Tag Archives: confidence

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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5 ways to make a positive introduction

energy

We’ve all been there. We need to introduce ourselves and we want to make a good impression, but how do we do that?

It starts before you even open your mouth.

Decide what comfortable looks like

Firstly, you need to get your energy right. Don’t get weirded out by the idea of personal energy – it’s not some strange construct about chi or laylines, it’s just the ‘vibes’ we give out. I’m sure some of you are reading this and thinking ‘what utter nonsense’, but think about this for a second…have you ever walked into a room where nobody has said a word, but you can tell that there is tension – that things aren’t right…that’s the energy I’m talking about. In reality it’s probably a combination of body language and our subconscious minds. We pick up on all sorts of small signals and they give us a feeling of right or wrong, good or bad, safe or dangerous, comfortable or nervous.

When we meet people, we want them to think certain things of us and feel a certain way about us. Unless we have ulterior motives we probably want them to like us – to feel comfortable and at ease. So how do we achieve this? Let’s start by thinking about the sort of people we feel comfortable with…are they nervous or self assured? Are they  relaxed or uptight? Are they highly strung or laid back? Are they vigilant or unaware? Generally people feel comfortable with people who seem comfortable themselves. They seen confident, self assured, relaxed and happy.

I you don’t feel it- fake it

So we want to appear to be confident, self assured, relaxed and happy. If you feel that way then you are already most of the way there, but what if you don’t. The easy answer is fake it. Most people aren’t very good at telling if someone is genuinely confident, or just pretending to be, so fake it ’til you make it. Think about your body language. Imagine someone who feels the way you want to feel and think about how they look. What is their posture like? How about their eye contact? Are they fidgeting? Do they have a prop? What are their hands doing? If you can picture it, then you can copy it. Maybe you could even imagine floating into their body and assuming their mannerisms…

What if it all went perfectly?

Sometimes the reasons we feel anxious or nervous are because we have thought about all the things that could possibly go wrong. We go over and over the situation, thinking about what mistakes we might make or all the negative things people may think about us. Unfortunately, rather than helping us to prepare, this just makes us fearful. This in turn affects the energy. How comfortable do feel around people that are scared? I know it can be easy to think about all the worst possible outcomes, but with practice you can start to think about all the things that could go well. What if they really like us? What if it goes perfectly? These thoughts lead to confidence and a positive feeling.

Be realistic

When we meet people, what ever the situation, we have some hopes about how it’s going to go. If it’s a job interview, we want them to give us the job. If it’s a date, we want them to want to see us again. If it’s a new job we want to fit in with the new team and become liked and valuable. As much as we hope it will go perfectly – what if it doesn’t? Is it life or death? Will we have another chance to change things? Being confident is not about believing that everyone will like you, it’s about knowing that you will be OK even if they don’t. So don’t put too much pressure on yourself and relax!

Enjoy it

The nicest people to be around tend to be those that just enjoy the company of others. So put your best foot forward, relax (or pretend to) and enjoy the opportunity. Who knows where it could take you?

If you struggle with social situations or have problems with confidence and self esteem there are many ways you can get help. Hypnotherapists like myself are ready and willing to help you to feel how you want to, either through hypnosis or through a myriad of other psychological tools and tricks. Don’t suffer unnecessarily –  make the change!

 

 

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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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January Blues? 5 ways to feel better NOW

We’re coming to the end of January and for some, it can feel like a difficult time of the year. Christmas is over (though the credit card bills may not be) and the new years resolutions are an uphill battle. If things are getting on top of you, here are some quick things you can do to make yourself feel better now.

  1. Get outdoors.

Yes I know, the weather may not be what you’d like, but that’s probably the best reason to get out there. We can all suffer from a lack of vitamin D if we’re not getting enough sun, so it’s especially important in the winter months to get out whenever you can. Also getting some exercise in the great outdoors has other health benefits. A brisk stroll or gentle jog will get the heart rate up, burn calories and help you fend off a multitude of problems like dementia and type 2 diabetes, so pull out your woolly hat and get out there!

2. Eat clean.

The benefits of eating clean healthy food is enormous and very well documented. You don’t need me to tell you that it’s a good idea for your body, but what you may not be aware of, is that it’s a good idea for your mind too. By taking the time to eat well and look after yourself, you will give yourself a psychological boost. Not only will you feel proud of yourself for making positive changes, but you will also, subconsciously, feel more valued and appreciated by yourself. This in turn leads to feelings of more self worth and importance. The long term affects of eating clean will leave you looking healthier and more vital, so you will also start to get that recognition from others which in turn boosts your confidence.

3. Be mindful.

Practice being in the moment. Whether your going for a walk, sitting cross-legged burning incense or peeling the potatoes, you can spend a couple of minutes every day being mindful. I heard a great phrase – Leave your front door and your back door open. Allow your thoughts to come and go. Just don’t make them tea. Being mindful is just that. Be in the moment, allow whatever thoughts come into your mind, and release them. Don’t focus on them, just notice them and let them go. You don’t have to do anything about a thought that pops in your head.

4.Be grateful.

One of the things that happy people tend to have in common is that they’re grateful for what they have. It may be riches, friends and beauty, or it may be being alive, having another opportunity to try again and a roof over their heads. However much you have, you will always find others who have more – and you will find others that have less. You can either be filled with envy or grateful. It doesn’t change your situation, but it does change how you feel – remember, you are in charge of that.

5.Stop feeling guilty

Guilt is a horrible emotion. It makes you feel bad and it makes those around you feel bad. Whatever you are feeling guilty about, STOP IT! Change your behaviour, change your feelings, change your life – it’s in your control. Guilt not only makes us feel bad, but it makes us behave in ways that we wouldn’t normally consider. In my humble opinion it is at the root of lots of cases of depression, low self esteem and even suicide. If you are feeling guilty about something that happened in the past, do what you can to make amends for it. If you can do nothing more about it, let it go and move on. I know that sounds difficult to do, but if you’re struggling to achieve it on your own, get help. There are plenty of people who are ready and willing to help you do this, either within your own social circle or professionally, so don’t suffer in silence.

Do these 5 things and finish January feeling fabulous – and if all else fails, start planning your summer hols 🙂

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Amazing People or What makes you special?

There has been a lot of talk in the media recently about some amazing people – mostly because they have just died. I’m referring to the sad loss of Lemmy, David Bowie and Alan Rickman. All three have had an impact on my life in some small or large way – I’m guessing they have had some impact on yours too.

They all had a gift to entertain. They were brilliant lights in a sometimes foggy world. They were the characters that we knew, and so much more besides. The only ones who really knew these people were the ones closest to them. Those people would probably be able to tell us a million other things that made them special too.

I was watching a program on children’s development. There was a little girl on there who had been born with one short foot. She had no toes and the foot wasn’t much more than a stump. She took her shoes off and proudly showed her ‘small foot’ to the kids and announced that it was what made her special. I was thrilled at the confidence she displayed and thought what a great job her parents had done to help her to feel this way. whilst I was thinking about this I saw a facebook post saying why you were already one ahead of David Bowie …

DB

The thing is, all of those things that we’re worried about because they make us different, are all the things we should be celebrating, because they make us different.

We are fortunate enough to live in a society that celebrates individuality, uniqueness and difference, but sometimes people still somehow seem to want to turn that wonderful difference into a weapon to attack people with. That can make people afraid and doubt themselves.

If you’re lucky enough to be different – enjoy it. Own it completely and utterly and use it for whatever advantage it gives you. Find what makes you special and be proud of it. That way no-one will ever be able to use it as a weapon against you.

One of my favourite comedians is Eddie Izzard – if you don’t know his stuff you have a fun time on YouTube awaiting you. One of his routines that stands out for me is when he was talking about being a transvestite. He said he was worried about gangs of lads shouting out ‘look at the bloke in a dress!’, but then he discovered that if he replied with ‘yes, I am a bloke in a dress’ that they suddenly lost their power. As he put it ‘he didn’t have the victim mentality that they required at this point’. Instead of things escalating he made them feel uncomfortable by owning his difference and being proud of it.

So my challenge to you is two fold.

Firstly, find out what makes you different. Own it, be proud of it and let it work for you.

Secondly, and just as importantly, never be one of those idiots who try to shame others for being different. Otherwise you may one day be faced with a bloke in a dress who finds a way to turn the tables on you.

p.s. I’ll be standing next to him with all my friends waving our wonderful freaky flags.

 

If you need help with confidence, hypnosis is a great tool to help you feel the way you want to feel. Check out www.talktherapies.co.uk for more info

 

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Not just one Goal! Go for a Hat trick.

Hat trick
noun
three successes of the same kind within a limited period, in particular (in soccer) the scoring of three goals in a game by one player or (in cricket) the taking of three wickets by the same bowler with successive balls. “he scored a hat-trick”
The thing is I don’t play soccer, or cricket for that matter. But I do other things – lots of other things. I’m a Hypnotherapist, a small business owner, a marketer, and a blogger to name but a few. All of these areas of my life need to grow, to develop and to move forward. One way that I can make this happen is to have goals.
It is often said that goals are dreams with an end date, but I’m not sure that’s true. For me dreams can be unrealistic and fanciful, where as goals cannot. I can dream about what it would be like to be able to fly (without a plane) but it’s not a goal.
You’ve probably heard about SMART goals meaning that your goal should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and have Time scales. I think that makes sense, but I think you need to break it sown some more.
You need to also ask the questions
Why – Why do you want this?
What – What do you want to achieve from this/with this?
Who – Who do you want/need to be involved? Ask for help – people are often incredibly nice like that.
When – When are you going to do each part of your plan?
Where – Where are you going to do this?
Then you need to write your plan of how you are going to achieve your goals. Yes, actually write it down, otherwise it’s easy to go off track and forget what you set out to do. Try to be specific with each point. Also work out what might get in your way or go wrong with this and have things in place to deal with it.
Next try not to start out too ambitious. Making really ambitious goals can lead to a sense of frustration and failure and lead to you giving up – start small. This is a good reason to go for multiple goals. It gives you a chance for quick wins and and a boost to your confidence whilst still working towards the bigger achievements.
So here are my 3 goals for this month
1. Increase my twitter followers to 200 – you can help by clicking here and following me
2. Increase visits to my website – www.talktherapies.co.uk – feel free to check it out and tell me what you think. All constructive criticism is welcome.
3. Post 20 new pieces this month – and have fun doing it 🙂
If I can help you achieve your goals this month let me know in the comments – I would love to be part of what you are trying to achieve. Feel free to leave links to articles or websites and I will share where I can.
Last piece of advice with all goal making is make it fun – the more fun you’re having, the more likely you are to keep at it, and in most cases, persistence is all that stands between you and what you want.

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Being Selfish

Let me start off by saying – I love what I do.

I’m a Hypnotherapist and every time I help a client to get past some issue or another it gives me a deep sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.

I love it so much when I get emails from them telling me how they are getting on now that their stumbling block is gone.

But just like with everything else in life – sometimes I need a break from it.

That’s what I’m doing this week.

Instead of concentrating on clients, I’m focussing on me.

I’m getting my diet back to where it should be.

I’m exercising every day.

I’m working on what I want from life and how to get it.

I’m being genuinely selfish – and I think it’s a good thing.

We all know people who are tired martyrs. They go through life doing everything for everyone else and very little for themselves. I quite often get to see these people when they have had enough – when they’ve burned themselves out. They come to me as anxious, nervous people who feel that everyone is taking advantage of them and that no-one appreciates them. Their stress levels are frequently through the roof and their self esteem can be very low. They often externalize their self esteem, so that they only feel good if other people are telling them how wonderful they are. The problem is that after a while you stop appreciating people who are ALWAYS doing things for you and you come to expect it from them. In fact you can go so far as to be upset with them if they stop for some reason, even if that reason is sickness or exhaustion.

The first thing I try to establish with these clients is a sense of self worth – not what others appreciate – but what they do. Once you have a genuine sense of self worth, you can start to be nicer to yourself and as a consequence, are sometimes nicer to those around you. This can be easier said than done, but hypnosis is a wonderful tool.

The next thing that comes from being nicer to yourself is making space in your life to take care of yourself. At its essence this is being selfish – and yes – I still think that’s a good thing. Thinking of yourself is important. Taking care of yourself is important. Being selfish is important.

As with almost everything in life, it’s about balance.

People who spend too much time just thinking of themselves can be even more self-destructive than those who never do.

So how much Selfish is good?

Honestly – that depends on you. It depends on those around you. It depends on what you are trying to achieve.

My challenge to you today is to ask yourself 3 questions….

‘Am I being selfish enough?’

‘Am I being too selfish?’

and finally ‘What am I going to do about it?’

Wishing you all balance and harmony, go and have a great day 🙂

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How to motivate yourself

We’ve all been there, right?

There’s something you really NEED to do, but you just can’t seem to find the motivation to do it.

You procrastinate.

You become busy with other, often much less important, things.

You justify why you don’t really need to do it now.

You find any excuse.

But there have been times when you were motivated. So what did that feel like for you? Can you think of a metaphor to describe it?

For me it’s a bit like being a fish on a hook. When I’m hooked by something I feel compelled to do it. I’m drawn to it like a fish being drawn on a line – it’s inescapable. Everything I do ends up bringing me closer to the thing that has hooked me.

When I lose motivation it’s like the hook has come loose – I may still swim in that direction, or I may not. I’m free to get distracted by other things and go in different directions. I may find myself getting tired and just drifting along with no focus at all.

So what’s it like for you?

If you can think of a metaphor or simile that you can connect to, then you can start to access those feelings when you want to kick start your motivation.

But you can also take it to the next step – get creative with your metaphor.

What else do you think of?

Is there anything particular about it?

What else does it make you think of?

How can you supercharge it?

What things could you do that would help you?

What things might get in your way? what could you do about them?

By getting creative with your metaphor you can often surprise yourself by finding real world solutions to your problems.

The theory goes along the lines that our metaphors are actually routes into our subconscious. It is our subconscious patterns that lead to how we think and feel about everything, from being motivated to falling in love, from fears and phobias to things that make us happy – it’s all programmed in there. The problem that we often have is that our conscious and our subconscious often have trouble communication with each other.

Take a phobia for instance. Before I got some help with it I had a phobia of Butterflies. Yes I know – butterflies are not scary – they can’t hurt you in ANY way. But in some ways they are a perfect example of a phobia – a phobia is an IRRATIONAL fear – it doesn’t have to make sense. You see, that’s the thing. My conscious mind KNEW that butterflies were harmless, but my subconscious wasn’t listening. As soon as I saw one I was terrified. Not scared – Terrified – yes with a capital T. Nothing I could logically, consciously think could change that. My subconscious thought they were going to kill me and that was that. See what I mean about your conscious and subconscious not communicating?

Part of the reason for this that they speak in different ways. Your conscious mind is all language and logic whilst your subconscious is all pictures and feelings. That’s what Hypnotherapists like myself use to help you change. We hypnotise you to access your subconscious and then talk to it in it’s own language. Quite often this is the language of metaphor.

So if you want to understand yourself a little better, try listening to your subconscious. Think in terms of metaphors then explore them to see what you uncover and manipulate them to get the results you are looking for.

Now, stop reading random stuff on the internet and get on with whatever you should be doing 🙂

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Do your best

Have you ever done your best?

Have you ever tried as hard as you possibly can?

Have you done all of the preparation work that you possibly could?

Have you trained as hard as you could have?

Have you reread and rewritten your work enough?

Have you been focussed enough?

Have you tried every possible way to get it done?

Have you sought professional help or expertise?

Have you eliminated distractions?

Have you avoided all temptation?

Have you given it everything you’ve got?

Chances are that the answer is a big fat NO.

That’s OK.

(almost everyone else will say no to that too)

Stop beating yourself up. Accept that your not perfect and be a little nicer to yourself

There are, of course, exceptions – maybe you’re one of them – and if you are – Well Done.

I’m very impressed and all that but seriously – get a life!

Smile, relax, have fun, eat a cake, daydream, watch silly TV, make up stories in your head – it’s all really cool stuff 🙂

So maybe do your best, but then again, maybe don’t.

Try to be happy…

…but don’t try too hard!

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The power of belief

coventry hypnotherapy

Belief is a powerful thing.

We all believe in things.

Some people believe in God who has a hand in their life.

Some people believe that they are lucky.

Some people believe that everything happens for a reason.

Some people believe in fairies.

Some people believe that the sun will come up tomorrow.

Some people believe in themselves.

Sometimes the things we don’t believe in are just as powerful.

What if you don’t believe in yourself?

Do you try anyway?

What if you don’t think you can do it?

Do you give up at the first hurdle because it just proved to you that it was impossible?

What if you don’t believe you’re lucky?

Does every bad thing that happens confirm that you were right?

We all have something called confirmation bias.

That means that we give extra attention and credit to things that confirm what we already think.

For example have you ever noticed that if you don’t like someone, almost everything you do annoys you. yet if a person you really liked did exactly the same thing it probably wouldn’t bother you (well, not as much anyway).

So when we don’t believe in ourselves our confirmation bias just makes it even harder to believe.

As a hypnotherapist, I often work with people who don’t believe that they can do the things they want. Maybe it’s lose weight, maybe give up smoking, maybe be confident in public, maybe its to be unafraid around spiders. Whatever it is, the more they believe that they cannot do it, the more likely it is that they won’t.

Luckily I have a few tricks up my sleeve.

The first thing I have to do is to change their belief set.

Today I was working with a lovely lady who wants to lose weight. She said that she had been overweight since she was a small child. When we first started the session I asked her if she believed she could lose weight and she said ‘no’. When I asked her why she said that, she had never been a healthy weight, so didn’t see how she could be in the future. So, after finding out about her eating habits, how she felt about food and eating, going through her routines and requirements we started with the hypnosis. The first twenty minutes were all about changing her belief patterns – nothing whatsoever about eating, appetite or food. After we had worked on this I asked where she was now – how much did she believe that she could lose weight? She replied ‘90% sure’

So we went from 0 to 90% in 20 minutes.

We then went on to work on changing eating habits and food types and put in place all the things she needed in order to be able to lose weight easily.

The real work was done in the first 20 minutes. She now believes that she CAN lose weight. Her confirmation bias will prove to her every day that it’s possible and if she wants it, she WILL be able to do it. The other stuff was just making it easier for her.

Think about what you believe in and maybe more importantly, what you don’t.

It could change your life!

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