How Beliefs Sabotage Test Taking: How to Overcome Test Anxiety
We all have subconscious beliefs that are holding us back. In my work helping students excel at test taking, I've seen lots of beliefs that impact people.
Every client is unique, but here are some of examples of things that have generated negative self-talk which lasts for years until discovered, learned from, and released in session work:
The wonderful thing is that none of my clients have these beliefs working against them anymore. They all exceled on their tests beyond their wildest dreams. Some are lawyers now, some are therapists, some are kicking butt in the businesses they'd started but had been languishing at. Think of how much your hidden beliefs could be costing you per year for the rest of your life. It's so easy to make a huge change; usually five sessions is all it takes. For students, one side benefit is increased GPA too. Think of how much that can impact them in getting into the best schools... Easy sessions that make a lifetime of best achievement and happiness possible.
How to Reduce or Eliminate Test Anxiety and Get an 800 on the SAT Math Subject Test
I worked with a teenager once who was a good student at a private school, but in timed practice tests for the SAT Math subject test he was only able to get to two thirds of questions, and of those, almost half were wrong. I had him do simple things like putting his right hand to his left knee, then his left hand to his right knee. Then I had him put one hand under his collarbones and the other covering his belly button, then switching hands. I had him unroll the edges of his ears and tug on them.
After completing ten sessions with me, he went on to get an 800 on the SAT Math subject test. Afterward, his grades went up at his high school while putting in the same effort. He applied early decision to the college of his dreams and got in.
What was it about those movements that made such an enormous shift possible?
This student's challenge was the SAT Math subject test, but we all face struggles in life. It might be trauma, weight gain, addiction, a breakup or something else. Most often, we come up with physical or mental protocols to follow--imposing what our conscious mind is sure will be the solution to the problem--like a diet, or pharmaceuticals, or telling ourselves to have more control.
Those movements I had my client do were meant to help me assess what the body needed by letting it tell me itself. The work I do is a combination of simplified acupressure, chiropractic, and brain training. I could see from the testing that he had activated primary reflexes. I could also see that he needed help with balancing energy flow in his body--two meridians were underactive. His gait reflexes (which help with automatic patterns of walking and running) were off, which meant brain power meant for answering test questions was being used for keeping him safe while moving. Even little things, like shifting side to side as I tested a movement pattern, told me how he was having to compensate to move safely, rather than it being automatic. Once I reset everything, I did brain training to develop synaptic connections and myelinate them in an optimal way. Increased synaptic connections and myelination allows for faster processing speed--in essence, free extra time to think. That's invaluable on a test--or when driving, or at work, or in a social situation. Processing speed is one measure of intelligence. We repeated this three times a week for a total of ten sessions, finishing the month before his test to allow him some time to integrate the work.
Another client, a child, couldn't handle being in the shower. Every night was torture for him, and for his family, to have to go through the process of having him take a shower. (He had PTSD from an incident in a bathroom.) In asking his body for answers using muscle testing, it turned out that he was in shock. It's possible in acupressure to bring up past events and visualize them in a line from the present to the past, so that we can clear them all at once. Later that night, he showered for the first time without complaint. Same thing the night after, and the night after that, and on and on. It was the end of that being an issue for that little boy and his family.
For another client, a college student, the goal was to improve motivation, reduce procrastination, paralysis, and perfectionism. She struggled with the feeling that if one thing wasn't good, then nothing was good. Her body wanted brain reactivation so she could could heal at a higher level. We cleared holographic perception, linear tracking, sound interpretation, and visual interpretation using acupressure as directed by the response to testing the body. The student felt immediate stress relief and was able to do well on midterms, finishing in the top of her class.
Another wanted help with her chronic pain. The body was able to express its need for brain reactivation, as well as balancing the energetic body through clearing chakras--areas of the body with high levels of nerve impulse traffic--that had gotten stuck in overdrive. She also needed work to deactivate primary reflexes. Over the course of fifteen sessions, she was able to see improvements and stay more and more positive about her ability to stay grounded in the moment. She stopped letting the fear of the potential for pain ramp up her pain reaction, and over time, spent less and less time in pain.
I'm able to get the results I have for clients because I've realized that we overcome our greatest struggles not by imposing protocols on ourselves, but asking the body what it needs to heal. It was what worked for me to heal me from chronic illness.
If you or a loved one needs help with testing, motivation, letting go of perfectionism, and a whole lot more, consider session work with me. We can ask your body what it needs to heal instead of imposing a regimen on it. Quick results and a happy mindset are yours as a takeaway.
Healing from Fibromyalgia
Most of the blogs I see about fibromyalgia are all about how you live with the disease. Yeah, that's not me. I'm the type to pick at the bandaid. To chafe to be free of it. A friend of mine had a husband who was prescribed the same pain medicine prescribed for me; one of the side effects was growing tumors, which kept me from taking it. I always seemed to have problems with side effects and was too scared to try it. He took it, and developed a tumor at the site of the injury he was taking the pain medication for. He died of that tumor after it metastasized to his brain. I couldn't take NSAIDs for pain relief either so I was in a lot of pain over the years, which made me highly motivated to solve the problem.
I noticed some interesting things about that pain because I was forced to live with it:
What made the pain better?
Check out my YouTube channel for videos on how to do some simplified acupressure for emotional release. The most helpful type for me was and still is PanHarmonic Healing (PHH.) If you find it helpful and want to learn more, I teach PHH.
Believe in yourself. You have the ability to heal. The biggest thing you can do is be as kind to yourself every day as you can. We all have trauma; life can be hard. Your childhood trauma is active until you integrate it. You can do it, bit by bit. Self love and self kindness is key.
"Who Moved My Cheese" is an insanely popular book, selling over 26 million copies at last count. It's an easy read, and it gives great insights into how the different parts of our minds react to change, allowing us to step in and help ourselves along the path as we cope with our fear of change. Cheese is a metaphor for happiness and success.
Some of us who've had traumatic childhoods can identify with the teachings in this book:
"If you do not change, you can become extinct." I learned this one the hard way. A traumatic childhood can lead to fear and caution. The more one is on the alert, the more we can find to fear. Eventually, we can exhaust the body. Our adrenals crash and burn. Our health suffers. We often develop chronic illness.
"The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese." We often have a hard time accepting change because the old way is comfortable and familiar. New ways of doing things can seem threatening to our unconscious, but we are here to work through healing our childhood wounds, and must learn how to become more flexible. If not, see above. We can exhaust the body and develop illness.
"What would you do if you weren't afraid?" The old me would have had no idea the answer to this one because I was always afraid until I started learning a type of specialized kinesiology- a form of acupressure- called PanHarmonic Healing® back in 2014. It has completely changed my life. Why hasn't everyone who lives with anxiety, depression, anger or any other emotional issue taken classes in PanHarmonic Healing? Because it is new cheese. People want to stick to old cheese when they are stuck in their primitive and emotional brain. I understand. I did too until I got so sick I started to feel like I was dying. That made me open to trying to new things.
"When you stop being afraid, you feel good!" I thought I needed to be afraid to make sure I was safe, but I was totally wrong. It feels amazing to stop being afraid! If you suffer from anxiety, take baby steps towards giving up fear. I found that fear is an addiction, just as much as alcohol or drugs are. I had to lay down that pattern to step into the life I wanted to lead. It was hard-- I was rewarded for being afraid, and my marriage ended when I stopped being afraid--but the life I have now is beyond anything I could have dreamed before. The effort I made has repaid itself countless times over the years.
"Imagining yourself enjoying yourself with your new cheese leads you to it." This is a Law of Attraction concept, one that I highly recommend practicing. We call in what we are visualizing. The only thing that interferes with this is that our old emotional holdings are broadcasting signals to the world that people react to on an unconscious basis. In other words, it's taken both visualizing and cleaning up old emotional baggage using acupressure to get me the results that I've wanted.
"Old beliefs do not lead you to new cheese." So true. Old beliefs keep us stuck in old patterns, preventing growth and happiness. The problem was that- pardon my language- sometimes I sucked at believing new beliefs. It just felt impossible to change sometimes. The compromise I worked out is that when I find myself not believing the new beliefs--usually some form of believing that I could change or that the situation could change from what I'd always encountered-- I would instead work on not knowing the outcome of a situation. Being certain of an outcome is the way we call in the old ways. Being open to not knowing allows the Universe to work its magic just as visualizing does. It's an interim step to being good at visualizing.
"When you see that you can find and enjoy new cheese, you change course." This is also helpful to know because the more we change, the more we are able to change. The increased rate of change can feel so rewarding. You've worked hard to unlock a better future; you've earned it!
"Noticing small changes early helps you adapt to the bigger changes that are to come." Yes, noticing small changes early helps us expect and then plan for change. And far better to learn to adapt than to resist change. I look to change old patterns that aren't serving me wherever I can--one way is to change up the routes that I drive. What are the ways you adapt to change?
I hope these quotes from the book inspire you to grab a copy of Who Moved My Cheese? today. It's a great book and can be an invaluable life tool. And I hope I've helped explain PanHarmonic Healing a little better. It's something I teach, most recently at the 2019 Brain Gym® (Breakthroughs International®) conference in San Diego.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. It is made in response to the foods that we eat. It helps keep our blood sugar levels just right.
As we age, we can become less sensitive to insulin. Doctors call this insulin resistance. If we've got insulin resistance, even foods considered healthy like oatmeal or fruit cause more and more insulin to be produced. We get sleepy after a meal with carbohydrates when we are insulin resistant, even if they are healthy foods. Why? Because too much insulin means our brain doesn't get enough of its fuel: glucose. It damages our brain to not have the glucose it needs. It increases our risk for dementia and Alzheimers according to research.1
There are ways to reverse this problem:
You can support your insulin sensitivity by adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water every day, by eating sauerkraut, and making sure you eat soluble fiber, among other things.
Ignoring insulin resistance can set us on the path to Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer's disease.
My mother died of Alzheimer's disease in 2014, so this issue is close to my heart. I was diagnosed with metabolic syndrome in my early forties. This was a part of my motivation to lose weight and begin a regular exercise program. I started doing hot yoga, increasing to three times a week, which I have kept up since 2011. I no longer have metabolic syndrome, but I have also had to switch to a paleo/modified Mediterranean diet in order to stay at a healthy weight.
My other motivation was watching my beloved mother-in-law die of pancreatic cancer. She did not eat a healthy diet in the twenty years that I knew her. Ultimately, she didn't have the building blocks needed to stay healthy. It's important to eat nutrient dense foods that rank high on the ANDI scale. If you have a history of antibiotic use, NSAID use, PTSD, or childhood trauma, you are at higher risk for leaky gut. If you have leaky gut, you need to make sure you are not eating foods too high in oxalate, a toxin produced by plants to prevent overgrazing. Even very healthy fruits and vegetables can be high in oxalates. People with a healthy intestinal tract absorb 1-2% of dietary oxalates, but people with leaky gut can absorb up to 50% of dietary oxalate. A good group to find out more about this is called Trying Low Oxalates, started by Susan Owen. She's got a group on Facebook, as well as one on Yahoo. For ease of use, I recommend the Facebook group.
Here's to your health,
Remember, Elizabeth is not a doctor. Suggestions given on this blog are no substitute for medical advice from a licensed physician, and are only meant as discussion points with your doctor.
1. Insulin Resistance and Alzheimer's Disease: Bioenergetic Linkages
Additional reading: Dr. Jill Carnahan's blog post
Another shooting incident at a high school leads to the by now all-too-familiar triage of support trying to cope with the aftermath. But it's not enough:
"Among kids exposed to traumatic violence, short-term symptoms immediately after such incidents include trouble focusing, managing emotions, and negotiating relationships. The effects of childhood trauma also show up later in life: As adults, children who witnessed violence will be more likely to suffer from depression, deal with substance abuse, and struggle with obesity."1
The long-term effects include far more than the few listed. As adults, those of us exposed to traumatic violence are more likely to suffer from illness, anxiety, employee absenteeism, and ultimately a shortened lifespan. It raises our risk levels on the ACE test, a test of childhood adversity. Why? Because these events are locked in our body until we process and release the emotional learning around them. Emotional learning is the most important evolutionary advantage for a social species like humans, and not one drop of it is wasted. We're not taught how to learn emotionally; in fact, we are taught to stuff emotions and move on. These emotions are neurochemicals that lodge in our bodies. In quantity, neurochemicals are inflammatory and inflammation leads to disease, so we're more likely to develop illness if we have traumatic backgrounds. Still, people self-medicate. Delving into the unconscious seems too scary.
But what if you could easily learn from emotions? What if they're not just a hodgepodge of random, tangled-up bad feelings? What if feeling them reduces your stress? What if doing this allows you to do better on tests, perform better at work, reduces pain, reduces the amount of time you spend sick, and increases your emotional intelligence? That's what I've found acupressure does. I've used myself as a guinea pig. I'm a poster child for childhood trauma; my dad was an active duty US Air Force C-130 pilot in the Vietnam War and I was born during the war. I was constantly sick, I had chronic Epstein Barr, I had leaky gut, I had an autoimmune illness. I'm convinced this is what humanity needs to keep evolving: spending more time in the cortex and prefrontal cortex. Stress puts us into the brain stem and emotional brain. It has us in survival mode. Success belongs to those in cortex-mode, which is executive thinking.
Care to try it? Check out my YouTube channel. I demonstrate some basics that will have you making improvements in your quality of life immediately.
I also teach it. You can sign up for one class or for the series. Check out my classes in PanHarmonic Healing® here, in Brain Gym® here, and in Touch for Health here. I think all three make the best combination for self-healing I've found.
For most of us, childhood held some trauma. Why not give yourself the gift of freedom from the past? You'll still be yourself; you'll just get to spend more and more time in a good head space, relaxed, and experiencing more joy than you thought was possible.
Lectins= Inflammation-Causing Anti-Nutrient. Important Info for People With Autoimmune Issues, Joint Pain and More.
-photo by Linh Pham on Unsplash
I watched the video at this website again today: http://cutthecravings.com, and thought I'd write about it.
The link leads to a video by Dr. Steven Gundry, who wrote The Plant Paradox, warning about the dangers of lectins. Lectins are anti-nutrients, a type of carbohydrate-binding protein that some plants use to protect themselves against overgrazing. Lectins can kill off insects. In humans, the impact isn’t immediate, but can lead to leaky gut, joint aches, diabetes, obesity, and more. This is an infomercial video, but it’s got some good information. I think the prebiotic he’s selling would be a good support for people dealing with health issues like leaky gut or IBS, as well as for recovering addicts, but it’s not cheap, something like $50 for a month’s supply per person if one buys it in quantity. The info is helpful though, so here you go:
To save you the trouble of watching (it’s an hour long), according to Dr. Gundry the bad “health foods” we should reduce or avoid are:
1. All nightshades* (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, bell peppers, tomatillos)—although Roma tomatoes are fine if we squeeze out the seeds and discard the skin by dipping in boiling water and peeling it off, as the lectins are in the seeds and skin of tomatoes.
2. Beans* (according to Dr. Gundry, undercooked beans are responsible for 20% of the food poisoning in the US because of high lectin content. From government food safety websites, I’ve learned that incorrectly cooked kidney beans in particular are so high in lectins that they can theoretically kill. https://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/CausesOfIllnessBadBugBook/default.htm. Undercooking them makes them more dangerous than they are in their raw state. I’ve completely stopped using kidney beans, especially since I don’t like them anyway...
3. Cashews* (these are actually a bean)
4. Peanuts* (can cause colon cancer in men)
5. Whole grains/any grains*. Lectin content is higher in whole grains than in processed flours.
*Note that peeling and deseeding nightshades, cucumbers, and squash will get rid of the high lectin content. Fermenting high lectin foods helps too.
**Note that soaking and sprouting beans and grains can reduce lectin content significantly, but be careful of possible mold contamination.
Superfood we should eat every day: prebiotics like acacia fiber, agave inulin, or plantain flour. (Plantain flour still has high lectin content according to some, but it's lower than the amount in raw potato starch. Some people do not respond well to acacia fiber or agave inulin, so I'm listing plantain as an alternative.) Be careful to go slow when starting prebiotics, as it can cause lots of gas and intestinal discomfort if not...
3 healthy treats from a lectin standpoint: dark chocolate, coffee, extra virgin olive oil. (Be careful with dark chocolate if you suspect you have a problem with oxalates!)
Artificial sweeteners: Duke University researchers found 1 packet of Splenda kills 50% of the microbes in your gut. If you drink a diet soda, you are killing 50% of your microbes, which take 2 years to grow back. Dr. Gundry recommends stevia only. I don’t use Truvia, just the natural whole stevia like Sweet Leaf products. I didn’t like the taste of stevia at all at first, and made the switch by adding a few drops at a time in with honey. Over time, my morning tea had half stevia in it, and then eventually only stevia.
There is still a lot of controversy about the importance of avoiding lectins. It may be that it's most important for those who are already in poor health in order to rebuild their health. In my case, I know my main issue is with oxalates. I am focusing on that. When I manage to eat a low oxalate diet, I have no pain. It's important to reduce oxalate intake gradually, because dumping oxalate can theoretically kill a person. I highly recommend Susan Owen's Facebook group "Trying Low Oxalates" if you are struggling with pain or fatigue.
-photo by Myles Tan on Unsplash
I'm a big fan of the author Brené Brown. She talks a lot about how to communicate with anyone and how toxic shame is to our society. She opens herself up, making herself vulnerable, in all of her books and talks, and I love what she teaches about bravery.
In my book, as well as my articles, I talk a lot about how to talk to oneself, and the importance of being a positive self-coach. I hear a lot of judgment from all parts of society these days. It's the human condition. People are saying openly hostile things to each other, sometimes questioning each other's sanity, and the truth is, most of us are also saying incredibly hostile and judgmental things to ourselves as well. Think about how you talk to yourself when you're upset at the end result of your efforts. Would you put up with a friend who treated you that way? Think of the stories you tell yourself when you're afraid. Are you always positive and encouraging, or do you dwell on the negative? Would you treat a small child that way? We carry parts of our childhood selves with us for our entire lives in our unconscious. We have to learn to be careful of how we talk to ourselves.
I think one of the purposes of life is to figure out how to rise above our programming. It helps to realize that everyone's got programming that prevents them from seeing things any differently than how they're currently seeing things. Especially in times of stress, all of us tend to react with our emotional and primitive brain. The trick is to learn to stay aware and present as this is happening so we can avoid it. Tools like meditation, mindfulness, yoga, Focusing, and therapy offer us a chance to stay present so that we can be in the executive level thinking offered by our prefrontal cortex. If we feel our anger rising, if we feel our indignation mount, if we sense self-righteousness, if we are aware of fear, jealousy, insecurity, I guarantee that our thought process is being hijacked by the emotional and primitive brain. When we're triggered, it feels so normal, so safe, to indulge in emotional or primitive brain thinking. That's how I spent the first forty years of my life. Learning how to develop and practice tools to stay present is an ongoing challenge, but one I'm so grateful for. I'm happier and calmer than I've ever been.
I talk about how shame helps drive the opioid epidemic in my two part article on Thrive Global. Here's the link to part I. Here's the link to part II. Let me know what you think. And check out Brené Brown. She's awesome.
-Photo by Daniel Burka on Unsplash
H. Pylori, which was vilified in the '90s as the bacteria that causes ulcers, has a positive role: it gives us important feedback on fullness by regulating ghrelin according to this study. Ghrelin is a hormone that stimulates hunger. One side effect of ulcer treatment was that the ulcer patients became obese after eradicating H. Pylori. Ghrelin is produced in the stomach and acts as a neurotransmitter. If ghrelin levels are unregulated, you never feel full. Because of antibiotic use over generations, increasing numbers of children today have no H. Pylori, which may be contributing to the rise of childhood obesity. Additionally, people with H. Pylori have been shown to be at reduced risk for celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), and esophageal adenocarcinoma.
The NCBI, which is part of the National Institute of Health, talks about management of H. Pylori levels by use of diet if gastric ulcers are detected. Things like drinking sauerkraut juice and eating other Brassica vegetables like cauliflower or broccoli sprouts can help. Adding manuka or oak honey, or high bush blueberry juice have all shown benefits. As always, follow the advice of your doctor. Given the downside of H. Pylori eradication, a peaceful coexistence seems to be the best bet.
Autism, Anxiety, Alzheimers, Diabetes (Type 1&2), Bipolar, Depression, Multiple Sclerosis, Obesity, OCD, Parkinson's, Tourette's, Sensory Integration Disorder & more Relieved by Switching to Whole Foods
--Photo by Arthur Aldyrkhanov on Unsplash
Dr Katherine Reed, biochemist and mother of five, knew something was wrong with her youngest daughter, Brooke. Once Brooke was diagnosed with autism, her mother was determined to help her. Through research and trial and error, she learned how to help Brooke: by switching what she ate to entirely unprocessed food.
If you are wondering if your child's autism symptoms could be helped by changing his or her diet, and wondering if the effort is worth it when life is hard enough already, here is one woman's journey.
She is passionate about helping others understand the differences that it's made for her daughter, and what it might mean for your child. Her daughter had been on track for being unable to be cared for at home, yet now is functioning normally.
In this video, you'll also learn how removing MSG can help reduce symptoms of a wide range of diseases and disorders of the body including anxiety, depression, bipolar, Alzheimer's, diabetes (type 1&2), obesity, Parkinson's, OCD, Tourette's, sensory integration disorder and beyond. Specifics of these are mentioned at the 7:30 minute mark.
Watch the video here:
Here's a helpful MSG chart here: