Monday, June 18, 2018

Utility of Worry

“Worry is like going around in circles with one foot nailed to the floor.”
Women Who Do Too Much Day Calendar (February 11, 2015)

Photo by Rick Hustead

Worrying can seem like a very useful activity because it always gives us something to do. It is a way to stay (or just look) busy when our time is not otherwise occupied doing something else, like completing that task we keep putting off. As a writer of the philosophy for the January 1, 2015 page in the Women Who Do Too Much, page-a-day calendar wrote, “[Worry] is a great way to occupy and fill up our time.” 

Indeed, worrying is a great way to avoid actually facing a possible negative outcome to a project we started. For example, if we keep so busy fretting about how to actually accomplish “x” that we inadvertently somehow manage to miss our deadline or opportunity at least we won’t have to face the embarrassment of a possible failure. Right? Wrong.

Similarly, when we worry that a prospective romantic partner may not reciprocate our interest or feelings in a relationship we want to pursue, we often pile on so many negative thoughts about our self-worth to “prepare” ourselves for possible rejection. Instead of cushioning what we believe is an inevitable emotional blow such negative “chatter” more likely sets us up for disappointment. For one thing, we are more attractive to other people when we exude self-confidence and, yes, self-love: It’s as if we are sending out a beacon that says, “Of course I am loveable/desirable/interesting.” If nothing else, worrying that the other person might reject our romantic overtures can ultimately undermine the opportunity for creating a strong emotional connection with that person because fear has prevented us from making that initial contact.

While I was completing my hypnotherapy certification at the Hypnosis Motivation Institute, one of my favorite instructors, the late Marc Gravelle often warned us about the perils of “toxic worry.” Basically, toxic worry is the trap (never-ending circle) of wondering “What if X happens…?” and then even worrying about being worried about that dilemma. And still, nothing gets solved or resolved except increased anxiety and distress. This training and my experiences as a hypnotherapist have taught me to re-adjust my attitude and expectations about situations that previously would have sucked me into that whirlpool of toxic worry. These days I can quickly activate the reasoning, logic, will-power and decision-making faculties in my conscious mind to determine whether I can do something productive to change or improve a challenging situation—and then take that positive action. If there isn’t an opportunity to make this kind of positive change, then I can choose to not worry about it and move on to something (or someone) that will offer an opportunity for positive self-growth that I desire. 

For more information about toxic worry, check out my blogs titled Toxic Worry and Hypnotherapy and a Different Perspective.

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
© 2018

Friday, June 15, 2018

Thoughts of the Day

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.

  • “You may only be someone in the world, but to someone else, you may be the world.” – Unknown

  • “The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind.” – Caroline Myss

  • “Beauty begins the moment you start being yourself.” – Coco Chanel

  • “In order to get to where you want to go, you must take action to move from where you are.” – Bruce Van Horn

  • “The best way to prepare for the future is to take care of the present.” – Lolly Daskal

  • "One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power." – Anthony Robbins

  • “Perseverance is failing nineteen times and succeeding the twentieth.” – Julie Andrews

  • “When you make a choice, you change the future.” – Deepak Chopra

  • “I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.” – Plutarch

  • “Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.” – Steven Wright

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
© 2018

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Jumping to Conclusions

(This blog was originally posted on August 24, 2018)

Image courtesy of Fotilia

Children are cautioned to not jump to any conclusions about what they might have seen or heard on the playground because it might not be accurate or true. Scientists must follow specific research guidelines when they conduct an experiment to ensure that what they observe in the lab is a legitimate result and not a fluke produced by confounding data. Criminal investigators are also expected to follow a protocol when they collect clues so they can correctly deduce not only who committed a crime but also know when and how it was done. Without this information, there can be no case to prosecute; and if the evidence is incorrect or prejudiced, the mystery will not be solved. Despite these warnings, it can be very hard to resist the temptation to fill in the blanks and provide some kind of answer to an unusual situation, even if our explanation is equally likely to be wrong.
Two stories have been featured in the news recently that likely fall into the category of erroneous conclusions versus actual fact. The first addresses the constant rumors that the Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant again. Speculation about her being pregnant really amped up a couple of days ago when some photographs were released that showed Kate clutching a handbag in front of her abdomen. The fact that she and Prince William are apparently planning to stay at their new home this month is only adding fuel to people’s new-baby theory. Why else would they stay home, right?
In the second story, a security camera recently filmed a grainy image of a large cat- or dog-like animal prowling a neighborhood in Norwalk, California. Local residents and wildlife experts have pitched different explanations for the creature: it’s a cougar; no it’s a large dog; uh-uh, it’s an African lion that escaped from the zoo, and so on. Television viewers and social media are also discussing a possible identity of the mystery animal; I have even heard speculations about it being a cross between a large dog and a mountain lion (unlikely). Having said that, as I am writing this blog no one has identified the animal; however, one biologist speculated that it could also be an African lion which someone is keeping illegally as an exotic pet.
I am fascinated with these stories not because of their content, but how people react and respond to them. I am interested in which message units and subconscious knowns these news reports trigger in us that we want to look for reasons, information and explanations to support our beliefs about what is really going on in these situations. Not knowing something or not having a believable explanation is uncomfortable, even painful. As John Kappas, Ph.D. explained in his Theory of Mind, the subconscious mind will default to a story or mental script that it already knows and is comfortable with to avoid the discomfort of not knowing. This is true even when the conscious mind also doubts that this script is accurate.
Perhaps our fascination with the Duchess of Cambridge stems from all those fairy tales we were told during childhood, stories about beautiful women who married a handsome prince and went on to live happily ever after. Lo and behold, fairytales obviously do come true because look at the Duchess of Cambridge: She grew up (sort of) like “one of us,” fell in love with a handsome prince and married an heir to the British throne. Now, people want to know everything about her, and when that information isn’t forthcoming, they look for “clues” or evidence that will support their ideas about what her life is like. Rumor has it that they want to have another baby, and Kate had such bad morning sickness last time; it just makes more sense that they want to stay in England right now. It just doesn’t make sense to us that she and Prince William would rather spend their summer vacation setting up their new home and hanging out with their son instead of jetting off to an exotic location. No, the real reason they aren’t going away must be that she is pregnant again, right? Well, that’s our story, and we’re sticking to it. And so on.
As for that mysterious animal in Norwalk, human mythology is rife with tales about mysterious creatures of the night. It is fun to imagine what this one is and how it got here. We ultimately may learn that it is just a very large dog that jumped out of its yard, or a mountain lion that came down from wherever to scavenge for food and water. However, the grainy quality of the surveillance video combined with the eerie night lighting and the ambiguous form prowling around a peaceful neighborhood set our imaginations into overdrive. The fact that no one knew what it was gave us license to imagine what it could be.
Stay tuned…

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
© 2018