How do you change how you think and how your feel?

What can you do when you are struggling with mental and emotional issues like depression, anxiety, worry, stress, or low self esteem?  How do you change and upgrade how you think and how you feel?  With the Hope for Healing program, you have more power than you may realize.  We have a proven system to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety; and to build happiness, confidence, and self esteem.

In a nutshell, the Hope for Healing program consists of organizing simple emotional wellness tools into an effective progressive schedule that includes a short morning routine, a simple daily task, and a short evening routine.  Following this simple program consistently brings about significant changes in the way a person thinks and feels and I’ll explain how and why it works.

Not just an “emotional issue”

Feelings of depression, anxiety, low self esteem, low self confidence, worry, etc. are not just emotional issues.  Our mental, emotional and physical well being are all interconnected.  As we learn more about the function of the brain we gain greater awareness that there are chemical reactions that influence the way we feel and the way we think. 

In order to heal from depression, anxiety, worry, stress, low self esteem, etc. we need to successfully do two things: first, we need to alter the chemistry in our bodies and our brains, and second, we need to redirect the focus of a particular system in the brain called the RAS or Reticular Activating System. 

In order to heal from depression, anxiety, worry, stress, low self esteem, low self-confidence, etc. we need to successfully do two things:

  • first, we need to alter the chemistry in our bodies and our brains, and
  • second, we need to redirect the focus of the RAS or Reticular Activating System to change the programs of our subconscious.

Changing chemistry

Let’s start with the chemistry of the brain.  There are valid, physiological and chemical explanations for feelings of depression, anxiety and so on.  It’s not just simply a matter of “snapping out of it.”  This is why professional help and medication are so beneficial for anxiety and depression.  But in addition to those options, it’s also possible for a person to create changes in their body chemistry by their actions.  Through MRI scans we have proof that changes in thinking and behavior can cause measurable changes in brain chemistry and function.

Let me repeat that.  We can do things that alter the chemistry in our brains.  

There’s a whole branch of science called epigenetics dedicated to research on how our attitudes and behaviors can positively or negatively affect our health.  The new findings are great news because it means that we can change many things about the way we are, including our mental and emotional health.  We have more power than you might think and that’s exciting. 

Quick example

I’ll give a quick example.  You can increase confidence and boost mood in just 90 seconds by doing this one simple trick.  Put your chin up, smile (even if you don’t feel like it). Pull your shoulders back, stand straight and tall with your hands relaxed at your sides or on your hips.  Keep both feet pointing forward and keep weight even on both legs. Hold this position for 90 seconds.

Science shows that doing these things will not only make you appear more confident and happy; it actually makes you feel more confident and happy.  Charles Darwin was actually the first to hypothesize that there is a connection between body language and our emotion that goes both ways.  We smile when we feel good, but we also feel good when we smile.

Today that theory is called the facial feedback hypothesis and it has been verified in study after study after study. The physical expressions of our body language influence our emotional experience and it does it on a physiological, chemical level.

Standing tall, pulling the shoulders back, and raising the chin causes a slight increase in the level of testosterone which boosts confidence, while simultaneously lowering the level of stress hormones.  Furthermore, smiling, even if it’s a fake or forced smile, stimulates the production of mood-enhancing neurotransmitters in the brain that can help us feel better.  So by doing a simple action that takes less than two minutes, we can modify the levels of chemicals in our body to increase confidence, boost mood, and relieve stress and the effects can last for a couple hours.

Our body language, our actions, our words, and our thoughts can affect the chemistry in our body which in turn affects the way that we feel. 

Don’t think that it will be easy or that a change will occur overnight.  It won’t be like flipping on a lightswitch.  It is gradual, like a sunrise, and requires small, consistent, positive action steps. 

What is the “RAS” and why does it matter?

In addition to altering the chemistry in our bodies, we need to redirect the focus of a sytem in our brain called the Reticular Activating System or RAS in order to heal from depression, anxiety, worry, stress, low self-esteem, etc.  

There is a network of neurons located in the brain stem called the Reticular Activating System (or RAS) which is the gateway into the brain. All of the sensory information that we encounter first enters through the RAS which determines where to send it.  The Reticular Activating System acts as a filter so we don’t become overwhelmed by an overload of information.

The job of the RAS is very important because it is estimated that the human brain takes in 11 million bits of information every second, but on average we’re only consciously aware of 40 bits of information per second.  So when I say that the RAS filters information, I’m not talking about filtering out a little bit of information, I’m talking about a major filtration process reducing input from 11 million down to 40.  It is the job of the RAS to decide what is important and what can be safely ignored.  When the RAS is deficient, such as in cases of autism, ADD, and ADHD, too much information is allowed into the conscious mind and it causes a sensory overload and a difficulty in concentration and ability to focus.  So the job of the RAS is very important to our safety, comfort, and functionality.

What is considered “important”?

However, the next question is, or should be, how does the RAS decide which information is important?  It makes those decisions based on automatic programming that you and I created without even being aware of it.  It is done on a subconscious level and is largely determined by what we focus on.  If we spend a lot of time focusing on a particular thing, then the automatic subconscious programming of the RAS assumes that information must be important.

That’s why when you’re trying to buy a new car and have been researching a particular make and model, all of the sudden you start to notice that car everywhere.  Or if you’re expecting a baby, all of a sudden you see pregnant women everywhere.  The truth is that the cars and those expectant mothers were there all along, but the RAS considered that information to be something that was safe to ignore.  However, now that you’re focusing on it, the RAS figures that it must be important so it points them out for you.

How this natural system affects mental and emotional issues

This normal and natural system of the RAS causes some problems when we’re dealing with mental and emotional issues such as depression, anxiety, and low self esteem.  A person who is struggling with depression is often focused on thoughts like: my life is miserable, people would be better off without me, there is no hope, etc.  A person who is struggling with feelings of anxiety is often focused on thoughts like: I’m not safe, I’m in danger, etc.  A person who is struggling with feelings of low self esteem often has circulating thoughts like: I’m not good enough, nobody likes me, I’m a failure, etc.  Because these are the predominant thought patterns, the RAS uses this as the basis for determining what is important.

This means that anything that doesn’t support those negative feelings are filtered out and the only information that enters the conscious are those things that support the depression, anxiety, low self esteem, failure mentality, etc.  This strengthens and builds on the problem by continually adding “evidence” that the feelings of depression, anxiety, worry or low self esteem are valid, and the situation becomes progressively worse.

However, if we conciously change the focus of our words and our thoughts, then the RAS allows in positive thoughts, happiness, confidence, success, feelings of peace and safety, etc.  As the subconscious programming changes, it changes the way we feel and the way we view the world around us.  

There will be obstacles

Change is not easy.  In fact the process of change can be worse for a while than just experiencing the feelings of depression, anxiety, low self worth, etc.

One of the reasons that it is so difficult is the automatic programming that is already in place in our subconsious mind.  For example, the Reticular Activating System or RAS has a job to do and it takes its job seriously.  When your automatic subconscious programming is focused on being miserable, discouraged, fearful, worried, worthless, hopeless, and helpless, then the RAS figures that these are the things that are important, so it filters out anything that isn’t miserable, hopeless, helpless, discouraging, etc.  Furthermore, when we make a conscious effort to say or do something that is contrary to the current subconscious programming, the subconscious considers this a dangerous threat and sends out a warning that in order to be safe, you need to go back.

When that warning hits, it feels like running into an impenetrable wall, and people naturally give up.  When I was going through this process, I hit that wall immediately and I wanted to give up on day one.  It’s difficult to adequately describe, but it literally felt like I was going to die.  I felt all the emotional and physiological symptoms as if my life was being threatened, and my subconscious warned me that the only safe option was to quit and go back.  It was awful. Indescribably awful.

Emotional first aid kit to the rescue

Fortunately, I had been warned that this would happen so I knew what to do.  To get through that wall I used one of the tools in my emotional first aid kit.  An emotional first aid kit is a list of simple tools or actions that cause an immediate, although temporary, positive effect, like singing for example, and that’s what I did.  I cranked up one of Shakira’s songs, called Try Anything from the movie Zootopia and sang along.

I’ll quickly explain why singing would help.  Singing has been scientifically proven to lower stress, relieve anxiety, and elevate endorphins which make you feel uplifted and happy.  It helps relax muscle tension and decreases the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the blood stream.  It can also help take your mind off your troubles to boost your mood.  Research shows that our brain waves actually synchronize somewhat with the rhythm of the music which can calm us down or boost our energy and motivation depending on our need and the type of music we’re using.  

In addition to these benefits, scientists have identified a tiny organ in the ear called the sacculus, which responds to the frequencies created by singing.  The response creates an immediate sense of pleasure, regardless of what the singing sounds like so you don’t have to have an amazing voice to feel the positive effects of singing.

Participants in one study showed significant decreases in both anxiety and depression levels after one month of simply adding singing to their daily routine.  Listening to music and singing are powerful tools in our arsenal to fight against depression.  

In my case, when I hit this wall, singing a song through once wasn’t enough, I had to repeat it three times before the feelings of panic that my life was in mortal danger subsided, and I knew I would survive.

Counter intuitive?

The remedy is surprisingly simple, but it takes some courage to follow through.  Remember that I was in a situation where I literally felt like my life was being threatened and that I was going to die and the correct response to those feelings was to sing a song?!  That felt really counter intuitive.

Think about it for a minute, if you’re watching a movie and a monster is chasing somebody, they don’t jump out and sing a song, they hide or run away.  If they sing a song, then the monster will find them and eat them, but if they hide or run away there’s a chance of escape.  The natural response when you’re feeling threatened is to hide or run away.  It takes courage to do something different.  It gets easier when you’ve tried it a few times and know for yourself that it works, but it’s challenging, especially at first.  

Either YOU become stronger or the WALL becomes stronger

Walls are going to happen. It’s not a matter of if, but when.  And there will likely be more than one, but there are ways to push through these walls and keep going.  When you push through, you become stronger, but I need to warn you that if you give up, the walls become stronger.  

If we continue to push through these walls and keep going, then our thoughts and feelings slowly change and the RAS naturally adjusts its programming to allow positive input without fighting or outright rejecting it.

A temporary setback

So this fight with our subconscious and our RAS is temporary during a transition period, but it is also inevitable, and this causes many people to give up because they don’t understand what’s happening.  All they know is that there is a warning voice in their head that they’re not safe and so they quit and retreat.

Some people may even say, “Oh, I’ve tried emotional wellness tools, and they don’t work.”  Well, chances are that they did try one or even a couple and then they hit a wall when their subconscious warned them that they weren’t safe so they stopped and gave up.

Giving up doesn’t create positive change and healing; but small, consistent, positive action steps do.

The Hope for Healing Program empowers people to take control of their lives

But because you read this article, you have greater knowledge.  Now if you hit a wall you will know what is happening, why it’s happening, and what to do about it

This knowledge empowers us to be able to get past roadblocks that might impede our growth, progress and healing.  You can do this! And I promise that it’s worth it! 

While healing from depression or any mental and emotional issue isn’t quick or easy, we  have more power and control that most people realize.  The secret is to start small and take a single step, followed by another step and another step.  Taking the first step is usually the hardest, but one simple step can significantly boost your mood and energy for several hours, which can put you in a good place to take a second step.   The Hope for Healing program guides you through a process of small positive steps day by day that lifts the heavy fog of depression, anxiety, worry, low self esteem, etc. to reveal the sunshine of hope, happiness, confidence, self worth, and feelings of peace and safety.  This process really works.  I know because it worked for me.

Personal experience

I spent about five years struggling with debilitating depression.  It felt as if I had fallen into a pit of despair that was so deep that no sunlight, hope, or happiness could enter.  There were no windows or doors in this dark abyss and I couldn’t see any means of escape.  I thought the best I could hope for was to endure through each day.  And then someone offered me the hope that there was something I could do to become happy again.  It was as if she presented me with a ladder and invited me to climb out of my darkness.  I didn’t believe that it would work, but I was desperate enough to give it a try and that decision changed my life.

The steps were simple, but it wasn’t easy.  Yes, it’s hard, but you can do hard things.  You are already doing hard things. 

 

Hope for Healing Program – you have more power and control than you may realize

In conclusion, we have more power over depression and anxiety than we may realize.  We have more power over feeling worthy of love and belonging than we may realize.  We have more power over self esteem and confidence than we may realize.  The secret is to start small and take a single step, followed by another step and another step. Using an emotional first aid kit to work through the walls that present themselves.  The Hope for Healing program consists of small, consistent action steps that bring about positive change and healing.  This process really works; it is based on sound scientific principles and verified by personal experience.  It worked for me and it can work for you.

An invitation

I invite you to join with me in making the world a better place by working on the only person you truly have the power to change… yourself.  Please accept our invitation to do something today that your future self will thank you for.  Hope for Healing has a proven system to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety and to build confidence and self esteem.  We also have blog articles and a list of suggested resources to assist you on your journey.  You deserve a life filled with love, happiness, belonging, positive self worth, confidence, success, and joyful relationships.  These things are possible and attainable.  You can do this!

FAQs

Q.  Is the Hope for Healing program expensive?

A. No.  At Hope for Healing our primary objective is to help as many people as possible to heal and experience joy in their lives.  That’s why the basic Hope for Healing program is available to download for free on our website.  We offer a free guidebook called Pathway to Happiness  that contains the tools, information and plan to help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, relieve stress, and to increase joy, confidence, and self esteem.

Pathway to Happiness is designed to be flexible in order to meet a variety of  needs.  You create your own wellness goals and choose from a wide selection of wellness tools to suit your particular needs.  It is a simple step-by-step action plan to awaken the answers that are already inside of you. 

If you prefer a paperback version, Pathway to Happiness and the Pathway to Happiness worksheets are available for purchase on Amazon for under $20.  If you prefer more detailed guidance and direction, we recommend 30 Days to Alleviate Depression which is a simple, easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide for alleviating symptoms of depression available for purchase on Amazon for under $30.  That’s a 30 day course for under a dollar a day.  (More guide books will be available soon.)  We also recommend reading Crushed,” a real life personal narrative of the amazing transformative process that comes from following this simple program.

 

Q. Are the emotional wellness tools (or action steps) in the Hope for Healing program difficult or time consuming?

A. No. The Hope for Healing emotional wellness tools (or action steps) are simple and don’t take a lot of time.  The plan is organized into a short morning routine that takes about 15 minutes, an evening routine that takes about 15 minutes and a daily action step that can take as little as 15 minutes.  Whoever you are and whatever your circumstances, this is simple enough that you can do this.

 

Q. How soon can I expect to see results?

A. Most people begin to see noticeable positive results from following the Hope for Healing program within 30 days. However, complete healing takes longer.  It is important to continue using simple positive action steps to maintain and continue to progress towards complete healing.

Click on an image below to learn more.

30 Days to Alleviate Depression is an easy-to-follow guidebook to help alleviate symptoms of depression.   Complete, step by step coaching guides you through each day explaining not only what to do, but why it works. 

Pathway to Happiness is a guidebook to help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, relieve stress, and to increase joy, confidence and self esteem.  Unlock the answers that are already inside you.  Availble to download for free on the Hope for Healing website.

Crushed: A Journey Through Depression is an inspiring true story of triumph over despair so relatable and unflinchingly honest that you’ll wonder if you’re reading your own story and will start believing in your own happy ending.

Emotional First Aid Kit

An emotional first aid kit can provide an immediate, although temporary, positive effect on the way we think and feel.  Having an emotional first aid kit readily available can help people who are struggling with symptoms of depression, anxiety, low self esteem, or other mental and emotional issues.  

What to do when you hit an emotional wall

Why is it that people start off with great intentions towards change and self improvement only to become discouraged and give up?  This article explains why that might happen and how to work through emotional walls when they arise.  Being properly informed empowers us to keep going and experience healing, peace, and growth.

How does worry and stress affect your health?

Worry and emotional stress can trigger a host of health problems. Including:

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