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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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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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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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Self Care Advent Calendar Day 11

How are you doing? Are you where you want to be? What would be different if you had started doing things differently a year ago?

Would you be thinner? Richer? Calmer? Fitter? Healthier? In a different job? In a relationship? Out of a relationship? In your own home? Running your own business? Selling your own book?

The thing is it’s not too late to do this….where could you be this time next year?

Do you have a dream? Well stop dreaming and make a plan.

That’s your task for today. Make a plan for something you want to happen in your life.

Start with a goal, then think of the three main things that need to happen to get you to your goal.

Then break down the three things you need to get done in the same way. Repeat until you have a good idea of the steps you need to take to get you to your goal. The more you break it down, the more detailed your plan will be.

Once you’ve written down the plan, assign some dates to when you will get things done by. Mark it on a calendar for next year so you know what you want to be doing. Hold yourself accountable for hitting your deadlines. You may not always make them, and that’s OK, but know what you’re aiming for.

Think about who you can involve to help you? Can they be part of keeping you on track?

What might get in your way? If you can think of anything that could derail your plan, you can probably think of a way of getting around it too. Good planning involves thinking about obstacles and how to bypass them. It also involves contingency plans for those things that you didn’t see coming.

I know making the first steps can be the hardest part when you are working towards a long term goal, but put a little faith in yourself and be brave.

Who knows where you’ll be or what you’ll be doing this time next year.

 

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Just for today….

Sometimes making changes in our life can feel overwhelming – it’s just too much. Too hard to make permanent changes, even if we know that changing will make us happier, healthier and feel better. So why not try it just for a day?

It’s a technique that people who are in recovery from an addiction know pretty well – one day at a time. It might seem incomprehensible to an alcoholic that they will never drink again. An idea of a lifetime of sobriety is just too overwhelming to consider,but a day, or an hour or even a minute may be doable. After one minute, maybe I could do one more. After one hour, the next may seem more possible. After a day, I can try another day. Success can often lead to more success, so sometimes it’s better to make small goals.

It’s a great strategy for an addict.

So ask yourself what you are addicted to. Are you hooked on self defeating attitudes? Can you go through a day without beating yourself up about something?

Not all of the suggestions below will apply to you – maybe none of them will, but maybe, just maybe you’ll find something below that you could try – Just for today.

Just for today do something you want to do, but normally don’t let yourself.

Eat the forbidden food, watch the trashy TV, say the thing you’ve been wanting to say.

Just for today do something that you know you should do, but can never get started with.

Go for a run, clean out your wardrobe, sort through your photo’s

Just for today give yourself permission to feel how you don’t normally feel.

Have a day where you stop worrying, decide that you like how you look or stop putting others first.

Just for today allow yourself to be totally in the moment.

Turn everything off. Sit quietly and notice your thoughts.

Just for today drink nothing but water.

No caffeine, no sugar, no additives, no alcohol.

Just for today be honest with yourself.

Stop making excuses, stop lying to yourself, ask yourself the difficult question.

Just for today forgive yourself.

It’s OK not to be OK. You’re human, not perfect.

Just for today don’t complain.

Think about what you’re grateful for, think about those worse off than you, think about how lucky you are.

Just for today, help.

Help your family, help your friends, help a stranger.

Just for today be kind.

Be kind to yourself, be kind to those you like, be kind to those you don’t like.

Just for today, forgive.

Let go of the anger, let go of the hate, let go of the pain.

Just for today I’ll try something new

New tastes, new activities, new strategies.

There are many things that we could all change in our lives. Sometimes they are easy, sometimes they are hard. Why not try them on for a day – you never know, you might like it. If you do, maybe try it for another day,and another, until it’s just what you do now.

If you find it hard to change things in your life, there are ways that you can make it easier. My favourite is hypnotherapy, but others are available. Try change on your own, but if at first you don’t succeed, don’t give up, get some help.

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The Story of YOU

Our self image is nothing but a story that we tell ourselves. Whether you feel happy or sad, fat or thin, clever or stupid, active or lazy, driven or laid back – it’s all just a story.

Is your Story what you want it to be?

If not, how do you change it?

First try making a list of things that you would like to be.

Maybe your list is something like this, or maybe it’s completely different – what the list is doesn’t matter – it’s YOUR story, so it needs to be YOUR list.

Kind

Reliable

Consistent

Slimmer

Happy

Fitter

Now that you’ve created your list try to prioritise it. Put the most important things to you at the top and the least important at the bottom.

 

Let’s take the first thing on your list.

The first thing I’d like you to think about is why this is important to you. Let’s take being slimmer as an example. Why do you want to be slimmer?

The answers could be any or all of the following, or maybe something else entirely, but here are a few examples.

Being healthier

Looking better

Feeling better

Feeling more confident

Socialising more

Enjoying having my picture taken more

Being able to shop in different stores

Going to different places

 

OK, so now we have a list of things we believe we will gain. How would it be if instead of working on ‘being slimmer’ we worked on being healthier or feeling more confident. Maybe by choosing to be healthier (choosing better foods and doing a little more exercise) we naturally lose weight…Maybe by working on our confidence we actually end up socialising more and doing more…again helping us to avoid sitting at home snacking and allowing us to be more involved and active. Suddenly we may be losing weight by working on what we wanted to GAIN.

But our stories are more than that. Our self image is produced by millions if not billions of different things and reality only plays a small part of it. Take for example somebody with body dismorphia. Body dismorphia is when a person has a distorted image of their body. It could be somebody who sees a fat person in the mirror, but who is actually very thin, as with anorexia or it could be somebody who sees a skinny body despite the fact they have bulging muscles and work out 8 hours a day in a gym. Their story is not created by reality. It’s created by their thoughts, by what they tell themselves over and over again.

In most cases this is triggered my things others have said to them. It may have been a case of serious bullying where they were effectively tortured by those around them into believing something false. Equally it could have been an off the cuff comment that someone once said to them that has stuck with them and they have used as a basis for their distorted belief. That person could be as close as a parent or sibling, or just a random idiot who shouted at them in the street.

So, how do you change the story?

Well the easy answer is you make a new one. Your brain is a wonderful, amazing thing, but it is also flawed. One of it’s many flaws is that it isn’t very good at differentiating between things that have actually happened and things that you make up. For example, when you watch a scary film, you KNOW that the people are just actors and the story is fiction, but it doesn’t stop your body sending adrenaline shooting into your system, making your heart beat faster and your breathing become more rapid. It’s fooled by this made up story,

The good news is you can make up whatever story you want.

So if someone once told you you were stupid and would never be able to do maths and you have had a problem with it ever since, change your story. Imagine being back in that situation and think about someone telling you that you were brilliant and that if you worked at it you would be able to get it in no time. If someone once told you you had no self control and you have been using that as a model for why you can’t refuse a piece of cake, imagine somebody telling you how disciplined and controlled you are and how proud of yourself you should be for taking control of your life.

Then practice.

The story you have told yourself has probably been told thousands of times and it may take lots of retelling to change YOUR STORY, but I promise you, you can do it.

I believe anyone can be the author of their own story, but if you need help there are professionals ready and waiting to help you. Whether they are Counsellors, Hypnotherapists or any other form of therapist, they can help you to tell your story the way you want it to be.

 

 

 

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Everyone said

Here’s my weekly poem – I hope you enjoy it

It Couldn’t Be Done

BY EDGAR ALBERT GUEST

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done
      But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
      Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
      On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
      That couldn’t be done, and he did it!
Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
      At least no one ever has done it;”
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat
      And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
      Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
      That couldn’t be done, and he did it.
There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
      There are thousands to prophesy failure,
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
      The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
      Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
      That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.

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Word of the Month – Persistence

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Persistence

Lets be honest – this is where most of us fall down.

We start off with good intentions, full of enthusiasm for what we are about to do, the mountains we’ll climb, the heights we will reach, the success we’ll achieve.

Then we start to get a bit bored.

It starts to seem like a bit too much work.

We forget what we wanted to achieve in the first place and start to think about what we want to do right at this particular moment.

Maybe a few obstacles have got in our way.

Maybe someone has said something that has demotivated us.

Maybe those mountains seem a bit too high right now.

You haven’t failed until you’ve stopped trying.

Persistence is King

It’s said that experts in a field have failed at it more times than most people have even tried.

Persistence

Mastering a skill – really mastering it – takes about 10,000 hours of practice.

Persistence

So, think back to the start of this year – what did you want to achieve?

Are you still on track?

If not, maybe it’s time to remember why you wanted to do it in the first place.

Pick yourself up, forgive yourself for not being as amazing as you had hoped you would be and get back on it.

Persistence

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The Blogging Habit

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Most of the people reading this will be bloggers.

There are many reasons for people to blog. Some want to shout into empty space, some want to unload to a place where no one knows who they are, some just want to share their stories, but most of us want followers.

So why do we want followers?

For some people it may be affirmation that what they are saying is interesting. For others it may be a boost to their egos. Others are using their blog to promote or sell something. Some may be trying to launch a writing career. What ever your personal reason to blog, if you want followers then you have to get into the habit of blogging regularly.

I know. I started this blog about 18 months ago and I had this silly idea that if I blogged once a month or so, somehow, people would magically find me and my stuff and would all want to know what was coming next. Some did, and for that I am genuinely grateful, but numbers were low. In retrospect, that wasn’t really very surprising. Firstly, there just wasn’t enough material there for people to get what they needed from my blog. Secondly, how were they supposed to know it was there?

In August last year I set myself a little blogging challenge. I decided that I was going to blog every day for 90 days. I didn’t have a goal for how may new followers or likes I wanted. I just knew I wanted to start a new blogging habit of writing EVERY DAY.

To start with it was relatively easy. I was full of enthusiasm and ideas that came pouring out. About 3 weeks in it started to get a little harder. I struggled to think what I would write about, I was worried about repeating myself, I started to make excuses for why I shouldn’t complete my 90 days.

Then I made a plan.

I wrote down a little blogging plan. I thought about topics that I could add to each week. I thought about big ideas that could run and run. I thought about fun things that I liked writing about. All of a sudden I had mapped out the next couple of months topics and I was back to feeling excited about it.

I’m not saying I always stuck to the plan. Sometimes a new and exciting idea would come along or maybe something would happen in the news that inspired me, but I always had something to write about.

Before I knew it my 90 days were up, and do you know what I did to celebrate this milestone? I blogged about it!

Blogging had become my new habit and I enjoyed it.

This works for blogging, but it also works for any other thing you might be wanting to change in your life. What we do is generally a matter of habit. So whether you are trying to make new habits or change old ones, make a plan, make it achievable and get on with it. Before you now it, it will just be something you do.

Then you get to reap the rewards.

If your habits change your body you’ll see it, If they change your mind, you’ll feel it, and if they change your wealth you’ll notice it.

What habits do you want to make or break that will leave you feeling better for 2015?

Here are some ideas.

Diet – eat 7 portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day

Exercise – 30 minutes a day

Meditation – meditate daily

Blogging – blog daily

Business – build your online profile

Relationships – speak to at least one friend a day

Partner – compliment your partner at least once a day

Mindfulness – practice being in the moment daily

Hobby – spend some time each week doing something you enjoy

Experiences – try something new every week

Learning – learn a new skill

Little changes make large differences – where do you want to be in 2016? What are you doing to get there?

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Make it happen

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January 1, 2015 · 5:20 pm