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QUICK DEPRESSION CHECKLIST

QUICK DEPRESSION CHECKLIST Frequently Occasionally Rarely
1) Do you feel downhearted, depressed or sad?
2) Do you feel worse in the morning?
3) Do you have crying spells, or feel like crying?
4) Do you feel fearful and easily panic about things?
5) Do you worry about your health?
6) Is it an effort to do the things you used to do with ease because of a lack of enthusiasm?
7) Do you have trouble falling asleep or sleeping through the night?
8) Do you easily become irritable and angry?
9) Are you gaining weight or bingeing on sweet foods?
10) Do you feel unattractive and unlovable?
11) Do you feel anxious and nervous?
12) Do you find it difficult to make decisions?
13) Do you think you are letting people down, or have done in the past?
14) Do you feel less enjoyment from activities that once gave you pleasure?
15) Is your appetite poor and are you losing weight without trying?
16) Are you often tired?
17) Are you restless and unable to keep still?
18) Do you have less interest or desire for sex?
19) Do you prefer to be alone and shy away from social interaction?
20) Do you feel like you have slowed down?
21) Is your mood affecting your work?
22) Do you feel hopeless about the future?
Score 2 for each “frequently” answer,1 for “occasionally,” and 0 for “rarely Total for each column
Add scores for all columns

INTERPRETATION OF SCORES

Below 5

You are normal. You appear to be positive, optimistic and able to cope with your circumstances..

5-9

You have a mild case of the blues. You need to pay attention to the issues in your life, and

consider a few life-style changes and coping mechanisms before things get worse.

10-15

You have a moderate mood swings and sadness. You might benefit from professional help.

More than 15

You have serious symptoms of depression. You definitely need as possible professional help.

GENERAL SOCIAL MEDIA ADDICTION SELF ANALYSES

Below are the 10 common signs of a social media addict. If you are repeating most of these signs below, there is a high possibility that you are addicted to social media.

1. Social media is the first thing you do in the morning. What is the first thing you do once you wake up in the morning? If your answer is to check WhatsApp message, Facebook or update your status on any social media platform, it is a clear sign that you are addicted to social media. Almost every addict will start their day with a morning routine of checking and pointlessly scrolling through what they have missed on social media after the long hours of sleep at night. Most social media addicts feel like they have lost a lot of time and are outdated, thus, they want to check the status and see who has posted something new.     Do you say yes to this type of morning routine?
2. You waste your time looking at nonsense and procrastinate. One thing that makes people less productive and accomplishes less in life is procrastination. And social media is a big cause and also the motivator for procrastination. People can spend hours scrolling mindlessly reading news WhatsApp messages and updates that have no meaning at all. They can be a form of entertainment, but in reality, most of the things shared through on social media will not do any good to your life. For example, some people scroll through videos of funny cats, while others “stalk” others and some swipe through their ex-girlfriend’s pictures from years ago. Most of these activities are time wasters and they do not add any value to your life.     Do you waste your time?
3. You checked in everywhere you go. Do you ever have any friend who wants to snap a picture for every meal he or she has and share it to the social media or try to check in the location? Or perhaps you are doing the same? Well, it is understood that if you are trying to do this occasionally when you are on holidays, but if you are doing it too often and at almost every location, you may want to seriously consider your own behaviour. A lot of people especially the youngsters will take out their smartphone to take a picture of their food, post on social media and check in the location before they eat. This can annoy those who are at the same table or people who are less privileged to enjoy the food.   Do you check in the location where you go and snap pictures?
4. You check notifications all the time. Checking notification can be a normal thing to do when your phone buzz. However, if you are checking it all the time regardless of whether your phone buzzes, you may suffer serious addiction. People check their phone because they receive notification, and most of the time, the notifications are from social media. Which means to say that these notifications are not really that important in your life. Some chronic social media addicts will even have imaginary notifications in their head. They imagined their phone vibrates or receives a notification; hence they want to check it every minute. This can be a serious issue that needs handle immediately.     Do you talk to someone and then peep on your device?
5. You only want to contact and talk to your friends via social media. This is another sign of showing that you are a social media addict and the disorder slowly takes place in your life. Gone are the days of phone calls and text messages. With the introduction of platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, people may choose to contact you using those platforms and avoid real physical contact. If you choose to use social media as the only means of contacting and talking to other people, the sign is clear that you are a social media addict. Do you avoid a get-together by rather sending a message to ease your conscious
6. You constantly monitor the “likes” and “shares” you receive. As what you have learned from the above that checking social media rewards people because of the “likes” they receive from their friends. And this can be addictive. The reward of getting “likes” from a picture posted on Facebook means a lot to a social media addict. They are a form of acceptance and quickly become a habit to want to check who react to your post. The problem will grow deeper when the addict goes into double-figure likes on Instagram or qny other platform.     Do you check who responded to a post you made?
7. Craving for internet connection. The existence of internet is not the issue, the real culprit is that with internet access, people can easily connect themselves to social media. And when there is no internet connection available, the addicts will feel stress and uneasy. Social media addict cannot live a life without internet, even for just a few hours. They will feel anxiety and choose to enter places with an internet connection.   Are you annoyed if a place do not have internet?
8. You take photos of almost everything. There are plenty of videos and photos that went viral showing someone involved in an accident, but the bystander did nothing besides taking photo or video for social media use instead of helping the ones in need. This has become a serious issue and society condemns the ethical of the one who chooses to share the incident on social media than giving a helping hand. If you are taking photos of everything, from the food you eat, the movie you watch, to constantly taking selfies and sharing them on social media, you should keep an eye on your behaviour.       Are you a compulsive photo taker?  
9. Social media becomes part of your life. Social media has been created to connect people with ease and to build relationships. There is nothing wrong with this, but if it has become part of your life and you cannot live without checking WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you know that something is wrong. How much time do you spend on social media each day on average? Do you spend a lot of time on them and they have become part of your life? If so, you need to do something about it and never let this habit grows into disorder. A clear sign of how social media becomes part of your life can be seen if you have lost interest in other activities and responsibilities. You choose to scroll your phone instead of going out to exercise. You choose to waste time on Facebook rather than washing the dishes.         How much time do you spend on platforms?
10. Checking social media is the first thing you do whenever you are free. So would you do if you whenever you are free? Do you daydream about achieving your goals and visualize about realizing your dreams? Do you exercise and go for a walk when you have the extra time? Do you call and talk to someone you love? Or do you choose to spend your time on social media whenever you have the free time?   Do you use most of your free time to surf?

How you spend your free time will greatly determine your life. Downtime should be wisely spent for better and more valuable activities and events, not to be wasted on social media.

While this is not to say that you should not spend any free time on social media at all, but you must keep a close eye on how much time you use up on social media, and not overdo it.

There are also mental symptoms that can be identified from a social media addict which has serious mental, health and social interaction implications.

Trauma an Post Traumatic Stress

More than 17 million people in South Africa are dealing with depression, substance abuse, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia — illnesses that round out the top five mental health diagnoses, according to the Mental Health Federation of South Africa.

TRAUMA AND POST TRAUMATIC STRESS

This can happen after a person experiences a traumatic event (e.g. war, assault, accident, disaster). Symptoms can include difficulty relaxing, upsetting dreams or flashbacks of the event, and avoidance of anything related to the event. PTSD is diagnosed when a person has symptoms for at least a month.

POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD)

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a particular set of reactions that can develop in people who have been through a traumatic event which threatened their life or safety, or that of others around them. This could be a car or other serious accident, physical or sexual assault, war or torture, or disasters such as bushfires or floods. As a result, the person experiences feelings of intense fear, helplessness or horror.

What are the signs of PTSD?

People with PTSD often experience feelings of panic or extreme fear, similar to the fear they felt during the traumatic event. A person with PTSD experiences four main types of difficulties.

  • Re-living the traumatic event – The person relives the event through unwanted and recurring memories, often in the form of vivid images and nightmares. There may be intense emotional or physical reactions, such as sweating, heart palpitations or panic when reminded of the event.
  • Being overly alert or wound up – The person experiences sleeping difficulties, irritability and lack of concentration, becoming easily startled and constantly on the lookout for signs of danger.
  • Avoiding reminders of the event – The person deliberately avoids activities, places, people, thoughts or feelings associated with the event because they bring back painful memories.
  • Feeling emotionally numb – The person loses interest in day-to-day activities, feels cut off and detached from friends and family, or feels emotionally flat and numb.

It’s not unusual for people with PTSD to experience other mental health problems at the same time. These may have developed directly in response to the traumatic event or have followed the PTSD. These additional problems, most commonly depression, anxiety and alcohol or drug use, are more likely to occur if PTSD has persisted for a long time.

Symptoms and Effects of PTSD

Symptoms of PTSD can change over time. Some symptoms might appear within three months of a traumatic episode, or it might take years until the disorder fully comes about.

PTSD impacts the parts of the brain associated with memory and emotions. A healthy brain can tell the difference between past memories and present experiences, but PTSD interferes with this process. Someone with PTSD might react to a current environment that reminds them of past trauma. The brain responds as though the person is still in the past, triggering fear, anxiety and stress.

Suicidal thoughts are some of the most dangerous symptoms of PTSD. Abusing drugs or alcohol can intensify these thoughts.

Alcohol and drug addiction are also affected by memory. An addicted person’s brain is susceptible to triggers, or places and people associated with drug use that can lead to cravings. PTSD and addiction triggers can intertwine and intensify symptoms of both disorders.

PTSD Checklist

Have you experienced or seen something that involved death, injury, torture or abuse and felt very scared or helpless?

Have you then experienced any of the following:

  • upsetting memories, flashbacks or dreams of the event?
  • feeling physically and psychologically distressed when something reminds you of the event

If you answered yes to all of these questions, have you also experienced at least two of the following:

  • had trouble remembering important parts of the event
  • had very negative beliefs about yourself, others or the world
  • persistently blamed yourself or others for what happened
  • persistently felt negative, angry, guilty or ashamed
  • felt less interested in doing things you used to enjoy
  • feeling cut off from others
  • had trouble feeling positive emotions (e.g. love or excitement)

And have you experienced at least two of the following:

  • had difficulties sleeping (e.g. had bad dreams, or found it hard to fall or stay asleep)
  • felt easily angered or irritated
  • engaged in reckless or self-destructive behaviour
  • had trouble concentrating
  • felt on guard or vigilant
  • been easily startled?

If all these things have been happening for a month or more, you may be experiencing post traumatic stress disorder.

How common is PTSD?

Anyone can develop PTSD following a traumatic event, but people are at greater risk if the event involved deliberate harm such as physical or sexual assault or they have had repeated traumatic experiences such as childhood sexual abuse or living in a war zone. Apart from the event itself, risk factors for developing PTSD include a past history of trauma or previous mental health problems, as well as ongoing stressful life events after the trauma and an absence of social supports.

Around 8 per cent of people will experience PTSD in their lifetime of which serious accidents are one of the leading causes of PTSD.

If you feel very distressed at any time after a traumatic event, talking to your doctor or other health professional is a good first step. If you experience symptoms of PTSD that persist beyond two weeks, a doctor or a mental health professional may recommend starting treatment for PTSD.

Many people experience some of the symptoms of PTSD in the first couple of weeks after a traumatic event, but most recover on their own or with the help of family and friends. For this reason, treatment does not usually start until about two weeks after a traumatic experience. Even though formal treatment may not commence, it is important during those first few days and weeks to get whatever help is needed.

Co-Occurring PTSD and Addiction

PTSD changes brain chemistry in much the same way substance abuse and addiction do. Often, these disorders form at the same time and feed off one another. The same trauma that caused PTSD can also trigger a substance use disorder.

Following a traumatic experience, the brain produces fewer endorphins, one of the chemicals that help us feel happy. People with PTSD may turn to alcohol and other mood-enhancing drugs, which increase endorphin levels. Over time, they may come to rely on drugs to relieve all of their feelings of depression, anxiety and irritability.

PTSD often causes people to feel disconnected from their friends and loved ones.

People with PTSD are more prone to violent outbursts and panic attacks, which can be difficult for family and friends to witness. Feelings of guilt over these outbursts can drive those with PTSD to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. Continued use of alcohol or other drugs in this way can lead to an addiction.

Support from family and friends are very important for most people. Trying, as far as possible, to minimise other stressful life experiences allows the person to focus more on his/her recovery. If a person feels very distressed at any time after a traumatic event, he/she should talk to a doctor or other health professional. If a person experiences symptoms of PTSD that persist beyond two weeks, a doctor or a mental health professional may recommend starting treatment for PTSD.

Effective treatments are available. Most involve psychological treatment and/or medication to be prescribed in some cases in order to live a normal life.

PANIC DISORDER

A SPECIAL Sunday Times investigation has uncovered the shocking state of mental health in South Africa. One third of all South Africans have mental illnesses — and 75% of them will not get any kind of help as also revealed by statistics of the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG).

PANIC DISORDER

A person has panic attacks, which are intense, overwhelming and often uncontrollable feelings of anxiety combined with a range of physical symptoms. Someone having a panic attack may experience shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness and excessive perspiration. Sometimes, people experiencing a panic attack think they are having a heart attack or are about to die. If a person has recurrent panic attacks or persistently fears having one for more than a month, they’re said to have panic disorder.

Panic disorder

Panic disorder is the term used to describe when panic attacks are recurrent and disabling. Panic disorder can be characterised by:

  • The presence of recurring and unexpected “out of the blue” panic attacks.
  • Worrying for at least a month after having a panic attack that you will have another one.
  • Worrying about the consequences or implications of a panic attack (such as thinking that the panic attack is a sign of an undiagnosed medical problem). It happens that some people have repeated medical tests due to these worries and, despite reassurance, still have fears of being unwell.
  • Significant changes in behaviour that relate to the panic attacks (such as avoiding activities like exercise because it increases the heart rate).

During a panic attack the person is suddenly overwhelmed by the physical sensations described above. Panic attacks reach a peak within about 10 minutes and usually last for up to half an hour. Following the attack it leaves the person feeling tired or exhausted. They can occur several times a day or may happen only once every few years. They can even occur while people are asleep, waking them up during the attack. Many people experience a panic attack once or twice in their lives which in such cases is common and is not panic disorder.

WHAT CUASES PANIC DISORDERS

There is no single cause for panic disorder. A number of factors are usually involved, including:

  • Family history – People with panic disorder tend to have a family history of anxiety disorders or depressive conditions, and some studies suggest a genetic component.
  • Biological factors – Some medical conditions (cardiac arrhythmias, hyperthyroidism, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and irritable bowel syndrome) are associated with panic disorder.
  • Negative experiences – Extremely stressful life experiences, such as childhood sexual abuse, redundancy or bereavement, have been linked to panic attacks. Periods of ongoing, unrelenting stress are also a risk factor

Have you had a sudden surge of intense worry or fear during which you had four or more of the following symptoms:

  • sweating
  • trembling or shaking
  • increased heart rate
  • short of breath
  • feeling like you are choking
  • feeling nauseous or having butterflies or pain in the stomach
  • dizzy, lightheaded or faint
  • numb or tingly
  • derealisation (feelings of unreality) or depersonalisation (feeling detached from yourself or your surroundings)
  • hot or cold flushes
  • scared of losing control or going crazy, and
  • scared of dying?

If you have felt more than four of the above symptoms, have you also: felt persistently worried for one month or more, of experiencing these feelings again, or changed your behaviour to try to avoid having panic attacks again? If yes, you may be experiencing panic disorder.

OTHER CONDITIONS WHERE PANIC IS PRESENT

OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER (OCD)

A person has ongoing unwanted/intrusive thoughts and fears that cause panic or anxiety. Although the person may acknowledge these thoughts as silly, they often try to relieve their panic or anxiety by carrying out certain behaviours or rituals. For example, a fear of germs and contamination can lead to constant washing of hands and clothes.

What is obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)?

Anxious thoughts can influence our behaviour, which is helpful at times. For example, thinking ‘I may have left the oven on’ leads to you checking the oven and keeping things safe.

However, if that thought becomes obsessive (recurring), it can influence unhealthy patterns of behaviour that can cause difficulties in daily functioning. Obsessively thinking ‘I’ve left the oven on’ can lead to repeated checking.

For someone with the anxiety disorder known as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), obsessions or compulsions (acts performed to alleviate the distress or neutralise the thought), or both, are present.

People with OCD often feel intense shame about their need to carry out these compulsions. These feelings of shame can exacerbate the problem and the shame, and consequent secrecy associated with OCD can lead to a delay in diagnosis and treatment. It can also result in social disability, such as children failing to attend school or adults becoming housebound.

What are the signs and symptoms of OCD

Issues that commonly concern people with OCD and result in compulsive behaviour include:

  • Cleanliness/order – obsessive hand-washing or household cleaning to reduce an exaggerated fear of contamination; obsession with order or symmetry, with an overwhelming need to perform tasks or place objects, such as books or cutlery, in a particular place and/or pattern
  • Counting/hoarding – repeatedly counting items or objects, such as their clothes or pavement blocks when they are walking; hoarding items such as junk mail and old newspapers
  • Safety/checking – obsessive fears about harm occurring to either themselves or others which can result in compulsive behaviours such as repeatedly checking whether the stove has been turned off or that windows and doors are locked
  • Sexual issues – having an irrational sense of disgust concerning sexual activity
  • Religious/moral issues – feeling a compulsion to pray a certain number of times a day or to such an extent that it interferes with their work and/or relationships.

People with OCD may also experience other mental health issues including depression, other anxiety disorders, an eating disorder and/or alcohol or substance-use problems.

Symptoms checklist

Have you:

  • had repetitive thoughts or concerns that are not simply about real life problems (e.g. thoughts that you or people close to you will be harmed)
  • Done the same activity repeatedly and in a very ordered, precise and similar way each time e.g.:
    • constantly washing your hands or clothes, showering or brushing your teeth
    • constantly cleaning, tidying or rearranging things at home, at work or in the car in a very particular way
    • constantly checking that doors and windows are locked and/or appliances are turned off
  • felt relieved in the short term by doing these things, but soon felt the need to repeat them
  • recognised that these feelings, thoughts and behaviours were unreasonable
  • found that these thoughts or behaviours take up more than one hour a day and/or interfered with your normal routine (e.g. working, studying or seeing friends and family)?

WHAT CAUSES OCD?

OCD is thought to develop from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. A number of factors may increase the risk of developing OCD, including family history, social factors and psychological factors. Other factors specific to OCD include:

  • Biological factors – OCD has been linked to several neurological factors and irregular levels of serotonin (a chemical that transmits messages between brain cells) in particular. Research into chemical, structural and functional changes or abnormalities in the brain continues.
  • Environmental / learned behaviours – Some experts suggest that OCD may develop as a result of learned behaviour, either by direct conditioning (e.g. developing a washing compulsion after contracting a disease from contact with an animal) or learning by watching the behaviour of others, e.g. parents.

ECD and panic disorder is serious and require professional assistance to alleviate the symptoms in order to have a meaningful life.

COPARRISON OF COGNITAVE BEHAVIRAL THERAPEY (CBT) AND MINDFULNESS BASED COGNITIVE THERAPY (MBCT)

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CBT AND MBCT?

Because the mind has two main modes, the ‘doing’ which is goal and outcomes oriented mode and the ‘being’ mode which is not focused on achieving specific goals but rather accepting and allowing what is. The ‘doing’ mode is, triggered when the mind sees a difference between how things are and how it wants things to be.

CBT primarily promotes cognitive awareness while MBCT would as a combined therapy working with the being’ mode of the brain would add stress reduction as a result.

CBT helps you recognise and reframe the negative thought patterns that lead to anxiety and depression and to learn that thoughts are not facts but something you can take a wider view of. Although MBCT also helps you recognise negative thoughts and taking a wider view but uses mindfulness to recognise what is going on for you in the present moment. Working with your thoughts on how you are thinking and feeling and experiencing things right now – to help you be less caught up in mental loops.

CBT is a thinking therapy. It is analytical, with clients tasked with charting their emotions and reactions as homework. Although it does take note of the body’s reaction to stress and negative thoughts, it could be called a ‘head-based’ therapy. The focus is on mentally getting rid of negative thoughts.

The tools used in a series of MBCT sessions are quite different, and might integrate things like breath focus (where you spent a few minutes putting your attention on your breathing), body scans (observing the tension and sensations in the body) and sitting meditation. In this way, it can be a ‘feeling’ process. It can be seen as experiential, not just analytical, and although it still involves a lot of work with recognising thought patterns it is much more ‘body-based’ than CBT. The focus is on accepting thoughts as they arise, and letting them go.

CBT and MBCT aim to develop consistent awareness of your thoughts and reactions so you notice when you are becoming triggered into negativity. But MBCT teaches that the best way to notice these triggers and to manage stress and anxiety is to develop ongoing awareness and acceptance of the present moment. Instead of trying too hard to understand the thought, MBCT would promote accepting the thought without judgement and letting it drift from your mind without attaching too much meaning to it.

The greater and more consistent your awareness of the present moment, the more likely it is you will catch the negative thought spirals and choose to disengage from distressing moods or worries.

SIMILARITIES OF CBT AND MBCT

They both aim to make you less likely to be drawn into automatic reactions to thoughts, feelings and events and both is used to help you recognise and change negative thought patterns and help you control your thoughts and therefore your moods.

They are also both short- to medium-term therapies. And they both work best with mild depression and anxiety over being the sole therapy for issues like trauma and abuse that might better suit a longer-term talking therapy.

Note, though, both these forms of therapy can be beneficial if used after successful treatment of a talking therapy, with MBCT in particular being useful to help clients who have dealt with long term depression and need a way to manage ongoing mild depressive episodes. It’s been proven that even after therapy the link in your brain between negative thoughts and negative moods still exists and is ready to be reactivated. So being able to monitor and contain reactivation, which mindfulness aids with, is invaluable.

CBT AND MBCT BEIF COMPARRISON

CBT MBCT
Constantly notice thoughts Constantly notice what is around you in the now moment
A new way of thinking New way of being aware of your thoughts
Focus on negative thoughts and beliefs Be aware of negative thoughts but focus on where you are at the present
Analysing thoughts Experience thoughts
Analysing reactions Breathing through reactions
Learn how to manage negative thoughts Be aware of thoughts without trying to fix them
Get rid of negative thoughts Let negative thoughts drift through the mind without fixation
Find new ways to reframe negative thoughts Notice thoughts and accept them as thoughts only

CONCLUSION

Both CBT and MBCT have been proven in studies to be effective ways of treating depression, and if you are choosing between the two it is really a personal choice. If you are not sure which type of therapy would suit you best you could always try to source a therapist who offers both options. And keep in mind when choosing a therapist that it’s not just the type of therapy that matters, but that sometimes what’s even more important is that the therapist is someone you feel you can connect and work with.

LIGHT AND SOUND TECHNOLOGY

The brain and electrical waves waves

“Therefore, the lights and sounds teach the brain to seek out the desired brain wave frequency creating the optimal, desired state for relaxing, visualizing, sleeping, high performance, synchrony, etc”.

Since ancient times man observed that flickering lights and rhythmic sounds often produced a relaxed state of mind. Around 200 A.D. the astronomer Ptolemy noted that when a person looked toward the sun through the spokes of a spinning wheel, the flickering sunlight caused patterns and colours to appear which produces a feeling of euphoria, even though the eyes of the observer was closed.

The existence of electrical currents in the brain was discovered in 1875 by an English physician Richard Caton. In 1924 Hans Berger, a German neurologist used ordinary radio equipment to amplify the brains electrical activity measured on the human scalp. (EEG) Berger laid the foundations for many of the present applications of EEG. In 1934 Adrian and Matthews published the paper verifying concept of “human brain waves” and identified regular oscillations around 10 to 12 Hz which they termed “alpha rhythm”. In 1997 Light and Sound became known in the field with the first white light patented products were developed by Dr. Rayma Ditson Sommers.

Light is in charge of the energy coming from the outside world and our brains are in charge of the energies inside of us. For this reason the brain must rely on its ability to transform the energy from light for survival. When this source of energy is not readily available from the sun, a substitute must be found to allow our brain to provide us with necessary energy. A reliable substitute is audio visual stimulation technology. The brain uses any light energy force to expand cognitive ability for motor learning, creativity insight and redirection of psychological scripts. We all rely on this source for continuous mental alertness and winning performance. The brain is electric and operates on frequency. Light and sound technology operates on electric frequencies called Hertz (Hz) or cycles per second. Research reports that the normal brain contains 10amps of electricity. The brain operates on frequency with each brain wave having a specified Hz or cycles per second. With light and sound, we can provide a friendly, useable energy input for our brains. The brain is divided into two equal parts. The left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body. Each side of the brain has specific tasks to accomplish. Among the 10 billion brain cells we possess there is a “thinking cap” of 1/8” thick area. We share this area with whales and dolphins. It works with the ANS or Autonomic Nervous System to control the body. This “upper brain” sends messages to the lower brain, better known as the subconscious. New research suggests that when both sides of the brain work together more learning takes place. Light and sound work by using specific frequencies of audio and visual input, in carefully pre-arranged patterns. So generally when using light and sound, communication between light and sound impulse is provided as the lights send a coded message across all areas of the brain. Since brain cells are highly sensitive to light, they act as light transducers and can translate the flickering light stimulus for use by the brain. Therefore, the lights and sounds teach the brain to seek out the desired brain wave frequency creating the optimal, desired state for relaxing, visualizing, sleeping, high performance, synchrony, etc.

Brain waves have been categorized into four basic groups:

  1. Beta (>13Hz) more than 13 Hz. Beta identifies a purposeful action and task completion. This is where most routine thinking and physical functioning occurs. Brainwaves of short amplitude and very rapid pulsations of 14–30 cycles per second (Hertz or Hz). This pattern is optimal for intense mental activities such as calculations, linear logical analyses, and other highly structured functions.

(A) The Beta brain is used for many things; however too much time spent there is as problematic as having an over-run of Beta which can cause us mental unrest through.

  • Performance anxiety
  • Concern of what others think
  • Fear of aloneness
  • Insomnia 5. An inability to relax
  • A fragmented, hurried life style
  • Need to talk continually
  • Narrowed thought process (black and white)
  • Overly critical of self
  • Learning problems.

(B) On the other hand too little Beta Can result in:

  • Poor memory
  • Lack of motivation
  • Irresponsibility to others without intent
  • A sense of mental dullness
  • Disorganized thought
  • Lack of organized routine
  • Learning problems.
  1. Alpha (8 – 13Hz) Alpha is a wakeful state of relaxed and effortless alertness. Alpha waves are used for mental relaxation, accelerated learning, the creative process and peak performance. We enter into alpha during light mediation. Characterized by slightly larger amplitude of 9–13 Hz, this pattern typically occurs in daydreaming, relaxed awareness, guided or focused imagery, and smoothly rhythmic athletic activity. Serotonin production is increased and there is often a euphoric, effortless feeling of “flow” as the doer is absorbed in activity.
  2. We all need some Alpha during the day. However it is important that Alpha be only a “passing through” station. Too much time there can cause us to:
  • Experience unproductive daydreaming
  • Have poor survival skills
  • Lack healthy fear of things
  • Become detached from societal needs
  • Misunderstand structure and routine
  • Live life for sensory pleasure only
  • Experience unproductive creativity
  • Miss opportunities
  • Waste time for years 1
  • Possess an undisciplined mind
  • Walk around in a mental fog by having increased amounts of Beta brain wave, we miss out on the awareness of life and sensory memories we all need to survive in a mentally healthy atmosphere

(3) Theta (4 – 8Hz) We enter the state of Theta for a few minutes just before falling asleep and just before waking, when imagery is produced without conscious effort. It is also the deep meditation state and the originator of the creative process. Brainwave patterns that are more ragged and irregular, in the 4–8 Hz range. This pattern is associated with deep unconscious imagery, and thus creativity, as the person drops into a state of drowsiness and near-sleep.

  1. Delta (0.5 – 4Hz) Sleep is necessary for good health, optimum physical function and peak performance in any endeavour. To fall asleep the brain must enter the Delta stages of 4 cycles per second or below. This will produce R.E.M. or Rapid Eye Movement allowing the brain to release quantities of healing growth hormones and other restorative secretions. Pulsations that range between 1–3 Hz. In this range of profound relaxation, images and dreams have largely subsided, as the person slides into a state of slow wave restorative sleep. Meditators who remain aware during this state of near unconsciousness report tranquillity and peace

Modern scientific research has verified this phenomenon where the brain tends to assume the rhythms of a flashing light stimulus, known as the “frequency following effect”. Scientists have also shown that certain states of consciousness tend to be associated with certain brainwave patterns. For example, when we are in a deeply relaxed state of mind our brainwaves emit an electrical frequency of 4–8 Hz per second.

The basic idea behind light and sound technology is that the gentle pulses of light can lead one to the state of mind associated with that particular frequency range. The various pre-programmed “frequencies” can be used for different purposes, including meditation, stress reduction, accelerated learning, restful sleep, increased creativity and goal setting.

brainwave patterns and their associate states

In actuality, we continually receive stimuli that affect our mental state whether it’s music, TV, the internet, or the spoken word. When one begins to understand their moods and performance states are really a reflection of the mental states they are in, then adjusting that state in a conscious fashion seems the natural thing to do.

We spend the better part of our lives shifting from one wave to the other throughout the day to allow us to function.

Light and Sound is a tool being utilized successfully in practices with reduced time to therapeutic facilitation, as a means of deepening without the time, energy and verbiage required from the therapist to proceed. In other words, Light and Sound does the work for deep relaxation bringing the client to Delta in a fraction of time of traditional methods. So what does this mean? The most interesting aspect of light and sound instrumentation for the use of hypnotists is that scientists are learning more about the brain and discoveries are occurring at rapid speed. In the past the ongoing research being conducted by psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, sports trainers, educators and other researchers and clinicians have shown that light and sound technology instruments can help:

• Reduce Stress

• Produce Deep Relaxation

• Boost IQ

• Accelerate Learning

• Increase Memory

• Produce Peak Performance

• Help Overcome Addiction

• Overcome Depression and Anxiety

• Help Alleviate Pain

• Boost Immune Power

• Change Habitual Attitudes

• Increased Development in “At Risk” Children

• Help Athletes Increase Focus and Performance.

•Learning and skill building are the goals.

The two greatest needs of our brain are nutrition and light. Sound is also necessary but is secondary to light. Daily amounts of light are mandatory for peak performance, rehabilitation, mental training and accelerated learning. Synchrony is that state of balanced brain that opens the door to the “zone” or best thinking ability in the brain. This state is without distraction and totally focused. Binaural Beats Binaural beats involve two separate tones which in turn provide a third tone. In other words, the frequency of the beat produced by two separate tones equals the frequency of the difference between the two tones. Therefore a beat frequency of 100Hz and one of 104Hz produces an overtone of 4Hz. Robert Monroe found that when precisely controlled tones are combined in the brain, the olivary nucleus resonates sympathetically like a crystal goblet vibrating a pure tone. As the olivary nucleus becomes entrained, it sends signals into the cerebral cortex which produce noticeable changes.

The beneficial effects of light and sound have been clinically tested and verified for over 50 years. Light and sound neurotherapy (LSN) is one of many cutting-edge treatment therapies that Behavioural Health uses with significant positive impact. It’s a safe and completely drug-free approach, most commonly used in the treatment of trauma, and involves a combination of light and sound to produce a favourable response from the brain. Numerous studies have also revealed the effectiveness of light sound neurotherapy in the treatment of depression disorders.

ANXIETY MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES

There are a range of strategies you can try to manage your anxiety. What works is different for everyone, and it can take time to find the strategies that work best for you. But remember, if your anxiety is proving difficult to manage seek support from a professional.

To curb anxiety the following 10 strategies could be helpful

  1. Slow breathing: When you’re anxious, your breathing becomes faster and shallower. Try deliberately slowing down your breathing. Count to three as you breathe in slowly – then count to three as you breathe out slowly.
  2. Progressive muscle relaxation: Find a quiet location. Close your eyes and slowly tense and then relax each of your muscle groups from your toes to your head. Hold the tension for three seconds and then release quickly. This can help reduce the feelings of muscle tension that often comes with anxiety.
  3. Healthy lifestyle: Keeping active, eating well, going out into nature, spending time with family and friends, reducing stress and doing the activities you enjoy are all effective in reducing anxiety and improving your wellbeing.
  4. Stay in the present moment: Anxiety can make your thoughts live in a terrible future that hasn’t happened yet. Try to bring yourself back to where you are. Practising meditation can help.
  5. Take small acts being brave: Avoiding what makes you anxious provides some relief in the short term, but can make you more anxious in the long term. Try approaching something that makes you anxious – even in a small way. The way through anxiety is by learning that what you fear isn’t likely to happen – and if it does, you’ll be able to cope with it.
  6. Self talk corrections: How you think affects how you feel. Anxiety can make you overestimate the danger in a situation and underestimate your ability to handle it. Try to think of different interpretations to a situation that’s making you anxious, rather than jumping to the worst-case scenario. Look at the facts for and against your thought being true.
  7. Plan worry time: It’s hard to stop worrying entirely so set aside some time to indulge your worries. Even 10 minutes each evening to write them down or go over them in your head can help stop your worries from taking over at other times.
  8. Get to know your anxiety: Keep a diary of when it’s at its best – and worst. Find the patterns and plan your week – or day – to proactively manage your anxiety.
  9. Be kind to yourself: Remember that you are not your anxiety. You are not weak. You are not inferior. You have a mental health condition. It’s called anxiety
  10. .Learn from others: Talking with others who also experience anxiety – or are going through something similar – can help you feel less alone.

ANXIETY

As many as one in six South Africans suffer from anxiety, depression or substance-use problems (and this does not include more serious conditions such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia), according to statistics released by the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG).

Anxiety is more than just feeling stressed or worried. While stress and anxious feelings are a common response to a situation where we feel under pressure, they usually pass once the stressful situation has passed, or ‘stressor’ is removed.

Anxiety is when these anxious feelings don’t go away – when they’re ongoing and happen without any particular reason or cause. It’s a serious condition that makes it hard to cope with daily life. Everyone feels anxious from time to time, but for someone experiencing anxiety, these feelings aren’t easily controlled.

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health conditions in our society. On average, one in six people – one in four women and one in five men – will experience anxiety at some stage in their life.

Anxiety is common, but the sooner people with anxiety get support, the more likely they are to recover.

Signs and symptoms of anxiety

The symptoms of anxiety conditions are sometimes not all that obvious as they often develop slowly over time and, given we all experience some anxiety at various points in our lives, it can be hard to know how much is too much.

Normal anxiety tends to be limited in time and connected with some stressful situation or event, such as a job interview. The type of anxiety experienced by people with an anxiety condition is more frequent or persistent, not always connected to an obvious challenge, and impacts on their quality of life and day-to-day functioning. While each anxiety condition has its own unique features, there are some common symptoms including:

  • Physical: panic attacks, hot and cold flushes, racing heart, tightening of the chest, quick breathing, restlessness, or feeling tense, wound up and edgy;
  • Psychological: excessive fear, worry, freeze or obsessive thinking;
  • Behavioural: avoidance of situations that make you feel anxious which can impact on study, work or social life.

These are just some of a number of symptoms that you might experience. They’re not designed to provide a diagnosis – for that you’ll need to see a professional – but they can be used as a guide.

Types of anxiety

Many people with anxiety experience symptoms of more than one type of anxiety condition, and may experience depression as well. It’s important to seek support early if you’re experiencing anxiety. Your symptoms may not go away if left untreated, they can start to take over your life.

There are different types of anxiety. The most common are:

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Most people feel anxious and worried from time to time, especially when faced with stressful situations like taking an exam, speaking in public, playing competitive sport or going for a job interview. This sort of anxiety can make you feel alert and focused, helping you get things done faster or perform at your best.

People with GAD, however, feel anxious and worried most of the time, not just in specific stressful situations, and these worries are intense, persistent and interfere with their normal lives. Their worries relate to several aspect of everyday life, including work, health, family and/or financial issues, rather than just one issue. Even minor things such as household chores or being late for an appointment can become the focus of anxiety, leading to uncontrollable worries and a feeling that something terrible will happen.

You may have GAD if the specific signs and symptoms are present for six months or more, and on more days than not. These include physical symptoms as well excessive worrying to the point that everyday activities like working, studying or socialising, become difficult.

People with GAD may have related disorders, most commonly depression, social phobia (characterised by avoidance of social situations) or other anxiety conditions. They may also misuse alcohol or drugs and may experience a range of physical health problems such as headaches or bowel complaints.

  • What causes GAD?

Often, a combination of factors may be involved in the development of GAD.

Biological factors: Some changes in brain functioning have been associated with GAD.

  • Family history: People with GAD often have a history of mental health problems in their family. However, this doesn’t mean that a person will automatically develop anxiety if a parent or close relative has had a mental health condition.
  • Stressful life events: People may be more at risk if they experience a major life change that causes stress, such as the birth of a child, the breakdown/loss of a close relationship, or moving house/job. Physical, sexual or emotional abuse also increase the risk of developing GAD, as do other traumatic experiences in childhood, such as the death of or separation from a parent.
  • Psychological factors: Some personality traits may put a person at greater risk of GAD, including: − being sensitive − being emotional or experiencing general nervousness − inability to tolerate frustration − feeling inhibited − having perfectionist tendencies.
  1. Social anxiety

A person has an intense fear of being criticised, embarrassed or humiliated, even in everyday situations, such as speaking publicly, eating in public, being assertive at work or making small talk.

Social phobia

What is social phobia?

  • It’s perfectly normal to feel nervous in social situations where we might come under the attention of others, whether they’re strangers or people we know. Attending a formal function, giving a speech at a wedding, doing a presentation to work colleagues are likely to cause nervousness and anxiety, both in the lead-up and during the event.
  • However, for people with social phobia (sometimes known as social anxiety disorder), performing in front of others and social situations can lead to intense anxiety. They may fear being judged, criticised, laughed at or humiliated in front of others, even in the most ordinary, everyday situations. For example, the prospect of eating in front of others at a restaurant can be daunting for some people with social phobia.
  • Social phobia may occur in the lead up to or during in:
  • performance situations (such as having to give a speech or being watched while doing something at work)
  • situations involving social interaction (such as having a meal with friends, or making small talk).
  • Social phobia can also be specific; where people fear a specific situation or a few situations related to a specific fear (such as being assertive at work or with their friends).
  • Common symptoms of social anxiety include physical symptoms and psychological symptoms. The physical symptoms that can be particularly distressing for people with social phobia include:
  • excessive perspiration
  • trembling
  • blushing or stammering when trying to speak
  • nausea or diarrhoea.
  • These physical symptoms often cause further anxiety as the person fears others will notice – even though these signs are usually barely noticeable to those around them. People with social phobia also worry excessively that they will do or say the wrong thing and that something terrible will happen as a result. People with social phobia try to avoid situations where they fear acting in a way that’s humiliating or embarrassing. If avoidance isn’t possible, they endure the situation but can become extremely anxious and distressed and may try to leave the situation as soon as they can. This can have a serious negative effect on their personal relationships, professional lives and ability to go about their daily routine. A diagnosis of social phobia is based on having the typical symptoms, which cause significant distress or impairment of day-to-day functioning, and the symptoms are persistent for example at least six months.
  • What causes social phobia?
  • There are a number of causes of social phobia, including:
  • Temperament –Adolescents who are shy or socially inhibited are particularly at risk. In children, clingy behaviour, shyness, crying easily and excessive timidity may indicate temperaments that could possibly put them at risk of developing social phobia.
  • Family history – Social phobia can run in the family, in part because of a possible genetic predisposition.
  • Learned behaviour/environment – Some people with social phobia attribute the development of the condition to being poorly treated, publicly embarrassed or humiliated (e.g. being bullied at school).
  1. Specific phobias

A person feels very fearful about a particular object or situation and may go to great lengths to avoid it, for example, having an injection or travelling on a plane. There are many different types of phobias.

What are specific phobias?

  • Concern or fear about certain situations, activities, animals or objects is not uncommon. Many people feel anxious when faced with a snake or spider, heights, or travelling by plane. Fear is a rational response to situations that can pose a threat to our safety.
  • However, some people react to objects, activities or situations (the phobic stimulus) by imagining or irrationally exaggerating the danger. Their feelings of panic, fear or terror are completely out of proportion to the actual threat. Sometimes the mere thought of the phobic stimulus, or the sight of it on TV, is enough to cause a reaction. These types of excessive reactions may be indicative of a specific phobia.
  • People with specific phobias are often well aware that their fears are exaggerated or irrational, but feel that their anxious reaction is automatic or uncontrollable. Specific phobias are often associated with panic attacks which the person experiences overwhelming physical sensations that may include a pounding heart, choking, nausea, faintness, dizziness, chest pain, hot or cold flushes and perspiration.
  • You may have a specific phobia if you:
  • have a persistent, excessive and unreasonable fear of a specific object, activity or situation, e.g. heights, the sight of blood or encountering a dog.
  • avoid situations where you may have to face the phobic stimulus, e.g. not walking down a street where there may be a dog. If the situation is unavoidable, you’re likely to feel high levels of distress.
  • find that the anxiety or avoidance associated with such situations makes it difficult to go about daily life (e.g. interferes with working, studying or seeing friends and family).
  • the anxiety and avoidance are persistent and have been present for at least 6 months or more
  • Specific phobias are generally divided into the following categories:
  • Animal type: fear that relates to animals or insects (e.g. fear of dogs or spiders).
  • Natural environment type: fear associated with the natural environment (e.g. fear of thunder or heights).
  • Blood/injection/injury type: fear associated with invasive medical procedures (e.g. injections), or with seeing blood or injury.
  • Situational type: fear of specific situations (e.g. elevators, bridges or driving).
  • Other: any other specific phobias (e.g. fear of choking, fear of vomiting).
  • You can have more than one type of specific phobia. Other specific phobias, such as the fear of public speaking, are more related to social phobia. Social phobia is a condition where people are overly concerned about how they appear to others.
  • What causes specific phobias?

Several factors are likely to increase your risk of developing a specific phobia. These include:

  • Temperament – A tendency to inhibition is common to many anxiety conditions.
  • A family history of mental health conditions – Specific phobias, such as animal phobias, may run in the family, in part due to a genetic predisposition. Traumatic experiences – If you’ve witnessed or experienced a traumatic event (e.g. being bitten by an animal or trapped in an enclosed space), you may feel extremely fearful of situations or objects associated with the event afterwards.

ANXIETY MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES

There are a range of strategies you can try to manage your anxiety. What works is different for everyone, and it can take time to find the strategies that work best for you. But remember, if your anxiety is proving difficult to manage seek support from a professional.

To curb anxiety the following 10 strategies could be helpful

  1. Slow breathing: When you’re anxious, your breathing becomes faster and shallower. Try deliberately slowing down your breathing. Count to three as you breathe in slowly – then count to three as you breathe out slowly.
  2. Progressive muscle relaxation: Find a quiet location. Close your eyes and slowly tense and then relax each of your muscle groups from your toes to your head. Hold the tension for three seconds and then release quickly. This can help reduce the feelings of muscle tension that often comes with anxiety.
  3. Healthy lifestyle: Keeping active, eating well, going out into nature, spending time with family and friends, reducing stress and doing the activities you enjoy are all effective in reducing anxiety and improving your wellbeing.
  4. Stay in the present moment: Anxiety can make your thoughts live in a terrible future that hasn’t happened yet. Try to bring yourself back to where you are. Practising meditation can help.
  5. Take small acts being brave: Avoiding what makes you anxious provides some relief in the short term, but can make you more anxious in the long term. Try approaching something that makes you anxious – even in a small way. The way through anxiety is by learning that what you fear isn’t likely to happen – and if it does, you’ll be able to cope with it.
  6. Self talk corrections: How you think affects how you feel. Anxiety can make you overestimate the danger in a situation and underestimate your ability to handle it. Try to think of different interpretations to a situation that’s making you anxious, rather than jumping to the worst-case scenario. Look at the facts for and against your thought being true.
  7. Plan worry time: It’s hard to stop worrying entirely so set aside some time to indulge your worries. Even 10 minutes each evening to write them down or go over them in your head can help stop your worries from taking over at other times.
  8. Get to know your anxiety: Keep a diary of when it’s at its best – and worst. Find the patterns and plan your week – or day – to proactively manage your anxiety.
  9. Be kind to yourself: Remember that you are not your anxiety. You are not weak. You are not inferior. You have a mental health condition. It’s called anxiety
  10. .Learn from others: Talking with others who also experience anxiety – or are going through something similar – can help you feel less alone.

NEURO-LINGUISTIC PROGRAMMING

What is Neuro-Linguistic Programming?

Neuro-linguistic programming is a psychological approach which asserts that one can adapt strategies used by successful individuals to achieve one’s own goals. It guides the individual in learning from their own experiences of success and failure about which thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are useful, and which are getting in their way. No action is negative, even if it leads to perceived failure, as it is just a step in the learning process.

History and Origins of Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP)

Although Jon Grinder and Richard Bandler often receive most of the credit for originating Neuro-Linguistic Programming, NLP was actually founded by a group of people who made consistent contributions. This group includes Grinder and Bandler as well as Frank Pucelik, Robert Dilts, Judith Delozier, Leslie Cameron, David Gordon, and others.

At the University of California, Santa Cruz in early 1970s this enlightened group set out to discover the specific communication patterns that enabled outstanding psychotherapists such as Milton Erickson (famous psychiatrist/hypnotherapist), Virginia Satir (founder of Family Systems Therapy), and Fritz Perls (founder of Gestalt Therapy) to achieve uncommon results with their clients. By direct observation and videotape analyses, they were able to break down these practitioners’ effective patterns of communication and teach them to others.

The process used to discover the magic in transformative communication was called modelling. Many consider modelling to be the heart and soul of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. When you know how to create models based on the expertise of others, you can learn and teach any new skill in its essential form.

NLP has its roots in the field of behavioural science, developed by Pavlov, Skinner and Thorndike. It uses physiology and the unconscious mind to change thought processes and therefore behaviour.

Image result for neuro linguistic therapy cartoons

NLP fundamentally state that everyone’s born with the same basic neurology. Our ability to do anything in life, whether it’s swimming the length of a pool, cooking a meal, or reading a book depends on how we control our nervous system. So, much of NLP is devoted to learning how to think more effectively and communicate more effectively with yourself and others.

Neuro is about your neurological system. NLP is based on the idea that we experience the world through our senses and translate sensory information into thought processes, both conscious and unconscious. Thought processes activate the neurological system, which affects physiology, emotions and behaviour. NLP teaches a structural way of viewing mind and body states, developing mental maps that show how things happen and how to change course.

Linguistic refers to the way human beings use language to make sense of the world, capture and conceptualise experience, and communicate that experience to others. In NLP, linguistics is the study of how the words you speak influence your experience. Language is the tool we use to gain access to the inner workings of the mind. Neuro-linguistic programming language patterns teach us how to access unconscious information that would remain vague and unknowable otherwise.

Programming refers to the capacity to change our mind and body states. Programming draws heavily from learning theory and addresses how we code or mentally represent experience. Your personal programming consists of your internal processes and strategies (thinking patterns) that you use to make decisions, solve problems, learn, evaluate, and get results. NLP shows people how to recode their experiences and organize their internal programming so they can get the outcomes they want. You’ve heard the term living on autopilot, right? To someone trained in NLP, this would mean that you are living according to your programming, which consists of habitual thoughts, feelings, reactions, beliefs, and traditions. Someone trained in Neuro-linguistic programming knows how such programs are structured in the mind and how to access them through conversation (language) so that outdated programs and autopilot behaviors can be changed.

By assessing a person’s speech, actions, thoughts, and feelings, Neuro-linguistic programming practitioners build an understanding of the person’s map of reality. NLP techniques are then used to help the person copy the processes used by others, to use them in place of techniques that have not proved successful.

Since it was conceived in the 1970s, Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) has interested professionals and laymen alike, with its simple and practical therapy methods. The practice makes use of the way an individual’s mind works to change responses to thoughts and feelings. Some of its techniques have become entangled with popular culture, such as the so-called ability to detect lies by watching a person’s eye movements.

Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) is all about bringing about changes in perception, responsible communication and developing choices of responses or communication in a given situation. The situation can be personal or professional, but it empowers you by giving you choices and also being responsible for the choice made by you.

NLP believes in perfection of nature in human creation. Hence NLP encourages the client to recognize their sensory sensitivities and use them to respond to a particular problem. In fact, NLP also believes that the mind is capable of finding even cures to ailments and diseases.

How does Neuro-Linguistic Programming suggest the mind works and how does NLP work in real life?

During conversations, most of us fixate on words. What does this person mean and what shall I say in return? It’s been long established that words are the least meaningful aspect of communication, conveying just 7% of meaning (Mehrabian, 1972).

For example, when someone tells you they’re willing to help you organize a social gathering, but their voice is flat and their facial expression looks like you just invited them to an evening of electric shock torture…it’s obvious something else is going on. Their words said YES, but the non-verbal communication – the other 93% – said SOMETHING ELSE.

What is Neuro-Linguistic Programming? The other 93% of communication. NLP is a system for understanding and using the communication that really matters. Master non-verbal communication and you become a communication master!

But here’s something even more interesting:

Most people don’t realize that communication is made of so much more than interactions between people. There exists an entire world of communication within your mind and body. Inner life – your mindset, attitude, and feelings – is an active form of communication.

NLP suggests that each individual’s mind creates a map of the world, using data received through the senses. Each individual’s maps are different, with varying levels of importance placed on input from different senses. For example, some people understand the world based more on their visual perceptions, while others understand it based more on their auditory perceptions.

The system that the person uses to process experiences is called a primary representational system (PRS), and knowledge of it is essential to accessing and changing the individual’s personal map.

Neuro-linguistic programming techniques work on the assumption that the PRS can be enlisted to influence the individual’s map.

NLP might appear like magic or hypnosis. During therapy the subject goes deep into their unconscious mind and sifts through layers and layers of beliefs and perceptions to become aware of an experience in early childhood that is responsible for a behaviour pattern. NLP works on the principle that everyone has all the resources they need to make positive changes in their own life. NLP techniques are used as a tool to facilitate these changes.

NLP Therapy can be content free. That means the therapist can be effective without knowing about the problem in great detail. Hence the therapist need not be told about the event or even the issue, thereby ensuring privacy for the client. Besides this we also have a non- disclosure agreement in which the interaction between the client and the therapist is kept confidential.

NLP techniques involve non-invasive, medicine free therapy that helps the client discover new ways of dealing with emotional problems such as low self-esteem, anxiety, lack of confidence, destructive relationship patterns (coping with breakup), and are successful ineffective bereavement counselling.

The most important communication is not between people but within people.

Inner communication is a strong suit of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, which was originally known as the study of the structure of subjective experience. This is a fancy way of saying that NLP breaks down what’s going on between your ears so that you can do something constructive with it. Here’s a taste of how it works.

Let’s say you’re having friends over for dinner and you’re feeling extra tense. You’re not sure why. Everything seems fine, but you’re feeling on edge. An NLP Practitioner could figure out how you’re creating this tense state in a few moments. It’s all about how you’re communicating with yourself on the inside.

The NLP Breakdown of Inner Communication

Inner communication is made of images, sounds, and feelings (the NLP VAK Model). Finding out what’s giving you tense feelings is a matter of discovering which images and sounds go with the tense feeling. As you turn your attention inward, looking for what you see and hear on the inside, you might discover that you are imagining things about the dinner:

• You’re seeing your house all messy as the guests arrive. • An inner voice that says, “They’re going to hate your dinner.” • Looks of disgust on their faces as they eat. • You’re sitting alone in your house because no one showed up. And so on.

The point is: You probably weren’t consciously aware of all the inner communication channels. If you’re feeling tense about dinner, you’re probably imagining how badly it could go and responding to this unconscious imagery and sound. The tense feelings are a mirror of the other channels.

This is why Neuro-Linguistic Programming claims that people are not broken. We simply respond to inner communication, whether or not we’re aware of it. So, if you’re picturing bad things, happening at your dinner party, you’re going to feel tense. You’re working perfectly.

When you become aware of how you are perfectly creating a mindset you don’t want, you can change it. Neuro-Linguistic Programming offers a vast library of methods to change our mindset once we identify it. Transforming the inner communication so that you feel better is the Programming aspect of NLP.

How Does Neuro-Linguistic Programming Cause Change?

Neuro-linguistic programming causes change by improving one’s understanding of their cognitive and behavioural patterns. It also builds more effective communications between conscious and unconscious mental processes.

Once a person has a better understanding of their personal map of reality, they can analyze what is effective in achieving their goals and what is not. They can then analyze the perspectives of others and assess what leads to their success. NLP is primarily experiential, and therefore the individual has to perform an action in order to actually learn from the experience.

NLP practitioners focus on six logical hierarchies of learning, communication, and change. Each logical level organizes the data below it. Changes made at a lower level influence the higher levels, and vice versa.

The six logical levels in descending order are:

  • Purpose and spirituality
  • Identity
  • Beliefs and values
  • Capabilities and skills
  • Behaviors
  • Environment

What Happens in a Neuro-Linguistic Programming Session?

In an NLP therapy session, the therapist works with a person to understand his/her thinking, behaviors, emotional states, and aspirations. They then attempt to outline the person’s map of the world, along with their primary representational system (PRS). Once they have a foundation, they use a variety of techniques to change the way the person thinks, feels, or behaves in certain situations.

Neuro-linguistic programming has a firm foundation in Friz and Laura Perls’ Gestalt Therapy asks the individual to focus on the “here and now,” using their current thoughts and feelings, along with their relationship with the therapist, to identify what they’d like to change and to find solutions. Thus, NLP sessions are strongly based in the present, and require the client to work towards change in the session itself.

The NLP communication model

The NLP communication model is based on cognitive psychology and was developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. According to the NLP communication model, when someone behaves in a certain way (their external behaviour), a chain reaction is set up within you (your internal response), which in turn causes you to respond in some way (your external behaviour), which then creates a chain reaction within the other person (their internal response), and the cycle continues.

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The internal response is made up of an internal process and an internal state. The internal process consists of self-talk, pictures, and sounds and the internal state is the feelings that are experienced.

neuro-linguistic programming four pillars of nlpPillars of NLP

These are the four pillars (foundations) of the Neuro-linguistic programming

Rapport

NLP provides an important gift to build relationships with other people. Rapport can be described as connecting quickly with others. Creating rapport creates trust from others. Rapport can be built quickly through understanding modality preferences, eye accessing cues and predicates.

Sensory awareness

Sometimes when you walk into someone’s home, you notice that the colours, smells, and sounds are subtly quite different from yours. Neuro-linguistic programming enables you to notice that your world is much richer when you deliberately pay attention to your senses wholly.

Outcome thinking

An outcome is your goal for doing something. Outcome connects to thinking about what you want, as opposed to getting stuck in a negative mode of thinking. The principles of outcome approach may help to make the best decisions and choices.

Behavioural flexibility

Behavioural flexibility means being able to do something differently if the way you’re currently doing it isn’t working. Being flexible is a key aspect of practicing NLP. Learning NLP helps you to find fresh perspectives and to build these habits into your repertoire.

Techniques Used in Neuro-Linguistic Programming

NLP sessions use a variety of eclectic techniques, chosen according to the particular client’s PRS.

Some of the most common techniques include the following:

  • Anchoring: associating an action as a trigger for certain emotional states. For example, the practitioner might help an individual immerse him/herself in a feeling of confidence, then ask them to do a repetitive action, such as squeezing the forefinger and thumb together. The idea is that this action will later trigger the sense of confidence.
  • Rapport: the practitioner mirrors some of the client’s unconscious physical actions, creating a quick rapport and using empathy to better guide the client towards their goals. This is generally used in conjunction with other techniques, making them more powerful and effective.
  • Swish pattern: the client is guided to visualize their regular patterns of behaviour or thought, and adjusts these patterns to lead to a desired outcome. For example the client visualizes a feeling such as anxiety, giving it a shape, size, and colour. They then monitor it as it spirals in its familiar direction. Once they have a vivid representation of it, they attempt to spiral it in the opposite direction, towards achieving a more useful result and feeling.
  • Visual/kinaesthetic dissociation (VKD): this technique uses visualization and other strategies to dissociate negative thoughts and feelings with an event. This is often used for treating PTSD. The client visualizes the traumatic event as if it is a movie, viewing it from a safe distance. The client is then led to vividly visualize it ending in a safe place, rather than in the trauma.
  • Association: some practitioners use the opposite of the previous technique. For example some therapist would treat bulimia by associating the vomiting process with repulsion. Since bulimic clients generally have no problem with vomiting, she guides them towards having a strong negative reaction towards it.
  • Failure into feedback: this is a fundamental technique used in conjunction with other strategies. The client learns to see lack of success as feedback rather than failure.

What conditions can be treated using Neuro-Linguistic Programming?

Proponents of Neuro-linguistic programming recommend its use for a number of mental health issues. These include anxieties and phobias, communication issues, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, attention disorders, addictions, schizophrenia, OCD, and borderline personality disorder. Image result for neuro linguistic therapy cartoons

Treatment of anxiety and phobias accounts for the most widespread use of NLP, seeing as it is particularly suited to eliminating negative associations with situations and behaviors.

Smart Phone addiction explained: Part2

Do you experience a mild state of panic when you misplace your smartphone?

This state of panic or anxiety when you misplaced your smartphone is much the same unique emotion as for any other addiction, but only milder. This begs the question: “How does cellular addiction link to any other addiction and why is it so difficult to ignore your smartphone when beeping?” It must be emphasised that there is nothing inherently addictive about smartphones themselves but the pitfalls are the hyper-social environment attachments they provide and how our brains re-act on it.

Let us have a closer look at Dopamine and social reward as two of the pitfalls.

The human brain contains four major different dopamine pathways or connections acting as roads for chemical messages between different parts of the brain which we call neurotransmitters. Each pathway has its own associated cognitive and movement processes. Three of these pathways are reward pathways: (1) mesocortical, (2) mesolimbic, and (3) igrostriatal pathways. The fourth tuberoinfundibular pathway regulates the release of a hormone called prolactin which is required for the production of milk.

The 3 reward pathways form associations between a particular stimulus or sequence of behaviors and the feel-good reward that follows. This is exactly what smartphones have in common with other potential addictive behaviours. Every time a response to a stimulus results in a reward, these associations become stronger through a process called long-term potentiating.  In this way the brain forms neurons by increasing the intensity at which they respond to particular stimuli.

In essence dopamine is a chemical produced by our brains that plays a central role in motivating our behaviour and it rewards us for satisfying behaviors and motivates us to repeat them. Dopamine is released when we take a bite of delicious food, when we have sex, after we exercise, and importantly, when we have successful social interactions.

In the same way positive social stimuli will similarly result in a release of dopamine, reinforcing whatever behaviour preceded it.  Social stimuli reward such a message from loved ones, laughing faces or positive recognition by our peers activates the same dopamine reward pathways.

This is here where the trap is because our smartphones provides us with easily available and to uncontrolled supply of social stimuli, both positive and negative. Therefore every “text message beep”, a “like”, a “Facebook notification” etc., has the potential to be a social stimulus and dopamine influx.

The answer is that your brain acts the same with your smartphone rewards as any other potential addictive activity appliance or behaviour, creating a dependency “addiction” and good feeling.  My next blog will explain the three reward pathways: (1) mesocortical, (2) mesolimbic, and (3) igrostriatal pathways to understand addiction.  Thereafter I will make it clear how advertisers uses the brains’ Reward Prediction Error (RPE) Encoding to get us hooked and keep us hooked in the same way casino’s have manipulated players into addiction all along.