Category Archives: meditation

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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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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How to be kind to yourself

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February is heart awareness month and as I wrote yesterday, I’m focussing on the relationship side of this subject.

I strongly believe that you will not have the best relationships you can if you don’t have a good relationship with yourself, and unfortunately, it’s one of the hardest ones to get right as we don’t get good feedback on it.

Some people are too hard on themselves – way harder than they are on other people. They persistently tell themselves that they aren’t good enough, that they’re stupid, that they’re lazy, that they don’t work hard enough, that they’re not pretty enough, that they’re fat, that they’re ugly. Can you imagine if you spoke like that to another person? I think, at the very least, you could expect them not to want to hang around with you.  Why would you spend time with someone who constantly abuses you?

Some people don’t care enough for themselves. As a hypnotherapist I see people all the time who smoke, who are overweight, who don’t exercise. When I ask them how they would feel if their kids smoked, ate rubbish or didn’t do any exercise they are horrified. They want the best for them, but don’t appear to want the best for themselves….

Some people don’t protect themselves. They take stupid risks with their health. They starve themselves, or dramatically overeat. They take drugs. They put themselves in dangerous situations. Again, they would be really upset to think of someone they loved in that situation, but it’s OK for them….does that mean they don’t love themselves?

So how do you build a relationship with yourself?

Easy – the same way as with anyone else.

Start by being interested. Question yourself and your motives. Find out what is really important to you. Help yourself to achieve that.

Support yourself. Be kind, be understanding, but also be challenging. Stretch yourself without being mean to yourself.

Be a good friend to yourself. You can be your own inner bully or your own cheerleader. Think about what can go right, how brilliant things can be.

Stop being a hater. Don’t hate yourself – ever. Not any part of yourself. Hate is a horrible, destructive emotion and it doesn’t help anyone. I don’t care if you don’t love your thighs, or you skin. I don’t care if you don’t like the way you react in certain situations. I don’t care if you aren’t thrilled with your weight. Work out how to change it, but don’t hate it.

I believe that when you get this stuff right you attract people to you. Self confidence is attractive. That means you draw people towards you who enhance your life. It also means that you don’t need people to complete you so you stop hanging on to people who don’t add anything to your life.

So, whatever your relationship status, spend a little time thinking about your relationship with yourself. Are you being a good friend? How can you be better? What changes are you going to make? What positive effects could that have?

As ever, I would love to know your thoughts on this – why not drop me a comment?


If you’re interested, why not follow me in instagram, twitter, facebook or check out my website.

 

 

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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 24

It’s the day before the day!!!! Happy Christmas Eve!

Todays Self care idea is quite a simple one. Remember why you started.

Tomorrow ( and tonight ) may be full of tasks that you are doing on behalf of other people. Maybe it’s travelling with small children, maybe cooking for the family, maybe putting together toys. All of these can can be a little frustrating – especially if we don’t feel appreciated for it. If that happens, try to remember why you did it in the first place.

The chances are that the reason you were doing it, was to make that other person happy, not to get appreciation. So, appreciate yourself for doing something nice and leave it at that. If you get appreciation (or reciprocation) from the other person then you should be thrilled, but not expect it.

Another reason you should remember why you started is if you are trying to stick to an exercise plan or diet over the next few days. Nobody’s saying you can’t enjoy yourself, just don’t go crazy and undo all the good work you’ve been doing up until now.

Have an amazing Christmas everyone x

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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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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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