8. Start a Dream Journal

First, find a journal you like that is pleasing to write in. Also, find a pen that is easy and pleasing to write with. Keep these items in a place that is easy to reach while you are lying in bed. When you are in bed and ready to go to sleep, close your eyes and tell yourself: “I will remember my dreams tonight.” This sets your intention in your mind. It may not work the first night, the second night, or even for a few weeks. But eventually, it should work.

In the morning, the second you wake up, reach for your dream journal and immediately start writing. If you remember a dream, write about it in as much detail as you can. Even if you don’t remember a dream, just start writing whatever impression is in your head. As you write, dream impressions, even full dreams with elaborate plots, may come into your head. If they don’t, you’ll still be writing from the subconscious, which is more accessible in the first few minutes after awakening.

Then, after a month has passed, go back and read your journal. Do you see themes, motifs, recurring images? These are probably signals from your subconscious. Reflect on what they might be telling you about the direction your life is going in, your health, your relationships, and your happiness.

9. Learn about Flower Remedies

Flower remedies or flower essences are substances made from water and whole flowers, then preserved with alcohol. They contain no actual flower parts, but people who use and prescribe them believe they contain the flower’s essence or energy and can promote emotional healing. The remedies are thought to work in a vibrational, rather than a biochemical, way on the body. The typical dosage is four drops of the flower remedy under the tongue four times per day.

Flower remedies are a noninvasive, safe, gentle way to balance the emotions. Yes, you drink them, but they are considered noninvasive because no actual flower parts remain in the remedy.

10. Try Flower Remedies

Bach flower remedies, the most widely known, and other brands of flower essences are available in health food stores and from holistic health care professionals. Different flower remedies address different emotional imbalances, helping to clarify the mind, “unstick” the emotions, and help to restore rational and productive emotions. Often, several remedies are prescribed in combination.

If you would like to try making your own flower remedies, look for books that tell you how to do it, or talk to your holistic health care practitioner. You can also buy flower remedies from health food stores or holistic health practitioners.

11. Get a Little Help from Your Friends

Let your friends help you manage your stress! Some people already have a group of friends they can turn to, but when things get stressful, it’s often easy to stop calling them. Do you stop returning e-mails, calling your buddies, or going out with your group when you are feeling stressed? Engage in some friend therapy and give those buddies a call.

If you don’t have a ready-to-go group of friends or have lost touch with yours, you may have to start from scratch. One of the easiest ways to make friends is to join something. Take a class, join a club, attend a church, find a support group. You might need to try a few different things before you meet people you can really relate to, but don’t give up.

12. Take Initiative

Treating your stress with friend therapy doesn’t mean you sit at home alone and wait for your friends to come to you. You take the initiative and get out there to make contact. Sometimes, it just takes a few words to find someone who is in the same position as you and needs friend therapy, too.

Just being with another person—talking, having fun, taking a break from the daily routine—is a great way to relax, raise your self-esteem, and have the chance to be there for somebody else, too. You don’t have to do anything in particular with your friends to make it friend therapy. You just have to get a social life.

Of course, there are limits to what friends can and should do for you. Part of friend therapy is giving as well as taking. A productive friend therapy relationship should certainly be reciprocal. If you use your friends for constant unloading but never allow them to unload on you, they won’t be your friends for long!

13. Hypnosis: Hype or Help?

While hypnosis has certainly been used (or misused) by those seeking applause, hypnosis and hypnotherapy are legitimate tools that are also used to help people put themselves into more positive mental states. Hypnosis is, in essence, deep relaxation coupled with visualization.

Hypnosis is not some mysterious state in which you are completely at the mercy of the hypnotist. While hypnotized, you retain your awareness, but your body becomes extremely relaxed and disinclined to move, your awareness becomes narrow, your thinking tends to become literal, and you become much more open to suggestion than you would be in a nonhypnotic state. This suggestibility is what makes hypnosis work.

14. What Happens During Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a state similar to sleep. The body becomes so profoundly relaxed that it ceases to be a distraction. The mind becomes highly focused and, thus, more able to do what we want it to do. This focus makes the imagery we use to direct our behavior and feelings more real, so real that our bodies respond to it. This is nothing new. When watching a movie or even hearing a story, our bodies often respond as if we were part of the action—we may experience a faster heart rate at an exciting part, a surge of emotion at a poignant part, feelings of anger at an injustice.

Hypnosis uses the body’s ability to react to the mind by directing the mind in specific ways while the body is relaxed. That’s all there is to it.

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