Owl_R Owl_L RACHEL ABRAMSON & ASSOCIATES
smoking    -    weight    -    career guidance

Psychologists, Career Counsellors, Hypnotherapists and Relationship Counsellors



The Jewel, 3rd floor, Suite 307, 566 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, Australia
OUR MISSION: To provide a professional service, using best practices.
OUR MOTTO:   Be proactive. Take charge of your career. Look after your health.
OUR HIGHER ORDER CALLING: To help people reach their full potential: Personally, professionally, entrepreneurially and money-wise.

Bullet Proof Your Brain

This page has been set up as a blog with new material being added each Monday. You will see tips and suggestions on how to develop your own unique operating manual for your brain, and in so doing, you will learn more about how to bullet proof your brain. Feel free to bookmark this page so that you can return to it on a regular basis. For more information on how to make the most of your mind, you can email Dr. Abramson requesting your own complimentary subscription to Head Quarters. And for now, you can use the List of Bullet-Proof Your Brain Blog Topics to directly navigate to the topics you want to learn about:

Exercises for Your Mind

Bullet-Proof Your Brain Blog Topics

Operating System for Your Brain

Operating Manual for Your Brain

We are not born with our own operating manual to our brains, but wouldn't it be nice if were. Our brains are the most powerful computer known to ... well, us!

Our brains have given us everything we have, everything we see, everything we use --- from sliced cheese to university courses. Everything around us first had its origins in someone's brain.

We can spend a lifetime getting to know who we are and what we can do. We can also spend a lifetime figuring out how to get the most out of ourselves.

So how can we start figuring out our unique operating system for our own brains? One simple solution is to take notice of when you are able to accomplish the things you set out to achieve. Take notice of what you did, or refrained from doing in the moment. Whatever it is, introduce it as a helpful habit that you can tap into whenever you have something similar to accomplish.

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The Power of You

We can all be more of who we can be, across our lifespans and in each area of our lives. We have an amazing capacity to reach and exceed our own goals. Sometimes, there may be something holding us back or holding us down. It helps to know our own life purpose. From there, it is a matter of honing and directing our energies towards that purpose. It may also be a matter of identifying relevant habits and hooking those habits onto existing routines. And, if you do not like a particular habit, or it does not work for you, just change it for one that does.

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How to Overcome a Negative Mindset

There may be times when you feel trapped in a negative mindset. Perhaps you feel surrounded by people who espouse negativity. This negativity may act to hold you down or hold you back from pursuing your interests, personally or professionally. After a while, it may feel as if you are telling yourself the same negative thoughts you previously heard others tell you. This blog provides three tips on how to overcome a negative mindset.

Tip 1. Change the people or change what you discuss with them: If you find yourself surrounded by others who espouse negativity, it may be time to mix with a new crowd - to simply move on. You may not be able to control the negativity another person expresses, but you can control whether you listen to their negativity. By moving on you are taking control over what you hear, and therefore, what has a chance to influence you. If you find you cannot move on (perhaps the negative person is a member of your family, for instance), it may be more apt to discuss different topics with them - ones that don't evoke their negativity.

Tip 2. Change your mind: You can change your mind by paying attention to what you are telling yourself. When you become aware that you are being negative, you can challenge that negative thought. Who says you cannot have/be/do X, if that is what you truly want? We all have the innate capabilities to be who we want to be and to have what we want to have in life. So, next time you hear yourself say I am never going to have... or I am never going to be able to.... , ask yourself: why not? You might also consider your own innate strengths and capabilities and how you can use them to have/be/do what you want.

Tip 3. Focus on what you want: It is often helpful to have your personal or professional goal at the forefront of your mind. So, be sure to visualise exactly what it is you want to have/be/do. If you want to write your own book, for instance, it might be helpful to visualise the book in your hand. See the book's cover; hear what you might hear as you flick through the pages of the book and feel the weight of the book in your hand. Once you are smiling contentedly, or grinning from ear to ear, you know you are ready to plan your course of action. You can then follow your plan and monitor the results you get. You can always tweak your action steps along the way to your goalpost.

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Quick Tips: Building Confidence

Put Best Foot Forward

Confidence is an elusive feeling. We may feel confident in one area of our lives. Yet in others, we may feel out of our depths. And, when we feel this way, the things we fear going wrong, often do. The elusiveness of confidence in one or more areas of our lives can occur in spite of how much we say or do the right things in the right way. So, what can we do to build confidence in each area of our lives? This article provides five quick tips that you can use to build your confidence in all that you do.

Quick Tip 1. Reach for the Ceiling: The quickest tip you can adopt is to reach for the ceiling. Yes, most of us are too short to actually reach the ceiling (unless we stand on something), but we can stretch ourselves upwards to be as tall as we can possibly be. In so doing, we elicit more of our own innate confidence.

Quick Tip 2. Stand and Sit Expansively: Throughout your day, be sure to stand and sit tall. If you catch your reflection in the mirror, be sure to correct your posture so that you are standing and sitting as tall as you can. As with the first tip, doing so will elicit more of your own innate confidence. Moreover, others will see you as being confident and will treat you accordingly.

Quick Tip 3. Recall a Time When... It is often useful to recall a time when you were feeling confident. It does not matter whether that experience of confidence was in your personal or professional life. And, it does not matter whether you want to feel confident in something taking place in your professional or personal life right now. For the time that you can recall, you can metaphorically step into that memory, being sure to visualise your experience through each of your five senses. You can then transfer your experience to the situation you now want to feel confident in.

Quick Tip 4. Recall Someone Confident You Know: This tip involves the same process as per the third tip, except this time, you are drawing on the memory of someone you know who comes across as confident, rather than a time where you recall feeling confident within yourself. This tip is useful if you cannot recall a time in your life where you felt confident. It is also a powerful tool when you combine this tip with that of the previous tip.

Quick Tip 5. Act As If: As this tip suggests, you can just act as if you are confident. Act as if you do feel confident. In so doing, you can elicit more of your own innate confidence. Others will see you acting more confident and will treat you as if they know you know what you are saying/doing. In turn, this can fuel even more confidence within you.

Each of these tips can be undertaken individually or in combination with the remaining tips. And, if you want to know more, come along to our 7-week Bullet-Proof Your Brain Program. Bookings for this Program can be made through our Eventbrite page.

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Finding Your Life Purpose

Search for Meaning

In The Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl speaks to our innate search for meaning - our life purpose. Some of us know our life purpose early on in life while others constantly tweak their activities so as to progressively identify more of their life purpose.

In The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, we learn that the meaning of life, the universe and everything has a simple answer: 42. It would be wonderful if it was that easy to find answers to such deep questions. However, we can use some simple strategies in our journey towards our life purpose. Here are four tips to help you on your way:

Tip 1: One of the best ways of identifying your life purpose is to consider what you are most passionate about. In this regard, you may like to consider what you would choose to talk about if you had 30 seconds of prime time T.V. You may also like to think about your core values, beliefs and what you might choose to advocate for.

On Resolutions

Tip 2: If you come up with several things for which you are passionate about, you may like to consider which one you feel most strongly about. The narrower your focus, the more able you will be to serve your life purpose.

Tip 3: Imagine yourself living an idyllic life; one where you get to contribute an amazing legacy: Personally, professionally, entrepreneurially and money-wise. Consider where you might be in 20 years time, 10 years time, 5 years time and 12 months time in that life. For each milestone, be sure to engage each of your five senses. Doing so will enrich your sense of what life would be like for you at each milestone. If you do not like anything you experience at any milestone, feel free to tweak it until it is exactly the way you want it to be. Then be sure to visualise it once again.

Tip 4: From there, you can work backwards from the 20 year milestone through to present day, making a note of what you might need to do, be or have in order to have reached each milestone. You may also like to consider any potential setbacks that might occur along the way and how you might address them as needed. The more you plan, the easier it will be to pursue your life purpose. And for the rest, just enjoy your journey. It is, after all, your life purpose.

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How is Your Environment?

Our environments can be defined by style, colour and the people therein. The environments we find ourselves in can be as large as a family home, as small as a workplace desk or as tiny as our human footprint on a crowded train. Within each environment we find ourselves in, some may prove nourishing while others can prove toxic to our hearts, minds, bodies or souls. Ideally, we want to immerse ourselves in an environment we find nurturing and nourishing. But, we may not always recognise when we are in the right kind of environment for us. It may be only later when we leave that environment feeling angry and frustrated or happy and content that we may recognise the impact that environment has had on us. This blog provides several factors to explore when considering, and perhaps constructing, our own environments:

Factor 1. What do you believe in? Perhaps the most important factor to consider is whether the environment you find yourself in is supportive of your deeply-held beliefs, passions, values and life purpose. To the extent that you can tweak your environment to meet more of your deeply-held beliefs, passions, values and life purpose, the more content and happy you will feel at the end of each day.

Factor 2. What activities do you find nourishing? It is useful to take the time to notice what you truly enjoy doing. Some activities can be professionally stimulating while others are personally enjoyable. Some activities can be as simple as taking a bath. Others can be more complex (such as painting a portrait or building a pergola). Whatever those activities are for you, be sure to incorporate more of them into your world and into your day.

Factor 3. What do you like? When you are self-employed, you can control more of your own environment. You can surround yourself exclusively with the things you like. You can make your own environment even more enjoyable by taking the time to think about the style, colours and layouts that you most enjoy. You can then consciously incorporate more of what you like in your environment. However, even when you work for someone else, you can control the little things about your space (e.g., a picture of a loved one; a favourite coffee cup; an inspirational quote or a potplant).

At the end of each day, we can all feel happy and content - it is just a matter of placing ourselves in an environment that is conducive to our good health and well-being.

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Quick Tip on Motivating Yourself

If you find that you do not have the motivation to do what you need to do, you may like to begin by asking yourself what it is you actually want or need to do. You may also like to reflect on why it is important to you and what benefits you are likely to enjoy once you have accomplished it. This will help clarify your goalpost for you.

From there, it is often useful to think about what things will be like for you when you have reached your goalpost. As part of this exercise, it can be useful to visualise what things will be like for you once you have arrived at your goalpost. You can toggle through each of your five senses in turn. You can also visualise what others might notice and think to tell you. If there is something about the future goalpost you are not yet satisfied with, feel free to tweak it until it is fully pleasing for you. Then, you can revisit your visualisation so that you experience the goalpost exactly the way you would like it to be.

Once fully satisfied with what you visualise, it becomes a matter of working out the steps along the way to reach the goalpost. You can work forwards from present day to the goalpost or track backwards from the goalpost to present day, one step at a time.

For many of us, that is enough to motivate yourself. However, if you find that there is still something blocking you from getting started, it may be time to book an appointment with us to help you on your way.

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Recognising Your Soulmate

How Do You Know?

I was standing in a bank queue the other day. It was a long line. Far ahead of me, a gentleman reached over to kiss his partner and then took a step backwards. He smiled at his partner and you could see the warmth in his eyes. I did not have to guess that the person waiting in the queue was his soulmate.

Just as this couple had one another, there is someone out there for everyone. Sometimes, the love of our life comes into our lives when we least expect it. Yet, when we actively go searching for our one true love, our soulmate remains elusive. How do we know when we have found our soulmate? How do we know if our partner is genuinely our one true love? Here are three signs to help you recognize the other half of your soul.

Sign 1. Your Thoughts: When you have found your soulmate, you will find that person is constantly in your thoughts. And, each time you think of that person, a warm contented smile appears on your face. Your partner will smile just as warmly at the thought of you too.

Love Birds

Sign 2. Your Feelings: You will find that your feelings towards your partner will be warm and loving. So much so that you want to immerse yourself in the pleasure of your partner's company. You may also find that if there are any disagreements between you, you are both equally committed to resolving those disagreements in a way that is mutually agreeable.

Sign 3. Your Actions: You will find that you naturally seek to do things for your partner, just for the joy of seeing them happy. And, your partner will do little things for you just to see you equally happy.

At the end of the day, the love you feel for your life partner, and the love you see in their eyes, will tell you that this is your soulmate.

So, if you have already found your soulmate, that is awesome! If it is early days, be sure to fully enjoy the time you spend with one another. Be sure to express the love the way you both enjoy having it expressed. If you have been together for a while, it might be nice for both of you to reminisce on how you first met, your early thoughts of one another and what you both admired in the other. Be sure to set aside quality time for one another.

If you have yet to meet your soulmate, never fear because that special someone could be waiting around the corner, just when you least expect to meet them.

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Healthy, Helpful Habits

Rewire Your Brain

Habits are formed naturally and we may not even notice exactly when that new habit was formed. Healthy, helpful habits can be formed just as easily as unhelpful ones. We may develop a new habit or continue performing an existing one by simply desiring to do so. That desire is an outcome of recognising that the new (or existing) habit serves some positive purpose. An example of this may be a teenager who decides to try smoking and then continues smoking because it is cool, friends do it or they like the sensation of smoking. As can be seen from this example, not all habits are purely good or bad. However, for a habit to be formed, the positives will outweigh the negatives.

We can also stop engaging in a particular habit with equal ease. We might do so because the habit no longer serves a positive purpose or its discontinuance may serve a positive purpose. We have all seen smokers who have just decided to quit smoking and do exactly that.

When you find it difficult to just start engaging in a new habit or discontinue an existing habit, it is time to look at what is behind the block. In some cases, you will find that something important to you is being threatened. In the case of smoking, it may be that you feel that you can no longer mix with your smoking friends or it may be that you are getting a relaxation benefit out of the smoking activity itself. Once you know what is being threatened, you can find more healthy helpful alternatives to the habit you would like to drop.

In other cases, you may find that the habit-to-be-discontinued is deeply intertwined with other activities (such as smoking while driving, studying, socializing, drinking or having coffee). The more deeply intertwined the habit with other activities, the harder it is to discontinue the habit. And, in the case of smoking, there may also be an underlying nicotine craving as well. In such cases, you can identify each activity that accompanies the habit-to-be-discontinued to find the more healthful, healthy alternative you can engage in with those same activities.

So, if you don't like a habit, it is just a matter of deciding on a more healthy, helpful habit and then do the new habit. And while you are at it, make sure you know the reasons why you want to do the new healthful, helpful habit.

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Hooking Healthy, Helpful Habits

When the Old Habit Remains

The previous section discussed the concept of forming healthy, helpful habits and how you can tweak existing habits to be more healthy and more helpful. This section shares some examples of how you can hook new healthy, helpful habits onto existing routines. Doing so will help you form new routines that you can do in a block and in so doing, help form new healthy, helpful habits.

Here are some healthy, helpful habits you can hook onto your daily bath or shower routine:

  • You can allow yourself a few minutes of quiet, relaxing, floating time when you hop into your bath. Alternatively, you can allow yourself to deep breathe while you get yourself wet in the shower. Either alternative will help you form a new healthy, helpful habit for relaxation, stress management and/or quitting smoking.
  • You can pull in your stomach muscles, do some neck stretches, shoulder rolls or trunk rotations while you wait for your hair conditioner to do its job. You can also do your stomach crunches if you are having a bath. What a nice way to fold some muscle toning exercises into your existing routine!
  • You can also hook ten push ups when you are ready to lift yourself out of the bathtub. Alternatively, you can finish your shower with some full body stretches and squats.

Here are some healthy, helpful habits you can include over meals or tea breaks. In each case, doing so will help you fold a healthy, helpful habit for relaxation, stress management and/or quitting smoking into your existing routines:

  • Listen to relaxing music.
  • Go outside for a breathe of fresh air. While you are at it, you can deep breathe or go for a walk.

Here are some helpful, healthful habits you can include while travelling by car or public transport:

  • Listen to relaxing music on your smart device or radio.
  • Listen to educational CDs.
  • Plan healthy meals for the week ahead.

At the end of the day, you can easily introduce new helpful, healthful habits into your existing routine. Just reflect on what those helpful, healthful habits might be for you and where they may best fit into your daily routine. And the rest, is just habit.

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Healthy Weight management

Weight Cycle

Many people focus on counting calories and, in so doing, put themselves up for a mindset of restriction. Our subconscious minds don't like that idea and will rebel.

You don't have to worry about "dieting", counting calories or refraining from your favourite treats. It is far better to focus on making healthy food choices and eating in moderation. As such, it represents a new way of thinking about food. A good rule of thumb is to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are not.

It is also useful to take note of when you choose to eat, but not for reasons of hunger (e.g., feeling lonely, frustrated, hurt, sad, bored, or using it to focus your energies while studying, etc.). Once you recognise when you are eating for reasons other than hunger, you are then in a position to find healthier, and more helpful, alternatives that can better address your current non-hunger reasons for eating.

If you are not already exercising, it may be a good thing to start doing so. Past research has shown that a combination of healthy eating and exercise produces the best weight management results over the long-term. You need a mix of aerobic activities (such as walking, cycling or swimming) and muscle toning. Exercise is more sustainable if you enjoy your chosen form of exercise and/or if it is a natural part of your routine (such as doing the gardening every weekend).

At the end of the day, you can be fit, healthy and of the right weight for your height and body structure. And, you can really enjoy watching all those positive changes you see in your body as you move towards a more healthy weight for your height. While you are at it, you may like to consider some objective measures for weight management: Based on past research, a waist measurement of less than 80cms and a waist:hip ratio of < .80 is healthy for women. The same research suggests that a waist measurement of less than 94 cms and a waist:hip ratio of .95 is healthy for men. Measures such as these can give you an indication of whether you need to lose/gain weight or simply maintain your current weight levels.

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On Quitting Smoking

Stop Smoking

Often people decide to quit smoking when they are planning a family, when they begin experiencing smoker's cough or when they find it a a challenge to run up or down stairs. Perhaps they do not like the cigarette smell on their clothes, their breathe or in their home. Or perhaps they don't like how their taste buds have been affected by their smoking habit.

Whatever the reason, it is time to quit.

But some people find it a challenge to quit. They find that smoking has become associated with drinking a cuppa, drinking alcohol, having a meditative break, being social or focusing one's attention while studying. Perhaps they used smoking as a means of curbing appetite so that they would not gain weight. Perhaps you have identified other activities that became emmeshed with the smoking habit. And if so, how do you quit?

The easiest way to quit is to begin by recognising the activities that you like to do that have become emmeshed with the smoking habit. You can then take the time to consider healthier alternatives to smoking while you participate in these activities. You can also leave your cigarettes in one location while you leave your lighter in another. The time it takes for you to gather both items may be enough for you to recall the healthier alternatives and turn to them instead. After a while, you may forget where you left your cigarettes and lighter because you will automatically turn to the healthier alternatives.

If you find you need more help, make an appointment for hypnotherapy with us. And for the rest, you really can quit smoking and enjoy the benefits of fresh air, a keen sense of taste and smell as well as the energy to take that flight of stairs. Moreover, you can be proud of yourself for doing the right thing for your young family.

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Four Tips on Getting More Exercise

We all know we should move at least 30 minutes a day, preferrably more. Yet, winter is around the corner. It is cold. Who wants to go into the pool in this weather? Who wants to get up an hour earlier so that they can go to the gym before school or work? It is easy to find excuses why you cannot do your exercises today. The number one excuse is that you do not feel like it today. Other reasons may include having a lot on at work or in your studies. This blog provides four tips on how you can get yourself exercising more in spite of any ambivalence you might feel about exercising.

Tip 1. Know your exercising goals: Do you want to correct posture? Build strength or muscle? Perhaps you want to lose weight. Maybe you just want to improve your overall level of fitness and well-being. Whatever your reasons, you need to keep them at the forefront of your mind.

Tip 2. Visualise goalpost: You want to imagine having arrived at your goalpost. This is best done by engaging each of your five senses. So, imagine what you might see when you have reached your goalpost. Imagine what you might hear. Imagine what you may feel and touch. Imagine what you might taste and smell. You might also take the time to imagine what others might tell you and what others might notice when you have reached your goalpost. For instance, if your goal is weight loss, you might imagine hearing friends, family and colleagues telling you how good you look. You might notice certain positive changes in your body.

Tip 3. Pick an exercise routine that you enjoy doing: You are more likely to stay with an exercise routine you enjoy than one that you feel you have to do. However, if you have been given an exercise program by your physiotherapist, you may not necessarily be doing exercises that you enjoy. It becomes a matter of doing them to address health concerns. If this applies to you, you will especially need to remind yourself of your reason for exercising. So, be very sure to keep your exercising goals at the forefront of your mind.

Tip 4. Notice your progress: Each step in the right direction, towards your exercising goals, is its own reward. When you can see the progressive changes to your posture, musculature, weight or overall fitness, it can be highly motivational for you to keep going.

Of course, others around you might wonder why you are grinning from ear to ear, but that is okay. At the end of the day, you can feel proud of yourself for staying with your exercise routine. And, after a period of time, you can also enjoy having reached your exercise goals. When that happens, it may be time to set new exercise goals so that you can increase your health and fitness even further.

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Healthy Aging

Healthy Aging

As a health psychologist, I have taken an active interest in how to age well, while enhancing our quality of life. Here are four simple ways we can extend the years in our life, as well as the life in our years:

[1] Exercise: We live in a sedentary world - especially compared to the lifestyles of our caveman ancestors. It is thus important that we make the time to move. As a rule of thumb, we want to be moving 30-120 minutes daily, interspersing that movement throughout our day. Movement needs to combine aerobic and muscle-toning activities. To be sustainable, that movement needs to be of a form that we enjoy doing and, if it naturally fits into our lifestyle, so much the better. We all know that we can exercise at the gym (aerobically and muscle-toning). Much of the kinds of exercise we might do at a gym, we can also do in the home. You can also dance, garden, ride your bicycle, take the stairs, swim or go for a walk.

It is also important to exercise our brains. Exercising our minds can be as simple as doing a crossword puzzle, playing sudoko or scrabble as well as learning a new dance, musical instrument or foreign language. You will be exercising your mind any time you extend your mind into new territory. You will also be exercising your mind any time you are faced with a technical challenge or a complex problem to solve in the workplace and when you engage in formal studies. The more complex the problems you work with or the formal studies you undertake, the greater the benefits to your brain health.

[2] Healthy Eating: Healthy aging means healthy eating. And, healthy eating means eating protein, complex (unprocessed) carbohydrates, minimal sugar, fresh fruit and vegetables as well as unsaturated oils (as found in fish, olive oil and avocados). A simple rule of thumb is to eat across the colour spectrum for fruit and vegetables. Another simple rule of thumb is to focus your attention on the end aisles in supermarkets as this is where supermarkets stock their unprocessed, fresh foods.

It is also important to refrain from smoking and drink in moderation.

[3] Omega III: Omega III is very important for joint, brain and heart health. You can get your Omega III through a range of sources, including fish, flaxseed (aka linseed) and chia seed.

[4] Social Interactions: We are a social species. It is really important for us to maintain our social connections as we age. It does not matter whether we engage in one-on-one interactions or one-to-group (partying). As long as we find the time to get out there and socialise.

So, in order to age well, remember to exercise mind and body, eat healthily, incorporate Omega III into your diet, drink in moderation, do not smoke and enjoy lots of social contact. And be sure to fully enjoy extending the years in your life, and the life in your years.

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Staying Positive as We Age

Aging Well

The older we get, the more likely we are to experience physical or mental health problems (e.g., falls and broken bones, debilitating strokes, coronory heart disease, dementia or loss of a loved one). We may even get anxious about getting old, ultimately thinking ourselves into an early grave. Yet, what happens to us is not nearly as important as how we feel about it, let alone how we handle it.

From my previous post, you already know the importance of exercise, healthy eating, Omega III and social contacts. For many of us, that is enough to live a rich and full life. However, if you find yourself worrying about your age or if you think that you are too old to .... (fill in the gap here), it is time to think more positively. Here are four tips to help you do just that:

Tip 1: Age is just a state of mind. Much of the worries and concerns you feel are just worries. You can release them through self-hypnosis, mindfulness, meditation or yoga. You might also start adding the words young after your age, rather than old. So, if you are thirty, you could say that you are 30 years young. If you are sixty, you could say that you are 60 years young. If you are ninety, you could say that you are 90 years young. And, oh what a joy it will be when you can say you are 120 years young!

Tip 2: Find a mentor. The mentor you choose will be a role model of someone who is aging well; someone who has a naturally positive outlook on life as well as living a rich and full life, no matter what happens to them. The mentor you choose may be 5, 10 or even 20 years older than yourself. You may even be lucky enough to identify several such role models and if so, you can draw your wisdom from each of your role models.

Tip 3: Discover your sense of purpose. It is often useful to reflect on what is important to you, your passions and deeply-held beliefs. You might then find some projects to work on that would enable you to express your passions and beliefs. You might also find opportunities to mentor the generations that follow you as part of this exercise - your professional, as well as biological, grandchildren.

Tip 4: Schedule more fun activities into your day, giving you much to smile and laugh about.

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Breathe!

Have you ever wanted to calm yourself down quickly? The secret is to breathe. Breathe deeply. And exhale for even longer. When you take a deep breathe and exhale slowly for longer than it took you to breathe in, you are metaphorically squirting relaxing juices onto your heart muscle, and in so doing, you are helping your mind and body to calm down and fully relax. So, next time you find yourself feeling stressed or anxious, take a moment to take a deep breathe and exhale slowly for longer than it took you to breathe in.

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Overcoming Public Speaking Anxiety

Managing the Butterflies

Many people hate the thought of having to speak in a public forum. Perhaps the thought of having to speak in public makes them cringe, feel a bout of nervous butterflies, or even feel sick-to-the-stomach. Yet, members of the audience are there because they are interested in hearing the speaker's ideas. They want the speaker to succeed. So, how could you manage those public speaking angsts if called upon to speak? This blog provides four tips to help you do just that:

Tip 1. Know your content: Unless you are asked to deliver an off-the-cuff presentation, it is important to prepare your content. You may choose to do so using powerpoint, outlining a full speech or preparing a list of bullet points to be covered. It does not matter how you prepare, as long as it is a method that works for you and one that enables you to feel prepared up at the podium. Once you know what you want to say, you could rehearse delivering your speech (at home, in front of a mirror and/or in front of a small group of family or friends).

Tip 2. Breathe: When we feel anxious, we tend to constrict our breathing. It is therefore important to breathe deeply. Doing so will help calm the amygdala (that lives inside your mid-brain), and in turn, help you relax at the podium. So breathe. Before. During. And, after your presentation.

Tip 3. Focus on message: When you focus on the message you want to convey to the audience, you metaphorically step outside of yourself. You will find yourself able to rally your innate resources, strengths and capabilities to deliver the best version of your talk that you are capable of delivering.

Tip 4. Focus on audience: You may also find it helpful to focus on the audience. In so doing, you are able to be more responsive to how members of the audience are receiving your intended message. Once again, you will find yourself able to rally your innate resources, strengths and capabilities to deliver the most interesting, informative and effective talk you are capable of delivering.

These four tips will go a long way in helping you manage public speaking nerves. If, however, you are still feeling anxious when called to speak, feel free to book an appointment with us.

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Importance of Sleep

Why Sleep Important

We all need our beauty sleep. Did you know that we have three stages of sleep? The first stage is known as a light wave stage of sleep (LWS). The second stage is the REM stage (where we dream). The third stage is known as the slow wave stage (SWS). The third stage is also the deepest stage of sleep and is characterised by the presence of delta waves.

The third stage of sleep is thus the most restorative stage of sleep. It is in this stage when our minds and bodies repair themselves. It is also where our brains can process daily events (stored as memories). If we have not had enough sleep for a few days, it is in the third sleep stage that we spend most of our restorative sleep.

The proportion of our sleep time spent in the third sleep stage decreases as we age. So much so that infants spend most of their sleep time in the third stage of sleep while the elderly may not spend any of their sleep time in this stage of sleep.

So, why is all this important? We all need our sleep. With the restorative effects of stage 3 sleep, it is indeed our beauty sleep. It is the space in which both our minds and bodies can fully heal themselves. So, why not make sure you get a good night's sleep, each and every night. And, fully enjoy your beauty sleep.

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Hypnosis and Beauty Sleep

Did you know that hypnosis mirrors the stages of sleep?

Hypnotic trances fall along a continuum. At the light end of the hypnotic continuum, you may be aware of your surroundings while your body is totally relaxed. At the deep end of the continuum, you may be less consciously aware of your surroundings while your body is even more deeply relaxed. The deeper the trance experience, the more refreshed you will feel upon returning from trance. As such, a light hypnotic trance is akin to the first stage of sleep while a deep hypnotic trance is akin to the third stage of sleep. Hypnosis is thus a source of beauty sleep.

So, if you find yourself short on beauty sleep, why not spend up to 30 minutes in hypnosis? You can enhance your natural sleep cycles by having self-hypnosis first thing in the morning (upon awakening) and last thing at night (before drifting off into sleep).

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Self-Hypnosis Tips for Sleeping Difficulties

Do you have problems falling asleep or staying asleep at night? This blog provide five tips on how to use self-hypnosis for getting better sleep. Each and every night.

Taming the Amygdala

Self-Hypnosis Tip 1. Sleep Hygiene: Towards the end of your evening, be sure to turn off T.V.s, electronic devices and dim lighting. You may also like to turn down the volume of any music you might be listening to. By dimming lighting and taking yourself away from the lighting used by electronic devices, you are letting your subconscious mind know that it is time to wind down in preparation for sleep.

Self-Hypnosis Tip 2. Attend to Your Comfort, Breathe Deeply: Once you are ready to tuck yourself into bed, pay attention to your own comfort. Are you warm enough in the winter months and are you cool enough in the summer months? You can then do some quiet deep breathing. By paying attention to the sensations of your own breathing, you are helping to calm your subconscious mind in readiness for sleep.

Self-Hypnosis Tip 3. Visualise Serenity: The second tip might be all you need to drift off into a good night's sleep. However, if you need more, you can visualise the most idyllically relaxing place you have ever been too. Your visualisation might be a composite of elements from several lovely places that you have been to in the past. It might even be something that you have created out of your own imagination. Whatever it is that you came up with, you can allow yourself to focus on what you can detect through each of your five senses in turn. Really allow yourself to fully luxuriate in this experience.

Self-Hypnosis Tip 4. Drift Off into Sleep: By using the second tip, perhaps in conjunction with the third tip, you will find that you just drift off into a good night's sleep.There is nothing you particularly need to do to have that happen. Just allow yourself to drift with the moment. If you find thoughts or worries percolating to the surface of your attention, feel free to acknowledge those thoughts and then let them drift on by. If this is the time when all your great ideas percolate to the surface, you may like to keep a pen and notepad by your bedside. That way, you can jot them down. And, in so doing, free your mind to sleep.

Self-Hypnosis Tip 5. Repeat Each Night: If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, you can repeat tips 2-4. Otherwise, you can repeat them as part of your bedtime routine. Each time that you do so, you calm down your amygdala (which lives in the middle of your brain). In turn, you are allowing your mind and body to relax in preparation for sleep. At the end of each day, you can rest assured of having a very good night's sleep.

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Head Quarters

Our newsletter, Head Quarters, provides articles, quick tips and food for thought to help you reach your full potential: Personally. If you would like your own complimentary subscription to this newsletter, feel free to email your request to Dr. Rachel Abramson. You can also follow Dr. Abramson on Facebook or Twitter.

...neuroscience goes directly to work on the brain,
and the mind follows.
Leon Kass.


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