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Giving Thanks — Again

Posted by on Dec 1, 2010 in BLOG: The Life Hypnotic | 1 comment

Last year, I sent out an email on Thanksgiving about using the power of gratitude. Because I received some great feedback, I’m posting it here this year, for anyone who missed it or would simply like to be reminded of how powerful thankfulness really is.

I’d also like to let you know that it works. In the essay, I imagine myself at Thanksgiving, 2010,  grateful for having been able to share my training, experience and empathy with clients dealing with anxiety.

And it’s come true!    Over the past twelve months I have, indeed, had the privilege of helping  people:

  • become more confident at school and work
  • board planes without freaking out
  • survive the end of their marriages
  • conquer their fears to give birth in comfort and joy
  • give great job interviews, and much more.

So what would you like to be grateful for next year?


The Second Annual Thanksgiving Essay:

One reason Thanksgiving is such a popular holiday is that it’s hard to argue with the principle of giving thanks for the good in our lives. This year, I’m giving thanks using a technique based on lessons from hypnotherapy. It’s so easy and so productive that I’d like to share it with you. If you find it helpful, pass it on.


We like to think of the mind as having two areas, the conscious mind (where you think the thoughts you know you’re thinking) and the subconscious (where everything in the background gets processed). The subconscious mind is the seat of both imagination and memory. They work much the same way, recalling images and sensory experiences and linking them by association to other experiences and thoughts.

Much of the success of hypnotherapy comes from the intersection of memory and imagination. Hypnotherapists often use a technique called mental rehearsal. You simply enter a very relaxed, suggestible state and imagine doing the thing you want to do. You may even step ahead and imagine having already accomplished your challenge.

An athlete who came to see me as a client used this technique to win the 2009 U.S national bike racing championship – by the time he rode the race, he had already run the course in his mind, felt his legs pump, trusted his instincts to time his moves against other riders and torn first across the finish line!


This year, if you’re feeling grateful, why not see what happens when you extend that thankfulness across time? Being thankful for what will happen is like programming your future self — your success becomes inevitable!


Find a quiet spot where you’ll have five minutes to yourself. Choose three things to focus on (It doesn’t matter if they’re big or small, as long as they’re specific.) What are you grateful for in the past? In the present? What would you love to be thankful for next year?

First, take three, slow, deep, relaxing belly breaths. Let your eyes close down and relax. Take a moment and focus on your thanks for the past. Really let yourself enjoy the good feeling of having gotten what you truly needed or wanted. Take a good long slow breath and let the warmth of gratitude fill you.

Now take a moment to think of the present. How good it feels to have this person, this luck, this health, this ability – whatever it is you’re thankful for, let the feeling rise up within you and breathe it in. Relish this gratitude. And now simply imagine feeling this happy, this warm, this thankful, in 2011.

Think of it in the present tense: It is 2011 and I AM thankful. Immerse yourself in the sensations of the air on your face, the texture of the chair, the sounds from the room next door and imagine you’re feeling these things again next year. It’s Thanksgiving Day, 2011, and you’re so grateful to have – what? To have quit smoking? Passed the test? Found a partner? Had a healthy baby? Released excess weight?

Let that feeling of gratitude warm you, fill you, embrace you and breathe it in. And that’s it. To really strengthen this programming, you could end each day between now and next Thanksgiving by simply saying a quick, “Thanks for the …..” under your breath as you lie down for sleep.

May all your days be filled with riches deserving your thanks.

(Here’s the ending from last year:

And for me, well, I’m feeling sentimental. So I’ll tell you I’m grateful to my parents for telling me as a child that I was capable of anything. I’m grateful to Bill for (among other things) texting me in the middle of the day just to say he loves me.

And it is 2010 and I AM thankful for …. having had the courage to be honest and authentic about my struggles with anxiety, which has led to mazing opportunities to use hypnosis to help others move past their fears as well.)

This coming year, I’m grateful for you for reading, commenting and sharing these posts and your own experiences.  Thanks again!

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One Comment

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  1. ann

    Dear Stephanie,
    Love the website. Thanks for the exercise. I will try it. I am about to sit for a state examine for Phlebotomy. I have worked very hard and I need your help this weekend. Test is Monday morn (20th). I just have a weak spot in my memory, in regards to the order of draw. It is critical that I have this down solid. I think this small stubborn part of me falls under the catagory of sabotage. The struggle to conquor this small amount of info. may be distracting me from other areas I need to review. Help! Sorry for the last minute call, I forgot all about you until I got your e-mail.
    Love Annie

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