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

Courtesy of Freeimages.com|Maaillustrations

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

Courtesy of Freeimages.com|Margarit Ralev

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

Courtesy of Freeimages.com | Noes Abejo

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

Courtesy of Freeimages.com|Charlene Sprong

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

Courtesy of Freeimages.com|Adeh DeSandies

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

Courtesy of Freeimages.com|Janet Burgess

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

Anxiety Hypnotherapy

Courtesy of Freeimages.com|Morleys

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?

Hypnotherapy for Sleep

Courtesy of Freeimages.com|Mariej Urbanek

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?

Hypnotherapy for Sleep

Curtesy of Freeimages.com|Hvaldez1

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

Courtesy of Freeimages.com|Yasin Ozturk

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

Courtesy of Freeimages.com|Benjamin Saravia

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:

Hypnotherapy to stop smoking

Courtesy of Freeimages.com|Randall Chacon

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..

Hypnotherapy to stop smoking

Courtesy of Freeimages.com|Firegirl

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

Courtesy of Freeimages.com|T Van Dobbenburh

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/

If this year hasn’t gone quite according to plan, this blog is for you!

At this time of year, most people are writing about the joys of Christmas and where to buy the best Secret Santa gift from….which is great.  However, I thought I’d write and leave you this year with something a bit different.

The end of the year is approaching faster than many of us would probably like it too, the other day I noticed how often I had commented on how quickly this year has gone by, I’ve even mentioned it in a couple of my blogs throughout the year!  The end of the year can be a happy time for most people but for some it can be tainted with negative thoughts focussing on how they haven’t achieved what they set out to do.

Hypnotherapy Bury St Edmunds | Hypnotherapy IpswichThis year I’ve been setting myself tasks that I wanted to achieve by the end of the year, and I’m really pleased, because this year I achieved something I have been meaning to do for quite some time…and by that I mean years!  But there are also other things I wanted to achieve this year that I didn’t quite manage and I find if I’m not careful, I focus too much on what I haven’t achieved rather than on what I have.

Do you find yourself focusing more on what you haven’t achieved rather than what you have?  Have you had a particularly rubbish year where things just haven’t gone how you wanted them to go?

Don’t Quit….

Many years ago I came across a poem called Don’t Quit, and for some reason this particular poem stuck with me.  I’d remember it when things in my life weren’t quite going according to plan.  I found the words rang true with me, I liked it’s simplicity and the message it gets across.  So I thought I would share it with you:

Don’t Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,

When the funds are low and the debts are high,

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.

Success is failure turned inside out–

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,

And you never can tell how close you are,

It may be near when it seems so far,

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–

It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.

– Author Unknown.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us at Elizabeth Donegan Cognitive Hypnotherapy.

Bury St Edmunds Hypnotherapy|Ipswich Hypnotherapy

 

Want to Create Good Habits….Try This?

So here’s a tip that could help you stick to any current good habits you may have or maybe even start a new one…..

Hypnotherapy Bury St Edmunds

Courtesy of Freeimages.com|Penny Mathews

With Christmas around the corner, which I have to admit, I still can’t quite believe it’s nearly here again. I really enjoy Christmas, but sometimes I’m astounded by how ‘quickly’ it arrives each year. Anyway, I won’t dwell on that, back to the point. With Christmas around the corner, things can get a bit hectic with all the present buying and preparations we choose to do. Especially as Christmas Day gets closer and closer, buying the last minute perishables and making sure you have everything you may need. Our everyday routines and good habits can get pushed to the side, maybe replaced by a last minute shopping trip or you may look outside the window and decide staying in a warm, dry house is a much better option than facing the cold (and usually rain) outside.

So here’s a tip….

State When, Where and How…

Psychology research has shown you are more than 2x to 3x times more likely to stick with a habit if you make a plan specifying when, where and how you will perform the behaviour you intend to do.

Hypnotherapy Bury St Edmunds

Courtesy of Freeimages.com|Anatoli Styf-Zen

In one study, scientists asked participants to fill out the following sentence: “During the next week, I will partake in at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise on (DAY) at (TIME OF DAY) at/in (PLACE)”. They found, those who filled out this sentence were 2x to 3x more likely to actually exercise compared with a control group who did not fill out the sentence and make plans for their future behaviour.

This study is one of hundreds of well documented studies showing how stating where, when and how you intend to implement a particular behaviour, makes you more likely to carry out that behaviour. Psychologists even have a name for these specific plans, they call them “implementation intentions” and the findings are well proven across a broad range of areas.

Implementation Intentions

Hypnotherapy Bury St Edmunds

Courtesy of Freeimages.com|Fanginhoon

Implementation Intentions have found to increase the likelihood that people will implement a wide range of behaviours such as start exercising, stick with studying, being recycling and even stop smoking.

So, with Christmas around the corner and the ‘to do’ list getting longer, what behaviour would you like to implement, in other words, what good habits would you like to do? If you find at this time of the year, the gym or your exercise time goes out the window, why not state when, where and how you intend to do your exercise. If you know you have last minute shopping to get done, state when, where and how you will do it.

Here’s a thought…

Implementation Intentions normally apply to creating good habits and sticking with them over a period of time. But I think you can also use this idea to help you get those odd jobs done that maybe get put off and off, or to help organise your time more efficiently leading up to Christmas….even help you cook the Christmas meal!!

Hypnotherapy Bury St Edmunds

Courtesy of Freeimages.com|M. Andreosky

In a way it’s just comes down to planning, but it uses the same principle, so rather than just having a rough idea of when you intend to get that last minute bit of shopping done, or prepare any food for Christmas Day before hand, specify where, when and how you intend to do it. I’ve noticed, if I specify when and where and how I’m going to get work done, or even a simple task like descaling the kettle (which lets face it living in East Anglia is a regular thing), I find the job gets done more often than not compared to if I just leave the task ‘open’, knowing it needs to be done at one point.

Plus, if you find you worry a lot leading up to Christmas, organising the jobs you know need to be done into where, when and how you intend to achieve those things, helps ease the worry because I imagine they will mostly fall into the solvable worry category and taking action, eases worrying.

Happy planning…

References: http://jamesclear.com/master-one-thing

 

Are You Good at Keeping Promises….???

Are you good at keeping promises, how often do you say you will do something, and at the time you wholeheartedly believe you will do it, then as time moves on, the motivation to do it gets less and less.  Sound familiar?  

As I’m sure you are aware, October is the month of Stoptober – The Public Health England Campaign to help those that smoke to stop smoking.  Stoptober was launched in 2012 and in a nutshell…

“..Stoptober is the 28-day stop smoking challenge from Public Health England that encourages and supports smokers across England towards quitting for good. Stoptober is based on the insight that if you can stop smoking for 28-days, you are five times more likely to be able to stay quit for good.”

Public Health England, 2016

Because I Said I would….

Hypnotherapy for Smoking

Courtesy of Because I Said I Would Website.

Stoptober got me thinking about motivation and how likely we are to achieve something by making it public or not. I heard from a colleague that people who make a written promise are 48% more likely to see it through.

You may have heard of the social movement called Because I Said I Would.  It’s a non profit organisation dedicated to the betterment of humanity and the importance of a promise.  Alex Sheen is the founder of Because I Said I Would and this movement came about because on September 4th 2012, his Father died of cancer and he was asked to do the eulogy.  In the eulogy he chose to speak about his father and how he kept his promises – he was a man of his word.  He named that speech Because I Said I would and he handed out for the first time, what would be called ‘promise cards’.

A Promise Card….

The promise card helps people remember the importance of their commitment and goals.  Since that day, these promise cards have been available through their website, free of charge.  By request only, they have distributed a staggering 4.47 million promise card to over 153 different countries.  That’s a lot of promises.

I think these promise cards are a great example of how making a promise ‘public’ works, and I don’t mean ‘public’ as in shouting it from the rooftops or posting it on Facebook, but telling just one person what you intend to do and writing it down.  I believe by making that promise gives you that extra motivation where if you hadn’t made it, you may of given in.   That promise makes you go that extra mile to fulfil that promise and stick to that commitment that you made, rather than just throwing in the towel when things get a bit tricky.

What Would You Promise….

Hypnotherapy for SmokingDo you have a goal in mind that you want to achieve?  Do you smoke and want to stop?  It could be anything, no matter how small or big.  Why not use a ‘promise card’ today to get that ‘thing’ done you’ve been putting off for some while now.  It could be to start your Christmas shopping early or get the car in for it’s service.

To use the promise card is very simple:

1) Write on the card your promise

2) Give the card to the person you are making the promise too

3) Fulfil your promise

4) Get your card back and keep it as a reminder that you are a person of your word.

Hypnotherapy for Smoking

Courtesy of Freeimages.com|Bartek Ambrozik

So, if you have a goal in mind, whatever it may be, decide who you want to make that promise too, you might be surprised how much easier you find to keep that promise by making it to someone else.  So whether you promise to stop smoking or to run a marathon for a good cause – make your promise count.

One Final Thoughts…..

Whatever promise you make, make it for yourself and to yourself rather than for someone else.  Let yourself be your main motivation, and the person you make the promise to, that extra bit of motivation when the tough gets going.

If you would like receive some promise cards, go to the Because I Said I Would website at the bottom of this page and order some for free from the website.

If you are a smoker and you are finding it hard to stop, have a read of my blog Smoking – Why Can’t I Just Stop or if you prefer, lets have a conversation to see how Cognitive Hypnotherapy for smoking could help you stop for good.

Resources:

https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/6-stoptober/overview

https://becauseisaidiwould.com

The Wind of Change….

Hypnotherapy for Anxiety|Hypnosis for Anxiety

Courtesy of Freeimages.com|Shawn Scammahorn

It’s strange how you can almost smell the changing of the seasons, the other day I was outside and I commented to myself how I could smell ‘autumn’ in the air…then the hottest day of the year happened! Gotta love the British weather.  The changing of the seasons is inevitable, just like change in our own lives.   But do you welcome change or resist it?  

Who Moved My Cheese……

Hypnotherapy for Anxiety|Hypnosis for Anxiety

Courtesy of Freeimages.com|Helmut Gevert

I read a book recently called Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr Spencer Johnson.  It’s a great little story about 4 characters who live in a maze and look for cheese to nourish them and make them happy.   The story is a metaphor for what you want in life and where you look for it.  It’s all about change; anticipating it, adapting to it and enjoying it.  The story helps you learn how to deal with change, so you can enjoy more success and suffer less stress.

Before I read this book I thought I accepted change and adapted to it quite well, I believed I’d always dealt with it quite well and viewed it as an adventure and something to embrace and accept.  Then after reading this book I realised there was one area of my life I hadn’t accepted things had changed, and it was causing me anxiety.  Even more to my surprise I didn’t even realise this was going on, it was only after reading this book did I get a ‘light bulb’ moment and it became clear to me what was happening.  I have to admit it was a bit of a shock because I’d always thought I embraced and welcomed change, and there it was starring me in the face, and I just didn’t see it. Talk about things best hidden are in plain sight!

Do You Accept or Fight Change?

Hypnotherapy for Anxiety|Hypnosis for Anxiety

Courtesy of Freeimages.com|Gabriel Bulla

So how do you view change?  Do you accept it’s part of life, like the changing of the seasons or fight it, and try and keep things the same?  As humans go, we tend to be creatures of habit and for some, change can be a bit of a shock.  For me, the shock came when I realised I hadn’t accepted a change had occurred, or even acknowledged it….and for someone who loves change, that was a shock.

We are all different and each of us either accept or fight change on our own unique scale.  But are you fighting change where, like the changing of the seasons, it’s just part of life and it’s out of your control?  Is it causing you feelings of anxiety or unease?

How Much Have You Changed?

If you think back over the course of your life, how different are you now compared with say…10 or 15 years ago?  Change can happen so subtly we don’t see it happening, until we look back and see the difference, within ourselves and our circumstances.  So even if you think or feel you aren’t good at accepting change, you may surprise yourself…. look back and see how many changes you’ve navigated throughout your life so far.

A Change is as Good as a Rest….

I believe change is a good thing, as Winston Churchill Said:

” A change is as good as a rest”

I put this quote to use on a regular basis, if I’m doing something and I get stuck in a rut or I find I’m getting distracted.  I change what I’m doing to something else and then go back to it later.

Hypnotherapy for Anxiety|Hypnosis for Anxiety

Courtesy of Freeimages.com|Barbara Schneider

Change occurs on all levels from leaving a piece of work and going back to it later, to a change in life circumstances, like a new addition to your family or a death of a loved one.  Sometimes change occurs because of a decision we’ve made or we have no control over it.  But what is in our control, regardless of how the change comes about, is how we deal with it.  We have a choice to accept and embrace the change or fight it and resist it.  If you fight and resist it, it could cause you anxiety and worry.

How Do You View Change…?

Hypnotherapy for Anxiety|Hypnosis for Anxiety

Courtesy of Freeimages.com|Svilen Milev

What do you do? Are you fighting change or accepting it? Is there an area of your life your’re scared to change because it’s easier to stay where you are?  If you have a moment, either now or later, think about if there is an area in your life where you could be resisting change – like I was, and what it is you could do about that to help you keep moving forward and not get stuck in a rut and resist change.

We always have a choice; to accept that change occurs and deal with it the best we can or fight and resist it.  Even just accepting that change has occurred can help you deal with it, I found that; by acknowledging that a change had occurred and things were different in my life, and I couldn’t keep in the same mindset as I had done previously, helped me ease the anxiety I was feeling.

If you are finding it hard to deal with change or a change in your life, feel free to contact me to find out how I can help you adapt and deal with change.