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What You Should Know About Psychology


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Psychology is the study of mind and behavior. It encompasses the biological influences, social pressures, and environmental factors that affect how people think, act, and feel.

Gaining a richer and deeper understanding of psychology can help people achieve insights into their own actions as well as a better understanding of other people.

Psychology is a broad and diverse field that encompasses the study of human thought, behavior, development, personality, emotion, motivation, and more. As a result, some different subfields and specialty areas have emerged. The following are some of the major areas of research and application within psychology:

  • Abnormal psychology is the study of abnormal behavior and psychopathology. This specialty area is focused on research and treatment of a variety of mental disorders and is linked to psychotherapy and clinical psychology.
  • Biological psychology (biopsychology) studies how biological processes influence the mind and behavior. This area is closely linked to neuroscience and utilizes tools such as MRI and PET scans to look at brain injury or brain abnormalities.
  • Clinical psychology is focused on the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental disorders.
  • Cognitive psychology is the study of human thought processes including attention, memory, perception, decision-making, problem-solving, and language acquisition.
  • Comparative psychology is the branch of psychology concerned with the study of animal behavior.
  • Developmental psychology is an area that looks at human growth and development over the lifespan including cognitive abilities, morality, social functioning, identity, and other life areas.
  • Forensic psychology is an applied field focused on using psychological research and principles in the legal and criminal justice system.
  • Industrial-organizational psychology is a field that uses psychological research to enhance work performance and select employees.
  • Personality psychology focuses on understanding how personality develops as well as the patterns of thoughts, behaviors, and characteristics that make each individual unique.
  • Social psychology focuses on group behavior, social influences on individual behavior, attitudes, prejudice, conformity, aggression, and related topics.

What Are the Branches of Psychology?

The most obvious application for psychology is in the field of mental health where psychologists use principles, research, and clinical findings to help clients manage and overcome symptoms of mental distress and psychological illness. Some of the additional applications for psychology include:

  • Developing educational programs
  • Ergonomics
  • Informing public policy
  • Mental health treatment
  • Performance enhancement
  • Personal health and well-being
  • Psychological research
  • Self-help
  • Social program design
  • Understanding child development

It is difficult to capture everything that psychology encompasses in just a brief definition, but topics such as development, personality, thoughts, feelings, emotions, motivations, and social behaviors represent just a portion of what psychology seeks to understand, predict, and explain.

The Major Goals of Psychology

Psychology is both an applied and academic field that benefits both individuals and society as a whole. A large part of psychology is devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of mental health issues, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the impact of psychology.

Some of the ways that psychology contributes to individuals and society include:

  • Improving our understanding of why people behave as they do as well
  • Understanding the different factors that can impact the human mind and behavior
  • Understanding issues that impact health, daily life, and well-being
  • Improving ergonomics to improve product design
  • Creating safer and more efficient workspaces
  • Helping motivate people to achieve their goals
  • Improving productivity

Psychologists accomplish these things by using objective scientific methods to understand, explain, and predict human behavior. Psychological studies are highly structured, beginning with a hypothesis that is then empirically tested.

There’s a lot of confusion out there about psychology. Unfortunately, such misconceptions about psychology abound in part thanks to stereotyped portrayals of psychologists in popular media as well as the diverse career paths of those holding psychology degrees.

Sure, there are psychologists who help solve crimes, and there are plenty of professionals who help people deal with mental health issues. However, there are also psychologists who:

  • Contribute to creating healthier workplaces
  • Design and implement public health programs
  • Research airplane safety
  • Help design technology and computer programs
  • Study military life and the psychological impact of combat

No matter where psychologists work, their primary goals are to help describe, explain, predict, and influence human behavior.

Early psychology evolved out of both philosophy and biology. Discussions of these two subjects date as far back as the early Greek thinkers, including Aristotle and Socrates.

The word “psychology” itself is derived from the Greek word psyche, literally meaning “life” or “breath.” Derived meanings of the word include “soul” or “self.”

The emergence of psychology as a separate and independent field of study truly came about when Wilhelm Wundt established the first experimental psychology lab in Leipzig, Germany in 1879.

Throughout psychology’s history, various schools of thought have formed to explain the human mind and behavior. In some cases, certain schools of thought rose to dominate the field of psychology for a period of time.

The following are some of the major schools of thought in psychology.

  • Structuralism: Wundt and Titchener’s structuralism was the earliest school of thought, but others soon began to emerge.
  • Functionalism: The early psychologist and philosopher William James became associated with a school of thought known as functionalism, which focused its attention on the purpose of human consciousness and behavior.
  • Psychoanalysis: Soon, these initial schools of thought gave way to several dominant and influential approaches to psychology. Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis centered on how the unconscious mind impacted human behavior.
  • Behaviorism: The behavioral school of thought turned away from looking at internal influences on behavior and sought to make psychology the study of observable behaviors.
  • Humanistic psychology: Later, the humanistic approach centered on the importance of personal growth and self-actualization.
  • Cognitive psychology: By the 1960s and 1970s, the cognitive revolution spurred the investigation of internal mental processes such as thinking, decision-making, language development, and memory.

While these schools of thought are sometimes perceived as competing forces, each perspective has contributed to our understanding of psychology.

The Origins of Psychology: History Through the Years

As you can see, while psychology may be a relatively young science it also has a tremendous amount of both depth and breadth. The assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illness are central interests of psychology, but psychology encompasses much more than mental health.

Today, psychologists seek to understand many different aspects of the human mind and behavior, adding new knowledge to our understanding of how people think as well as developing practical applications that have an important impact on everyday human lives.

Psychology works to help people improve their individual well-being and thrive in an increasingly complex world.

The 7 Major Perspectives in Psychology

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Hypnosis


Hypnosis

Hypnosis is a therapeutic technique in which clinicians make suggestions to individuals who have undergone a procedure designed to relax them and focus their minds.

Although hypnosis has been controversial, most clinicians now agree it can be a powerful, effective therapeutic technique for a wide range of conditions, including pain, anxiety and mood disorders. Hypnosis can also help people change their habits, such as quitting smoking.

Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology

Understanding Hypnosis

  • Hypnosis Today – Looking Beyond the Media Portrayal

    While you may think of hypnosis as something only in the movies, hypnosis is used in real life to help people with depression, gastro-intestinal disorders and other health problems. Because hypnosis can help people manage and, in some cases, recover from illness, it is becoming a more common part of treatment plans.

Getting Help

  • Hypnosis for the Relief and Control of Pain

    Hypnosis is likely to be effective for most people suffering from diverse forms of pain, with the possible exception of a minority of patients who are resistant to hypnotic interventions.

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Definition, History, Techniques, & Facts

The hypnotic state

The hypnotized individual appears to heed only the communications of the hypnotist and typically responds in an uncritical, automatic fashion while ignoring all aspects of the environment other than those pointed out by the hypnotist. In a hypnotic state an individual tends to see, feel, smell, and otherwise perceive in accordance with the hypnotist’s suggestions, even though these suggestions may be in apparent contradiction to the actual stimuli present in the environment. The effects of hypnosis are not limited to sensory change; even the subject’s memory and awareness of self may be altered by suggestion, and the effects of the suggestions may be extended (posthypnotically) into the subject’s subsequent waking activity.

History and early research

The history of hypnosis is as ancient as that of sorcery, magic, and medicine; indeed, hypnosis has been used as a method in all three. Its scientific history began in the latter part of the 18th century with Franz Mesmer, a German physician who used hypnosis in the treatment of patients in Vienna and Paris. Because of his mistaken belief that hypnotism made use of an occult force (which he termed “animal magnetism”) that flowed through the hypnotist into the subject, Mesmer was soon discredited; but Mesmer’s method—named mesmerism after its creator—continued to interest medical practitioners. A number of clinicians made use of it without fully understanding its nature until the middle of the 19th century, when the English physician James Braid studied the phenomenon and coined the terms hypnotism and hypnosis, after the Greek god of sleep, Hypnos.

Hypnosis attracted widespread scientific interest in the 1880s. Ambroise-Auguste Liébeault, an obscure French country physician who used mesmeric techniques, drew the support of Hippolyte Bernheim, a professor of medicine at Strasbourg. Independently they had written that hypnosis involved no physical forces and no physiological processes but was a combination of psychologically mediated responses to suggestions. During a visit to France at about the same time, Austrian physician Sigmund Freud was impressed by the therapeutic potential of hypnosis for neurotic disorders. On his return to Vienna, he used hypnosis to help neurotics recall disturbing events that they had apparently forgotten. As he began to develop his system of psychoanalysis, however, theoretical considerations—as well as the difficulty he encountered in hypnotizing some patients—led Freud to discard hypnosis in favour of free association. (Generally psychoanalysts have come to view hypnosis as merely an adjunct to the free-associative techniques used in psychoanalytic practice.)

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Despite Freud’s influential adoption and then rejection of hypnosis, some use was made of the technique in the psychoanalytic treatment of soldiers who had experienced combat neuroses during World Wars I and II. Hypnosis subsequently acquired other limited uses in medicine. Various researchers have put forth differing theories of what hypnosis is and how it might be understood, but there is still no generally accepted explanatory theory for the phenomenon.

Applications of hypnosis

The techniques used to induce hypnosis share common features. The most important consideration is that the person to be hypnotized (the subject) be willing and cooperative and that he or she trust in the hypnotist. Subjects are invited to relax in comfort and to fix their gaze on some object. The hypnotist continues to suggest, usually in a low, quiet voice, that the subject’s relaxation will increase and that his or her eyes will grow tired. Soon the subject’s eyes do show signs of fatigue, and the hypnotist suggests that they will close. The subject allows his eyes to close and then begins to show signs of profound relaxation, such as limpness and deep breathing. He has entered the state of hypnotic trance. A person will be more responsive to hypnosis when he believes that he can be hypnotized, that the hypnotist is competent and trustworthy, and that the undertaking is safe, appropriate, and congruent with the subject’s wishes. Therefore, induction is generally preceded by the establishment of suitable rapport between subject and hypnotist.

Ordinary inductions of hypnosis begin with simple, noncontroversial suggestions made by the hypnotist that will almost inevitably be accepted by all subjects. At this stage neither subject nor hypnotist can readily tell whether the subject’s behaviour constitutes a hypnotic response or mere cooperation. Then, gradually, suggestions are given that demand increasing distortion of the individual’s perception or memory—e.g., that it is difficult or impossible for the subject to open his or her eyes. Other methods of induction may also be used. The process may take considerable time or only a few seconds.

The resulting hypnotic phenomena differ markedly from one subject to another and from one trance to another, depending upon the purposes to be served and the depth of the trance. Hypnosis is a phenomenon of degrees, ranging from light to profound trance states but with no fixed constancy. Ordinarily, however, all trance behaviour is characterized by a simplicity, a directness, and a literalness of understanding, action, and emotional response that are suggestive of childhood. The surprising abilities displayed by some hypnotized persons seem to derive partly from the restriction of their attention to the task or situation at hand and their consequent freedom from the ordinary conscious tendency to orient constantly to distracting, even irrelevant, events.

The central phenomenon of hypnosis is suggestibility, a state of greatly enhanced receptiveness and responsiveness to suggestions and stimuli presented by the hypnotist. Appropriate suggestions by the hypnotist can induce a remarkably wide range of psychological, sensory, and motor responses from persons who are deeply hypnotized. By acceptance of and response to suggestions, the subject can be induced to behave as if deaf, blind, paralyzed, hallucinated, delusional, amnesic, or impervious to pain or to uncomfortable body postures; in addition, the subject can display various behavioral responses that he or she regards as a reasonable or desirable response to the situation that has been suggested by the hypnotist.

One fascinating manifestation that can be elicited from a subject who has been in a hypnotic trance is that of posthypnotic suggestion and behaviour; that is, the subject’s execution, at some later time, of instructions and suggestions that were given to him while he was in a trance. With adequate amnesia induced during the trance state, the individual will not be aware of the source of his impulse to perform the instructed act. Posthypnotic suggestion, however, is not a particularly powerful means for controlling behaviour when compared with a person’s conscious willingness to perform actions.

Many subjects seem unable to recall events that occurred while they were in deep hypnosis. This “posthypnotic amnesia” can result either spontaneously from deep hypnosis or from a suggestion by the hypnotist while the subject is in a trance state. The amnesia may include all the events of the trance state or only selected items, or it may be manifested in connection with matters unrelated to the trance. Posthypnotic amnesia may be successfully removed by appropriate hypnotic suggestions.

Hypnosis has been officially endorsed as a therapeutic method by medical, psychiatric, dental, and psychological associations throughout the world. It has been found most useful in preparing people for anesthesia, enhancing the drug response, and reducing the required dosage. In childbirth it is particularly helpful, because it can help to alleviate the mother’s discomfort while avoiding anesthetics that could impair the child’s physiological function. Hypnosis has often been used in attempts to stop smoking, and it is highly regarded in the management of otherwise intractable pain, including that of terminal cancer. It is valuable in reducing the common fear of dental procedures; in fact, the very people whom dentists find most difficult to treat frequently respond best to hypnotic suggestion. In the area of psychosomatic medicine, hypnosis has been used in a variety of ways. Patients have been trained to relax and to carry out, in the absence of the hypnotist, exercises that have had salutary effects on some forms of high blood pressure, headaches, and functional disorders.

Though the induction of hypnosis requires little training and no particular skill, when used in the context of medical treatment, it can be damaging when employed by individuals who lack the competence and skill to treat such problems without the use of hypnosis. On the other hand, hypnosis has been repeatedly condemned by various medical associations when it is used purely for purposes of public entertainment, owing to the danger of adverse posthypnotic reactions to the procedure. Indeed, in this regard several nations have banned or limited commercial or other public displays of hypnosis. In addition, many courts of law refuse to accept testimony from people who have been hypnotized for purposes of “recovering” memories, because such techniques can lead to confusion between imaginations and memories.

Martin T. OrneA. Gordon HammerThe Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica

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Mental Health

Mental illnesses are diseases or conditions that affect how you think, feel, act, or relate to other people or to your surroundings. They are very common. Many people have had one or know someone who has.

Symptoms can range from mild to severe. They can also vary from person to person. In many cases, it makes daily life hard to handle. But when an expert diagnoses you and helps you get treatment, you can often get your life back on track.

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A beginner’s guide to meditation

Meditation: A simple, fast way to reduce stress

Meditation can wipe away the day’s stress, bringing with it inner peace. See how you can easily learn to practice meditation whenever you need it most.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If stress has you anxious, tense and worried, consider trying meditation. Spending even a few minutes in meditation can restore your calm and inner peace.

Anyone can practice meditation. It’s simple and inexpensive, and it doesn’t require any special equipment.

And you can practice meditation wherever you are — whether you’re out for a walk, riding the bus, waiting at the doctor’s office or even in the middle of a difficult business meeting.

Understanding meditation

Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years. Meditation originally was meant to help deepen understanding of the sacred and mystical forces of life. These days, meditation is commonly used for relaxation and stress reduction.

Meditation is considered a type of mind-body complementary medicine. Meditation can produce a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind.

During meditation, you focus your attention and eliminate the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress. This process may result in enhanced physical and emotional well-being.

Benefits of meditation

Meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance that can benefit both your emotional well-being and your overall health.

And these benefits don’t end when your meditation session ends. Meditation can help carry you more calmly through your day and may help you manage symptoms of certain medical conditions.

Meditation and emotional well-being

When you meditate, you may clear away the information overload that builds up every day and contributes to your stress.

The emotional benefits of meditation can include:

  • Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations
  • Building skills to manage your stress
  • Increasing self-awareness
  • Focusing on the present
  • Reducing negative emotions
  • Increasing imagination and creativity
  • Increasing patience and tolerance

Meditation and illness

Meditation might also be useful if you have a medical condition, especially one that may be worsened by stress.

While a growing body of scientific research supports the health benefits of meditation, some researchers believe it’s not yet possible to draw conclusions about the possible benefits of meditation.

With that in mind, some research suggests that meditation may help people manage symptoms of conditions such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Depression
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Sleep problems
  • Tension headaches

Be sure to talk to your health care provider about the pros and cons of using meditation if you have any of these conditions or other health problems. In some cases, meditation can worsen symptoms associated with certain mental and physical health conditions.

Meditation isn’t a replacement for traditional medical treatment. But it may be a useful addition to your other treatment.

Types of meditation

Meditation is an umbrella term for the many ways to a relaxed state of being. There are many types of meditation and relaxation techniques that have meditation components. All share the same goal of achieving inner peace.

Ways to meditate can include:

  • Guided meditation. Sometimes called guided imagery or visualization, with this method of meditation you form mental images of places or situations you find relaxing.

    You try to use as many senses as possible, such as smells, sights, sounds and textures. You may be led through this process by a guide or teacher.

  • Mantra meditation. In this type of meditation, you silently repeat a calming word, thought or phrase to prevent distracting thoughts.
  • Mindfulness meditation. This type of meditation is based on being mindful, or having an increased awareness and acceptance of living in the present moment.

    In mindfulness meditation, you broaden your conscious awareness. You focus on what you experience during meditation, such as the flow of your breath. You can observe your thoughts and emotions, but let them pass without judgment.

  • Qi gong. This practice generally combines meditation, relaxation, physical movement and breathing exercises to restore and maintain balance. Qi gong (CHEE-gung) is part of traditional Chinese medicine.
  • Tai chi. This is a form of gentle Chinese martial arts. In tai chi (TIE-CHEE), you perform a self-paced series of postures or movements in a slow, graceful manner while practicing deep breathing.
  • Transcendental Meditation®. Transcendental Meditation is a simple, natural technique. In Transcendental Meditation, you silently repeat a personally assigned mantra, such as a word, sound or phrase, in a specific way.

    This form of meditation may allow your body to settle into a state of profound rest and relaxation and your mind to achieve a state of inner peace, without needing to use concentration or effort.

  • Yoga. You perform a series of postures and controlled breathing exercises to promote a more flexible body and a calm mind. As you move through poses that require balance and concentration, you’re encouraged to focus less on your busy day and more on the moment.

Elements of meditation

Different types of meditation may include different features to help you meditate. These may vary depending on whose guidance you follow or who’s teaching a class. Some of the most common features in meditation include:

  • Focused attention. Focusing your attention is generally one of the most important elements of meditation.

    Focusing your attention is what helps free your mind from the many distractions that cause stress and worry. You can focus your attention on such things as a specific object, an image, a mantra, or even your breathing.

  • Relaxed breathing. This technique involves deep, even-paced breathing using the diaphragm muscle to expand your lungs. The purpose is to slow your breathing, take in more oxygen, and reduce the use of shoulder, neck and upper chest muscles while breathing so that you breathe more efficiently.
  • A quiet setting. If you’re a beginner, practicing meditation may be easier if you’re in a quiet spot with few distractions, including no television, radios or cellphones.

    As you get more skilled at meditation, you may be able to do it anywhere, especially in high-stress situations where you benefit the most from meditation, such as a traffic jam, a stressful work meeting or a long line at the grocery store.

  • A comfortable position. You can practice meditation whether you’re sitting, lying down, walking, or in other positions or activities. Just try to be comfortable so that you can get the most out of your meditation. Aim to keep good posture during meditation.
  • Open attitude. Let thoughts pass through your mind without judgment.

Everyday ways to practice meditation

Don’t let the thought of meditating the “right” way add to your stress. If you choose to, you can attend special meditation centers or group classes led by trained instructors. But you can also practice meditation easily on your own.

And you can make meditation as formal or informal as you like, however it suits your lifestyle and situation. Some people build meditation into their daily routine. For example, they may start and end each day with an hour of meditation. But all you really need is a few minutes of quality time for meditation.

Here are some ways you can practice meditation on your own, whenever you choose:

  • Breathe deeply. This technique is good for beginners because breathing is a natural function.

    Focus all your attention on your breathing. Concentrate on feeling and listening as you inhale and exhale through your nostrils. Breathe deeply and slowly. When your attention wanders, gently return your focus to your breathing.

  • Scan your body. When using this technique, focus attention on different parts of your body. Become aware of your body’s various sensations, whether that’s pain, tension, warmth or relaxation.

    Combine body scanning with breathing exercises and imagine breathing heat or relaxation into and out of different parts of your body.

  • Repeat a mantra. You can create your own mantra, whether it’s religious or secular. Examples of religious mantras include the Jesus Prayer in the Christian tradition, the holy name of God in Judaism, or the om mantra of Hinduism, Buddhism and other Eastern religions.
  • Walk and meditate. Combining a walk with meditation is an efficient and healthy way to relax. You can use this technique anywhere you’re walking, such as in a tranquil forest, on a city sidewalk or at the mall.

    When you use this method, slow down your walking pace so that you can focus on each movement of your legs or feet. Don’t focus on a particular destination. Concentrate on your legs and feet, repeating action words in your mind such as “lifting,” “moving” and “placing” as you lift each foot, move your leg forward and place your foot on the ground.

  • Engage in prayer. Prayer is the best known and most widely practiced example of meditation. Spoken and written prayers are found in most faith traditions.

    You can pray using your own words or read prayers written by others. Check the self-help section of your local bookstore for examples. Talk with your rabbi, priest, pastor or other spiritual leader about possible resources.

  • Read and reflect. Many people report that they benefit from reading poems or sacred texts, and taking a few moments to quietly reflect on their meaning.

    You can also listen to sacred music, spoken words, or any music you find relaxing or inspiring. You may want to write your reflections in a journal or discuss them with a friend or spiritual leader.

  • Focus your love and gratitude. In this type of meditation, you focus your attention on a sacred image or being, weaving feelings of love, compassion and gratitude into your thoughts. You can also close your eyes and use your imagination or gaze at representations of the image.

Building your meditation skills

Don’t judge your meditation skills, which may only increase your stress. Meditation takes practice.

Keep in mind, for instance, that it’s common for your mind to wander during meditation, no matter how long you’ve been practicing meditation. If you’re meditating to calm your mind and your attention wanders, slowly return to the object, sensation or movement you’re focusing on.

Experiment, and you’ll likely find out what types of meditation work best for you and what you enjoy doing. Adapt meditation to your needs at the moment. Remember, there’s no right way or wrong way to meditate. What matters is that meditation helps you reduce your stress and feel better overall.

Mayo Clinic Minute: Meditation is good medicine

Mayo Clinic Minute: Benefits of meditation

Stress, anxiety and a lack of sleep are problems that many people deal with every day. But there is one simple practice that can help: meditation.

“Physically, people find they have improved mood, they sleep better and better memory and concentration.”

Maria Caselli, a group fitness instructor at Mayo Clinic, says the benefits of just a few minutes of meditation a day can help, especially with stress.

“Meditation, which is the practice of focused concentration, bringing yourself back to the moment over and over again, actually addresses stress, whether positive or negative.”

Meditation can also reduce the areas of anxiety, chronic pain, depression, heart disease and high blood pressure.

“The heart rate drops, your respiratory rate drops. There is decreased oxygen consumption, decreased carbon dioxide expired. The body is healing itself and starting repair.”

Meditation can help us be less reactive and more responsive to events in our life.

For the Mayo Clinic News Network, I’m Vivien Williams.

April 22, 2020

  1. Meditation: In depth. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation/overview.htm. Accessed Jan. 5, 2017.
  2. Goyal M, et al. Meditation programs for psychological stress and wellbeing: A systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA. 2014;174:357.
  3. Sharma M, et al. Mindfulness-based stress reduction as a stress management intervention for healthy individuals: A systematic review. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine. 2014;19:271.
  4. Sood A, et al. On mind wandering, attention, brain networks, and meditation. Explore. 2013;9:136.
  5. Seaward BL. Essentials of Managing Stress. 4th ed. Burlington, Mass.: Jones & Bartlett Learning; 2017.
  6. Seaward BL. Meditation and mindfulness. In: Managing Stress: Principles and Strategies for Health and Well-Being. 8th ed. Burlington, Mass.: Jones & Bartlett Learning; 2015.
  7. Sood A. Relaxation, meditation and prayer. In: The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living. Cambridge, Mass.: Da Capo Press/Lifelong Books; 2013.

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Hypnosis | Psychology Today

Hypnosis is a mental state of highly focused concentration, diminished peripheral awareness, and heightened suggestibility. There are numerous techniques that experts employ for inducing such a state. Capitalizing on the power of suggestion, hypnosis is often used to help people relax, to diminish the sensation of pain, or to facilitate some desired behavioral change.

Therapists bring about hypnosis (also referred to as hypnotherapy or hypnotic suggestion) with the help of mental imagery and soothing verbal repetition that ease the patient into a trance-like state. Once relaxed, patients’ minds are more open to transformative messages.

Not everyone is equally hypnotizable. Using brain imaging techniques, researchers have found differences in patterns of brain connectivity between those who respond to hypnotic induction and those who do not. The distinction shows up in the hypnotizable as heightened co-activation between the executive control center in the prefrontal cortex and another part of the prefrontal cortex that flags the importance, or salience, of events.

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Abraham Maslow defines self-actualization as the realization or fulfillment of one’s talents and potentialities, which is a drive and need present in everyone…

Relationships

By Lisa Firestone Ph.D. on June 01, 2020 in Compassion Matters

With the rise in new challenges between you and your partner comes an opportunity to learn long-term strategies to overcome obstacles and deepen your connection.

With the rise in new challenges between you and your partner comes an opportunity to learn long-term strategies to overcome obstacles and deepen your connection.

Health

By Elaine Birchall, MSW, RSW, and Suzanne Cronkwright on June 01, 2020 in Conquer the Clutter

Are you considerably different from who you used to be, want to be, dream of being, or who others have told you are or need to be?

Are you considerably different from who you used to be, want to be, dream of being, or who others have told you are or need to be?

Sex

By Michael Castleman M.A. on June 01, 2020 in All About Sex

Why is almost one-third of the porn audience female? Some watch to satisfy curiosity, others due to feminism, lust, or for sexual spice. But most watch for another reason. 

Why is almost one-third of the porn audience female? Some watch to satisfy curiosity, others due to feminism, lust, or for sexual spice. But most watch for another reason. 

These ideas will help parents of teens who are feeling the psychological effects of the pandemic.

Evolutionary Psychology

By Saul Levine M.D. on June 01, 2020 in Our Emotional Footprint

Invalid Conspiracy Theories abound now, as they have throughout history, attracting fervent True Believers. They can be transient and harmless, or deeply entrenched and dangerous.

Invalid Conspiracy Theories abound now, as they have throughout history, attracting fervent True Believers. They can be transient and harmless, or deeply entrenched and dangerous.

Therapy

By Temma Ehrenfeld on June 01, 2020 in Open Gently

Many people may not return to in-person therapy sessions after the shutdown lifts.

Many people may not return to in-person therapy sessions after the shutdown lifts.

If you are experiencing anxiety at this time, you are not alone.  Here are five things to try that may help.

Relationships

By Leon F Seltzer Ph.D. on June 01, 2020 in Evolution of the Self

Most people would probably agree that fighting all the time with their mate is worse—it may be much worse—than taking pains to avoid such arguments.

Most people would probably agree that fighting all the time with their mate is worse—it may be much worse—than taking pains to avoid such arguments.

Use the news to prepare, not impair.

Media

By Anthony Silard Ph.D. on June 01, 2020 in The Art of Living Free

Does the news intake before bed often keep you tossing and turning? Learn new strategies to take control of the news you consume and create a healthy state of mind.

Does the news intake before bed often keep you tossing and turning? Learn new strategies to take control of the news you consume and create a healthy state of mind.

Many people have adopted dogs to help them cope with COVID. And here is some science to show that dogs can help cope with other stresses like racism too.

Why are Millenials so willing to talk about mental illness?

Resilience

By Jamie D. Aten Ph.D. on June 01, 2020 in Hope + Resilience

Everyone is spending copious amounts of time indoors, which means one thing—more screen time. This skyrocketing number of hours may be having more impact than we realize.

Everyone is spending copious amounts of time indoors, which means one thing—more screen time. This skyrocketing number of hours may be having more impact than we realize.

Happiness

By Randy Kulman Ph.D. on June 01, 2020 in Screen Play

COVID-19 has nearly doubled the average person’s time using screens. These six tips will turn this screen time into the inspiration for life long interests and hobbies.

COVID-19 has nearly doubled the average person’s time using screens. These six tips will turn this screen time into the inspiration for life long interests and hobbies.

Addiction

By Michelle Tullier Ph.D. on June 01, 2020 in Careers and Recovery

Tough markets call for a more sophisticated approach to job search. Use the resilience you’ve built as a person in recovery plus these four advanced tips for job search success.

Tough markets call for a more sophisticated approach to job search. Use the resilience you’ve built as a person in recovery plus these four advanced tips for job search success.

Are psychotherapist-mothers and fathers sitting on a stockpile of parenting secrets?

Anger

By Rick Hanson Ph.D. on June 01, 2020 in Your Wise Brain

In small and passing quantities, anger can be like medicine, but in large and lasting quantities it poisons the mind and relationships.

In small and passing quantities, anger can be like medicine, but in large and lasting quantities it poisons the mind and relationships.

Diet

By Judith J. Wurtman Ph.D. on June 01, 2020 in The Antidepressant Diet

Eating too much as a reinforcement of quarantine compliance, and the inability to go to the gym, or yoga class during the COVID-19 crisis…it’s the perfect storm for weight gain.

Eating too much as a reinforcement of quarantine compliance, and the inability to go to the gym, or yoga class during the COVID-19 crisis…it’s the perfect storm for weight gain.

When searching for a partner, it is important to explore your own needs, wants, and desires. Below are some useful questions to ask.

Curiosity is a very powerful human emotion, motivating interest that educates but also endangers, so parents need to teach mindful risk taking when undertaking a new experience

Health

By Melissa Burkley Ph.D. on June 01, 2020 in The Social Thinker

Surviving our current times demands you have a strong immune system. Here are some simple life hacks to supercharge your immune response and help you fend off future illness.

Surviving our current times demands you have a strong immune system. Here are some simple life hacks to supercharge your immune response and help you fend off future illness.

Health

By Rita Watson MPH on June 01, 2020 in With Love and Gratitude

Evaluating a health care facility during this time of COVID-19 is challenging but doable by asking key questions and using an assessment guide.

Evaluating a health care facility during this time of COVID-19 is challenging but doable by asking key questions and using an assessment guide.

Stress

By Bryan E. Robinson Ph.D. on June 01, 2020 in The Right Mindset

The usual coping strategies are not working for many people during the pandemic. Do you need to self-correct for a better fit?

The usual coping strategies are not working for many people during the pandemic. Do you need to self-correct for a better fit?

Therapy

By Clay Drinko, Ph.D. on June 01, 2020 in Play Your Way Sane

Therapists don’t have all the answers, and when they pretend to, they may be missing out. Improvisation gives us a way to make therapy more spontaneous and collaborative.

Therapists don’t have all the answers, and when they pretend to, they may be missing out. Improvisation gives us a way to make therapy more spontaneous and collaborative.

Happiness

By Rob Henderson on June 01, 2020 in After Service

Why is there so much social unrest among young people? These surprising findings help to explain.

Why is there so much social unrest among young people? These surprising findings help to explain.

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5 Interesting Benefits of Neuro-Linguistic Programming


NLP-facts

Neuro-linguistic programming, or NLP, is a behavioral-modification technique used by psychiatrists, medical physicians, hypnotherapists, and general counselors. Neuro-linguistic programming was invented and introduced during the 1970’s and remains a popular, supplemental tool for initiating positive, personal change.

What is Neuro-Linguistic Programming?

Neuro-linguistic programming is a psychological approach to communication and personal development that focuses on the connection between mind and language, and how that connection affects our body and behavior. It involves the use of guided visualizations along with specific language patterns to initiate positive change from within. For years, claims of the benefits of NLP have been numerous and covered everything from improved memory and focus, weight loss, lie detection, and reduced anxiety. [1] A few studies have been successful in supporting these claims, suggesting that NLP may be a worthwhile complementary approach for some individuals.

1. Supports Weight Loss

The eating habits of concern eaters can have more to do with what’s going on in their head than their appetite. As such, psychological behavioral modification can be helpful for reducing how much a person eats and increasing how often they exercise. One study found that people trying to lose weight experienced positive benefits from taking part in NLP, despite having trouble staying consistent with the exercises. [2]

2. Promotes Learning

Learning can be tough and feeling discouraged can make it even more tough. One study found that NLP may be helpful for improving self esteem in children with dyslexia by helping to provide a deeper sense of relaxation and lower level of anxiety – possibly impacting learning capabilities. [3] Researchers agree that more examination is needed, especially for those with ADD/ADHD.

3. Helps to Reduce Anxiety

Talking and other therapeutic approaches are very effective for dealing with anxiety so it’s no surprise that NLP offers this benefit. One study on individuals who experienced claustrophobia during MRI scans found that NLP was an extremely effective tool for alleviating feelings of anxiety; a finding echoed by additional inquiries. [4][5] It’s suspected that the combination of relaxation and guided imagery is perhaps the biggest reason NLP helps to curb anxious feelings.

4. Supports Balanced Mood

There is some limited evidence to suggest that NLP may be a useful tool for supporting an overall healthy mood. [6] Keep in mind, however, that depression involves a multitude of personal factors that are unique to the person and the approach for dealing with it need to be multifaceted and specifically tailored to the individual. NLP may offer positive benefits to an overall solution.

5. Helps You Get Over Bad Habits

One of the best ways to rid yourself of a bad habit is to replace it with a new, good habit. NLP has remained one of the most sought-after methods for helping people do just that. Since NLP has no risk for side effects, it is a great tool that anyone can have in their arsenal for fighting bad habits like junk food or putting off exercising.

Getting Started With Neuro-Linguistic Programming

For persons who want to improve their quality of life from within, without the use of dangerous pharmaceuticals, NLP is absolutely worth a look. It doesn’t have any significant side effects and may complement conventional psychotherapy. Keep in mind that everyone is mentally different and no one approach can fit every person. Make sure your foundations are in place; eating well, exercise, and getting plenty of sun exposure are key for supporting a healthy mental state.

How do you stay sane? Leave a comment and let us know what works for you!

References (6)

  1. Wiseman R, Watt C, ten Brinke L, Porter S, Couper SL, Rnakin C. The eyes don’t have it: lie detection and Neuro-Linguistic Programming. PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e40259. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0040259.
  2. Sorensen LB, Greve T, Kreutzer M, Pedersen U, Nielsen CM, Toubro S, Astrup A. Weight maintenance through behavior modification with a cooking course or neurolinguistic programming. Can J Diet Pract Res. 2011 Winter;72(4):181-5. doi: 10.3148/72.4.2011.181.
  3. Bull L. Sunflower therapy for children with specific learning difficulties (dyslexia): a randomised, controlled trial. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2007 Feb;13(1):15-24.
  4. Bigley J, Griffiths PD, Prydderch A, Romanowski CA, Miles L, Lidiard H, Hoggard N. Neurolinguistic programmin gused to reduce the need for anaesthesia in claustrophobic patients undergoing MRI. Br J Radiol. 2010 Feb;83(986):113-7. doi: 10.1259/bjr/14421796.
  5. Konefal J, Duncan RC, Reese MA. Neurolinguistic programming training, trait anxiety, and locus of control. Psychol Rep. 1992 Jun;70(3 Pt 1):819-32.
  6. Hossack A, Standidge K. Using an imaginary scrapbook for neurolinguistic programming in the aftermath of a clinical depression: a case history. Gerontologist. 1993 Apr;33(2):265-8.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

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This entry was posted in Brain Health, Health, Mental Wellness, Mind and Body, Whole Body Wellness

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