Sunday, May 31, 2009

How to succeed with hypnosis

Are you considering hypnosis for the first time? The majority of my clients come in with no experience in undergoing hypnosis and very little background information. With that comes a multitude of misconceptions and false expectations about how the process will work. Most new clients are unaware of how cooperative a process hypnosis really is. Hypnosis is not a miracle solution that does all the work for you as you relax. Your thoughts and feelings are not all of a sudden transformed without effort on your part. No, a hypnosis program is a two-way street, an agreement between hypnotist and client to both participate equally in the process. Clients who embrace this concept are more successful at reaching their goals than those who have a "wait-and-see" approach, or those who expect that the hypnotist is the only one who should be doing any work. In order to help all my new clients have the proper expectations as they embark on their adventure of self-transformation, I came up with this guide on how to succeed as you undergo your first hypnosis program:

How to Succeed with Hypnosis

The success of your hypnosis program depends on 100% commitment by both me and you. I'm ready to give it 100%. Are you? As your hypnotist, I am like a personal trainer for your mind. I help you to achieve what you never thought you could achieve on your own. But you must realize that, just as if you'd hired a personal trainer for fitness, you are the one who is doing the “heavy lifting”. And that means that the progress, insights, and ultimate success are entirely yours to create, enjoy, and be proud of. I have seen many clients reach their goals rapidly and dramatically, and I've seen others take a bit longer to achieve their desired transformation. There is a definite “profile”, a set of common characteristics, shared by highly successful clients. And with that in mind, I have created this list of six ways in which you can help yourself to reach your goal faster.

1. Expect success! Hypnosis utilizes the amazing powers of the mind to achieve results. If, in your mind, you honestly believe that you will succeed and are succeeding, then the hard work is already done. We've all learned in school about the placebo effect, where patients were told that they were receiving a treatment for a condition that they had, even though they were really receiving plain water or a sugar pill – and they recovered anyway! This is proof that the mind's expectations play a huge role in the success of a treatment or therapy. Hypnosis is a deliberate use of this phenomenon, the mind's ability to create actual change through expectation. Speak to yourself and others in positive language that expresses your faith in your own ability to succeed. Clients who have positive expectations always have the highest success rate.

2. Be diligent about using your reinforcement techniques. Whether I have taught you to give yourself pre-sleep suggestions, taught you self-hypnosis, or given you a recording to listen to (or all three), be sure to be faithful to your reinforcement techniques and use them daily as instructed. Hypnosis is not an instant fix. Reprogramming your attitudes, habits and lifestyle requires time and repetition. Any habit or way of thinking, whether it is good or bad, requires reinforcement to establish, and what we're doing with hypnosis is establishing a brand new attitude and different, beneficial habits for you. Be patient, and know that you cannot properly judge the success or failure of your hypnosis program unless you have followed through with everything you have been taught.

3. Spend every moment of your day thinking, acting, and feeling like the “new” you. We are reprogramming your attitudes at the subconscious level, and the best way to achieve this quickly is to act like you're already there! Be the person that you want to become, not the person you're leaving behind. When you are faced with a decision, ask yourself, “What would the 'new me' do?” or, “Is what I'm about to do going to help me to reach my goal?”

4. Be proactive about coming up with your own solutions. Remember, the success of hypnosis is as much about the client as it is about the hypnotist. Throughout the days and weeks of your hypnosis program, always be thinking of effective ways to help yourself reach your goal. Come up with your own ways to break your associations to your old habits and ways of thinking (e.g. If drinking coffee triggers you to smoke a cigarette, lay off the coffee for a while). Create your own reinforcement techniques. Clients who actively participate in the hypnosis program always have greater success than those who expect things to happen by themselves.

5. Be focused on the process, not just the end result. Make sure to appreciate every little bit of progress and insight you have on the way to reaching your ultimate goal. Successes build upon each other, so the more readily you recognize every little positive change, the easier it is to achieve the next one. For instance, if your goal is to lose sixty pounds, be ecstatic when you lose the first two, because that feeling of success fuels you to lose the next two, and so on. It's much easier to climb a big mountain if you are having fun along the way.

6. Give your hypnotist as much feedback as possible during the program. I love to hear from my clients in between sessions about how they are progressing, what they've found helpful and what needs work, and what they want/expect at the next session. It helps me to better structure the program to help you as much as possible. I am never too busy to listen to you, so feel free to call or e-mail.

Hypnosis is as much about you helping yourself as it is about me helping you. Keep that in mind, and you will most certainly be successful!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Are you a stress eater? Sleep it off.

It may seem a bit counterintuitive at first: Sleep more and you'll LOSE weight? But there is an increasing number of research studies (by actual PhD scientists! MDs even!) detailing the crucial link between undersleeping and overeating. I recently read a brief news article summarizing the latest findings. Lack of sleep may throw off your normal hormonal balance, causing an overeating response. Stress (the root of ALL evil) is also a factor, and may be both the result and the cause of lack of sleep. Stress causes disruption of regular sleep patterns, which may make individuals less organized, which leads to yet more stress, and encourages ill-advised behaviors like emotional eating.

It seems like it's almost everyday that I read something about the link between stress and obesity. Why, it was only a few weeks ago that I wrote my most recent blog post about that very topic, and I'm sure it won't be long before I write another one.

Anyway, I think we're seeing the point here, America. Get more sleep, and eat less Peeps. More time on the mat, and less time being fat. Catch more Z's and be less...obese.

I could go on forever.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Dawn Birds of May 2.0

A new soundtrack, Dawn Birds of May, has been released! Now, I do realize that Dawn Birds of May already existed as a title in my catalog, but I have decided that this latest version will be a direct replacement of the old version, and so the old version will discontinued. Of course, if you ask nicely, I will still give it to you.

The reason for the replacement? I always felt that the old Dawn Birds of May, while chock full of different bird songs and calls, was not my finest work. It had way too much distracting ambient noise and strange buzzing tones that appeared midway through the recording (from a source unknown to me). I felt a little guilty offering it for sale in my catalog, because I always felt like it could have been much much better. The newer version of Dawn Birds of May is, in fact, a very different soundtrack. Besides being a much cleaner recording, it also has an entirely different feel. It is much less busy because the density of birds is lower, and it seems more orderly somehow, like it has a well-defined beginning, middle, and end. I am always a sucker for a recording that is "story-like" rather than monotonous or chaotic, and this one is certainly that. It ebbs and flows nicely. At times it is very up-front, while at other times, it eases up, and becomes more distant. My favorite feature of this soundtrack is that it prominently features my favorite of all woodland songbirds, the Wood Thrush. Such a complex and eerie song it has! Go to the product page and listen to the first sample, you'll see what I mean.

Here is the new product description:

The songbirds of Spring have arrived, and they busily go about their early morning rituals of courtship and territoriality at the edge of the forest. This recording captures the conversations reverberating under the forest canopy, and features the haunting, beautiful melody of the Wood Thrush. The first four minutes showcase a single Wood Thrush in the foreground, as it sings over the gentle breeze blowing through the trees. Then, other birds, such as Mourning Doves, warblers, woodpeckers, Blue Jays, and robins make their way into the soundscape. Some Wild Turkeys even make an appearance!
Approximately half an hour long.

The old Dawn Birds of May will still be sold on Tradebit under a different name, Woodland Birds.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Paul's notes from the field

My initial worries about an unproductive Spring for bird recording have been put to rest. I went to my sure-fire-can't-miss recording spot in central MA yesterday and found that, in this particular wilderness, the ice storms of this past winter did minimal damage to the trees. As a result, the birds were out in their usual splendor, singing their hearts out at dawn and well into mid-morning. Meanwhile, as I noted in previous blog posts, other forests of central MA have seen a reduction in songbirds due to tree falls caused by the aforementioned storms.

Interestingly though, the species composition at my sure-fire-can't-miss spot is a bit different from what it was last year at the same time. When I was at this same exact location last May (May 11, 2008 to be exact), I noticed a lot of Eastern towhees, no red-winged blackbirds, and no wood thrushes. Yesterday, however, there were no Eastern towhees at all, several wood thrushes, and a few red-winged blackbirds. I even noticed a catbird. I normally associate wood thrushes and catbirds with summer, and so it seems that this year, at least for the birds, summer has arrived a little earlier than usual. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the flock of wild turkeys that I encountered!

I will be releasing a new soundtrack soon, based on what I recorded yesterday. This year's dawn birds of May soundtrack will feature wood thrushes prominently, because they have such a hauntingly beautiful song. I've been wanting to release something with wood thrushes for a while, and I am delighted that I finally got a good recording of them. And you may even hear a gobble-gobble or two from the turkeys!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Now available in the online store: "Songbirds Behind the Farm" nature soundtrack

A busy Spring, my mellow fellows! I have added another new nature soundtrack to the Moodstreams catalog: "Songbirds Behind the Farm". Here is the product description:

The forecast called for a thunderstorm, but the rains never came. Instead, it turned into a warm, humid Spring afternoon on which robins, cardinals, warblers, blackbirds, doves and other birds sang amidst the peaceful ambience of a pond behind a farm.
This soundtrack tells an interesting story, as different sections of this recording are dominated by different birds. A pair of Canada geese enter the soundscape (with a splash) midway through and assert themselves, and bullfrogs and treefrogs make guest appearances as well.

It seems there are endless possibilities for great nature sounds now that Spring is in full swing. The challenge, however, is producing a good variety of soundtracks without seeming redundant. Honestly, I could go out every week this Spring to the same location and never make the same recording twice, because the demographics of natural areas change so regularly during this season, as new species of migratory birds come through the area. But then the catalog would be a bit heavy on the "chatty chirping bird" sounds!

So why this latest offering, when there are already three perfectly good bird soundtracks (Dawn Birds of May, Streamside Conversations, and Water Flows Beneath Us) in the catalog? I feel like "Songbirds Behind the Farm" is quite a special recording. The other three have some kind of flowing water nearby, which can mask some of the subtle sonic details of the environment, but "Songbirds" has only the birds and the peaceful ambience of the sounds surrounding the pond and farm on this wonderfully still Spring day. In addition to the main "characters" in this play, you will hear bullfrogs croaking in the pond, the splashing of water as an animal dives in, the flapping wings of birds in the bushes, the echo of a goose's honk, and other subtle details that even I may have missed. All this is made possible by the wonderful stillness of the environment. And perhaps even more important than the sounds themselves is the story-like way in which this soundtrack unfolds. It changes throughout, ebbing and flowing as different species of birds and frogs enter and leave the soundscape, and comes full circle at the end. I hope that you will find this recording as lovely as I do.

Monday, May 11, 2009

"Streamside Conversations" soundtrack is now available for purchase

Hello, Mellow Fellows,

The first of the Spring 2009 nature soundtracks has been completed, and I have added it to the online store. It is called Streamside Conversations. There is of course a sample that you can listen to on the product page. Here is the description that I put up on the website:

Relax to the morning conversations of songbirds echoing under the canopy of an evergreen forest by a swiftly moving stream. The beauty of this soundtrack is how it constantly changes; different sections of the forest come alive at different times, and the chatty canopy inhabitants move throughout the soundscape, resulting in a recording that alternates between busy and sparse, close and distant.

In case you're wondering how this soundtrack compares with the other Moodstreams recordings that feature water and birds (such as Water Flows Beneath Us, and Dawn Birds of May), I would say that this latest one is less "busy" overall, and the density of birds varies throughout the half-hour recording, as the birds move from place to place in the forest canopy. So there are sections where very little can be heard other than the sound of the stream, and then there are sections where the birds converge and become very chatty. It really illustrates the fact that the forest is a constantly changing entity. Also, the stream is more distant in this recording than in Water Flows Beneath Us, and forms a nice background of white noise that would be helpful for blocking out distracting sounds in your personal listening environment.

More Spring soundtracks are coming!

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Wonders of Spring

We're in the midst of Spring here in my home region of New England, and as I was going to work at my hypnosis clinic in Maynard, MA this morning, I noticed leaves on the trees for the first time this year! The sounds of the season are in full abundance, and these days I wake up to all manner of chirping outside my window. This also means, of course, that Spring nature recording has begun in earnest.

I'm thinking, how could I possibly match such a productive recording year as I had last year? It's going to be tough, especially since many of my most peaceful (i.e. undisturbed by man-made sounds) recording sites in MA were hit by a huge ice storm this winter, which resulted in a lot of fallen trees, and consequently less habitat for many of the songbirds that I recorded last year. I suspect that this is why many of my early recording attempts this year at my old reliable sites have produced much sparser sounds. With fewer birds around, there's simply a lot less going on in some of these early Spring recordings. That's not to say they can't turn into spectacular relaxation soundtracks. I actually prefer relaxing to more spacious sounds myself. There's a lot less "pizzazz", but with less subject matter to pay attention to, there are fewer distractions to prevent you from completely zoning out. Sometimes having too many sounds is like trying to listen to several conversations at once. It's quite a mental commitment. Some people would argue with that, preferring a immersive blanket of sound to completely captivate the mind and block out stray thoughts.

In any case, yesterday I recorded in a coastal scrub forest, a new site for me, and captured exactly the kind of sparse bird sound recording that I love and others hate. This particular area was not hit by the ice storm or anything, but has naturally sparser, lower-growing trees and vegetation and is dryer than the typical New England forest. Because of this, the songbird population is somewhat different there, and I recorded some birds that did not appear on any of my previous recordings. It's pretty exciting for me. I know, it's the little things.

Expect some new Spring soundtracks soon!