Articles: Ideas and Tools for a Better Life
Chronic Stress Interferes
As a hypnotherapist, stress, worry and anxiety are the most
common concerns reported by my clients. If stress is not the presenting issue
for a client, it is often an underlying concern, so I find myself constantly researching
stress and seeking new techniques to provide relief.
When stress becomes chronic or ongoing, it can directly or
indirectly impact our psychological and physical wellbeing. Stress may come as
a result of a sudden change or trauma, or as a reaction to issues related to
work, health, relationships, finances and daily responsibilities. We can also be
affected by the stress that others are experiencing around us.
When we are young children, we are especially vulnerable to
picking up our parents or caregivers stress. According to Bruce H. Lipton, as
written in The Honeymoon Effect, “From two to six years old, a child’s
predominant brain wave is theta.” “Theta brain frequencies are associated with
the state of hypnosis during which information can be directly downloaded into
the subconscious mind.” So as children we are highly programmable which helps us
learn quickly, but we can also be negatively programmed.
I grew up in a household with a parent who worried
excessively about our safety, and I too became a worrier. As a young child, I
remember always being anxious about riding in a car, for fear we would crash. As
I became an adult, this uneasiness continued, until I did some work to address
the issue. As adults we have the power to make the change.
While attending hypnotherapy school, one of my teachers
described worry in a way that hit home for me. He said that when we worry, we
repeat thoughts over and over putting ourselves into a trance-like state, while
feeding ourselves negative suggestions. Hypnosis can be used to do just the
opposite, to relax and become more focused and open to positive suggestions.
It is important to be aware of what you are “feeding”
yourself. Carefully choose the music you listen to, what you view on the
internet, and what you watch on TV. Pay attention to the messages that may have
been programmed a long time ago and are no longer serving you. Be aware of what
you are repeating over and over to yourself. Create new habits and download new programs that serve you NOW.
Peace of Mind
I was talking to a friend last night and she said, “All I
want is peace of mind and good health.” I thought to myself, yes the two go
hand in hand. If we are perpetually unhappy, stressed, afraid, and not at peace
with ourselves our physical health can be affected. And on the other hand, physical
health issues can impact our peace of mind.
During a talk given by Bruce Lipton, a cell biologist and
author of The Biology of Belief, he explained that when a person has
fear they may interpret their environment or situation as unhealthy, which can feed
their cells in an unhealthy way, potentially resulting in illness. He suggests
that by getting out of the “perceived” bad environment, the cells return to
health. So in other words our thoughts can create our physical reality,
especially when we hold on to them.
We have all experienced times when we are not at optimum physical
health. Often this leads to fear and anxiety about our future and our ability
to live healthy lives. Unfortunately these ongoing fearful thoughts can
perpetuate dis-ease. As Anita Moorjani writes, in her book Dying to Be Me,
“If and when I notice negative thoughts creeping in, it seems best to allow
them to pass through with acceptance and without judgement.” By accepting
ourselves as we are, we allow these feelings and emotions to come…and to go.
After the passing of my sister and friend in 2007, I entered
a time of deep self-exploration, seeking peace of mind. During this time I
immersed myself in an intuitive program, where I began to understand how I was
unknowingly stuck in old patterns and beliefs that were no longer serving me. Next,
I enrolled in hypnotherapy and energy therapy programs. I was actually
surprised at how many unresolved issues I had. I often tell people, “Even if I hadn’t
chosen hypnotherapy as a practice, the time and money for the program was
well-spent on my own healing.” I learned techniques to empower and heal myself.
Since then I have continued the self-healing process, and
have come to enjoy helping others do the same for themselves. My friend was
right, we all want peace of mind and good health, and achieving peace comes through
loving and accepting ourselves unconditionally, exactly as we are in this
My Thoughts on Dis-ease
Over the years I have given a lot of thought to why dis-ease
exists. Like most of you, I have friends and family who have been diagnosed
with life-threatening illnesses, and have lost some dear loved ones as a result.
This has raised my awareness and increased my interest in improving the health
and wellbeing of all. I am not looking to place blame on anyone or any specific
thing for dis-ease, but to encourage wellness by seeking ways to love and care
I personally have dealt with various “chronic” health
conditions over the years. As you know, a chronic condition is one that
persists for a long time or constantly recurs. Often it is insinuated that these
conditions are “incurable.” I have since decided that I will no longer use the
word “chronic” when referring to my own health, as I don’t want it to become a
self-fulfilling prophecy, nor will I accept that I have to live with a health
Instead I prefer to look at health issues as imbalances in mind-body-spirit.
Our bodies have an amazing ability to heal, but it often requires a little detective
work to figure out what is out of balance. Health issues are wake up calls to
pay more attention to what’s going on in our lives. Perhaps we have lost hope
or we’ve neglected our true heart’s desires. Or possibly the issues are related
to what we’re doing or not doing in life, or what we’re eating, drinking,
breathing or thinking.
I have come to know that fear, stress and worries affect our
overall wellbeing. I’ve had plenty of personal experience to prove it, like stressing
myself to the point where the only way to get a break was to get sick. Now I
try to be more aware of what my body is telling me and make changes before it becomes
a full-blown problem. For example, when I’m tired, tense, irritable, or
forgetting to breathe, I pay more attention and look at what is and isn’t
working in my life, and do my best to make changes that support my needs. I am
easier on myself now, and more forgiving of my mistakes. Most importantly, I
hold positive intention for myself and others, and strive to act accordingly.
Falling into hypnotherapy school a few years ago was a
blessing. I never realized how many unresolved issues I had until I became a “client”
for my classmates to practice on everyday. If I never used what I learned in school
professionally, it still would have been money well spent. Hypnosis helped me
learn how to relax, to recognize and release what was holding me back, it
helped me find answers, and inspired more joy and peace in my life. Doing this
work has confirmed my belief that there is a direct connection between our
mental and spiritual health, and our physical wellbeing.
Used to Be Teen Smokers
When I was teaching
elementary school in the Bay Area, every year we would have a “drug-free week,”
to focus on drug prevention. I was inclined to spend most of the week teaching
about tobacco and alcohol use because they are the most commonly used drugs,
and pose the greatest threat to our children on the whole. Even though the
National Council on Alcoholism cites alcoholism as the number one drug problem
for our youth, and the US Department of Health and Human Services cites
cigarette smoking as the number one cause of preventable death in our society,
many children don’t even realize they are drugs.
According to the U.S.
Surgeon General, cigarette smoking is the most important health-related issue
of our time. One in every five adults in the U.S. smokes cigarettes. Over 80%
started smoking before the age of 18. Each day, over 3000 young people under
the age of 18 smoke their first cigarette, and about 1000 of those become daily
cigarette smokers. So it is important to prevent young people from starting to
smoke, and to help current smokers quit.
Young people start smoking
for various reasons, including peer pressure, to “look cool,” act older,
control their weight, or to feel more independent. According to Cancer Research UK, children are three
times more likely to smoke if their siblings or parents smoke or use tobacco.
Experimenting is part of learning, but the danger of experimenting with
cigarettes, is that smoking is highly addictive.
Start talking to your
children about smoking early. Encourage them to ask questions and give their
opinions. Make sure they understand that nicotine is addictive, and that other
chemicals are added to make cigarettes even more addictive, so once a person
starts smoking it is difficult to quit. Additionally, explain that cigarettes
contain hundreds of toxic chemicals, including some that can cause cancer.
Talk to your children about
the many health risks associated with smoking, such as increased risk of heart
and lung disease, and many different cancers. Explain that smoking can also
negatively affect fertility, eyesight, bones, digestion and more. Smoking even
affects your ability to smell and taste, taking some of the enjoyment out of
Explain that smoking is expensive!
Most smokers spend over $1000 a year on cigarettes. Additionally, cigarette
smoke makes everything smell, including your clothes, your breath, your car and
your home. Many of the clients that I work with, who want to quit
smoking, feel imprisoned. They describe that they are like “slaves” to cigarettes,
constantly thinking about when and where they will smoke their next one.
Discuss how to handle peer
pressure. Some children may be confident enough to just say no, but others will
need some coaching. Help them determine responses that include why they don’t
want to smoke, such as “I don’t like the way cigarettes smell and taste.”
Encourage them to walk away from friends who don’t respect their reasons for
Set a good example for your children.
If you smoke, look into programs that will support your desire to quit, and
choose one that works for you.
If you are a current smoker
and you’re motivated to quit, check out my Be Smoke-Free Program
beginning Saturday, September 15, 2012. I am a certified clinical hypnotherapist
interested in helping you.
· Preventing Tobacco Use Among
Youth and Young Adults, A Report of the Surgeon General (2012)
· Teaching Today’s Health (Seventh Edition, 2004), David J. Anspaugh and Gene
· Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
- Adult Cigarette Smoking in
the United States: Current Estimate (Rev. March, 2012)
- Smoking Cessation (Reviewed
- Health Effects of Cigarette
Smoking (Reviewed January, 2012)
Take Care of Yourself
you so busy taking care of your family, friends and job that you have forgotten
to take care of yourself? Well the airlines provide good advice when they
remind you to “get your own oxygen first.” If you take care of yourself
physically, emotionally and spiritually, you’ll be stronger, happier, and in a
better position to help others.
were times in my life where I gave so much that I felt like the “well had run dry,”
and I had no more to give. In some
cases I felt so resentful that I decided to abandon the relationship or job. I
realize now that things could have been easier had I set boundaries for myself
up front, and given as much energy to taking care of myself as I had given to
others. Clearly I wasn’t treating myself with the love and respect I deserved.
met many people in similar situations, burned out and overwhelmed from life’s
responsibilities. And like myself, some became so accustomed to giving that they
forgot how to receive, or how to ask for help. And many lost sight of the
importance of caring for themselves. Don’t misunderstand me, I am all about
being of service to mankind and helping others, but I now know that we are more
powerful when we nurture and care for ourselves. Claim your power! Love, respect
and take care of yourself, and you’ll be stronger, healthier and more present
for those in your life.
Nurture Your Body
will never be another body exactly like yours, so treat it special. Give it
enough rest by getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep, feed it tasty and
nutritional foods (especially fruits and vegetables), quench it with plenty of
pure water, and exercise to stay strong and healthy. Avoid sugar, alcohol and
drugs. Listen to your body. Health issues send the signal that something is out
of balance and something must change.
Relax Your Mind
are many ways to relax and de-stress. All you have to do is make time for it.
It can be as simple as taking 3 deep belly breaths in through your nose and out
your mouth. Or you can take a mini vacation by imagining you’re sitting in the
soft sand on a warm sunny beach, inhaling as the waves roll in and exhaling as
the waves roll back out. Listen to a guided visualization. There are many wonderful
CDs out there for $10-15. I am happy to provide you with a complimentary CD,
either Guided Hypnosis for Relaxation, or Grounding, Letting Go and Protection
Request your free CD
Send an email to [email protected]
, let me know which CD you would like, and don't forget to include your mailing address.
Feed Your Spirit
is important to do what makes your heart sing. We are all happier and healthier
when we are doing what truly makes us happy. Think about what you loved to do
as a child. Perhaps these are the very same things you enjoy as an adult. Or
ask yourself, if it were my birthday today, what would I choose to do? Do it
now. Who says you need to wait for your birthday. Enjoy your life and express
your true creative self.
Suggestion: Take a Walk in
Nature, It’s Free!
Relax your mind,
exercise your body and feed your spirit. Walk in nature and enjoy the fresh
air, the warmth of the sun, and the beauty of your surroundings. Let go of
worries and mind chatter. Relax in the moment. You can take an
inspiring walk alone, walk and talk with a supportive friend, enjoy walking
hand in hand in with your lover, or walk and play with your children.
How Change Put Me on
the Path to Wellbeing
Lately I have been reflecting on how change impacts our
lives. Sometimes change seems to happen to us, and sometimes we make change happen. My sister Penny
always used to remind me that the only thing you could be sure of is
change. But even though we know
change is inevitable, it can still make us uncomfortable. We are often stuck
and unable to make positive changes in our lives because we get complacent
with the way things are, even when we are unhappy. Sometimes we resist change because we fear the unknown outcome. And other times, change happens and we just can't make sense of it, but with the passing of time the gift of the change usually comes to light.
In 1995, my sister Penny was diagnosed with breast cancer.
In that instant, our lives changed forever. It was impossible to see the silver
lining in this news. I was faced with the possibility of losing my sister, and
she meant everything to me. While
Penny was overwhelmed with all of the changes in her life, including radiation,
chemotherapy, and a disrupted work schedule, I was seeking answers. Should
“she” stop drinking alcohol?
Should “she” change her diet? How can I ensure that “she” will live? And
the strangest thing happened, while I was looking for how “she” should change,
I began smoking cigarettes for the first time in my life, at age 35. Luckily my
body didn’t agree, and this was short lived.
Penny and I lived together in San Francisco. Life was a
hustle. I think it would be safe to say that Penny and I were both workaholics,
in stressful jobs with extremely high standards for ourselves. The only
exercise I remember doing, was going up and down the stairs at work. And although it is hard to admit,
we used to load up our grocery carts with sodas and microwavable macaroni and
cheese. When we weren’t eating macaroni and cheese, we were eating out or
ordering in. Most of the time, we were too exhausted to shop for fresh food and
cook for ourselves.
In 2001, I made several life-changing decisions. Penny had
been in and out of treatment for the past 6 years, I was in a 5-year
relationship that was spiraling downward, and I was burned up from 16 years of
working long stressful hours at my job. Within a matter of months, I ended my
relationship, left my job, moved to a new home, and went back to school. These changes were difficult, but eventually they put me on a path to
wellbeing. Of course, I’m not recommending that everyone should make a bunch of
changes all at once, but if it’s going to improve your life, start with one.
As for the 5-year relationship, now I know that we were
divinely united for that period of time to grow and learn from each other. But
at the time, I certainly didn’t see it that way. We had resorted to hostile
yelling and name-calling. It was creating a stressful home environment, and
taking a toll on our relationship (and Penny too). When it occurred to me that
I was happy less than 50% of the time, I knew our relationship was complete, over.
Although it didn’t end as quickly and as smoothly as I would have liked,
eventually we both moved on.
As for leaving my 16-year career at Gap Inc., I was
frazzled. I had given too much. I had worked long stressful hours, and rarely
used the vacation and sick time that I had earned. I took the job way too
personally. I had created so much
angst within myself, that after I left Gap, my stomach would turn from simply
driving by the building where I used to work. And as relieved as I was to move
on, it took me a while to realize that Gap Inc. was not my identity. Now ten
years later, I am grateful for the relationships I formed with many incredible
people at Gap Inc., for the skills I developed and for the many lessons I
learned. And I am thankful for the material gains that have allowed me to make
positive changes in my life.
Around the time I decided to leave Gap, I was in the shower
and an idea came to me that we should move to the town of Pacifica (Pacifica means “peaceful).
Penny had always been interested in living on the coast, but I wasn’t sure
about “all that fog.” Now I tell everyone, it was the pelicans that sealed the
deal. With every trip we took to look at homes in Pacifica, flocks of pelicans glided along
the coastline, drawing me in completely. So we moved from our home on bail
bonds row in San Francisco, to a sanctuary amidst the cypress trees. Believe it
or not, for the first week we couldn’t sleep because it was so quiet, but we
quickly settled into tranquility. Pacifica challenged our normal dine out or order in, way of eating, there just weren’t a lot of restaurant options
available. So we began cooking more healthy meals at home. This turned out to
be a wonderful change in our lives, and a terrific creative outlet for Penny,
as she was an amazing cook.
I left Gap with the intention to pursue a career as an
elementary school teacher, something I had always been interested in doing. At
the time, going back to school did not appeal to me, but being certified was a
requirement for teaching. Once I got in the groove, being back in school was
rejuvenating. And although I had a
full schedule, I no longer had the self-imposed drag of working 60+ hours a
week. I had time for myself. I started walking and hiking the trails of
Pacifica. These walks in nature revived me physically, mentally and spiritually.
I began to enjoy my life. I took many trips to the Caribbean, studied in Ecuador, and
enjoyed outdoor world music festivals.
Those four significant changes I made in 2001, were just the
beginning of many fantastic changes to come. But unfortunately, the change I
feared the most, came to be in 2007. Penny crossed over, leaving me at a loss
for how to live without her. In time I learned to adjust to her being here in
spirit and memory, rather than in the physical. I am forever grateful to her
for showing me how to enjoy life, love unconditionally, and give positive
meaning to unexpected change.
Wake Up to Your Dreams
are a wonderful tool for self-discovery and growth. They give us a closer look
at what’s going on in our lives right now, and how we are honestly feeling. Our
dreams are often way ahead of our conscious awareness, so by paying attention to
our dreams, we have opportunities to resolve issues more quickly and accelerate our personal growth.
If you have trouble remembering your dreams, there are several things you can
do to increase dream recall. For instance, by drinking a glass of water before
going to bed, you’ll naturally wake up, providing an opportunity to remember a
middle-of-the-night dream. Also, if possible, wake up without an alarm clock. When
you’re jolted out of sleep you’re less likely to remember your dreams. If you
wake up and vaguely remember a dream, roll back to the position you were in,
and you’ll be amazed at how often the dream details come right back to you.
more you learn about dreams, read about dreams and record your dreams, the more
dreams you will remember. One of the best ways to increase dream recall
is to put a dream journal and pen by your bedside, creating the intent to remember
your dreams. If you sleep with someone else, you may want to buy a small book
light, so you won’t disturb them in the middle of the night. It is best to
write the dream down while in bed, or immediately after getting up, because
most dreams are forgotten within minutes.
have kept many different types of dream journals over the years, of course with the intent
to understand the messages in my dreams. I have found that my AHA moments have come when I've asked myself the right questions about my dreams. So I have created my own recording page that
includes those key questions. Each year I make copies of the dream journal recording sheets and put them in a new 3 ring binder, and I create a special dream journal cover to kick off my dream journaling for the year.
recording a dream, I write down a quick summary of the dream before I forget it,
with no concern for grammar or spelling. Then I write a short title that sums
it up. This makes it easy to reference later. The dream title can be very
“telling.” I also like to capture the essence of my dream with a sketch. I only
spend a few minutes on the sketch and I often use stick figures. What I choose
to draw, and how I draw it, is often significant.
I begin answering questions that may help me understand the meaning of the
dream. I consider what caught my attention in the dream, how did I feel in the
dream, and what are the action metaphors and symbols in my dream? When
exploring dream symbols (e.g., water, staircase, car), sometimes I use a dream
symbol book. But most of the time, I think about what that symbol means to me.
So for instance, if I am riding a bike in my dream, I would consider my
associations with a bike. For example, a bike is a way to get places, it requires
balance, and reminds me of childhood. As I answer these probing questions and
explore the meaning of the symbols, I consider how all of this relates to what
is going on in my life right now, because most dreams reflect what’s happening currently in life.
there are many different ways to interpret dreams. By following this simple process, hopefully you’ll begin receiving the “gifts” of your dreams. There may be times when you need a few days to
ponder on the dream, or you may need to get another person’s perspective before
the “light bulb comes on.” The most important first steps are to remember and record your dreams. Once you get into it, then you can have fun
doing your own dream research. So dream on!
Written by: Carlene Foldenauer, March 8th, 2012
Glow from Within
Recently I received a Valentine’s
email from Annmarie Gianni. She has her own natural skin care line in Berkeley,
California. Her message was about how loving yourself “changes how you appear
on the outside.” She offered a short list of things we could do to love
ourselves more, and treat ourselves well. Her message really hit home for me. I
was so inspired I forwarded it to a few friends. They seemed to relate to it as
well. After all, deep inside we know that loving ourselves provides a path to
harmony in our lives, and in our relationships with others.
As I pondered the idea that beauty radiates from the inside out. I
remembered watching some home videos a few years back. In one of the videos, I was
all dressed up for a special occasion with my hair done and make up on, yet I
looked strained. This was a stressful occasion for me, for various reasons, and
it showed in my face. Then on that same video, I saw myself on vacation in
Jamaica, with no make up, relaxed and feeling “at home.” I seemed to glow. I
couldn’t believe the difference. Watching this video had an impact on
me. It confirmed that true beauty comes from within, and feeding our spirit and
being at peace makes us shine.
A Few Tips to Help You Shine
Let Go of Stress
The more you relax and reduce stress, the closer you will be to having peace within.
Take a walk in a peaceful setting
* Cuddle with your pet * Do some gardening * Relax in a sea salt bath * Meditate
* Listen to calming music * Play a game * Get a massage or Reiki * Do Yoga * Practice progressive relaxation * Laugh a lot
In his book True Love, Thich
Nhat Hanh says, “Love is being there.” He suggests mindful breathing for 10-20 seconds, to be in the
present moment, to be there for yourself and others. As you breathe, silently say, “Breathing – I know that I am breathing in, breathing – I
know that I am breathing out.”
Treat Yourself Lovingly
“I have found that there is only one thing that heals every problem, and that is: to love yourself
.” A quote from Louise Hay ( http://www.healyourlife.com
Think positive thoughts about
yourself and others * Surround yourself with loving people * Nourish and
hydrate your body with healthy food and lots of pure water * Forgive yourself and
release the past * Work at a job that you enjoy * Accept and give love freely *
Remember, you have a never-ending supply of love within you!
Feed Your Spirit
Think about what you loved to do as
a child. Perhaps these are the same things you’d love to do now. If you could
do anything in this moment, what would it be? Do what you love, and love what you do!
Paint a picture * Write poetry *
Dance around * Sing * Whistle * Play * Explore * Skip rocks * Go fishing *
Climb a tree * Play chase * Ride your bike * Take a
trip * Play an instrument * Build a tree house * Swim with the dolphins * Hug someone you love * Use your imagination...
Written By: Carlene Foldenauer, February 9, 2012
12 Ways to Be
Happier & Healthier in 2012
May you enjoy a year filled with love, joy and peace!
1. Clear the Clutter
Get your physical space in order. Clear the clutter
to make way for “the new.” Restore the free flow of energy. “As without, so
2. Release & Replenish
Ask the Universe to help you release anything that
is keeping you from true happiness – old grudges, fears, feelings of not being
good enough… Let it all go, and fill the space you create with love, peace,
joy, or anything you desire.
3. Slow it Down
Stop the constant doing. Do nothing at all, or enjoy
an activity without a specific outcome. Do anything
for the sheer enjoyment of it. By
slowing down, and quieting the mind, you’ll be more attuned to your inner
4. Seek Balance
Honor yourself by making time for work and time for
play, time for resting and time for doing, time for yourself and time for
others. If you find that a part of your life is being neglected, nurture it
with the intention of bringing balance back into your life.
5. Eat Right
You only get one body, so treat it nice. Eat plenty
of whole fresh foods and drink lots of pure water, and notice how good your
body feels! Reduce or eliminate sugar, alcohol, soda, processed or fast foods,
and caffeine. (Stop smoking or chewing tobacco.)
6. Move It, Groove It
Exercise your body to get fit, raise your energy
level and improve your mood – swim, bike, climb, hula hoop, jump rope, skip,
surf, ski, walk, or dance…
“Forget your troubles and dance, forget your sorrows and dance…” – Bob
7. Consider Alternatives to
Before you decide to take another drug (prescription
or non-prescription), consider natural alternatives. Most drugs come with
short-term or long-term side effects.
8. Rejoice in Other’s Successes
Be happy for others. Celebrate their successes with
them. The more successes you celebrate, the more opportunities you’ll have for
joy in your life.
always have…what you desire for others.” – Dalai Lama
9. Bring Back Your Childlike
Bring back your sense of wonder and curiosity, your
open-heartedness and trust, and your whole-hearted laughter. Bring back your
10. Appreciate Nature
Get out and enjoy the beauty
of nature. Breathe fresh air.
11. Express Gratitude
Be grateful for all that you have, even when things
look grim. This act of giving thanks is a wonderful way to uplift yourself.
“People who regularly practice grateful thinking can increase their
for happiness by as much as 25%.” – Robert A. Emmons, PH. D., Thanks!
12. Live from Your Heart
When interacting with others, speak and act from
your heart, with positive intentions. Consider the possibility that we are all
ONE. By intentionally hurting another, you actually hurt yourself. Come from a
place of LOVE.
Written By: Carlene Foldenauer, January, 2012
Love Your Life
Carlene A. Foldenauer, CCHT (Hypnotherapist)
San Mateo County Coast (between Pacifica & Half Moon Bay)
Hypnotherapist, Sandplay, EFT & Reiki Practitioner