Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Happiness Makes Your Brain Work Better

The following article is from the website Inc. written by Jessica Stillman. She reports about a Harvard psychology researcher explains that rather than thinking of success as the source of happiness, we should think of happiness as a source of success--and one that's more under out control than we imagine. Try these concepts on for size. It may be time to examine your thoughts about happiness and beliefs as they pertain to your success in life, business and love.

Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, argues that while we may think success will bring us happiness, the lab-validated truth is that happiness brings us more success. And understanding this is particularly valuable for entrepreneurs, Achor said in an interview. “Business owners, he said, need to. Reverse the happiness and success formula. We think if we work harder and achieve some entrepreneurial goal, then we'll be happier. But the research is clear that every time you have a success, your brain changes what success means. So for you and for your team, if happiness is on the opposite side of success, you'll never get there. But if you increase your levels of happiness in the midst of a challenge—in the midst of searching for investment, in the midst of a down economy—what we find is that all of your success rates rise dramatically – every business outcomes improves.”

The brain, it turns out, works significantly better when you're feeling positive, so developing a sunny outlook allows you to be smarter and more creative. "We found that optimism is the greatest predictor of entrepreneurial success because it allows your brain to perceive more possibilities," said Achor. "Only 25 percent of job success is based upon IQ. Seventy-five percent is about how your brain believes your behavior matters, connects to other people, and manages stress."
If you would like to view the TED Talk, click on this link:  

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Counseling by Computer

There is a major shift and movement occurring changing the ways mental health services are being delivered. The trend and shift is Telehealth or Telemedicine. Psychiatry, psychology, employee assistance, forensic evaluations and even medical consults are now occurring over the Internet. With a computer, broadband connection, webcam with microphone and speakers, you can get counseling and coaching services online. Since I am an early adopter, I have been at the forefront of this movement. With my good friend Marina London, a social workers and employee assistance professionals, we have been conducting a 7 hour training on the use of social media in mental health. For several years now, I have been doing coaching and psychotherapy over several different platforms that provide security, confidentiality and meet HIPAA standards for ethical practices. There are of course advantages and disadvantages in the Telehealth movement.  For example, face to face is a preferred treatment method, but what about someone what may be living in a remote area where counseling services are not available, or when someone is homebound or has a physical problem, transportation difficulties or other problems preventing the opportunity to get treatment. There are now a variety of forms of online therapy including chat rooms that are private, substance abuse recovery meetings, 12 Step Meetings, email therapy sessions, and even Avatar Therapy or a virtual reality called Second Life. You can actually engage in Avatar Therapy with a virtual therapist in real time. Pretty amazing stuff.

Avatar Therapy
I have been conducting coaching sessions using video formats for several years. In fact, I have visited via Skype severn different countries over the last several years providing supervision, trainings, and providing consulting t professionals, corporations and expatriates. If you want to know more about it, give a call. We would love to talk with you about this therapeutic approach. If may well be just what you need.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sleep Hygiene Instructions

Many people suffer from insomnia. Sleep studies, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, nocturnal awakenings, trouble falling asleep and shutting off your mind are common problems made worse by stress and anxiety. Good sleep hygiene can help regain a positive sleeping pattern so you can awaken in the morning reseted and ready to tackle the day. Here are some instructions or tips:

  1. Avoid going to bed until you are drowsy.
  2. Maintain a consistent time of going to bed including weekends.
  3. Limit napping.
  4. Avoid all caffeine after noon. 
  5. Avoid nicotine and alcohol in the evening.
  6. Avoid exercising in the late evening.
  7. Limit fluids 4-6 hours before bedtime.
  8. Be sure your bedroom is dark, quiet and well ventilated.
  9. Turn you clock so you can't see the time should you awaken.
  10. Don't turn on lights if possible.
  11. Turn off televisions or activities that engage your brain. (like work)
  12. Listen to soothing music.
  13. Plan a pleasant dream to have.
  14. Focus on some past memories of sleeping well.
  15. Do some mental rehearsal of seeing yourself sleeping.
  16. Learn some stress management.
  17. Use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to reframe negative or anxious thought.
  18. Create a "sleep zone" where you feel safe, secure and calm.
Of course, always check with your doctor to see if you have some disorder that requires medication. This may be the first step to getting your sleep going.  Pleasant dreams!!!!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

EMDR for Anxiety, Panic and Trauma

If you suffer from panic attacks, trauma or severe anxiety, EMDR may be for you. What is it? It's all in the eye movements.
EMDR incorporates elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy with bilateral eye movements or other forms of rhythmic, left- right stimulation. One of the key elements of EMDR is “dual stimulation.” During treatment, you are asked to think or talk about memories, triggers, and painful emotions while simultaneously focusing on your therapist’s moving finger or another form of bilateral stimuli. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR involves recalling a stressful past event and “reprogramming” the memory in the light of a positive, self-chosen belief, while using rapid eye movements to facilitate the process. In a typical EMDR therapy session, you focus on traumatic memories and associated negative emotions and beliefs while tracking your therapist’s moving finger with your eyes as it moves back and forth across your field of vision. 

This enables you to access positive ways of reframing the original trauma (reprocessing) and to release the body's stored negative emotional charges around it. (desensitization)

The memory is still there, but it is less upsetting. Experts are still unsure how it works, but anecdotally, the reports are very favorable.

EMDR therapy appears to directly affect the brain, “unfreezing” the traumatic memories, allowing you to resolve them. Over time the disturbing memory and associated beliefs, feelings, sensations become “digested” or worked through until you are able to think about the event without reliving it. The process is somewhat similar to Rapid Eye Movements (REM) activity by reactivating the brain via cognitive reorganizing allowing the painful, negative emotions to give way to more resolve, empowering feelings.

Why Worry? Recently, a reprint of the book  Why Worry  by friend and prolific author, Eric A. Kimmel was recently released. Gayle and ...