Wednesday, 27 February 2013

How To Stop Worrying About The Past

Do you ever worry or obsess over some faux pas, or some perceived faux pas, that you have committed in the past? "That was a really dumb thing I said. How could I be so stupid? Why can't I ever think of the right things to say?"

This, I suspect, is a very common trait of shy people, to constantly agonize and chew over and stew over perceived social blunders one has just made. Naturally, this can make shyness worse, because if every time you try to initiate a social interaction and you don't perform perfectly, and you then punish and berate and chastise yourself for any perceived mistakes, you will decrease your chances of even making an effort in the future.

This is a terrible form of "negative reinforcement." You are verbally or mentally chastising yourself for what is otherwise desirable behavior, reaching out and making the effort to connect with another person.

Here’s how to stop:

1. Whenever a negative thought imposes itself, psychologist Elliot Kinarthy recommends saying "Stop!" to yourself. Then take a deep breath. Finally, picture a relaxing scene. The word stop interrupts the negative thought. The relaxing scene replaces it with a positive image.

2. If the perceived blunder occurred earlier in the same day and you find yourself constantly obsessing over, try taking a brief nap. A nap can interrupt the negative brain waves and gets them going in a different direction. Sometimes a brief break in your day can work wonders.

3. Remind yourself that the blunder may not actually be a blunder at all. This is a powerful technique for stopping negative thoughts.

How many times in the past had you made what you thought was a blunder, and then as time went on you realized it wasn't so serious after all? Perhaps what you thought was a blunder actually caused things to turn out for the better? In any event, after only a few days, or at most weeks, you realize the blunder wasn't so serious after all, and it may not even have been a blunder in the first place.

Now remind yourself that what you now think is a mistake may, in retrospect, turn out to be quite neutral or even beneficial! Whenever a disturbing or negative thought pops into your mind, say to yourself "That may turn out not to a been a mistake after all, just like the other so-called mistakes I've made in the past."

Try this! It’s a great way of disputing that negativity.

4. Have in the storehouse of your mind, constantly at the ready, a repertoire of affirmations or aphorisms that you can instantly recite to yourself whenever a negative thought pops into your mind. This will break and interrupt the negative thought, and turn it into something positive and beneficial. What you want is a conditioned response, almost like that of Pavlov's dogs.

Pavlov was a scientist who brought food out to his dogs every time he rang a bell. In time, the dogs became so conditioned to associate food with the sound of a bell ringing that they started to salivate at the sound of the bell even when no food was present.

What you want to do is create a conditioned response, so that every time a negative thought pops into your mind, you instantly replace it with a neutral or positive thought. Your goal is to do this so often that it becomes automatic, or a conditioned response.

You should pick one aphorism to memorize and to recite yourself whenever a negative thought enters your mind. Remember, this must become a conditioned response or reflex. Pick any one of the following short aphorisms, suggestion by the late Crenville Kleiser, as:

1) I can do only what I know.
2) I am what I am.
3) Thoughts can achieve wonders.
4) My efficiency grows through exercise.
5) I realize my power for great achievement.
6) My self-confidence grows daily.
7) I have a high and true estimate of myself.
8) I am always cheerful.
9) My life makes for happiness and success.
10) I smile in the face of trouble.
11) I am brighter and happier every day.

5. Try memorizing one or more longer aphorisms. Repeat one to yourself whenever a negative thought pops into your mind.

A longer aphorism does make it somewhat cumbersome to yourself to have to repeat it every time you detect a negative thought. If it becomes a chore to repeat the aphorism every time a negative thought pops into your head, good! You will be applying a sort of negative reinforcement to yourself (otherwise known as punishment!) every time you detect a negative thought.

The goal here is not only to break or interrupt the negative thought, but to make it somewhat wary of returning, knowing it will be subjected to a cumbersome mental exercise each time it rears its ugly head!

Pick one or more of the following quotations to memorize and recite to yourself each time you detect a negative thought:

The star of the unconquered will.
He rises in my breast.
Serene, and resolute, and still.
And calm, and self-possest.

— Longfellow.

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore, get wisdom; and with all thy getting get understanding.
— Proverbs. 

Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves together; that at length they may emerge, full-formed and majestic, into the daylight of life, which they are henceforth to rule.
— Carlyle. 

It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the serenity of solitude.
— Emerson.

Take this multi-pronged approach to make worry a thing of the past!

By: TimArends

Monday, 25 February 2013

Strength In Naughty Or Nice

New research from Harvard University suggests that moral actions may increase people’s capacity for willpower and physical endurance. Study participants who did good deeds — or even just imagined themselves helping others — were better able to perform a subsequent task of physical endurance.

The research, published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, shows a similar or even greater boost in physical strength following mean-spirited deeds.

Researcher Kurt Gray, a doctoral student in psychology at Harvard, explains these effects as a self-fulfilling prophecy in morality.
“People perceive those who do good and evil to have more efficacy, more willpower, and less sensitivity to discomfort,” Gray said. “By perceiving themselves as good or evil, people embody these perceptions, actually becoming more capable of physical endurance.”
Gray’s findings run counter to the notion that only those blessed with heightened willpower or self-control are capable of heroism, suggesting instead that simply attempting heroic deeds can confer personal power.
“Gandhi or Mother Teresa may not have been born with extraordinary self-control, but perhaps came to possess it through trying to help others,” said Gray, who calls this effect “moral transformation” because it suggests that such deeds have the power to transform people from average to exceptional.
Moral transformation has many implications, he said. For example, it suggests a new technique for enhancing self-control when dieting: Help others before being faced with temptation.
“Perhaps the best way to resist the donuts at work is to donate your change in the morning to a worthy cause,” Gray said.
The study also may suggest new treatments for anxiety or depression, he said, since helping others may be a useful way of regaining control of your own life.
Gray’s findings are based on two studies. In the first, participants were given $1, and were told either to keep it or to donate it to charity. They were then asked to hold up a 5-lb. weight for as long as they could. Those who donated to charity could hold the weight up for almost 10 seconds longer, on average.
In a second study, participants held a weight while writing fictional stories of themselves either helping another, harming another, or doing something that had no impact on others. As before, those who thought about doing good were significantly stronger than those whose actions didn’t benefit other people.
But surprisingly, the would-be malefactors were even stronger than those who envisioned doing good deeds.
“Whether you’re saintly or nefarious, there seems to be power in moral events,” Gray said. “People often look at others who do great or evil deeds and think, ‘I could never do that,’ or ‘I wouldn’t have the strength to do that.’ But in fact, this research suggests that physical strength may be an effect, not a cause, of moral acts.”

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Video: Psychology Of Dance

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Hypnosis For Muscle Growth

Studies are beginning to show that hypnosis can build muscle on its own. Incredible-sounding, yes, but in one study, two groups were measured for muscle strength and size. One group exercised for a number of weeks, and the other did hypnosis for muscle growth for the same period of time. The exercising group increased muscle size and strength 30 percent, and the hypnosis group had an increase of 16 percent--without any conscious exercise. Imagine the progress you could make combining exercise and hypnosis!


Hypnosis is a state between sleep and wakefulness in which certain parts of your brain have shut down, principally your external senses, you body awareness, and your ability to judge and analyze. It is the latter part of your brain that most frequently stops you from making changes. The subconscious wants to maintain current behaviors because it feels they are safer. Hypnosis allows you to avoid the resistance and establish new behaviors more easily. It may involve one or more sessions with a trained hypnotist.


A hypnotist who understands muscle growth may identify areas for you to improve your workouts. Common shortfalls are infrequent workouts, not exhausting your muscles, not changing your routine enough, not giving muscle groups enough rest, overchallenging muscles and injuring them too often, insufficient muscle stretching and too much or too little cardio exercise. Too much aerobic exercise can start to break down muscle you built up during weight training. The hypnotist may formulate suggestions to increase gym frequency, for example, by associating arriving at your gym with the feeling of arriving home.


Hypnosis can affect many physiological systems in your body. The hypnotist may give you a trigger to use on yourself (some evocative image or phrase) to increase your strength when you exercise. It may help you recreate the remembered sensation of energy and power you had during some of your best workouts. He may actually be helping you to hydrate your muscles or release more adrenaline or make sure you keep optimal form.


Part of looking fit is to expose your muscles by reducing your body fat. Beyond just cutting down on the amount of food, you may need to change the timing and choice of food. The hypnotist will probably take a thorough inventory of your eating habits. You may be eating too late at night when your body is less likely to burn calories. You may not be spreading calories out over the day for more efficient burning.


Many people underestimate the value of a good night's rest for muscle growth. Your hypnotist may make suggestions to help you go to bed earlier, fall asleep more easily, sleep through the night, and get a more restorative, restful sleep, so that your muscles get a rest and not additional exercise at night. Sleep deprivation may decrease appetitite and make you more antisocial so that you will feel less comfortable going to a public gym.

Read more:

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

5 Forms Of Mind Control We Are Exposed To Dailly

#5. The Color of a Pill Can Trick You into Thinking It's Working

Remember when Neo got to choose between the red pill and the blue pill? The blue pill would have put him back to sleep in the fake world of cubicles and steaks in the Matrix, where the red pill would wake him up to the real world and its industrial womb factory. You probably just chalked that scene up to another case of Hollywood turning a complicated situation into a simplistic metaphor, but what you probably didn't realize is that you're living out your own little Matrix scenario every time you go to the pharmacy.

What? How?

Did you notice how the red pill would let Neo "wake up" to the real world, but the blue pill would let him stay "asleep" in the dream world? Now go to your pharmacy. What color are all of the sleeping pills?

Blue, blue and blue -- if not the package, then the pill itself. That's not coincidence; researchers have found that the color of a pill makes a difference in how it works. In one study, every patient was given the exact same sedative, but some patients received it in a blue pill and others in an orange pill. The blue pill takers reported falling asleep 30 minutes faster, and sleeping 30 minutes longer, than the orange pill takers.

What the hell? It's yet another weird manifestation of the placebo effect. You probably already know that you can give a guy with a headache a Tic Tac and tell him it's medicine, and there's a good chance it will fix his headache just like an aspirin would, for reasons science doesn't completely understand. Well, it turns out that the already illogical and somewhat insane phenomenon is also affected by the color of the pill. The reason is that how you perceive effectiveness affects effectiveness -- and when it comes to stuff you consume, color matters.

So, in a different experiment, subjects were told they were going to get a sedative or a stimulant, when in fact they were getting neither -- all of the pills were placebos. Yet 66 percent of the subjects who took blue pills reported feeling less alert, compared to only 26 percent of those who took pink pills. That's because we've been trained to think that blue = sleep.

In a different study, when researchers put various fake medicine packages in front of subjects, the subjects picked certain colors of boxes over others. Warm colors like brown and red were perceived as more potent, especially if the shades were darker. Green and yellow, on the other hand, might as well have been 7Up-flavored Tic Tacs as far as the subjects were concerned. And this is why heart medicines are often red and brown, while skin medicines are yellow and sleeping pills are often blue or green. Painkillers, on the other hand, are often white ... maybe to remind us of opium? We're not sure.

Wait, it gets even stupider. Color associations are also cultural. Maybe in America blue is a calming, peaceful color, but in Italy it's associated with the national soccer team. So researchers found that, rather than making him drowsy, a blue pill would send an Italian man screaming and singing and rioting into the night.

#4. "Priming" Can Play Us Like Puppets
Quick: When's the last time you bought flowers at a grocery store? Never? Yet when you walk through the door at most grocery chains, what's the first thing you see?

What the hell? These are grocery stores, people are there to buy food. Why would they lead off with a fringe product that 99 percent of the shoppers probably won't even look at? It has to do with the subtle science of mind control known as priming.

Yes, it is entirely possible to manipulate people into certain behaviors without them knowing it. We're not talking about subliminal suggestion, the disproven gimmick that claimed it could make people buy products by inserting hidden messages in movies. No, the real technique is priming, and it's as sinister as a windowless white van at a playground.

What? How?

The idea behind the flowers is that, as we've touched on elsewhere, hitting you with a product that is highly perishable yet fresh will "prime" you into thinking of freshness, and that you will carry that "freshness" mindset with you all the way back to the discount meat case. It sounds like bullshit -- humans don't connect completely unrelated ideas like that, right? Yet it's confirmed pretty much every time they test it.

Sometimes "priming" is as simple as finding that people will keep a room cleaner if it smells like disinfectant -- that subtle reminder is enough to make people think, "This is a clean room, I should keep it clean." But when you see how far they can take this, it gets weird.

In one study, scientists instructed volunteers to form sentences using words associated with old people, under the guise that it was a language proficiency test. So, one sentence could have been "The Depends were too elderly (in Florida.)" That's just an example we made up. So these hip, presumably liberal young college students were pumped with terms associated with the elderly, and guess what happened next?

No, they didn't hike up their pants to their nipples and start watching Jay Leno. But as they left the study, they walked slower than the students who were given neutral words earlier. The students primed to think of elderly stereotypes took on characteristics they associated with the elderly. Seriously, this happened. And you can get the same result in infinite ways; in another experiment, those who were primed with words conveying rudeness (like "aggressively," "bold," "rude," "bother," "disturb" and "intrude") interrupted the experimenter more frequently during a conversation after the tests.

Wait, it gets stupider than that. In yet another study, researchers set up a devious experiment where students accidentally bumped into a klutz on the way to the session. Their bump partner held either a hot or a cold drink, which he or she asked the unknowing patsy to hold for a second while they collected their shit. When the students actually got to the study, they were asked to rate a hypothetical person's personality. The subjects who had held an iced tea earlier were more likely to call the fake persona "cold" or "selfish" than the students who held a cup of hot coffee. Some base association with cold and warmth at the subconscious level was enough to affect their conscious judgement.

So the next time you see an ad on TV, take a moment to notice the show or scene preceding the ad. Because advertisers are paying more for placement that will prime the viewer. For instance, OnStar ran ads for its emergency vehicle service during a commercial break that came right after a car crash scene in The Bourne Supremacy. It was worth it, because studies show that that little bit of priming makes people twice as likely to buy the product.

#3. Our Views on a Subject Depend on How It's Phrased

You're probably already aware that minor changes to the wording of a survey can alter people's opinions. During the health care debate, for example, four separate organizations conducted polls to see what percentage of Americans supported a so-called "public option." Their results ranged from a measly 44 percent to 66 percent support, due in large part to differences in wording. Calling it a "government administered health insurance plan -- something like the Medicare coverage that people 65 and older get" garnered 66 percent support. And calling it "a government-run health insurance plan" plummeted support to 44 percent. Calling it "Just what Mussolini would have wanted" reduced the number to 2 percent.

You might think that it's just a matter of people not actually understanding how the system works ("I said I wanted Medicare, not GOVERNMENT!"), but it really is all about how the brain can be manipulated with very subtle differences in wording, regardless of your knowledge level.

What? How?

In this study, social psychologists sent out surveys to several hundred registered voters before an election. Half the recipients were asked if it was "important to vote." The other half were asked if it was "important to be a voter." With this one difference, the people who read the word "voter" were nearly 14 percent more likely to actually vote on Election Day. The researchers suspected that using the word "voter" caused people to identify themselves with the word. Since these people considered themselves to be voters, they were more likely to get out and vote.

On the other hand, using the word "vote" implied that the survey was asking the people to perform a task. Even if they answered "yes" to the question, they felt no association with the word (i.e., they weren't voters, they were just being told to vote), so they were less likely to follow through. One was about a simple action, the other was about being a type of person.

So what happens if someone implies that you're a "gamer" or a "runner" or a "hooker"? You do the math.

#2. You Emotionally Bond With People You Sing With

There's not very much we know about the people of North Korea, but we do know they love to do things in unison. Watch a few minutes of this footage from the North Korean Mass Games to see what we mean:

It's nice how Kim Jong Il can't be bothered to give much of a damn during the whole thing. Can you even imagine the months it took to put together that monstrosity? And for what? To put on a show for a guy who glibly flips through a magazine halfway through? Except, oh wait. There's a lot more to these exercises than impressing the dear leader. And whatever it is the participants are getting out of their involvement with this performance, you've probably experienced it as well.

What? How?

Ever been to a sporting event in America? A football game, baseball game, an anything in a stadium? What did you do first, once you found your seats and got your drinks and settled in for the game? You stood back up and sang the national anthem with everyone else. Guess what? Scientists have discovered that when we perform synchronized activities such as singing songs, reciting chants or even as simple an act as walking together, we end up feeling more connected to the people we're performing these activities with.

Because it turns out it's not what you're saying or singing or chanting that matters. It's just the fact that you're performing these activities in unison with other people. Researchers at Stanford University found that when volunteers were instructed to walk around campus together, the simple difference between letting them walk normally versus instructing them to walk in step with each other increased the volunteers' willingness to cooperate with each other afterward.

Even more surprisingly, how harmonious the participants felt had nothing to do with any positive emotions created by the synchronized activities themselves. Whether or not they enjoyed performing the activities, they simply became more cooperative with each other. The researchers concluded that "synchrony rituals" may therefore have evolved as a way for societies to get individuals to work together and be willing to make personal sacrifices for the benefit of the group.

Hell, why else would every country have a national anthem? Why would every military make their troops march and chant in unison?
#1. Cars Have Facial Expressions, and We Buy Accordingly

The human mind loves to see human faces in everything; tortillas, clouds, cat butts, the moon, other faces, everything. The phenomenon even has a name: pareidolia.

When making faces out of things, we don't just say, "Hey, that cloud looks like Abraham Lincoln" or "That scab looks like Al Roker." We give the face emotions, presumably based on which way its eyebrows and mouth are going. And researchers at the University of Vienna found that we therefore subconsciously tack on those emotions to, say, cars. In other words, we did half of Pixar's work for them in 2006.

What? How?

It's easy to see it -- every car has two headlights (eyes), a grill (mouth) and maybe something that looks like a nose. So, knowing we assign emotions to objects, you'd think that most of us would pick the happiest-looking cars we could find. Like we'd all be clamoring for vintage Volkswagen Beetles.

You'd be wrong. When we drive, we're not out there to make friends, unless you're a hippie, and then shouldn't you be on a bike or a donkey or something? Nope, what we want to convey is toughness, speed, aggression. So we want our cars to have the face of a monster. Or at least a mean dude. Researchers found that lower, wider cars with a wide air intake and angled or slit-like headlights give a picture of power. Not sleepiness, as you'd expect, but power. And that's what drivers are looking for when picking out new vehicles. At least, when picking out certain kinds of vehicles.

By Dennis Hong

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Psychology Of Humour: Why Is This Funny?

Friday, 15 February 2013

How To Overcome Perfectionism

How do you overcome perfectionism? Since perfectionism is really a learned habit of the mind, overcoming perfectionism means we need to break this old habit and establish a new one. We can do this by two main ways: Firstly by challenging our false beliefs which are keeping perfectionism alive, and secondly by introducing new, healthier ways of thinking.

Changing beliefs and thought-patterns is a process that can take time. Experts say that 21 days is roughly the minimal length of time it takes for a new habit to be established, so be patient with yourself as you try to apply the following tips for overcoming perfecitonism:

1.) Ask yourself: “Why *is* it so important to me to be perfect?”
Ask yourself why YOU want to be perfect. Sometimes it helps you come up with things if you write it down. What do you gain from it? You can look at the list of possible causes here for inspiration and see if any strike a chord with you.

When you see why you want to be perfect, have a look at what else makes you feel good about yourself other than doing things perfectly. Compose a list of things that make you feel happy and good about yourself. This is the beginning of establishing your new habits. You can learn to replace the perfectionist tendencies with these other things that make you feel good.

2.) Whenever you feel like beating yourself up for not being perfect enough, know that you did the best you could in that certain situation, at that particular time, given all the factors involved.
You can’t expect more of yourself than giving your best to something – so really, is it fair to beat yourself up about it? Besides, what does being hard on yourself achieve other than making you feel bad?

Another point is: If you love someone and respect them, you wouldn’t come down harshly on them, calling them names for making little mistakes. You wouldn’t want to hurt them. So why do you hurt yourself by talking to yourself like this? Be compassionate towards yourself.

Catch yourself when you’re wallowing in self-abuse or self-pity about mistakes you’ve made and notice this is of no value and is an absolute waste of time and energy: Instead shift your focus onto what can be done differently now and in the future.

3.) Know that you aren’t defined by your actions and that actions certainly don’t make you a better person

You are a complex individual and your internal nature is the most important part of who you are, rather than your external actions.

Some people are faster. Some people are cleverer. Some are stronger. But no person is better than any other person. We are all equally worthy of being alive and of being loved.

You can do a task appallingly and still be a worthy, wonderful, loving, kind, beautiful person

4.) Be aware of the importance of enjoying the journey
If you just strive for some arbitrary “best” and only have your eye on some future goal, you are missing out on the journey you are on right now. Besides, if you ever would have achieved your goal, what more would you have to do with your life? It’s not about the goal and attaining it perfectly. It’s about the journey and enjoying it. It’s about being happy. The constant stress of striving for goals and perfection stops you from being happy.

Things that can help you enjoy your journey are:

Savour the joy whenever it arises. Notice how much you enjoy certain activities you do. Maybe you enjoy the banter with your workmates. Maybe you enjoy learning something new on the job. Maybe you love the thrill of problem-solving as you work. Make time for play. Life doesn’t have to be so serious. Everything you do, do it with an appropriate level of playfulness and humour. Enjoy these little things. They all count as part of the journey.

Stop doing things for the sake of meeting your perfect standards and start doing things that you enjoy. When you do things you enjoy, you often do better at them. The power of happiness and joy drives people higher up the scale of success.

Be more aware of your surroundings and environment, and being more “in the now”. If you pass a flower, admire it and enjoy it. Stop to take notice of a great smell as you pass a bakery, or give yourself a minute to take in a beautiful sunset. Enjoy being alive and taking in all life has to offer.

Make an effort to be thankful: We often take things for granted, and no longer appreciate or feel joy for these things because we stop noticing them. Be thankful for your health, for having warmth and shelter, and food, for your friends and family, for people who love you and support you, and for anything positive in your life. Notice how blessed you truly are and how fortunate you are to have what you have.

5.) Be realistic: It’s impossible to be perfect

It’s good to have goals in life. But have realistic goals and treat them as a guide for the direction you want to go in, rather than as a place that you must reach otherwise you are a failure. Failure and success are just a construct of the mind. All events are neutral and it is we who attach judgment, significance and emotional charges to them. All that there is, is living in the now with as must joy as we can.

6.) Don’t “sweat the small stuff”

Before starting a task that you know in advance has a risk of you getting lost in perfecting all the little details, make a mental note to check your progress X minutes into the task. Say 30 minutes in. Take this time to step back, see the big picture and try to be objective about whether a detail you are working on is essential, or whether it is a perfectionist’s intricately designed icing on a cake. A cake that would in fact taste exactly the same even if the icing were just spread on there with far less time and effort.

If you take time out to assess whether the details you’re working on are important or not, it can save you a lot of time, and make you more productive.

Perfectionism is the mother of inefficiency and procrastination in some cases if you’re spending hours on minute details that don’t really matter. Once you are aware of this, you can create habits of checking yourself to ensure you don’t get lost in the details.

7.) Reframe mistakes as opportunities for growth
See “mistakes” as things that you can learn from. They are an integral part of your journey, and without them we can’t progress. Be thankful for mistakes! Mistakes are our teachers.

8.) Know that you don’t have to do something at a “top” level in order to contribute
As Henry Van Dyke said, “The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.”

A company often has many workers behind it, and all contribute to its functioning, even if individually none of them is “the best” or perfect at what they do. Power here is in working together rather than power of the one who is best. Even if you aren’t perfect or the best, it doesn’t mean you can’t contribute. Small contributions count as well as big ones.

9.) Know that your identity is linked to being your unique self, and is unrelated to what external achievements you attain

Only you think the way you do.

Only you have your imagination.

Only you have been through life experiences which have shaped you into who you are today, giving you the unique perspective you have on life and life’s events.

Only you can contribute to certain things in your unique way, leaving the personal imprint you leave behind.

These are some of the things that only you have within you, and help make you the person you are. Achievements and external labels come and go, but the person you are inside stays with you, even as you grow and evolve.

10.) Take note of how your perfectionism is affecting others around you
A lot of perfectionists aren’t aware of how their behaviour affects others and that their behaviour can get other people’s backs up because perfectionists can be a bit controlling, critical, didactic and patronizing at times.

If others aren’t doing things perfectly, instead of tutting in annoyance and doing it yourself, try and understand where they’re coming from. Put yourself in their shoes. This exercise may make you aware that the thing you’re fussing over really isn’t that big a deal. Be open-minded to the idea that they may have a point you can learn from. Everyone is your teacher.

Becoming aware of how you’re coming across to people, and trying to see things from their point of view will help you connect better with people. Blind-perfectionism may be holding you back from getting the most from your relationships.

11.) Meditations, Affirmations and Visualization to help you beat perfectionism

a.) Meditations:

Going within and finding peace within yourself will automatically help you let go of feelings of inadequacy and of not being perfect. When we quieten our minds and go within, we discover that we have all we need inside us. We access our Higher Self or our Truth and perfection fades into insignificance. We discover love and acceptance, compassion and tolerance. We discover patience and forgiveness; forgiving ourselves for not meeting our punishingly high standards of behaviour. In short, meditation is a very good idea, and it does not have to take hours and hours!

Once a day, a 5-10 minute meditation could help.

Start off with just 5 minutes in a quiet place. Ensure you will not be disturbed in any way. Turn off your phone.

It is best sitting upright in a chair, your feet firmly on the floor, so that you are well-grounded.

Close your eyes, because we lose a lot of energy through our eyes.

Focus on your natural breathing. The idea is to have a clear mind. If a thought pops into your mind, just let it float past and bring your focus back to your breathing.

When you feel comfortable with 5 minutes, do a little more time until you build it up to 15-20 minutes each day. Doing your meditation at the same time each day is most effective. I find waking up a few minutes earlier each day and doing this before I start my day, helps set me in the right frame of mind for the rest of my day.

b.) Affirmations & Visualizations to help you beat perfectionism

Positive affirmations and visualizations can be brought into the meditation exercise, where instead of focusing on your breathing, you focus on a positive statement.

Examples of positive affirmations that are useful for perfectionists include:
What I do is good enough
My best is good enough
I accept the way I am or I deeply love and accept myself just as I am
People who matter will still love and accept me for who I am, no matter what my performance is.
(Sometimes if you’re dealing with certain people this affirmation won’t feel true. On a deep level people like parents, as long as they are capable of love, they *do* love you even if their stubborness to stick to their own limitations hold them back from expressing it.)

Examples of visualization exercises:
Exercise 1: Imagine letting go of perfectionism. You can do this by imagining a weight being lifted from you. You can give perfectionism a shape, colour, and appearance to help this visualization. You can add the sound or feeling of the weight being lifted from your shoulders.
Exercise 2: When you fall short of being perfect, what do you feel in your body? Is it pain? Turmoil? Constriction? A heaviness? Or something else? Where is it located in your body? Once you locate it, give it a colour. Now visualize this colour leaving your body. If you like, you can imagine yourself pulling it out, like a piece of string and wrapping it up into a big ball of yarn. Once it’s all outside your body, give it a happy, “good-feeling” colour. Once this transformation is complete, you can visualize yourself putting it back from where it came from.

You can create your own positive affirmations and visualizations. The more personal these are, the better this exercise will work.

12.) Bach Flower Remedies/Essences
Bach Flower Remedies are “energetic medicine”, working on a similar level to homeopathics. These remedies or essences can be helpful in balancing our emotions, in a safe, subtle and gentle way. When we are free of unbalanced emotions, we feel happier and more at peace with ourselves and our lives. “Perfectionists” may find the following Bach Flower Remedies useful:

Beech (US) (UK) – helps you feel less critical of others and yourself for not matching up to your high standards

Rock Water (US) (UK) – helps you feel more compassionate towards yourself and others. It helps people in particular who are very hard on themselves.

Willow (US) (UK) – can help when you feel sorry for yourself and/ or feel frustrated that things are not going your way. If you feel life is unfair, Willow can help.

Impatiens (US) (UK) – helps you feel more patient towards others who don’t make the grade

Holly (US) (UK) – Useful if you get really angry at people

White Chestnut (US) (UK) – helps peace of mind by quietening those thoughts of worry and anxiety that you are not good enough.

Method to take them: You can mix up to 7 flowers per one personalized remedy bottle. In order to make your personalized remedy bottle, fill up an empty 30ml mixing bottle with mineral water, leaving a little space at the top. Some people like to add a dash of brandy into the mix to help preserve it but I find this isn’t essential. Put 2 drops of each flower essence that you think you need into your water-filled mixing bottle. Mix well. That’s it! That’s your remedy made.

To take the Bach remedy, take 4 drops of your personalized water-essence mix on your tongue whenever you feel perfectionist tendencies rising, or a minimum of 4 times a day.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Top 5 Regrets Of The Dying

A nurse has recorded the most common regrets of the dying, and among the top ones is 'I wish I hadn't worked so hard'. What would your biggest regret be if this was your last day of life?

There was no mention of more sex or bungee jumps. A palliative nurse who has counselled the dying in their last days has revealed the most common regrets we have at the end of our lives. And among the top, from men in particular, is 'I wish I hadn't worked so hard'.
Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She recorded their dying epiphanies in a blog called Inspiration and Chai, which gathered so much attention that she put her observations into a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.
Ware writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from their wisdom. "When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently," she says, "common themes surfaced again and again."
Here are the top five regrets of the dying, as witnessed by Ware:
1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
"This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it."
2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
"This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence."
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
"Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result."
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
"Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying."
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
"This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again."
What's your greatest regret so far, and what will you set out to achieve or change before you die?

Monday, 11 February 2013

Mike Tyson 'Knocked Out' By Hypnotist

Perth comedy hypnotist Matthew Hale has scored a knockout blow to former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson.

Hale, a former 96fm radio producer and presenter well known around Perth for his comedy and corporate hypnosis act, tours the world with his shows.

He was in Las Vegas on Saturday training a group of Americans and Canadians how to perform comedy hypnosis shows.

"I had a bit of spare time today and was having a meal on 'the strip' when I saw that Mike Tyson was making an appearance close to the bar where I was," Hale said.

"People were lining up and getting stuff signed so I jumped in the line.

"However, when it came to my turn, instead of passing something for him to sign, I thrust my hand out, got him to focus deep into my eyes - and started to do what I do!"

Hale managed to get control of the former boxer in a way that more combative opponents haven't been able to.

"I had him roaring in my face, then elevated his excitement levels to the point that he ended up screaming: 'You are amazing, you're gonna take over the world' at me at the top of his voice," Hale said.

"He seemed to really enjoy the experience and told me 'that's some Jedi mind sh*t!'.

"Needless to say it caused quite a scene in the store, and as I'd spent minutes with him instead of the allotted few seconds, I had to make a quick exit."

Hale flies out of Las Vegas on Sunday for a show in the UK then back to Perth with a show on March 6 at The Brisbane Hotel.

Perth hypnotist Matt Hale with Mike Tyson.

Read more:

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Video: Martin Seligman: The New Era of Positive Psychology

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Why Some People Cannot Be Hypnotized

Not everyone is able to be hypnotized, and new research from the Stanford University School of Medicine shows how the brains of such people differ from those who can easily be.

The study, published in the October issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, uses data from functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging to identify how the areas of the brain associated with executive control and attention tend to have less activity in people who cannot be put into a hypnotic trance.

“There’s never been a brain signature of being hypnotized, and we’re on the verge of identifying one,” said David Spiegel, MD, the paper’s senior author and a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. Such an advance would enable scientists to understand better the mechanisms underlying hypnosis and how it can be used more widely and effectively in clinical settings, added Spiegel, who also directs the Stanford Center for Integrative Medicine.

Spiegel estimates that one-quarter of the patients he sees cannot be hypnotized, though a person’s hypnotizability is not linked with any specific personality trait. “There’s got to be something going on in the brain,” he said.

Hypnosis is described as a trance-like state during which a person has a heightened focus and concentration. It has been shown to help with brain control over sensation and behavior, and has been used clinically to help patients manage pain, control stress and anxiety and combat phobias.

Hypnosis works by modulating activity in brain regions associated with focused attention, and this study offers compelling new details regarding neural capacity for hypnosis.

“Our results provide novel evidence that altered functional connectivity in [the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex] and [the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex] may underlie hypnotizability,” the researchers wrote in their paper.

For the study, Spiegel and his Stanford colleagues performed functional and structural MRI scans of the brains of 12 adults with high hypnotizability and 12 adults with low hypnotizability.

The researchers looked at the activity of three different networks in the brain: the default-mode network, used when one’s brain is idle; the executive-control network, which is involved in making decisions; and the salience network, which is involved in deciding something is more important than something else.

The findings, Spiegel said, were clear: Both groups had an active default-mode network, but highly hypnotizable participants showed greater co-activation between components of the executive-control network and the salience network. More specifically, in the brains of the highly hypnotizable group the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, an executive-control region of the brain, appeared to be activated in tandem with the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, which is part of the salience network and plays a role in focusing of attention. By contrast, there was little functional connectivity between these two areas of the brain in those with low hypnotizability.

Spiegel said he was pleased that he and his team found something so clear. “The brain is complicated, people are complicated, and it was surprising we were able to get such a clear signature,” he explained.

Spiegel also said the work confirms that hypnotizability is less about personality variables and more about cognitive style. “Here we’re seeing a neural trait,” he said.

The authors’ next step is to further explore how these functional networks change during hypnosis. Spiegel and his team have recruited high- and low-hypnotizable patients for another study during which fMRI assessment will be done during hypnotic states. Funding for that work is being provided by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

By Michelle Brandt

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

How To Read Microexpressions

When trying to figure out whether someone’s lying to me, I look for the classic signs, as dictated by pop culture—shifty, averted eyes, twitching, rapid blinking, and so forth. But most psychologists and body language experts will tell you that none of those indicate lying. In fact, pinpointing a lie based on physical cues only works about half of the time, making it a guessing game at best. 
What is true is that more is revealed by our mannerisms than we realize. Paul Ekman, a psychology professor at the University of California, San Francisco, believes that we make unconscious flashes of expressions—called microexpressions—that demonstrate our true feelings. And because they involve muscles that can’t be activated at will, these expressions are uncontrollable. But recognizing these hidden emotions requires learning to read between the furrowed brows and stretched lips. 
The Seven Universal Expressions
Microexpressions pop up extremely briefly, ranging from 1/5 to 1/25 of a second in length, so most people don’t pick up on them without training. Ekman came up with seven standard expressions and their key components to look for when trying to figure out how the person you’re speaking with really feels. 
Raised lip corners and crinkled eyelids indicate that the person’s happy. Look for crow’s feet to indicate whether a smile is genuine or not. True smiling, like all expressions, involve muscles beyond our control, so a trained eye can tell the real from the fake simply by noting whether the muscles surrounding the eye socket are in use. 
Fear is often characterized by parted lips, wide-open eyes, and raised eyebrows that bunch together. However, thinly-stretched lips on a closed mouth can also mean someone is nervous or scared about something. 

Anger’s not too hard to recognize—furrowed eyebrows, a frowning mouth, chin jutting out, and narrowed eyes all suggest that the person’s mad. 
Sad people also have downturned mouths, but also a wrinkled, wavering chin (think of what happens to it when you’re trying not to cry), and a wrinkled, creased forehead.
Did you detect a slight sneer or did the side of his or her mouth raise a little? That could mean he or she’s feeling contempt.

Surprise looks similar to fear, but the mouth and eyes are open a little wider and the eyebrows are raised without being bunched up. 

Someone who’s disgusted wrinkles his or her nose and has narrowed eyes. Usually the mouth parts somewhat because of the nose wrinkling.
More to Watch Out For
Beyond microexpressions, there are a few telltale signs that someone’s not being genuine. For example, most real expressions last a few seconds—four or five, tops. If someone’s huge smile or scared look lasts longer than that, it’s suspect. Some also believe that eye movements during story-telling say something about truthfulness. Eyes moving upward and to the right when explaining something might mean the person’s searching through his or her brain bank for details, whereas looking up and to the left suggests a deceptive tale. (This would be reversed if he or she’s left-handed.) 
According to Ekman, it’s better to look at the upper part of the face because it’s harder to control our impulsive facial expressions in that area, such as narrowed eyes or raised eyebrows. So if you’re watching someone’s face for signs revealing their inner thoughts, focus on that area first.

One Piece of the Puzzle
Even the most educated experts at lie detection can’t get it right every time and that’s because humans are complex creatures with a multitude of mannerisms that vary in meaning. We can learn to recognize facial expressions—and even to see the flashes of expressions that give away our inner thoughts—but that alone won’t tell us what’s behind the hidden emotions. 
In other words, seeing a significant other’s half-second fearful look while they’re explaining why they were out so late is significant, but it doesn’t indicate that they’re lying. If anything, they might just be afraid you won’t believe the truth. Either way, you’ll know there’s an issue worth exploring. Reading faces may not be foolproof, but at least it gives us something to work with.


Sunday, 3 February 2013

Hypnosis Timeline: A History of Hypnosis Inforgraphic

The Morpheus Clinic have done it again, another great infographic that shows concisely all the essential information regarding the history of hypnosis making it very easy to digest. (for a more detailed account of the history of hypnosis read here)

Friday, 1 February 2013

Infographic: Hypnosis: Myths & Facts

I have posted a hypnosis myths article previously (read here) but this excellent infographic produced by The Morpheus Clinic for Hypnosis  puts more information forward in a wonderful presentation.