What is a Phobia and Do I Have One?

Do you have a phobia? Do you suffer from a fear that’s interfering with your life?  If so, then hypnotherapy for phobias could help you let go of that fear or phobia leaving you free to live your life the way you want to live it.

Hypnotherapy for Phobias

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I live in an old house and one thing old houses have a lot off, are spiders!  And I’m not just talking little spiders, I’m taking about the big black ones with the huge bodies and long creepy crawly legs.  Apologies to anyone reading this who has arachnophobia – but there is good news coming.  Go back a few years and I would of been the one shuddering at that description, I hated spiders, even the smaller ones use to make me run.  Now, I’m the official spider catcher in the house, glass in hand and out the window they go, calm as anything and it’s all thanks to Cognitive Hypnotherapy for phobias.

Arachnophobia, or a fear of spiders is one of the most common phobias in the UK, along with heights, public speaking, enclosed spaces, flying, the dark, dogs and clowns.  So what is a phobia and could you get rid of yours?

What is a Phobia?

Hypnotherapy for Phobias

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Fear is a natural response we all have to a threatening situation, when we are faced with a threatening situation our bodies go into the fight or flight response, meaning our bodies prepare to fight the threat or run away from it.  This response is a survival mechanism and it keeps us out of harms way.  A phobia is an irrational fear of something that causes very little or no danger to us but yet it triggers the same fight or flight response leading to feelings of panic, anxiety and a loss of control.  You can have a phobia or fear related to almost anything, and I mean anything, from the colour yellow to cheese.

What Causes a Phobia?

Hypnotherapy for Phobias

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Whatever the phobia or fear may be, from being scared of spiders to the colour yellow, there is a positive intention behind your behaviour and your unconscious believes it’s keeping you safe;  the same way you would run away from a sabre tooth tiger, whatever your fear or phobia may be, your unconscious believes it posses the same level of threat to you.  The majority of the time the roots of a phobia can lie so far back in your life you may not even remember where it came from and other times we can pick up a phobia from our siblings or parents.  Either way, it is possible to become free of your phobia.

How Can Hypnotherapy for Phobias Help?

Hypnotherapy for Phobias

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Cognitive Hypnotherapy for Phobias can help you let go of your phobia by freeing you of your unconscious response to your trigger, regardless of what your trigger may be, from dogs to buttons.  In the same way you would update your computer, sometimes we need to update our unconscious to let it know we no longer need to be afraid of something, that it no longer needs to hold onto that belief that person, place, object or scenario will harm us.

Most people are afraid of something, so no matter what it may be that frightens you, don’t be afraid to do something about it because you can let go of your phobia more easily than you may think using hypnotherapy for phobias.  I’ve helped many clients let go of their fears and phobias, from needles to vegetables to flying, and I understand how real your fear is.

So contact me for a free telephone consultation, to find out how hypnotherapy for phobias in Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich and Eye can help you let go of your fear or phobia.

What are the Health Benefits of Stopping Smoking?

We all know smoking is unhealthy, but what are the health benefits of stopping and how quickly could you notice the differences?

Hypnotherapy to stop smokingStoptober is just around the corner, so if you are thinking of stopping or know someone who is, here’s a few health benefits which may be useful to know and why hypnotherapy to stop smoking could help you become smoke free for good?

The Health Benefits

Sometimes it’s the littlest things that can make all the difference, just by knowing the health benefits and priming your mind to notice them could make all the difference in helping you stay smoke free for good.

You don’t have to wait long after your last cigarette for the benefits to start….

Improved Sense of Taste and Smell

48 hours after your last cigarette, there will be no nicotine left in your body, improving your sense of smell and taste.

Breath Easier 

Hypnotherapy to stop smoking

Courtesy of Freeimages.com|Nellie Buir

Stopping smoking helps you breath easier, within 3 to 9 months your lung capacity improves by up to 10%.  When you are in your 20’s and 30’s, you may not notice the effect of smoking on your lung capacity but as we all age our lung capacity naturally diminishes, so having maximum lung capacity in our later years could mean the difference between wheezing as you climb a set of stairs or not.

Less Stressed

Hypnotherapy to stop smoking

Courtesy of Freeimages.com|Missy Gunter

For some, stopping smoking can feel like they are more stressed, however scientific studies actually show people’s stress levels are lower after they stop smoking.  We all have to deal with stress, it’s part of our everyday life, and there are many healthier ways to cope with stress, the 7/11 breathing technique being one of them.

More Energy

Within 2 -12 weeks of stopping, your blood circulation will improve meaning exercise, like walking and running, will be easier.  The increase in oxygen in your body, can also help reduce tiredness and give your immune system a boost, making it easier for your body to fight off cold and flu.

Younger Looking Skin

Smoking accelerates ageing because it hinders the blood supply required to keep your skin tissue looking supple and healthy.  Stopping smoking means your skin gets more nutrients, like oxygen, so slowing facial ageing and delaying the appearance of wrinkles.

Live Longer

According to nhs.uk, half of all long term smokers die early from smoking related diseases, such as lung cancer, heart disease and chronic bronchitis.  After 5 years of stopping, your risk of a heart attack is halved, after 10 years your risk of lung cancer is halved and the risk of a heart attack is the same level as non smokers.

Hypnotherapy to stop Smoking

Hypnotherapy to stop smoking

If you are looking to stop smoking and you are finding it hard to stop on your own, you are certainly not the only one.  There is a very good reason why some people find it so hard to stop smoking on there own, have a read of the article Smoking – Why Can’t I just Stop? to find out why.

Hypnotherapy to stop smoking could help you stop for good because it deals with your unconscious reasons for smoking, it’s the unconscious reasons that get in the way of your conscious effort to stop.  If you would like to know more about how hypnotherapy to stop smoking in Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich and Eye could help you, get in touch for a free telephone consultation with no obligation to schedule a session, just a chat to see how I can help you stop smoking for good.

Resources

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/smoking/Pages/Betterlives.aspx

Fear & Anxiety – Friend or Foe?

As far as emotions go, fear and anxiety get a lot of ‘bad press’ the majority of the time, they are perceived as something bad which should be avoided at all costs and got ridden of as quickly as possible.  We forget, that actually, fear and anxiety can sometimes be a friend rather than a foe!!

What are Fear and Anxiety?

hypnosis for anxiety

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Fear and anxiety are the emotions we experience when we are in a dangerous or potentially harmful situation.  They make up part of our body’s alarm system, also known as the fight ’n’ flight response, it’s designed to help keep us safe and out of harms way.

We experience fear when we are faced with a dangerous situation, where as anxiety occurs more in response to an anticipated or expected potential threat.   Take the analogy of a sky dive, anxiety is what you’d experience in the plane as you reach the height to jump from because you would be anticipating something scary is going to happen.  Fear is what you’d experience as you are falling to the ground praying the parachute opens.

Fear and Anxiety Help Keep Us Safe…

Think back to the last time you were scared or anxious, you may have noticed an increase in your heart rate, your muscles tense, narrow vision (also known as tunnel vision) and possible sweating.  Fear and anxiety help us respond to danger by preparing us to act; all these physical changes are designed to help you flee, freeze, or fight the danger and it’s an automatic response, meaning we don’t have to think about it and it’s fast and very effective at keeping you safe.  So effective in fact, it’s potentially one of the reasons why human beings are still around on this planet, without it, we probably would have ceased to exists many many years ago.

So What’s Good About Fear and Anxiety?

hypnosis for anxiety

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We may not like feeling fear and anxiety, but they are a friend to us in the way they keep us safe and out of harms way.   They can also be a signal that something is important to us.  If you are anxious about a job interview, it could mean it’s important to you and you really want that job – if you didn’t really need the job or care that much about it, you wouldn’t find the situation so anxiety provoking.

Anxiety and fear not only tell us that something is important to us but also give us the motivation to do well.  I remember back in my university days, revising for exams, it was that feeling off anxiety beforehand that made sure I revised so I could do my best in the exam, it motivated me to do the work.

Harness the Positive Energy of Fear and Anxiety

Generally speaking, emotions happen on 2 levels, the physical sensation we experience and then our interpretation of it.  Your heart races, your breathing intensifies, your limbs may quiver with anticipation, you notice butterflies in your stomach.  Does this describe fear or excitement?  It’s both.  The only difference between the two is how we think about it and we can use this to our advantage by choosing how we interpret our emotions.

hypnosis for anxiety

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Alison Wood Brookes, at Harvard Business School found when participants interpreted their nerves as excitement, they gave better public presentations compared with those who tried to relax.  We all assume calming your self down before before a big presentation or exam is the best thing to do but this research suggests otherwise.  Utilise that energy for good to help you succeed in what you are doing, rather than trying to suppress and get rid of it.

Hypnosis for Anxiety and Fear

Everyone is different and sometimes our anxieties can become overwhelming, interfering in our everyday lives.  If this is you, there is help available and Cognitive Hypnotherapy, using hypnosis for anxiety and fear, can be very effective in helping you get back to the anxiety levels which are right for you.  But with everyday anxieties, like the kind you get before a job interview or a presentation, they aren’t your enemy, if anything they are a super power, giving you energy, making you stronger and faster, helping you perform to the best of your ability, to be your very own super hero.

Resources:

https://www.redbubble.com/people/taniarose/journal/3249929-are-fear-and-excitement-the-same

http://99u.com/articles/43135/the-unexpected-benefits-of-anxiety

https://www.verywell.com/the-purpose-of-anxiety-2797497

https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/hit-the-anxiety-sweet-spot.html

Are you Caught in the Realm of Black and White thinking?

Do you hear yourself saying things like “I’ll never…..”, “I always…”, “It’s ruined…” or if something goes wrong in the morning, that’s it, the whole day is a right off and it’s a ‘bad’ day before you’ve even left the house. If you do, you may be caught in the realm of thinking in black and white…

What is thinking in Black and White?

Black and White thinking, or ‘all or nothing’ thinking, is seeing the world in one extreme or the other, something is either ‘good or bad’, you are either ‘right or wrong’, there is no in-between or grey area.   The student who gets a B in English but A’s in every other subject, believing “I am a failure ” for not getting A’s in everything, is an example of black and white thinking.

Do you Live in a Black and White World?

Thinking in black and white

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Take a moment now to think about the language you use on a daily basis, if someone asks you how was your day, do you only respond with “good” or “bad”?, if you don’t achieve something you had in mind, do you jump to the conclusion you are stupid or a failure?  A lot of the time we are using black and white language without even realising it, which in turn can have a negative effect on our general well being.  Do you say to yourself anything along the lines off:

“You are either a winner or a loser”

“If you don’t do it to the best of your ability, it isn’t worth doing at all”

“Anything I do is likely to turn out badly”

“If I mess this up, I’ll never get another chance”

“It’s all my fault my partner left me”

“If something can go wrong, it will”

“Anyone who thinks that must be an idiot”

Thinking in black and white

Courtesy of Freeimages.com|Quinsi Pia

The language we use, can have a huge impact on how we feel about ourselves.  When we judge ourselves, situations and others based on these extremes, it can become very easy to feel negative about yourself, to feel disappointment, anger, frustration and anxiety.

The good news is, we can change the way we feel about ourselves by simple adding shades of grey into our thinking, to find the middle ground.

Finding the Shades of Grey

Thinking in black and white

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The world we live in is complex and thinking in black and white over simplifies life, for example, you may say ‘that holiday was a complete disaster’ but was it?  Yes, there may of been elements which didn’t go according to plan but because the unexpected happened, doesn’t mean it was a complete disaster, think about what was good?  Find the middle ground.  Lets say a child is failing a maths test and they say “I’m stupid”, they could say instead “I’m not great at maths but I’m good at sports” or english or whatever it is.  Because you fail a test, doesn’t mean you are stupid, if your partner doesn’t understand your point of view, it doesn’t mean they don’t love you.

By finding the middle ground or the shades of grey, it can help turn unrealistic thoughts into more truthful and realistic ones, which in turn will be less anxiety inducing and help have a positive effect on your general wellbeing.  Are you quite hard on yourself?  Be kinder to yourself by allowing yourself to make mistakes and accept there is uncertainty in this world, we can’t control everything.

See the World in Colour….

Thinking in black and white

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Norman Vincent Peale said “change your thoughts and you change your world”.  I really like this quote, because it’s simple and true, I see it every day in my clients; how changing their thoughts, changes their world, and you can do it too, if you choose too.

If you would like to know more about how to change your thoughts, so you can change your world, contact me for a free telephone consultation, with no obligation to book a session, just a chat to see how Elizabeth Donegan Cognitive Hypnotherapy at Hypnotherapy Bury St Edmunds and Hypnotherapy Ipswich can help you change your world.

 

Resources

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/darwins-subterranean-world/201601/black-and-white-thinking-in-our-social-worlds 

https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/05/18/cognitive-distortion-how-does-black-and-white-thinking-hurt-us/

http://www.clinical-depression.co.uk/dlp/understanding-depression/all-or-nothing-or-black-and-white-thinking-and-depression/

https://www.dumblittleman.com/stop-black-white-thinking-destroying-life/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-tsilimparis/stress-and-dualistic-mind_b_978230.html

http://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/docs/ACFE3E2.pdf 

Book: How to Master Anxiety by Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell,  HG Publishing 2007

PTSD, what is it and can PTSD Hypnotherapy Help?

Over the years, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), has had many names from Shell Shock used during the first World War to Combat Stress Reaction (CSR) or battle fatigue, used later on in World War II.  But what is PTSD and can PTSD hypnotherapy help those with it?

PTSD Hypnotherapy

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What we now refer to as PTSD, has been known to exist, albeit under many different names, since ancient times.  UK researchers have found evidence of ancient soldiers suffering from PTSD from 3000 years ago, but it wasn’t until the 1980’s that PTSD was first recognised as a psychological disorder.  Before this it was viewed as a sign of weakness, and during the war soldiers were executed for it, following refusal to return to the front. But what is PTSD?

What is PTSD?

PTSD is a mental health problem that some people develop after witnessing or experiencing a life-threatening, shocking or scary event, such as military combat, a serious accident, a natural disaster, terrorist incident, a physical or sexual assault.  Some experiences can also lead to developing PTSD, such as the sudden death of a loved one.

After experiencing a traumatic event, it’s natural to be affected and experience some level of distress and symptoms of trauma.  Everyone will take their own time to calm down, cope and process the event they experienced before starting to feel better.  For some though, they don’t start to feel better and the symptoms don’t go away and if symptoms are still present for longer than a month and having an impact on daily living, PTSD may be diagnosed.

What are the Symptoms of PTSD?

The symptoms of PTSD can be classified into 3 different kinds of symptoms:

Re-experiencing symptoms – these symptoms involve reliving the traumatic event in some shape or form, everyone is different, for some it may involve recurrent and intrusive recollections of the event, for others in the form of ‘flashbacks’ where they relive the incident as if they are back in that scenario again.  Memories could also be triggered by a traumatic reminder; the individual see’s or hears something associated with the event e.g a combat veteran hearing a car backfire.

PTSD HypnotherapyAvoidance and numbing symptoms – involve avoiding places, people, anything that could trigger memories of the event.  Numbing symptoms may involve feeling detached from their emotions and could find it difficult to express emotions towards others.

Arousal Symptoms – involve feeling constantly alert or ‘on edge’, which can cause difficulty sleeping, feeling irritable or having outbursts of anger, and a difficultly in concentrating.

Everyone is different, some people will experience symptoms straight after the event, whilst others may not get them until months or years later.  For PTSD to be diagnosed, these symptoms must have occurred for at least a month and be having a significant adverse effect on the persons daily functioning or be causing them considerable distress.

It’s also quite common for those suffering with PTSD to be experiencing other conditions, like depression, anxiety and substance abuse along with feelings of hopelessness, shame and despair.

The good news is there is help out there and PTSD hypnotherapy could help.

Who Can Get PTSD?

PTSD Hypnotherapy Anyone can get PTSD at any age.  According to PTSD UK 1 in 2 of us will experience some sort of trauma in our lives and around 20% of us who do, could go onto to develop PTSD.  So most of us, after experiencing some sort of trauma, will experience short term symptoms of distress which goes away on its own and not develop into PTSD.

There are certain things that can increase the likelihood of experiencing PTSD, being injured during the event or experiencing a long lasting or very intense traumatic event are all contributing factors, along with age and gender; woman are more likely to get PTSD compared with men.  Post traumatic stress can also be cumulative, the more traumatic experiences we find ourselves in, the more likely we are to experience PTSD at some point.

What happens after the event also has a role to play, social support has been shown to make developing PTSD less likely, where as stress can make it more likely.

Can PTSD Hypnotherapy Help?

PTSD Hypnotherapy

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PTSD is essentially a mistake in our memory filing system caused by a traumatic event, the experience overwhelms the brain and the memory of the experience isn’t processed properly.  When we experience a traumatic event, the brain doesn’t believe processing and understanding that event is essential in that precise moment, it’s more concerned about keeping you safe and getting you ready to flee for your life or fight whatever you are facing, it can process the event later.  This means, a memory for the event hasn’t been created in the normal way.  Later on, when the threat has passed and it comes to process the event, it can cause great distress i.e re-experiencing symptoms because the brain hasn’t processed the event as a memory yet and so it feels like you are reliving the scenario again.

PTSD hypnotherapy can help you process the memory and help release you of the triggers associated with the event.  PTSD hypnotherapy can also help you feel less ‘on edge’, and help you be the person you want to be more of, who you were before the experience occurred.

PTSD Hypnotherapy in Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich and Eye

PTSD is not a sign of weakness, but a psychological disorder that can happen to anyone at any stage of their life, it’s estimated 1 in 10 people develop PTSD (ptsduk.org).  Most people who experience a traumatic event wont go onto to develop PTSD but out of those who do, evidence suggests, 70% don’t seek any professional help (ptsduk.org).

This is a very brief overview of what PTSD is, if you would like to know more or would like a free consultation with me at Elizabeth Donegan Cognitive Hypnotherapy, to see how PTSD Hypnotherapy in Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich and Eye could help you, get in touch and we can have a conversation about how I can help you, regardless of whether you have been diagnosed with PTSD or not.

Reference:

https://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/ptsd-overview/basics/history-of-ptsd-vets.asp http://www.ptsd.ne.gov/what-is-ptsd.html

Book: How to Master Anxiety by Joe Griffen and Ivan Tyrrell | HG Publishing http://www.combatstress.org.uk/medical-professionals/what-is-ptsd/ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2923799/Did-ancient-warriors-suffer-PTSD-Texts-reveal-battles-3-000-years-ago-left-soldiers-traumatised-saw.html https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtmlhttp://www.ptsduk.org/what-is-ptsd/

 

Fear of Flying Hypnotherapy – Tips for Staying Calm

As I look out the window each day, I see more and more green filling the empty space where the bare tree’s stood and the garden filling up with colour and birds again, which can only mean one thing – summer is just around the corner…thank goodness!  This also means the summer holidays are fast approaching and most of us will be looking forward to getting on a plane and jetting of some where nice for our summer holiday, but not all of us!  For some, the thought of getting on a plane is terrifying and can even stop those with a fear a flying or aviophobia, from getting on a plane which means going abroad for a holiday or a business trip, is out of the question.    

Are You Afraid of Flying?

Fear of Flying Hypnotherapy

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A fear of flying is one of the most common fears out there, it’s up there with a fear of heights and spiders and it can manifest itself in many different themes.  Some people will fear the plane will crash, for others the source of their anxiety stems from not being able to get out of the plane and fear they will loose control and have a panic attack.  Have a read of Are You Afraid of Flying? to find out more about what causes a fear of flying.

Tips for Staying Calm…

So, if you have a fear of flying, try these few tips to help you stay calm:

A Good Breathing Technique – a breathing technique that works for you is worth it’s weight in gold at helping you stay calm, a lot of my clients seeking fear of flying hypnotherapy find the 7/11 breathing technique works well for them, it’s discreet and it induces your own body’s relaxation response.

Use Your Imagination – A good few weeks beforehand or whenever you think about your flight, picture yourself at the airport and visualise yourself acting how you want to be, see yourself on the plane relaxed and in control.  By doing this, you are priming yourself for how you want to be rather than how you don’t want to be.

Fear of Flying Hypnotherapy

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Keep Focussed on the Reason for the Flight – A lot of my clients who seek fear of flying hypnotherapy, forget to focus on the reason for the flight, they get caught up in the fear that grips them.  So keep your mind focused on your destination, be it a holiday destination or business trip, it will help keep your mind focussed on what’s important.

Your Body Language – keep an eye on what your body is doing.  Because of the mind body connection, certain behaviours can signal our threat response which can heighten anxiety.  Just keep checking in with yourself and if you find you are gripping the chair or sitting on the edge of your seat, take a moment to do some 7/11 breathing and readjust your body language; for example, if you are sitting on the edge of your seat, sit back in the seat and do some 7/11 breathing or which ever technique works for you, you might be surprised by just how much a few small adjustments to how you are sitting can make.

Fear of Flying Hypnotherapy

Free images.com|Deborah Krusemark

Activities – a great way to help keep the anxiety at bay is to keep your mind distracted on other things, by doing so it helps stop your mind wandering back to unhelpful thoughts.  So make sure you have plenty of things to do, some flights come with entertainment while others don’t so be prepared.  Bring books or puzzles with you, have your devices loaded with things you want to watch or listen to.

Fear of Flying Hypnotherapy 

Remember to make these techniques your own, what works for someone else, may not work for you, so play around with them, adapt them to suit you.  Practice the techniques beforehand, so by the time you get to the airport you are familiar with the techniques and feel comfortable using them, rather than trying to remember off the top of your head what the tips were.

If you would like further help in overcoming your fear, then fear of flying hypnotherapy could help  you.  I’ve helped many clients over come their fear of flying, together we sourced the root of their fear and resolved it, I also gave them more tools to support the work we did together which included a personalised Wordweaving recording.  Feel free to get in contact today to see how fear of flying Hypnotherapy in Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich and Eye could help you.

So this summer, wherever you go and whatever you do, don’t let a fear of flying stop you from having a relaxing holiday or enjoying your time away.

Fear of Flying Hypnotherapy

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Full Body Method of Relaxation

Last month I spoke about the Clenched Fist Method of relaxation and why it’s important, if you suffer from anxiety, to learn how to relax.  And by relax I mean learning to release the tension in your muscles, not a quick 10 minutes of putting your feet up.  So here’s a quick recap of why learning to relax is so important if you suffer from anxiety and as promised, how to do the Whole Body Method of Relaxation.

Strong Emotions Make us Stupid

Anxiety Hypnotherapy

Courtesy of Freeimages.com| Elizeeva Ekaterina

I hear a lot of my clients say how they aren’t able to ‘think straight’ when they are in a highly anxious state or having a panic attack.  The reason for this is because when we are anxious, we are in a high state of emotional arousal and in this state we essentially become ‘stupid’.  Or too put it a bit nicer, being in a high state of emotional arousal, reduces our options, forcing us to take action.

When we are in a highly emotional state e.g faced with danger, the amygdala (located in the mammalian part of our brain) shuts off access to our rational thinking and reduces our thinking to ‘black and white’ options i.e a simpler choice.  If we have a speeding car coming towards us, this sort of black and white thinking saves our lives because by reducing our choice of what to do, forces us to take action and gets us out of the way.  If the amygdala didn’t shut of this access to our rational thinking, by the time we had gone through all the options e.g maybe it’s a film stunt, has the driver seen me, the car would probably be on top of you.

Why is Relaxing so Important?

Anxiety Hypnotherapy

Courtesy of Freeimages.com|Kristian Stokholm

This system is great if you have a speeding car coming towards you, but not if you are anxious or having a panic attack, because you need access to your thinking and rational brain to calm yourself down, which is very hard to do if your amygdala shuts of access to the rational part of your brain.   This is where a good relaxation technique comes in like 7/11 or the Whole Body Method of relaxation because it stops the amygdala shutting off access to the rational part of your brain so you calm yourself down.

Learning an effective way of relaxing that works for you, helps you keep access to the full power of your thinking and rational brain, it gives you the ability to see a situation in the full perspective rather than just survival mode thinking of black and white, so you can diffuse a situation before it gets to the full blown panic attack or highly anxious state.

Whole Body Method of Relaxation

Last month I explained the Clenched Fist Method of Relaxation, if you have problems with your hands try this method instead.   This method might also be better for you if you hold a lot of tension in your body because it goes through the main muscles of the body.  The whole body method of relaxation, like the clenched fist method is also derived from yoga and works on the same basis that muscles are always more relaxed after you have tensed them and then allowed them to relax.

The Method…

Anxiety Hypnotherapy

© Robert Red | Dreamstime Stock Photos

In turn, tense each of the muscles below, hold it for a count of 10 and then relax.  Noticing each time the difference between the tension and relaxation of the muscles.  Remember to keep breathing, don’t hold your breath whilst you are counting, and if you can, make your outward breath a little longer, breathing in and out through the nose:

Muscles in your upper arm – bend your arms and try and touch your shoulders with your wrists.

Muscles in the back of your arm – straighten your arms as hard as you can.

Muscles in your shoulders – shrug your shoulders tightly upwards, so your shoulders try and touch your ears.

Muscles in your forehead – raise your eyebrows as far as they will go.

Muscles in your brow and eyelids – frown and squeeze your eyes shut.

Muscles in your jaw – clench your teeth as hard as you can, being careful not to hurt yourself.

Muscles your in throat and tongue – push your tongue against the roof of your mouth.

Muscles in your lips and face – press your lips together, as tightly as you can.

Muscles in your chest – take a really deep breath and hold it.

Muscles in your stomach – make the muscles hard, as if someone is about to punch you.

Muscles in your lower back and hips – arch your back and clench your buttocks.

Muscles in your feet and legs – straighten your legs out and point your toes downwards.

Once you’ve done all the different muscles, take about 10 minutes to just relax, allowing the relaxing sensation spread through the body.

Remember…

Give yourself some time to learn this method, it is a skill and like all skills it can take time and practice to learn.

Anxiety Hypnotherapy  

Relaxing is a great way of preventing anxiety or panic attacks escalating to the point where you can’t think straight i.e you are in black and white thinking mode, however if you are finding it hard to combat your anxiety, then anxiety Hypnotherapy could help you.

If you would like to discuss how anxiety hypnotherapy could help you let go of your anxiety, contact me for a free telephone consultation, with no obligation to book a session, just a chat to see how I can help you.

Resources:

http://www.nopanic.org.uk/relaxation-technique/

http://www.healthline.com/symptom/hyperventilation

How to Master Anxiety by Joe Griffin and Ivan Terrell | Published by HG Publishing 2007

Clenched Fist Method of Relaxation

A couple of years ago I wrote a blog titled How to Deal with Anxiety and it contained a relaxation exercise called 7/11.  The 7/11 breathing technique is great at helping you relax because it stimulates the body’s own relaxation mechanism and it’s a technique you can do pretty much anywhere because it’s so discreet.  A lot of people find focusing on their breathing helps them relax but if you find focusing on your breathing makes you more anxious, or if you hold a lot of tension in your body, here’s another technique to help you relax.

Why Is it Important to Relax?

If you suffer from anxiety and have done for some time, your body can get use to being anxious and tense.  Tension in the body can give the signal of fear, that something bad is about to happen, which in turn alerts our nervous system that a threat or imminent danger is approaching.  When we are anxious, we also have a tendency to over breathe or even hyperventilate (where we breath out more than we breath in) which can result in expelling too much carbon dioxide, when levels of carbon dioxide get too low our nervous system goes on red alert and our body’s get ready to start the ‘fight and flight’ response.

Our negative thoughts can also send a message to the brain that something to fear is approaching and set off our internal alarm system, again resulting in the ‘fight and flight’ response being activated.  This is because when we are anxious, we can often misinterpret scenario’s as a threat or by seeing danger in perfectly safe situations.

Relaxing Is More Than Just Putting Your Feet Up.

Anxiety Hypnotherapy

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If you suffer from anxiety, relaxing should be more than just ‘putting your feet up’ for a few hours.  It is important to use a technique which releases the tension in your muscles and then using it on a daily basis rather than just when you feel anxious or stressed.

Having the ability to relax yourself helps reduce anxiety because it helps release tension in the body so preventing the nervous system from being alerted.  Using a relaxing technique also helps regulate our breathing so we don’t over breath and it also helps us to keep thinking straight; being in a high state of arousal, keep us in ‘black and white’ thinking, relaxing helps us keep access to the full power of our rational brain.

The Clenched Fist Method

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The clenched fist method of relaxation, derived from yoga, works on the basis that muscles are always more relaxed after you have tensed them and then allowed them to relax.  If you have any problems with your hands, like arthritis, then I would recommend focusing on the full body method which will be published next month.

  • Sit yourself somewhere comfortable, and when you’re ready, make your hands into the tightest fist possible.  If you have long finger nails, or if you just prefer, clasp your hands tightly together so you are interlocking your fingers.
  • Keep squeezing so you are tensing your muscles, harder and harder and count, at a steady pace to 10.  As you count to 10, concentrate on the physical sensations you can feel no matter how small or big; notice the whiteness of your knuckles, the feel of your finger nails against your palm or if you have your hands clasped, the feel of the fingers on the back of your hand.  Notice the pressure you feel as you keep squeezing, the rigidity in your wrists and the pressure of your thumb against your forefinger.  Be aware of the tension moving up your arms.
  • Then, when you reach the count of 10, allow your hands to slowly unwind and relax, noticing  the difference between the tension and relaxation of the hands and arms.
  • Feel the sensation of relaxation spread through your fingers and hands and up through your arms, enjoying the sensation as it spreads.  Noticing whatever it is that lets you know the tension is leaving your body.  We are all different and each of us feels this in our own way, some might feel warmth others cool, when I do it I notice a wave of relaxation in the form of a weight being lifted.  What do you notice?
  • However you notice that feeling of relaxation, let it spread through your body.  Some people like to use a visual image, they see the stress draining away, being replaced by a calming feeling, others just like to focus on the sensation of relaxation, find what works for you but keep your focus on the positive sensation spreading through your body in whatever shape or form your body does this.  It may help to close your eyes as you do the exercise.
  • You can repeat the squeezing and unwinding as many times as you like, some people like to do it once others a few times, regardless of how many times you do it, notice how your body relaxes, so does your mind.

This exercise is a skill and it can take a few goes to feel the type of relaxation you are looking for.  Remember to keep breathing, don’t hold your breath whilst you are counting, and if you can, make your outward breath a little longer, breathing in and out through the nose.

Anxiety Hypnotherapy 

Anxiety Hypnotherapy If you suffer from anxiety, in any shape or form and it’s getting in the way of your everyday life, anxiety hypnotherapy could help.  I’ve had many clients seeking help with anxiety, and together, not only do we look to resolve the cause of what’s making you anxious but I will also teach you a variety of simple tools and techniques for you to use as and when you need them, that many people incorporate into their everyday lives after our sessions because they found them so useful.

I’m always happy to chat about how I can help you let go of your anxiety, leaving you to live your life the way you want to live it.

Resources:

http://www.nopanic.org.uk/relaxation-technique/

http://www.healthline.com/symptom/hyperventilation

Tips On How To Get A Good Nights Sleep

How well do you sleep each night?  How often do you not get enough sleep due to work commitments or because of a sleeping disorder?  Is sleep important?  Why do we sleep?  

According to the National Sleep Foundation, most of us need between 7 and 9 hours sleep per night, but a lot of us don’t get enough sleep each night.  But how important is sleep and what’s the purpose behind it?

On average, we spend one third of our lives asleep and the reason for this is simple; sleep is vital for our mental and physical health.

What is the Purpose of Sleep?

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Restoration:  Sleep serves many purposes essential to our brain and body, one of the most important is restoration; our brains accumulate metabolic waste as it goes about it’s daily neural activities and like any waste, it has to be gotten rid off.  Recent research suggests this happens mostly at night when we are asleep.  As we sleep our brain cells shrink by 60% and this allows the our brain’s waste removal system, called the glymphatic system, to do it’s job more easily and essentially ‘take out the rubbish’ leaving our brains restored, so you wake up refreshed and ready for the day ahead.  The research also suggests that the glymphatic system clears away the toxins responsible for neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Memory Consolidation:  Another essential function of sleep is memory consolidation (the process which a memory becomes stable);  research suggests that the quality and quantity of sleep can have a significant impact on our memory and learning.  This occurs in two distinct ways, firstly, a sleep deprived person would find it harder to focus their attention and therefore the efficiency of their learning is lowered.  Secondly, sleep plays a part in the consolidation of the memory, which is essential for learning new information.

Metabolic Health:  Sleep is also essential for our metabolic health.  Studies have shown, when you sleep for 5.5 hours per night rather than 8.5 hours per night, a higher proportion of the energy you burn comes from protein and carbohydrate rather than fat.  This can make you susceptible to fat gain and muscle loss.  So if you are trying to loose weight, it’s essential you get a good night’s sleep.  Plus abnormal sleep cycles and insufficient sleep could also lead to insulin insensitivity, which in the long run could increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.

What are the Effects of Sleep Loss?

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Through your own personal experiences, you have probably noticed that not getting enough sleep can make you irritable and feel in a low mood, but it can also affect your mental and physical performance too.  A study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Washington State University found if you get 6 hours sleep or less per night for two weeks, your physical and mental performance deteriorates to the same level, as if you had stayed awake for 48 hours straight – the study also observed how the participants didn’t notice their own decline in performance.

The irony is, in this day and age we sacrifice sleep to work more but the reduction in our performance offsets the benefits of putting in the extra hours of work.

How To Get A Good Nights Sleep

I think it’s safe to say that it’s really important to get a good nights sleep for both our physical and mental health, however sometimes that’s easier said than done.  So here’s a few tip to help you get the sleep you need:

Hypnotherapy for Sleep

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Avoid bright screens:  Melatonin is the hormone that helps you enter into your sleep cycle and the light from computer screens, televisions, phones and tablets can hinder it’s production so preventing you from feeling drowsy.  So avoid using screens an hour or so before bed or if thats not feasible, turn the brightness down or better still use a light altering software such as f.lux.

Avoid TV before bed:  Not only does the light from the screen hinder melatonin (the hormone that helps you sleep), most programmes are stimulating rather than relaxing.  So try reading a book instead, but avoid back lit devices such as tablets.  Plus working too late can keep your mind stimulated, make sure you give yourself enough time between finishing for the night and bedtime; give yourself some ‘wind down’ time.

Exercise more:  Regular exercise can help you sleep and improve your quality of sleep.  But be careful not to do any vigorous exercise too close to your bedtime because it can interfere with your sleep.

Hypnotherapy for Sleep

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Caffeine:  Caffeine is a stimulant, it can make us feel more alert and it does this by increasing adrenalin production and blocking sleep inducing chemicals in the brain.  Caffeine also remains in our bodies for a surprisingly long time (the effects of caffeine can last for 8 to 14 hours) so if caffeine affects you, limit the amount of caffein you have during the day as well as the night or better still, avoid caffeine in the evenings all together.

Relaxation Techniques:  If you find it difficult to sleep or get back to sleep due to anxiety or worrying, use a relaxation technique like 7/11 to help you relax, plus if you are counting in your head you can’t be worrying at the same time.  You could also try progressive muscle relaxation; squeeze each of your muscles starting from the toes and work your way up your body, hold the squeeze and then allow the muscles to relax.  Another technique to help you relax is to use visualisation; with your eyes closed visualise a relaxing and peaceful place, it can be somewhere you’ve been before or made up, and notice how relaxed it makes you feel.

Hypnotherapy for Sleep

Hypnotherapy for SleepIf you are having trouble sleeping, Cognitive Hypnotherapy for sleep can be very effective in helping you get a good nights rest.  Sometimes problems sleeping can be related to something thats happening in your current life or possibly connected to something in the past.  If you would like to find out more, contact me for a free consultation over the phone to see how Cognitive Hypnotherapy for sleep can help you get a good nights rest, leaving you refreshed and ready for your day ahead.

Resources:

http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/benefits-of-sleep/learning-memory

https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/news/story/3956/to-sleep-perchance-to-clean.aspx

http://jamesclear.com/sleep

http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/consequences

http://www.healthline.com/health/sleep-deprivation/effects-on-body

https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/caffeine-and-sleep

http://www.sleepeducation.org/news/2013/08/01/sleep-and-caffeine

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/how-to-sleep-better.htm#support

Tips for Achieving Your New Year’s Resolutions

So Christmas is over and the weather is looking pretty bleak outside – but I hope that isn’t dampening your sprits if you’ve decided to take on a New Year’s resolution.  Hows that going? Still doing it? 

A recent poll of 2000 British people, published by BUPA, discovered that only half of those stating they would be setting a New Year’s resolution for 2017 were confident they would stick to it.  The other half, obviously weren’t confident they would stick to it.  Which half do you fall into?

Most Common New Year’s Resolutions…

Some of the most common New Year’s resolutions include:

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Exercising more

Lose weight

Eat more healthily

Learn a new skill or hobby

Drink less alcohol

Spend more time with friends and family

Stop smoking

It’s great to have a New Year’s resolution, to start the year as you mean to go on but how often do you actually achieve your goal?

How to Achieve Your New Year’s Resolution..

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If you set a New Year’s resolution last year and you didn’t go onto achieve it, you certainly wouldn’t be the only one.  Only a few people actually go on to achieve the goal they set.  One of the reasons for this, according to Philip Clarke (a psychology lecturer at the University of Derby Online Learning), is the lack of thinking through how to do it, how to achieve what they want, they have the want but not the how and this is one of the biggest mistakes when it comes to setting a New Year’s resolution.

So, if you’ve set a goal for this year, spend some time thinking through how you will achieve it.  Is it specific enough, for example, if you want to loose weight, how much weight do you want to loose and in what time frame?  Is it achievable?  Make sure your time frames are realistic for the goal you have in mind?  Keep it exciting – for example, if you want to stop smoking, think about what you could do with the money you are saving, a holiday possibly or a present for yourself.

Ask yourself these simple questions in relation to your New Year’s resolution or even just a goal you have in mind, and you may be surprised how more often you achieve what you set out to do.

A Few Tips to Help You Stop Smoking…

If you’ve decided to stop smoking as your New Year’s resolution, here’s a few tips that could help you stick to it:

7/11 Breathing Technique if you’ve always relied on cigarettes to help relax you or calm you down if feeling a bit stressed, use this simple breathing technique instead.

Hypnotherapy to stop smoking

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Sugar Free Mints – cigarettes contain sugar, when you stop smoking you will also stop the sugar hit each cigarette gives you, so use sugar free mints to help curb any sugar cravings you may get.

Drink Water  – by drinking water you are giving your hands something to do.

Write Down Your Reasons for Stopping – keep your reasons for stopping written down on your phone, you might be surprised how useful it could be if you have a craving or a ‘wanting’ for a cigarette.

Hypnotherapy to Stop Smoking….

Hypnotherapy to stop smokingIf you are finding it hard to stop on your own, Cognitive Hypnotherapy to stop smoking can help you become free of cigarettes for good.  We are all different and some people find it easier to stop than others, so if you are struggling, have a read of my previous blog as to why this may be and lets have a conversation to see how Cognitive Hypnotherapy to stop smoking could help you today.

Don’t just Dream…Plan

So if you have a New Year’s resolution or a goal in mind that you would like to achieve, think beyond just what you want, spend time thinking about how you can achieve it, if it helps make a plan but overall focus on the ‘how’ once you have the ‘want’.

Resources:

http://www.barnardmindsolution.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Special-Report-Sugar-In-Ciggarettes.pdf

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/wellbeing/health-advice/common-new-years-resolutions-stick/