Why I Use Self-Hypnosis

Tried and True: Hypnosis to ease anxiety and to promote better sleep

A few weeks ago, I was faced with a big decision–the teeth-grinding, jaw-locking (literally) kind of decision that I wrestled with on so many levels. On the outside, it looked like the perfect opportunity; I fell in love with it the way that you fall in love with a pair of shoes that would be perfect if it weren’t for the fact that they were a size too small.

As I wrestled with the decision, I think my subconscious mind knew exactly what to do. Every once in awhile–standing at the kitchen sink, sitting in the car, in the inky blackness before sleep–I’d burst out saying, “I don’t think this is going to work.” It was loud and clear, but my conscious mind kept trying to shoot it down.

The subconscious carries incredible power, not just to tell you when you’re about to do something you’ll regret later (that “gut reaction”), but also to put you on the right path. During the period I was struggling with this decision I woke up with lockjaw five or six nights in a row. I noticed that I was hungry all the time. I wasn’t sleeping well. When I finally paid attention to my subconscious screaming at me, I remembered that hypnosis had gotten me through similar situations in the past, and I turned back to it for relief.

It worked.

What is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a deep state of relaxation, similar to that state just before you fall asleep, when you can still hear dogs barking in the distance or people speaking in another room. Unlike depictions in the media, you’re aware of your surroundings and actions while under hypnosis. Hypnosis is useful for changing habits or starting new ones; things like beginning an exercise program, calming anxiety, or becoming more productive. For those who can be hypnotized, it’s also an excellent way to manage pain.

Hypnotherapist Dr. John Ryder does a better job of explaining it:

“Do you remember getting lost in thought? The most common example is when you are in a car, bus, or train, thinking about something until you get surprised, catching yourself reaching your stop or exit and you return to the normal alert state of awareness. That is a typical example of a trance, your mind being in two places at the same time.”

How to Hypnotize Yourself

Self-hypnosis can be as simple as becoming very relaxed and repeating a mantra to yourself, but since I have a busy mind, I turn to a series of apps which use recordings and something called a “Hypnotic Booster” (a white noise that makes me feel like I’m floating in the ocean).

You can use hypnosis at any time of day but I do it at night, and it never fails to help me fall asleep. Here are the steps:

  1. Get very comfortable. Lie down or sit in a recliner.
  2. Put on headphones or ear buds. Turn off your ringer, text alerts, etc. Turn on the recording.
  3. Relax! Listen to the recording, which will take you through some breathing and visualization exercises. It’s not necessary to listen intently; think of it as background noise. You may fall asleep. That’s great! In fact, that’s my favorite part.

I’ve had success with the recordings from Surf City Apps (which has a huge range, including relief from migraines, smoking cessation, and enjoyment of exercise recordings), as well as the Happy App.

The older I get, the more I find that alternatives to traditional medicine generally work best for the treatment of these kinds of small, nagging problems. Have you ever tried hypnosis with any success? I’d love to hear about your experiences.




The Upside of Mercury Retrograde

The Upside to Mercury Retrograde // Frock Files

We’re smack in the middle of Mercury Retrograde, which is a period when Mercury slows down and appears to begin moving backward (an optical illusion, but that’s where it got the title “retrograde”). Three times a year, for three weeks, Mercury Retrograde pops up and causes all kinds of problems with communication, technology, and transportation. A couple of years ago, James got three flat tires in two days during Mercury Retrograde. This year, I’ve found that I’m running into all kinds of frustrating communication issues. And it seems to be happening to all of my friends and family members too!

So it can be hard to see the good things about Mercury Retrograde, but since it happens to take up a whopping nine weeks every year, I figured there must be an upside. As we’ve been slammed with snow out here on the East Coast, I’ve come to the realization that Mercury Retrograde is a little bit like a blizzard. Yeah, you probably won’t be able to go anywhere. You might even lose power. But it gives you the time to hunker down and really think about where you want to go from here.

Here’s what the experts have to say about how to get the most out of Mercury Retrograde:

The Upside to Mercury Retrograde // Frock Files“You can take those big ideas left simmering on the back burner and bring them forward. Finish something you started a long time ago. Complete items on your nagging long-overdue list.” – Slade Roberson


The Upside to Mercury Retrograde // Frock Files“Eventually, when this retrograde is over, the more positive side of Mercury in Aquarius will take over. The ideas and solutions that are proposed are truly innovative and better thought out, and more likely to work. They are likely to be both brilliant and practical solutions.” – Larry Schwimmer for the Huffington Post

“This period is best used for re-organizing and reflecting. We look at the world a little differently–through different filters–and can come up with some very important inner revelations.” – Cafe Astrology

As someone who generally acts quickly on decisions, I’ve begun to appreciate Mercury Retrograde for the time it gives me to pause and consider the long term impact of my choices. I’ve also used it as a period to dig into a few projects that have been pushed to the back burner. It’s an excellent time to get into “head down” mode so that there’s a new foundation for greater momentum once Mercury speeds up again on February 11.

How have you been faring during this round of Mercury Retrograde?

P.S. It looks like our pal Phil saw his shadow this morning, predicting another six weeks of winter. Please excuse me while I go and watch another episode of Hawaii Life.

How Target is Making Life More Efficient

How Target is Making Life More Efficient | Frock Files

The other afternoon, my boss asked how I was coping with our recent run of bad luck and I confessed that I’ve taken to eating cereal for dinner since James isn’t usually home. “I can’t figure out how to fit everything into one day and still have the energy to eat anything that takes more than two minutes to make,” I said.

My boss, who has a full-time job and three very active children, said, “That’s why I do all my shopping online.”


Only, even when I remember to do the shopping I usually end up forgetting something crucial.

So I was thrilled to learn that Target now offers a subscription service, through which you can have those household necessities delivered on a schedule. If you find that you don’t need laundry detergent every month but instead every six weeks, you can easily log in and make the adjustment yourself. Here are the categories you can order subscription items from:

Target Subscription Service

By wiping all of those last minute shopping trips off my to do list, I’ll be saving myself hours each week. We’ll also be saving money, since you receive a 5% discount off of subscription items plus another 5% discount if you use your Target REDcard.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of all is that I don’t have to dedicate any more room in my brain to panicking over whether or not our toilet paper supply will last until I get to the store, or if we’ll have coffee when we’re bleary eyed on Monday morning.

Even after all this craziness ends (and it will end, right?), we’ll be happy to have this tool to get us one step closer to an orderly life.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Target. The opinions and text are all mine.


Calligraphy Workshops with Bedsidesign

Bedsidesign Calligraphy Workshops in New England! | Frock Files

A year ago, I shot these photos for my friend Christie, who was just launching her calligraphy business. She had quit her full-time job to jump into entrepreneurship feet first, and since then her business has blossomed.

I’m so thrilled that she’ll be coming to the Greater Boston area to teach a calligraphy workshop at Mill No. 5, which is one of the coolest spaces ever. The three-hour workshop includes instruction, your very own calligraphy kit, a swag bag, and local delicacies. I’ve been wanting to learn calligraphy for years and years, and I’m beyond excited that I’ll get to learn it from Christie.

If you live in New England, I hope you’ll join us for an afternoon/evening of learning, style, and fun. I’ll be at the 12-3pm workshop and I would love to meet you!

P.S. Christie is also teaching classes in Philadelphia and Syracuse this fall!




Life Update: Better and Better!

Back when I lived in Portland, one of my favorite kids used to say that she was getting “biy-tter and biy-tter” (better and better), and that’s what echoes in my mind each day! The Doxycycline used to treat Lyme knocked me out for a few days, and while I’m not back to normal yet, I’m definitely functional.

Better and Better | Frock Files

For privacy reasons, I won’t divulge too much about what’s going on with my father-in-law. That said, it turns out that we’ve been right about one thing all along–he’s truly one in a million. In fact, that’s the likelihood of getting the virus that he’s been diagnosed with. We’re so lucky to live in Massachusetts with such world class facilities and doctors. It’s a long road ahead for him, but he’s a fighter.

What got me through last week–which involved many days in the hospital, lots of time in bed, and even a car accident–was filling up on beauty. I finished The Opposite of Loneliness, listened to a lot of music, and caught up on my favorite blogs. I missed my dance classes but I got to watch this absolutely gorgeous number, which made my heart swell the way dance always does. It is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. I thought you might like it too.

Thank you, as always, for your kind thoughts and friendship.

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