Category Archives: self help

Do the Power Pose, It’s all the Rage

We know that our minds affect our bodies, for example, anxiety causes us to shiver, embarrassment to blush, and anger to feel warm. But is the inverse true? Can our bodies affect our minds?

According to Dana R. Carney , Amy J.C. Cuddy , and Andy J. Yap of Harvard and Columbia Universities, “Humans and other animals express power through open, expansive postures, and they express powerlessness through closed, contractive postures.” Chimpanzees hold their breath to puff out their chests to show power. While hiking in Montana, a park ranger suggested, if we met up with a brown bear, to stand tall, straight, shoulders back, and chests wide to show our strength.

The researchers found that  “… posing in high-power nonverbal displays (as opposed to low-power nonverbal displays) … cause neuroendocrine and behavioral changes for both male and female participants”. People who were high-power posers experienced elevations in testosterone, the dominance hormone, and decreases in cortisol, the stress hormone. The high-power posers described increased feelings of power and tolerance for risk while the low-power posers described feelings associated with powerlessness. And this occurred after only 2 minutes of posing.

Just 2 minutes of changing our posture can change our hormones, our mood and boost our confidence.

Power pose equals expansive body, low-power pose equals hunched body with crossed arms and/or legs.

What is a standing power pose?

Reference:

Carney D.R., Cuddy A.J.C. & Yap A.J. (2010). Power Posing: Brief Nonverbal Displays Affect Neuroendocrine Levels and Risk Tolerance, Psychological Science, 21 (10) 1363-1368. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0956797610383437

10 Tips for Calming Pre-Wedding Jitters

pexels-photo-371312Spring is here which means wedding season has begun. Are you getting married, planning a wedding and filled with dread and anxiety? Are you wondering what you’ve gotten yourself in to? If you’re having trouble sleeping, eating too much or too little, have difficulty concentrating, are short-tempered and on edge most of the time, you’re probably suffering from pre-wedding jitters. Although this is to be expected, there are steps you can take to calm yourself down.

Calming your pre-wedding nerves:

  1. Spend fun, relaxing, romantic time with your fiancé without talking about the wedding.
  2. Consult with friends and family who have already experienced this.
  3. Designate one night a week where discussion of the wedding is off limits.
  4. Look at photos of happy times with your fiancé.
  5. Talk to your fiancé about specific concerns you might have regarding the marriage.
  6. Let others, especially your fiancé, support and nurture you.
  7. Exercise.
  8. Practice relaxation techniques.
  9. Talk about your feelings.
  10. See an individual or couple’s therapist if you feel you need additional support.

Some of the best and most memorable weddings are ones that didn’t go exactly as planned. It isn’t a sign that the marriage will fail, it’s just life. Laugh about it, brush it off and enjoy your day!

To read the complete article, please visit my blog at Psychology Today which can be found at:  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/life-without-anxiety/201803/calming-pre-wedding-jitters

 

 

Start Today

pexels-photoWe’ve all heard the saying: “Today is the first day of the rest of your life”. How can you make that phrase meaningful to you?

Everyday offers us the opportunity to look to the future differently, to take stock of where we are, and to resolve to make the changes we want to make.

Many of us get mired in looking at the past, wondering how we got to this place, wishing we had done things differently, regretting what has been done and said. Perhaps we even feel stuck in our present situation because of past decisions.

It is important to know that decisions you made in the past were made based on the knowledge and information you had at the time of the decision. They could not have been made based on what you know today and it is unfair to judge your younger self based on what you know now. Could you possibly make a decision today based on who you will be and information you will have in 10 years?

Know that you did the best you could do at the time. And know that you will do the best you can do today. The past is over and no longer exists. The future is unknown. But today, you can celebrate you and know that you have the best of intentions for yourself.

Tips to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick

scrabble-resolutionsDid you know that January 17th is Ditch New Year’s Resolution Day? Do you know that, according to some studies, almost 80% of people who make New Year’s resolutions abandon them at some point during the year and only about 12% succeed with their resolutions?  Don’t let that be you.

Making a New Year’s Resolution is another way of saying you’d like to make a behavioral change.  You want to do something different this year to attain a certain goal and to continue with this change.

Here are my top 10 tips to turn your resolutions into reality:

  1. Limit the number of resolutions. Work on changing one or two things at a time.
  2. Make your goals attainable, measurable and realistic. Instead of going from never working out to planning on working out 7 days a week, begin by setting the goal at 2 days a week.
  3. Make a plan to reach that 1st, small, attainable goal. What’s your plan to get to the gym 2 days a week?
  4. Visualize yourself having reached your goal.
  5. Believe in yourself
  6. Do one thing each day that will help you reach your goal.
  7. Track your progress.
  8. Consider enlisting the support of others.
  9. Make your goal specific.
  10. Focus on the small achievements and reward yourself for them.

To read the complete article, please visit:  https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/life-without-anxiety/201801/tips-make-your-new-year-s-resolutions-stick

Happy New Year! Enjoy your new habits!

 

Tips to Maintaining Weight during the Holidays

dessert-4Holiday season is upon us and since I work with many people wanting to lose weight, I am often asked for strategies to maintaining present weight or even to continue weight loss during the holidays. No doubt your willpower will be tested during this season.  Invitations await, cookies and fancy cocktails beckon, and it seems like everyone is begging you to taste their fattening masterpieces. Don’t panic, make a plan and be kind to yourself!

Here are some tips to help you stick to your goals during the holidays:

  1. Avoid hunger. Make sure you eat regularly during the day and always include healthy proteins, which you help you feel satisfied for longer periods of time.  Before going to a party, eat some vegetables and protein so you are not ravenous when the party begins.  Going to a party with a somewhat full stomach will help you avoid some of the temptations.
  2. Do some party planning. Don’t plan to abstain from all the goodies, that’s probably unrealistic and may cause you to overeat in the end. It’s often difficult to turn a blind eye to the scrumptious foods placed before you, so decide in advance what you’re going to splurge on.  If dessert is your favorite, decide to take a bite or two of one to three desserts. Or maybe you’ll skip desserts in favor of a starch at the meal.  Perhaps the hors d’oeuvres are what calls you so you’ll forgo desserts and starches in favor of tasting a few of them.  Planning ahead will encourage you not to sample everything and will help prevent you giving yourself a hard time.
  3. Keep your body moving. Plan to do a little exercise every day.  Take a walk with a friend, take the stairs instead of the elevator, do yoga or dance.  Just moving and exercising with friends will give you that boost of support you may need.
  4. Say NO thank you. When hosts encourage you to eat or drink, learn to say “thank you but I’ve had enough”.  It’s lovely to want to protect other’s feelings but not at the expense of your own health.
  5. Be kind to yourself. You are not what you eat and what you eat doesn’t translate into your value as a person.  Eating well during the holidays is very challenging.  If you slip up, show yourself some kindness and recognize that you can stick to your plan going forward.  Talk to yourself the way you’d talk to a friend you love and admire.
  6. Stay on track while at home. Make sure to eat healthy while at home, loading up on your vegetables and healthy proteins.
  7. Visualize the way you’d like to look in the outfit you’d like to wear. Ask yourself how each choice of food will impact your weight goal.
  8. Celebrate yourself when you stick to your plans and follow your goals.  Make sure to notice your successes and even reward yourself with a massage, facial or something else of meaning to you.
  9. Minimize stress. Holidays can be a stressful time.  Minimize stress by exercising, stretching, meditating and spending time with friends.

I wish you all a very happy and healthy holiday season!

 

 

Virtual Gastric Band Hypnosis helps thousands lose Weight

fat to thinHypnotherapy has long been in the news because of its benefits for weight loss.  I have found it to be extremely useful in helping my patients lose the weight they want to lose and in keeping it off.  It is not magic and one still needs to do the work.  Hypnosis makes it easier to do the work.  Why?  Because it works with unconscious motivations, patterns and habits.  I believe we all possess the tools to help us lose weight but we don’t tap into those tools because we eat for reasons other than true, physical hunger.

Hypnosis will make it easier to distinguish between real, stomach hunger and emotional hunger.  It helps people feel like they want to make healthy choices rather than thinking they “should” make those choices.  You will still have to use willpower, but it will be easier to use it.  With the gastric band hypnotherapy program, it will be easier to realize when you have eaten enough to sustain health so that you can stop before you overeat.

The weight loss with this program is usually steady and sustainable.  This means there is no “diet” to go on and no diet to go off, making it easier to keep the weight off.  You will learn how to change your relationship with food and deal with feelings of anxiety, sadness, frustration, etc. without turning to food.

I am so excited to offer this program to those who have been struggling with their weight.  For more information please see http://www.lindawaltercounseling.com/common-issues/virtual-gastric-band-weight-loss-therapy/

Uncoupled on Valentine’s Day

friends_having_pizzaTomorrow is Valentine’s Day, a day that may have some feeling sad and anxious. There is a lot of hype surrounding this day. The media tells us we should be madly in love and strive towards having the “perfect” relationship like we see on TV commercials and in movies. They show us that perfect mate, with a beautiful face and body, who says the most profound, loving  things. And if that’s not enough, they want us to long for the perfect gift!

Relationships come in all shapes and sizes. For those who are single, remember that your friends and family are also important relationships. They can be the perfect company for a Friday that just happens to also be Valentine’s Day.

Here are some things you can do to make your Valentine’s Day special:

1-  Call some friends of family members and make dinner plans. Celebrate the fact that it’s Friday.

2-  Watch a movie you’ve been dying to see. If you’d rather not be alone, invite someone to watch it with you.

3-  Buy yourself that “perfect” piece of jewelry, flowers, or chocolates. You’ll be sure to get exactly what you want if you buy it yourself.

4-  Buy a single friend flowers or chocolates, you’ll make their day.

5-  Set up a “secret cupid” gift sharing with friends so you all get something special and unexpected on Valentine’s Day.

6-  Volunteer to work with those less fortunate or with animals.

7-  Tell people what you need so they can be there for you.

8-  Pamper yourself or make a plan to pamper yourself so you have something to look forward to.

I invite you to read a fuller version of this article which can be found at http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/life-without-anxiety/201402/single-valentines-day