Saturday, November 16, 2019

Lingering Effects of Watching Scary Movies


What lingering effects does watching a scary movie have on us
after the fact? How does it affect our brains?


The mind can’t tell the difference between the real and the imagined. That’s why mantras and guided imagery can help us heal.

When we are exposed to real or imagined tragedy, three things happen:
·      There is an increase of stress hormone that kills the brain cells where memories are recorded (the hippocampus). That’s why after something stressful or tragic, we can feel confused.
·      The amygdala (the part of the brain that processes emotion, including fear) goes into alert mode, looking for threats, listening for sounds everywhere.
·      The front part of the brain (prefrontal cortex) that’s supposed to regulate emotions shuts down somewhat and doesn’t work as well as it did before.
So, with the memory section of our brains under functioning and the part that regulations emotions under functioning, you can see why our emotions go wild at a time like this.

Why do some people feel creeped out long after we've watched a scary movie?

When someone watches or experiences something scary, the part of the brain that processes emotions (fear, feeling creeped-out) runs rampant. The front part of the brain doesn’t regulate the emotions so they go wild.

Why does it seem like sounds are magnified and you see things?
more clearly after watching a scary movie?

The emotional part of the brain has taken over and the other parts of the brain don’t regulate like they should so sounds become more intense along with the heightened emotions.

Why do scary movies give some people nightmares?

Dreams are a way we process what’s happened in our lives. After a traumatic event, or scary movie, I recommend keeping a notebook by the bed so you can record your nightmare before you forget it. I have found that children and adults are able to be free of the nightmares if they write a happy ending to their dream. When you wake up from a bad dream, spend a few minutes writing a happy or a silly ending. (Remember the mind can’t tell the difference between what’s real and what’s imagined.)

Are some people more prone to being scared during and after a scary movie? Why is that?

I don’t know that there is scientific evidence for this—or even any way to measure it. I have found in my practice that those who are more sensitive to other’s feelings and emotions are more readily drawn in to the action in a horror or scary movie. They experience the drama with greater intensity than others do, so they are more frightened.


Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Choices that Lead to Light



I’ve been working with a homeless addict this past few weeks. She was kicked out of a half-way house for recovering addicts. It was everybody else’s fault that she had to leave the house. She never owned responsibility for her part in the break-up.

 She was an interesting person to talk to. She told detail after detail about how great her family was and the amazing things she’d accomplished. The things she talked about didn’t match with the place she was in life.

The choices she’s made had led her to fear, anxiety, and the need to escape into her addiction.



Another girl from the house is graduating this week. Despite an anxiety disorder, she’s finished her 12-step program, found a job and has a place to live. She is working closely with her sponsor and has a plan to keep herself clean.

She’s so excited because she can see her two-year-old son again. Her life is full of light and home.

There’s no point in working with the addict. You can’t reason with addiction.

None of us are either all good or all bad. I can see parts of myself in both women. There are times when I feel inadequate and want to hide behind past accomplishments. Much of the time, though, I love the feeling of worth that comes from completing the tasks I have before me. My life becomes full of light and joy.



How do we stay on the path toward light?

1.     Own responsibility for our mistakes.
2.     Learn from them
3.     Connect with others on a feeling level.
4.     Listen to their stories—don’t brag about yourself.
5.     Set goals and work each day to reach them.
6.     Be responsible for your daily life skills.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Finding Peace in Times of Tragedy


Finding Peace in Times of Tragedy is finally out. I enjoyed writing this book so very much because, in essence, it’s the story of my life.
When I was six, my father died in a car accident at the hands of an angry teenager who ran a stop sign. My dad was my best friend, and I loved watching out the window for his car to pull in the driveway each evening. Every night he snuggled me into bed and read stories until I fell asleep.
The night after the accident I still watched out the window for his car lights. I didn’t understand. My grandfather tucked me into bed and turned out the light, but a desperate lonely feeling engulfed me. Tragedy had struck my life. How was I to deal with it?
We all have the capacity to heal. With the help of our higher power, caring family, and internal insight our wounds become less.
The scars tragedy leaves are badges of wisdom. They propel us toward peace and joy.
This book is not only my story, but the story of others who experienced devastating life changes. It is our path toward healing and strength. It is the understanding we garnered along the way. All of us have known trials. Join us and follow the path to wellbeing.
Other stories include:
·       A 911 survivor
·       A mother whose son was mangled in a roadside bomb in Afghanistan
·       Parents who had two children die of similar brain tumors
·       A young adult whose father committed suicide
·       A rape survivor
Praise for the book:
"As a therapist who specializes in helping children through trauma, I've found this book a powerful new tool in helping my clients heal." Nefily Ledezma, LMFT
"Learning about how trauma impacts your body and mind and how to release it, as taught in Finding Peace in Times of Tragedy, is a prescription for freedom and happiness as you move forward in life." David Clark, MA, MFT, Mountain Interval
"This powerful book explores one of the most crucial topics in our society. Finding Peace in Times of Tragedy is a moving and compassionate portrayal of what people and communities are searching for in a world filled with chaos, tragedy, and uncertainty. Anyone who is looking for answers to almost seemingly unanswerable questions should read this." Dennis J. Carradin Jr. LPCMH, NCC, BCETS, Founder and CEO, The Trauma Survivors Foundation
Links to buy the book
If you purchase the book from The Trauma Survivors Foundation, the profits will go to the foundation as a donation.