Friday, 30 May 2014

The Power Of The Left Eye

The power of the left eye.
An original discovery by the Author.

To explain how to see the side of a person that they choose to hide and to see the true self, the window to the soul, we first need a bit of science.

We all have two brain hemispheres. A left brain and a right brain separated into two distinct cerebral hemispheres, connected by the corpus callosum. The two sides resemble each other and each hemisphere's structure is mostly mirrored by the other side. But despite the similarities, the functions of each hemisphere are different and in many ways unique.

The discovery that the human brain has two different ways of thinking developed through the work of Nobel Prize winner psycho biologist Roger W Sperry in the 60's. The idea of left brain and right brain thinking emerged where the visual right brain is seen to processes information intuitively and simultaneously, looking first at the whole picture then breaking it into details. The verbal left brain processes information analytically and sequentially, and looks first at the pieces then puts them together to get the whole.

Our right and left hemispheres control the opposite side of our bodies, so the right hemisphere controls our left side and processes what we see in our left eye while the left hemisphere controls the right side and processes what our right eye sees.

Research has found that the left side of the face is emotionally more expressive than the right side. This was shown in a study where the right and the left halves of a face image were combined with their mirror-reversed duplicates to make composite images. When people were asked which face appeared more emotional, they selected the left-left over the right-right composite more often.

The left side of our body is wired to the right side of our brain, and vice versa. This cross-over even to our eyes, which process a majority of their sensory data on opposite sides of the brain.

In his work, Sperry conducted "split-brain" experiments where a patient suffering from uncontrolled seizures had an area of his brain removed (the corpus collosum) by surgery in an attempt to control his illness. Following surgery, Sperry's patient seemed completely normal, but not quite. Tests were conducted where each "half" of the patient's brain functions were isolated from the other. The different visual and tactile information was presented to the patient's left or right side, without the other side knowing. The results astounded the researchers.

With their communications link severed, each side of the patient's brain was functioning as a separate individual. The right eye could name an object, such as a crayon, and the right hand could write down what it was, but the patient could not explain what it was used for. When it was shown to the left hand and eye, the patient could explain and demonstrate its use, but could not name it. More studies demonstrated that various functions of thought are localized to a specific area on either the left or right side of the human brain..

From these experiments there appear to be two modes of thinking: verbal and nonverbal, represented rather separately in left and right hemispheres, and that our education system, as well as science in general, tends to neglect the nonverbal form of intellect. What it seems to comes down to is that modern society unwittingly discriminates against the right hemisphere.

Now, our society is left brained and because we "think" left brained, the identity we show the world is left brained. However, our right brain has another hidden identity. The right brain is not utilised by us in social communication or the identity we project to others. In fact, we are mostly unaware of our right brain identity as we have been trained to be left brained. Conversely, we are aware of our left brain identity, and can "fake" this identity (e.g. pretend to be a nice person when we are not). We basically have control of our left brained identity as we do over our left brained functions. However, not only are we not aware of our right brained identity, we also have no control over it. Therefore our true self is exposed in this right brain identity. Since we are not aware of it and don't utilize right brain functions consciously, we cannot fake this identity. Also, the right brain is non verbal and in touch with the unconscious, which is also non verbal. Many prominent psychologist such as Jung and Dr. Scott Peck, explain that the unconscious could be another term for the soul, or at least the window to it. Because of the crossover, our LEFT eye goes to our right brain. The left eye therefore, is literally the window to the soul and the indicator of the hidden, unmasked true self.

Psychologists in the field of social interaction tell us that as we talk or look at a person’s face our eyes scan both the other persons eyes, to other parts of the face then back to the eyes again. However, from years of observation I noticed that we only concentrate on the right eye. We may scan both but we only take notice of the right eye. You can prove this to yourself by deliberately looking at someone's LEFT eye while in conversation, or upon meeting. Once you do this you will realize how "unnatural" this is. You will literally have to force yourself to do it. You will habitually go back to only taking notice of the right eye! Incredibly, human beings have a subconscious agreement not to take notice of the personality in the left eye!

If you break the agreement and take notice of the left eye, you will be looking at the person's true self. The window to the soul. And in many people you will see another person entirely!

I discovered this secret through years of drawing and painting portraits. I noticed there were different people in each eye. I have searched and there is no knowledge of this secret out there. Those who read this and practice it will be the first to be able to see the true self with this method. I have progressed beyond this technique and can feel people's energy. Also, I can focus slightly in front of a persons face and kind of see/feel their true self. I am sure others will be able to do this too, and the left eye practice seems to lead to this. You will also have the power to change people with this method. When you see their true self, they will unconsciously, and often consciously, become aware that you see their true self. They will know they can not pretend, or lie to you any more, or harbor resentment etc, and they will let go and become more their higher self around you.

If you want to practice this technique you can look at photographs of different people and look in each eye and try to see the true self and the social self. If you get a history book, or go through photographs of historic people on the net and look into their right and left eye, and take note of the social self and the true self, then read about that person's life experience, you will learn why you saw happiness, or fear, or dignity, in their left eye (the window to the soul), that was not portrayed in thier right eye (the person they want the world to see)

If you see an actor in a movie act out a crying scene, and the tear comes from their right eye (social self), they are superficially acting, or empathizing with the scene, as if watching it. If the tear comes from their left eye (true self), they have dug deep to a real incident in the past (an acting technique) and the tear is real from remembering that time, or even that they are so engrossed in their part that they are kind of living it for real (this kind of acting can be emotionally distressful to an actor and they can get carried away; something directors keep a close eye on).

If someone is not being sincere they will turn their face so that their right eye is toward you. If they are taking from the heart they will turn the left side of their face towards you to emphasise the left eye. All this you will now notice!

This knowledge of the left eye opens up another world where you can see the true self of people. It is a very rich experience, and in many cases will change your world. -

You must practice first being able to read emotion or the way a person is feeling from their eyes. It does take practice. I have included an image of a woman who was recently on the news who had been abused by her husband. If you look at here right eye (which is to your left as you look at the image), you will see the person who she is projecting to the world, Which although she looks weary in this eye, it is mostly neutral. However if you look into her left eye (on your right as you look at her picture), (which is her true self) you will see the look of a woman who is almost beyond sadness; downtrodden, helpless in her misery. If you can not see what I have described, and you want to learn this ability. You must practice by looking at many photo portraits. It will help at first to look at some famous people that you know the circumstances of. For example, in a photo of Adolf Hitler, do you see madness, fear or cruelty in his left eye? And what about his right eye? What persona is he trying to put out to the world? Does it make sense according to what you know about him?

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

10 Habits That Separate Successful And Unsuccessful People

1. Strong sense of self-awareness

With a strong sense of self-awareness you would be able to go out with confidence and you can face challenges and hold a faith in yourself that you can handle the ups and downs that come with living. Successful people have a strong sense of self-awareness: they know who they are and they are comfortable with themselves. They recognize themselves as unique individuals.

On the other hand, unsuccessful people have a narrow-minded vision of themselves and their character in the world. They might be extremely good at work and want to contribute towards changing the world or the environment they live in, but their effort is self-oriented and personally driven.

2. A desire to improve
The desire to improve generates challenges, experiments, which gives purpose and positive change. Even a failed attempt will create opportunities or challenges almost always more positive than total failure to act. Unsuccessful people generally don’t take risks and feel comfortable by staying on the “safer” side. They won’t feel happy going out of their comfort zone.

Successful people look forward to growing and take action to make positive changes in their careers. Irrespective of the desire of the attempt to improve, and regardless of the actual outcomes, this is an important difference between successful and unsuccessful people.
3. Expressed appreciation

You will hardly catch a successful person talking about his or her successes. In fact, a successful person rarely talks about him or herself. Successful people understand great success is the outcome of a team’s hard work. They give importance to the assistance they get from others.

Unsuccessful people find a wrong spot in everything and will display failures and hide others’ successes. They use a negative tone with other people around them and do not believe in anything.
4. Sense of ownership
Successful people look forward to learning from mistakes. They recognize their faults and take responsibility to make sure not to repeat mistakes again. They are accountable for their own actions.

On the other side, unsuccessful people are persistent; they think they are always right and they know it all, and consider themselves superior to everyone else.
5. Target and goal-oriented
Effective people have short-term and long-term goals which give them direction to meet success. That serves as a guideline and helps keep themselves motivated and on track. They set actual goals they can accomplish while unsuccessful people scramble to discover what they need to do next.
6. Confidence to face any problem
A truly successful person is never defeated by issues that appear in front of them any time. They put up a fight no matter how bad the situation. Successful people’s determined spirit gets stronger with problems. When they fall, they get back up.
7. Big-picture thinking ability
Big-picture thinking brings totality and maturity to an effective person’s thinking which broadens his or her outlook by striving to learn from every experience. While small thinking of unproductive people shortens their vision and leads them to become a follower, not the front-runner.
8. Approach towards work

Another commonality found in the successful is they find pleasure in their work. They focus on essential parts of their work that are quantifiable. That gives them the greatest sense of achievement and brings happiness at work. Unproductive people focus thinking on survival, and take all the good credit from others.
9. Value of time

Productive and effective people never waste time. Successful people endow a great value on their time. They understand time is the most treasured asset they possess, so they do everything they can to acquire supreme results.

Unsuccessful people cannot get ahead in life, because they don’t value time in their life. They look for any excuse to take a break from what they are doing. They get confused and they love putting things pending until the next day. They don’t complete work, responsibilities or projects on time.
10. Ability to delay gratification

Successful people possess higher patience, an aptitude to postpone the enjoyment of their work. They have an ability to work hard to accomplish a goal which is not achieved for a long time. It takes a lot of skills unsuccessful people lack or have not experienced. These comprise proper planning for the upcoming challenges, association, self-confidence and tolerance. These sorts of people by and large can’t see the forest through the trees.

Full article:

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Hypnotherapy To Stop Recurring Nightmares

Article by Mary Willix, Certified Hypnotherapist

A nightmare is a warning from the subconscious mind. It might signal a medical condition that needs to be treated, but it may also mean that you are ready to release pent-up negative emotions, negative scripting or trauma. Dream expert Patricia Garfield, author of Creative Dreaming, The Universal Dream Key and other books, tells us that most dreams are negative. I like what Robert Van de Castle says in Our Dreaming Mind:

Many people are surprised to learn that the majority of dreams are unpleasant. Since most people don't share dreams with others on a regular basis, they tend to assume that their own dreams are more negative, troubling, bizarre and unusual than those experienced by others. Knowing that other people often have disturbing dreams may be a source of relief to those who worry that their dreams may indicate some psychological disturbance or abnormality. But other individuals may use this information as an excuse to distance themselves from their dreams. 'I have enough unpleasantness in my everyday waking life. Why would I want to expose myself to further unpleasant events and emotions in dreams?' they may say.

I would respond that by paying attention to the troubling events in our dreams, we improve our long-range chances of reducing stress and anxiety in our waking life. Dreams tell us things we need to know to function more effectively when we're not dreaming. They inform us about conditions which require remedial action and give us hints as to which plans might be most successful.

I want to tell you a story about a client of mine who stopped recurring nightmares after one hypnosis session - essentially taking charge of a condition that required remedial action, and how together we created a plan that led to a surprising and dynamic shift. Marion is an elderly woman who lives in an assisted care facility because she has MS. One of her caregivers called me to say she'd been waking up at night frightened by recurring dreams about an angel of death. Sometimes she cried out, alarming staff members. They tried to console her, but the nightmares continued.

Marion was sitting in her wheelchair when I arrived. I pulled up a chair beside her, I explained how hypnosis works, prepared her for trance and began. Under hypnosis she described a woman who represented Death. She came down from the sky and looked like an angel in a dark robe. Recalling the figure, Marion became sad and teary eyed. "I'm not ready to die," she said in a faint voice. "Good," I responded. "Imagine, now, that you tell her that." Resistance surfaced. "But I grew up believing that when Death comes to tell me it's time, I must go."

"If you still have something you want to do here on earth, I wonder if you can ask for more time. If you think that's possible, please nod your head." She nodded. Mistaken literalism is the biggest dream interpretation error, says Jeremy Taylor, author of Where People Fly and Water Runs Uphill and The Living Labyrinth. Marion's strict religious upbringing led her to believe the dream figure announced her impending death. She took it literally, as most people would have done. But dream experts tell us that death symbols may indicate our readiness for a transformation - a letting go of an aspect of our personality that no longer serves us.

Marion and I prepared for a visualization in which she would meet the woman in the dark robe and ask for more time. She would explain why she wanted to continue living. I asked Marion to verbalize her reasons. We converted her initial plea of "I'm not ready to die" into statements beginning "I want to live because..." When she was ready, I took her deeper into trance and we began the visualization. Marion was motivated and cooperative. The figure from her dreams agreed to her request. We expressed appreciation for the agreement, I deepened the relaxation again and gave her the post-hypnotic suggestion that before our next session she would have a pleasant dream and she would remember it so she could share it with me.

That was all it took. The nightmares stopped. When I went to see Marion two weeks later, she looked cheerful. "The angel in the dark robe has not come back - and I had a good dream." I'm going to share it with you here because it shows the power of the mind to make a course correction. I think important dreams deserve to have titles, so I asked her to title it. "The River," she said. In her dream, Marion can walk. At four in the morning she opens the door and walks to a river. "I knew which path would take me there." While walking on the path, she feels she is going to accomplish something and that it will be enjoyable. Though she lives in Seattle, the river is in Eastern Washington. She knows this because of the vast, open landscape and the rock formations. She's wrapped in a blanket of many colors that reminds her of Joseph's coat and Indian blankets.

She reaches the edge of a cliff and gazes at the river below, transfixed by its movement, "It's not rushing, just flowing." Across the river wild flowers and bushes are blooming in a rockery. I ask her if the scene reminds her of anything. She says, "It makes me think of the Mormon Tabernacle choir singing 'How Beautiful Upon the Mountain' because this is like a painting, entirely different than a real landscape. It is so beautiful that I'm awestruck."

At this point in the dream Marion worries that someone might realize she's missing, so she walks out to a road. A car stops. Inside are two women who say they've been looking for her, so she gets in. When they arrive home, a man is waiting at the door for her. She feels safe and supported.

After hearing her dream, I asked Marion if she would like to do a guided visualization to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. She agreed and we imagined her going to Salt Lake City, entering the Temple and sitting down as the organ begins. When the visualization was clear in her mind, I asked her to describe it. "The organ is so powerful, my body is vibrating. The choir has such magic that anyone who heard it would be uplifted and changed by it." I suggested that now they would sing How Beautiful Upon the Mountain and asked if she would sing along. Still in the trance state, she began singing. She looked blissful. I gave her the post-hypnotic suggestion that she would sing for someone else after our session.

Days later, I learned from Marion's caregiver that she not only sang for the staff and residents, she sang for her doctor during an appointment she had later that day. Bubbling with enthusiasm, she shared her joy with others.

Jeremy Taylor says that all dreams come in the service of health and wholeness and that no dream comes to tell us what we already know. Dreams have multiple meanings and when we have a Big Dream, as Marion did, sharing it with someone you trust can have an expansive impact. Robert Moss, another well-known dream expert says that to harness the power of your dreams you need only two things: the ability to recall and the willingness to be open-minded about what your dreams are telling us.

When you have a bad dream, think about these words from Dr. John Kappas, founder of the Hypnosis Motivation Institute, "Venting dreams are the most important to dream analysis since they represent events, traumas, doubts and fears that you are removing from your past and your present. They reflect what you no longer need to hold on to. They must always be recognized and accepted as a venting process, and not misinterpreted as having precognitive value. The purpose of venting is removal."

The next time you have a bad dream, remind yourself that you are venting. If you dream about someone you knew in elementary school or high school, you are releasing something from that period of your life – so you can feel good about that. Instead of getting up and stewing about it, you can say, "Whew. Glad I vented that!" It's been 18 months since Marion vented her death nightmares.

Every time you consciously acknowledge material that emerges from your subconscious in dreams, you promote greater communication between your subconscious and conscious minds. Let's reflect on the big picture: the evolution of consciousness. "As a species, consciousness is our primary choice for evolution," says Jeremy Taylor. "The evolution of consciousness is the ONLY reliable avenue of evolution." When a nightmare offers us an invitation for transformation on a conscious level, let's say yes.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

VIDEO The Mindful Life

Friday, 23 May 2014

A Positive Mood Enhances Creativity

People who watch funny videos on the internet at work aren't necessarily wasting time. They may be taking advantage of the latest psychological science -- putting themselves in a good mood so they can think more creatively.
"Generally, positive mood has been found to enhance  solving and flexible yet careful thinking," says Ruby Nadler, a graduate student at the University of Western Ontario. She and colleagues Rahel Rabi and John Paul Minda carried out a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for . For this study, Nadler and her colleagues looked at a particular kind of learning that is improved by creative thinking.
Students who took part in the study were put into different moods and then given a category learning task to do (they learned to classify sets of pictures with visually complex patterns). The researchers manipulated mood with help from music clips and video clips; first, they tried several out to find out what made people happiest and saddest. The happiest music was a peppy Mozart piece, and the happiest video was of a laughing baby. The researchers then used these in the experiment, along with sad music and video (a piece of music from Schindler's List and a news report about an earthquake) and a piece of music and a video that didn't affect mood. After listening to the music and watching the video, people had to try to learn to recognize a pattern.
Happy volunteers were better at learning a rule to classify the patterns than sad or neutral volunteers. "If you have a project where you want to think innovatively, or you have a problem to carefully consider, being in a positive mood can help you to do that," Nadler says. And music is an easy way to get into a . Everyone has a different type of music that works for them—don't feel like you have to switch to Mozart, she says.
Nadler also thinks this may be a reason why people like to watch funny videos at work. "I think people are unconsciously trying to put themselves in a "—so that apparent time-wasting may actually be good news for employers.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

How To Deal With A Fear Of Driving

by Ted Moreno, Certified Hypnotherapist

Driving anxiety is a very common form of anxiety that can range in severity from a hesitation to drive, where anxiety is always present, all the way up to a total refusal to drive at all, in which case it becomes driving phobia. A phobia is a fear that is paralyzing but irrational. Driving phobia is one of the most common phobias.

Driving phobia is a form of agoraphobia, literally defined as is the fear of open spaces. But it's not the fear of open spaces that scares people, it's the fear of loss of control. People with a driving phobia fear being trapped in a traffic jam and unable to escape if they experience a panic attack, likewise, they also fear passing out, losing control of the vehicle, throwing up or getting into an accident. For many people, driving next to big trucks can be very nerve racking, as can be merging on the freeway or driving in the fast lane.
Driving Anxiety Symptoms

Symptoms of driving anxiety or phobia are similar to those of most other forms of anxiety: heart palpitations, perspiring and sweaty palms, disorientation, confusion, dizziness, dry mouth and shortness of breath. This is the classic "fight or flight response". Sometimes people feel that they are going to die or go crazy. This can be really scary and people will avoid driving to avoid these kind of intense feelings. Of course, these are just feelings and even the most severe panic attacks don't cause any long term ill effects.

Obviously, this can seriously impact a person's ability to function on a daily basis if they need to drive to work or drive for a living, especially here in Southern California where driving is necessary to get anywhere fast.

Driving anxiety can start in many ways. Usually a person has experienced an incident such as a car accident or "close call" and that memory is still causing the subconscious mind to be protective. Sometimes, although not often, this kind of anxiety can show up seemingly out of the blue. If you are a person that is prone to anxiety or fear, then driving may just be one place where this shows up.

In addition, episodes of low blood sugar can create anxiety which can become associated with driving, if you happen to be driving when the low blood sugar takes place. Low blood sugar can be caused from not eating or after eating a meal high in simple carbs or sugar. This is especially true for those that have family histories of diabetes or hypoglycemia.

Driving anxiety can turn into a phobia though avoidance. In other words, of you have some fear of driving and you decide to stop altogether, it becomes a full blown phobia and the more you avoid it, the harder it is to get back in the saddle, so to speak. The good news is, fear of driving is a learned behavior. If you have ever felt comfortable driving, then that is something you learned, so if you are uncomfortable now, you can relearn how to be comfortable again.

Driving Anxiety Tips
Here are some tips to help you get back on the road feeling safe and comfortable and confident. If you are currently not driving due to fear, I highly recommend that you seek help as many have been able to resume driving with the help of a good Therapist or Hypnotherapist.
  • The basics: Avoid driving on an empty stomach. Pay attention to how you feel after eating certain foods, especially those high in sugar or simple carbs (bread, pastries, soft drinks). Drinking alcohol the night before can also trigger blood sugar imbalances. Also, if you are driving while sleep deprived, you are asking for trouble. Start by taking care of yourself.
  • Caffeine: is a known trigger for anxiety. Some of my clients have felt a marked relief in anxiety just by cutting back on caffeinated beverages.
  • Consider car pooling: If you are engaged in conversation you are less liable to think anxious thoughts. You also have to drive half as much. Think this one over carefully, as some people are more distracted while conversing while driving.
  • Manage your stress: A common cause for anxiety is extended periods of overwhelming stress. Do what you can to lower your stress level: exercise, take more breaks, meditation, yoga, etc.
  • Affirmations: Hand write, in script, some positive affirmation about your ability to drive calm, comfortable and relaxed. For example "I'm calm, comfortable and relaxed while driving and enjoying listening to music (the radio, audio books, etc.)" Read them right before you go to bed and right after you wake up. Say them out loud and imagine yourself driving while feeling calm and relaxed. Don't underestimate the power of this simple exercise.
  • What really stops most people is the anticipatory anxiety: "Oh my God, I need to drive tomorrow out to the west side. I just know this is going to cause me a lot of anxiety. I'm already feeling it!" Instead, try saying something like "Yeah, if I feel anxious I know I can handle it."
  • Desensitization: This is a therapeutic technique which can help you become more comfortable with what is fearful. I use desensitization with clients while they are in hypnosis. It involves taking small steps to put yourself in situations that trigger anxiety. For example, if you can't even drive your car, then you might start by sitting in the parked car in the driveway or on the street with the engine on but not moving. Notice whatever anxiety comes up and just be with it. Do that for longer periods of time until you can sit in the car, engine running, without anxiety. When you reach that point, and it may take a few hours or a few days, then drive around the block. If you feel anxiety, just pull over until it goes away, then continue driving. For freeway driving, you might try getting on one on ramp, staying in the slow lane, and then getting off on the next off ramp.

The most important thing to realize is that even though anxiety does not feel good, it will not kill you. It is your reaction to the feeling of anxiety that can make it manageable or not. Instead of fighting anxiety, just allow it to be. Notice it, and see if you can observe it with detachment. Take deep breaths and try to remain in the present moment. Realize you have a tendency to create anxiety with your thoughts so try focusing on something else, like the environment, music, or the cars in front of you.

If you are still driving even though you experience anxiety, these tips can be helpful and good luck. However, if your level of anxiety is very high or if you are phobic, you will probably need some help. As a hypnotherapist specializing in anxiety, I can tell you that you don't need to live with the anxiety; hypnotherapy can be effective for allowing you to drive comfortably, confidently and safely.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Can Animals Fall In Love?

We all love our pets, but can our cats and dogs fall in love with us, too? Skeptics believe that we anthropomorphize our pets, and their supposed expressions of love are really just simple instincts that help them get a treat or something else they want. Animal lovers know better of course, but now we have some cold, hard scientific research to back us up. In fact, this new research shows that pets might love us even more than we love them!

Claremont Graduate University economist Paul Zak has been conducting a series of studies related to the “hug drug” oxytocin and reporting his findings in The Atlantic. Many know that oxytocin is released by mothers interacting with their babies, and couples making love, but any positive interaction, even between strangers, increases the neurochemical by a modest amount. The production of oxytocin helps us care about the people around us, at least temporarily.

Zak’s researched focused on humans before, but he was moved to start studying human-animal relationships after an emotional experience saying goodbye to his 15-year-old dog at the vet’s office. Surprised at how much the dog’s passing affected him, he wondered if animals can cause people to release oxytocin.

100 participants came to Zak’s lab and provided baseline blood samples before playing privately with a cat or dog. Zak compared the participant’s oxytocin levels after playing with an animal to their baseline level, and the levels after interacting with another human being.

Surprisingly, only 30 percent of participants produced more oxytocin after their pet play session (levels increased from 10 to 50 percent after interacting with humans). Past and present dog owners were more likely to have an increase after playing with a dog, but cat owners had the opposite reaction (probably because dogs are more responsive to their owners than their independent feline counterparts).

Next, Zak went to an animal refuge in Arkansas to test whether animals could feel love and friendship for other animals. He focused on two young males who would often play and simulate fighting with each other. They were two different species: a terrier mix and a goat.

Zak let the pair interact uninterrupted in an enclosed area, and, as with the humans earlier, took their baseline blood samples and drew again after the playdate.

The dog’s oxytocin levels increased by 48 percent, showing the strong friendship he feels lt for his goat buddy. But it seems the goat is actuallyin love with the terrier — he had an increase of 210 percent! Zac wrote inThe Atlantic, “The only time I have seen such a surge in oxytocin in humans is when someone sees their loved one, is romantically attracted to someone, or is shown an enormous kindness.”

This is a small sample size for now, and hopefully Zak will move forward with more of this research. But now we know that our pets’ love is as real as our own.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

VIDEO Bazaar Bizarre: The Strange Case Of Bob Berdella

Friday, 16 May 2014

6 Must Know Facts About Your Babies Brain

1.Baby's brain grows rapidly
After birth, the human brain grows rapidly, more than doubling to reach 60 per cent of its adult size by the time the kid is sampling his first birthday cake. By kindergarten,the brain has reached its full size but it may not finish developing until the kid is in his mid-20s.

2.Lantern vs flashlight
Baby brains have many more neuronal connections than the brains of adults. They also have less inhibitory neurotransmitters. As a result, the baby's perception of reality is less focused than adults. They are vaguely aware of everything — a sensible strategy considering they don't yet know what's important. Few likens baby perception to a lantern, scattering light across the room, where adult perception is more like a flashlight, consciously focused on specific things but ignoring background details.

3.Babbling signals learning
Within their lantern's light, babies focus momentarily. When they do, they usually make babbling sounds to convey interest. The nonsense syllables babies spout - is the acoustic version of a furrowed brow. Few signal to adults that they are ready to learn. What makes babies smarter is talking to them, dialogue is best, where a parent responds within the pauses of an infants' vocalisations.

4.Brains can be overwhelmed
But their need for human interaction doesn't mean they should be tickled silly day and night. Babies have short attention spans and can easily be over-stimulated. Sometimes, the interaction they need is simply help calming down. This can be provided by rocking, dimming lights or swaddling flailing limbs that babies have yet to figure out how to control.

5.Educational DVDs aren't worth
Recent research suggests that social responses are fundamental to a child's ability to fully learn language. Babies divide up the world between things that respond to them and things that don't. Things that don't are not worth it. A recording does not follow a baby's cues, which is why infant DVDs, have been found to be ineffective.

6.They need more than parents
Researchers theorise that spending time with non-parental caregivers — a doting granny, a daycare teacher, a family friend - helps infants learn to read different facial expressions and expand their ability to take the perspectives of others. They use adult mental processes for figuring others' emotions by the time they are seven months old.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The Devil You Know: The Inside World Of A Psychopathic Scientist

James Fallon is a happily married father of three, an award-winning neuroscientist at the University of California, Irvine, the founder of several successful biotech companies, and a scientific advisor to the US Department of Defense. He is also a psychopath.

In 2005, after decades of studying the brain scans of psychopathic killers, Fallon made a startling discovery when examining his own PET scan as part of a separate research project. His brain, Fallon discovered, looked precisely like those of the cold-blooded murderers he’d spent the last 20 years scrutinizing. And after analyzing his DNA, Fallon later uncovered that his genetic profile contained several genes strongly linked to violent, psychopathic behaviors.

After Fallon revealed the findings in a 2009 TED Talk, mainstream media latched on: he was profiled on NPR, graced the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and even inspired an episode of the TV series Criminal Minds. Now, however, Fallon is telling his own version of the story. In a new book, The Psychopath Inside (Penguin Group), Fallon takes a hard scientific look at our evolving understanding of psychopathy — through the lens of his own biology and behaviors. And the latter, as he admits, haven’t exactly been laudable: Fallon isn’t a murderer, but he writes candidly of hard partying, perpetual lying, and reckless, dangerous impulsivity — not to mention the admission that he’s never truly made an empathetic connection (even with his wife). So how does an expert in psychopathy come to terms with the disturbing symptoms of his own illness? We talked to Fallon to find out.

I think you’d agree that the term “psychopath” is thrown around liberally, and the general public tends to think of psychopathy as a condition that afflicts the most cold-blooded of killers. But you point out in the book that, as far as the medical community is concerned, psychopathy isn’t even a defined and diagnosable illness. Why do you think that is?

You’re right that there are a lot of definitions of psychopathy, and there isn’t one governing set of symptoms that point to it. If you look to the DSM-5 [ED: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders] psychopathy doesn’t exist, and if I asked my psychiatrist friends they’d agree with that assessment. In large part, that’s because many of the traits that characterize a psychopath — things like narcissism, sadism, anti-social behavior — appear in other disorders. So there isn’t a clean set of defining traits we can look to and come up with a diagnostic criteria. Really, that’s how much of psychiatry has turned out to be: we don’t have categorical answers, because there’s much more dimensionality to these conditions.

As far as public perception goes, I’d say that the best, most badass, sadistic, ultimate example of a psychopath would be the original Hannibal Lecter. That’s who we think a psychopath is. But I’d argue that Will Graham, the FBI agent who tracks Hannibal, is the version of a psychopath we see more often in reality: he’s the pro-social psychopath, the guy in the office who seems a little off but who doesn’t engage in really ugly, egregious criminal behavior. And that’s where I would put myself. I might have a lot of weird, disturbed thoughts, but I don’t act on those thoughts. The Hannibal guys are a small subset, but they’re certainly overrepresented in the media.

So if you personally aren’t the Hannibal, then what kind of psychopath are you?

What I’ve realized is that for me, it’s all about the power. I get a buzz from manipulating people, and from making them want to do things for me — even if I don’t take it that far, by making unreasonable or immoral demands on them. I just like to know that I can; it’s like a game I play whenever I walk into a room. I can really turn on the charm, I can really work it to get whatever it is that I might want. I mean, I don’t look good: I’m fat and I’m old. But I can make people think that I’m really special. And that gives me a hit that I crave.

Look, let’s say all of a sudden I was broke, I didn’t have a career, I didn’t have a family. Then I could see myself breaking the codes of ethics and morality, and getting into some ugly behavior to get what I wanted or felt I needed. But I’ve been very fortunate to have a wonderful, privileged life — so I don’t feel a need to break those codes. I’m just saying that I can easily see myself going there.

As a scientist, you were a long-time adherent to the idea of genetic determinism: that our biology rather than our environment decides how we wind up. But you write that finding out you had the genetic profile of a psychopath actually changed that perception. How so?

At the period of time when I was growing up and going to school, everything was about society and your environment, and how those things molded you. I guess for me, I looked around and knew a lot of great poor people and a lot of really rich jerks, so I said “hey, if the environment is key to all of this, it really isn’t doing the job we think it is.” Instead, I became convinced that we were born and not raised — and I spent my career studying exactly how the brain influences who we become.

But I didn’t fit my own theory. I had similar brain scans to full-blown, psychopathic killers. I had the genetic profile of a psychopath too. So why didn’t I fall into that kind of behavior? Well, I’d say it’s because I had a very fortunate, very warm upbringing with a wonderful family. And a lot of those who have my same genetic makeup and go onto violence endured awful abuse or trauma. So you need to give environment more credit than I used to, but that doesn’t mean I’ve thrown out biology: around the time this was all happening to me, the field of epigenetics started to explode. Maybe it isn’t that biology doesn’t determine who you are, but that your environment can play a role in which genes are turned on or off.

You’ve known about your brain scans for four years, but writing this book forced you to discuss those results with others, to confront unpleasantries about your personality, and to acknowledge how your behavior has impacted your family, friends, and colleagues. What was that process like?

Coming to terms with the hurt you’ve caused loved ones or close friends, that’s not an easy thing to do. I had never given much thought to my behavior, I thought it was entirely fine — but I guess you never know what people are saying about you behind your back. And when I started asking people to really be honest with me, they were, and they told me “You know Jim, a lot of the time you’re kind of an asshole, or you’re really inconsiderate.” My brother-in-law, who’s a Vietnam vet, told me that of all the stuff he did in the war, none of it compares to the risks he took when he was hanging out with me.

The most important part of all this has been reexamining my life with my family, and my behavior towards them. And I’m very fortunate, because at the end of the day despite everything, they still think that deep down I’m a pretty good guy. My professional pride is very important to me too, and for the most part colleagues treat me the same as they used to and still trust my judgment. But I’ll admit that a couple people don’t want to be around me anymore, one in particular has simply fled from me — they reinterpreted their interactions with me after the psychopathy stuff came out, and they weren’t okay with me.

Now that you’ve recognized the effects of your behavior, have you been able to change it?

Well, my wife just walked in, so let’s ask her. [“It’s Katie Drummond from The Verge, she wants to know if this has all made me any better.”] She says, “Yes, you’re more considerate.” So there you go.

I did make an effort to change my behavior during this process, and I’ve kept up with that. I decided to start doing all the things people think are “the right things to do.” I go to the weddings, the funerals, I think about people’s feelings — all the stuff I don’t get a kick out of, I try to do now. It’s just the day-to-day decision to not be an asshole, to not lie to get out of something so that I can go down to the bar. And I don’t do it because I’m nice, I do it because of my pride: I want to know if I can pull it off. Trust me, there’s no magic to it. As I’m becoming a nicer guy, I’m also getting fatter. I can only control so many impulses at once.

Let’s say someone reading your book — and I’m asking for a friend here — is worried that they exhibit a lot of the same traits you do. Maybe they seek out power, they’re manipulative, they don’t readily make emotional connections. Do you have any advice for readers concerned they, too, might be “pro-social” psychopaths?

Well, I can only tell you what worked for me. Since I’m a lapsed Catholic, I started thinking of psychopathic behavior in terms of the seven deadly sins. Those sins, to me, are just psychopathic traits and tendencies with different names — I kept sinning, and I kept doing it over and over and over. And using the term “sin” is one example of how we’ve all mollified psychopathic behaviors: if it’s a sin, well then that’s okay, because everyone sins and then you go to church on Sunday and you make it better. But it’s not actually okay.

I’d say that around 10 or 15 percent of us are pretty borderline as far as psychopathy goes, but we all let those behaviors slip and we protect each other — we say “oh, it’s okay, he does that all the time,” or “oh, that’s just how she is.” It’s a Stockholm Syndrome epidemic. What I’d tell you to do is strip away the bullshit terms and excuses surrounding your behavior, and ask yourself what you’re actually doing and how it affects other people. For me, simple linguistics were what it took to change my behavior. Instead of saying, “Oh, that’s a sin and I gotta go to church,” it’s a matter of saying “Oh wow, I just did something really psychopathic, and I gotta figure out how to stop it.”

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Big 5 Happiness Myths Debunked


Good luck with that. Though it's the founding principle of the positive thinking movement, trying hard to focus on upbeat thoughts and emotions frequently backfires, generating stress. One culprit is the mind's susceptibility to "ironic effects": attempting not to think about certain negative things only renders them more salient. Research underlines the point: bereaved people who try not to feel grief take longer to recover; experimental subjects who were told to try not to feel sad about some distressing news felt worse. Much more fruitful is the Buddhist-inspired notion of "non-attachment:" learning to let negative emotions arise and pass, resisting the urge to stamp them out. In any case, it's often more productive to focus on behavior, not internal states. Next time you're feeling unmotivated about starting some daunting project, allow yourself to feel unmotivated--and at the same time, open up the file and begin. Doing meaningful work is challenging enough without the burdensome demand that you feel like doing it, too.


Another self-help dogma that's being further undermined every year. A too-vigorous focus on goals, research suggests, can trigger a variety of unintended consequences: it can degrade performance, and encourage ethical corner-cutting. Moreover, it can badly distort an organization, or a life, by singling out one variable for maximization, regardless of how it's connected to all the others. (Consider the hypothetical entrepreneur who vows to become a millionaire by 35 and succeeds--but only at the cost of alienating his family and friends, and ruining his health.) Even the 1996 Mount Everest disaster has been blamed on the "overpursuit of goals."
Deep down, what may explain our obsession with goals is the fear of uncertainty--the craving to know for sure how the future will turn out--whereas in fact it's only amid uncertainty that true creativity can occur. "The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning," wrote the psychologist Erich Fromm. "Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers." Besides, isn't there something dubious about a philosophy of happiness that locates it entirely in the future, which never seems to arrive?


This won't surprise anyone who's encountered managers in the mold of David Brent--but the hazards of enforced positivity get worse when it's a matter of trying to make other people, not just yourself, feel cheery. Feeling obliged to maintain a sunny facade actually imposes a cognitive burden on employees--it's a form of affective labor--sapping resources that could be more productively deployed.
Inauthentically "fun" workplaces can be deeply alienating environments: if the famous ping-pong tables and meditation pods of Silicon Valley do keep workers happy, that's probably because they reflect a commitment to letting people relax when they need to--not because anyone feels forced to use them. The quality that's really appreciated in managers, one recent study suggests, isn't fun; it's fairness, which proved much more important as a source of stress than an overwhelming workload.


It's better to have high self-esteem than low self-esteem. (Within limits, anyway: history's most horrifying dictators thought pretty highly of themselves, too.) But a dissenting minority of psychologists have long suspected there's a problem with the notion of "self-esteem" itself. It rests on the idea of giving your whole self one universal grade--and once you've done that, it's a constant struggle to stop that grade slipping from high down to low. Suddenly, your everyday failures--the things that go wrong for everyone, every so often--become far more consequential: instead of merely being regrettable in themselves, they threaten your overall grade.
The late psychotherapist Albert Ellis called self-esteem the greatest emotional disturbance of them all. Rate your individual acts as good or bad if you like, he advised, and by all means try to perform more good ones. But leave your self out of it.


"Toxic people," "energy vampires": whatever labels the positivity police like to give them, it's a solid plank of conventional wisdom that people who dwell on worst-case scenarios are best avoided. Yet a particular kind of pessimism is well worth cultivating. It's what the psychologist Julie Norem calls "defensive pessimism," though its origins stretch back to the Stoics of ancient Greece. Thinking carefully about how badly things could go, the Stoics Seneca and Epictetus both recognized, saps the future of its anxiety-producing power; once you've figured out how you'd cope if things went wrong, the resulting peace of mind leaves you better primed for success.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

VIDEO Secrets Of Body Language Documentary

Friday, 9 May 2014

7 Quick Social Tricks For Manipulating People

1. Whenever someone is angry and confrontational, stand next to them instead of in front of them. You won’t appear as so much of a threat, and they eventually calm down.

2. Open with “I need your help.” People don’t like the guilt of not helping someone out. When asking for a favour from someone, begin your request by saying “I need your help.” It greatly increases your chances of getting that favour done.

3. Rephrase what the other person says and repeat it back to them. This makes them think you’re listening and really interested in what they’re saying. It makes them feel validated. Obviously, you don’t want to overdo this.

4. If you want someone to agree with you, nod while you talk.This gets the other person to nod too, and they begin to subconsciously think they agree with you.

5. If someone doesn't like you, ask to borrow a pencil. It is a small enough favour that they won’t say no, and it gets them to like you more.

6. Fold your arms to determine interest. If someone is observing you, they will likely mimic you. Fold your arms, and see if they do it, too.

7. Repeat a person’s name many times during a conversation. It helps you remember it, and makes them like you more.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

10 Hypnotic Selling Techniques

Hypnotic Selling Techniques

One: Master Self-Hypnosis
Sales is a stressful profession and even the greatest salespeople get a lot of rejection. When times are tough and sales are few and far between, negative thinking and pessimism abound. Negative thoughts ("our prices are too high... we're in a recession") that are repeated over and over become hypnotic and can drain your energy. The good news is that if you learn self-hypnosis, you can easily replace negative self-destructive thoughts with positive thoughts. I have telephone clients all over the United States who buy an hour of my time each week. Many of my clients have experienced dramatic increases in sales and significant reductions in their level of stress by learning self-hypnosis.

Two: Sell Them On Their Dreams
Find out your prospect's innermost dreams and desires, and piggyback whatever you are selling on those dreams. When people talk about their dreams, they are going into an imaginary future world. They are leaving the mundane here-and-now and are entering a hypnotic state. You don't have to induce hypnosis when people talk about their dreams -- you only have to make use of the hypnotic state they are already in.

Encourage people to talk about their dreams. If you show them that they can achieve their dreams and their ideal state (or part of it) through buying your product or service -- they are likely to buy it! This is a technique used extensively by Tony Robbins, Charles Givens and almost every other supersalesperson in the world today. Remember, people cannot resist their own dreams.

Three: Paint Vivid Word Pictures
Much of hypnosis is based on mental imagery, which is essentially vivid word pictures. If you go to see a clinical hypnotist, he might have you imagine you are floating down a river on a warm afternoon, or that you are sitting on a beach in Hawaii, or floating in the clouds. Such imagery gets people to leave the present moment and present concerns and it frees up the human imagination. It activates the creative, emotional part of the mind and quiets down the critical part of your prospect. Our research on sales superstars shows that they use much more imagery than do average salespeople. Don't be afraid to use mental picture after picture after picture in your sales presentation. To do so is positively mesmerizing and gives you a true competitive edge.

Four: Learn The Instant Replay Technique
If you are selling cars, find out how your prospect bought his last car. If you are selling houses, find out how he bought his last home. Ask questions and listen to learn every mental step he or she went through, the order of those mental steps, and who else was consulted during the decision-making process. When people talk about how they have done things in the past, they get mesmerized by their own stories. And, since we are all creatures of habit, we are very likely to buy today in the same way we have bought in the past. Sell him a suit today in the same way he bought his last suit and the only way he can resist you is to resist himself. Most people find it nearly impossible to resist their own thinking and their own values. He won't know why, but he will find it fascinating (and mesmerizing) to buy from you. Your customer will find that the whole process is almost effortless since it fits in so perfectly with the way he likes to buy.

Five: Use Hypnotic Affirmations
We all talk to ourselves all the time. Scientific research has shown that many people talk to themselves at the rate of up to 500 words per minute! Since you are going to be talking to yourself, why not say something positive? Many of the old-fashioned approaches to positive thinking neglected the all-important role of affirmations in self-programming.

What is your attitude towards selling? Whether you are aware of it or not, you are talking to yourself every day about what selling means to you. Are you saying, "Selling is a drag?" or "How did I get into this field?"

I've taught many of the clients in my private practice to use hypnotic affirmations to squeeze out almost all negative thoughts. Repeat these affirmations 1,000 times over the next two weeks: "I love to sell." "Selling is easy for me." "I love to meet new people." "I represent a great company and a great line of products." The constant use of these and other affirmations creates a positive mental state and self-confidence that no competitor can shake.

Six: Utilize The Power of Repetition
Much of hypnosis is based on the power of repetition, whether it is the repetitive swinging of a shiny gold watch or the repetitious use of a word such as "sleep" or "relax." Sales superstars are not afraid to repeat themselves, especially if they are making an important point or a new point. To keep what you are saying fascinating, each time you repeat it, say it a little differently. Use your hypnotic repetitive statement, then talk about something else, then use the hypnotic repetitive statement, then talk about something else, then use the hypnotic repetitive statement again. I supported myself through ten years of university studies by working as a salesman and I developed certain phrases which I repeated hypnotically to set new sales records. Here is just one example: "You will love this product." "You will absolutely love this." "You will completely fall in love with this." "You will love this forever."

In advertising sales, they say that nothing sells like repetition. In selling radio ad spots, for example, you never sell one or two advertisements. No one ever buys a product after hearing about it in one radio ad. Instead, you sell a company a set of 50 or 75 radio spots. Why is repetition so important? Most people are terrible listeners. They miss much of what you are saying, and within one hour they forget about 80 percent of the little bit they did hear. If you don't use hypnotic repetition, you take the risk that your client or prospect might not hear some of your most important messages. Remember that hypnotic repetition works powerfully with both factual and emotional messages.

Seven: Tell Hypnotic Stories
Some of the most powerful hypnotic techniques of all are story and metaphor techniques. When people listen to a story, they tend to let down their guard and become less critical. They "go see a movie" in their mind. When you tell a hypnotic story, they think you "aren't selling," yet you might be making the most powerful sales points in your entire presentation. The subject of sales metaphors and sales stories is too complex to cover in depth here. You can learn the most powerful sales stories by reading Unlimited Selling Power by Donald Moine and Ken Lloyd (Prentice-Hall, 1990). As a starting point, collect, write down and practice the most effective sales stories that are told by the sales champions in your company or industry. Simply mastering these stories could increase your sales by 20 percent or even more.

Eight: Use Hypnotic Sales Scripts
Hypnotic scripts are organized collections of words that are unforgettable: Here are just a few hypnotic scripts we are all familiar with: "To be or not to be..." "Four score and seven years ago..." "Ask not what your country can do for you..." The problem with many salespeople is that they speak in a way that is boring and banal. It is no wonder that they can't get appointments and that customers avoid them. Other salespeople have a way of speaking that sparkles and is fascinating and mesmerizing. The salespeople who mesmerize use powerful collections of words (scripts) that are impossible to ignore.

I've recently done over 30 talk radio shows in cities all across the United States. The reason I have been featured on more talk radio shows in America than any other sales trainer is that I have figured out a way of talking about selling that absolutely mesmerizes talk show hosts and big audiences. I have scripts of powerful word combinations that I use that positively open up people's minds to the world of selling. I use other proven scripts when I give sales training seminars across the United States, Canada and Australia.
Objections are predictable. You should be able to predict every objection that a prospect might raise to buying your product or service. Most important, you should have dozens of mesmerizing, heart-stopping, mind-blowing scripts to use to totally take the power out of these predictable objections. Hypnotic sales scripts are the best guaranteed way to eliminate objections and successfully close sales.

Nine: Build Trust
All of the research on trust points to the fact that we trust and like people who are like we are. The most rapid way of building trust is through the use of pacing techniques, which are matching or mirroring techniques. When you become like the other person by pacing him, you minimize and dissolve differences. When you are like the customer, the only way the customer cannot like you is by not liking himself -- which for most people is difficult to do.

To build trust and rapport rapidly and to send the subliminal message, "I am like you are," pace and mirror the following: speech rate and speech volume, body language, moods and emotions, and opinions and beliefs.

When you completely pace someone, the effect is positively hypnotic. You can get to the place where you can almost predict what they will say next, and that gives you tremendous power and self-confidence in selling.

Ten: Use Intraverbal Suggestions
Intraverbal suggestions come from intonations and voice inflections. When a hypnotist uses the word "sleep," he usually pronounces it in a soft deep voice and extends it out into "sssllleeeeeeppp." The special intonations and voice inflections he uses give the word extra power. In the same way, we have found that top sales professionals turn certain words into action commands by changing their intonations: "Think of how haaapyyy your wife will be when you give her this new sports car!"

In this example, a long resonant intonation on the word "happy" triggers strong positive feelings in the customer. He has an immediate positive experience of his wife's happiness. If the salesman just said the same words quickly and matter-of-factly, they would have little effect. It is the intraverbal suggestion that gives them all their power. Your voice inflection can actually trigger happiness in the listener in the instant he hears such a suggestion!

I encourage clients in my private practice to bring in or mail in tapes of their sales presentations or telemarketing calls. We then identify key words that can be made more powerful through the use of intraverbal suggestion. Finally, we practice using different forms of intraverbal suggestion until we find absolutely the most powerful combination of intonation and inflection.

I am often able to significantly increase a salesperson's closing ratio simply by adding the proper form of intraverbal suggestion to the words he or she is already using.

These ten techniques of hypnotic selling have helped individuals and companies sell billions of dollars worth of products and services. If you use them and practice them, they will work for you. The art and science of hypnotic or mesmerizing selling, while little known today, will soon become as well known as NLP in selling. If you are one of the first to master these powerful persuasion techniques, you'll have a significant edge over your competitors and you will be able to successfully close more sales with less effort.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Bereavement Counselling Factfile

If you have experienced the death of someone who was very important to you, you might be finding it very difficult to adjust to the immense changes happening in your life right now. Grief can shake everything up - your beliefs, your personality, and even your sense of reality.

Bereavement is the time we spend adjusting to loss. There is no standard time limit and there is no right or wrong way to feel during the bereavement period - everyone must learn to cope in their own way.

Grief, although normal, can manifest in a huge range of unexpected ways. Some people get angry, some people withdraw further into themselves and some people become completely numb. Sometimes, grief can turn into something more serious - like depression.

Bereavement counselling may be able to provide support during these very difficult times. Talking about the loss often allows a person to adjust to their new life with all its changes - good and bad. Keeping things bottled up or denying the sadness could prolong the pain. Any loss has to be acknowledged for us to move forward. Bereavement counselling tries to help clients find a place for their loss so they can carry on with life and eventually find acceptance.

What is bereavement?
The word 'bereavement' comes from the ancient German for 'seize by violence'. Sometimes when someone dies, it can feel just like that - like that person has been forcibly taken away. Today the word 'bereavement' is used to describe the period of grief and mourning we go through after someone close to us dies.

When someone you care about suddenly leaves your life, it's not a case of taking time out to recover. 'Recovery' suggests that you will emerge exactly the same as you were before. In reality, all of your experiences shape the person you are, and experiencing the death of someone you care about often has the biggest impact. Bereavement is about trying to accept what happened, learning to adjust to life without that person and finding a place to keep their memory alive while you try to get along as best you can.
Stages of bereavement

During bereavement, it is important to find ways to mourn our loss and express our grief.

The bereavement period can be a confusing time involving a lot of very powerful emotions. These emotions can grow, fade and shift as we move across the different stages of bereavement. Not everyone experiences the same stages of bereavement at the same time or in the same order. However, most people generally go through the following four stages at some point:

accepting that your loss really happened
experiencing the pain that comes with grief
trying to adjust to life without the person who died
putting less emotional energy into your grief and finding a new place to put it i.e. moving on.

Most people go through all of these stages, but not everyone moves between them smoothly. Sometimes, people get stuck on one stage and find it difficult to move on.
1. Accepting that your loss really happened

Nothing prepares us for the loss of a loved one. Even when a person is ill and we see their death coming for a long time.

Most people experience severe shock when they're told a loved one has died. It takes time to really believe that that person, who only recently seemed so real and tangible, no longer exists.

For a while after a loss, you might find yourself looking out for that person in crowds. You might wake up in the morning and forget momentarily that they have gone. A part of you might hope that everyone was wrong, and the person will return to you somehow.

Accepting that your loss really happened is an essential part of the bereavement process. Without acceptance, you may find it hard to really grieve for your loved one.
2. Experiencing the pain that comes with grief

Grief is the agony you feel inside when you realise that you have lost somebody. Grief is complex. It comes in a million different forms - some people cry for days, some people get angry and lash out, other people withdraw from the world and grieve in their own private way. Different emotions associated with grief include:
longing (to see them again)

What you feel after a person has died will depend on the relationship you had with that person and the nature of their death. Of course, there is no telling what form your grief will take, and everyone's experience is unique.

As painful as it feels, it is important to let yourself grieve for your loss. Some people lock their emotions inside and try to get on with life as usual. Denying yourself the time to grieve properly could result in complications that prevent you from getting on with life.
3. Trying to adjust to life without them
Once you have accepted your loss and spent time understanding and releasing your emotions, you may eventually find yourself adjusting to a new kind of life. How you cope with this stage will again depend on what kind of relationship you had with the person who died. If you shared your daily life with them, then the changes to your life are likely to be bigger than if you only saw that person once in a while.

When a big gap opens up in your life very suddenly, it can throw everything into complete turmoil. Suddenly, everything can seem different. You may even feel like you've shifted into a different dimension, where nothing is real. The realisation that everyday life goes on even though your own life has been ripped apart can feel like a massive blow. With time however, your feet will hit solid ground again and you will start to adjust to life without them.
4. Moving on

One day you will probably get to a point where life begins to take you on a new route. You may always remember the person who died, and you may continue to grieve for their loss forever - but naturally you will begin to 'move on'. This is not a bad thing. It does not mean you are heartless, or that you are somehow being a traitor to your loved one. It simply means you have found a way to channel your emotions into new things. In other words - you have found a way to cope.
The importance of mourning

Mourning is an important part of bereavement. Mourning involves rituals like funerals, wakes and anniversary celebrations, which help to add structure to an otherwise chaotic and confusing time.

Mourning allows us to say goodbye. Seeing the body, watching the burial, or scattering the ashes is a way of affirming what has happened. As hard as it is, sometimes we need to see evidence that a person really has died before we can truly enter into the grieving process.
Coping with grief
Many people compare their grief to waves rolling onto a beach. Sometimes those waves are calm and gentle, and sometimes they are so big and powerful that they knock you off your feet completely.

Sometimes, the wave of grief can be so powerful that it leads to:
Not wanting or feeling able to get out of bed.
Neglecting yourself - not taking care of your hygiene or appearance.
Not eating properly.
The feeling that you can't carry on living without the person you've lost.
Not feeling able to go to work.
Taking your feelings out on other people.

All of these reactions are normal parts of bereavement - unless they go on for a very long time. If you feel like you are no longer coping with grief very well, you may need some extra help from a bereavement counsellor. Specific reasons for needing professional support include the following:
You are beginning to drink a lot.
You are tempted to or starting to take illegal drugs.
You are having suicidal thoughts.
You are acting recklessly.
You are starting to behave violently.
Suicide grief

All loss is devastating. However, grief after suicide can be a particularly complex process. Family and friends left behind by a person who dies by suicide often experience an explosion of confusing feelings. Self-directed anger and guilt are natural reactions to suicide. It's easy to start blaming yourself and wondering if you could have done something to help. It's also natural to feel angry at the person themselves. What were they thinking? How could they do this to you? Why didn't they tell you how they were feeling?

Although everyone's grief is different, there are generally thought to be three stages of suicide grief:

1. Numbness or shock - At first you might feel like you've stepped into a slightly different dimension. Everything will feel different and it's possible that you'll even want to distance yourself from others to avoid facing what's happened.

2. Disorganisation - Eventually you will come to a point where you'll be ready to address what's happened. You might feel lonely, depressed and deeply sad at this point. People often have trouble eating, sleeping and functioning normally. It's during this stage that people tend to go over and over the days leading up to their loved one's suicide, agonising over what they could have done and wondering why it happened.

3. Reorganisation - Over time the initial shock and horror of the situation will begin to fade as your loss becomes a part of your life. You will begin to get back into the day-to-day swing of things and soon you will be able to focus on other things in your life.
How to tell if grief has become depression

Unlike depression, grief is not considered a mental disorder. Sorrow, anger, confusion and emptiness are all natural reactions to death. However, when these low feelings last for a very long time, it may be worth seeking additional support. Of course, there is no 'normal' length of time for bereavement. In fact, bereavement never really 'ends'. It's not as if we go through all these stages and then come out the other side all shiny and new and ready to get back on with life. Loss stays under the surface of our lives and continues to permeate long after it first happened. Sometimes all it takes is a certain date, a place, or a song, for all of that grief to come surging back.

So how do you know if grief has become depression? Grief and depression share a number of symptoms, including:
loss of appetite
weight loss.

One of the main differences between grief and depression is that grief comes in waves while depression is like a cloud that hangs over everything. Sometimes, a grieving person is able to forget their sadness for certain lengths of time - perhaps when concentrating on something, perhaps when surrounded by people who make them feel happy. Grief is triggered by things - a smell, a sudden memory - while depression is pervasive, cutting through everything.

Signs that grief has turned into depression include:
feelings of guilt unrelated to your recent loss
a feeling that you are worthless
feeling sluggish, drained and confused
struggle to speak coherently
difficulty carrying out everyday tasks

If you think you, or someone close to you, is suffering from depression, then it is important to find support as soon as possible.
What is bereavement counselling?

Bereavement counselling is designed to help people cope more effectively with the death of a loved one. Specifically, bereavement counselling can:
offer an understanding of the mourning process
explore areas that could potentially prevent you from moving on
help resolve areas of conflict still remaining
help you to adjust to a new sense of self
address possible issues of depression or suicidal thoughts.

You will probably never stop missing the person you lost, but with enough time and the right support, a new life can be pieced together and purpose can be reclaimed.

Bereavement counselling aims to get you to the point where you can function normally - however long it takes. One day, you may be able to find happiness again. By creating a place to keep the person you lost, and finding ways to remember them (like anniversary celebrations, or leaving flowers at a memorial site), you should be able to preserve their memory and honour the impact they had on your life, without letting their absence obscure your own future.

With time, pain does settle.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

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