Mind Over Matter

Does the six o’clock news send you into a state of despair? Do the constant rumblings of recession making you feel like crying into your canned soup?

As the world retreats into scarcity mode, it doesn’t mean you have to follow the crowd. In fact, it’s your state of mind and beliefs that can help you find opportunity where others believe there is none — or the proverbial silver lining.

“With incessant bad news, it’s easy to have doomsday-ish thoughts that the world as we know it is going to end … that there’s nothing worth living for and that there are no opportunities,†says Jack Canfield, author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Series and widely popular The Success Principles.


“In fact, opportunities abound during down times as well as up times. Many of the richest, happiest people in the world owe their success to the downtimes.â€

Canfield, who spoke exclusively to WT about how to stay above the negative fray, said many of the world’s richest, happiest people owe their success to the downtimes.

“It’s true that recessions force people to take a closer look at their lives and their habits,†he says. “It’s a time to reassess what is most important in our lives—family, friends, community, emotional and spiritual growth and our health.â€

Canfield says it’s in times of stress people can; if they look objectively, see more clearly what’s not working.

Changing your emotional state, may be easier than you think, adds leading Westside-based hypnotherapist Cythnia Morgan, who has helped hundreds of clients elevate their emotional health, despite what’s going on around them. A negative emotional state can be turned around, she says, in just a 40-minute session.

“The power to change your life is in your unconscious mind,†she says. “The sky is the limit.â€

WT shares the expert’s secrets on how to elevate and maintain your emotional health

Jack Canfield
Author and Success Coach

WT: How do emotionally healthy people behave?

JC: Emotionally healthy people have a positive outlook on life despite challenges and are able to cope successfully with whatever life throws at them. They don’t just know this instinctively; they make it a habit to respond in ways that generate the outcomes they want, even during extremely tough experiences or events seemingly beyond their control. Rather than spending their time blaming and complaining about a certain event, they focus on changing their responses to create the future outcomes that match their goals and dreams. There are only three kinds of responses you have any control over—the thoughts you think, the visual images you create in your mind (dreaming and worrying), and the actions you take (which includes the words you speak). To keep your thoughts positive, you must read uplifting books, monitor your self-talk, repeat positive affirmations, listen to uplifting music, stop watching negative news, listen to more comedy, and avoid conversations with negative people.  Give up blaming and complaining and only talk about what you want and how you are going to get it.

WT: How do you personally maintain your emotional health?

JC: I read books that inspire and uplift me. I listen to positive and motivational audio programs. I listen to positive music playlists I have created on my iPod. I listen to the comedy channels on XM Radio. I make sure to have fun and laugh every day no matter what. I meditate for 20 minutes a day. I visualize my goals as already completed. I keep updating my vision board so I stay motivated to move toward personal and professional goals I want to reach. I avoid toxic people who will try to bring me down or do nothing but complain and blame. I seek out positive people who are focused on achieving their goals and making a difference in the world. I watch a lot less news programming. I keep a gratitude journal that records things for which I am grateful, which can easily turn a bad day into a good one once I realize there’s so much to appreciate and be thankful for.

I also exercise for at least an hour four days a week, take walks after dinner, and do yoga to support a healthy chemistry in my body that will lift my spirits and release any stress. I eat a very healthy diet, and I limit my intake of alcohol and sugar.

WT: How can someone’s life change once they have taken back control of their own emotional health?

JC: Life can change dramatically. Suddenly, everything seems possible and doable. It’s like being a kid again when the world is your oyster and you can dream of being or doing anything in life, no matter how impractical or crazy it may seem.

I recently had a student who took my one-day workshop on “The Success Principles†and one-month later made more money that month than in the entire previous year. He is on track to make ten times his 2008 income in 2009—in the midst of a “down economy.†Another student of mine is a yoga teacher in Boston. By creating yoga videos and selling them on-line, she has also turned her previous year’s income into her monthly income. Another student just wrote me that she has in the past 6 months doubled her income, taken her dream vacation in Hawaii, met her soulmate who she is now engaged to, lost 20 pounds and written a book! The truth is that everything can change.

Cynthia Morgan

WT: What is your definition of emotional health
and wellbeing?

CM: As a hypnotherapist, my definition of emotional health is mental health. You cannot have emotional health without healthy thoughts. Emotion follows thought. It’s not the other way around. First the thought, then the emotion. In order to change the emotion, you must go back to the thoughts you are thinking. And not just conscious thoughts, but rather thoughts in your subconscious mind. The subconscious is known as the picture mind and the feeling mind because it is the seat of your memory and your emotion. They ar e intricately tied. Your emotions are the result of your interpretations of past experiences. Notice I said, “interpretations†of the experience. For instance, two siblings can grow up in the same family with the same experiences, and one is an emotional wreck, and the other, fairly calm and stable. Both may think their “truth†about the experience is correct, but the reality of what happened, the real Truth, may not be anything like their remembering. What we think we know is often incorrect. Therefore, just knowing that “I could be wrong†about my interpretation of someone or something begins the healing process toward emotional health and well-being. It is your interpretation of an experience that determines your well-being. But you must be willing to give up being right. As A Course in Miracles says, “Do you prefer that you be right or happy?â€

WT: How do you personally maintain your emotional health?

CM: First, if I am not emotionally well, I ask myself, “How could I interpret this differently? I find a different perspective on my life, the problem, or whatever. Secondly, I do self-hypnosis and look at the underlying issues. Thirdly, as a student of A Course in Miracles, I pick up the book and read the text or do a lesson.