If you experience high anxiety regularly, you have a higher risk of developing dementia.  Andrew J. Petkus, a PhD research associate at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, reported on a 28 year study of people who reported experiencing high anxiety.  Those people were found to have a 48% higher risk of developing anxiety than those who reported low levels of anxiety.

    The researchers noted that chronic anxiety is a precursor to higher levels of stress hormones.  In turn, those hormones can damage the parts of the brain involved with memory.  If you suffer from chronic anxiety, get help.  Your first step is to talk to your doctor about the right treatment for you which may include psychotherapy, anti-anxiety medications or alternative therapies such as acupuncture and herbal treatments.

    Hypnotherapy can be a valuable tool to treat chronic anxiety either as a stand-alone treatment or as an adjunct therapy to medication or psychotherapy. Lessen your anxiety and dementia risk with the use of hypnosis and BE WELL.


     Many e-cigarette users report trying to quit smoking by using them along with regular cigarettes.  Stanton Clantz, PhD, a professor of medicine at University of California-San Francisco and director of the university's Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education reported that people trying to quit smoking by using a combination of regular cigarettes and e-cigarettes were 28% LESS likely to quit smoking than those using regular cigarettes alone.

   You can quit smoking.  In the late 1960s one half the population smoked.  Today, far fewer people smoke.  If you are trying to become a nonsmoker, hypnosis can be a valuable tool to help you give up cigarettes.  E-cigarettes are not the answer.  They just prolong the problem.  Set yourself free with the help of hypnotherapy.  Be an active, healthy nonsmoker and BE WELL.


    No, there are no magic words that will give you a more youthful skin.  But hypnosis can help you get motivated to exercise.  And a study presented at the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine by researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, indicated that people over age 40 who exercised regularly improved their skin condition significantly.

     By the age of 40, people's skin has started to change.  The stratum corneum or top layer of skin has started to thicken.  This makes the skin look dry and flaky.  At the same time, the dermis, or second layer of skin, begins to thin and be less elastic.  

     The study found that those who were over 40 and exercised regularly had a healthier, thinner top layer of skin and a thicker dermis layer.  In addition, in just three months those over the age of 65 exercising regularly had less sagging, crow's feet and fewer wrinkles.

   Having youthful skin helps you look your best.  Exercise helps you be healthier and feel your best.  If you need motivation to get moving, look your best and be well, hypnotherapy can be a great tool.


    Do you find yourself yawning all the time?  You may yawn simply because someone around you has yawned.  A study conducted at Duke University in Durham, NC, found that almost half of adults are affected by contagious yawning.  In a few rare cases, constant yawning can also be a symptom of a medical problem caused by heart disease, brain disease or multiple sclerosis.  The disorder, sleep apnea, which causes frequent interruptions in breathing during sleep, can also cause yawning the next day.

    For most people who find themselves yawning all the time, it simply means that you are fatigued and didn't get enough sleep.  Sleep researchers believe that most adults need somewhere between seven and nine hours of sleep per night to be alert during the day.  For those who are sleep-deprived, exhaustion from lack of sleep is often the result.  In addition, M. Safwan Badr, MD, and a past president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, in Darien Illinois, has reported that research shows those who sleep poorly often are poor judges of their level of alertness.  Dr. Badr, described one study in which, sleep-deprived adults reported feeling alert but took twice as long to make correct decisions as did those who said they were well rested.

     Good quality sleep is important.  In this blog are several articles on sleep hygiene which can give you some action items to improve your sleep.  In addition, a session of hypnotherapy can be a valuable to tool to improve insomnia and BE WELL. 


     Do you often feel that you just don't have time for a thirty or even ten minute block of time for exercise?  If you are trying to lose or maintain weight, you may feel that it's of no use to try since you simply don't have time.  A recent study of more than 4,500 adults reported by Jessie X. Fan, PhD, professor of family and consumer studies at The University of Utah in Salt Lake City found that lack of larger blocks of time for exercise did not mean it was hopeless to try to lose or maintain weight.

    The researchers in the study found that intense, short bouts of moderate to more vigorous exercise was sufficient to help people lose or maintain weight.  Brisk walking every day or stair climbing were considered in the moderate to vigorous exercise category, 

     So no more excuses.  If you are short on time, set a goal of brief periods of as little as one minute at a time of vigorous exercise. If you sit at a desk all day, getting up once and hour to take a quick walk around the block or climb the stairs outside your office may be all you need to lose or maintain weight one minute at a time.  If you need some motivation to start doing brief periods of high-intensity exercise, hypnotherapy can help.  


    People suffering from loneliness often recognize that it affects their overall emotional well-being.  They may not be aware that it can also influence their physical well-being.  Carla Perissinotto, MD, assistant clinical professor of geriatrics at the University of California, San Francisco.  reported on a study which tracked 1,604 people over a six year period who reported feeling lonely at least some of the time.  The average age of the subjects was 71.  

    Those who reported feeling lonely at least some of the time were 59% more likely to experience functional decline, such as finding climbing stairs more difficult.  And, even more concerning, those who reported feeling lonely at least some of the time were 45% more likely to die within six years than those who did not report feeling lonely.  This indicates that loneliness is a medical risk factor similar to having diabetes or high blood pressure.

    What can you do to cut that risk?  First of all, your medical doctor may not ask about loneliness so be sure to report those feelings at your physicals.  As people age, old friends may not be available due to moving, ill health or even having passed away.  Find ways to add new people into your life through activities such as service to your community, joining a club, taking a class at the community college, attending a religious service.  Hypnosis can be a valuable tool to motivate you to make the changes necessary to alleviate loneliness that can hurt your health.  


      A report published in BMJ on an analysis of 305 studies by Huseyin Naci, a fellow at Harvard Medical School, Boston and a doctoral candidate in pharmaceutical policy and economics at London School of Economics, reported that exercise may work better than medication after a stroke or heart attack to prevent early death.  Naci reported moderate-intensity aerobic activity like brisk walking for at least two-and-half hours per week worked as well as medication for heart attack patients.  It was more effective than drugs for stroke patients who were able to exercise.  

    Obviously, medical doctors need to discuss lifestyle changes as well as the use of medications with patients who have had either a heart attack or stroke. In many cases, a combination of drugs and exercise may be the best in preventing early death for those patients.

    If you have been approved and encouraged to start moderate-intensity aerobic exercise by your medical doctor following a stroke or heart attack, hypnosis can be a valuable tool to get moving. Use motivation to get moving and BE WELL.


     While we are in school, making friends may be natural and easy.  We are living in close proximity with people of similar age and interests.  But as we mature, marry, have families and are involved with jobs which may move us from those original friends, many of us fail to renew old friendships or replace them with new ones. 

    If we are lucky, a few special friendships may last a lifetime.  But often people may come into our lives for a time and then be part of our pasts. Even those "friends for a season" can provide us with the many benefits of friendship from companionship to a sense of community. In addition, friends can strengthen our health.  

     Numerous studies have found that having friends boosts our health.  The stress relief and positive feelings friendship brings into our lives are real positives in health improvements.  A federally supported study of 503 women with risks factors for heart disease were done for several years. The women wereassessed for their social relationships and tests for coronary artery disease.  Tracking the deaths and causes of death within that group of women, the researchers found that those with larger social circles were less than half as likely to die within a few years

    An interesting 10 year Australian study found that those with the strongest networks of friends lived the longest.  Survival rates were barely affected by contact with relatives including children. 

   Two Harvard School of Public Health studies, one done with as part of the 50 plus year old Framingham Masschusetts Heart Study and one by the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, reported higher social activity was correlated to less risk for cardiovascular disease.  The Framingham Heart Study found that marker levels for inflammation that is linked to cardiovascular disease were lowest in the most socially active men and highest in least active men,  The Geffen School study found that socially active men produced more fibrogen, a desirable protein that aids blood in clotting.

     If you have gotten out of the habit of making friends, have social anxiety or need to get motivated to make the effort it takes to make friends, hypnosis can help.  Having friends will improve your life and help you to BE WELL. 


    December is here and while some people are anticipating a month of fun and happiness, others are dreading a month of too many activities and too many expectations.  Often they may turn to food or drink for comfort when the demands of December leave them feeling down.

     There are a couple of important things to avoid if you've got the blues.  The first is alcohol.  Although when initially consumed, alcohol can produce euphoria and cause you to be less inhibited and more animated, in fact, alcohol is a depressant of the central nervous system.  With continued drinking, the depressant effect predominates as alcohol crosses the blood-brain barrier.

     Avoiding baked goods can also help you avoid the blues.  This is particularly important during the holiday season when we are absolutely surrounded by baked treats.  High-fat and high sugar carbs are sitting out at the office, served at every social function and on the table throughout the holidays.  Like alcohol, the sweet treats give a temporary lift and good feelings.  But often the excess sweet, fat food intake results in feeling heavy, drowsy and depressed.

    If you consume more alcohol and baked goods during the holiday, these can certainly add to those holiday blues.  If you need a tool to avoid those depression triggers, hypnotherapy can be a valuable tool.  Control your eating and drinking.  Avoid the holiday blues, feel good and BE WELL through the holidays.


      If you are one of the 90% of Americans adults who drink caffeinated coffee, tea or soda, be aware you are consuming a potent drug.  According to Wilkie A. Wilson, Jr. PhD, a neuropharmacologist and research professor of prevention science at the Social Science Research Institute at Duke University, caffeine is in so many beverages and foods, it is likely you may be consuming more than you realize.  Even some over-the-counter-medications may contain caffeine.  For example, the pain medication, Excedrin, has 65 mg of caffeine per table. The FDA recommends no more than 400 mg of caffeine per day.  Since one cup of coffee can have as much as 200 - 300 mg of caffeine per day, it's easy to see how we can go beyond that recommendation.

     Some consumption of caffeine can actually have positive health effects. Studies have shown positive results such as headache relief, fewer gallstones, less Parkinson's disease and less cognitive decline in those consuming caffeine products.  Unfortunately, there are also negative effects in caffeine use including, high blood pressure, incontinence, sleep problems and impaired glucose regulation.

     If you are suffering from stress or panic attacks, be aware caffeine increases the hormone, adrenaline, which is already higher during times of stress.  And Dr. Wilson has noted that large amounts of caffeine, defined as about three cups of coffee, can actually trigger a panic attack.

     Hypnosis can be a valuable tool in cutting back or eliminating caffeine in your diet. Use hypnosis, feel better and BE WELL. 



Still another reason to keep your lungs healthy.  Charles Emery, PhD, and professor of psychology at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, reported on research tracking health data of 832 adults for nearly two decades.  The adults were in a an age range of 50 to 85.  The researchers found that reduced pulmonary (lung) function led to mental decline in not only people suffering from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) but even in healthy adults.  It is believed the reason for the cognitive decline was because when lungs function poorly, it reduces oxygen in the blood which could slow down signals between brain cells.

    To have the best chance for better brain health, it is important to keep your lungs healthy. Make healthy choices like eating a healthful diet, exercising regularly and avoiding pollution to your lungs by stopping smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke.  You can support those healthy choices with the use of hypnosis.  Breathe better, think better and BE WELL.  


    Barry A. Franklin, PhD, director of preventive cardiology and cardiac rehabilitation at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, has identified five emotional and physical stressors that can temporarily increase the risk of a cardiovascular event such as strokes and heart attacks.  While the risks are highest in people with heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, physical and emotional stress can also affect healthy people.

     Physical stresses which can trigger strokes and heart attacks include overexertion such as shoveling snow and strenuous winter sports such as cross-country skiing. A combination of a diseased heart, cold temperatures and unaccustomed physical activity can increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke by 50 to 100 times over those who don't exert themselves.  For people who don't normally exercise, shoveling snow or skiing can cause increases in blood pressure and heart rate at the same time that breathing cold air is constricting the arteries. In addition, people skiing tend to be at higher altitudes with a lower pressure of oxygen in the air making increased demands in the heart.

    Another physical stressor which can trigger a cardiovascular event is having sex. This is particularly true in extra-marital sex which can cause a greater level of arousal than normal  and cause the heart rate to increase by as much as 30 beats per minute which can put extra demand on the heart.  One report indicated that around 80% of heart attack deaths which took place during or after sex took place in hotel rooms where the sex partner was not their spouse. Researchers do not believe sex is risky for people who are physically active and having sex with a regular partner or spouse.

   Emotional stressors can be just as dangerous in increasing the risk for a heart attack or stroke.  Bad news like learning of the death of a loved one or getting bad health news immediately elevates your risk for a heart attack.  THE NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE reported that the risk of having a heart attack is highest on the day bad news is received.  The risk continues to remain high for at least a month afterwards.

    Another emotional trigger which could activate a cardiovascular event is watching sports.  This is important for those who are really invested and passionate about their team.  When true fans get really excited, the heart rate can increase by as much as 100 beats per minute which could rigger arrthythmias or clots.

    Extreme anger can also raise your risk for a heart attack.  Just being aggravated does not raise your risk but extreme anger can trigger an increase in blood clots, heartbeat irregularities and constriction of arteries.

    There are things you can do for each of these risks. If you are normally quiet sedentary, don't shovel snow.  Buy a snow blower or hire someone to shovel your snow.  If you are a sedentary, amateur skiier, start increasing your activity level well before your ski trip.  And dress for the cold weather including a scarf to cover your nose and mouth. exercise regularly for safer sex and choose a regular partner or spouse.  Become less invested in sporting events and take any heart medication prescriptions regularly. If you have received bad news, spend time with loved ones and other people who care. Consider therapy for extreme anger and get medical advice from your doctor. All of these risks are greatest in people who don't exercise, are overweight and who smoke.

    Dr, Franklin is coauthor with Joseph C. Piscatella, of PREVENT, HALT AND REVERSE HEART DISEASE.  Learn more about how you can lower your risk for heart attacks and strokes. Remember hypnotherapy can be a valuable tool to make positive changes to decrease your risk of stroke and heart attack.



    Robert Sokolove, health psychologist at Boston Medical Center, suggests people who are thinking about quitting smoking set a quit date ahead of time.  He notes, "Your quit date has symbolic value".   I suggest to my clients that they pick a date of significance which has meaning for them - a birthday, a religious event or a secular holiday is something to look forward to and will be remembered later.   Many experts also suggest that people choosing to quit smoking choose a date a couple of weeks to a month ahead so they have time to mentally prepare.

   If you are thinking about quitting smoking, hypnotherapy can be a valuable tool to help you.  Each hypnotherapist will have their own program.  I am so confident that I can help smokers become nonsmokers that I tell clients that If they should slip and start smoking any time for an entire year, I will be happy to do a free session to get them started again as nonsmokers.  My website, www.JenniferPJohnson.com, has a section where you can learn more about my program. If you are thinking about becoming a nonsmoker, set a quit date and call a hypnotherapist to make your commitment a reality. 


     Did you know belly fat is dangerous even when you have kept your overall body weight under control?  A study of more than 350,000 people published in THE NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE reported that a large waist can nearly double your risk of premature death.  Excess belly fat results in what we call an "apple" body shape.  Also known as visceral fat, it is stored in the abdominal cavity.  This is dangerous because it can wrap around or even invade internal organs including the heart.

   There are two types of belly fat.  There is soft belly fat and then the hard belly that is often called "having a beer belly."  The hard beer belly is the more dangerous of the two because people with hard belly fat have high levels of the inflammation marker C-reactive protein (CRP) which is a risk factor for heart disease.  Among other serious health conditions linked to belly fat are:  diabetes, migraines, cancer, dementia, and lung problems.

   So measure your waist just below the navel.  A good goal for women is 35 inches or less and 40 inches or less in men.  Unfortunately, there are no known ways for spot reducing just visceral fat.  Healthy overall weight loss includes:  1) eating healthy foods and watching portion size, eliminating junk and processed foods.  Void processed carbohydrates such as snacks, white bread, fruit juice and beer.  All these can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar that may increase belly fat. 2) Add aerobic exercise such as a 20 minute walk daily.  This will burn calories, reduce fat and increase metabolism. 3) Set your thermostat lower.  New research finds that sleeping in a cool temperature could increase your body's energy expenditure resulting in weight loss.  

    If you add these behaviors into your daily life, you should boost metabolism and lose weight including  the visceral belly fat that is so dangerous.  If you need motivation to eat well and add the aerobic exercise, hypnotherapy can be a valuable tool.  Use hypnosis, get rid of that belly fat and BE WELL.


    If you have recently lost someone you love, you are at increased risk for heart damage.  Thomas Buckley, PhD, and senior lecturer at the University of Sydney Nursing School, in Australia, has reported on a 2010 study on bereavement.  The researchers tracked the heart health of 78 adults who within the previous two months had lost a child or spouse.  This was compared to the heart health of adults who had not been recently bereaved.   They found that during the six-month period after the loss, the bereaved had nearly twice as many rapid-heartbeat episodes as those who had not had such a loss, increasing the heart attack risk.

     The researchers theorized that bereavement and mourning is a highly stressful time for sufferers and that the stress may damage the heart.  It is believed the changes usually settle down after six months.

    So what can you do if you have suffered a recent loss?  Buckley suggests that those who are recently bereaved have a physical which includes a heart checkup within the first month after the loss.  In addition, working with a therapist or hypnotherapist to deal with the loss and to build stress coping skills can be of great value.  Even in times of loss, hypnosis can help you to BE WELL.


   If you are like me, you may spend many hours each day just sitting.  As a hypnotherapist, I  spend hours in session while sitting.  In the time I am not with clients, I am sitting at my desk checking email or posting on this blog.  I am not alone.  New statistics report that Americans spend more than half their waking hours sitting.  Besides working, watching TV and driving add more hours to our couch potato lifestyle.

    Often when people hear the term "couch potato", they think of someone sitting in front of a television set.  Australian researchers tracked 8,800 men and women whose average age was 53 for over six year.  They reported that the risk for death due to cardiovascular disease increased by 18% for every hour of daily TV viewing.  Those who watched TV four or more hours a day, had a risk of dying from cardiovascular disease that was 80% higher than those who reported watching less than two hours a day.

     Even those who are physically fit with a normal body weight have increased health risks due to sitting.  A Canadian study of around 17,000 adults found that sitting for long periods of time may cancel out some of the health benefits of a normal weight and regular exercise.

     There are a number of health problems with extended periods of time sitting,  There is increased heart risk because prolonged sitting periods can have negative effects on blood sugar and blood fat levels which could cause diabetes and heart disease.  Prolonged sitting can also affect the central nervous system which will slow down and can lead to fatigue.  Sitting often and for long periods of time causes poor fat burning.  Lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme that lines  the walls of your capillaries, breaks down fats in the bloodstream.  When we sit for a few hours, these enzymes, start shutting down and if you sit all day, their activity can drop by fifty percent.

     So what can we do to counteract the sitting habit at work?  Some people now stand at their desks or have added a treadmill for a "walking desk".  Perhaps you are not ready to go that far, but some small changes in habits can be productive .  Follow the "ten minute" rule and get up to stretch your legs for ten minutes every hour when you are on the computer.  You can stretch, make a phone call or any other task that you can do standing up.  Instead of emailing a co-worker, walk down the hall and have a real conversation.  Avoid the elevator and take the stairs,  park at the end of the parking lot instead of in front of the door   Remember, we burn five calories an hour while sitting and 15 while standing.  Change habits - when the phone rings, stand up for the conversation.  And rather than eating lunch at your desk, take a mid-day walk. In other words, find ways to cut back on all the hours you sit at work.

    The big traps to sitting at home are the television and the computer.  You may just want to cut back on those long television or computer binges. Or if you are not ready to give up your shows,  play a game with yourself, just stand up and walk around any time an ad comes on the TV.  There are twenty minutes of ads in every hour of programming. That is plenty of time to get up and move. Or keep exercise equipment such as a treadmill, elliptical trainer or stationary bike where you can exercise instead of sitting.  Instead of slouching on your favorite chair, use a stability  ball which engages muscles in your abdomen and back.  

    Action-oriented video games like the Wii can be good for entertainment without sitting.  If you've been on a computer all day, don't sit at it all night.  And by putting your computer on a shelf or stand that is elevated you can stand while using your electronics.  Better yet, take a stroll with your family around the neighborhood.

   If you need help motivating yourself to quit sitting and start moving, hypnotherapy can be a valuable tool.  Avoid those risks of sitting and BE WELL.


    Are you a person who considers a trip to a tanning salon a part of your routine?  Perhaps you are getting ready for a trip to the beach or hope to raise blood levels of vitamin D by using indoor tanning.  Resist the temptation!

     Just know that evidence continues to come in about the dangers of using a tanning salon.  The International Journal of Cancer reported on an analysis of data compiled from nineteen studies on indoor tanning and the risk of developing skin cancer.  The results reported were that people who used artificial tanning equipment before the age of 35 had double the risk for developing squamous cell skin cancer which is potentially disfiguring and had a seventy-five percent greater risk for the deadliest skin cancer, melanoma.

     Be aware that the UV intensity of tanning beds may be as much as ten to fifteen times greater than the exposure of the midday sun.  You are being endangered by those trips to the tanning salon.  If you want the look of a tan, use tanning creams.  If you are outside less than an hour a week without sunscreen, you are likely getting enough vitamin D from the sun.  If you seldom go outside or always use sunscreen and keep completely covered, a supplementation of 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D through supplementation is much safer than using a tanning salon.

    I've had clients tell me they are "addicted" to tanning salons.  If you have this bad habit and want to stop, hypnotherapy can be a great tool.  Stop artificial tanning and BE WELL.


    Too often when things don't go to suit us, we find blame in  things outside our control.  We find myriad reasons to make excuses for our faults and bad habits.  Our bad luck, our genes, our parents all get blamed for the problems in our lives.  Unfortunately, as we avoid responsibility we begin to use those excuses as truths about who we are.  Theses excuses become limitations to making changes and overcoming old labels.

    How often have you labeled yourself?  If you identify yourself as "lazy", "fat",  having a poor memory: being"a shopaholic", a klutz or any other negative label, you are limiting yourself.  These limiting labels can be the basis to self-actualize that belief.  Soon you don't move because you are "lazy, don't lose weight because you are "fat" or over-spend because you are a "shopaholic".  

   So what can you do to change this pattern?   It's time to stop accepting negative labels.  If you want to change old habits that are holding you back,  consciously remove the old negative label and give yourself a positive affirmation.  Create a positive affirmation that resonates for you.  For the negative label of laziness perhaps you could create a positive label like "  I am capable and accomplish my goals."  For the negative label of being fat, a new label could be: "I make good choices to create a strong, healthy body."  For the negative label of poor memory, a positive affirmation could be "I live mindfully and remember well."

    Know that how you think creates who you become.  So work on removing negative labels and create positive affirmations to create a more positive life.  A qualified hypnotherapist could help guide you through this process and do a hypnotherapy session to reinforce the new positive labels.  Remove negative labels, create new positive labels and BE WELL.


    Stress management is important for everyone but can become critical if you have diabetes.   When a person is stressed, the body releases the "fight or flight" hormone cortisol.  This is particularly significant for diabetics because cortisol also increases blood glucose to produce a quick surge in adrenalin.  Cortisol can be released in an emergency situation or in the chronic stress people often feel in their daily life.  Diabetes can become more difficult to control with chronic stress.

    So what can you do to manage your stress?  At least a few times a day, do something you find relaxing - read a chapter, work on a craft or hobby, call a friend.  Get up and move.  Simply taking a walk can help calm you and relieve stress.  Practice yoga or learn to meditate.  Get away from stresses by getting outside for a few minutes.  Remember, hypnotherapy can be a great way to relieve stress.  If you have diabetes or are concerned about the stress has on your body, begin to manage your stress and BE WELL.