How Sleep Can Be the Most Productive Part of Your Day

Dreaming womanMy clients usually think I’m joking the first time I say it. “You need to get more work done. Can you sleep more?”

But, I’m dead serious. Maybe you already know that your body does a lot of work during sleep by repairing cells and cleaning out waste material. But, did you know that how you feel about being yourself is also getting renewed while you sleep?

Dreams are your brain’s vehicle for recharging an important generating engine within you—specifically, your sense of self, the part of you that stores how you feel about being human and how you deal the situations in your life. So, you have your dreams to thank for the way you wake up and handle each day. (Take this scientifically validated personality test to find out what’s stored in your sense of self.)

What do these often mysterious and strange stories mean? Your dreams are pictures of feelings. Your brain brings people, places, animals, things, or even time frames (like high school) into dreams based on the feeling that they trigger about yourself. So, there are no hard and fast rules for what anything means in a dream. For instance, water will mean one thing to the captain of the swim team and something very different to someone who nearly drowned when he was 6.  The feeling that the person/thing/etc. triggers about yourself is the feeling that your brain is using to recharge your sense of self.

Quanta Change® taps into this productive recharging time to tell your brain that you want to recharge with feeling good about being yourself, instead of feeling bad. Quanta Change dreams are the mechanism that permanently removes layers of Learned Distress®, the feeling that there’s something wrong with you. Learned Distress is the generating engine behind the negative moments in your life, so your dreams carry immense potential for change. Quanta Change dreams come about through working with a Quanta Change Guide, who helps you tell your brain specifically what you want to change during sleep. (And, I’ll note here that Quanta Change dreams only happen without interference from our rational, thinking brains, so this is not the same thing as lucid dreaming.)

In a Quanta Change dream, something is wrong and you do something about it. The something wrong can be as mild as not liking what someone is wearing or as intense as someone trying to kill you. What you do about it can also range from the mild (thinking, “That’s a strange thing to wear!”) to the very intense (turning around and killing your attacker). Whether or not the situation resolves, the point at which you do something is when you peel off a layer of Learned Distress. We can often tell what your brain is unlearning by looking at the dream. As an example, here’s my very first Quanta Change dream and some insight about it:

Dream. I’m living in a posh Victorian house. Everything I need is being provided abundantly. But then I realize that vampires own the house, and they are sucking my blood. I decide to break free, and I run away from the house. The vampires chase me, and I keep running. I turn around and scream at them, “I’m taking care of myself!” I run some more and find a house. I knock on the door, but no one answers. I run to the next house, get in, ask for the phone, but can’t figure out how to dial it.  I scream at the vampires again, and then I wake up.

Feeling context. Vampires trigger fear for me – specifically, they are scary creatures who suck all the life out of someone.  When I began my Quanta Change process, I was sick and I desperately wanted someone to take care of me.  In my life, I had been willing in many ways to give up my freedom and power to those who could provide for me what I didn’t feel I could do for myself.

Change Theme. At the time, the specific thing I was telling my brain I wanted to change was that I wanted to feel able to take care of myself and enjoy doing so.

Points of change, where I unlearned layers Learned Distress.
1. Realizing that it’s vampires running the house and deciding this wasn’t good
2. Breaking out and running away
3. Turning around and screaming at them – “I’m taking care of myself!”
4. Going to the first house for help
5. Going to the second house for help, trying to dial the phone
6. Screaming at the vampires again

Result.
This was the first of many cycles of change for me in the theme of standing up for myself and caring for myself. Several days after this dream, I felt strikingly more independent. Each one of those cycles brought me to a new level of inner strength and ability to operate on my own without the need for others’ approval.

What would you hope that your Quanta Change dreams might bring about? My clients have said things like, “I’ve been working on myself for decades, and for the first time I actually feel better,” or, “I’m the worst procrastinator, but I just got up one day and cleaned the garage out. I’ve never felt so motivated!”, or, “For the first time in my life, I feel like I’m good enough just as I am,” or, “I feel more comfortable openly sharing who I am, and I’m connecting with other people more easily. Being around other people doesn’t feel so scary or like such a drain.”

Can you see what I mean by sleep being the most productive time of the day? How would your life change, if you could get that kind of work done?

Sara Avery is the Executive Director of Quanta Change, and she’s been guiding people through this process for the past 16 years. Click to get your free, personalized SQ report and to sign up for a free, 30-minute call with her to understand specifically what your Quanta Change dreams might bring about.

The Procrastination Fix Within You

The cure for procrastination“Procrastination” does NOT equal “lazy.”

This is one of my favorite things to tell people who procrastinate, as so many of us do! I have found that most procrastination stems from a couple different negative feelings you might have absorbed early in childhood, which are now stored in your sense of self. (You can get a report on the negative stuff you absorbed by taking this scientifically validated personality test.)

Common Procrastination Root #1: The fear that “I don’t know how to do this perfectly.” You might experience this in a number of ways, including, “I’m not smart enough,” or, “I’m not good enough.” Or, your inner voice might pressure you with, “I HAVE to do this perfectly,” or, “I HAVE to show everyone that I know how.”

When this negative feeling is triggered, you’ll do everything you can to avoid having “I’m not good enough” confirmed once again, or letting people see your deepest secret—that you aren’t perfect. You hold off doing whatever the task is until the last possible second—until the pain of not completing it at all is greater than our fear that we can’t do it well or perfectly.

Common Procrastination Root #2: The fear that “I just don’t have it in me to do this.” You might experience this as an invisible force holding you back or as something similar to exhaustion or even depression.

This feeling can be triggered by the smallest of tasks in front of you. Maybe you’ve had this experience—you need to do something you’ve done many times before, like (for me) pulling the weeds in my back yard. You look at it for days, maybe weeks, dreading it more and more. And, while you know that last time you did it, it was easy and took just a few minutes, something in you says (maybe in the same whiny voice runs through my head!), “I just ca-an’t.” Does that ring a bell?

It can be helpful to know that the part of us that stores these fears is two years old. You probably wouldn’t yell at a toddler for being scared, and it’s good to have this same compassion for yourself when you are feeling reluctant to start or finish a project or task. And, even better, these fears can be unlearned through Quanta Change®, so that your natural well-being (the opposite of those fears) can rise to the surface and allow you to accomplish what you want to do.

The well-being state in this “getting stuff done” arena can feel like this: 
1. Comfort with your own unique way of doing things (instead of following “their” rules perfectly)
2. A new sense that you have everything you need within you to achieve your goals
3. The experience of being propelled forward effortlessly

What does that look like? Often, without even noticing that something is different (typical with Quanta Change), people find themselves doing the very task they dreaded easily and without resistance. In fact, I often have to point out that they accomplished something that seemed impossible just a week before.

For example, a college student was dreading the paper he had to write, so we began to work on this procrastination theme. As he unlearned layers of “I don’t know how,” he found a subject that excited him. He was so excited about it that he actually finished his paper early—a first for him! He found that he did indeed have the ability to do it, and he found a subject that fit him. He kept telling me, “It was so easy and fun!” He had never felt this way about writing a paper before. His teacher said it was the best paper she had read all year.

Getting your Quanta Change Sensory Quotient® Report can give you a good idea of the roots of your procrastination or other big challenges. The good news, again, is that these negative feelings can be unlearned, so that life can actually work more easily for you.

Sara Avery is the Executive Director of Quanta Change, and she’s been guiding people through this process for the past 16 years. Click to get your free, personalized SQ report and to sign up for a free, 30-minute call with her to understand how your SQ generates the biggest challenge in your life.

The Door from Struggle to Well-being

Black DoorDo you keep facing the same frustrating situation again, and again, no matter what you do? Or, do things work pretty well in your life, but you keep feeling bad, and you just can’t figure out how to change that? Have you maybe even thrown up your hands and conceded, “This is just the way life is!”?

You wouldn’t be alone. It’s not only that a lot of us get to that frustration point where we just can’t push against that negative force, anymore. In fact, early in life, long before you have any choice in the matter, your brain develops a survival mechanism that says, “This is how life is. This is how you need to be in order to survive.” So, since you were a toddler, you’ve actually had a set way of being in the world that strongly resists any change. And, unfortunately, this survival mechanism is built largely out of Learned Distress®, the feeling you absorbed early in life that there is something wrong with you being just the way you are. (You can get a “picture” of your Learned Distress survival mechanism by taking a free, scientifically validated personality test.)

So, it’s not surprising that most people get to a certain point where this survival mechanism starts to take a toll. It doesn’t feel good, but to the part of the brain that stores the survival mechanism, it’s the “known evil.” This reminds me of a story I heard:

Long ago, there was a war that had been going on for many years. The convention of the day was to put prisoners of war to death by firing squad, but one general took an unconventional approach with his prisoners. He gave them a choice: face the firing squad or walk through a black door in the amphitheater.

One day, the general’s aide came to him with a question: “Why hasn’t anyone ever chosen the black door?” The general answered, “Because they’re afraid of the unknown.”

Then, the aide asked what he really wanted to know: “General, what’s behind the black door?” With great sadness, the general answered, “The black door leads to their freedom.”

Now, it’s not just fear of the unknown that holds you back from walking through that door. It’s a natural wall of resistance to change that protects your survival mechanism. But, Quanta Change® actually gives you a way to get through that wall, by tapping into the brain’s natural recharging mechanism. It allows you to tell your brain that you want your survival mechanism to be based on your well-being, instead of the various negative things it picked up early in life. And, when you do, you start to feel better. The familiar struggles lessen in intensity, life gets easier, you start to be able to do things that you didn’t even feel capable of before.

And just as the prisoners could not even imagine the freedom that existed beyond the door, you can’t really imagine what true well-being is like until you experience it.

“Really?” some of you ask. “I haven’t experienced my true well-being yet? But I’ve done LOTS of work on myself!” I feel your frustration. Many of my clients have done decades of self work before they start Quanta Change, but I hear something very similar from all of them: “This is different. I feel different now. Things are actually easier.”

They say things like, “That resentment that has been around my whole life. . .it’s just GONE.  I can’t even feel it anymore.” Or a few months into the process, I’ll remind them of something they’d struggled with their whole lives, and they’ll say, “Oh, yeah, that. I had forgotten all about it!” Memory is stored by the intensity of feeling associated with it.  So, when you permanently unlearn a layer of Learned Distress, the memory of it literally disappears. Not only do you not feel bad at that level anymore, but you don’t even remember how it felt.

To go back to our firing squad story, I think what everyone has been doing is controlling the firing squad, or at least ignoring it. Quanta Change actually gives you a way to leave the firing squad behind, layer by layer, as Learned Distress is replaced gradually by your natural well-being. Curious about what your “firing squad” looks like? You can get a picture of it and what walking through your own black door might be like by taking the free Sensory Quotient® test.

Sara Avery is the Executive Director of Quanta Change, and she’s been guiding people through this process for the past 16 years. Click to get your free, personalized SQ report and to sign up for a free, 30-minute call with her to understand how your SQ generates the biggest challenge in your life.

Why Is Creating Good Change So Hard?

Break through your wall of resistance to change.People tell me all the time, “I work really hard to create good change in my life and I still wake up day after day feeling the same and stuck in the same situations. Maybe it changes a little, but not much. I’m tired of working this hard and not really seeing anything change.”

Why is the change you want so hard to achieve? To answer that, we have to look at what is being threatened by change. Is it that you just don’t like change? Is it that you are stubborn or just plain dumb—that you can’t see how much better life would be? Nope!

It’s your survival mechanism that puts up the strong resistance to change. Take this free, scientifically validated personality test( to get a detailed picture of your survival mechanism.) In a very real and primal way, you feel that change will kill you. But how can this be true? Rationally, you know that the change you’re working for is good for you. But it isn’t the thinking part of your brain that stores this survival mechanism, so you can’t reason with it about change (or anything, for that matter).

What stores the survival mechanism is your sense of self. It stores how you feel about being yourself. This part of the brain is 2 ½ years old. That’s when it stopped developing and started to build around itself a wall of resistance to change—to make sure that your mechanism for staying alive stays intact. (Both in a feeling way and literally—your nerve cells are surrounded by myelin sheaths that prevent physical change.)

Think of it this way. . .you’ve seen those news stories about an abused baby who is taken from her abusive parent and placed in a loving and nurturing home. You know that she will be much better off in her new home, right? But, she clings for dear life to the person who has abused her. Why? Because she has no rational, thinking capacity yet—there is no way to reason with her about this change. The only survival she’s ever known is that abusive parent, and so she clings.

The same is true with your sensory brain. It will hold onto your Sensory Quotient pattern of survival for dear life, even though you can see rationally that over time, this survival mechanism has meant that things only got harder for you—life has either gotten worse, or it has become harder and harder to make good things happen.

Quanta Change gives you a way to break through the wall of resistance
and tell your sensory brain that the change you want really is safe and good for you. Even better, Quanta Change uncovers the natural well-being that has been hidden beneath your survival mechanism all this time—the source of the good that you want in your life is actually within you and just waiting to be uncovered.

Sara Avery is the Executive Director of Quanta Change, and she’s been guiding people through this process for the past 16 years. Click to get your free, personalized SQ report and to sign up for a free, 30-minute call with her to understand how your SQ generates the biggest challenge in your life.

Does Life Have to Be THIS Hard?

There’s a question I like to ask my clients at the beginning of their work with me.  First, I describe two choices:

Choice 1: We’re blessed to live in a world with the sun that does many things for us and our planet—it gives us warmth, drives our weather patterns, nourishes our plant life, and countless other things we couldn’t live without. How hard do you have to work for the sun to do these things? Not one bit, right?

Choice 2: Now, imagine living in a room your whole life where the sunlight is completely blocked out. To survive, you still need many functions the sun provides, so there is a light in the ceiling that does those things. But, there’s a catch—this light is attached to a stationary bike which you must ride to keep the light turned on. So, you have to work hard just to survive.

The Question: Would you rather continue to ride the bike or get off and stand out in the sunshine? That’s the difference between surviving through your pattern of Learned Distress® and living from your well-being. (Find out which Learned Distress pattern is yours through this scientifically validated personality tool.)

Your bike-riding style is your Quanta Change® Sensory Quotient® pattern. 

Idealists are able to ride the bike well and they keep the light turned on brightly, but it’s very hard work.

Perfectionists control their riding to make sure that the light is turned on the “right way.”

Dictators ride the bike their own way, it is the only way, and they make sure everyone else does it their way, too.

The Defeatist’s bike rarely works despite their very best efforts, and in the rare case that they do get the light turned on, Defeatists just know that darkness is only a few moments away again.

Optimists always have some crisis with their bike, but they keep struggling to overcome these difficulties.

Caregivers know they can’t keep the light turned on by themselves, so they make sure to ride the bike in whatever way will get them the help they need.

Quanta Change gives you the choice to allow your well-being to work for you, just as the sun works for our planet and humankind. To learn what your “bike riding style” is and what “relaxing in the sun” might look like for you, click to take the Sensory Quotient test.

Sara Avery is the Executive Director of Quanta Change, and she’s been guiding people through this process for the past 16 years. Click to get your free, personalized SQ report and to sign up for a free, 30-minute call with her to understand how your SQ generates the biggest challenge in your life.

Why Changing Your Thinking Doesn’t Work

How many times have you heard this? “Want to change your negative patterns? Change your thinking!”

I disagree. What allows me to make this bold statement, and what is it that we need to change, instead?

The 20+ years of research behind Quanta Change® plus my own 16-year career in guiding people through this process has led me to firmly reject the “change your thinking” paradigm.

You might even have personal experience that confirms my conclusion. Think about some negative feeling you have about yourself, like “I’m not good enough,” or, “I don’t matter.” Have you tried thinking your way out of it? Has that stuck? Or, have you found yourself mired back in that miserable feeling after a day or two? (Or, like many of us, maybe just after a moment, or two?!)

Let’s look at why changing your thinking keeps failing you. Quanta Change is built on a fundamental distinction: it is the behavior of human energy, not human behavior, that generates each moment of your life. In other words, it’s not about what you think or do, it’s about how your energy behaves invisibly, in the background. (You can get a good idea of this invisible work in your life through a scientifically-validated personality test.)

How does your energy decide how to behave, then? It behaves according to how you feel about being human. Your sense of self—your unique way of feeling human—develops from conception until the age of 2 ½. After that point, it is like a battery that your brain uses to generate the moments of your life, without conscious choice or control.

Therefore, thinking merely gives you a way to cope with or control the negative feelings and situations your sense of self generates. That can be effective to a point, but it can take a lot of energy to continuously deal with what the behavior of your energy is dishing out. And eventually, the rational-level control mechanism can become overwhelmed by negative feelings, which gradually rise in intensity over time.

The Quanta Change research recognized that fundamental and lasting change would happen if you could change what was stored in your sense of self—if you could permanently peel away layers of the negative feeling you stored early in life. There are two types of feeling stored in your sense of self:

  1. Your natural well-being, the core essence of who you are, which is the feeling that you are all good just being yourself
  2. Your Learned Distress®, the feeling you absorbed early in life that there is something wrong with you being just as you are

The Quanta Change research uncovered a way to unlearn Learned Distress, so that your natural sense of well-being can expand to take its place, and begin to generate moments that feel good without you having to expend Herculean effort. The result is the Quanta Change Process, which unfolds through a repeating cycle of change that peels away layers of Learned Distress. Participants say things like, “I’ve done lots of work on myself, but I actually feel different and better now,” or, “I feel an underlying sense of peace that I’ve never felt before,” or, “I can’t believe how easily I am getting things done now. I feel like a different person.”

The research also identified a way to get a better handle on your Learned Distress, beyond the very basic feeling that there is something wrong with you. The Quanta Change Sensory Quotient® (SQ), a scientifically validated personality tool, gives you a way to find out which one of the six Learned Distress patterns you have. Your SQ will show you both the negative ways you feel about being yourself and the ways you survive with those feelings.

Are you curious to know if your pattern is the Idealist, Perfectionist, Optimist, Caregiver, Defeatist, or Dictator, and how that pattern is generating the negative situations in your life? Follow the link below to get your free SQ report and find out how changing on the feeling level can bring about the shifts you have been seeking.

Sara Avery is the Executive Director of Quanta Change, and she’s been guiding people through this process for the past 16 years. Click to get your free, personalized SQ report and to sign up for a free, 30-minute call with her to understand how your SQ generates the biggest challenge in your life.

How to Remove Your Internal Roadblock to Good Sleep

Dreaming womanIt’s 11 a.m., and you can barely keep your eyes open.

It happened again.

You tried to prevent it.

You stopped drinking coffee before noon yesterday.

You turned off the TV and electronics at 9 p.m. and retreated to your soothing bedroom.

You did everything right, and you still couldn’t sleep.

Or, maybe you fell asleep easily like you always do, but woke up at 3 a.m. and didn’t doze off again until 20 minutes before your alarm.

Or, maybe you sleep well most of the time, unless it’s the night before a big presentation.

No matter what your sleep trouble is, it’s turning your life into a slog through waist-deep molasses.

Why the Conventional Solutions Aren’t Working

You’ve tried it all.

You’ve followed the expert advice on insomnia—eliminate stimulants and alcohol, no smartphone or TV in the bedroom, make your bedroom a place only for sleeping.

You may even have addressed physiological issues like sleep apnea.

Maybe you’re taking medications or supplements that should help.

And, yet, none of those external solutions is working.

That’s because they don’t address the one thing that is incompatible with sleep—something that is trapped inside you.

Your Internal Espresso Machine

Your body has a built-in mechanism to keep you safe. To keep you alive.

When you feel threatened, your body reacts with this “fight or flight” response.

Simply put, your body releases chemicals that prepare you to fight or flee from danger.

Think about how you feel when you combat something scary.

It’s the absolute opposite of feeling relaxed and sleepy, right?

It’s just what you need if a tornado is bearing down on you or you’re being chased by a bear.

And, your brilliant body knows how to turn it off once the external threat is gone.

But, what if that threat is trapped inside you?

The Menacing Bear Inside You

Think of something that makes you nervous.

Speaking in public? Trying something new? Going to the doctor?

What happens?

Does your heart beat faster? Mouth get dry? Do you get shaky?

All symptoms of the fight or flight response.

But, wait.

Why would your body respond to public speaking, trying something new, or going to the doctor as if they were mortal threats?

It’s because your brain perceives a feeling trapped inside of you as a mortal threat, also.

The Threat That Never Goes Away

You’ve been living with this internal perceived threat since you were a baby.

It’s the feeling that there is something wrong with you being just the way that you are.

You absorbed this Learned Distress® early in life when people around you felt that same way, and it became trapped in your sense of self, which stores how you feel about being you.

Then, your sense of self became the automatic, generating force behind every moment in your life.

That means that each negative moment in your life is a replay of the negative feeling you absorbed when you were very young.

To recap—before you had any choice in the matter, you absorbed the feeling that there is something wrong with you, and now it’s generating all your negative moments, without your conscious input or control.

It’s horrible to be bombarded in every moment with the feeling that there’s something wrong with you.

So, your brain also developed ways to survive with it.

“There might be something wrong with me, but as long as I ___________, I’ll be OK.”

You probably know what fills in that blank for you—perhaps one of these survival mechanisms (and there are so many more):

  • As long as I’m perfect, I’ll be OK.
  • As long as I win, I’ll be OK.
  • As long as I get people to like me, I’ll be OK.
  • As long as I work really hard to make good things happen, I’ll be OK.
  • As long as I keep things under control, I’ll be OK.

How Your Brain Responds to Learned Distress

The feeling that there’s something wrong with you comes in many flavors that trigger fight or flight.

“I’m not good enough,” “I don’t matter,” “I am incapable of achieving,” “I can’t be healthy no matter what I do,” and the list goes on.

And then, your survival mechanisms can be triggers, too.

Maybe you keep these negative feelings and pressures at bay by working hard and staying on the move during the day.

But then, as you’re winding down at night, relaxing out of your daytime momentum, Learned Distress and the pressure to overcome it come crashing in.

Just as you’re trying to get to sleep, the feeling that “there’s something wrong with me and I had better fix it immediately” turns on the internal espresso machine, and you are suddenly wide awake.

Or, maybe overcoming your Learned Distress wears you out enough that you can fall asleep easily, but then you wake up in the middle of the night, and the negative intensity takes over. Your mind races trying to address this perceived threat to your survival, and you can’t fall back asleep.

It Should Be a Simple Fix, Right?

Maybe you’re thinking, “Well, if it’s just a negative feeling plaguing me, I should just change how I feel. Easy!”

Have you ever tried to change how you feel about being you?

Tried to get rid of the feeling that you’re not good enough?

Lots of methods seem to promise that’s what they can do—the power of positive thinking, meditation, hypnosis, therapy.

Have you tried those things or even more? Has the feeling that there’s something wrong with you actually gone away?

Or, have you just understood that you shouldn’t feel that way anymore, but deep down, you still feel exactly the same?

That’s because your sense of self, which stores that feeling, isn’t open to change through your rational, awake brain.

Sleep Is the Key to Deep Change

“Uh oh!,” you’re thinking. “I already have trouble sleeping. If sleep is the secret to fixing this, I’m doomed!”

Keep reading. I was you 15 years ago, sleeping only a few hours at a time on my best nights. If this worked for me, it can work for you.

Mimi Herrmann, who discovered Learned Distress and how it becomes the internal source of our misery, also figured out how your brain can release it permanently. She and I worked together for five years to refine the process that finally allowed me to get a good night’s sleep.

When you’re awake (even if you’re meditating or under hypnosis), your rational, thinking brain puts up a wall of resistance to changing what is stored in your sense of self—how you feel about being yourself.

But, when you go to sleep, that wall of resistance comes down, because sleep is the time when your sense of self is being recharged.

You recharge on three main levels when you sleep: deep sleep (when your body releases the most human growth hormone) is for physical recharge and repair, the middle layer of sleep is for mental rejuvenation, and the fastest level of sleep brain wave activity, REM sleep (when you dream), is for recharging your sense of self.

Your brain recharges this storage bank with the way you felt during the day you just lived.

Quite often, that means you recharge with Learned Distress, and that renewed negative intensity turns your life into repeating patterns of the same negative feelings and situations.

Recharging with Natural Well-Being

Your sense of self also contains the opposite of Learned Distress—the feeling that you are all good being just as you are, what I call natural well-being.

The Quanta Change® process gives you a way to tell your sleeping brain that you want to recharge with this good feeling, instead of your Learned Distress.

The process contains three integral elements:
1. Sleeping with a specially designed recording which is a generic message to your sleeping brain for change.
2. Having regular sessions with a Quanta Change Guide to understand your Learned Distress and ongoing cycles of change.
3. Shifting how you feel in your negative moments during the day, which tells your sleeping brain the specific changes you want it to make for you.

These elements bring about a repeating cycle of change, and each time you go through a cycle, you permanently unlearn a layer of Learned Distress.

As each layer peels away, it leaves space for your natural well-being to expand into its rightful place as the automatic, generating force in your life.

What Quanta Change Feels Like

Have you ever started a day with the thought that if you work really hard, you could make horrible things happen? Probably not. Negative moments are effortless because they’re generated automatically from Learned Distress.

As well-being becomes the more predominant generating force in your life, the more good moments happen just that effortlessly.

The first change troubled sleepers experience is usually better sleep. That was my experience when I started my own process 15 years ago.

But, since poor sleep is just a side effect of Learned Distress, better sleep comes about by unlearning your most intense negative feelings.

As that negative intensity comes down layer by layer, people say things like, “I feel a greater sense of underlying peace, and I haven’t done anything like meditate or use my affirmations to get there. I just feel better.”

As they address specific pieces of Learned Distress, they say things like, “I don’t know how it happened, but that thing I’ve always worried about just isn’t a big deal, anymore.” Sometimes, they say they barely remember that big worry existed, at all.

And, as the negative intensity is reduced, so are the negative situations that it has generated. Things start working better—in relationships, at work, in daily life, in terms of physical health—without controlling or *making* them happen.

One client who wanted to address sleep has found that not only is she getting to sleep more easily and going back to sleep easily when she wakes up in the middle of the night, but her frequency of migraines has changed from almost daily to sporadic and when they do occur, they’re much less intense. For the first time in years, she has the energy to exercise, and she can exercise and work on the same day without landing in bed for the next three days straight. Her personal relationships have improved and she is experiencing greater success in her professional life, as well as being recognized in new ways for doing the same excellent level of work she has always done, but that no one has seemed to notice, until now.

Are You Ready for Better Sleep and a Better Life?

Maybe you’re thinking that this sounds like a lot of work just to sleep better.

We’ve probably all wished for a pill that would fix some deep set problem.

Quanta Change is no magic wand, but clients tell me that after decades of working on themselves, it is the best thing they’ve ever done and they’ve never felt so good.

Are you ready to have deep positive changes in your life with better sleep as the “side effect”?

Are you ready to see what greater contribution you can make to your family, your community, and your world when you’re not just struggling to stay awake all day?

Good sleep really is possible for you, and I hope you’re ready to find out how much better life can be, as a result.

Sara Avery helps people get unstuck in their relationships, health, career, and self-expression. Learn how she can help you tackle your biggest challenges.

How to Find Compassion for People Who Don’t Seem to Need It

Everyone is fighting a battle“Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.” ~ Plato

“Really, everyone?”

15 years ago, that would have been my response to Plato.

Can you relate?

There are lots of people in the world who show their battles clearly. If you’re like me, you can find compassion for those types of people pretty easily.

But what about the people who have it all together?

Who look perfect, who have the perfect relationship, who seem to have everything they want easily?

Or, the people who boss everyone around?

Or, the people whose personality turns others off the moment they meet?

Is it possible to follow Plato’s direction with those folks, too?

The Silent, Herculean Effort

One type of person who I’ve had a hard time having compassion for is the one who is continually saying, “Everything’s great!”

My knee-jerk response in the past was, “Must be nice!”

But my view has changed after working with many people like this as clients.

They are actually working incredibly hard to maintain their ideal-looking life.

They show up at my door when that effort has become overwhelming.

When I say to them, “You accomplish everything you set your mind to, but it’s very hard work, and it’s getting harder all the time,” they usually sigh heavily and agree.

Often, I’m the first person who has ever recognized their struggle to keep what doesn’t feel good under control and work like crazy to keep everything together.

And, they usually tell me that they didn’t even see how hard they were working until it started to feel impossible.

From that, I have found compassion for those who don’t yet realize that they are fighting some kind of battle, as well as those who feel the struggle but just don’t show it to the rest of us.

When Panic Turns Ugly

Another kind of person who hasn’t seemed to need my compassion is the know-it-all, win-at-all-costs type.

A friend who fits that bill gave me great insight into his internal battle one day.

I had seen him completely take over a situation in a way that wasn’t appropriate.

When I asked why he did it, his answer really surprised me.

He said he felt unsure of himself and he panicked, and that his response to panic is to take over.

When I panic, I get quiet and try to take care of everyone around me, so the idea that someone would do exactly the opposite was a revelation.

As a result, I view people who are dictatorial or super-competitive in a much more compassionate way now.

The Compassion Lens

To understand other people’s battles, I have found it helpful to look through the lens of Learned Distress®.

It’s the fear that there’s something wrong with us being just the way we are.

We all absorbed this feeling early in life and it becomes the source of moments that don’t feel good to us.

Everyone…really, everyone…is walking around with the fear that there something wrong with them.

That has given me entirely new perspective on everyone I meet.

The Compassion Question

When I see people behaving negatively these days, I stop and wonder to myself, “What fear is driving them in this moment?”

Is it that someone might see they aren’t perfect?

That their current situation is straying beyond the boundaries of what feels safe to them (even if it seems completely innocuous to me)?

That if this particular situation doesn’t fit their ideal, that the world might fall apart?

Even if I can’t figure out the specifics, I find it incredibly helpful to say to myself, “Oh! They’re just scared!”

What sorts of people do you have a hard time understanding or having compassion for?

I hope this lens will give you a little insight into their struggles, so that even if you don’t know what it’s like to be them, you can find a bit more kindness in your heart for them.

The world can use all the kindness it can get right now.

You have my permission to use and share this lens as often as you like!

Sara Avery helps people get unstuck in their relationships, health, career, and self-expression. Learn how she can help you tackle your biggest challenges.

Why Change Is So Darned Hard

Why change is so hardAre you working really hard to create good change for yourself, but not seeing much change?

Do you still wake up day after day feeling the same?

Are you stuck in the same situations?

The same kinds of relationship dynamics?

Do you do all the right things, but never see the promised results?

I hear this all the time.

Why is the change we want so hard to achieve?

To answer that, we have to look at what is being threatened by change.

Is it that you just don’t like change, as people like to say?

Is it that you are so stubborn or just plain dumb that you can’t see how much better life would be?

Nope!

The Inner Force That Resists Change

Your survival mechanism puts up an almost impenetrable wall to change.

In a very real and primal way, part of you feels that you will die if you change.

But how can this be true?

Rationally, you know that the change you’re working for is beneficial. Critical, even.

But, the rational, thinking part of your brain is not what stores this survival mechanism.

So, you can’t reason with it about change (or anything, for that matter).

Your Survival Storage Bank

Your survival mechanism resides within your sense of self.

It stores how you feel about being yourself (as opposed to what you think).

This part of your brain is 2½ years old.

That’s when it stopped developing and started to build around itself a wall of resistance to change—to make sure that your mechanism for staying alive stays intact.

Your Survival Mechanism Is Literally Unreasonable

Think of it this way. . .you’ve seen those news stories about an abused baby who is taken from her abusive parent and placed in a loving and nurturing home.

You know that she will be much better off in her new home, right?

But she clings for dear life to the person who has abused her. Why?

Because she has no rational, thinking capacity yet, there is no way to reason with her about this change.

The only survival she’s ever known is that abusive parent.

The same is true with your sensory brain.

It will hold onto the pattern of survival you absorbed early in life, even though you see rationally that this survival mechanism has meant that things only got harder for you.

Life has either gotten worse, or it has become harder and harder to make good things happen.

Right?

There’s Good News

Through 20 years of research, Quanta Change founder Mimi Herrmann figured out a way to break through the wall of resistance to change.

Quanta Change gives you a way to tell your sense of self that the change you want really is safe and good for you.

Even better, this process uncovers the natural well-being that has hid beneath your survival mechanism all this time

That’s right.

The source of the change you want is actually within you and just waiting to be uncovered.

Your Leap of Faith

I know.

You’re thinking, “Yeah, right. Just something else that will fail me.”

That’s what I thought when I talked with Mimi the first time, too.

But, I took a deep breath and gave it a shot.

And, that has made all the difference.

That’s what my clients say, too.

“I never believed I could feel good just being myself.”

“I never thought a relationship could work this well for me.”

“For the first time in my life, I feel a great sense of hope for the future.”

None of them believed these things were possible when they started Quanta Change, either.

Is it time for your leap of faith?

Sara Avery helps people get unstuck in their relationships, health, career, and self-expression. Learn how she can help you tackle your biggest challenges.

Why You Just Can’t Stop Working

Why you can't stop working“Why do I feel guilty when I’m not working?”

Sound familiar?

Or, are you too busy to even think about it?

Do you have fond memories of relaxing and having fun years ago?

Or, are you lifelong workaholic?

Have you struggled to create balance in your life?

“Just separate work and home,” people tell you. You can’t seem to do that, so you blame it on smart phones and 24-hour work culture.

But even on days off, do you keep yourself crazy busy?

Have you struggled more over the years to take time off?

Why is it so difficult to have a life?

The 2 Main Issues Here

Issue 1: “Why can’t I stop. . .working, doing, going?”

This is about the inner drive that demands you to conduct your life in a certain way.

Issue 2: “Why does it keep getting harder to take a break?”

This is about the mechanism that causes your inner taskmaster to grow into a bigger and bigger monster over time.

The Source of Issue 1

You’re not alone in this.

In fact, you couldn’t have more company.

Everyone. . .I mean every last person in the world. . .has it.

The reason you can’t stop working is that you feel there is something wrong with you being just the way you are.

You absorbed this Learned Distress® early in life, and it became trapped in your sense of self, which stores how you feel about being you.

Then, your sense of self became the automatic, generating force behind every moment in your life.

Before you had any choice in the matter, you absorbed the feeling that there is something wrong with you, and now it’s generating all your negative moments, without your conscious input or control.

Your Demanding Inner Master

Learned Distress is a horrible feeling, so your brain also developed ways to survive with it.

One survival mechanism is to work hard to overcome or avoid Learned Distress.

If you can only work a little more, be a little more perfect, keep things under control one more day. . .then, you’ll be OK.

Or, if you keep going 24/7, you won’t even have time to feel that there’s something wrong with you.

Right?

Do you see why it’s so hard to “achieve balance”?

Your rational brain says, “Rest and fun are good!”

But, your survival mechanism says, “You can’t stop now! There’s still something wrong with you!!”

So, you make like the Energizer Bunny and keep going. And going.

How Time Piles on the Misery

Issue 2 is the fact that over time, the intensity of your need to work all the time has increased. Right?

Years ago, you could take breaks. Take vacations. Evenings and weekends were for relaxing.

Now, there’s just a never ending stream of projects, and you keep putting more things on the list.

Here and there, maybe you take time off. But, it takes more effort to make yourself do it.

Deep down, you’re scared of having free time.

Here’s why. The amount of Learned Distress your brain stores isn’t a constant.

It keeps growing in intensity through your life.

In fact, it intensifies every night.

The Peril That Sleep Holds

Your sense of self gets renewed while you sleep.

Think of it as a rechargeable battery that stores how you feel about being yourself—good or bad.

During the day, your brain uses the contents of your sense of self to generate moments that feel the same as those stored feelings.

At night, your sense of self gets recharged with the energy of the most intense feelings you experienced that day.

Most of the time, are your most intense feelings the good ones or the bad ones?

Like most people, you probably answered, “The bad ones.”

So, you go to sleep, your brain recharges with your Learned Distress, and you wake up feeling that there’s something wrong with you a bit more intensely. Time has gradually turned up the volume on your Learned Distress dial.

Then, to try and overcome or avoid that intensified feeling, you work a little harder. A little longer. You put off vacation another 6 months.

Ugh.

The Promise That Sleep Holds

There’s another kind of feeling stored in your sense of self.

I call it your natural well-being. It’s the feeling that you are completely good being yourself exactly as you are.

This wonderful feeling is the core of who you are. It’s the little kernel of energy you began life with, before you started to absorb Learned Distress.

Well-being has been at work in your life, just as Learned Distress has.

Any moment that feels good effortlessly is the automatic output of your well-being.

So, I bet you’re thinking, “I want to recharge with well-being at night, instead of Learned Distress!”

That’s exactly what a researcher named Mimi Herrmann figured out how to help you do.

She spent 20+ years discovering how we absorb Learned Distress, how it becomes the source of our negative moments and situations, and then how we can unlearn it by telling our sleeping brain to recharge with the good feeling at our core, instead of the bad stuff.

Then, I helped her refine the process. We distilled it down to three integral elements that allow you understand what you want to change, how to communicate that to your sleeping brain, and how to understand and navigate the repeating cycle of change that results.

Engaging in those three elements permanently removes layers of Learned Distress.

As layers peel away, natural well-being takes over as the automatic, generating force behind more and more moments and situations.

The Output of Well-Being

You’re well acquainted with the output of Learned Distress.

You feel that there’s something wrong with you and you struggle to overcome it or avoid it.

Even when you’re successful coping with or avoiding the Learned Distress, and therefore achieving a positive result, you’re still largely experiencing the outcome of your negative feelings.

Have you noticed that it has become harder to for good things to happen in your life? That’s because you’re having to leap over, struggle through, or wiggle under your Learned Distress and then make those good moments happen.

What’s much less familiar is the effortless experience of feeling good and having good things happen easily, as a result. That’s well-being working for you.

Clients often don’t even notice this shift until someone else points it out to them. “Wow, you’re so much more relaxed!” “You came out with us for girls’ night! You’ve never said yes, before!”

Then, once they realize something is different, they tell me that their demanding, inner taskmaster has quieted. It might still talk, but in more of a whisper than a scream.

Others have told me that for the first time ever, they leave free time open for themselves. People who have avoided feeling their Learned Distress will notice those negative feelings coming up to be released. But, they’re first shocked to discover that it doesn’t kill them to feel that stuff, and then they’re delighted to find that they can enjoy some real down time.

My friends and colleagues will tell you that I have a long history of working a lot. What I’ve noticed is that now, I can take breaks and enjoy them, rather than feeling anxious about getting back to work. And, much to the surprise of people close to me, I actually initiate fun things, rather than what I used to—reluctantly go along with them, at best.

What Do You Really Want?

You’ve read about the people on their deathbeds who say, “I wish I had enjoyed my life more. I wish I hadn’t worked so much.”

Now, you understand why so many people experience that regret.

Why so many people, despite their best intentions at achieving balance, find that they’ve lived at the mercy of their inner taskmaster.

Do you want to keep overcoming or avoiding your Learned Distress, or would you like to discover what it’s like when life flows from your core well-being?

There’s a really important reason to choose the latter.

It’s not because you’ll feel better and enjoy your life more—that’s just a side benefit.

It’s because your natural well-being is the source of the uniqueness that you have to offer to the world.

The more you tap into it, the more good you can contribute in ways you’ve never imagined.

Your friends and family, your community, and your world will benefit tremendously when you openly share that deepest part of yourself.

They’re waiting.

Are you ready to say yes?

Sara Avery helps people get unstuck in their relationships, health, career, and self-expression. Learn how she can help you tackle your biggest challenges.