Category Archives: Worrying

How can I be happier?

A lot of people ask me ‘How can I be happier?’

Before that can be answered there are a few things that need to be defined. Firstly, what does happy mean to you? Then, how happy are you right now?

To me being happy equates to being content. If that is your goal I think you can be happy for much of your life. Others have told me that to them being happy is feeling joy. For people with that definition, happiness is fleeting and they will experience happiness for short periods, fairly infrequently.

Do you seek joy every moment of your life? If so, I fear that you will be perpetually disappointed. Even if your life moved from one amazing moment to another, you would quite quickly stop experiencing joy. Joy is an extreme emotion. It’s the thin end of the wedge, the edges of the bell curve. For brief moments it lights our life, but we cannot feel it all the time.

If your definition of happy is contentment, you will feel ‘happy’ much more of your life. This in turn makes you feel grateful and lucky, which leads to feeling even happier with your lot.

So, one way to be happier is to lower your expectations of what happy means.

Then we need to look at how happy you are right now. If you had to scale it between 1 and 10, with 1 being extremely unhappy and 10 being as happy as you can be, where would you score yourself? The chances are you are somewhere between 4 and 7. If that’s the case, you can probably do things to make yourself feel more happy. If you are at the extremes of the scale it can be harder to make a difference.

Obviously, if you are already on a 10, it’s going to be very difficult for you to feel happier than you are right now – there’s literally nowhere left for you to go. Awesome!

If you are at the other end of the scale, down in the 1-3 group, you are in a fairly dark place. There are lots of reasons that this may be the case. Firstly, something awful may have happened in your life. Loss of a loved one, bullying and poor health can put you in this place. All of these are things which take some getting over. Yes, there are professionals out there who can help get you through this time and support you with psychological strategies, but they are still difficult things to deal with. If you felt happy during one of these experiences, I would suggest there is other work to do.

Other reasons that people can feel deeply unhappy are anxiety and depression. These are two different issues which can be very difficult, but are also eminently treatable. With talking therapies people can work through these life limiting issues and get back to regular levels of happy – not happy all the time – just regular happy.

This brings me onto the final idea around wanting to be more happy. There is a regular level of happy. If you are happy all the time, you may have a problem. If you are unhappy all the time, you may have a problem. Even the best adjusted most balanced people experience happiness and unhappiness. It’s normal and natural. If you want to be happy all the time, you are setting yourself up for disappointment – which leads you to be less happy! There are things that steal our happiness, and we can work on reducing them, but if you love, you will experience loss. If you achieve, you will have to deal with defeat. Ups and downs are all part of the rich tapestry that is our complicated life.

My tip for today is be grateful.

Experiments have repeatedly shown that being grateful is one of the key things that makes us happy. Write down three different things every day that you are grateful for. It’s easy to start with big concepts like being alive, having a home, waking up this morning, but as time goes by you have to look for more detailed, smaller reasons to be grateful. Things like a good cup of coffee, a smile from a neighbour, enjoying a TV programme, somebody liking your blog post or even a positive comment…all of these things make me grateful, which is why I experience happiness every day.

Wishing every one of you a happy, healthy day. I’m so grateful you’ve taken the time to read this x

www.talktherapies.co.uk

p.s. If you are looking for a daily mindfulness tip/exercise follow me on Instagram at www.instagram.com/talktherapies 

 

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How do I help someone with addiction?

One of the most frustrating things on earth is watching someone you love throw their life away on an addiction.

It seems like nothing you say or do gets through to them. In fact the more you try to help them, the deeper they seem to sink into their addiction.

Sometimes that’s just annoying. Other times it’s a life and death situation.

If someone is addicted to coffee, you may not approve, but the chance are they’ll be ok. If they’re addicted to smoking, it may well be killing them, but it’s happening slowly and it may or may not affect them. If they’re addicted to alcohol, illegal or legal drugs they could be in more imminent danger. If they’re addicted to starving themselves, you may be watching them die.

Yet, despite this they don’t seem to be able to get their heads around the damage that they are doing to themselves. It’s as though the connections between what they ‘know’ is happening and the consequences to them are entirely gone.

I know this from personal experience.

I was a smoker for 17 years. I started when I was 21 (entirely old enough to know better) and quit 5 years ago. I can remember people saying to me “you know it’s bad for you right?” as though I was a moron or lived under a rock or something. People on the street would come up to me and say things like “It’ll stunt your growth you know”. I think they thought that was funny as I’m 6ft tall and a grown ass woman. My mum (an ex smoker) hated the fact I smoked and would ask me repeatedly to quit.

None of that made any difference.

It wasn’t about education either. As I said, I started smoking when I was 21. I was working as a microbiologist in Liverpool having been to University studying Biochemistry. I knew what smoking did to a body. I knew what it ‘could’ do to me. The thing was, it didn’t really do anything nasty at first. It was just a laugh with mates when we were out drinking. By the time I’d developed a smokers cough, I was already well into the addicted part.

So what made me try to quit? For me it was my best friend. I was complaining to her about people moaning at me about smoking and she said “So, are you just going to smoke until you die?” That was it. No attitude, no lecture, just a question. A question I had to think about. As I thought about it over the next couple of weeks I realised I didn’t want to die a smoker. I could visualise what my old woman self would look like smoking and coughing, wheezing along, maybe with an oxygen tank….and it horrified me. So then I had to think, well if I don’t want to die smoking, I’m going to have to quit at some point. Why not now? I mean it’s not like it’s going to get any easier?

Here’s my advice.

Don’t

  1. Don’t Nag – it’s annoying and it just makes people dig their heals in.
  2. Don’t lecture – it just makes the person being lectured at think up opposite arguments, which then helps to persuade them that what they’re doing is OK
  3. Don’t promise rewards for abstinence – study after study has shown that offering rewards convinces the psyche that it must mean that thing they are being asked to do is difficult.

Do

  1. Model the behaviour you want them to adopt. If you have someone in your life who is drinking too much, don’t drink around them. Don’t make a thing of it, just don’t do it. If you do what you are asking them not to, it just normalizes it for them and they think you’re an idiot.
  2. Spend time with them. Show them they are loved and worth loving. One of the main reasons people self harm (and addiction IS a form of self harm) is because they don’t like themselves very much
  3. Do fun stuff that distracts from their addiction. The more good stuff they have going on in their lives, the less room there is for bad stuff.
  4. Ask questions. Get them to think about what they are doing, in their own time, in their own way
  5. Be prepared for the fact that you may never get through to them. Ultimately you have to accept that it’s their life to live.

One final note – don’t forget to look after yourself. Don’t get obsessed with their addiction. It won’t help you or them. Take care of yourself and model healthy, social behaviour. It’s more powerful than you know.


If you or someone you know has an issue with addiction, get help. You do not have to deal with this on your own. There are plenty of support groups online and in person. There are also thousands of professionals out there who can help you.

Good luck on your journey

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Blog Plans for 2017

Happy New Year!

Well, after a lovely Christmas break, I’m back to the blogosphere….How are you all doing?

Personally I love January, because I love new starts. They are full of opportunities, possibilities and potential. They also scare me a bit because of this – when everything is a possibility it can all be a bit overwhelming – there’s just too much to choose from, and in my humble opinion, you do have to choose. Anyone that tells you that this year is the one where they will eat healthy, exercise regularly, look amazing every day, make a million dollars, have the perfect relationship with their friends and family, start a new business and find inner peace is expecting a little bit much, don’t you think?

Even if all you’re planning on doing is growing your blog audience or blogging every day, it can still be a big expectation. There are so many things to blog about, but how to choose? Sometimes there is so much possibility I can’t narrow it down, sometimes I can’t think of a single thing. What to do?

For me it starts with a plan. Plans don’t have to be set in stone, they are a starting point. Write yourself a plan, but know that it can and probably will change.

The next thing I do is think about what I want to talk about – broadly speaking. As my blog here is all about happiness, health and hypnosis that needs to be at the fore of my planning – what large topics fall under that remit?

So this year I’ve decided to dedicate a month to a topic. I started last year. December was all about self care, and I wrote it like an advent calendar with a different post every day from 1 to 25. It worked quite well for me and those that follow my blog. It gave me structure and motivation to write (I’d promised after all) and it gave my followers a reason to check in – they knew what to expect. If it wasn’t something they were interested in they could take a pass, but if it was, they knew to come back every day for more.

In the same vein here are my ideas for Blogs I will be writing each month for 2017.

January – Diet

February – Relationships

March – Addictions

April – Happiness

May – Food

June – Anxiety

July – Exercise

August – Depression

Sept – Different therapy techniques

Oct – Dec TBD – I’m open to suggestions here, if you would like me to cover a topic that falls under the title of Happiness, Health and Hypnosis, this is your chance to put forward an idea! Just leave me a comment.

See anything there that you think you may be interested in – make sure you click follow to get them when they come out!

Once I’ve narrowed it down to topic areas, I find it easier to think about topics related to each big theme. Take diet for example. I can look at nutrition, staying satisfied, types of food that keep you feeling fuller for longer, diet myths, healthy goals, body image, small changes to make a big difference etc etc. So now we both know what to expect 🙂

Starting tomorrow the rest of my January blogs will be dedicated to diet. Getting right and making it easy. If you want to make sure you see them, you know what to do.

See you soon – let’s make January an awesome start!

 

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Self Care Advent Calendar Day 23

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder – what do you see that you think is beautiful?

All too often we neglect to see the beauty in what’s around us. In nature, in our home, in our friends and family, in ourselves.

Beauty is all around you if you take the time to look for it.

There aren’t many people in the world who can look in the mirror and honestly say that they see beauty there – and that is a terrible shame. Of course we don’t all fit into society’s pattern of what beautiful looks like (which by the way changes dramatically depending on which society you are in) but we all have beauty in us.

Is there a part of your body that you are unhappy with? Maybe you think it’s too thin, or too fat….Maybe you think it’s too saggy or too taut…..Maybe you think it’s too big or too small….Whatever it is you are finding fault with doesn’t really matter, because my self-care challenge for you today is to find a way to love it, to appreciate it, to find its beauty.

There are several methods that I find useful with this sort of challenge. I have fat ankles -let’s use them as an example.

Reframing

Ok, so my ankles are a little on the chunky side – on the upside they are sturdy. They don’t cause me any pain and they support my body. They are flexible and strong enough to keep me balanced and allow me to walk and run anywhere that I want to. I may not look as good as I would like to in a skirt, but I did get to walk all over New York last month (110,000 steps in 4 days) and explore an amazing place in person. In balance, I would rather have chunky ankles that support me, than pretty ones that don’t.

The lotion method

Now, this doesn’t work for every part of your body, but it’s good for things that are covered in skin. The idea is that you but yourself a nice bottle or body lotion. Something that smells good and that will condition your skin. You then make a commitment to yourself to use the lotion on the body part you dislike every day. Spend time rubbing the lotion in and thinking about that part of your body n as positive a way as you can. By the time you have finnished the bottle, you should have better feelings about that part or you.

Ask for feedback

Quite often the part of ourselves that we dislike most doesn’t even register as a thing with other people. I’m quite self conscious of my ankles, so I tend not to wear skirts ot shoes that show them off. When I pointed this out to a friend of mine she laughed at me at told me there was nothing wrong with my ankles and that I was being silly. That gave me the confidence to buy a dress I wouldn’t normally have done, wear it and then get lots of lovely compliments about how I looked.

Work on it

If the part of you you’re not so keen on can be improved with diet or exercise, why not give it a go? I carry my weight a little differently than most people, and even when I’m not overweight, I have larger legs than most. However, despite it being the last place to go, when I lose the weight, the ankle do slim down too – not as much as I’d like, but they do slim down. Maybe I could try some different exercises that would stretch and lengthen them too – Now there’s a thought…

So, I’m off to research ankle exercises. What will you be doing today?



It can be difficult to change how you feel about yourself particularly if you have body dysmorphia. Hypnosis is a great tool to help change your feelings about yourself so that you can see the positives in your amazing body. Don’t suffer unnecessarily – get the help you need to feel great.

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Self Care Advent Calendar Day 22

Continuing our theme of looking at self care and the senses today we shall be thinking about touch.

What sort of things do you like to touch? Cool things? Warm things? Soft things? Hard things? Rough things? Smooth things?

Have you ever even thought about how touch affects how you feel?

If I’m feeling bad one of the ways I can make myself feel better is to be around (ideally surrounded and engulfed by) warm fluffy things. Like getting into a bed that’s had the electric blanket on or with several hot water bottles, or sitting under a blanket with big warm fluffy socks on. Or getting dressed in clothes that have just come out of the drier or off the radiator. I am the queen of cosy town.

There is a danish word that has no direct English translation. The word is Hygge and it sort of translates to ‘feeling warm and cosy in the company of good friends’ and often involves blankets, slippers, fires, candles and frequently alcohol. For me, hygge, is a desirable state.

When I’m feeling stressed, down or just worn out, I try to make time to feel better. I know that might seem like an obvious thing to say, but more often than not people will carry on regardless. They think that the way they feel cannot be affected by something as simple as taking some time out to create a different environment, so the put their heads down and just plough on.

So my self care challenge to you today is to think about how things make you feel, how you would like to feel, and how you can create an environment that supports you feeling the way that you would like to feel.

 

 

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Self Care Advent Calendar Day 19

With only six days until the 25th are you feeling festive?

Are sleigh bells ringing in your ears? Is it beginning to sound a lot like Christmas?

All of our senses can take a bit of a pounding during the festive season, and our hearing is not immune to the excesses of party time. So my self care thoughts for today are based around your ears.

If things have been kind of hectic, give yourself some space without noise. Take a walk somewhere quiet and don’t put headphones on – just listen to what’s around you.

Or if that’s not an option for you maybe you could sit quietly at home, maybe playing a little classical music – something soothing like a piano concerto…

Then again, maybe things have been a little too quiet for you – maybe you need to play some Christmas albums and have a good old song along. Or, maybe go caroling?

Or maybe the spirit of Christmas has already overloaded your senses and you need to take a break from it with some crazy jazz, some banging metal, some turbo dance – what ever floats your musical boat. Just enjoy a little bit of whatever you need.

What works for one person will not always work for someone else. So if you feel frazzled by what other people seem to be enjoying, don’t worry. You’re just in a different head space than them right now, and that’s OK – you do what’s right for you.

 

 

 

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Self Care Advent Calendar Day 18

Hi peeps – how are we all doing? With just one week to go to the big day, I’m hoping you’re all feeling pretty good.

A lot of what Christmas is about is relationships. If you’ve been watching a few cheesy Christmas films, you may have noticed that the heart of them all is the connection of one person with another,  and our connections to other people, whether family or friends are a significant factor in our happiness.

As with most things, what works for one person may not work for another, but those relationships are important to everyone – it’s just the numbers that vary. Some of us are happy with just a few people in our circle, some need many. The more people you have, the more work it takes to keep those relationships alive, and sometimes people get lost along the way.

Think back over the last 10 years or so. Have there been significant people in your life that have drifted away? I’m not talking about those we have lost because they have passed away (as heart breaking as it is, we have to learn to move on without them) but those we have lost to distance, time or disagreements.

Confession time – I’m not the best person at staying in touch with friends. There is a little insecurity there…a part of me believes that they’re probably not that keen on me so I don’t want to push to make arrangements in case they think of it as a drag or hassle. There’s also a little laziness…it take effort to stay in touch with people. There’s a drop of negativity…they will probably not want to get together anyway, and there’s also a little selfishness…I quite like my own company and my own home. All of these things come together in me, meaning that it’s very easy for me to lose touch with people. If I want to maintain or renew these connections, I have to make a little effort to do so. But when I do, the rewards are outstanding.

Each New Year I make a list of New Year’s resolutions. One of them that remains on the list every year is to reconnect with at least one person who has been important to me.

It can be a little scary making that first step. What if they ignore us? What if they actively reject us? What if they don’t remember us? What if nothing comes of it? Well the answer to all of those questions have similar outcomes. If they go our way great, but if they don’t we are in no worse a position than when we started. That person is still not in our lives we now just have a clearer picture of why they’re not.

So today, my self care challenge to you is to reconnect with an old friend. Write them a message on facebook, send them a christmas card, text them, email them, hell, you could even give them or call or go and visit them. It can seem daunting but a quick hello could lead to the nicest Christmas you’ve had in ages.


Social anxiety can reduce your ability to make and maintain relationships. This isn’t something that you have to live with. Please seek help from a qualified therapist to change how you feel so that you can enjoy life to the max. You really do deserve it.

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Self Care Advent Calendar Day 16

If you read my post yesterday, you’ll know that I wrote this yesterday in an attempt to get ahead of the game – I hope you enjoy it. What did you get ahead of, and how do you feel about it today knowing that you have one less thing to do?

One of the reasons I wanted to get this done yesterday is that today is my Partner’s Birthday. He is away at work in the morning, but will be home by afternoon and I want to make sure that the house is nice and clean, his favourite food and drinks are bought and prepared and that I can spend all my time celebrating with him.

Which brings me on to today’s topic – time.

The most valuable commodity you have is your time. We all have a limited amount of it – 24 hours in a day, 365 days in a year and who knows how may years in our life. We sell our time to our clients or our employers. We give our time to our friends and family. Some of us have more than we know what to do with, some of us could do with bonus hours in the day and days in the week. Time is precious.

I often have people tell me that they don’t have time to do things. Exercise , meditation, cooking for themselves, mindfulness etc. My response tends to be that we all have the same amount of time in a day, we just have to decide how we are going to use it. When you say you don’t have time, what you mean is I prioritise other things over this.

Have you ever had a conversation with a child who wants you to do something with them, and you’ve said that you don’t have time. Try reframing that sentence into a priority statement. Instead of saying I don’t have time, you say it as I am prioritising something else over doing this with you. Now if the thing you are prioritising is important, that’s ok. Some things have to take priority – earning money to pay bills, buying food to eat, cooking meals to keep them healthy. If the thing you are prioritising is less important or maybe even selfish, then this sentence can highlight that and help you to see things in a more honest way. For example if you tell someone that you are prioritising getting drunk over helping them with something important to them, then you are going to struggle to justify that.

So, spend your time wisely today – and every day. It’s one of the few things you can never get back.


One of the ways you can tell if you, or someone you know, has an addiction is the way they prioritise their time. If fulfilling the addiction takes priority over everything else, like being with others, taking care of themselves or their children, or working, then it’s time to get some serious help. Hypnotherapy and other talking therapies are one of the best ways to help you break free of addictive patterns. See if you can get the need today.

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Self Care Advent Calendar Day 15

10 days to go until the big day….Not long now.

Hopefully you are almost ready for Christmas at this point. If not maybe today could be a day where you get closer to it, or if you’re really organised, get ahead of the game.

I’m not looking for you to do any specific task today, but I would like you to do something you have planned in for tomorrow or the following few days.

Sometimes we can all feel that all we are doing is playing catch up. We are constantly chasing our tail or just putting out fires – whatever your preferred metaphor.

So today is your chance to get ahead of plan and feel really good about it.

As I’ve written before, when we achieve things we are more likely to achieve other things. When we complete a task ahead of schedule we not only get a greater sense of accomplishment than when we do it on time, but we also are more likely to crack on and get some other stuff done. As an added bonus, we also avoid the stress of having things overdue. Win Win.

It’s really as simple as that. I’m about to take my own advice and get ahead of the game by writing tomorrows advent post and scheduling it to be published tomorrow.

Let’s catch up then – it’s going to be a good one.

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Self Care Advent Calendar Day 13

I hope that you enjoyed doing nothing yesterday (and if you didn’t, why not?) Take a little time out to do nothing today as well, and tomorrow, and the day after etc etc.

One thing I would like you to think about doing today is having a sort out.

Clean out a drawer, a cupboard, a wardrobe or the garage (if you’re feeling particularly adventurous you could even attack the attic)

Even the most organised types have a drawer or box where all the junk goes and most of us need to sort things out on a fairly regular basis to make sure that we don’t get lost in an avalanche of things falling out of a certain cupboard in the house.

There are many ways of decluttering and organising, you only have to have a quick search on pinterest to find lots of hints and tips for sorting your stuff out. One method that I particularly like is the Marie Kondo method. Basically what you do is form a pile of the items you want to declutter – clothes for instance – then pick each one up in turn and ask yourself it brings you joy? If it does keep it, if it doesn’t get rid of it.

As a massive fan of the Gilmore Girls I was super excited to watch the new season – a year in the life. Lorelai’s Mum goes through a big life change (no spoilers here) and tackles the Marie Knodo method of decluttering, and it’s brilliant to watch. A woman who has everything that money can buy, but finds little joy in so much of it. Yet the things she does find joy in are the things to pay attention to.

A while ago I read something that struck a chord with me – trying to make yourself happy by buying more stuff is like trying to deal with your hunger by strapping sandwiches to yourself. Having stuff does not make you happy. Sometimes not having stuff can make you unhappy – but that’s a bit different, and shouldn’t be confused. so, look at the things around you a decide if they bring you joy.

When we have a good declutter a couple of things tend to happen. Firstly we feel pretty good about ourselves. It’s good to feel organised and on top of things. Secondly, if we recycle or donate the things we are getting rid of we can feel good about that too. Thirdly a lot of people find that having less stuff give them a clearer head and a more relaxed frame of mind. All of these things are good self care.

What’s stopping you? A clear out before Christmas will help you to feel better, and depending on what you donate  you may end up making someone else’s Christmas a lot better.


For most of us decluttering is something we just need to do every now and then to keep things straight, but for some it’s a real problem. If you are, or know someone who is, a hoarder, then you know how serious this can be. Hoarding is a psychological problem that can be helped but is very difficult to deal with on your own. Get help from people who know how to support you.

 

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