Category Archives: Relaxation

What is Hypnosis?

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I have been a practising hypnotist for over 5 years now, and I really struggle to answer this very basic question.

What is Hypnosis? 

It’s difficult to answer because there are so many answers and so many different experiences of hypnosis. As far as I can tell, everyone seems to experience it in different ways. For some (around about 1-2%) it feels really uncomfortable and they struggle to find a way in. For others (10-20%) it’s a magical experience that alters their reality in easily accessible ways – these are the people who are chosen for stage hypnotist shows where they make things invisible etc. For the vast majority of people it is neither of those things. Instead they will tell me “It was like I was listening to you speak, and I heard what you were saying, but it felt like my mind drifted and it was like I was fading in and out.”

If you ask ‘experts’ on hypnosis you will get lots of different opinions and views too. Some believe it is a state of mind that we drift into and out of all the time. Some believe that it is a way of accessing your true self. Some believe it allows you to reach back into past lives. You will hear words like conscious and subconscious as though they are areas of the brain that can be poked and prodded. People talk of somnambulist (or sleep walkers) and ‘depths’ of hypnosis as though you can be a bit hypnotised or really hypnotised.

At one time I described it as a directed placebo effect as I believed that you had to ‘buy into’ the process for it to work, but over the years I have learned that this isn’t true either.

Let me tell you my truth about hypnosis – it’s just your imagination.

Now, please don’t read the word ‘just’ and think I am not giving your imagination the credit it deserves. Your imagination is probably the most amazing thing about you. It allows you to formulate plans, predict the future, extrapolate ideas, and create stories. It allows you to interpret sound, sight, smell and touch – to understand and empathise. It is essentially you.

The skill of the hypnotist comes into play to allow you to use your imagination in a useful, productive and often amazing way.

Take a look at most Hypnotherapist’s websites and you will find a list of the most common things they deal with..

Addiction (including smoking)

Weight Loss

Phobias

Anxiety and stress management.

What do all of these things have in common? They are created from belief patterns.

I can’t live without…. or I can’t stop thinking about….or I can’t be around…..or I can’t cope with….

Actually none of those statements are true.

You absolutely can live without whatever it is you are hooked on (as long as it’s not food, water, air etc) by changing how you think about it.

You can totally stop thinking of anything.

You can be around something you have a phobia of, as long as you change your fear response (which was created by your imagination in the first place).

You can cope – you just need to learn how.

A skilled hypnotist can provide you with enough input to help you to make a change, but it is a collaborative process. It happens because you want it to. In fact, if you have the skills and knowledge you don’t need another person to be involved at all. Many, many people around the world employ self hypnosis techniques like the Betty Erickson technique, the eye fixation technique or the switch technique – so it’s not something that has to be done to you. You can hypnotise yourself.

So, what is hypnosis? I’m still not entirely sure, but for me it is focused, beneficial use of your imagination to achieve a desired outcome.

Why don’t you have a try for yourself and see what happens? Maybe you’ll get the results you’re looking for. Maybe you won’t. If you do – Fantastic! I’m thrilled you’ve found this potential within yourself. If you don’t – why not give your friendly, local hypnotherapist a call and see if they can nudge you in the right direction.

 

 

 

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How do I improve my confidence?

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I had a message from a client today who told me that she was doing something that she had not been able to do for a long time, thanks to some work that we had done together. I was thrilled for her, for changing her thinking and freeing herself from an old fear. Then she told me that she still didn’t feel confident and asked ‘How do I improve my confidence?

What a great question!

My first reaction was ‘Fake it ’til you make it’ – Let me explain.

When we start to do something new, we often don’t feel very confident about it. We are learning the rules, how it works (or doesn’t work) and what to do. As we get more accustomed to situations, we become more assured, as we feel like we understand what is expected from us and how we will deal with things if they go wrong. We know the script.

When we ‘Fake it’, we create the illusion of confidence. Part of the illusion we create is our body language.

Here’s a little exercise for you.

Stand up and fake (or act) being nervous or anxious. Notice the shape of your body. Are your shoulders back or hunched over? Is your head up or are you looking down? If you step forward to you take a large or small step? How’s your breathing?

Now, change it up and fake being confident. Notice the same things about your body?

How does each make you feel? How would other people react to the body language you are portraying?

I want to look at each of these separately – first, how does it make you feel?

Our minds and our bodies are in a constant state of biofeedback. That means that what we think affects our body and what our body does, affects what we think. When you get scared about something it affects your body – your heart rate increases, you breath more shallowly and faster and you get butterflies in your stomach. Weirdly, if you create these sensations in your body artificially, say through drug use, you can create anxiety. One affects the other. So, by creating the sort of body language a confident person would demonstrate, we can give our thoughts a confidence boost.

Secondly, how do people react to you? Most people will take you at face value. If you look confident they will assume that you are confident. They will then infer that you are confident because you are a strong capable person who knows how to handle themselves.  If you look anxious they will assume you are anxious and that you have a reason to be anxious. They will treat you accordingly. If they are a kind and generous person they may offer to help you. If they are a bully or an aggressor they may see you as a potential victim. We then receive the feedback from the people around us and that in turn affects our own feelings. If you are constantly being bullied it will impact on your self-confidence in a negative way, just as if you are always the one who people turn to it in a crisis, you will feel your self confidence improve.

Another way you can work on confidence is to understand your own feelings and emotions better. Mindfulness techniques can be incredibly powerful tools to do this.

In the end, the best way to improve your confidence is to repeat whatever it is you are doing until you become really good at it, but to speed the process up, a little bit of faking it can go a long way.

 


If you have ever asked yourself ‘How do I improve my confidence?’ and a bit of ‘fake it ’til you make it’ isn’t cutting it for you, you may want to see a therapist. Don’t get caught in a cycle of fear – take the step and get yourself moving forward in a positive way.

 

 

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What is Mindfulness?

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Mindfulness is a term that is being used a lot at the moment, but do you know what it’s actually all about?

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness started out as a practise in India about 2500 years ago. It was created as a type of mediation that allowed the practitioner to be present in the moment and to notice what was happening in their own mind. To notice their thoughts, feelings and emotions and give themselves the time and space to look at them, hear them and to react to them in a non judgemental, balanced way.

There is a direct correlation between our thoughts, emotions and behaviours. Think about this for a moment..

You wake up in a great mood. ‘Today is going to be a good day’ you think to yourself. You get up, go through your morning routine and leave the house. When you get to work you see a parking space and get ready to move into it. Just as you are about to take the space someone else grabs it. How do you feel? What do you do?

Now, go through the same scenario but with you waking up in a terrible mood, convinced that today is going to be a nightmare. Now how do you feel? What do you do?

Did you get the same response each time? If you’re being honest with yourself, probably not. Yet both of the situations were identical apart from the first thoughts and emotions you were feeling. See how they can influence things?

One very effective form of therapy is CBT or cognitive behavioural therapy. It uses the same principles of analytically looking at our own thoughts and deciding if they are appropriate or not and then adjusting them accordingly. For instance if someone was suffering from OCD they may have a thought or belief pattern that makes them believe that if they do not carry out a certain action or set of actions then bad things will happen. Using mindfulness and or CBT techniques, they would learn to be able to notice these thoughts and to consider them in a balanced non judgemental way. With practice this can change and alter them into healthier patterns, which in turn, changes their behaviours.

Mindfulness is more than just this though. It is the ability to be in the moment. To fully appreciate what you are experiencing.

How many times have you not enjoyed something because you were worried about something else? Lost yourself in your fears that were totally unnecessary? Many of the clients I see as a Hypnotherapist suffer from social anxiety. This can be crippling and stop people enjoying their life, yet it doesn’t have to be the case. Simply learning and practicing mindfulness can eliminate it entirely.

In some ways Mindfulness is like a work out for your mind. It strengthens it, makes it more flexible and more able to handle things if and when they get tough. It’s like exercise in another way as well – it takes training and practice to get good at it. In this way your mind is like a muscle. You need to exercise it, to make it stronger before you have to do the heavy lifting or the marathon. You start small, get frustrated, keep at it and get better.

So, next time you think about a bit of self-care or self-improvement, you might want to consider getting yourself on a mindfulness course. Start small, practice and get stronger so that you are mentally as well as physically ready for anything life throws at you, and if someone asks you what is mindfulness, you’ll be able to tell them.

 

 

 

 

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How do I help a fussy eater?

Hello beautiful people!

It’s May already. A third of the way through the year? How’s it going? Are you getting closer to your goals? Have you given up on them? Maybe they’ve just changed as your priorities have.

In January I decided that May would be a good month to talk about food. So, here goes.

Food – I love food. That’s not quite right – I LOVE food. I’m one of those people who wake up in the morning thinking about what they are going to eat today. I enjoy eating it, I enjoy cooking it, I enjoy shopping for it, I enjoy trying new things and revisiting old familiar things.

I like exploring food – if there is a new taste, a new texture, a new sensation to be had – I want it. My partner recently tried miracle berries. They were on my bucket list to try, so I was very excited to give them a go.

Miracle berries have a strange property. They stop you from tasting sour. So we lined up a load of foods which you normally think of as sour or sharp. We cut up lemons, limes, grapefruit and cooking apples. We got sharp tasting liquids like lemon juice, and vinegar. We got pickled things like onions and cabbage. We even got some guinness – not a classically sharp taste, but suggested as part of our little experiment. We got them all lined up and sucked on our miracle berries.

You have to keep them in your mouth for about 5 minutes. They don’t have a particular taste and there was no real sensation so I was a little doubtful that they would work. We were both a little nervous going for our first sharp flavour, but figured in for a penny, in for a pound, so grabbed a wedge of lemon and bit in….

….and it was delicious! It had the sweetest, loveliest flavour ever! We were so thrilled with the effect we blatted through the rest of the foods, amazed with their varying flavours. It was a really good fun half an hour. The effect started to wear off towards the end, but it was a gradual fade, so the sharpness just crept in slowly, and was kind of great too.

As part of my practice I’ve worked with a few people with food phobias. Generally these are adults, as for some reason, people think it’s perfectly OK for their kids to be fussy eaters. They let their kids get away with a restricted diet which then leads to issues for them as adults. As well as obvious problems like malnutrition, poor skin, poor eyesight and generally poor health, being a fussy eater can make it more difficult for people to socialise, to be around others, to train and to manage their weight. For me, eating new things is such a joy, I love helping people discover that joy for themselves.

A couple of quick tricks you can try if you are trying to eat new things.

First – don’t force it! All you are doing is building resistance if you try to force yourself to eat something. Try getting yourself in a position where you can be relaxed and comfortable before you try a new food.

Secondly – make it a really small amount. What ever food you are trying, cut a really small amount of it up. I mean really small. Then put that tiny piece in your mouth. Notice what it feels like, what tasted you notice, what thoughts it makes you think of. Do this every day for a month. Always try a small piece, but if you feel more confident, you can make it a bit bigger each time.

Finally – cook it in a different way. Don’t like boiled carrots? Try roasting them…or poaching them in sugar water with star anise, or grating them on a salad, or grating them into a bolognaise sauce, or just try them raw! Just because you don’t like them the way that you’ve tried them before, doesn’t mean you won’t like them a different way.

 

 

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Am I addicted?

Have you ever wondered if you are an addict? Chances are that you probably have some form of addiction or another. If you smoke, drink daily, can’t start the morning without a coffee or end dinner without dessert then you may have an addiction.

An addiction is defined as not having control over doing, taking or using something to the point where it could be harmful to you.

So let’s think about that for a moment. We know smoking is harmful to us so it’s easy to see that as an addiction, but other things are sometimes more difficult to see that way. Did you know that you should go at least 3 days a week without drinking any alcohol in order for your liver to recover? So drinking alcohol every day is damaging, even if it’s only a small glass of wine with dinner. If the idea of giving up booze for three days a week is uncomfortable – you have an addiction.

How about sugar? We know that too much sugar in our diet causes obesity and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Still fancy a doughnut? Then you, my friend, are addicted!

Is there such a thing as a healthy addiction? Looking back at the definition, no there isn’t, but it’s not quite that simple.

Some people go to the gym every day. Exercising is good for us right? Yes, of course it is, but exercising every day is not. Your body needs time to recover and heal from exercise too. If you can’t have a rest day, you have an addiction. If you are exercising against doctors orders, you have an addiction. if you are exercising when you are unwell, you have an addiction. If you are exercising on an injury ….you guessed it.

How about a healthy diet. If you read my blog regularly you will now that I am always banging on about eating healthily. Veggies are good for you, nutrient rich food is important, eat you fibre blah blah blah. But if you are out with friends and can’t order off the menu because there’s nothing on it you can eat (and you don’t have specific allergies related to the foods) then you may have a type of addiction. It’s known as orthorexia, and it’s where people restrict their food choices in an unhealthy way.

Addiction is everywhere. I would suggest a few things.

First – Recognise your own addictions. If you don’t know you have them it’s very difficult to do something about them. Look at your day in a critical way and ask yourself is there any part of it that you would be unhappy if you couldn’t do. Then ask yourself – is that a healthy habit?

Second – ask those you love, and who love you, for their input. You may be surprised that they come up with things you may never have thought of. Things like excessive personal hygiene, excessive cleaning, watching too much porn and gaming often come up from other people.

Third – Try to change your routine to cut out your addiction.

Finally – Remember PEOPLE QUIT STUFF THEY ARE ADDICTED TO ALL THE TIME. Let that sink in for a moment. Just because you are addicted now, does not mean that you have to stay addicted. Yes it will feel uncomfortable. Yes it will be tricky and Yes, you CAN do it.

If people can quit heroin, you can quit smoking. If people can quit crack cocaine, you can quit sugar. I know you like it – they probably liked their heroin too.


Some people can kick their addictions on their own, and I would always suggest that as a first try. If however you struggle, that does not mean you have no other choices. Get support and help to quit your addiction from professionals who have the skills to help you.

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February – Heart Awareness month

Are you taking care of your heart? When you hear that, what does it make you think?

Do you think about diet and exercise? Do you think about relationships? Do you think about Self Care?

I think it should be about all of those things. I spent December writing about self care, and January writing about diet, so this month I want to write about relationships, what they mean and why they are important. Also hopefully, you’ll get some ideas on how to improve your relationships, feel better in them and get more out of them.

Today’s post though, is how to deal with the pain of the end of a relationship.

Relationships ending can be incredibly painful. Whether the end of the relationship is caused by someone ending it, or by death, there is a grief process to go through.

In both cases there is a relationship that no longer exists and grieving is a natural reaction to that.

There are famously said to be 5 stages of grief and these need to be worked through with a relationship ending.

Often the most difficult phases is denial. I have seen a number of clients in my hypnotherapy practice who say they want to get over a relationship that’s ended, but when I speak to them, they tell me what they really want is for it to be back on again. Despite saying they want to be over it, they are still in denial that it is really over. This is a terrible limbo land that can be difficult to move forward from until they accept that it’s over.

Then comes anger. It’s only natural to lash out when we are in pain, but anger is best kept in check. Not only can it make situations much worse if the anger is taken out on another person, but it can be much more serious when the anger turns inwards and we start to blame ourselves for the situation. This way leads to self-confidence issues and has other mental health implications contributing to anxiety and depression.

Now we get to bargaining. Again it’s fairly normal to bargain with our ex in order to get things back on track again, but the best person to bargain with is yourself. You need to decide how you want to get through this and make deals with yourself to help you to achieve it.

Here comes the darkest part – the depression. You will sometimes feel sad. You will sometimes feel as though you will never feel anything other than sad again. That’s not true. You will get through this. You will be happy again. You will look back on this differently one day. And now is the time to think about the bargains you made with yourself. Hopefully you decided you wanted to get through this as best as you can and work to take care of yourself. Eat well, go out, keep clean, be around people. I know it can be tough, but it will get easier.

Eventually you will get to acceptance. You may never be happy about it – then again, you might, but even if you don’t, you will learn to accept it. If you’re clever you will learn lessons from it. Know what you want, what you are prepared to accept and what you might need to do in order to get that. Also know what you need to bring to a relationship? We often think about what we want from other people, but sometimes it pays to think what they might want from us….www.talktherapies.co.uk

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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 21

Regular readers (hello) may have noticed a pattern emerging in the last few posts. On the 19th we looked at sound (so to speak) on the 20th taste. Following on with the theme of senses let’s spend some time thinking about smell.

Our noses are spectacular – not as good as many other animals, but still spectacular.

We can recognise different scents – some we may love, others we may hate, but all of the smells we smell have memories and associations with them. It is often said that scent has the strongest link to memory. Have you ever caught a whiff that sent you straight back to childhood? Or another that made you feel like you did at the dentist?

One way that we can self care through smell is to make sure that we, and our environment smell nice. Make sure things around you are clean. Then choose the scents you want to experience. If you want to feel refreshed and invigorated go for more citrus scents. If you want to feel more relaxed and calm go for more earth scents. Want to feel like you’re on a beach holiday – coconuts and mangoes.

Another way is through therapies like aromatherapy. These use specific essential oils either just as a scent or as part of a massage to make you feel well.

Think of a happy memory, or just some place that you really enjoy. Think of what scents you would notice if you were there, and try to recreate them in your environment. Maybe your subconscious will then give you more positive happy thoughts to brighten your day?

 

 

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