Hypnotherapist John Sahakian is no stranger to stress: He sees it in countless clients every day. The good news is those clients come to him because of his knowledge in how to help them to relax. Through a combination of various techniques, including breathing exercises and the methods featured on his CD, Three Circle Flow (which you can download for free here), John helps his patients get back on the path to positivity.
Q. What is the most common source of stress you see?
A. Stress has been put into several categories, from acute and chronic stress to positive and negative stress. For our purposes, let’s consider stress as an overload of information and stimulation. On a moment-to-moment basis, we process large quantities of information and experience stimulation through our senses, both externally (environmental stress) and internally (emotional or psychological stress). Stress can be what we experience outside our bodies and also what we think about what we are experiencing outside our bodies. Both are common sources of stress.
Q. What is the most important positive behavioral change a person can make?
A. Taking responsibility for our feelings and not habitually holding others responsible for whether we feel good or bad is the most important behavioral change a person can make. If you let someone upset you or trigger negative emotions within you, you are actually giving away your control and becoming victim to the situation. If you can realize you are always in the driver’s seat when it comes to how you want to feel, not only does your physical response to stress lessen, but emotionally you might realize you have other options, instead of being upset and stressed.
Q. How did you develop the concept behind Three Circle Flow?
A. I love that question! When our response to stress is healthy and we are feeling safe and peaceful, we breathe comfortably into our belly, solar plexus, and chest. When we are anxious and stressed out, we breathe only into our chest. Since my intention is to help people feel peaceful, what better way to describe that state of being than using something that represents breathing into these three spaces? In my workshops and audio programs, I help people learn to breathe better by asking them to imagine breathing into three circles: one large circle, like a hula hoop around the waist; another around the middle of the torso; and the last one around the chest. When they achieve this action, they report feeling free and as though they have the knowledge and power to respond to life’s challenges, whether internal or external, in a healthier manner.
Q. What is your most popular or favorite breathing exercise?
A. My favorite breathing exercise is to simply notice my breath without changing it. It only takes a couple of moments and it’s always challenging.
Q. What is the most common mistake you see in people trying to find relaxation?
A. The most common mistake I see people making when they are trying to relax is that they are trying to relax. Relaxation is something the body wants, and all we have to do is cooperate with that. It’s really a matter of getting out of our own way. It’s challenging because we are conditioned to believe that making an effort will get us more of whatever it is we want.
Q. What is the one takeaway you hope readers learn from listening to your CD?
A. I want readers and listeners to realize they are not meant to be victims, environmentally or psychologically, of their situation. We all have the potential to respond to life’s challenges in a healthier and more creative way.