Friday, 31 January 2014

Quiet Time: Meditation Transforms Roughest Schools

At first glance, Quiet Time - a stress reduction strategy used in several San Francisco middle and high schools, as well as in scattered schools around the Bay Area - looks like something out of the om-chanting 1960s. Twice daily, a gong sounds in the classroom and rowdy adolescents, who normally can't sit still for 10 seconds, shut their eyes and try to clear their minds. I've spent lots of time in urban schools and have never seen anything like it.
This practice - meditation rebranded - deserves serious attention from parents and policymakers. An impressive array of studies shows that integrating meditation into a school's daily routine can markedly improve the lives of students. If San Francisco schools Superintendent Richard Carranza has his way, Quiet Time could well spread citywide.
What's happening at Visitacion Valley Middle School, which in 2007 became the first public school nationwide to adopt the program, shows why the superintendent is so enthusiastic. In this neighborhood, gunfire is as common as birdsong - nine shootings have been recorded in the past month - and most students know someone who's been shot or did the shooting. Murders are so frequent that the school employs a full-time grief counselor.
In years past, these students were largely out of control, frequently fighting in the corridors, scrawling graffiti on the walls and cursing their teachers. Absenteeism rates were among the city's highest and so were suspensions. Worn-down teachers routinely called in sick.
Unsurprisingly, academics suffered. The school tried everything, from counseling and peer support to after-school tutoring and sports, but to disappointingly little effect.
Now these students are doing light-years better. In the first year of Quiet Time, the number of suspensions fell by 45 percent. Within four years, the suspension rate was among the lowest in the city. Daily attendance rates climbed to 98 percent, well above the citywide average. Grade point averages improved markedly. About 20 percent of graduates are admitted to Lowell High School - before Quiet Time, getting any students into this elite high school was a rarity. Remarkably, in the annual California Healthy Kids Survey, these middle school youngsters recorded the highest happiness levels in San Francisco.
Reports are similarly positive in the three other schools that have adopted Quiet Time. At Burton High School, for instance, students in the program report significantly less stress and depression, and greater self-esteem, than nonparticipants. With stress levels down, achievement has markedly improved, particularly among students who have been doing worst academically. Grades rose dramatically, compared with those who weren't in the program.
On the California Achievement Test, twice as many students in Quiet Time schools have become proficient in English, compared with students in similar schools where the program doesn't exist, and the gap is even bigger in math. Teachers report they're less emotionally exhausted and more resilient.
"The research is showing big effects on students' performance," says Superintendent Carranza. "Our new accountability standards, which we're developing in tandem with the other big California districts, emphasize the importance of social-emotional factors in improving kids' lives, not just academics. That's where Quiet Time can have a major impact, and I'd like to see it expand well beyond a handful of schools."
While Quiet Time is no panacea, it's a game-changer for many students who otherwise might have become dropouts. That's reason enough to make meditation a school staple, and not just in San Francisco.
David L. Kirp, a professor of public policy at UC Berkeley, is the author of "Improbable Scholars: The Rebirth of a Great American School District and a Strategy for America's Schools."

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

13 Things That Will Change In Your 30's

You are in your 30s. It came a lot quicker than you expected, right? Kaboom. After posting your pics and tweeting the occasion, you are finally home alone -- and it hits you. You go to the mirror and stare at what might just possibly be baby crow's feet creeping across your face. Oh my. So, you say to yourself, "Holy crap, YOU. ARE. 30." (O.M.G.)
While these years may feel surprisingly more pressurized than your 20s, they will unexpectedly also bring the most personal growth in your life. The 30s will toss you surprise curveballs instead of easy-breezy pitches, and you might get caught staring. You're no longer allowed to kick back in flip-flops on the bench -- you're in the big leagues, in cleats with a giant 3-0 on your back. This is where you find out who you are and who you really want on your team.
You squint, you swing and you run. You pay attention like never before, you look ahead and you ask yourself:
Is this where I thought I'd be? Is this where I am supposed to be?
And life starts to get a bit more complicated. Here is the good news:
YOU Version 3.0 is more of a SmartYou than you think. Why? Because in this decade you will be challenged, pushed and p---u---l---l---e---d in ways that would have baffled you in your 20s. You will be completely forced to grow. That is, if you choose to dress out for the game. And it's my bet that you will. Here's why.
13 Things That Are Totally Going to Change You in Your 30s
1) You will figure out who YOU really are and why you have gone through so much. You will reflect on your life and find it easier to claim your own path outside of the wishes of your parents, counselors or coaches. You will realize the difference between a mistake, a whim and a calling.
2) You will struggle with how you are going to start building a legacy in this life, versus the fear that you will not make a difference at all. You realize that you want to leave a mark on the world for more than just you -- you start living for your children, your community and maybe even the world. And you wonder how you are going to do it. In this decade, you will see your calling more clearly, if you are open.
3) You will find great satisfaction and great frustration with all of the people that you are going to be taking care of (e.g., spouse, children, parents, siblings, friends). You will face many situations that throw you, but you learn how to adjust to life's changes and those that need you. This will transform you, your time and your relationships.
4) You will feel real, in-your-face, make-you-cry stress about finances, love, career and family. You will start to understand what your parents were talking about all of those years. The good news is that this is the kind of necessary stress that life is made of -- and where you find out what you are made of.
5) You will get off balance, on balance, off balance, on balance -- and so on -- because of all of the roles that you have to carry on the shoulders of your life. You will have to wear many hats, and you will often feel like a tightrope walker trying to stay the course, balancing the people and commitments in your life. This frustration will help you to see that one person can only handle so much and you will start to understand why setting boundaries is so critical.
6) You will feel more meaning in your life and begin to see love, career and family as part of your purpose -- instead of part of your obligation. You will realize that with great love, also comes great pain, and you learn that it is worth it. On purpose.
7) You will start coming to terms with the fact that you are not going to live forever as you start losing important people in your life. Mortality becomes a brutal fact of life, and it changes you painfully, for the better.
8) You will see the world differently and embrace things that you would have run away from in your 20s. You will feel a higher sense of well-being, creativity and self-awareness as your experiences widen. I'm talking about values, experiences, goals and opinions that will (*gasp*) change. You will be very surprised by you.
9) You will realize that gathering mass amounts of friends is not as important as paying attention to those who are in your life for a reason, and those who should not be in your life at all. Your fringe friendships will fade, your closest relationships will deepen and some wonderfully surprising people will on-the-floor amaze you.
10) You will have life-changing "a-ha moments" that drastically change the direction of your life for the better. The underrated gift of wisdom comes with age, and you will be thrilled by it.
11) You will not feel as young and carefree as you did in your 20s, but you will learn to love feeling more grounded. As sad as it is to let go of the good ol' days, you will appreciate being at the Adult Table. The food just tastes better. And you know how to order off of the menu.
12) You will figure out how to align who you truly are on the inside with what you are doing on the outside. You will figure out how to start accepting your limitations and your talents. You move toward making peace with the human experience and focus in on why you are truly here.
13) You will accept your previous struggles as life lessons and gain a greater sense of life purpose. Amen. It's part of the beautiful game of life. Now play ball.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Video Games And Technology Used To Treat Behaviour Health In Young People

Technology is playing more and more of a role in our lives today and the mental health field is taking advantage of all there is to offer as well. I was happy to come across some creative uses of this technology in treating mental and behavioral health. Video games!!

While there are just a few listed here, and two are not even ready for distribution, I am still excited to see the possibilities in using video games for good, rather than just promoting violence. In addition, these games are created with clinical professionals and undergoing clinical testing.


SPARX 
Using Avatars to Treat Depression
SPARX video game in New Zealand has created a video game to combat teenage depression using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. According the the Sparx website, this game is NOT yet available for distribution as it is still going through clinical trials. I will keep watch though!

“…And here’s your new therapists: the SPARX computer game uses cognitive behavioural therapy to try to remove depression”

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2181640/Meet-new-wizard-therapists-New-Zealand-trials-video-game-uses-role-playing-games-try-beat-depression.html#ixzz24fN7hOsV

Rather than simply encouraging players to engage in combat or destruction, the SPARX video game developed in New Zealand attempts to teach teenagers how to deal with depression using the psychological approach known as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

Just as importantly, its creators set out to make the game exciting for those teenagers who are often reluctant to seek counselling and bored by well-meaning advice on how to cope with depression.

The result is a role-playing fantasy game, where teenagers adopt a warrior avatar and get to blast negative thoughts with fireballs while trying to save the world from sinking into a mire of pessimism and despair.

Project leader Sally Merry, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Auckland University, said the unconventional approach had proved popular with teenagers, allowing them to address their issues in privacy and at their own pace.

‘You can deal with mental health problems in a way that doesn’t have to be deadly serious,’ she said. ‘The therapy doesn’t have to be depressing in and of itself. We’re aiming to make it fun.’

RAGE CONTROL (Regulate And Gain Emotional Control)

According to an online article by Harvard Magazine, this video game is being tested as a way to help kids deal with anger and gaining control of their emotions.

The pilot study at Children’s Hospital Boston tests an intervention that features a video game based on the 1980s arcade favorite Space Invaders. Players shoot down space aliens, but with an important modification: they wear a monitor on one pinkie that tracks heart rate as they play. If that indicator rises above resting levels—signaling that they’re overexcited—players lose the ability to shoot.

Succeeding at the game, known as RAGE Control (Regulate and Gain Emotional Control), is a careful balancing act. “You need to learn how to control your level of arousal,” he says, “but just enough that you can still react rapidly and make quick decisions.”

Participants play during sessions with Peter Ducharme, a licensed clinical social worker who has adapted traditional anger-management therapy to complement the game. During the course of five hour-long sessions, he teaches kids strategies to regulate their emotional states—including deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation—and then encourages them to experiment to see which strategies aid their game play.

SECOND LIFE

Second Life is a real world style of video game where players create their own avatar and interact with the social world around them. It is now being used to help individuals with Aspergers and others on the Autism spectrum learn to interact socially, but at their own pace. Brigadoon is the project leading this trend. I can see where there would be some controversy surrounding the use of Second Life for this purpose, but, while games are not a replacement for real social interaction, it’s a good start for some. After all, we need to meet them where they are first.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Oxford University Podcast: New Psychology of Depression


Friday, 24 January 2014

5 Tips To Weight Loss 2014

I'm asked all the time, "What finally made you decide to solve your weight problem?" as if it didn't bother me being overweight for 25 years. The truth is that I sincerely wanted to solve my problem when I was 12! But I wasn't successful until 20 years later. It took me that long to learn what I needed in order to be successful.
Wanting, even with all your heart, to lose weight does not make it happen, as anyone with a stubborn weight problem knows. Hopefully, it won't take you 20 years to learn what I learned. You can learn it from me!
For my first 30 years, I was overweight and out of control, more than 300 pounds as an adult. Only in my early 30s was I finally able to succeed, losing 140 pounds and becoming my ideal body weight. I've maintained it handily since. Now I help other people and I wrote a book about what I eventually learned that made me successful. Here are a few of the most important things, five key requirements to make 2014 the year you solve your weight problem for good:
1) You must make it the priority in your life. You need to decide that being healthy in body, mind and spirit is more important than anything else and that your weight problem must be solved. Losing weight must become your No. 1 one concern. More important than your job. More important than your relationships, family, friends, favorite pastimes, clubs, hobbies or comforts. You must become like a religious zealot who forsakes all else, a soldier in the field facing life and death where losing this battle means losing everything. Nothing else can stand in the way of doing what you need in your effort to solve your weight problem.
Some may criticize this as being unreasonable and off-centered. I understand their criticism, but for most of us, this is one of those things where you will not make it unless you are totally devoted. Approach it as if it's life and death. To enjoy all of those other things you cherish, you've got to get this right. Nothing less than total dedication will do. It's like wanting to make it to the top in a music, sports or business career. Nothing else can get in the way of doing what you need to do to succeed. It cannot take a back seat to anything else, cast aside when something else "comes up" as if it were more important. Controlling your weight is more important.
2) You must respect the science that tells us that we need to eat fewer calories than we burn to lose weight. We must accept the fact that we need to develop habits where we consistently eat within our caloric "budget" to keep it off.
There is no mystery to the science of weight control. It has not changed in eons. Eat too many calories and you get fat. Eat fewer than you burn and you burn it off. Accepting this reality does not by itself solve the problem, but there is no hope until you do. Hoping for a way around this fact will prevent you from ever succeeding. There is no way around this, no magic pill or surgery that will relieve you of having to limit your caloric intake. Fight this reality and you'll never succeed. Accept it, and you're on the path to success. In over 20 years, I have never had a client not lose weight when they eat the way I teach them.
3) You must learn how to train your mind to program yourself and master your habits, desires, impulses and feelings. The idea that your behavior and feelings are a matter of just making up your mind or wanting it badly enough is a fallacy. We are not born with well-developed "will power" and conscious control over the things that go on in our mind and body. In fact, most of what goes on is unconscious and a product of conditioning and programming that we were not even aware of. Habits and impulses were not chosen and they can seem to have a life of their own beyond your control. However, you can learn the programming and conditioning techniques discovered in behavioral and cognitive psychology as well as the ideo-dynamic phenomena that hypnotherapies use. The techniques I teach in my method are not unknown to science and behavioral medicine, but we are not born knowing them. They must be learned.
4) Make your goal the development of new permanent habits, rather than weight loss. Don't focus so much on pounds but rather on the way you are living.
The most common approach to weight loss is doing something out of the ordinary for a while, like eating a special diet or going on an exercise crusade, and then going back to "normal" after a while. This is self-defeating. Even if we lose the weight we want, the "normal" that we have learned is what makes people fat, so we'll just put it back on.
We are suckers for these diets and schemes because usually, we don't want to change our habits. We are fond of doing the things we do, snacking the way we do, enjoying our favorite foods and restaurants and not having to think about it. We don't want to give those things up. We've tried and we couldn't do it or it was so miserable we gave up the idea.
However, we don't have to give up enjoying food. In fact, one of the keys of reprogramming is that the new behavior must be satisfying. I enjoy food now more than I did when I was overweight. But just wanting and "willing" yourself to change habits is not the way it's done. There are reprogramming techniques you need to use. The first step is to realize that our goal needs to be a change in our habitual behavior. When that happens, the weight comes off automatically. Focusing on weight loss instead of a change in yourself and your habits will not work.
5) You must be honest and sincere. I used to say things like "no matter what I do, I can't lose weight." That's crazy of course. If I somehow got myself to eat very little, I'd lose weight. If I kept it up long enough, I'd starve to death. People who don't have food in the Sudan are not fat. I was telling myself nonsense, lying to myself.
I used to say, "This won't matter" if I cheated or "I just don't care anymore" when my self-control flagged. Neither was really true. Everything counts. When I got discouraged and caved, I cried "uncle" and gave up in that moment, but I never stopped caring. I never stopped hating obesity and wanting something better. I still cared. Saying, "It doesn't matter" was a lie.
Behavioral science teaches us that what we say to ourselves affects how we feel and how we act in an almost magical or mystical way. When we tell ourselves this nonsense, we are literally programming ourselves to overeat and become overweight, just as if we were using hypnotherapy to gain weight. When we say, "I just can't lose weight," we are using cognitive therapy techniques to make ourselves feel hopeless and depressed and self-hypnosis to unconsciously sabotage any efforts to succeed.
I used to engage in foolish talk, like a child, unwilling to get serious. We need to stop being childish and foolish in our thinking. Changing the way we think and talk is essential to reversing obesity. Getting honest and serious, truly sincere about what we want, is one of the most important keys.
So, what do you think? Can you say, "yes" to these five key requirements? If you can't, and you are a person who has been overweight and unable to fix it, you now know where you need to start to make changes. We are not going to solve this problem by accident. We need to be very intentional and meet these requirements.
If you think back to your younger days or prior attempts, you'll recall you may not have met these requirements. If you meet them now, you are on the path to success. That's progress! Keep going.
William Anderson is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in weight loss, eating disorders and addictions. He is the creator of "Therapeutic Psychogenics", which helped him lose 140 pounds permanently thirty years ago after years of obesity and dieting failure. He has written a book about it, The Anderson Method, and he is teaching these techniques to individuals and therapists all over the country.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

New Dream Research Opens The Door To Treat PTSD

Since the first human woke from a dream and asked what it meant, science has tried to find an answer to that question. Despite significant advances in sleep research and a constantly evolving understanding of the role sleep and dreams play in our health and wellbeing, researchers haven’t been able to conclusively determine why we dream, until now. A new study from the University of California, Berkeley, has determined that dreams help us sort through painful events and deal with traumatic memories.

The study was originally envisioned by lead author Matthew Walker, an associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at UC Berkeley. After hearing that one of the medicines used to treat high blood pressure seemed to prevent recurring nightmares in veterans with PTSD, Walker wanted to understand the connection blood pressure had with why we dream. He determined that one effect of the blood pressure medication was to suppress norepinephrine, one of the brain chemicals related to stress. This convinced him that there must be a link between stress-free sleep and the elimination nightmares those suffering with PTSD may dream. The intention of the study was to find that link.

The research team‘s theory centered on the idea that a dream is like therapy for our brains. Being able to reprocess painful, traumatic events in the safe, calm environment of a dream allows us to experience those memories while awake without creating the same emotional response we experienced while the event was happening. In people with PTSD, this mechanism doesn’t work properly and the brain never descends into the kind of calm, stress-free state required for the reprocessing to occur. This leaves the emotional connection tightly tied to the memories, causing sufferers to dream recurring nightmares and flashbacks so common amongst those with PTSD.

To test their theory, the team organized a group of 35 healthy adults into two groups. Each group was shown a series of 150 emotionally charged images at two separate showings. The first group saw the images for the first time in the morning and then again about 12 hours later on the same day. This group did not sleep between the two showings. The second group was shown the images for the first time in the evening, sent to sleep for a full night, and then shown the images for the second time. All participants were monitored by MRI while being shown the images and were asked to rate the intensity of their emotional reaction to each image. Additionally, the second group’s brain activity during sleep was monitored by electroencephalogram.

In analyzing the results, the research team found that the second group experienced a significant reduction in their emotional response to the second showing of the images. This finding supports the original theory that sleep diminishes the emotional connection to traumatic memories and helps explain why blood pressure medication can eliminate recurring nightmares those with PTSD dream. By suppressing the production of stress chemicals in the brain, the blood pressure medication reproduced the calm, stress-free dream state people without PTSD experience, essentially repairing the broken mechanism that keeps those with PTSD from reprocessing traumatic events properly during REM sleep.

The findings open the door to new treatment options for veterans and others with PTSD and provide the first scientific explanation for why we dream.


Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Words Can Change Your Brain

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can change your brain.
That’s right.

According to Andrew Newberg, M.D. and Mark Robert Waldman, words can literally change your brain.

In their book, Words Can Change Your Brain, they write: “a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.”

Positive words, such as “peace” and “love,” can alter the expression of genes, strengthening areas in our frontal lobes and promoting the brain’s cognitive functioning. They propel the motivational centers of the brain into action, according to the authors, and build resiliency.

Conversely, hostile language can disrupt specific genes that play a key part in the production of neurochemicals that protect us from stress. Humans are hardwired to worry — part of our primal brains protecting us from threats to our survival — so our thoughts naturally go here first.

However, a single negative word can increase the activity in our amygdala (the fear center of the brain). This releases dozens of stress-producing hormones and neurotransmitters, which in turn interrupts our brains’ functioning. (This is especially with regard to logic, reason, and language.) “Angry words send alarm messages through the brain, and they partially shut down the logic-and-reasoning centers located in the frontal lobes,” write Newberg and Waldman.

According to the authors, using the right words can transform our reality:

By holding a positive and optimistic [word] in your mind, you stimulate frontal lobe activity. This area includes specific language centers that connect directly to the motor cortex responsible for moving you into action. And as our research has shown, the longer you concentrate on positive words, the more you begin to affect other areas of the brain. Functions in the parietal lobe start to change, which changes your perception of yourself and the people you interact with. A positive view of yourself will bias you toward seeing the good in others, whereas a negative self-image will include you toward suspicion and doubt. Over time the structure of your thalamus will also change in response to your conscious words, thoughts, and feelings, and we believe that the thalamic changes affect the way in which you perceive reality.

By THERESE J. BORCHARD

Saturday, 18 January 2014

VIDEO Experience Psychosis With Digital LSD


Thursday, 16 January 2014

The Dangers Of Youth Addiction To Pornography

Men younger than ever are reporting difficulty achieving intimacy in relationships and are struggling well into adulthood to regain normal sexual function, according to sex addiction experts.
High-speed Internet pornography, more specifically the addiction to seeking novel and increasingly shocking images, is to blame for these sexual problems, according to therapists who counsel men and boys as young as preteens. “There seems to be a classic pattern that is emerging which is that the addiction to pornography develops in the adolescent years, stays hidden for a time, and not until the teen grows into adulthood and experiences serious marital conflict [does he] seek treatment,” said psychotherapist Matt Bulkley, counselor at the Youth Pornography Addiction Center in St. George, Utah.

Young viewers of Internet pornography are more likely to suffer long term physiological and psychological damage lasting into adulthood because the exposure happened during a time when their brains were not yet finished developing, Bulkley explained. “In some cases, erectile dysfunction is the result of the brain being trained to be aroused by pornography,” he said.

The problems arise when a younger viewer who has not yet had any real life romantic or sexual experience learns the “birds and the bees” from watching pornography. Teens may immediately experience feelings of confusion, isolation and shame when they view pornographic content. When that teen moves into adulthood seeking a relationship, he may have problems with sexual interest, arousal and monogamy. “When it comes to understanding intimacy, porn is masterful at distorting what it is that is involved in a real relationship,” Bulkley said.

How is Internet Pornography Addictive?
Scientists are just beginning to link heavy pornography viewing with the same pleasure-reward responses that occur in drug addiction. When viewing pornography, the brain releases large amounts of the neurotransmitter dopamine, the same chemical that drives reward-seeking behavior in substance addictions, according to Psychology Today contributor Gary Wilson .

Wilson is co-author of the book, "Cupid's Arrow," and the mastermind behind YourBrainOnPorn.com, a website that explores topics relating to neuroscience, behavioral addiction and sexual conditioning. In his article, “Why Shouldn't Johnny Watch Porn if He Likes?” Wilson shows how younger brains are particularly susceptible to the thrill-seeking effect of dopamine as compared to adult viewers. Teen brains are the most sensitive to dopamine at around age 15 and react up to four times more strongly to images perceived as exciting. On top of the increased thrill-seeking, teens have a higher capacity to log long hours in front of a computer screen without experiencing burnout. Additionally, teens act based on emotional impulses rather than logical planning. These traits combined make the adolescent brain especially vulnerable to addiction. Pornography addiction during adolescence is particularly troubling because of the way neuron pathways in the brain form during this period. The circuitry in the brain undergoes an explosion of growth followed by a rapid pruning of neuron pathways between ages 10 and 13. Wilson describes this as the “use it or lose it” period of a teen's development.

“We restrict our options — without realizing how critical our choices were during our final, pubescent, neuronal growth spurt,” Wilson wrote. “ ... This is one reason why polls asking teens how Internet porn use is affecting them are unlikely to reveal the extent of porn's effects. Kids who have never masturbated without porn have no idea how it is affecting them.”

Teens are left without an understanding of normal sexual behavior because they have been repeatedly exposed to the superstimuli of constant novelty and constant searching provided by Internet pornography.

Lasting Effects of Internet Pornography Addiction at an Early Age
The very components that define Internet pornography — isolation, voyeurism, multiplicity, variety — also explain why online porn is more addictive and damaging than the pornography of yesterday. “There was a time when people looked at pornography in print magazines and some [viewers] were specifically drawn to it more than others,” psychotherapist Alexandra Katehakis told The Fix. “Then, over time, there was video pornography and that grabbed the brain differently than print did. Now, internet pornography is so powerful that it is literally rewiring the brains of men.”

Young viewers are unintentionally training their bodies to become aroused by the unique conditions provided by internet pornography, explained Katehakis, who is also a certified sex addiction therapist and clinical director of the Center for Healthy Sex in Los Angeles. “What happens is when these neuronal networks start to fire together, they become wired together,” she said. “With internet porn, the images are so incredibly powerful and visceral that it is shocking to the system and a person gets a massive dose of dopamine ... over time, they need more and more [dopamine]."

While most of those who identify as having a pornography addiction are male, females are also susceptible and can experience lasting damage as well, Katehakis said.

The same principles apply — sexual response is wired to what was learned by watching porn. For females, this can distort perceptions of validation, pleasure and their role in sex. “Parents need to have conversations with their kids,” Katehakis added. “They need to talk about what is the purpose of sex, what is the meaning of sex and why people have sex.” Without those conversations, teens move into adulthood without real knowledge of healthy relationships. “Later in life there may be intimacy problems, the inability to connect with another human being and the inability to maintain a long-term monogamous relationship,” she said.

Seeking Help for Pornography Addiction
The stigma surrounding pornography addiction — many treatment centers do not yet recognize it — leads many of the afflicted to feel isolated and depressed which can heighten the need for the feel-good response triggered by the addiction itself.

The simplest treatment may also be the hardest. “The most important thing to do is to stop looking at it,” Katehakis said. “For the young men we've treated, they literally have to go on a porn diet for three to five months to get an erection again.”

“Also, stopping looking at images isn't enough,” she continued. “Often a person can find himself still looking at images in his head. Some people can look at [pornography] like some people can have a glass of wine and not have another, while other people can really never look at it again.”

Centers which treat sex addiction will often also treat pornography addiction, although the two are very different: pornography involves pixels and not another human being.

“The main thing that the general population needs to understand is that [pornography] can really become a bon-a-fide addiction and to not underestimate the potential impact of this on a teen's life,” Bulkley said. Teens who are addicted to online pornography may show symptoms such as increased time spent in isolation, increased time spent viewing technological devices, changes in attitude or behavior such as hypersexual language or dress and decreased focus in school and other activities.

Counselors at the Youth Pornography Addiction Center in Utah help teens reset their thinking by uncovering the underlying issues that existed before or were aggravated by the addiction. "An addiction is a coping mechanism,” Bulkley explained. “Rather than solving the problem, they turn to this temporary escape.” Helping teens create an action plan to identify problems and how to overcome urges is one formula used for outpatient counseling at Bulkley's center.

For more intensive treatment, the center also has a wilderness program where teens “detox” from not only technology and internet pornography, but also from the highly sexualized images that are prevalent everywhere from bus bench advertisements to cosmetic product packaging.

However, as with many things, problems can be averted early on by having conversations with your family, Bulkley said. “Parents need to understand, like it or not, kids are going to be exposed to pornography ... You can do everything you can to protect them, but with the sexualization of our culture and the ease of access, it's not if, it's when.”

“It's about having an ongoing conversation with your kids,” Bulkley continued, “and it really has to be an early discussion and ongoing dialogue that continues through their growing-up years.”

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Despite Facebook And Twitter, Most People Only Have A Few Close Friends

People still only have a handful of really close friends who they spend time and effort on even though their wider social network may include hundreds of casual contacts, according to a study of human communication in the internet age.
Each person also has a unique “social signature” which they tend to keep through life by dropping old friends when new ones are made so that the overall size of their inner circle remains remarkably constant, the study found.

Most people tend to have between about five and eight really intimate friends, and they keep this inner circle fairly constant by loosening the ties binding older contacts when new ones are tightened, said Felix Reed-Tsochas of the Said Business School at Oxford University.

“Although social communication is now easier than ever, it seems that our capacity for maintaining emotionally close relationships is finite,” said Dr Reed-Tsochas, one of the researchers whose study is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“While this number varies from person to person, what holds true in all cases is that at any point individuals are able to keep up close relationships with only a small number of people, so that new friendships come at the expense of ‘relegating’ existing friends,” he said.

The study tracked the mobile phone records of 24 students over 18 months as they made the transition either from school to university, or from university to work – two periods when they are likely to meet people and make new friends.

In addition, the researchers interviewed each student at three points in the 18-month period to analyse their friendships and acquaintances. This was used in conjunction with phone records to see who their social networks had changed over time, Dr Reed-Tsochas said.

“We found that even though this was a time when social relationships were in considerable flux, for any given individual there was a particular social signature which remained constant over time,” he said.

“It was as if we all have a fixed time constraint on close friends and our emotional capacity to deal with them is finite. We don’t have an infinite ability to invest in social relationships and we suspect that this is a universal trait,” he added.

Everyone in the study had a small circle of friend and relationships who were given a disproportionate amount of their time in term of phone calls. These matched the people who the students said they were closest too, the study found.

Robin Dunbar, professor of evolutionary psychology at Oxford University, said there is probably a natural limit on the number of close friends that our brains have evolved to cope with.

“As new network members are added, some old network members are either replaced or receive fewer calls. This is probably due to a combination of limited time available for communication and the great cognitive and emotional effort required to sustain close relationships,” Professor Dunbar said.

“It seems that individuals’ patterns of communication are so prescribed that even the efficiencies provided by some forms of digital communication – in this case mobile phones – are insufficient to alter them,” he said.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Free Hypnosis Script For Stress Reduction

Many people new to hypnosis ask about what the hypnotist actually says during a session, so here's a good example of one script that has multiple uses for stress reduction. Enjoy!

'Stress-Busters'
by Kathy Moore, MBA, BCH, 1999



This is the first script my students learn to use to practice on clients. If you want to make your own stress-management script, be sure to change it to first-person before you record it.

(a script for reducing stress through the use of deep alpha breathing, removing toxins and restoring the body. Creative problem solving is also incorporated to help alleviate day-to-day stresses. Can be used by a therapist or as a taped self-hypnosis program. This is the first script I wrote and still my favorite.)


Get into a comfortable position...either reclining or lying down...and turn your focus inward...to your breathing. Breathe in deeply....hold it 3 or 4 seconds ... and then exhale slowly. Let your breath be deep and slow. Relax...and continue to relax... deeper and deeper... as you breathe in more...fresh, pure oxygen. Pure, clear oxygen is the KEY to vibrant vitality... Breathe in very fully... and notice yourself relaxing... more and more ...with each breath. Now... I want you to add counting to your breathing like this. Breathe in ...3...4...5...6. Hold...2...3...Breathe out...3...4...5....6.... Breathe in...3...4...5...6... Hold 2...3...Breathe out...3...4...5...6.... Breathe in ...3...4...5...6.... Hold...2...3... Breathe out...3...4...5....6.... Breathe in...3...4...5...6... Hold 2...3...Breathe out... 3...4...5...6.... Continue this breathing rhythm with the 6-3-6 count for at least ten times while I continue to talk to you. As you continue to breathe deeply, you send life-giving oxygen to all the cells,.. muscles, ..bones, ..organs ...and systems of your body. Breathing deeply helps you relax better...Relaxing more fully helps you to focus and concentrate better. Better focus improves your memory. In fact, breathing deeply helps restore all the systems in your body... to their perfect condition. Oxygen is the fuel that helps your entire body run better. So drink in this life-sustaining oxygen...now...and relax... deeper and deeper.

Now...as you continue to focus on your breathing...I want you to notice a color of your choice...a vibrant healing color ...coming in through the top of your head as you inhale. See this healing color come in through the top of your head ...and gradually fill every cell in your body...Notice as this healing color filters down from the top of your head... through your face and neck...down into your shoulders and arms..relaxing, soothing...through your chest and pelvic region...soothing and healing all your internal organs...down through your hips, thighs and knees... relaxing any tightness or inflexibility...relaxing deeper....down into your calves...and finally into your ankles, feet... and out through your toes....taking all toxins and other negative energies that were in your body...out...This healing color is now absorbed into Mother Earth ....where it can be transmuted into positive energy again... and recycled once more. And, as you are enjoying all the sensations of this Healing Wash...Notice that you are now standing at the top of some steps...maybe wooden steps, maybe stone...any steps that you imagine are fine. Just see yourself standing at the top of ten steps...leading down to the ocean. It is a brilliant summer day... as you stand at the top of these steps. Notice the beautiful, blue sky above you... and the birds singing cheerfully...Notice how wonderful the day is...Notice how you are feeling...As you begin to descend these steps, going down from 10 down to 1, you will gradually go deeper and deeper into meditation .... And when you get down to the bottom, you will be perfectly relaxed, and centered at a very deep level of consciousness, a level where you KNOW you can solve any and all problems effortlessly... So begin now to descend these steps... 10 ....going down now, easily 9 ....perfectly peaceful and calm 8 ....totally tranquil 7 ....deeper and deeper 6 ....even deeper still 5 ....very relaxed now 4 ....relaxing even more 3 ....very serene now 2 ....almost there 1 ....totally relaxed and centered now. Now...as you step off gently...into the warm, summer sand...you feel more at peace and relaxed than ever before in your entire life...Notice yourself walking towards the beach...Notice the feel of the sand under your feet...the ocean breeze in your hair, and the sun on your shoulders. Notice all the sensations around you. Very relaxed and at ease.
Now...notice a bag in front of you, directly in your path...It might be a paper grocery sack, or maybe a plastic garbage bag or even a burlap sack. Any kind of sack you imagine is just fine.

Just walk over and pick it up. As you pick up the sack...you become aware that there are things you wish to discard from your life. They might be arguments you had with a loved one earlier today, or they might be negative feelings you’ve carried around about yourself for a long time. You might wish to discard old beliefs that no longer serve you or negative imprints that keep you from being truly happy. Perhaps you need to let go of responsibilities that are not really yours and are holding you back. Any negative or harmful thoughts, impressions, beliefs, feelings, or experiences can now be discarded into the sack easily, released effortlessly. See yourself removing them now...and as you do...notice that you are feeling better. Perhaps you feel lighter, as if a burden has been lifted from your shoulders. Or, perhaps it’s just easier to smile now. Whatever improvement you feel is fine. Just allow yourself to soak up this wonderful new feeling, along with the summer sun. Breathe in deeply and absorb this “new and improved” feeling throughout your body...And know that this new feeling will grow stronger every time you visit this healing place in your mind. And once you have your sack completely full... of all the negatives you wish to discard...pick it up ...and toss it as far out into the ocean...as far as you can throw it...And...as it sinks...realize that those negatives you discarded will never affect you again...You have now released them permanently...You are now free to reshape your life anyway that you want... See yourself exactly as you want to be...perfect in every way...happy, healthy, vibrantly alive, loved, loving and successful...truly fulfilled and living in peace and tranquility with all those around you. And, as the last of your released negatives sink to the bottom of the ocean, continue your pleasant walk along the beach...As you are enjoying this beautiful day on the beach, you notice someone coming towards you....notice everything about this person... (read very slowly) notice how they are dressed, ..their hair color, ...the way they stand, ... and as they get closer ... notice the details of their face...their eyes, ...anything striking about them...have you met them before? This person has a message or a gift for you...It could be words....It might be something symbolic....something to help you solve the problems you are here to solve...to increase your self trust and self confidence...to deepen your self knowledge...Go to this person now... and ask them for the gift. pause Study the gift carefully...knowing that if you do not understand it’s purpose or meaning now...you will after you awaken...maybe today....or tomorrow ...or maybe next week...but soon you will understand it’s meaning for you...to help you in solving the problem you came here to solve... now that you have this gift....is there anything else you need to know from this person, your helper? If you do, then ask now... pause When you are finished gaining all the information you need, thank the person and send them on their way. and in your mind express your gratitude now to the Universe for sending this helper to you.

I want you now to imagine yourself... standing outside your body, ...as if you are an observer or reporter,... watching yourself. Notice your entire body at once. See your posture and body language. Notice if your body is standing straight, or if it leans to one side or forwards or backwards. If there appears to be any stiffness in your body, notice that, too. Now I want you to go back inside your body. Send your consciousness all the way to the bottoms of your feet. Notice if there is any pain or discomfort anywhere in your feet. Do you notice any special colors, sounds, smells, or feelings when you focus on your feet? Does focusing on your feet bring any visual imagery to your mind? Any scenes? Any geographic patterns or shapes? How do your feet feel? Do they seem balanced or are you favoring one of them? (pause)

When you are finished scanning your feet,... move your attention gradually up your body ...to your ankles... and repeat the process. What sights, sounds, smells, patterns, emotions or thoughts come to mind when you focus on your ankles? (pause) Continue moving your focus up your body in this manner... until you have thoroughly scanned your entire body...from the bottom of your feet... to the top of your head. Pay particular attention to any pain or stiffness anywhere in your body. What else do you think of when you focus on that area? Realize that, if pain in a certain area also makes you think of sad or depressing memories, you are probably holding sadness in that part of your body. Or if focusing on another body part makes you recall a time (or two) when you got very angry, then you are probably holding anger in that area. Just continue calmly and peacefully scanning your entire body and noticing if any areas trigger specific emotions. Continue this scanning process for as long as necessary. Long ........Pause After we conclude this hypnosis session, ... you will be able to recall easily and completely ...all the information you gathered from this scanning process... to help you continue the process of releasing negatives from your life for further healing of your self: body, mind and spirit. In the next few hours, days or weeks, any restricttions, tightness or inflexibility that was uncovered by the body scan and is not beneficial for you will be easily released... And that part of your body will be restored gently and safely to its perfect condition, every time you breathe deeply. You now understand clearly that negative emotions or feelings sometimes become stuck in the body where they can manifest as illness, phobias, or even disease. By coming to this healing place, ...as often as you like... you can cleanse your body, mind and spirit, ...even your entire energetic field... of these toxins. All you have to do... is relax and breathe deeply... fill your body with healing color... fill your "garbage bag" with the negatives you want to discard... and reshape your life the way you want it to be. Likewise, if you have problems you wish to solve... find your special helper on the beach... and ask for a gift to help you with your problem. You really ARE in charge of your own life, through the power of your imagination! We are about to conclude this session in just a moment. In just a moment I am going to count you up from one to five...when I get to five, you will be wide awake... feeling wonderful...totally alive...Every time you use self-hypnosis, you will go more deeply, more quickly...and you will gain more insights from each session... The more you use hypnosis ...the more relaxed and peaceful you become. You also become more vibrantly alive with each and every session, better focused and balanced...able to handle the everyday stresses of life effortlessly. One... come back slowly and peacefully Two... very serene Three... all the suggestions I've given you are already working Four... almost back now Five... wide awake, feeling fantastic!

© Moore Inspirations, Kathy Moore 2000

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Effects And Explanation of Drumming Therapy

We moderns are the last people on the planet to uncover what older cultures have known for thousands of years: The act of drumming contains a therapeutic potential to relax the tense, energize the tired and soothe the emotionally wounded.
So says Gary Diggins, an Ontario sound therapist.

When I met him, I entered his studio with some trepidation, overwhelmed by the hundreds of instruments I did not know how to play. Drums from around the world. Didgeridoos, rain sticks and other indigenous instruments decorated the walls. I had come with the intention of exploring the sound therapy community, to find out why so many people are choosing music as a form of healing as opposed to other, more traditional approaches to mental health treatment.

Since that first drumming experience, I began attending monthly sound therapy sessions: People coming together to create sound with the intention of restoring physical and mental well being.

Diggins’ particular practice of sound therapy has been shaped by his studies with a Columbian Shaman, a Jungian therapist, an African Griot, an Australian Aborigine, and a few professors from the University of Toronto. The challenge, Diggins says, is to frame this ancient practice in a way that makes it accessible to wider cultural circles.

In Diggins’ group settings, clients connect with other drummers and create a supportive and collaborative musical community. For some, the positive impact comes from the feeling of belonging to a community. For others, it comes from the physical act of drumming and simultaneously connecting with one’s own emotional experience.

Neurologist Barry Bittman, who co-developed a program for REMO called Health Rhythms with music therapist Christine Stevens, found that group drumming and recreational music making increases the body’s production of cancer killing t-cells, decreases stress and can change the genomic stress marker. Bittman says drumming “tunes our biology, orchestrates our immunity, and enables healing to begin.”

Psychologist Shari Geller, who teaches at York University, says her own early experiences with drumming sparked her interest in the practice’s healing benefits.

After working with Bittman at his Living Beyond Cancer Retreat at his Mind-Body Wellness Center in Pennsylvania, Geller combined her work as a clinical psychologist, her training in emotion focused therapy and mindfulness with group drumming in a program called Therapeutic Rhythm and Mindfulness (TRMTM).

In studying the technique and combining it with her clinical knowledge, she discovered that healing can occur when emotions are enhanced through music making. She says it allows people to process trauma with greater ease and that through the facilitation of mindful drumming, people can express difficult emotions.

For individuals coping with depression, anxiety or trauma, there is something more intuitive and liberating about communicating through music. Some find the combination of group therapy and drumming effective as it brings more contemporary approaches to mental health together with creative and non-judgemental expression of emotions.

Alongside the plethora of research on the effects of music on the brain, studies have found that drumming offers numerous health benefits. For women dealing with eating disorders, children with autism, cancer patients, war veterans living with PTSD, individuals with anger management issues, people with addictions, and even Alzheimer’s patients, drumming offers physical and emotional benefits.

Music therapies are now available in many hospitals and in a variety of counselling settings. More informal drumming circles are becoming increasingly popular within corporate team building and stress management workshops.

In Diggins’ view, our modern and secular world needs meaningful rituals and ceremonial practices to support major transitions and to challenge individuals.

For many seeking the benefits of therapy, an hour spent creating music, an hour spent in therapeutic drumming is an hour well spent.

-Jana Vigor, Contributing Writer

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Interview with Dr. Jack Singer on Core Sports Performance

Dr. Jack was interviewed by Chris Shugart, the editor of T-Nation.

Mind Games

The ball is snapped. The quarterback takes a few steps back and looks downfield. Nothing. Then the defensive line fails and about a 1000 pounds of muscled meanness barrels toward him. A receiver suddenly breaks into the open and the quarterback lifts his arm to throw…

Freeze.

At this moment, the amount of weight the quarterback can bench press doesn't matter much. His VO2 max just isn't that important. In fact, his body has become a secondary element in his eventual success or failure. Maybe he'll throw an interception. Maybe he'll choke under the pressure and get clobbered.

But not if he has trained with Dr. Jack Singer.

Dr. Jack Singer is an elite level Sports Psychologist. He's the secret weapon of many professional athletes and teams, teaching his clients how to consistently reach states of peak performance. When top level players or even weekend warriors want to get the edge, they go to Dr. Jack.

You've seen him on ESPN, Fox Sports and CNN, now it's time for T-Nation to pick his brain.

T-Nation: Dr. Singer, thanks for chatting with us today. Let's begin by talking about the field of Sports Psychology. Is there a difference between a Sports Psychologist and a shrink who just likes football and consults a few players?

Dr. Jack: That is a wonderful question to ask because there are so many psychologists who don't have formal or ongoing training in Sports Psychology, yet call themselves Sports Psychologists because they happen to work with athletes. I, for example, am a Certified Sports Psychologist and have a Diplomate in Sports Psychology from the National Institute of Sports… a recognition that's only granted to half of 1% of all of the psychologists who apply for such a Diplomate recognition.

T-Nation: What kind of athletes have you worked with over the years? What do they come to you for that needs fixing?

Dr. Jack: I've worked with athletes in virtually every sports endeavor, and with all levels of proficiency, from pros, to college athletes, to nationally ranked juniors, to weekend warriors. They come to me to help them function at peak efficiency, consistently. This may involve anger control, stress and anxiety elimination, mental toughness training, confidence and self-esteem building, rapid injury recovery and staying-in-the-zone training, as examples. I teach every athlete who wants that "unfair advantage" self hypnosis, but there are a multitude of techniques besides hypnosis that we cover.

Incidentally, I also work with teams, teaching them how to communicate with their coaches, how to quickly learn game plans, and how to stay positive regardless of the score.

T-Nation: Reading through some of your work, I see the topic of relaxation and its relationship with peak performance coming up often. When it comes to sports or just lifting weights in the gym, we often think of getting "amped up" or "psyched up." I've seen powerlifters slap each other in the face before a big lift. Where does being relaxed come in?

Dr. Jack: You know, there's a certain amount of getting "amped up" that's necessary for peak performance in all sports. That means that being "too relaxed" is really not the most efficient way to perform your best. The problem is learning the exact point where the "amping" or "psyching" becomes so stressful, that performance actually deteriorates.

So what's the answer? I help each of my athletes determine where that cutoff point is for them and then teach them relaxation routines to use as soon as their "amp level" approaches the point at which continued amping will deteriorate their performance. It's like a rheostat that they control themselves and keeps their performance sharp and consistent.

T-Nation: Very interesting. We all know when we're in "the zone" and when we're not. But can an athlete or an avid ironhead create the zone?

Dr. Jack: Anyone can be taught to create "the zone." It's a combination of imagery, visualization and hypnotic training. The secret, however, is to learn how to switch it on and stay in the zone, as needed.
In short, everyone is capable of creating the zone. Someone once said, "Whatever you conceive, you can believe, and whatever you believe, you can achieve." Conceiving that you want to get in the zone and learn how to stay there is the first step. I can teach you the rest.

T-Nation: I love the field of Sports Psychology because it deals not with beating the opposing team, but conquering one's own mental barriers and self-limiting thoughts. What are some common ways that people hold themselves back and become their own opponent?

Dr. Jack: Without a doubt, every athlete's number one opponent is their self-dialogue. You see, the specific messages that you give yourself during practice, just before competing, and during the competition all determine to a large extent your performance.

Self-limiting thoughts are all a result of unfortunate thinking habits and routines that people repeat over and over. As a Sports Psychologist, the very first thing I do is to help my clients recognize these self-limiting thoughts so that they can quickly switch them off and replace them with powerful, proactive, positive, performance enhancing thoughts. It really works!

T-Nation: Interesting. Can you give us an example of a top athlete with a specific problem and how you helped him or her overcome it?

Dr. Jack: Certainly. Of course, I can't relate the actual name or team because of confidentiality issues, but I can certainly share the problem, the treatment and the success.

This is a story about a football quarterback who was an All Star in high school. He was recruited by a major university, and after practicing with the team for two weeks, his coach referred him to me for mental toughness training. From day one, his "internal critic" started to work on him. He thought to himself about all of the other great quarterbacks on the team and how they were probably better than him… better prepared, stronger, etc. Even in practice, he was amazed at how his performance was so poor and then a coach referred him to me.

We set out to discover his internal dialogue and all of the sabotaging comments he was telling himself in his head. Once we discovered his negative thinking patterns, we devised a game plan to recognize and immediately change those thoughts, and his performance rapidly improved. The problem of his mental toughness issues was really a problem of poor self-talk habits, and once these were identified and reversed, his mental toughness and resultant performance skyrocketed!

T-Nation: I remember reading about Arnold the Governator using a mental trick in his early years. He didn't like leg training, so he purposefully walked around saying, "I love leg days!" Sure enough, he built a set of powerful legs. Was he on to something?

Dr. Jack: Absolutely! Think about the true case of a 97 pound older woman finding her husband trapped under the wheel of his car. She doesn't stop to think negatively; she only tells herself that she must lift the car to free her husband… right now! And she accomplishes it!

Your subconscious mind takes all of its directions directly from you and it believes exactly what you tell it, making no judgments. Therefore, if you say to yourself (and therefore to your subconscious mind) "I hate leg training," then it will help you to avoid leg training, because it thinks that's what you want. On the other hand, if you say to yourself, "I love leg training," guess what? Just ask the Governator, or better yet, look at his legs!

T-Nation: On your website you write briefly about a rubber band trick used to counter these self-defeating thoughts. It's a great trick! Tell us about it.

Dr. Jack: Certainly. Get yourself a fat rubber band, like the ones that come in the mail. Once you recognize your negative thinking patterns (for example, saying to yourself "My opponent looks stronger than me"), snap that rubber band one or more times on your wrist to STOP THAT THOUGHT.

Once the thought is stopped in its tracks, take a series of deep breaths through your diaphragm and then replace the negative thought with a positive one, such as, "I have trained hard for this moment and my body is ready to prove to me how really strong it is. Let's just do it!"

This really works, but like everything else, it gets better with practice.

T-Nation: I'll have to try that when I see those damn pizza commercials. Bad thoughts there! Let's talk about hypnosis. I think most people still visualize a stage show where someone is made to cluck like a chicken. What's the real story of hypnosis?

Dr. Jack: You're right about many folks seeing a stage hypnotist and believing that if they're hypnotized, they'll wind up acting silly or being out of control. Understand that stage hypnotists are entertainers who carefully select volunteers who enjoy being on a stage and making people laugh. Therefore, the folks who wind up clucking like a chicken are actually exhibitionists who enjoy laughing and making others laugh and are completely susceptible to whatever the hypnotist asks.
Clinical Hypnosis is a whole different situation. First of all, no one can be hypnotized against their will or asked to do something which goes against their goals and best interests. It simply won't work. Ultimately, you are in total control in hypnosis, and it's a means of learning control.

Most of us have actually gone into spontaneous hypnosis hundreds of times during our lives. An example is when you're driving to your destination and get there without being aware of passing familiar streets or landmarks along the way…almost like you were driving on automatic pilot. Or, recall a beautiful spring day when you were in school, with your mind focused on something out the window and all of a sudden, your teacher startles you by calling your name. This "daydreaming" was a self-induced altered state of awareness called self-hypnosis.

We know that the mind is intricately connected to the body. There's a ton of research proving that through energy fields and electrical and chemical processes that every thought we have triggers an immediate response in every cell in the body, including, of course, the cells in our muscles. So, if our subconscious mind is filled with negative thoughts during our powerlifting contest, the muscles instantly weaken.

Through hypnosis, I infuse the subconscious minds of my athletes with powerful, positive suggestions, so that as they practice this, their muscles will actually work at peak efficiency during the event. This, of course, is just one of hundreds of examples I could share about the terrific power of hypnosis for athletic performance. I call it the athlete's "unfair advantage."

T-Nation: What about self-hypnosis? Can you teach us a quick technique?

Dr. Jack: Yes. Prior to a lifting experience, for example, just sit down on a mat and begin to breath slowly and deeply. When you're ready to go into self-hypnosis, make a tight fist with your dominant hand and that will serve as your cue to go into a brief hypnotic trance. Continue breathing slowly and deeply, perhaps visualizing your lungs taking in a full volume of healthy, clean oxygen and exhaling all of the tension out of your body. Breath in through your nose and out through your mouth.

Next, slowly count down from five to one, timing the count down with your exhales and when you get to one, visualize yourself lifting the weight you're about to attempt and lifting it with ease. Just picture in your mind the weights filled with feathers instead of iron, and see yourself lifting the weight easily as you tell yourself, "I know I can do this. I WILL do this."

Do this visualization as long as you wish and then calmly go and do your lift. When you are through, relax and tell yourself that it's time to come out of your self-hypnotic trance. Then, count backwards from five to one. When you get to one, you'll be back to your fully aware and alert stage, feeling wonderful, calm, energized and a new power! Have fun with this, and remember, practice, practice, practice.

T-Nation: Cool. I'll try that. You've written a lot about burnout in athletes, even very young athletes. What about the bodybuilder or average gym member? I don't recall the stats offhand, but the fact is that most people quit training after a while or at least become very inconsistent. Where do we burn out?

Dr. Jack: Burnout is caused by allowing the stresses involved in your sport to become larger than the pleasures. Since all stress is caused by the negative, self-defeating internal dialogue that we engage in, then we can overcome and, in fact, avoid stress by harnessing those negative thoughts in the first place and replacing them with positive affirmations.

Practicing this will ultimately eliminate overwhelming stress and thus eliminate burnout. You all deserve to feel powerful, empowered and proud of yourself. With the proven techniques of Sports Psychology, you can all accomplish this…whether you're a body builder, a powerlifter, a fitness enthusiast or a weekend warrior. These techniques really work!

T-Nation: In recreational bodybuilding, I see a lot of people getting discouraged and defeated because they compare themselves to others. The bodybuilding mags are full of genetic gods on steroids, so it's easy for the average guy to get discouraged. Oddly, the same guy doesn't get discouraged when he can't slam dunk like an NBA pro. He still likes shooting hoops. But many quit lifting weights if they don't look like magazine cover models in four weeks. How would a Sports Psychologist tackle this issue?

Dr. Jack: This is another internal dialogue/internal critic issue. So many of us compare ourselves to the best and the brightest celebrities and because we don't match up in a particular feature or two, we put ourselves down, feel helpless and hopeless, and give up on a goal.

We all need to realize that perfection is never naturally attained, set realistic goals for ourselves and strive to accomplish those goals. Just like we can't change our nose structure without artificial makeover surgery, we can't change our physical genetics…but what we can do is absolutely work our bodies, build them, and develop the very best that's possible for our genetically predisposed frames.
In addition, new advances in self hypnosis actually dramatically aid muscle development, so that the body limitations you perhaps have always believed about yourself may not really be valid at all!

T-Nation: Now that's interesting! You may have to write us an article on that topic! Thanks for the talk today. Where can T-Nation readers go to find out more about you and your services?

Dr. Jack: This talk has been a real treat for me and I hope to be an ongoing resource for your readers. To learn more about my phone and in-person consultations, please contact me at (949) 481-5660. It will be my pleasure to help you skyrocket your athletic success!

To inquire about me speaking for your company, convention or association, please learn about my professional speaking services by visiting my web site at:www.funspeaker.com or contacting me at the same number as above.

If you're interested in obtaining my Core Sports Performance hypnosis CD's, please visit www.hypnosisnetwork.com and click on the core sports performance picture. Incidentally, we'll soon have a second CD series on pain control and rapid injury healing available there, and I plan to produce a series for bodybuilding and powerlifting soon.

T-Nation: Cool. Thanks again!

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

VIDEO Schizophrenia: Stolen Minds, Stolen Life


Monday, 6 January 2014

VIDEO The Nocebo Effect: This Video Will Hurt


Saturday, 4 January 2014

4 SIgns You May Have Had A Past Life

If you've ever wondered why you have a fear of heights or look into the eyes of a stranger and feel as if you know them, the answers may be found in your past lives, says Brian Weiss, MD, the author of Miracles Happen.
1. That Old, Familiar Feeling
Through past-life regression, Dr. Brian Weiss says it's possible to heal—and grow—your mind, body and soul, as well as strengthen your present-day relationships. He says one of the most common signs of a past life is déjà vu—the sensation that you have met a person before or have visited someplace previously. Sometimes, this déjà vu feeling is a sign of a past life with a particular person or in a specific place.

For example, a patient of mine began having anxiety attacks while on her honeymoon in Greece. When she and her husband left for Rome, the anxiety attacks completely disappeared. When she saw me as a patient, we did a past life regression and found that she had been killed in ancient Greece. Her anxiety attacks stemmed from that lifetime even though she did not know why at the time.

2. Your Dreams Are So Real It's Like You're Actually There
Do you have vivid, detailed dreams of yourself in different times and places? That might be a past life memory emerging. As I've written in my book, past-life recollections aren’t always actual memories: they may also contain symbols and metaphors that need to be interpreted so that their meaning and message can become clear. These symbols are no less powerful than literal ones. Think of these past-life scenes more as a poem than a history text.

3. You Got an A in History (Without Even Trying)
Talents and abilities, likes and dislikes, and attractions and aversions can also be clues to past lives. You might feel yourself being drawn to certain people or to certain cultures, even if you've never visited them. You might find you are able to learn certain subjects or prepare for a profession more easily than others. For example, a particular foreign language might come quicker to you, while others are more difficult. Or you may have an intense interest in certain historical times and events, such as ancient Egypt or the Civil War period.

4. You Have a Soul Mate
It is very common to travel through different lives with the same group of souls—I call these groupings, soul mates or soul companions, or soul families. We seem to learn our spiritual lessons and accumulate or resolve our karma with our soul groups. Relationships may change from life to life, but the souls are the same. For example, your grandmother might reincarnate as your grandson. In this sense we never lose our loved ones, because we are always being reunited either on the other side or back here in physical bodies. In Miracles Happen, I describe many cases of soul recognition. In one case, Michelle, whose mother died when Michelle was a small child, was comforted to find that she and her mother were together before in the Middle Ages. They were husband and wife at that time.