Happy New Year!
It is 2014 and we are back in business here. Sort of. This hypnosis blog entry is not as in-depth as usual as I have had to write it during the holiday period. I am not formally back in the office until next Monday, but we have been doing admin and getting ourselves into some sort of shape ready to take on the New Year with much gusto.
This Christmas was a wonderful one for me, Katie and our two small children; they do not really fully know what Christmas is about other than lots of people keep turning up and they get lots of presents.
That said, because they were both given so many, they did not even get round to opening some of them until it had turned dark! Some of the presents are even still boxed and we’ll get them out over the coming weeks – heck, it looks like we are in for a few rainy days in here in the UK.
This New Year’s Eve, Katie and I had a party at home, just the four of us… with the kids having plenty of their favourite foods. We opened a bottle of bubbly and were in bed by 8.30pm. I could not have wished to spend it in any other way. I think next year will be different when they are older, but for now, we are enjoying them both being so young.
Here we are then, a new year is upon us. My inbox is already full of emails, articles and features about goal-setting and resolutions; all the social media I follow is filled with much the same as you’d expect at this time of year.
I have decided that this January, we are going to focus elsewhere. You have enough access to resolution/goals stuff out there to last the entire year, you don’t need more of it from me. Instead I am going to focus on something completely different, let me explain…
I have told stories about when I first learned self-hypnosis and used to stick on a pair of my Dad’s old headphones, plug it into his music system and play the War of the Worlds LP while using self-hypnosis, focus and my imagination to create fantastical mindscapes and light shows for some escapism. I would finish these sessions feeling wonderfully refreshed and revitalised.
Interestingly, in my earlier, very different life, I experimented greatly with a wide variety of recreational drugs and alcohol. One of the many reasons I stopped taking those kind of substances was that the ensuing hangovers and bouts of depression made my life miserable. What’s more, as I consumed more, the forced high created by the drugs decreased my ability to get high with the same amount of drugs thereafter (I kept needing to take greater amounts!) as well as inhibiting my ability to feel high and happy without drugs (as I said, it made me depressed on occasion and my ability to have fun plummeted).
Since then, over the years, there have been a number of things I have found to offer me ‘natural highs’ such as self-hypnosis, laughter, running, making love, teaching and even eating chocolate – so I managed to practice and practice to enable myself to feel high on life as possible – to be honest, none of these things offer the same kind of intensity as consuming ecstasy at a rave, or as hallucinogenic as smoking salvio divinorum in the wilderness or eating mushrooms picked from fields on the outskirts of a damp City in the English Winter. Yet I think many people would be amazed by what kind of natural high we can create with the right kind of instruction, subsequent practice and some open-minded willing.
The beauty being that there are no adverse effects to a natural high. Drugs damage the reward centre of the brain by forcing the brain to release dopamine. The brain knows how to balance a natural high so that it does not damage the brain or impair our ability to recreate those highs – quite the contrary.
Some people may think this an odd application of hypnosis or even to read such from a therapist and teacher such as myself – yet therapists spend a great deal of time attempting to alter moods of people who are depressed, anxious or sad. altering mood is partly what I shall be focusing on this month here on Adam Up. Though it will be altering mood for a natural high.
Animal studies conducted as far back as the 1950’s (Olds and Milner, 1950; Hughes & Kosterlitz, 1974) proved that the brain produces its own internal opiates. Ongoing research showed that there are two key drivers of human pleasure – dopamine and endorphin.
Science has shown us that there is a neurochemical analogue for each mind-altering substance, such as recreational drugs; some of which can contribute to loss (temporary or permanent) of sanity, diminished well-being and greatly lowered productivity. Given that the brain is a giant pharmaceutical factory that manufactures its own mind-altering chemicals, the aim of my articles this month on the hypnosis blog here is going to be to show you how to use self-hypnosis to derive natural pleasure. It is not without some short term ‘pain’ I suppose, because you require persistence and an open-mind whilst finding time to develop the skills.
As well as using processes that I shall be showcasing this month on this hypnosis blog, you can help yourself to do more things that will help you feel good and laugh more – watch comedies, read funny books, make others laugh with stories or anecdotes and surround yourself with people who make you laugh and giggle. Do some physical activity such as running, cycling or swimming that is shown to release those feel good chemicals. Socialise, make love with your partner, get some fresh air… These things will lift your spirits, heighten your pain tolerance, reduce anxiety and stress, and boost your energy levels – plus, it’ll help you to be able to more readily access those feelings with the processes I’ll be sharing here.
We’ll begin in earnest next week here on my main hypnosis blog (other stuff happening on my other blogs) – I can’t wait to share it all with you to make this January a spectacularly enjoyable one!