The bulk of my clients are women, not because men don’t need the help, but because most men either don’t feel like they have time to schedule appointments, would rather silently power through their problems than talk to someone about them, or tend to be a bit more skeptical when it comes to the alternative healing arts. Whatever the reason, the end result is the same – men aren’t getting the help they need, which may be why they’re living shorter lives than their female counterparts by almost a decade.
It’s Ok to Ask for Help
We could get into the centuries-old argument of who has it harder, men or women. I know it’s challenging for most of us these days, but as a woman, my heart goes out to the men in my life. Not because they have it harder, but because they have not typically been taught that it’s OK to ask for help, or how to feel, manage or process their emotions. In fact, they’ve typically been taught that it’s not manly to ask for help or be emotional, with the possible exceptions of angry or aggressive. They have never been taught to feel their feelings, interpret their feelings or how to constructively express them. Instead, they’ve been taught to ignore them, stuff them away or deny them. That alone becomes a problem because feelings don’t just go away. Emotions are energy. Did you know that one of the definitions of emotion is “energy in motion”? We are intended to feel our feelings. They are nothing to be afraid of and, in fact, give us valuable information. Once they have been felt or acknowledged, we ask why they’re there and what they’re about, receive the message they’re delivering, accept them and then release them. They are designed to pass through and when we use healthy methods to feel and process, they do.
When we deny, ignore or stuff away, we end up with large emotional reservoirs in our systems that become more and more difficult to manage. First and foremost, emotions take a lot of energy to suppress, which leaves us stressed and exhausted, and less able to cope. When we have large amounts of unprocessed emotions the littlest thing will cause our emotional reservoirs to overflow and we’ll react very strongly to issues or challenges that to the outsider appear to be no big deal, e.g., road rage or going a bit over the top when our sports team is losing. Suppressed emotions cause stress to our whole systems and affect us not only mentally and emotionally but physically as well. Did you know that somewhere between 85% and 90% of all disease is classified as function vs. organic, which means it has no physiological source, but rather results from what’s going on in the mental and emotional body? 85 to 90%! That’s staggering, but also great news because it means that we have the power within to change our mental and emotional states and heal.
No Support Network for Men
Men also don’t tend to have deep conversations with their guy friends and too often haven’t had the time to maintain or develop a good network of male friends. And we women are sometimes not so great about encouraging our men to be vulnerable. We profess to want a “sensitive man,” but when our men melt down, deep inside we get a little freaked out because we want them to be strong so we feel safe and taken care of. So they often feel that they have no outlet. Us women, we talk about everything under the sun, with the possible exception of sports, cars and gadgets. Men’s conversations are all about “what I think” and women’s conversations are all about “what I feel.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not going to help unload all that emotional baggage that men have been collecting since childhood.
So men are left holding the emotional bag, which to the body is akin to a powder keg with a dangerously short fuse that is held at arm’s length and is ready to blow at any moment. Let’s take a minute to review some of the effects of unprocessed emotions and how hypnosis can help.
Effects of Unprocessed Emotions
I’ll start with the obvious. Number one of the proverbial ten. STRESS, which to me is just another word for FEAR. Like Baskin Robbin’s, fear comes in at least 33 flavors, stress being one of them. Stress is essentially saying “I don’t think I’m good enough to handle everything that’s going on in my life, I’m afraid I’m going to drop the ball and fail.” For men, like many of us working women, there are a lot of balls to juggle. The pressures at work, doing a good job, trying to earn more in order to keep up with the rising costs of pretty much everything.
Keeping the wife or girlfriend happy because “a happy wife is a happy life,” is not an easy task. As a wife myself I recognize that the bulls eye of happy seems to be a small and moving target because we women tend to by nature expect a lot of ourselves and therefore a lot of our men. Working to be a “good father” to the children, and the list goes on. And I know that some of the women who are reading this are saying, “It’s the same for me,” which I’m not denying – in some ways working mothers have even more balls to juggle. The only difference is that we women are better about asking for and receiving help, whether it’s from a professional or from what I refer to as a “co-pay” friend who is there to hear and accept all our feelings and know exactly what we need to hear in response.
Because of the high stress levels in today’s society, many men are really struggling with anxiety that they work so hard to keep under wraps to prevent them from feeling vulnerable. I worked with a male client just last week whose anxiety got so triggered that his body would try to vomit it out whenever he had to give a presentation. He could no longer hide it and finally decided in his desperation that he needed to get help. Two sessions later he’s presenting like a professional and feeling a world better to have all that fear up and out of his system.
Men are losing sleep over the future and fearing the unknown. “Am I going to get that promotion; am I going to be able to keep my job with the younger, lowered-paid crop of workers coming into the field?” “Am I going to be able to keep up with the demands of life?” “Does my wife still love me?” Worried about how they’re going to remember everything they need to do, never mind get it done and done well. We women are typically better at multitasking, not that this is a good thing when it comes to the effects on the brain. Most men do better single tasking, which is actually healthier, but can be more stressful when there are a multitude of things that need to get done simultaneously these days. (As I interrupt my writing on this snowy spring Saturday to move the laundry to the dryer, and to get some dusting done while waiting for the spin cycle to complete.)
High levels of prolonged stress or anxiety have countless effects on the body; causing insomnia, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, heart issues, decreased sex drive or erectile dysfunction and even cancer to name just a few. Anxiety can also lead to depression, lowered sense of self-esteem, which in turn can cause some men to shut down. Stress has taken a toll on many a marriage and can cause too many to turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as smoking, alcohol, drugs, gambling, porn, sports or video game addictions, affairs and others.
The Benefits of Hypnosis
I know you get the picture. You may in fact be one of those men or one of his loved ones who are living in the picture, which is a very uncomfortable place to be. The good news is that hypnosis can absolutely help and can do so far quicker and much easier than many of the other traditional therapies that are available. It’s actually perfectly suited for men, because they don’t really want to talk about things, they want to change things.
If you’re a wife or girlfriend, you’ve probably experienced that phenomenon first hand. You come home and just want to talk to your man about your day and some of the challenges you’ve encountered and his primary focus is how he can fix it for you. It’s the same for himself, so hypnosis is a perfect fit.
Aside from the initial intake, which takes about 30 minutes, the balance of the work is about draining that overflowing emotional reservoir where unprocessed emotions from way back have been stored. In most cases this can be done without even having to tap into the emotions it contains. Then, monitoring the changes that come as a result and continuing to focus on creating positive shifts until the goals have been reached, or in many cases exceeded.
In the process, many men notice that their fear and confusion around emotions disappear, that they become much more comfortable feeling and working with their emotions; and as a result, all aspects of life get better. They are able to make better decisions, because the decisions are made from the heart as well as the head, vs. just by the head or as a reaction to the fear that was in the heart. Confidence levels are boosted and when they feel better about themselves they tend to take better care of themselves in regard to their relationship with food. And because they’re feeling better, many of the destructive coping mechanisms they were using to stuff down those uncomfortable feelings are no longer needed. It’s a win-win all around.
I’ve worked with men from all over the globe on every imaginable issue, most of which come from the root fear of, “I don’t think I’m good enough.” Whether it be divorce recovery; guilt from having an affair in a desperate attempt to feel loved and good enough; performance issues of all kinds including sports, job or performance of the more personal kind; insomnia; gambling addiction; alcohol abuse; anger management; you name it I’ve helped thousands of men connect to their inner power to resolves issues that they thought were unresolvable.
In addition, I’ve helped highly successful men become even more so. Because here’s a secret: the men in this society who are considered the most successful are not free of their own challenges and did not get where they are all by themselves. They were smart enough to know that they needed help.
I love this quote by Rona Barrett: “The healthy and strong individual is the one who asks for help when he needs it.” The most successful businessmen have Executive Coaches, or better yet, Hypno- Coaches to help sort through the clutter. To decide which balls to keep juggling themselves, which balls to delegate to others and which to let happily drop and roll away. They recognize that their self-care is paramount to their success, because without health and strength they cannot reach their full potential. Whether it be help choosing the healthiest mental diet, healing old emotional wounds that when triggered have been their Achilles heel, or working on physical well-being by developing healthy habits to control stress, achieve balance and encourage strength. In addition, hypnosis is phenomenal for tapping into the other 90% of the mind’s capacity to develop the highest level life and business strategies and navigate the most challenging of “personnel” issues, whether at work or home and acquire quite the competitive edge. All of which positively affect their personal and professional bottom line.
So if you’re a man who has been being “tough” and thinking “I need to do it all by myself, getting help is a sign of weakness,” please put those thoughts down and pick up the phone instead. And if you’re one of those women who is watching her man suffer, pick up the phone for him, many have before you; and most have been thrilled that they did, for their man, their families and their future. If you’re anything like me, I want my guy to be happy and healthy for a long time to come.
Lisa Zaccheo, MA, BCH, BCI, is the owner, lead hypnotist and hypnosis instructor at Mind Matters Hypnosis Centers in Avon, Guilford and North Branford, CT. She is Board Certified by the National Guild of Hypnotists and has numerous additional certifications in all aspects of hypnosis and the subconscious. In addition, she’s a sought-after lecturer and high-level Executive Hypno-Coach. For more information, or to schedule a lecture, workshop or appointment, call Mind Matters Hypnosis Center at (860) 693-6448 or visit MindMattersHypnosis.com.