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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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New Year, New Me?

Hello beautiful people! How’s your New Year going so far?

Have you set yourself a load of New Year’s resolutions or are you planning on staying exactly as you currently are? If you’re perfect already, why change?

Most of us haven’t quite achieved the ‘perfect’ status as yet and so may have some things that we are working on – getting fitter, slimmer, happier, richer, calmer, more motivated or maybe even just working on blogging more!

I’m a big fan of learning, growing and self improvement, but more importantly than all of that I’m an advocate of being kind to yourself.

I see lots of clients with various issues that they are looking to change. One of the most common factors that runs through all of them is a lack of self kindness. When I hear the words people use about themselves it horrifies me. I honestly believe that most people are bullies.

As a society, we generally frown on bullying. We dislike it when people use aggressive or hurtful language to each other. We cringe when people call other people names. We are against shaming people – and yet we seem to do it to ourselves all the time.

See if you can recognise any of these thoughts…

I’m not good enough

I hate myself

I’m so stupid

I’m fat and disgusting

I’m too thick to do that

I have no self control

I am so embarrasing

I’m useless

Now imagine saying that to someone you care about? Would you say any of this to someone you love?

You’re not good enough

I hate you

You’re so stupid

You’re fat and disgusting

You’re too thick to do that

You have no self control

You’re so embarrasing

You’re useless

Sounds pretty awful right? I know if someone spoke to me that way I wouldn’t want to hang out with them and I certainly wouldn’t call them motivational or helpful.

When I think about motivational work, I think about supportive, helpful language. Words that will encourage and lift the person hearing them. Things like…

You CAN do this

You can achieve anything you set your mind to

It’s a learning process, keep trying

Everyone has to start somewhere

You are in control

We all make mistakes, forget it and move on

I’m proud of the effort you are putting in

Look how far you’ve come

These things sound more like something I would say to a friend or someone I cared about. Think about how these words would make you feel compared to the earlier list.

For most of us, changing the way we speak to ourselves takes some practice. The chances are that we have been using bullying language for a long time, so it may take a concerted effort to change your internal dialogue – and that’s OK. It’s a learning process. Don’t give up, you are in control. If you even give this a go I will be so proud of you for trying to make a positive change – you CAN do this!


Changing the way that you think and feel can sometimes be challenging when you are trying to do all the work yourself. If you need a helping hand, take one! There are plenty of people like me who are professional therapists who’s passion in life is to help people like you feel the way you want to. Hypnotherapy is a great tool to take some of the hard work out of these sort of changes.

 

 

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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 20

Oh my goodness – just 5 days to go!

Yesterday I started looking at the senses and your hearing got a little TLC.

Today can I suggest that you pay a little attention to your tastebuds?

For many of us one of the greatest joys in life is our sense of taste. Personally I just love to eat beautiful foods and drink amazing drinks. I very rarely drink alcohol, but when I do it’s an excuse to try a cocktail with some new flavours.

What sort of tastes stimulate you? Some have a sweet tooth, some prefer things more savoury. Some like it hot, others mild. For me the combination of sweet, sour, salt, chilli and oumami that you tend to get in Thai foods really works.

One of the greatest gifts I ever gave myself was to enjoy the taste of foods that are good for me. I used to hate salmon – all fish in fact. I did like chilli, so in order to be able to eat a piece of salmon (which you are recommended to eat twice a week to get all the lovely healthy oils from)  I used to make salmon fish cakes with enough chilli in to mask the taste of the fish. I can’t say as I really enjoyed them to start with, but I did get used to them. There is a theory that if you eat any food every day for 3 weeks then you will start to like the taste. I didn’t eat it every day – just a couple of times a week. Slowly, over time, I began to enjoy it. I started changing up the recipe, less chilli, more salmon. Then I started cooking salmon in the pan and eating it with salads, or baking it in the oven and eating it with some steamed veggies. Now I actively look forward to eating it. I don’t eat it just because I should, but because I want to.

Self care is a balance. It’s balancing what’s good for you with a little of what you like. Sometimes that’s eating healthy, nutritious food. Sometimes it’s giving yourself a treat (just make sure it is a treat and doesn’t become the norm – if you’re doing it more than twice a week it’s getting a bit routine!). The ultimate win is when you find something that is both healthy and that you look forward to.

So my challenge for you today is a choice. I’d like you to eat/drink something that you find yummy – really yummy – but if you’re up for it I would also like you to choose a food that you think you should eat more of (fish, vegetables,whole grains, nuts etc) and work on ways of incorporating them into your diet. Clearly you shouldn’t eat anything that you are allergic to, or even if you just have a reaction to, but a mixed healthy diet is one of the best ways I know to take care of yourself.


Changing your diet can be difficult on your own. If you are looking for ways to release yourself from fussy eating habits, or just from eating too much junk, then you don’t have to do it on your own. There are people out there – like hypnotherapists – who can make it a lot easier for you.

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Self Care Advent Calendar Day 19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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Self Care Advent Calendar Day 17

Welcome back – it’s so lovely to see you here again.

Self care is important. When you don’t take care of yourself you are letting yourself, and those around you, down. How you are affect how others are.

A lot of what I’ve written about during the first part of this self care advent calendar has involved just focussing on yourself. I make no apologies for that – you are important.

Although what I am about to suggest today may seem as though it’s more about other people, it’s still about you. It’s about how it makes you feel, how you think about yourself.

I would like you to be proud of yourself, to think about yourself as a good person. So, what do you need to do in order to feel that way. I’m sure you have answers of your own, and they may be the most important things for you to work on, but I’m going to suggest one way that seems to work well for me and lots of others.

Random acts of kindness.

If you haven’t heard of this concept before, it’s kind of self explanatory. You do something nice for someone random. Ideally this isn’t someone in your social circle, they’re not a friend or family, they’re not even someone you work with – just a random stranger.

Sometimes it’s nice to see how people react to your kindness, sometimes it’s best just to do it and move on.

I would LOVE to know some suggestions for random acts that you could or have done, but in case you’re struggling for inspiration, here are some of my easy favourites.

  1. Leave some change in a vending machine.
  2. Give to a food bank.
  3. Give a stranger a flower.
  4. Give a stranger a compliment.
  5. Top up a parking meter.
  6. Leave a positive note for someone.
  7. Send an anonymous gift.
  8. Give some socks to a homeless person.
  9. Send someone a drink in a bar.
  10. Read a random blog and tell them something nice about it.

I’m not a big fan of concepts like law of attraction or Karma, but I do think you get what you give. The more positivity and love you put out into the world, the more will com back to you. Try to engender the feelings you would like to have in others and it may find it’s way back to you. Even if it doesn’t come back from the people you pass it too, it may come back in the way you feel about yourself.


Our self esteem is incredibly important. The way we feel about ourselves in one of the most important factors in our health and wellbeing. Don’t believe me? Things like loneliness have as big an impact on your life span as smoking, and if we don’t have good self esteem we can struggle with relationships and feelings of worth. Although it may seem like something you just have to do or not do, things are never that simple. Our subconscious mind can get some poor programming which can be corrected. If you struggle with self esteem, getting help from a hypnotherapist could be the best thing you ever do.

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Self Care Advent Calendar Day 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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 influence people

My Job is to influence people.

I’m a Hypnotherapist and people pay me to influence the way they think and feel, so I’ve learned a few tricks along the way.

One of the least successful methods to get anyone to change is to tell them to, yet that seems to be what most people do most of the time.

Another thing people think will work is to explain things to people. They believe that if the other person just understands that what they are thinking/doing is wrong then they will change their behaviour. Unfortunately, this rarely works either. Take smoking for instance. We all know that smoking is damaging to us, and that we are likely to suffer ill health if we do it, yet there are still millions of smokers in the world. Telling them so stop doesn’t work. Explaining that it is bad for them doesn’t work. So what does?

Generally speaking, the best way of influencing someone (who isn’t hypnotised) is by leading by example.

If someone has a phobia of spiders there is a pretty good chance they were influenced into this way of thinking by someone close to them who was also scared of spiders. They saw this person freak out and subconsciously decided that this was a good way to react. Conversely if a person with an existing phobia is surrounded by people who are calm and relaxed around spiders, they may start to feel more relaxed themselves.

I had a client the other day who desperately wanted their partner to come for a hypnotherapy session with me. The partner was adamant that it wasn’t for them and refused point blank to even think about it. So my client booked 3 sessions with me to work on an issue she had. She went home after each session and told her partner how good it was making her feel and how much she was gaining from it. By the third session, he was asking if he could take her place.

When I was 11 years old I was told by a headmaster that the best piece of advice he could give me was to choose my friends wisely. It was a great piece of advice. Not only have my friends helped me through some difficult times and made good times better, but they have also influenced me. They have shaped my ideas and beliefs, they have led by example and I have learned so much from them. If I had chosen other friends, who knows where my life would have taken me. My advice to you would be to choose friends you respect. Choose friends you care about. Choose friends you want to be like.

If you want to influence someone be the example. Be their friend and show them by your words and more importantly your actions how good life can be. Show them what it is to be strong, caring, committed, healthy, reliable, responsible, fun, interesting and non judgemental. It may take some time, but you will be amazed at the impact it can have.

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