Monday, December 5, 2016

Think It All Through

Photo by Rick Hustead

You may have heard or read about a preponderance of fake news that was being shared on social media outlets recently. The sources of these erroneous reports and the reasons/motivations to share this information is of less interest to me than how and why people so easily accepted and believed what they read and heard.

The last few months have been very stressful for a lot of people, especially in regards to the contentious United States presidential election that we just went through. There was plenty of rhetoric to go around from both (all) sides of the electoral ticket. Between nonstop television advertisements and various political canvassers calling several times a day, every day, to encourage us to vote for their candidate, there was hardly a moment of quiet to collect our thoughts. It didn’t even stop when the election was over.

These days, a lot more people get news and other social information from the Internet compared to television or even newspapers. As most of us have experienced, once we are on-line it is like being sucked into a stimulation vortex. Video links automatically begin to play and pop-up advertisements for consumer products or holiday gifts flash across the screen—tailored to each user’s specific interests, no less. It is natural to seek sources of information or entertainment that resonate with our own beliefs and ethics/morals, so any “facts” that we read or hear are more readily believed and accepted because we want them to be true. If you don’t believe this, consider how often you change the television channel if you don’t like what a reporter is saying, or abruptly end conversation or on-line chat exchange if the other person challenges your beliefs. Such discord is painful to the subconscious mind. When we are on the Internet, it is much easier to simply tune in to someone or somewhere else that supports our view-point. Furthermore, the more emotionally and cognitively/intellectually invested we are in the subject, the more likely we are to react and respond to this information; the more we react and respond to it, the more invested we become. Of course, people who work in advertising/marketing and dissemination of information are very aware how this process works and possess the skills to draw our attention where they want it to go.

Fortunately, the fake-news schemes have been exposed and executives of the sites that allegedly participated in them are taking steps to correct the programs that allowed these transgressions to occur in the first place. But this experience has understandably left a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths: We trusted ‘X’ to tell us the truth! They lied to us/I believed what they said! What does that say about me?

As I explained in my blog titled Time Flies When I’m On-Line, it is very easy to become overloaded by sensory stimuli while we are on the Internet or even watching television and drift into a state of trance (hyper-suggestibility). Here are a few suggestions to prevent this from happening:
·         Regularly count yourself out of the trance state by saying, “One, two, three, four, five, eyes open [say your name], wide awake.” This mantra will help you immediately return to an alert and less suggestible state of awareness.
·         Get in the habit of walking away from the computer, put down the hand-held device or turn off/change the channel on the television or radio and do something different for a little while. Take this time while you are off-line to think critically about what you have read or heard. Does it make sense to you? Consider possible flaws in that original argument. If necessary, give yourself permission to imagine there are other possible explanations and imagine what an alternative scenario might be. How does that picture feel to you?
·         Have a nutritious snack that includes some protein to stabilize your blood-sugar level and thus minimize potential irritability, frustration and over-reaction to what is going on around you. This step will help you remain more objective and patient to listen to and even consider opposite points of view as you come to your own decision about what you have heard, seen or read.
·         Remember, you are most suggestible to yourself. If you (your conscious mind) don’t like or do not feel comfortable with the information you are hearing and/or the way you are behaving, decide to make a change. That change may simply be to log-off the computer, change the channel/switch off the TV or radio, or learning how to relax and think/evaluate situations around you more critically rather than automatically react to them. Hypnotherapy is great for that, too.

Sara R. Fogan, C.Ht. is a certified hypnotherapist based in Southern California. She graduated with honors from the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in 2005. For more information about Calminsense Hypnotherapy® and to set up an appointment, please visit
© 2016

Friday, December 2, 2016

Thoughts of the Day

Photo by Sara Fogan

      Every now and then I like (and need) to take a few moments and remind myself about what is really important to me, in my life. If you follow me on my Calminsense Hypnotherapy Facebook page you may have seen some of these quotes before on this page, or will in the future. Many of these Quotes of the Day are beautiful examples and illustrations of the work I do as a hypnotherapist, so I will probably draw on them in future essays.

  • “Dream-killers are everywhere. Don't share your dreams with everyone—be selective.” – Bille Baty

  • Truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it, ignorance may deride it, malice may distort it, but there it is.” Winston Churchill

  • Never give up on a dream just because of the length of time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” – H. Jackson Brown

  • “Effective leaders are made, not born.” – Colin Powell

  • “Sometimes you just need to disconnect and enjoy your own company.” – Unknown

  • “Life is short. Take the trip. Buy the shoes. Eat the cake.” – Bella Bianca

  • “There are no accidents... there is only some purpose that we haven't yet understood.” Deepak Chopra

  • “Begin with the end in mind. Start with the end outcome and work backwards to make your dream possible.” – Wayne Dyer

  • “Potential counts for nothing until it’s realized.” – Lolly Daskal

Sara R. Fogan, C.Ht. is a certified clinical hypnotherapist based in Southern California. She graduated with honors from the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in 2005. For more information about Calminsense Hypnotherapy® and to set up an appointment, please visit
© 2016

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Gift

“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift.
That is why they call it ‘the present.’” – Unknown

Photo by Rick Hustead

My grandfather liked to quote the above saying from time to time, but I never really understood the true meaning of that sentiment until I became an adult. Even now it can still sometimes be tough to find a positive aspect to a difficult or challenging situation after the fact, let alone at the time it is going on. However, it is this ability to see the “bright side” or even find a hidden blessing in misfortune that increases our courage, fortitude and ability to handle or even avoid a similar situation in the future.

Hypnosis Motivation Institute founder John Kappas, Ph.D. often advised people to “turnit around!” when they were faced with an uncomfortable or difficult situation. Rather than focus on the unpleasant details or challenges you might be experiencing at the moment, look for a positive aspect/redeeming quality or lesson that could be learned from it. If you have a misunderstanding with a family member or even a colleague at work, consider what circumstances led up to the argument. Perhaps you or the other person misunderstood the meaning or intent behind something that was said. The lesson or “gift” of that experience would be that in the future, you would be more thoughtful and careful about what and how you communicated a thought or idea. You would also understand that it might be prudent to ask questions and clarify the meaning of what you believe you heard or saw before making any judgment about an incident.

But the greatest benefit of considering the present as a true gift is that you can approach each new day and situation with appreciation for the opportunities, wisdom and pleasure the experience can offer. The subconscious mind may try to challenge this more carefree, appreciative perspective about the unknown with cautionary memories about a similar situation that may not have worked out. You may even experience uncomfortable physiological symptoms of anxiety that are further exacerbated by a sudden drop in blood-sugar level if you happen to be hungry at the time. But this reaction is merely the subconscious mind’s reference to a previous subconscious mental script that likes and wants to attach old meanings to a new experience. No matter how many similarities exist between those experiences to make the outcome somewhat predictable, each one is inherently unique and therefore deserves to be enjoyed and appreciated for what it is: A gift.

Sara R. Fogan, C.Ht. is a certified hypnotherapist based in Southern California. She graduated with honors from the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in 2005. For more information about Calminsense Hypnotherapy® and to set up an appointment, please visit

© 2016