Are You Living on Elm Street?

To me, “Elm Street” is a metaphor for terror. Some might recognize it as a staple of Halloween. Others love the thrill and excitement, but I like to sleep at night. Sleep is hard enough to come by as it is.

I’m not a fan of using external sources of terror as a means of stimulation because I already have the ability to create enough terror on my own…media aside. Synonyms to describe this mental state might include fright, worry, or anxiety. Shakespeare was right. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Scary Times

We’re living in scary times. Yet, if you’re a student of history, most times were scary. To quote Thomas Paine, “these are the times that try men’s souls”. That was over 200 years ago, and they didn’t even have indoor plumbing. I know that alone would try my soul.

So, how are we supposed to be resilient with the circus we call life going on around us?

Ways To Chill

I often tell my clients to monitor what they see. What your eyes can picture, your mind absorbs. This is why looking at nature is so calming to people. I recently read an article about the ability of the colors blue and green to calm the frenetic nervous system. Personally, I use a binaural beats CD with sounds of the ocean waves. I imagine the color blue as I hear the waves hit the shore. It’s like a mini vacay where my hearing meets my imagination. It’s one way of tuning out the world. It’s my way of regulating my mind.

Another perk of regulating your mind is inviting your physiology for the ride up the lazy river of peace.

Biofeedback

When Elmer Green, Ph.d and his wife, Alyce, were working at The Research Department of the Menninger Foundation in Topeka, Kansas, they demonstrated that ordinary people can learn to control their blood pressure, heartrate, muscle tension, and temperature. They called it “biofeedback”.

Using this method, I learned to circumvent my migraines by warming my hands from a temperature of roughly 72 degrees to 92 degrees. This was done purely by visualization. I imagined my hands dipping into hot sand at the beach or even visualized the blood from my head heading down into my fingers. As implausible as this seems, it only took about 7 minutes for me to warm my hands to this temperature. Yes, it’s easier to take a pill, but knowing I can use my own mind to control my body is pretty heady stuff.

Claim Your Power

So, we’re not total victims of our genetics, the environment, or our emotions. When we feel our terrors taking over, the power of our minds can rush in to save the day. 

In that way, we’re a little like Superman. It takes practice, but we can be our own Superhero. 

The Art of Feeling Young

I love to read about health. There are a multitude of strategies for looking and staying young. What I don’t see are articles on feeling young.

There were times in my childhood where I felt much older than my chronological age. This wasn’t necessarily a good thing because it reflected a pattern of responsibility beyond my developmental level. Maybe you can relate.

As a young teacher, I actually did feel young because, for one thing, I was only seven years older than my ninth grade students. At parent conferences, I’d often hear, ” I wish I’d had a teacher as young as you!” So, not only was I chronologically young, I actually felt young.

There are many years in your life when you have the advantage of appearing young and spry. These are your power years because you’re not hampered my physical maladies. You probably are young and spry.

But, how about those years when you’re not young and spry? How young do you feel then?

The Brainwashing Machine

If you watch TV at all, especially during the day, then you might be lured down the slippery slope of feeling like the ancient mariner. The media delights in offering you a plethora of choices to cure your expected maladies…denture cream for your teeth, creams for your bad knees, antidepressants for your mood, pills for your memory, as well as their daunting side effects which, by the way, don’t exclude death!

If this doesn’t make you feel both ancient and in dire danger of eminent demise, there’s a pop-up attorney who’ll gladly help you sue the makers of the above products. Don’t tell me you haven’t heard the phrase, “if you or a loved one”.

On the positive side, I recently read an article that gave me hope. The crux of the article was about a study showing that people who “felt” younger than their age seemed to have a protective barrier against stress and poor health.

The Scientific View

I remember a study, or it could have been an experiment, where participants stayed in a town or street made to recreate life as it was ten years ago, complete with the popular music, stores, etc. They even wore the clothing from that time. Actually, I would probably have some of those clothes still in my closet!

When the study was complete, the participants not only felt ten years younger, they acted younger and their health had actually improved.

So, all in all, I guess it’s true…you really are as young as you feel!

Why I Love the Energy Therapies

What You Should Look for in Therapy

As a Life Coach and Therapist, I look for two elements in healing. I refer to these as the two E’s… Effectiveness and Efficiency. 

As for effectiveness, why waste your time and money on techniques and healing modalities that either don’t work, or aren’t best suited for your situation?

As for efficiency, how many hours in therapy do you want to spend? If you could go for the quick fix that solved your issue, what would that be worth to you? You see where I’m going with this. You need both E’s to get the job done. They’re both necessary.

When people ask about my typing skills, I say, “Take your pick… speed or accuracy.” They can settle for one, but not both. In the therapeutic realm, don’t settle. You need both.

So, why energy therapies? For one, our bodies are electrical. Your heart beats without instruction from you. We’re energetic creatures. We’re composed of matter. But matter and energy are interchangeable (E=MC squared). The body has an energy field that can become blocked or unbalanced. This creates symptoms.

Basically, energy therapies clear away the blocks and rebalance the body. Energy therapies work quickly. Sometimes one session is all that’s required. This is why I like these therapies. This is why clients like these therapies. They’re both effective and efficient.

What In the World Are Energy Therapies?

So, what are energy therapies?

The three I use are EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, The Emotion Code, and the Emotional Freedom Technique.

EMDR is a highly researched therapy used with Vietnam Veterans who returned from the war with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It was discovered by Francine Shapiro during a walk on the beach. As she was thinking about her worries, she noticed her eyes began to dart from side to side, and her worries began to subside. From this she developed EMDR, a therapy that treats trauma quickly and effectively. 

The Emotion Code was created by Dr. Bradley Nelson, based on the belief that unprocessed emotions become trapped in the body. Using muscle testing as a way to communicate with the unconscious, the trapped emotions are identified and released. 

The Emotional Freedom Technique was created by Gary Craig, a Stanford Engineer, who worked for the founder of Thought Field Therapy, Dr. Roger Callahan. Both utilize tapping on various points on the head and upper body to change emotions related to various events and traumas.

I’ll put my money on these therapies as the medicine of the future.

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My Favorite Pastime

My Faves

Do you have a favorite book? I have at least five…probably more.  My love of reading started early.  The summer I was 13, I read Gone With the Wind. (Living in Oklahoma, that could have been the title of my autobiography.)  Lazy summer afternoons were great opportunities for reading. 

My other favorites include To Kill A Mockingbird, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Book Thief, The Prince of Tides, The Lords of Discipline, as well as many others I can’t think of at the moment.

Why Reading?

What makes reading my favorite pastime? Maybe it’s the degree to which I get lost in the story. When I can’t put it down, that’s a clue. When I start the mourning process as I approach the final chapters, that’s another clue. I only wish I could remember all the books that met that criteria. 

Another advantage of books is their longevity and resilience. Books may change form, from hardcover, to paperback, to Kindle, but they stand the test of time.

Alzheimers Prevention

Books are good for your brain. They require you to create mental pictures. You get to be the director, creating your own idea of what the characters look like. Unlike television, you have the latitude to create your own images.

I’ll never forget my disappointment viewing the movie “Gone With The Wind” for the first time. My vision of Ashley Wilkes was a total disconnect from the character they picked to play him. 

In this way, movies leave no room for creativity. They create what they want you to see. Watching movies takes less brainpower. It’s passive…enjoyable… but passive.

Time To Chill

Reading is escapism. When I want to get away from it all, armed with a good book, I can enter another world entirely. My own stresses and troubles are temporarily put on hold. It’s both entertainment and therapy. What’s not to like?

I recently started a second blog entitled I Read the Book. You have to wait a while between blog posts because I actually have to read a book before I post. 

Check it out, though. One of my favorites may turn into one of yours.

I remember the first day of first grade. We sat huddled around the teacher, who pointed a long stick at the word “cat”, as we were taught the short “a” sound, and repeated the word cat with an emphasis on the short “a”. 

This method, as I learned, was called “Phonics”, and it gave me the ability to read almost any word because I can sound it out. I am so grateful for Phonics.

It’s the reason I can read.

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