Betty W. Phillips, Ph.D., Psychology
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Why Settle For Less Than Happiness?



Why Settle for Less than Happiness? 


 We all want lives of happiness and joy, and you may have noticed that title in my ads.  However, with all the stress and distress in our lives lately, you may be feeling cynical and pessimistic about that topic. It seems like we're born with problems and live with the same old problems and nothing seems to get dramatically better.  Therapy seems like it might just be talk, talk, talk about problems. Well, listen up! The new science has uncovered amazing possibilities for change in the human condition, and psychology is starting to take notice.  I'll tell you a few of the interesting new findings starting to appear in the literature which have direct implications for improving all our lives.


Did you know that your brain is being recycled and reconstructed about once every other month? Every single cell in your body is replaced every seven years. You seem like you have the same old self and possibly you do if you don't program for positive life changes.  Alternatively, you may find that stress and negativity repeated in a habitual fashion will cause your body and mind to break down causing depression, disease and eventually dementia. But at least you have a choice!


The science of quantum physics opened up our understanding of the universe, showing that all matter is composed and controlled by energy. The old concepts of neural conduction and chemical signaling are much too slow to explain many human processes, for instance, as to how a batter can hit a baseball. Research has found that electromagnetic signals are 100 times more efficient than hormones and neurotransmitters in relating information within biological systems. According to  Dr. Dawson Church, epigeneticist,  the body's regulatory chemicals may travel less than a centimeter in a second while an electromagnetic wave could have traveled three-quarters of the distance to the moon in that time!  All this information opens up many possibilities for innovative healing.  Energy psychology is in the process of developing interesting new counseling techniques to add to the methods we are currently employing.


Most of our current therapeutic modalities operate through the conscious mind. Our conscious mind thinks abstractly, sets goals and judges results and is often very effective in helping individuals achieve more satisfying life patterns and happiness. When we target only our conscious mind, however, we may be ignoring other more powerful interventions which affect the subconscious mind. The conscious mind actually has limited processing capacity, according to one data source averaging 40 bits of information per second compared to the subconscious mind which has an accelerated processing speed of 40 million bits of information per second.  Why is there such a difference? The subconscious mind must monitor all our bodily functions including habits and reaction patterns important to our survival. Most of these patterns are developed and become functional within the first six years of life. However we also know that many subconscious beliefs are ineffective and self-limiting, constraining our feelings about such important topics as self-esteem, health, personal power and relationships, causing much of the anxiety, depression, guilt, shame and blame we experience in our lives. We now know that young children’s brain waves remain primarily in delta in the first two years of life, then theta until alpha waves begin to predominate around age six. This means that the subconscious foundations of our mental processing are laid down before we are able to conceptualize and reason.  This also means that much of our emotional and mental processing is exceedingly difficult to change with traditional therapy methods.  There is an exciting new therapy method called Psych-K which was developed to intervene in our subconscious personality structure and change these self-limiting beliefs.


We used to believe that our genes were fixed influences in large measure determining the course of our mental and physical health. We now know that thoughts, feelings and environmental influences actually change chemical balances throughout the body producing neuropeptides which switch genes on and off as the body grows and repairs itself. This is actually the basis for the mysterious placebo effect wherein beliefs and positive suggestions can cause radical physical and mental changes.  Sugar pills and fake operations do cure disease.  Fascinating placebo results are found, for example that placebo morphine pills are more effective than placebo aspirin pills and expensive placebo pills are more effective than cheap placebo pills. In one research study college students actually became intoxicated when presented with placebo alcohol drinks in a bar setting. The converse to the positive placebo, the nocebo effect, occurs when negative influences such as incorrect medical diagnoses produce harmful illness or even death.


Did you realize that the brain may not actually differentiate between actions and visualizations?  Scientists at the University of Iowa demonstrated that muscle strength can be increased using only imagination comparable to actual workouts as long as the entire mental workout was completed. In another study Harvard researchers found that brain scan changes were comparable in groups of people playing piano notes versus those who simply imagined the piano exercise.  While all visualizations are not equally successful, research is continuing into techniques to best use this information for healing.


My message for you is that science is discovering exciting new changes in the nature of reality which have important consequences for our lives including improved physical and emotional health.  If you are interested in reading more about this science, you can consult references such as: Bruce Lipton, The Biology of Belief, Hay House, 2005/2008; Dawson Church, The Genie in Your Genes, Elite, 2009; Lynne McTaggart, The Intention Experiment, Free Press, 2008.


My message is also that you might consider investigating innovative therapy and counseling strategies in addition to traditional techniques. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal relationship therapy and life coaching are all effective methods for life improvement. You might also consider investigating Psych-K and energy psychology techniques in addition to these tried-and-true strategies. My clients are excited about the new possibilities. In my opinion these new techniques are most effective when used in combination with a variety of other methods to help you achieve your desired outcomes including, of course, happiness!