanges” (6).

Emmons’s research found that when people took the time to write in a gratitude journal, not only did they feel more appreciative about things that they normally overlooked, but they reported–exercising more, sleeping better, experiencing few physical symptoms and feeling more optimistic about their lives. They were more likely to make progress toward their personal goals and to have offered emotional support to others.

Other important healing benefits are that-

Gratitude counters our natural adaption to pleasant events.

Gratitude mitigates toxic emotions and states like envy, resentment, and regret.

Gratitude strengthens social ties.

Gratitude increases one’s sense of personal worth.

Gratitude has a direct link to cardiovascular functioning.

In his intro to the workshop that I attended at Loma Linda Medical School, Emmons described it like this-

“You feel a deep sense of peace and internal balance-you are at harmony with yourself, with others and with your larger environment. You experience increased buoyancy vitality and flow. Your senses are enlivened—every aspect of your perceptual experience seems richer, more texture. Surprisingly, you fell invigorated at time when you would usually have felt tired and drained. Things that usually would have irked you just don’t “get to you” as much. Your body feels regenerated-your mind, at last, clear. . . At least for a period of time, decisions become obvious as priorities clarify and inner conflict dissolves. Intuitive insight suddenly provides convenient solution to problems. . Your creativity flows freely. In this state of inner harmony and deep fulfillment, you experience a sense of greater connectedness—to other people, to a larger whole, perhaps to God, or to a higher aspect of yourself. (From Gratitude as a Way of Life: Insights from the Science of Well-Being, Emmons, 2005)

Heading into the challenges of the holiday season, let’s remember to give ourselves a “gratitude intervention.” Positive results were observed with subjects who only journaled once a day, but here’s the perspective of GK Chesterton-

“You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play. . . and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, and swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing, and grace before I dip the pen in ink.”

Myth-“You Have to Hit Bottom to Be Ready for Recovery”

 

We’ve all heard it stated, as if it were true, that a person “has to hit bottom” before they are really ready to recover from addiction? Strong evidence shows that “reaching people early, when their problems are less severe and more treatable, leads to better outcomes.  Since 1996, the American Society of Addiction Medicine has recommended starting with the least intensive treatment that is safe.” http://huff.to/1v0G79W

Starting Oct. 15 I will be offering evidence-based support for relapse prevention. There are new effective ways to gain freedom from dependence way before you hit bottom! The program will be individualized to your needs, with 4 different packages with personal one-on-one sessions and coaching calls or group intensives with ongoing support. More information will be posted in the next couple of weeks. Give me a call if you are interested in reserving a space.  720-460-0758.

Man with lowered head