Surviving Stress In The Age Of Trump.

I’ve been seeing a flurry of people lately who are deeply troubled by what is happening to the South.  It’s a little like living next to a neighbour who plays loud music all night, and has decided that restoring a TransAm on their front lawn is a priority in their life.

Many people feel the tension and fatigue of ‘what next?’ as we check the news or read our social media. Regardless of one’s political opinion this is exhausting and frankly bears more resemblance to watching a marathon run of a reality TV show, than anything we’ve seen previously in our neighbour’s politics. Add to this that the iniquities of the application of Trumpian policies – kids in cages, ICE raids that leave children used as a tool to deter often valid asylum seekers – and you can see that we’re inundated with news and information of a highly upsetting nature.

It seems that the war of words between Trump and (fill in the blank on any day) leaves us all feeling frustrated and exhausted. Worse than that, it seems this kind of news environment drags us all down. The good news is that it really doesn’t need to be this way.  Most of us are getting a massive oversupply of garbage information.

As one who uses social media in my business, I am under no illusions about the power of it. I also know when to step away from the screen. The fact is, we’re still all learning how to use the new tools at our disposal. Currently it’s as though there’s a firehose of news pointed at us, and we can’t ingest a fraction of it. Many clients describe feeling debilitated by their Facebook feed. Well, and you may need to sit down to fully assimilate this piece of information… There is an off switch.

Spending a morning without reading the news, or listening to it, is a great idea now and then. Without wishing to sound like ‘The Secret’, there’s a lot to be said for the idea that where we place our attention is what we bring into our life. Focusing on the dreadful failures of moral and ethical standards of leadership in the US cannot serve us well.

As an aside, it’s worth listening to this BBC documentary about Andrew Carnegie. His philanthropy in the closing years on the 19th century gives an indication of how very far US values have deteriorated. By current values Carnegie gave away something in the order of $300 billion (yes billion) in support of education, making him easily the most generous donor in history. The philosophy of ‘a hand up, rather than a hand out’ was an example few have followed, with some notable exceptions.

I don’t wish to suggest a Polyanna like approach to life, however we do need to focus on those things we can affect and bring a positive change to. You can avoid a lot of unnecessary stress simply by staying on point with the issues that affect us today, here and now. We are blessed in Canada with a generally liberal understanding and approach to life without retreating to the cowardice of nationalism and xenophobia. We don’t need to be part of that debate. We also have leaders who, on the whole, we can respect and feel proud of, on all sides of the political spectrum, as they represent the varying hues of Canadian values.

When you read social media posts that either make you angry or you agree with strongly, there’s a pretty good chance you’re being manipulated. I won’t go into the many ways to either be trolled or manipulated online, however I do think we can all agree that there are many people out there simply looking for a reaction, just like a schoolyard bully. We can deny these people the pleasure of a reaction simply by keeping our own counsel and preserving our own boundaries.

Personally I barely use Facebook these days, which I find the most invasive and dangerous of social media platforms. Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of social media. However, I believe it is a tool and should be used in a specific manner. My own approach is to have a select number of friends on Whatsapp and Snapchat and keep my use of these systems to conversations and communication, without the search for news. From time to time I check BBC or CBC, but I do my best to limit the amount I expose myself to stories that appall me. I know I will get my say at the next election.

And if I am really incensed by what’s going on out there? Well, that’s the time to volunteer to put your energy behind a local political party and perhaps make some new friends in the process.

Rob Hadley

Can a hypnotist remove your memories?

Several times a month I am called by a client and asked if I can erase a memory. Often it will be following a less than perfect relationship. I know it sounds a little odd, but many hypnotherapists are asked for this.

The mind deals with memory in a strange way.  For example, you likely remember the words of a song you’ve not heard in 25 years if you hear it again, and may even be able to sing along to it. You may, for example, remember the words to a song like Daydream Believer, by the Monkeys, even if you’ve not heard it in 30 years. I know I’m giving away my age a it here, but it is a phenomenon. Had you heard other strings of words 30 years ago it’s unlikely you’d be able to rattle them off easily today. Equally many people remember seeing a non descript film, such as Shazam starring Sinbad, with the kid in L.A. that finds an old lamp and rubs it, and out pops a genie. Perhaps you remember seeing the movie or watching it with your kids. And this can be a very happy memory that stays with you for years. Though you can’t remember something you had to do that night, that at the time seemed very important.

The mind deals with memory in some very unusual ways. And there are certainly unusual things one can do with it using hypnosis. I’m just back from doing a string of hypnosis shows in which one of the sets was to make people forget their name, where they are, even who the people they are with are. So, the mind is very malleable in this respect.  However, should we even try to remove the memory of a relationship?

First off, it’s likely impossible. I say that because it touches one of the very special areas of the mind that we seem to protect. That is the idea of ‘relationships’ – combining both sex and security – which the mind handles very differently from most other processing it does. Secondly, even if we could erase a memory we’d merely be condemning the person who went through a troubled relationship to experience the same painful learning in their next relationship. While some lessons seem horribly painful, we take learning from each painful bruise and gradually we build a body of experience born of pain. That learning prevents us from making the same mistakes again.

Or at least that’s the theory. Speaking as someone who’s been divorced twice I’m either a very poor student or there’s something flawed in that theory, but you do get the general idea.  What hypnotherapy does allow us to do is adopt the lessons of our experience and put them into practice. We can even, to some extent, desensitize memories. By building acceptance we can help our clients move forward.

Nonetheless, the way the mind works with memory is quite a remarkable mystery even now. For example, remember that movie I mentioned earlier, Shazam? While many people remember seeing it, and even the theme tune, there’s a little problem. There’s no such movie. There never was. To hear a fascinating story about how the false memory of Shazam came to light have a listen to this extraordinary BBC radio documentary. It’s quite mind blowing.

I have space for one new client this month.  Let me know if you’d like to come in.

Have a great week,

Rob Hadley

778 919 0197

Social Media Addiction

The first thing people wonder about this subject is ‘is it real’?

The next thing they do is check it out on Facebook and look for a support group page.

For some people it is a genuine behavioural addiction and can be just as debilitating as substance use. There’s no doubt though, social media can induce anxiety far beyond what it’s originators intended. I can attest to this by the very fact that each time I go in LinkedIn I am asked if I want to connect with my ex wife. I’ve been doing my very best to avoid that for the last ten years and have a restraining order to prove it.

I’ve worked with a disturbing number of clients who’ve become obsessive about their social media use. It’s an unusual, though not unknown issue, and one that can be very upsetting if it goes unchecked. The need to be heard, and the need to find approval from an audience is a natural human desire, yet it can be moved to an unhealthy behaviour when it runs out of control.

The constant presence of cell phones is something that has opened the doors to many unusual behaviours. I do remember reading an old newspaper many years ago that warned of the evils of being on the phone too long. The author seemed convinced that the telephone could be the downfall of ‘easily influenced young women’. To be fair the newspaper was printed in 1928.

Somehow the ‘easily influenced women’ of the twenties seemed to survive. Some years later of course it was the television that could be their downfall. To the best of my knowledge these easily influenced young women proved rather more resilient that the writer imagined.

While one would think social media addiction is a teenage affliction, that’s not really the case. I’ve had clients who have struggled with this in their thirties and forties.

Signs that suggest you may have a problem:

  1. Cooking just to take pictures to put on Instagram.
  2. Stalking kittens.
  3. Putting every detail of your life on Facebook.
  4. Stalking past partners (which is more serious than stalking kittens).
  5. Knowing every detail of the lives of people you’ve never met.
  6. Becoming anxious when you cannot get to your phone.
  7. Comparing yourself to others unfavorably, as they have more interesting posts than you.
  8. Posting that you’re seeing your probation officer this afternoon.

On a serious note, there are impacts to Social Media Addiction. It is often accompanied by sleeplessness, low energy and anxiety. It’s more often considered a symptom of a wider issue for a client.

A better way to handle Social Media.

Some people acknowledge that generally social media can be a great thing, but that we don’t need all those messages from everyone on earth. Realistically just because I clicked on an advertisement accidentally for incontinence pants four years ago, I don’t wish to be bombarded with related advertising for the rest of my life.

Using Snapchat or Whatsapp with a limited number of chosen friends (less than 30), and just sharing relevant or interesting information, is a fairly good way to avoid the information overload of the more open systems, such as Twitter or Facebook. You still get to have the connection with those who are close to you, but you don’t get all the noise of ‘news’ being funneled to you.

Like most obsessive behaviours, Social Media Addiction does respond to hypnotherapy and can be treated quite simply. If you know anyone who needs a little help, get them to give me a shout.
You can call me on 778 919 0197, or reach me on Facebook, Twitter, Medium, Periscope, Ello, Whatsapp, Snapchat, Kiwi, Tumblr or Instagram.

🙂

Rob