Tracy Lamperti

www.tracylamperti.com

5 Benefits of Your Brain on Smile

Her warm, sweet smile makes everyone around her smile too!

Her warm, sweet smile makes everyone around her smile too!

Whether you want to be happier, more productive, get more customers, cope with chronic illness or pain, give more smiling a chance!  The studies noted below included people with mood disorders, neurological disorders, stress, pain and others.  Since smiling is contagious, we must fill our house with smiling to create an environment where children thrive in skill and confidence!  We must smile at our husband and wife to bring about a more harmonious marriage!  When we feel like we may blow our top, it might be best to step away, smile for a few cycles of 5 seconds and then return to the dilemma.  A great way to force a smile, because the studies below demonstrate that even if the smile is fake it has a positive result on our brain/mood, is to hold a pencil in your teeth.  (http://psycnet.apa.org/?&fa=main.doiLanding&doi=10.1037/1528-3542.2.1.52)

  1.  Smiling repetitively helps to interrupt mood disorders and strengthen the brain’s neural ability to maintain a positive outlook on life.  Buddhism incorporates smiling into their meditations and Thich Nhat Hanh worte, “If we are not able to smile, then the world will not have peace.”
  2. Smiles are neurologically contagious in every culture, and women and more susceptible than men.
  3. Smiling stimulates brain circuits that enhance social interactions, empathy, and mood.
  4. If you see a picture of a smiling face, you will involuntarily feel happier and more secure.
  5. Listening to “happy” music can stimulate a smile response and improve your mood, especially when you are dealing with a chronic serious disease.

 

References:

  1.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15788264
  2. (Hanh T. Being Peace. Parallax Press, 1987)
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17537073/
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=a+common+neural+basis+for+receptive+and+expressive+communication+of+pleasant+facial+affect
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=what%27s+in+a+smile%2C+intra-operative+observations+of+contralateral+smiles+induced+by+deep+brain+stimulation
  6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17516821
  7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=a+functional+mri+study+of+happy+and+sad+affective+states+induced+by+classical+music
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16538499

I Can’t Shake These Feelings

Enjoy the Gifts of Nature!

Enjoy the Gifts of Nature!

Every so often I notice a theme emerging in my psychotherapy practice.  As of recently, the emergent theme has been with women and questions have come up about how essential oils may be of help, since I am always diffusing Young Living Essential Oils * in my office.

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“I am blessed with a great family and great friends, my health is good, my life is generally stable and there are many good things in my life…but I can’t get out from under this depression and (or) anxiety.  Some bad things have happened in my past and I have worked on some of those things, but now, I “should” be happy, but I don’t feel happy.  In fact, I can’t seem to feel joy.”

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Same Old Patterns

Sometimes when we can’t let go of the past or feel like it won’t let go of us it can be related to what is going on the the present. Without being aware, there could be current issues with a parent or a spouse or children, that are triggering old or never let go of thought patterns. It is not necessarily an indication of a negative current relationship with mom or husband, etc., but more an issue of discovery about what is triggering you and learning new ways of tackling it.

We tend to connect with people, who may later become our spouse, that replicate the same emotional patterns as significant early relationships. We also sometimes, inadvertently replicate parent-child dynamics with our own children, even when we made a commitment to not do so.  In this case, the right therapist is often needed to help navigate new patterns, because, in the case of old dynamics being triggered with a spouse, it is quite possible that they also may be repeating patterns from their earlier life.

Now is Different from Then

When there is no need for symptoms, symptoms will cease to exist, UNLESS, we are living in “automatic mode” rather than in awareness. For example, when you were a child and felt like you had no voice, you may have truly HAD NO VOICE.  Children in many instance; 1. don’t have the vocabulary and/or insight to express their experience, and 2. may not have been expected to voice their feelings or experiences.  This may be the case with a “love relationship” in later teen years or early 20s.  In  a controlling, emotionally abusive relationship, you may have felt like you had no voice, and you actually may have had no voice, because your boyfriend couldn’t tolerate you having a voice. This leads to now, you feel like you have no voice.  But when I stop and check it out, or feel it out with your husband, you see that not only you do have a voice, but he wants to hear your voice.

New Associations

When things from the past are being triggered, you don’t have to “white knuckle it” and be consumed by the bad feelings.  Let’s say you made a poor decision, or many poor decisions, or a huge poor decision.  If you in fact know that you have worked on this issue, and even prayed about it, and even believed that the Lord has done a work in you with it, you can remind yourself that you already reconciled that one. Reconciling it doesn’t mean you forgot about it or it was erased from your memory. Thanks be to God if He did remove it from you completely. I believe He can do that! But that’s not the story for most of us. The memory or feeling will resurface and when it does we need to remind ourselves of the victory that we already had over it and give thanks for that! Aromatherapy can have an amazing impact on us, both positive and negative.  A scent can immediately bring back a feeling from the past and all of the emotions that went with that feeling.  However, it can also help build a new experience.  As you are siting in a quiet place, contemplating and giving thanks for what you have already accomplished in this area, you can bring a lovely new scent to the experience and build a new experience, whereby the next time you feel defeated, you can bring out the scent, place a drop on your palms, rub your hands together, cup your hands in front of your face and inhale.

You Are Adored*

Not many people know what I went through in my past. Even though I am a psychotherapist and look like I have it all together, the same thing happens to me and I have to do these things also. We could have a big discussion about Satan here and talk about how Satan wants to bring us down with our past. I don’t think of it that way. I think of it more like, God wants us to love and adore Him and He wants us to receive all of the gifts that He has for us.  Even if you don’t feel that you are adored by someone, know that God Adores you.  I do not believe He wants us to give our attention to a battle with Satan.

A New Therapy Experience

Maybe you have had a positive relationship and made progress with a therapist in the past. Sometimes things have to come together in the right way for this to occur – timing, readiness, circumstances, current relationships, etc. Sometimes we need to do a piece of therapy and then just live.  When we go back at a later time we can do another piece of the work.  Maybe it’s time to interview a couple of therapists or get some referrals from someone you trust.

Taking Care of Me

Are you at a point in your life that you can really take care of yourself – set aside time to plan your menu, carve out a quiet time each day, make time to walk or any other exercise that you like, etc.  Is your “me time” consumed by surfing the web or checking all of your social media feeds?  Can you match the time you spend on these activities with time devoted to “calm” and “peace.”  Can you match digital time, which is “static” in the brain with peaceful activities?  I find it interesting that when I ask a person to spend 7 minutes, twice per day doing an uninterupted focus, such as being in a quite room, without distractions and maybe a recording of a stream or birds, 9x out of 10 they come back and say they didn’t do it.  SEVEN MINUTES!

As for the essential oils*,  you could experiment with a lovely scent in your “me time.”  When you sense a panic attack coming on or are feeling down, I would take the opportunity to place a drop of my favorite oil (or change it up between a couple of nice scents) in my palm and breath deeply. This way, you will “support your feelings of well-being,” and know that you can take steps to care for yourself and have positive results.  I love the oils for associating new emotions to old experiences.

Blessings!

~Tracy

*Disclaimer #1 – In addition to being an LMHC, I personally use essential oils and I am an Independent Distributor of Young Living Essential Oils.  This post is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease or illness and it is not intended to solicit Young Living Essential Oil sales.

*Disclaimer #2 – In addition to being an LMHC, I am a Christian.  “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. ~Romans 10:9.  This post is not intended to make any claim that any person should believe as I believe.

 

August Newsletter

August Newsletter

August Newsletter

Hypnosis

Welcoming you to visit the new page on my website!

http://www.tracylamperti.com/hypnotherapy.php

Hypnosis

Responding to young people who were present at the Orleans Fire

MKP-208

Tracy Lamperti, Board Certified Expert of Traumatic Stress

 

Hundreds of families/children were present last night at the Orleans Fireworks display and found themselves too close for comfort to the unexpected fire that erupted at the end.  The statistics show that among direct witnesses to even fatal traumatic events such as 9/11 and the marathon bombing, less than half go on to experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, possibly as few as 20%.  The event last night certainly pales in comparison to a traumatic event where lives are lost or serious injuries are sustained, however, it is important to recognize that there are needs of those who were present, and that while some thought the event was simply exciting, others experienced the event as acutely stressful.  Following are some tips about how to approach children about this event.

  • Censor, censor, censor!

I was just at the Superette picking up a few things.  EVERYONE was talking about it.  (Well, not everyone.)  Everyone has a commentary.  Some people give an account with great emotion in their voice and strong opinion.  Our children don’t need to hear adults expressing “Big Emotion.”  It is ok to say to your children when you get back into the car, something like, “People can get caught up in the excitement of it all!  Let’s try to remember that everyone got out safe and sound and the emergency personnel did a great job helping everyone stay protected.”  Be careful of your own conversation on the phone and at home with family and friends.  It is important that your children not be witness to the “drama aftermath.”

  • Model calm and containment.

Our children are watching others but the ones with the strongest influence are their parents.  They will mirror your response in more cases than not.

  • Ask, check-in and ask again if your children want to talk about it.

People benefit from being allowed to share their own experience, in their own words, and having loved ones be good listeners.  Some good questions are, “What was it like for you when you realized a fire had started?”  “What were you thinking when I quickly said, let’s get our things and get to the car?”  Try to avoid statements that assign feelings that may not be accurate, such as, “You must have been terrified!”  “How awful for a child to experience something like that.”  Once there have been a few talks about it, let it rest.  Check in with your children about other aspects of their life and look for cues, IF there are any, that your child wants to talk some more about it.  A few weeks later is a good time, such as around the dinner table, to bring it up again, “Has anyone been thinking about the night of the fireworks?”  If so, give turns to talk and listen.

  • Try to avoid strong commentary.

As I might be thinking, “Come on, why didn’t they call it because of the wind!?  What were they thinking!”  “Who’s to blame?” kind of thinking.  Our children don’t need to sort out the blame or feel conflict or dissension, especially if YOU really wanted to pack up the kids and go and your husband said it’s too windy, but you won.

  • Experience safe and healthy fire.

If you have a back yard fire pit, get it going.  Be very safe and talk openly about how you are being safe.  How is the wind?  Is long hair tied back? Is there water within reach?  How do we put it out and make sure it is out?  Are sparks falling on dry grass?  Use the opportunity to talk about fire safety.  Let your children beckon the question, “I think it was too windy to have fireworks that night.”    If you don’t have a fire pit, light a candle at the table for dinner and include some points about safety.

  • Reinforce the fact that the outcome was positive.

Talk about the fire and police departments and what their roles were and the fact that there were no injuries and the fire was extinguished quickly.

  • Trauma/Acute Stress affects the brain on some level.

When people are frightened, they often become unconsciously hyper-aware of certain senses like smell and taste, especially where there is a strong sensation such as the smell of fire/something burning.  Upon smelling the same smell at a later date, the person can be re-triggered to have bad feelings.  They sometimes don’t even realize the two are paired or where the bad feelings are coming from.  It can be helpful to unconsciously re-pair new sensations to the memories of the event.  This can be done by playing calming music softly while the person is talking about the event.  You can also work the aromatherapy angle by introducing a pleasant scent while the person is talking about the event.  You don’t have to explain to your child that you are doing this.  Just do it.  The brain works to create new pathways for the memory.  So put a nice scent in your purse or in the kitchen drawer just in case.

All in all, it is a blessing that all were safe and the only loss appears to be beach grass and equipment use.  I trust that there will be very few significant lasting negative emotional consequences of this event.  Positively, families can use the experience to draw closer together and make it a learning experience for their family and one that will guide your child in safety ways as they grow up and start their own family.  It is a good lesson for understanding the impact of a small spark.

Blessings to all of you for a safe and happy rest of the summer!

Tracy Lamperti, LMHC, BCETS

Psychotherapist, Educator, Consultant

April Newsletter Preview

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Introducing Alison Weiner

Please welcome Alison Weiner. Ali will be joining Lamperti Counseling & Consultation for the summer as a Student Intern. In addition to being a high honors Psychology Major, Alison has studied abroad in Italy, raised over $5,000 for breast cancer awareness and worked with inmates in a high security prison. She brings skills of photo-journalism, computer systems, working with special needs, mentoring and children. We are very excited to have her for the summer!

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