Tune in to your senses. If you are having a particularly down day, appreciate what you can see, hear, feel and touch. Appreciate that you have these abilities!
As we all know, times are tough right now. In addition to the acute medical crisis caused by the Pandemic, in our post COVID world, we are also experiencing what some have called a “mental health pandemic”.
What can each of us do to get out of this “Pandemic Induced Mental and Emotional Funk”?
One tool that each of us has access to is the simple power of daily gratitude. As a part of our series about the “How Each Of Us Can Leverage The Power Of Gratitude To Improve Our Overall Mental Wellness ” I had the pleasure of interviewing Stephanie Dalfonzo.
Stephanie was the very first automated voice back in the 1980s when she was Celebrity Radio DJ “Stevie Knox,” Back then, she “hypnotized” her listeners to come back day after day. For the past 16 years, as an Integrative Hypnotist, she’s been using her voice to literally hypnotize her clients into making incredible life changes. One client with a “crippling fear of flying” went on to skydive out of an airplane AND build a very successful business as The Five Foot Traveler! Stephanie is also the author of “Goodbye Anxiety, Hello Freedom”, available on Amazon.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive into our discussion, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about you and about what brought you to your specific career path?
After my radio career, I stayed home to raise my children and then my husband got a fatal health diagnosis. I needed to reinvent myself, so I began coaching school and many other healing modalities. On the first day of my hypnosis training, I KNEW I had found my mission in life! That was 16 years ago and I haven’t looked back!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
It’s really hard to pick just one! I worked with 19-year-old Sarah for her “crippling fear of flying” (her words), and I knew she no longer had the fear as she had flown to Mexico to vacation with her family. I was so surprised to see her on Facebook SKYDIVING out of an airplane! I have so many of these stories — the work that I do is mind blowing!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why do you think that resonates with you? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
The Zen proverb “Fall down 7 times, get up 8.” I have been through a LOT of challenges in my life, and each time I have gotten up again, I have become more resilient. That helps me to help my clients at a very deep level.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story about why that resonated with you?
“The Choice: Embrace the Possible” by Dr. Edith Eva Eger. When I heard Oprah read this passage from her book, I felt like she was speaking from my heart! “I would love to help you experience freedom from the past, freedom from regret and unresolved grief — and the freedom to enjoy the full, rich feast of life. We cannot choose to have a life free of hurt. But we can choose to be free; to escape the past, no matter what befalls us, and to embrace the possible. I invite you to make the choice to be free.” THIS is my core philosophy!
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes, I’m working on “Get Your Head in the Game” group program for women golfers and another group program for all women looking to live their fullest, richest life.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
There is not just one person. It is a multitude of those I have been blessed to learn from over the years. Some I have known in person and some it has been through someone’s work, book, talk, etc.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now that we are on the topic of gratitude, let’s move to the main focus of our interview. As you know, the collective mental health of our country is facing extreme pressure. We would like to explore together how every one of us can use gratitude to improve our mental wellness. Let’s start with a basic definition of terms. How do you define the concept of Gratitude? Can you explain what you mean?
I have always focused on gratitude. From when my children were very young, I was constantly pointing out things to be grateful for: a beautiful sunset, flower, etc. Gratitude is being noticing the beauty and positives around us and feeling the gratitude.
Why do you think so many people do not feel gratitude? How would you articulate why a simple emotion can be so elusive?
I think we would all agree, we are living in the most challenging times of our lives. In the midst of all the chaos, it can be challenging to see anything other than the chaos. In my book “Goodbye Anxiety, Hello Freedom,” one of the techniques is “What’s right, right now?” We can train ourselves to stop at random points and look for what’s right. What’s right, right now for me is my husband and I are healthy, we have plenty of food in the pantry and I have my sweet rescue dog Maggie snoring at my feet!
This might be intuitive to you but I think it will be constructive to help spell it out. Can you share with us a few ways that increased gratitude can benefit and enhance our life?
There have been many research studies on gratitude. Happiness researcher Shawn Achor shares that when we feel gratitude (not just think it) our brains produce dopamine and serotonin — known as the “happy hormones!”
Let’s talk about mental wellness in particular. Can you share with us a few examples of how gratitude can help improve mental wellness?
There’s a saying in neuroscience that “neurons that fire together wire together.” What that means is that when we experience something for the first time, different neurons fire in our brain. When we experience it again, that same group fires off again. Each time this happens, it gets stronger. This is great for when we want to learn something new, like gratitude. The stronger this neural pathway gets, the weaker the old neural pathways of looking for what’s wrong get!
Ok wonderful. Now here is the main question of our discussion. From your experience or research, what are “Five Ways That Each Of Us Can Leverage The Power Of Gratitude To Improve Our Overall Mental Wellness”. Can you please share a story or example for each?
- Gratitude Journal. Starting the day writing down 3 things you are grateful for first thing in the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. By doing this on a consistent basis, you find more things to be grateful for!
- Gratitude Jar. Write down things you are grateful for (could be on scrap paper) and watching the blessings grow give you a good visual reminder of all that you have to be grateful for. On a challenging day take some out and read them. This will bring a smile to your face.
- What’s right, right now? When we stop, ask and answer this simple question, it breaks the stress and anxiety that you may be feeling, and as mentioned previously gets out brain to produce the “happy hormones” dopamine and serotonin.
- Thank someone for something they have done for you. When we express gratitude to others, they feel good and in turn that helps you feel good!
- Tune in to your senses. If you are having a particularly down day, appreciate what you can see, hear, feel and touch. Appreciate that you have these abilities!
Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that you would recommend to our readers to help them to live with gratitude?
10% Happier podcast with Dan Harris
Anything by Shawn Achor
Happier podcast with Gretchen Rubin
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
To do something kind for someone else each and every day. I raised my children that “what you put out in the world is what you get back.”
What is the best way our readers can further follow your work online?
Thank you for the time you spent sharing these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!