Mellow for the Road – Tips for Driving Less Stressed

Idiot!”  Dave screams, leaning forward almost against the steering wheel as the driver who just cut in front of us waves an unwelcome, and probably unfelt, “thank you”.

Dave is driving me home from tennis.  He clobbered me today – how can such a large man move so fast?

“C’mon,” he says loudly, a couple minutes later, gesturing with his hand palm up.  “The light’s green and they’re just sitting there.”  Where we are, ten or so cars back, the line has not yet begun to move.  Finally the one just ahead starts up and Dave follows, almost riding the guy’s rear bumper.

“Take it easy, man,” I say, “Save your blood pressure.”

“I can’t believe they allow these people to drive,” Dave mutters.  Then, to the car in front, “Twenty miles an hour!  Come on!”

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Wanting – Mellow for the Road II

I’m sitting at the Little Bakery, waiting for Marlena to meet me for lunch, and my cell phone rings.

“Hi, it’s me.”  Marlena.


“I’m here on the Beltway, not going anywhere at the moment,” she says. “So, I’m going to be late.”

“No problem – I’ve got something to read.”

“I’m really sorry about this,” sounding stressed.

“Don’t worry about it,” I say, “Just be safe and get here when you get here.”


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How to get unstuck

The How to Get Unstuck™ program enables you to re-program yourself for a happy, healthy and more effective life. The secret? — learning to use your imagination to get everything you want out of life.

Imagine yourself, just for a moment, totally free of everything and anything that is holding you back. Imagine a you that is completely ready, willing and able to get more out of life. If you can do that, you are on your way.

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Creative Stress Management

What is stress, anyway?


Stress seems to seethe all around us – you read about it in the newspapers and magazines, hear about it on the TV, google about it on the Web. There appears to be a consensus out there: Stress is hazardous to your health and well-being.

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Overcoming anxiety

If you’re someone who worries, well – don’t worry about it: all of us do, at one time or another.  Sometimes we worry about something particular: money, the economy, our children, our parents, our health, whether we locked the door – you know.  And then some of us get caught up in the sum total of our worries without any particular one being identifiable; we generalize our worry, and that’s what is known as anxiety.

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Do as the heavens have done, forget your evil;
With them forgive yourself.  – Shakespeare, Winter’s Tale, Act V, Scene 1


“Unforgiveable, what he did!” My friend Marlena sits across the table from me in the Little Bakery, her bowl of soup half-finished. Outside are mountainous piles of snow, the residue from the third blizzard this winter – some are still digging out. A deep furrow splits her brow; she flares her nostrils.

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Driving Even Mellower (Mellow for the Road III)

Driving is one of the most stressful things many of us do. Or to put it in a better way, for many of us, driving is a big stressor.


What’s the difference? Stress is something we experience, a physiological reaction in the body: the adrenal glands put out cortisol and adrenaline, the heart speeds up, the breath comes faster.  You might have an uncomfortable, “pressured” feeling. (This is the bad kind of stress, distress – I’m not talking about the good kind, eustress; the physical symptoms are the same, though the experience is very different.)

A stressor, on the other hand, is something – a person, a situation, an activity – that we perceive as evoking the stress. So driving would be a stressor, not the stress itself.

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Resolving PTSD

The following is a brief summary of a 4-day NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) training, “Resolving PTSD," with Steve Andreas.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD – stems from a traumatic event or events which was directly or indirectly experienced.  Symptoms may include flashbacks, disturbing and recurrent dreams, avoidance, negative thinking and moods, hyper-vigilance, feelings of estrangement from others, aggressive and/or self-destructive behaviors.

"… an exposure to a terrifying life-threatening event, followed by multiple symptoms that persist and don’t resolve over time." – DSM-5

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Helen called me on my office phone, about her next appointment – ostensibly.  I’m not sure how I knew – must have been something in her voice.


“Are you having a panic attack?” I asked.
I thought so.

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Anger Management


Dawn, a friend of mine, wanted help with her anger.


As we talked, Dawn told me how she would sometimes fly into rages, especially with men, her teenage son in particular.  It could be an argument or just a discussion, and she would suddenly find herself furious, unable to calm down, while at the same time realizing how inappropriate this was, how her feelings, voice, and demeanor were completely out of proportion to whatever disagreement or conflict might have been present.


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Being Where You Are

 by Donald Pelles, Ph.D., Certified Hypnotherapist


I am stuck in traffic on the Capital Beltway, on my way home after dropping my wife off at the airport. It’s stop-and-go: “go” being 5-10 miles per hour. At this rate it’s going to take me half-an-hour or more to go the 3 miles to my exit. I am shouting to myself: I don’t want to be here.


I am in the check-out line at the grocery. It’s the “express” line, but there are three people ahead of me and the clerk is taking forever with this woman who is so insensitive as to pay by check. “Come on, move it!” I say in my head, “I’ve got a client in 5 minutes.” I don’t want to be here!



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Stalked by Bird Callers

       by Donald Pelles, Ph.D., Certified Hypnotherapist


“I’m being stalked.”


Lillie, age 60, called me to ask about hypnosis.


“Tell me more,” I said.


“I’m being stalked by people who follow me around making bird sounds.”


She told me that young people, a brother and sister, had lived in the apartment above hers. Gang members, she thought. They stomped on their floors and had run cameras down into her ceiling fans. Lillie had taken them to court, but had no success. Two years ago she felt forced to move out, and she did.


Then, a year ago, they found her again and begun stalking her, making bird sounds – two kinds of birds – blowing into some kind of bird callers. They also imitated cicadas. They followed her wherever she went, honking at her when she came out of a store, making their bird sounds, making Lillie miserable.


“Have they done anything to you?” I asked. “Have they threatened you?”


“No,” she replied. “I’ve seen them a couple times. They scare me. I’m afraid to go out, afraid to sit out on my deck, to walk my dogs.”

Lillie was suffering panic attacks every night, her heart racing, afraid she would die; she was grinding her teeth and was unable to sleep.


I listened. When she finished I asked her how I could help her, what did she want - hypnosis for anxiety?


“Hypnotize me to think they are really birds,” she said.

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Get Help Now Online, with Hypnotherapist Donald Pelles

Added stress and worry in these hard times

“I’m so worried!” one friend tells me. “This stress is unbearable!” says another. In these unprecedented times, all of this is heaped on top of whatever else we had bothering us before.

We worry now about very real possibilities: sickness and death, about jobs and income, about getting groceries and other necessities – not just or even mainly for our own selves but for our spouses, our parents, our children, colleagues, neighbors, our nation, about the economy, about humanity itself.


All these things weigh upon our hearts and upon our spirits, even though at this moment we ourselves may sheltered, well, and not hungry.


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Sit or lie, get comfortable, and close your eyes.


Now open up your hearing and bring in everything you can hear - extend your sense of hearing so you become aware of the sounds inside and outside you,  sounds near and far, even the silence beyond, all at the same time. Imagine you are floating in a sea of sound.

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