Sun 26 Jul 2015
Stress will make you old. If you doubt that statement, click on this link to see how our Presidents have aged during office. It’s dramatic. Most of us would agree that the President of the United States has a stressful job. Okay, maybe you’re not the President, but the stress you may be feeling is real and it’s breaking your body down. Want to reverse that process? Read on.
As I described in Part One of this article, I stressed myself to exhaustion when I was 22 years old and ended up in the hospital with a “nervous breakdown”. The gift to that dark cloud was being introduced to hypnosis and self-hypnosis. Not only did I recover from my ordeal without the use of any drugs, but I discovered a way to overcome negative thinking and to relax with just a deep breath. But little did I know that, over time, I would discover other phenomenal benefits of practicing self-hypnosis.
The link between self-hypnosis and aging
Years after my introduction to self-hypnosis, I had the pleasure of hearing Teri D. Mahaney, Ph.D., author of the book “Change Your Mind/Life”, speak at a professional conference. I was in my early thirties at the time. Dr. Mahaney’s book, a step-by-step program to re-pattern the subconscious mind, used subliminal affirmations to replace negative thoughts in such areas as empowerment, healing and wellness, money and success, and sports performance.
First, you record a script. Second, you listen to your self-recorded script. Your mind then enters a theta brainwave state, or a state of deep hypnosis, which is similar to the state of your brain right before falling to sleep. In this deep, relaxed state, the affirmations recorded on the script are highly effective.
Intrigued, I listened intently because of my initial success with self-hypnosis. Teri began her research in the early 1980’s, which included frequent listening to her own scripts. Then she announced, “I am youthing.” That was an interesting comment that hit home when she announced her age. She looked fifteen years younger. Her program appeared to be reversing the aging process.
I bought the book and tried her program for a short period of time. I didn’t have the patience at that time in my life to stick with it because I was still focused on succeeding through sheer effort and determination. Her lesson stuck with me, however, and later in life as I tired of the “nose to the grindstone” mentality, I began to revisit using self-hypnosis to relax and change my negative thought patterns.
Now I listen to relaxation recordings most evenings before bed and first thing in the morning. I very rarely have trouble sleeping and the recordings help me frame each day in a positive way before I get out of bed. My favorite recordings are listed at the end of this article. Give it a try.
The scientific link between stress and aging
Perhaps you’d like a scientific link between stress and aging? It is well known that cortisol and adrenaline are released when we feel stress. The higher the stress, the higher the level of hormones produced. Overloads of stress hormones have been linked to such diseases as heart disease, high blood pressure and weakened immune systems. Releasing stress is critical to staying healthy.
A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that stress can add years to the age of individual immune system cells, primarily telomeres (the structures at the tips of chromosomes), by becoming shorter each time the cell divides. When a cell becomes too short, it stops dividing and dies. Stress hastens the process.
Researchers checked both the telomeres and the stress levels of 58 healthy but highly stressed women. They found that their immune systems cells had aged, on average, an extra 10 years.
If you still question the link between stress and aging, take another look at the pictures of our presidents at the beginning of their presidency and at the end. Presidents undergo a process of accelerated aging, according to Dr. Michael Roizen, chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic and co-founder of RealAge.com. He has accumulated facts and figures on presidential health dating back to the 1920s, and speculates that “presidents get two years older for every year they’re in office.” The moral of this story, other than to not run for President, is to relax.
Some of my favorite relaxation books and CDs
Louise L. Hay, CD “Morning Meditation”/”Evening Meditation”
Louise L. Hay, Book “You Can Heal Your Life”
Teri D. Mahaney, Ph.D. Book “Change Your Mind/Life”
Doreen Virtue, Ph.D. Book/CD “Chakra Clearing”
Glenn Harrold, CD “A Chakra Meditation”
In summary, self-hypnosis is an effective tool to plant positive thoughts directly into the subconscious mind and bypass the clutter of the conscious mind. It’s hard, if not impossible, to feel a negative emotion and relax at the same time. Since I started listening to self-hypnosis recordings on a regular basis, the results have been subtle but undeniable—like alleviating my anxiety and like qualifying for the Boston Marathon for the first time at the age of 54. It took me 14 years and 8 marathons to qualify the first time, and only one try the second time . . . because I relaxed and let go.
Change will come easier for some than others. It didn’t come easily for me because I was so high strung and stubborn . . . still am. It took me years to learn to let go, but each time I did, my good came to me. I continue to learn and look forward to enjoying the rest of my life with energy and positive expectations. Aging is not the same as growing old. Stay youthful and enjoy life to the fullest.
Do you have any experience with hypnosis? If so, I love to hear about your experience. Comment on my blog. Want more articles on staying young and productive as you age? Subscribe to my blog or like my Facebook fan page. Looking for a speaker? Check out my website.
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