PUTTING OUR HURDLES TO GOOD USE
Is Mental the New Normal?
As I previously shared on my ANTIDEPRESSANTS VS. PLACEBO: And The Winner Is... article (please see under References):
“According to NAMI - National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. (which corresponds to 43.8 million or 18.5%) experiences mental illness in a given year; and approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S. (corresponding to 10 million or 4.2%) experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities (for more numbers, please see link under References). That means a staggering amount of people with some level of mental health challenge. Considering that a whole lot of people don’t seek help and go undiagnosed, the real numbers are likely to be even scarier.
No wonder words like OCD, OCPD, bipolar, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD, chronic depression, etc, have become commonplace. Look around yourself. How many friends or family members display behavior that has been qualified as (or suggested to be) a mental health disorder of some kind? Or look in the mirror. When was the last time you’ve felt emotionally, mentally and physically (not to mention spiritually) healthy and balanced? Have you or someone you know been diagnosed with a mental health challenge, or do you suspect you or someone you know might have such a challenge?
One thing is certain: when a system says that a big chunk of the population has some type of mental health issue that requires medication, maybe it’s time to change a lot of things in that system. Mere common sense dictates that something is seriously wrong with that picture.”
Whichever the sources of such a dismal state are, the main question is: What do we do with this knowledge? Do we hide? Do we numb ourselves with soft and hard addictions? Do we convince ourselves that we’ll never be good enough to follow our dreams or achieve anything in life? Or do we make the decision to become comfortable with who we are in this phase of our lives, seek wholesome solutions and put our issues to good use?
What We Can Do:
- We can use mindfulness tools and holistic therapies such as Hypnotherapy.
- We can explore brain stimulation and biofeedback therapies such as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or Neurofeedback (please see the articles under References).
- We can share our story and help inspire others to deal with their own mental issues.
- We can empower ourselves and choose to put our hurdles to good use! What we often consider to be our flaws or issues can be used in positive ways to help ourselves and others, by simply learning how to redirect these shadow aspects of ourselves and channel that energy towards accomplishing our goals and dreams!
What’s something about yourself that may have a negative side, but can also be used in positive ways?
© Gisele Marasca-Vargas; 05/18/23
Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash
ANTIDEPRESSANTS VS. PLACEBO: And The Winner Is...
Transcranial magnetic stimulation
Neurofeedback: A Comprehensive Review on System Design, Methodology and Clinical Applications
Are you afraid to fail, succeed or both?
These twin siblings walk together, arm in arm, and it can be really hard to separate them or even tell them apart. When we’re afraid to fail, we usually feel paralyzed and unable to take the necessary steps to achieve success. Succeeding can’t happen without failing; ergo, being afraid to fail often translates into being afraid to succeed.
What’s behind these fears? If we dig deeply enough, sooner or later we come to realize that most of our surface fears stem from three major core fears: Not being good enough; being unworthy; and being afraid of living and getting hurt in the process. If we believe we are unworthy or not good enough, and if we’re afraid to live, we end up attracting people, events, circumstances, etc, that will reinforce those fears… As we believe, so it is.
As everyone else, I’ve had my share of failing. One of the most significant failure experiences happened in 2010. As a consequence of the 2008 economic crisis, among other factors, my business partner and I had to close our graphic design and publishing business. Since I had unwisely connected my personal credit to the business, I had to declare bankruptcy and lost my home in the process. I had to start over in my 40’s, and everything I had believed in or counted on didn’t make sense any longer. I was feeling lost, confused, depressed and very angry. After a period of grieving and a short stretch working for the U.S. Census, I came to the realization that I needed to start reinventing myself.
Since 2002, I had been learning about and experimenting with different forms of holistic practices as a side activity. I really enjoyed that work, so I decided to pursue the integrative arts as a career. The research I conducted about federally accredited holistic healthcare programs led me to SWIHA - Southwest Institute of Healing Arts in Tempe, AZ as the best choice for my purposes. In 2011, when I enrolled in the SWIHA AOS degree program in Holistic Health Care, I had the choice to specialize in nutrition or hypnotherapy; I chose the latter, which led me to a fulfilling career in hypno-coaching. I obtained my AOS degree in Holistic Healthcare in 2013, became certified as a Master Hypnotherapist by the ABH and as a Certified Hypnotherapist by the IMDHA, and founded The Healers Home (formerly The Ragi Center for Self-Awareness), through which I practice Clinical Hypnotherapy, Life Coaching and other holistic modalities. In addition, I teach SWIHA online classes and offer corporate workshop series and presentations about hypnotherapy for the local community. Currently, I’m co-authoring a book with my mentor and former teacher about implementing a volunteer-based guided imagery program at a hospital or health care facility.
As I often share as part of resistance coaching for the classes I teach online, failure paves the road to success. However, there's a big difference between failing and feeling like a failure. As my wise friend Judi L. once shared during an online group meeting, “failure only exists in our minds—mistakes are essential to set us in different directions and on different paths. We can't let fear of making mistakes prevent us from moving forward. When we fail or make the wrong choice, we're meant to learn from those experiences and take the next leap. Everything is pushing us to our higher purpose.”
Learning how to make mistakes and fail with humility, without beating ourselves up, is one of the most courageous, empowering and self-loving choices we can make in life.
Failing is especially good for business. As a matter of fact, the current trend is to fail fast to get that part of the process out of the way and fail mindfully to acquire the necessary knowledge and successfully apply the lessons (please check out some of the awesome videos from The Failure Institute; link under References). Also, sharing our struggles is one of the most effective ways to connect with and engage our audience.
How to Address Fear?
To help you further on your own journey of bringing fear to light, I recommend hypno-coaching to work through resistance and fears. A good script to begin with is Wall of Fear, by Linda Bennett, with focus on the fears of not being good enough and/or being unworthy. A good follow-up script would be Removing the Armor for releasing limitations, also by Linda Bennett.
In addition to hypno-coaching, there are many effective exercises and tools to help deal with fear:
- Asking yourself: “What’s the worst that can happen?” Our wild imaginations can create some far-off doomsday scenarios, making it easier to laugh at and dismiss our fears.
- Visualizing the process of making mistakes and failing as if you were watching an old black-and-white comedy-capers-style silent movie (or another funny, cartoonish story style) is another effective way to make light of our failings… and related fears.
- Self-parenting through soothing, confident-building self-talk. Be the parent that you wish you’d had!
- Repeating positive affirmations and powerful mantras.
- Doing mirror work, which also involves using affirmations and mantras.
- Writing your eulogy: What do you want to be remembered for? What does a meaningful life with no regrets mean to you?
- Testing your fears: Ask yourself powerful questions, or ask a professional therapist work with you.
- Mel Robbins shares effective tips to trick the brain into action (please see two of her videos under References). As per Becca Briley’s fitting comment about the 5 Second Rule brain trick during our live talk, "Instead of RETRACTION, we choose IN-ACTION" (please see link under References).
- Activities like rock climbing or singing karaoke can reveal your fear patterns and help you work through them. For instance, when I started indoor rock-climbing a few months ago , I noticed that, whenever I had a successful climbing session, I’d start making excuses about why I probably wouldn’t be able to do so well next time… I recognized it as a defensive mechanism through which I’d justify myself in advance for possible failures. Once I was aware of this pattern, I would catch myself every time I’d be thinking of such excuses and take action by responsibly challenging myself and learning to be ok with not-so-good climbing days.
- Asking for help and support is an important part of this process, too. No one does it alone! In addition to friends and family support (or if you can’t count on friends and family), look for other sources, such as local and online groups and orgs that support the work you do (or the work you would like to get involved in).
What other tools are you familiar with?
FINAL THOUGHT: Life can be much better if we stop constantly listening to our inner critic and being so hard on ourselves and others. Life already has enough challenges without us having to make it any harder… In short: It would behoove us to just lighten the “freak” up a little.
© Gisele Marasca-Vargas; 03/09/23
"Faith Over Fear" Image by Alex Shute at Unsplash
Image of me rock climbing (taken by my husband)
The Failure Institute - Videos
Mel Robbins: 5 Second Rule
How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over - Mel Robbins
SWIHA Lean Into Your Success Facebook group - March 8, 2023 Live Talk hosted by Becca Briley, with Gisele Marasca-Vargas
I was a French soldier on active duty in a French-occupied territory somewhere in Eastern Europe around the 1,600s. I was in my early 30’s when I was ambushed and chased in the middle of the night by a group of men who stabbed me to death with their swords. The lesson I learned from that life time: I didn’t want to be part of violent fighting and wars any longer.
I was a French young lady named Genevieve in the 1,700s who was forced to marry a much older nobleman. He was loving and kind, and I grew to love him over the years. We never had children. I was vibrant with life! I loved dancing, horseback riding and breed dogs. I was kind and generous with our servants and also helped the poor. My husband died many years before I did. I died from old age, surrounded by loyal and caring servants. Lesson I learned from that lifetime: The beauty of different kinds of love.
I was a gold prospector in 1,800s California. I had found gold and brought my claim to a rich investor, inviting him to become my partner. He stole my claim and had his men beat me up and leave me for dead in the back of the building where his office was. I was all broken up and in pain, and it took me hours to die. The lesson I learned, as I lay slowly dying, looking up at the beautiful starry sky and hearing the happy music and laughter coming from a nearby saloon: In spite of my pain and suffering, life all around me was still full of beauty. Lingering issue from that life time: Lack of trust in and respect for rich men in power/authority figures.
I was a young boy of 12 or 13 years of age in England in the early 1,900s. I was fearless in an irresponsible and careless manner. On a personal dare, I decided to dive into the sea from a high cliff and died instantly from hitting rocks at the bottom. Lingering issue from that life time: Fear of taking risks; being too serious about life; not wanting to waste my time on frivolities.
These are just a few of the intriguing and intense thoughts or memories I experienced during past life regression sessions, along with meaningful lessons and insights into current issues.
Are you curious about Past Energy Release (PER) or Past Life Regression (PLR)?
Many people want to try it just out of curiosity; however, it can also be very effective as a therapeutic tool. PER Therapy, also referred to as Past Life Regression, is a technique that uses hypnosis to recover what many practitioners believe to be memories of past lives or incarnations. During a PER session, the client experiences such memories as mental movies, slides, images, thoughts, feelings and sensations. Although there is no conclusive evidence to prove the reincarnation hypothesis, and many people consider past life memories to be just creations of the mind, there are enough studies and researches to demonstrate that it is a plausible hypothesis. However, true or imaginary, these memories can be used to work through and help release, resolve and remove current issues and root trauma, as well as promote self-development. In other words, you don’t have to believe in reincarnation to benefit from past life regression therapy.
PAT ENERGY RELEASE/PAST LIFE REGRESSION FAQS:
• How Will I “See” My Past Life?
It’s different for each person. Some people might “play” it in their minds as if they were watching a movie; others might “hear” in their minds a description of what’s happening; yet others might just have a “knowing” of what is transpiring. Also, some people might perceive scenes of one past life in a linear progression; others might go back and forth, or even jump to scenes from other lives. The best way is to go in with no expectations of how you might experience it; just go with the flow. And if your subconscious does its own thing and doesn’t follow the script, that’s ok, the script is meant only as a guideline.
In case nothing at all happens, it’s also ok. There’s nothing wrong with you; maybe it’s not time for you to go through this experience at this point in your life, or in this group environment. Whatever happens (or doesn’t happen), it is your decision and only yours, even if it comes from a subconscious or unconscious level.
You can choose a theme for your PLR experience or leave it open ended; if you choose a theme, however, keep in mind that your subconscious might have its own agenda.
• What If I'm Making It All Up?
It's ok. Scientific studies show that past life regression therapy works if the client believes the experience is real or not. The bottom line is that whatever you feel you wish to experience is the right thing for you. The important thing to look at is what comes to your mind. Once you are in a relaxed state, your mind will offer you the information you are meant to work with at that time. It can happen that your conscious mind will try to be critical of or interfere with your experience as you go through the session; allow it to do what it must. However, try not to censor yourself in any way; again, just go with the flow.
• What If I See Something Or Someone I Don't Like?
What a great opportunity that will be! That way, you can discuss what bothers you and why it came to you at this time in your life, so that it can be taken care of and resolved; sometimes, the healing can be instant. Occasionally, an abreaction can happen (the release of a repressed emotion through reliving an experience). Since you are the one in control throughout the process, you can choose to experience the regression as an outside observer, or to not feel any emotions or pain. You can also choose to come out of it at any time. However, unless you really feel you can’t handle it, it’s recommended that you allow yourself to go through it, as it’s a great release/healing opportunity (as mentioned above).
• Will I Speak In A Different Language?
In most cases, the experiences are reported in the person’s current language, although there have been cases of people who were able to speak in a language previously unknown to them during a session. In such circumstances, they can be asked to “translate” the experience by speaking in their current language.
• Can I Also See My Future Lives?
You may also look into your future through progression sessions. Rather than premonitions, I tend to believe that such sessions show you more of a symbolic representation of future possibilities. Again, true or imaginary, your visions of the future can be used as an opportunity for higher awareness when making life choices.
© Gisele Marasca-Vargas; 02/27/2023
Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash
Many Lives, Many Masters, by Brian Weiss
Old Souls: The Scientific Evidence for Past Lives, by Tom Shroder (based on the research work by Dr. Ian Stevenson)
Children’s Past Lives, by Carol Bowman
SELF KNOWLEDGE MAY BE POWER…
…But Being Defined by Labels Can Become a Deficiency
Never before have we had access to so much information about… well, pretty much everything. That can be helpful and useful in many ways, if we have the discernment to sift through the overload of available information and determined what’s accurate, what’s inaccurate, what’s distorted by the sponsors behind the information being disseminated, and so forth. If we do manage to come out on the other side of the maze, there’s plenty of reliable information we can access on our own or through reputable healthcare professionals to help answer our questions.
Due to the outspread availability of information, it has also become easier to label conditions, even when those labels mean that current knowledge doesn’t have all the answers and healthcare professionals don’t really have a clue about what’s going on or how to cure it. Still, there are plenty of labels that get thrown around in relation to diseases and illnesses with internal, external and unknown causes that doctors can’t quite define or understand, from autoimmune to brain-related/neurological conditions such as RA, Fibromyalgia, Autism and Alzheimer’s, to name just a few.
On one hand, it’s important to know as much as possible about health issues and conditions that may limit our lives in any way. Knowledge is power; it can enable us to manage such issues and maintain a healthier, more fulfilling lifestyle.
On the other hand, being defined by such labels can become a deficiency if that instills fear in us, preventing us from living life to the best of our abilities. It can become a deficiency if we accept these labels without question and feel limited to the point where they are used as excuses to stop growing, to justify the belief that we’re not capable of pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone, trying to overcome our circumstances and doing better every day. Labeling can lead to resignation that makes us forget the power of the mind and spirit.
As someone who deals with frequent anxiety and even the occasional panic attack due to OCPD, and who has discovered as an adult that I might be on the lower end of the neurodivergent spectrum (in addition to having physical issues such as herniated disks and hip repair surgery), I understand how difficult it can be to deal with and manage a limiting condition. Because I don’t want to take medication, managing myself takes a combination of alternative therapies (hypnotherapy, aromatherapy, flower essences, essential oils, etc), along with regular meditation, breathing techniques, etc. Exercising and practicing yoga also help; so do writing and coloring book therapy. In other words, proper self care is vital; that includes establishing priorities and strong boundaries that involve plenty of quiet time, while not neglecting to stay connected with loved ones. I also developed the habit of deliberately shifting my thinking when I start obsessing and feeling anxious about something; I try to focus on the ultimate goal, set my intention and simply say to myself: "I give this to God (or my guides, Angels, Source, Universe, etc)." That opens the space to receive clear guidance and be able to follow it, even when it’s unsettling. Not beating myself up for not being perfect is also key!
Of course, each individual has different needs and needs to find their own ways to cope or recover; but here are some additional tools that have been effective for myself, my clients and others who have tried them:
- Rather than reminding myself of why I can't do something, I make sure to constantly re-frame that thought by teaching myself how I can do anything I set my intention to accomplish.
- Hypno-coaching can help jump-start healing on a subconscious level by using scripts such as Gateway to Healing by Linda Bennett and Self-Health by A. Chips.
- The Emotion Code is a simple technique to help release trapped negative emotions from the body: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3g7pRNLJKh4
- Mel Robbins' 5 Second Rule and other similar techniques are effective shortcuts to trick the brain into doing what I want it to do: htthttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nI2VQ-ZsNr0
- The morning pages exercise (also known as brain drain or mind dump) is a powerful method of uncluttering the brain and opening the space for creative solutions to life’s puzzle:
Here's Everything I Learned From Doing Morning Pages Every Day
FINAL WORD: We are all works in progress, doing the best we know how at any given moment. Whatever challenges we deal with on the physical, mental emotional and spiritual levels, we are the only ones with the power to define ourselves; and that in itself is an organic, ever-changing process. Let’s not get stuck on a label!
© Gisele Marasca-Vargas; 09/28/21
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash
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