Posts Tagged ‘health’

Guest Blog from Jill Thomas, Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist (CCHT)

Monday, April 25th, 2016

Jill Thomas, CCHT

The Heartbreakingly Easy Problem to Solve

by Jill Thomas, CCHT

One of the most difficult parts of being a practitioner is seeing a client fail. When I say “fail,” I’m not talking about the client not reaching their goal, as in losing the amount of weight they wanted to lose, or achieve the result they wanted. I don’t consider these situations as failures, but rather as part of learning and sometimes adjusting the approach used.

Failure to me is when a client cannot or will not see the value of investing the time, expense, and work it takes to create lasting healing for themselves. They apparently don’t understand that they are worth the effort it takes to heal, whether to change their weight/body size or shed destructive habits and attitudes. Sadly, this happens all the time.

One example was when Trish, a prospective client, contacted me because of a challenging yet totally solvable problem. She was having trouble staying connected in a long-distance relationship, and also suffered extreme separation anxiety. Whenever her boyfriend would leave, an intense sadness would come over her, along with the fear that she would never see him again. This made her very clingy with him when he had to go somewhere, and she would insist they schedule their next date right then and there to allay her anxiety. Basically, Trish said she was a “wreck” whenever her boyfriend went away.

Knowing how difficult this issue can be, and how destructively those feelings can affect anyone’s quality of life, I was happy that Trish contacted me, because I knew I could help her. Her problem is actually one of the easier issues to resolve using the tool of hypnosis, and I knew Trish would feel a lot better even after just one session.

After scheduling an appointment with Trish, my mind was already busy planning out her protocol, anticipating some of the conversation, and feeling happy knowing she would see improvement very quickly. I could see the light at the end of her tunnel of pain, and it wasn’t an idiot holding a match!

Unfortunately, Trish never made it in for help. At her appointment time, she called me complaining that I didn’t “warn her” about San Diego traffic (doesn’t everyone who drives know there may be traffic?), that she would arrive too late at this point, and that all of this was my fault. She then added that she thought I charged too much, my intake forms were too long, and a couple of other silly, untrue “reasons” why she wouldn’t/couldn’t come. In spite of all her angry justification, I knew that probably because of the same issues that caused her trouble in the first place, Trish was backing away from her own healing. I was sure she did this in many areas of her life—blaming others for her problems, complaining about the cost of things, and probably not taking any help or advice offered that could really help her. Maybe she and I weren’t a match for treatment, but our conversation told me that on some level, she wasn’t ready. Trish cancelled her appointment and never called again.

It broke my heart, as it always does when this type of thing happens in my practice, that Trish was one more person in the world suffering needlessly and at her own hands. Her pain doubtlessly affected those around her, too…her friends, coworkers, the family watching her suffer, and maybe even a person she cut off on the freeway because her anger towards her boyfriend turned into road rage. Her boyfriend was likely the most affected, and whether or not they were a good match for each other, it was almost a guarantee that their relationship was already, or certainly would be, sorely tested by her issues.

I’ve talked with many practitioners about people flaking out on their own healing, and not surprisingly, it’s a very common drawback in the therapy field. Patients either stop showing up for the appointments they make for themselves, or stop treatment too early when there is still a lot more work to do. Sometimes they say they can’t afford treatment, which is always a ready excuse. My experience over the years, however, is that when people are ready to heal, they find a way to make it happen no matter what, even if that means sacrificing some material comfort for a short time, finding child care, or rearranging their schedule so they can keep their appointments. For those who are not ready, any excuse to cancel is used, and if none is available, the inner saboteur creates one.

Our egos hate change, and will fight like heck to keep the status quo, even if it’s a lousy one. Change – even beneficial change – can be hard because it requires us to grow, shift, and create different habits around the new way of being. Even if something isn’t good, such as being in a bad relationship, there is a certain degree of comfort in it because it’s familiar.

I have to face this with clients all the time and it stings, not so much because of loss of business – although I love what I do and being busy – but because I know that society at large is made better when someone gets healed. The reverse is also unfortunately true.

If you only get one thing from this book, I hope it is this: Don’t give up on yourself. Don’t let money, your or your kids’ schedules, “life,” or whatever obstacle you run across, keep you from the quality of living you deserve. Life goes on whether you are healthy and whole or not, so you may as well get healed! If you consider what you spend your money on, why wouldn’t you pay to get help for the most important person in you and your loved ones’ world—you?

There are few things in this world that can’t be made better through creative solutions. Your physical, emotional, and spiritual health are the most important things to attend to, for your own benefit and that of this world we all share. Remember that no matter how things may “seem” at any given moment, you are loved, special, and extremely important! There is something on this planet that you, and only you, can do. Value yourself enough to heal the wounds that block you from sharing your unique contribution.

Thoughts on Hope

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Hope is the thing with feathers – That perches in the soul – And sings the tune without the words – And never stops – at all…   — Emily Dickinson

Hope. Even hearing the word brings to mind comforting thoughts of relief, satisfaction, serenity. Hope is something encouraging and enduring, filling bleak spaces with strength beyond fear, triumph over crises, and light amid darkness. The presence of hope can be the difference between joy and depression, persistence and giving up, success and failure – even life and death.

Hoping for something is not the same as wishing for it, as the things we wish for are usually more illusive. When we wish for something, there’s often regret over or denial of an unfortunate reality, like wishing you could sing as well as your favorite rock star, or wishing you’d studied math instead of history in college. Hoping, on the other hand, generally refers to more realistic things in the present or future, so there’s no sadness over past things that cannot be changed.

The dictionary defines hope as “desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment.” However, be careful about this, because if hope comes with strong expectation, it can actually be destructive. When we don’t acknowledge that hope for something is not a guarantee of its being realized, we set ourselves up for pain and disillusion. For example, we hope our children will be healthy…we hope our finances will be stable…we hope our love relationships will last forever. But what if our children become ill, or we are laid off at work, or our marriage fails? Our hopes instantly transform into disappointment, often leading to bitterness. Reeling from the impact of these crushing emotions, we’re prime targets for the opposite of hope – despair.

Wearing us down and clouding our perspective, despair holds us back from moving toward the happier places of acceptance and gratitude. When we despair, it’s impossible for us to see the gifts that actually come from not getting what we hoped for!

If you’ve ever experienced your hopes “crumble,” chances are you have learned to be careful about allowing yourself to hope. Perhaps you’ve found that making outside, external things or situations the center of your hopes is not worth the anguish of being let down. But that doesn’t mean that you should give up on hope altogether. Doing that would make you hopeless!

Consider this: a new way to hope. Focus your hopes on yourself instead of on things, people, and situations around you. You were born with the light of hope inside you. The truth is…it has never left. Maybe it’s been buried under mounds of sorrow about things you hoped for that didn’t come true. No matter what or whom you’ve lost – no matter what fact, crisis, or circumstance you think has stolen your hope, you only think you’re out of hope. You aren’t. There is an abundant, infinite source of hope that you can see if you’re willing to look for it. This is the unfailing force giving you the power to keep walking forward when all the chips are down, the ability to enjoy a hug from a friend or the smell of a rose during troubled times, and the strength to see future possibilities ahead instead of looking backward at the things you wish had been different. What you focus on grows in strength. Focus on the hope within – the hope for your potential to grow through anything and everything “life” hands you. In the strangest of ironies, the most painful things in our life can actually help us practice the most profoundly healing application of hope. What an awesome opportunity!

Remember that hope looks forward, and regret looks behind. To look ahead or back is your choice. Yours, and yours alone.

Confessions of a Frozen Yogurt Addict

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

I remember my first taste of frozen yogurt – vanilla, by the way – like it was yesterday. I was about 20 years old and strolling along the Venice Beach, California boardwalk, when I was lured to try a cup. It was love at first bite, for sure and for real. I knew the moment I tasted it that fro-yo and I would be having a very special, life-long relationship. This was about 30 years ago, and let’s just say that if frozen yogurt were a man, we would be married with eight children.

Being a “cake-and-ice-cream” kind of girl – after all, who doesn’t love a birthday party – frozen yogurt is a healthy version of ice cream, and the way I can satisfy that little child inside me who has a huge sweet-tooth, while not blowing out my daily calorie count. In my eyes, it’s a miracle, because prior to finding it, I had this idea that one must renounce everything pleasurable in order to be healthy.

Not so! Dammit, I love food and I love my sweet treats. Fortunately, I love jogging and eating salads, too. Can’t there be a happy medium with this whole food thing? I hope so, because as much as I value health, I think little pleasures are necessary for the health of my emotions. I know a lot of people who rarely to never indulge in sweets, and stick to mature and responsible choices of lean protein, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. I wish I were so virtuous, but I’m not. Given this fact, therefore, I’m all over the ways I can somehow have my cake and eat it, too.

So please don’t judge me, but I have a big ol’ large-size cup (usually about 18 to 20 ounces) of frozen yogurt every day. Yes, you heard me, every day! Most days, it is my lunch. Although I justify it by eating it as a meal, in terms of cost – and as one frozen yogurt purveyor expressed it – it’s like eating porterhouse steak every day. Oh well. It’s probably still cheaper than smoking cigarettes, and definitely cheaper than drugs.

Did you know that non-fat frozen yogurt contains active bacterial cultures known to aid in digestion and nutrient absorption? And that it supports cardiovascular health by helping to convert fiber to healthy fats that promote good cholesterol levels? Frozen yogurt is rich in essential water-soluble vitamins, including B-2, B-12 and B-1. And when made from enriched milk, it also contains the fat-soluble vitamins A and D. Not only that, yogurt provides essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, selenium and zinc, which are important for the healthy formation of cells, bones, teeth, and for the function of the nervous and immune systems.[1]

There I go. More justification, but why not? I might as well look at the positive aspects of a vice I’m going to indulge in anyway. As far as sugar content, hmmm. I’ll get back to you on that one.

With all the years of daily experience I’ve had dabbling, literally, in this creamy treat, I feel like some sort of aficionado on the stuff. Vanilla and chocolate malt are my favorite flavors, as I tend to be a purist. Lately I tried one called “Salted Caramel,” which actually has subtle undertones of salty flavor. Remarkable and delicious. I rarely get toppings because, again, I’m a purist. The cool, richly-sweet smoothness of the frozen yogurt is enough.

I am fully aware there are haters who will shake their heads at this…well, addiction…to fro-yo. I’ve learned, however, that there are healthy and unhealthy addictions, as well as everything in-between. I might as well take ownership of mine, because the truth shall set me free. And my truth goes something like this: thank heaven for frozen yogurt! I love you so much I could just eat you up! And I do.

[1] Kassam, N. (2010, October). The Health Benefits of Frozen Yogurt. Retrieved from


Well, My 50th Birthday Sucked, But Thanks For Asking

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

What’s that, you didn’t ask? It’s alright – you probably knew it wouldn’t exactly be a highlight of my life.  But truthfully, even I was unable to fathom how bad it could be.

Allow me to preface this account by telling you something about myself in relation to health and aging. I’m generally pretty disciplined in taking care of my body – not psychotically so, mind you, but I do run well over 20 miles per week, take vitamins and herbal supplements, keep an eye on what I eat so my weight stays roughly the same, even use Swiss botanical skin formulations on my face and neck. Oh, and as long as I’m being honest, get regular Botox treatments (not to mention I’ve tried wrinkle fillers a couple times and use an off-shoot of Miracle Grow for my thinning eyelashes).

So perhaps I’m a bit fixated on staying young, or at least looking young… It’s all healthy stuff, right?

I don’t know who let it slip to my boobs that I was about to turn 50, but low and behold, almost to the day of this egregious event, they decided to develop “symptoms” noticeable on my yearly mammogram. Uh-oh, what was up? Of course, one is dragged over this particular bed of nails via an agonizing, drawn-out process: first the routine mammogram, then a “call-back” for a closer look at the offending breast; another mammogram, followed by a week of internet-research-fueled obsession before finding out I have to have a “needle biopsy.” Just one of these words – “needle” and “biopsy” – is ominous enough, but put them together in relation to your boob, and obsession turns into contemplation of impending death.

How irritating that I couldn’t be allowed even a few months, much less a few years, of being “over the hill” before my aged and decrepit body started its downward spiral! Shouldn’t there be some grace period wherein I can get used to my new senior citizen status? But nooo, I’m practically having my 50th birthday party in a doctor’s office! This is the thanks my body bestows on me for trying to be health-conscious? So glad I bothered – not.

I must say, however, I am blessed indeed to have three beautiful children – two of whom are even out of the house – and the world’s greatest boyfriend. Knowing I would be having a celebratory dinner with these loved ones, I was completely content to spend the evening of “my real birthday” with my 12-year-old daughter. Of course, this little plan was upended when she got a better offer from one of her middle school friends. The mere fact of my reaching a half-century milestone was an obvious no-contender for an overnight with Melissa. This was still fine, though, especially since I managed to make last-minute dinner plans with a close girlfriend. I was really in the mood for prime rib anyway, so perfecto – we would meet at a place down the street where they had it on special.

After confirming with my friend, my little one’s overnight fell through, as so often happens when 12-year-olds commandeer their own social events. In the end, I guiltily left her by herself for a couple hours so I wouldn’t disappoint my girlfriend, who seemed very excited herself about the prospect of dinner out. My prime rib turned into a chicken salad, however, when the waiter told us they had already run out of the special (probably I had been beaten to the punch by those early-dining old people who would be in bed by eight!) I resolved to arrive before five next time. At least, though, it was an occasion for that ever-precious girl talk. After a light-hearted run-down of my breast issues and upcoming biopsy, I listened as she confided about her current marital difficulties. Since I had been in her position not that long ago and a veteran of divorce, I could understand her feelings. We parted after dinner, me wishing her luck with her lazy, selfish husband, and her wishing me luck with dodging breast cancer. Oh, and Happy 50th!

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, really. Who can deny all the birthday perks? For me at 50, they included all of the above, plus some little extras… A pathological ex-boyfriend, who had ransacked my condo four years ago when I broke up with him, decided to text me a friendly “Happy Birthday,” making the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up as I realized that sociopathic stalkers, like elephants, never forget. Oh, and my $10 birthday coupon from Victoria’s Secret – I’m still trying to figure out how I managed to drop $50 on one bra even with their special “gift” – and so many solicitations from the AARP that I’m going to join just to make it stop!

At this point, I maintain that the number one best thing about turning 50 is when it is over. Thank heavens that I can return to my normal life of successes and problems without having them backlit by the gloriously blinding glare of my mortality. I am positive big ol’ 60 will be much better, especially since I have vowed to book a cruise to Cabo for that one. Of course, I’ll have to look into the onboard food poisoning situation beforehand.

The Antidote for Tedium: Pick Five

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Sometimes, even after my second cup of morning coffee, I’m still engulfed by a paralyzing sense of “tedium overload” as I consider what’s next on my agenda: a pile of dirty clothes to wash, a stack of bills with unexplored due dates, papers to file or new file-homes waiting to be created for those papers, calls to make, dishes to wash, dogs and cats pressing for breakfast… Quite frankly, just thinking about it all makes me want to go back to bed!

What is a healthy, positive-thinking, goal-oriented person to do in the face of such dreariness?

It’s time, no doubt, to play a game I call “Pick Five.” I want to share this with those of you who, like me, crave a sense of accomplishment even in the face of a written or mental “to-do” list longer than the grass on the front lawn (which needs mowing, by the way). Pick Five is simple and brilliant and brings me back to life when I feel defeated before I even start.

Here it goes: simply pick five tasks – your choice – from that list of drudgery items. Then have at it! Depending on your level of motivation and/or energy, which could be depressingly low, you can choose “big” or “little” chores. They just need to add up to five in number, and you need to complete them. Remember, it’s just five, not the whole ridiculous list!

The effect of finishing those five items, keeping even that much of a promise to myself to make some sort of forward progress on my responsibilities, can turn my day – and my attitude – around. And once my attitude is better, sometimes I’m motivated to do even more. Even if I just complete the five, though, I still get to feel a sense of accomplishment instead of disappointment in myself for putting off what I know I need to do…

Give this a try. But if it doesn’t work for you, you might want to back down to “Pick Four” or “Pick Three.” There’s magic in the numbers, and in that little, doable commitment. Maybe there’s something inherently positive in fulfilling a promise, whether it’s to yourself or to others. All I know is, the resulting boost turns the monotonous parts of life into winning at my own game!