SIGN UP for Dr. A’s Newsletter and
receive a free MP3: Belly Breathing for Optimum Health and Mental Clarity.
Sign up for Dr. A's Newsletter
Dr. Adrianne Ahern's Blog

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]

How to Post a message to my Blogs!

Saturday, June 27, 2009
I just received the below email from a Joe Parks, a subscriber to the Snap Out Of It NOW! e-newsletter.  FYI -- If you want to post a message on my blog, you need to have a google ( or email account.

Message from Joe:

OOps. No Google acct yet. This is the comment I was going to add to your post about your move to San Diego.

Congrats on your move. I recently reread an earlier email of yours. Remarkably, a day or two earlier, I heard a similar message in different words when I was watching the tennis at Wimbledon. During a tennis-tip minute or some such thing, a coach pointed out that getting angry or sad after a bad sequence wasn't going to help a player. Furthermore, if the player tried to hide his anger or sadness, doing so would be completely unhelpful. Rather, the player had to find or develop something positive on which to focus. Otherwise, he was on the way to playing poorly because of his negative frame of mind.

All the best,

Joe Parks

Labels: ,

Why Hospitals Should Fly

As I move my clinical and consulting psychological office back home to San Diego, my friend, Renee, Process Improvement Coordinator for the Scripps Green Hospital and famous book artist from Escondido,  recommended a book that I should read as I prepare to return to working within the Scripps Hospital culture.  This book, "Why Hospitals Should Fly," not only defines the changes needed to arrive at a "culture of safety" within our country's hospitals, but it is a really good read! 

Get a copy today and start reading the story of St. Michael's, the fictional hospital used by the author, John Nance, to show what a culture of safety looks like in hospitals. St. Michael's transformation to a culture of safety should be the model for our hospitals today! 

I am reading this book as I want to understand the current challenges presented to healthcare employees as they face the enormous changes required in creating a 'culture of safety' within their own hospital.  Did you know that nearly 90,000 people die from hospital acquired infections along? (This is the number currently estimated by the CDC.)  As Nance illuminates for us in his book, the problem is not one of expertise or resources, it is one of relationships.

I look forward to reconnecting and working in collaboration with my Scripps friends, and doing whatever I can to facilitate this cultural transformation.

Wishing you focus, fitness, and flexibility in body and mind!


Labels: , ,

Power of Imagination

Monday, June 22, 2009
Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.
—Albert Einstein

The following is an exercise from Chapter 6, Power of Imagination, of my new book, Back In Charge!

EXERCISE: Mental Health Break

Research from the Institute of HeartMath shows that experiencing pleasure or appreciation releases endorphins into the body, and five minutes of experiencing positive feelings is enough to counteract the toxic chemicals released during hours of stress! Within your brain, you easily have five minutes worth of pleasant memories. Flex your imagination muscles and heal your body by spending just five minutes a day recalling these great memories. Make it a regular part of your daily routine, maybe while commuting to work or brushing your teeth. Five pleasant minutes first thing in the morning will set you up for an endorphin-filled day. Five minutes at night will ensure a wonderful night’s sleep!

And, incorporating the power of your breath with this exercise will alow all these positive feelings to spread throughout your entire physiology!  Remember to sign up for Dr. A's montly newsletter and then download a audio recording of Adrianne teaching you "How to Belly Breathe!"

Labels: , , ,

How to Change Your Brain to Change YOUR life!

Friday, June 19, 2009
We're always being told how powerful the brain is.  Nearly every day we hear on television how we can change our brain and change our life.  We are being told that our brain is plastic.

In my talks and workshops I demonstrate this power to the people in my audience – and I explain how you can consciously re-wire your brain so that it directs its power on your behalf. Scientists and psychologists call this hard-wiring, conditioning. I often refer to conditioning as "the internal authority," the neuropathways in your brain that tell the rest of your brain what to do!

So what is conditioning?  Click here and hear me tell a true story, "Free the Mohini," about the power of conditioning.

Labels: , , ,

Why Self-Improvement Does NOT Work

Sunday, June 14, 2009
I want to explain to you why all of the effort you have put into self-improvement has very little chance of ever, ever working. You know the programs--you've tried the programs!
  • Get thighs like Cameron Diaz in 30 days!
  • Lower your golf handicap by 10 strokes in two days!
  • Be debt-free and a millionaire within 6 months?
  • 3 easy steps to improve your sex life!
You know what? Many of these programs are valid and could really be effective. Except for one critical point: your brain will reject them. Let me repeat: your brain will reject them.
Similar to the way a body will reject a donor organ that is not compatible, your brain – the most powerful muscle you have – will reject thoughts, ideas, or possibilities that are incompatible or foreign to it. Why? Because your brain is "conditioned." And, that conditioning holds the key to your success or failure.

(What's conditioning? Click here to watch a video clip: "Free the Mohini!")

So... how do we overcome this conditioning? Well, I'll tell you a couple of methods that don't work so well. One is affirmations. Now before you jump all over me, there are ways to make affirmative statements effective. But just plopping a happy, fluffy, shiny thought over a grimy, nasty, negative one does not work. That's like spraying your nasty gym shoes with Eau de Cologne – the stink is still there and the combination is almost worse!

Another method that usually doesn't work in the long run: will power. Will power has a stronger voice, but it still has to argue with the voice of your conditioning which is why it takes so much effort.

So enough about what doesn't work--want to know what does? Aligned focus works. Aligned focus means that your conditioning is aligned with what you want so that any action you take toward that goal becomes effective. You need to re-wire the neuro-pathways of your brain so that it uses its power for you, not against you.

You want to loose weight so you wire your brain with the message: "I'm naturally slim and healthy" not "I've always been fat!"  If you want to break the record in the downhill slalom, your brain needs to be aligned with that goal so it will direct the blood flow to the right muscles, deepen your breathing, let you see opportunities for cutting time, etc, etc. If you want to stop yelling at your kid, your brain needs to be on board to keep your adrenalin from flowing to your vocal chords when you find out she hasn't done her homework.  Does this make sense?

If this makes sense to you -- get "Back In Charge!" and start rewiring your brain so that it starts supporting all you want to do, be, and have in life!

Wishing you focus, fitness, and flexibility in body and mind!

Labels: , , ,

Snap Out of It NOW! Available in Audio!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Snap Out of It NOW! is now available in Audio

At the beginning of 2009,  just as I was putting the finishing touches on "Back In Charge!," I spent my evenings recording my first book, Snap Out of It NOW!  And, now it is available to purchase on my website store!  Just scroll down the page and click on the link: "Buy MP3 Audio Download."

Snap Out of It Now! will be your guide to do-it-yourself fulfillment — whether you want more self-confidence, wealth, love, or just more fun!

The Snap Out of It NOW! Method is ideal for people who: 

• Say yes to the wrong relationships

• Let stress cloud their judgment or block their career 

• Let anger lead them down the wrong path

• Fail at diets

• Lose ability under performance pressure

• Believe they are not good enough, smart enough, rich enough, thin enough, or young enough

Labels: , ,

Psychologist, Author, Speaker Opens Practice in San Diego

“Back in Charge!” is in the bookstores, “Snap Out Of It NOW! with Dr. Adrianne Ahern” is airing nationally through American Public Television. I am moving my home and office in Reno, NV back home to San Diego! 

My real joy has always been to be in service.  Private practice will give me the one-on-one opportunity to guide and support individuals in snapping out of negative conditioned thinking and rewire their brains with more empowering thought patterns.

I have found a wonderful and centrally located office in Carmel Valley, right off the 5 freeway and just south of the 56 freeway.  

NEW office address is: 
11622 El Camino Real, Suite 100,

San Diego, CA 92130

NEW office telephone: 858-764-2422.

To check out the inside of my office, click here!

Labels: , ,

Got Negative Self Talk?

Uncover the beliefs that are holding you back!

Here's an exercise from my new book, "Back In Charge!," to help you start releasing that negative self-talk!

Begin to identify the conditioned beliefs, the specific hardwiring, that has been blocking your efforts to reach your goals and desires.  For example, some conditioned beliefs you may have about career and finances may sound something like, “I’m not smart enough to start my own business” or “This is the only career I’ll ever be good at” or “I’ve never been good with numbers.” As long as these limiting beliefs remain unconscious, they maintain the power to sabotage your efforts. Once they are brought to light of day, you can work with them using processes outlined in the chapters of “Back in Charge!”

Begin by listing goals and desires that you have and for each goal or desire, write about the efforts you have made in the past to achieve them and the results of those efforts.

Next, list all the limiting beliefs you have about each goal. Remember that your limiting beliefs may sound very true to you: “I can't find a relationship because all the good men are taken.” “I can't start that career because I’m too old.”

If you can't identify what the limiting belief says, how does it feel? To get to that feeling, imagine taking action toward your goal or remember actions you’ve taken in the past. Did staying on a diet feel difficult? Discouraging? As if you were depriving yourself of pleasure? Note those feelings. Often as you experience those feelings, the negative belief associated with them will surface. Once you can acknowledge the limiting belief, you are taking back control and getting back in charge of your life!

Through this exercise, you are beginning to identify the limiting beliefs that your brain is working as hard as it can to support!

Labels: , ,

How to Breathe for High Performance

5 Magic Minutes

I'd like to give you a tool that can literally improve your health, calm your stress, and increase your mental clarity within five minutes. I'd like to teach you how to breathe. Does that sound boring?

Let me share a story.

Two monks, master and student, walked along a path, returning to their monastery after several hours of meditating high in the Himalayan Mountains. The student complained to his master, saying, “Breathing is so boring!” Without a word, the master grabbed his student by the neck, pulled him over to a nearby stream, and plunged the student's head beneath the rushing water. He kept him under water for several seconds, as the student kicked and squirmed. Finally, the master yanked his student’s head above the surface and asked, “Now, what do you have to say about breathing?"

Obviously, as the master reminded his student, breathing is critical to life. But proper breathing is also critical to physical health, emotional well-being, and mental clarity. It is crucial to the process of re-wiring your brain. Our ultimate goal in learning to belly breathe is to be able to take 1 or 2 full belly breaths and instantly feel relaxation fill your body and clear your mind.

Okay, let’s get started.

Without consciously changing how you breathe, place one hand on your chest and one hand over your belly button. Notice which hand moves more as you breathe. If you are belly breathing, the hand on your belly will rise as you inhale and fall as you exhale. If you are chest breathing, you may find the opposite to be true.

Without consciously changing how you breathe, place one hand on your chest and one hand over your belly button. Notice which hand moves more as you breathe. If you are belly breathing, the hand on your belly will rise as you inhale and fall as you exhale. If you are chest breathing, you may find the opposite to be true.

Stand with your knees slightly bent and relaxed and hold your tailbone slightly tilted forward. If this is difficult then sit with your back straight (not stiff) and use a pillow to support your lower back with feet flat on the floor. Sit tall with your chin slightly tucked in. You may even lie down if sitting is uncomfortable.

Relax your jaw and allow your tongue to gently touch the roof of your mouth—this is a great tool for your jaw clinchers when under too much stress.

Relax your belly. Just let it be.
Often our desire for a firm tummy or a fear of a “Buddha belly” may make it difficult at first to just let it fall naturally.

Now, bring awareness to your breathing. I invite you to close your eyes—this will help you focus inward and quiet the world outside.

Notice any tension you feel.

With your hand lightly placed over your belly button, inhale slowly and deeply through your nose into the bottom of your lungs. Imagine the oxygen filling your lungs. Your hand on your belly will rise with each inhalation. Your chest should move only slightly as your belly expands. It may feel awkward at first. Don't worry. Just continue until you feel your belly expanding with the inhale and collapsing with each exhale.

When you feel like you're getting the hang of it, take a full breath in through your nose to the count of 4. Imagine the oxygen filling all lobes of your lungs.

Exhale slowly and fully through your mouth so that it lasts 6 counts. Feel your breath being released from your body and feel your hand on your belly lower.

Now…pause briefly at the end of the exhale.

Never tighten your belly in order to make your exhale last longer… Keep it relaxed. Simply slow down your exhales.

As you exhale allow your whole body to let go and relax. Visualize your arms and your legs going loose and limp like a ragdoll.

Breathe 10 slow balanced deep belly breaths: 4 counts on the inhale and 6 counts on the exhale. Keep your breathing smooth and regular, without gulping in a big breath or letting your breath out all at once. Smooth and balanced.

If you feel light headed or anxious during this practice, stop for a 30-60 seconds and then start again.

Let’s begin breathing:

Inhale: 1…2…3…4, and exhale: 1…2…3…4…5…6…pause…1…2…3
Inhale: 1…2…3…4, and exhale: 1…2…3…4…5…6…pause…1…2…3
Inhale: 1…2…3…4, and exhale: 1…2…3…4…5…6…pause…1…2…3
Inhale: 1…2…3…4, and exhale: 1…2…3…4…5…6…pause…1…2…3
Inhale: 1…2…3…4, and exhale: 1…2…3…4…5…6…pause…1…2…3
Inhale: 1…2…3…4, and exhale: 1…2…3…4…5…6…pause…1…2…3
Inhale: 1…2…3…4, and exhale: 1…2…3…4…5…6…pause…1…2…3
Inhale: 1…2…3…4, and exhale: 1…2…3…4…5…6…pause…1…2…3
Inhale: 1…2…3…4, and exhale: 1…2…3…4…5…6…pause…1…2…3
Inhale: 1…2…3…4, and exhale: 1…2…3…4…5…6…pause…1…2…3

How do you feel right now?

Since belly breathing may be new to you and because your body is taking in more oxygen then it is used to, you may feel light headed or even intoxicated at first. Your body is adjusting to the greater amount of oxygen. You can try again in 30-60 seconds after the feeling has subsided and start again.

Now, open your eyes and stretch your whole body as you feel your body refreshed, rejuvenated, alert and fully alive.

You can extend this breathing exercise by doing 2 or 3 sets of belly breathing. Five full minutes of
belly breathing will have a profound effect on reducing the feelings of stress and anxiousness and allow you to experience increased energy, creativity and mental clarity.

Practice this. Most of us find that our breathing shifts back to shallow chest breathing when we become doubtful, anxious, fearful, or when our minds go into mental overdrive. But practice makes permanent! Thus, when you notice you are entering one of these negative and distracting emotional/mental states, check your breathing and shift to the deep, calming, and energizing state that results from belly breathing.

If you haven't already signed up for my newsletter, please do so and download an audio recording of me taking you through the above practice!

Wishing you focus, fitness, and flexibility in body and mind!

Labels: , ,

Generosity & Passion on BlogTalk Radio

Just finished an excellent discussion on 'Generosity & Passion" with Jordan Mercedes on her BlogTalk Radio Show, Thrive In Balance. Jordan is a fantastic host and the experience was amazing for me. She is tackling important issues and providing an excellent forum for such discussions. Listen to Jordan and me talk about my new book, "Back in Charge!" and how to move through the resistances that keep us from living our passion.

Labels: , ,

Get "Back in Charge!"

Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Get Back in Charge!

If you don't define yourself for yourself, you will be squeezed into other people’s reality of you and eaten alive.
—Audre Lorde

Looking over my past few newsletters, I realized that I've been writing a lot about the troubling times we find ourselves in. The faltering economy. The real estate crisis. Record unemployment. All serious problems to be sure. So serious that it would be disingenuous to ignore them.

That said, none of these troubles are reason to put ourselves in a holding pattern or -- even worse -- regress to survival mode. And -- as regular readers know -- the brain is very good at convincing us to tune out hopes and dreams and focus on survival, if that’s what we are telling it to do!

The truth is, we’ve all faced difficult times in the past and we will all face them again. The trick is not to lose ourselves in the chaos of the moment, but to acknowledge the chaos we are experiencing, re-state the facts of our situation—don’t get lost in the story we are prone to tell—be proactive and, as many self-help gurus argue, “create our own reality.” It’s not easy, it does take practice, but those who succeed will reap the rewards of happier, healthier, and more creative lives.

For instance, I am well aware that the U.S. publishing industry is one of the most troubled sectors in business today. Still, I just released my newest book, “Back in Charge!” Sure, I could have shelved it until we saw more prosperous times, but I wanted to move forward in a proactive way.

I’m focusing not on all the reasons I shouldn’t be releasing a book today, but on the many, many reasons that there has never been a better time for this particular work. Case in point, an early chapter of “Back in Charge!” focuses on how anyone can -- like I did -- look beyond the negative and create a positive reality.

The first step is in realizing that we -- as conditioned human beings -- generally see what we expect to see For instance, if you are convinced that your boss is critical of your every move, you may be disturbed when she asks the simple question, “What time did you get in this morning?”
Immediately, your mind races. She’s not pleased with my performance. She thinks I am lazy. She’s always looks for the worst in me. Can I do anything right?

Sound familiar? Now think about the exchange. Your boss didn’t say anything disapproving, but the comment became negative in your mind because of your preconceptions. That’s the way the conditioning of our brains works, and it extends far beyond our perceptions of friends, family and colleagues. If you decide, for instance, that you will fail to achieve a goal or that you’ll fail to find a job that pays as well as the last one whether because of the economy, a lack of confidence, or whatever, be assured that your brain will help you fail.

What’s the solution? For starters, try this exercise from “Back in Charge!”

Make a list of things you desire that have always seemed out of reach. Now, pick the most inspiring one and instead of focusing on the negative, think about some of the reasons you might succeed. For instance, reference someone similar to you who has already achieved what you’re aiming for. You may not immediately convince yourself that the goals are achievable, but the more you focus on the reasons you can succeed, the closer you’ll come to actually doing it.

This is just one short exercise from “Back in Charge!” The 143-page book contains many, many more, each designed to teach you about your brain and the methods you can use to unlock its wonderful potential. Included with the book are two CDs packed with companion experiential exercises, so you can take what you learn and put it into practice in the car, at the gym or wherever you travel.

In these difficult and challenging times, let’s get “Back in Charge!”

Wishing you focus, fitness, & flexibility in mind and body.

Labels: , ,

Dissolve the Fear

I love this quote of William James, America's first psychologist.

“The world we see that seems so insane is the result of a belief system that is not working. To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds."

You can become your own conditioner. You can get your brain supporting all you want to be and do and have. It's up to you!

Labels: , ,

Choice, Not Reaction!

An exercise my clients find very helpful (use it myself, too!):


Sometimes it's hard to stick to The Facts. Period. Especially in challenging times like these, circumstances seem to justify our reactions, our panic, anxiety, or anger – RIGHT?
The point is not whether your reaction is right or wrong, justified or not. The point is:
Does it really serve you?
Does it get you where you want to go?
Does it help you find solutions or feel good?
Does it really serve you?

I call this question obnoxious because when you're in the throes of a really delicious, impassioned, righteous ranting and raving session, it's very annoying to have someone stop you and ask it! Trust me, I know. Especially when you've got an airtight, provable case and you're certain that any court in the land would agree with you! You've been wronged and have dozens of juicy details to add to the story and your friends all support your position and . . .

BUT WAIT: … Does your response really serve you?
Is it helping you create the life you desire?
Is your worry and panic helping you find solutions to your business situation?
Is your righteous anger helping you figure out a new income stream? Is your frustration getting the work done? Probably not.

One of the most important aspects of freeing ourselves from negative conditioned reactions is making the decision to do so. Because the truth is that we have choice about how we respond to every situation. It doesn't matter whether our response is "justified" or not. The only question to ask is: Does this response truly serve me and my purpose? And once you've honestly answered that question, it is totally up to you whether you choose to hang on to the reaction or release it. Your choice. Always.

Labels: , , ,

How To Get Back in Charge!

The Facts. Period.

Even without understanding the neuroscience of the brain, you can experience how to harness its power through this simple, practical exercise…

Oftentimes, especially when we’re under pressure, we get carried away by our conditioned reactions. For example, say I find out that my next GET BACK IN CHARGE! workshop has only 14 people signed up so far. "Oh, my gosh! Only 14 people! Obviously, the word isn't getting out. My PR people must not be doing their job. Or maybe the sponsors. Or maybe the word is getting out and nobody wants to come. I've spent all of this time and effort to put this together and nobody will experience it! What's the matter with people? I get paid thousands of dollars to speak but now that I'm offering something for free, nobody shows up. Or maybe what I have to offer isn't really valuable. Maybe. . ." Can you relate?

An event happens and our internal conditioning takes off and runs with it!

Well, try this. The next time you hear news or experience something that usually throws you into reaction (anxiety, anger, uncertainty, fear), PAUSE, restate the facts of the situation, and add a forceful "period" to the end of it. Don't allow your brain to speculate or follow its normal path of anxious thoughts. Just state the facts neutrally, then say "period." "Twelve people have signed up for my workshop so far. PERIOD."

Try this out for yourself: "I can't pay my morgage this month. Period." "The company lost an account this week. Period." "Home prices in San Diego are at an all time low. Period." By cutting off your brain's typical dialogue, you reclaim your place of choice. You'll find yourself responding to life's situations more creatively and positively. And you'll feel better!

Labels: , ,

ESPN Calls Dr. A for New Show SportsNation

Today, I rehearsed for a new ESPN show, SportsNation, airing July 2009. Host Colin Cowherd wanted to discuss overreaction in the sports world (in relation to the NBA Finals). The producer saw my Public television show and knew I counsel athletes and teams, so I took 5 minutes out of my day to chat with Colin.

A sample of the ESPN interview:

CC: What is it about being down 0-2 that makes it so hard for teams to come back?

Dr A: When a team is down 0-2 the players begin to recycle all the negative experiences they’ve had when they’ve been down. It takes something like MADONNA coming into that locker room and saying, “Boys, Be men!” Madonna appeals to their emotions—to their heart. And, when a team is down 0-2 it takes a lot of heart to turn it around…

CC: David Ortiz struggles this season has been well-documented. If Big Papi walks into your office - what would you say to him?

Dr. A: I’d spit in my hands, rub them together and say, “Big Papi, let’s talk!” Here’s how I work, we acknowledge what we’re going through. So, Big Papi what do you need to acknowledge?“ You see people don't want to acknowledge self-doubt, self-consciousness, or fear. They think that by ignoring, denying or avoiding these feelings they'll just go away, but they don't go away--they continue to build and eventually sabotage our efforts to succeed. What we acknowledge, we have power over. So, as I always say to my clients, "Face it, or get chased by it!"

Chatting with Colin was fun--hope the producer calls me back!

Labels: ,