Have you ever noticed
how relaxed and good you feel after laughing at a funny movie, or been told a funny joke? It seems generally accepted that our bodies respond in a positive way to a hearty laugh. Articles in the popular press and medical journals frequently report that laughter, like exercise, can reduce stress and depression, improve tolerance to pain, and alter bodily functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, muscle activity, and stomach acidity.
The process of laughing releases endorphins, which are natural painkillers. So it is important to find things which make us laugh and therefore improve mood and general wellbeing.
People have different attitudes and experiences of humour. Something that one person finds extremely amusing, may annoy another, or they may find it in bad taste. Humour needs to be appropriate to the situation; however, this can be a matter of opinion.
Laughter therapy is used now in many settings, where children and adults have life threatening illnesses, or serious mental health problems. People who work in highly emotive and traumatic environments often use humour to counteract the effects of the things they are witnessing or experiencing, because if they didn’t they could ultimately be unable to cope with their work. However, for people looking in, they may be unable to relate to this type of humour.
When people are depressed, and someone tries to get them to laugh, they are most likely to be resistant, and feel that they are being made fun of.
When it is suggested to them to have more exercise, and to watch funny movies they may often think their problems are being minimized and not understood. However, as exercise and laughter raises the endorphins and therefore the feel good factor, if they are able to take the advice on board, then in time their mood would naturally be altered.
A negative state of mind depresses the emotions, so it important to be observant about the thoughts we have, and to remain open to the humour that is around us every day, in the smallest of ways. If you look around you, and notice other people’s smiles and laughter perhaps it can have a positive effect on you.
Or make sure you watch comedy programmes, or children’s TV, and spend time with people who like to laugh and have a positive attitude. Many people spend a lot of time on social media, like Facebook, and like to watch the funny clips which other people post. Some of these may not be appropriate, but many are funny and are harmless humour.
Notice how you feel in your body when you start to laugh, how it lightens you and releases the tension. Remember this feeling, and make a promise to yourself, that you will ensure you find ways to have more laughter and fun in your life. It may help to write down ways that you can do this.
To find out more about my self-help audio programs go to: www.healthyaudiohypnosis.com
Priorities Posted on 20 Feb 17:21 , 0 comments
Life moves on,
sometimes at a steady pace, and at other times it seems to speed up or slow down. It is important to make the most of each day and the time that we have; however, busy lives, commitments and routines often take over.
We often have to prioritize what we think is most important, or what others deem to be most important, and quiet time for ourselves often gets pushed back and gradually forgotten about.
Most of us rush around doing things for others and to earn money and never have the time to enjoy the things that perhaps we need to prioritize to help our emotional and physical well-being.
Priorities constantly change
depending on circumstances, and in response to the needs or expectations of others. For instance, when a young professional woman has a baby, her priorities constantly shift, from holding down a successful career and busy social life, to preparing baby's arrival, with everything that entails, including arranging maternity leave, future child care etc.
The hormones are also affecting her sense of identity, mood, sleeping and eating patterns, which would also then affect her working day and social life. Then there’s the expectation of the changes baby will bring, reduced pay during her maternity leave, whether she will want to go back to work, but that financially she may not have a choice, and if she does the feelings about leaving her baby, and who will provide the child care, and costs involved with that. T
he young mum’s priorities will then all change as her new baby’s needs will be the priority and everything else that was familiar to her will then take a back seat. How does she find time for herself?
If you cannot relate to this, you will have most likely had other experiences where one thing has happened in your life that has changed everything else, including short and long term plans and goals. It may have been an illness or accident, or the loss of a loved one.
Sometimes our perception of the right thing to do, and the pressures from others, and societal norms can dictate how and what we prioritize. Many people believe that it is selfish to put their own needs before others, however, if you do not look after yourself then you may not be in a fit state to help others, which can have disastrous effect on those most dependent on you.
How can you prioritize time for yourself, when you have a hundred and one things to do? It often helps to write lists, or a pictogram to make it more interesting. Start with the things that definitely need doing each day, and decide what can be handed over to someone else. Is there anything that you can actually totally let go of?
Can you improve your time management? Do you need to change your emotional response and beliefs in order to let things go or to pass them onto someone else? Often we believe we should be doing something in a certain way, which may be time consuming, when in fact we can make changes to improve life for ourselves. It is important to plan in time for yourself into your daily and weekly routines, and when setting longer term goals.
If you need some help in changing your priorities, please visit www.healthyaudiohypnosis.com to see our self-help and well-being audio programs.
Stillness Posted on 18 Feb 19:03 , 0 comments
Many people would say
they have a very busy life; almost every minute of the day is filled with some form of physical or mental activity. If the body isn’t active usually the mind is, and to such an extent where thoughts are constantly running amok.
Sleep problems are on the increase, which can be caused by the inability to switch off from the problems of the day. When people do sleep they may have restless sleep and anxious dreams, as the mind attempts to make sense of, and then store thoughts.
The mind can be perceived to be like a computer, as data is received, it is stored on disc, and hidden away for future use. Our conscious (rational) mind does the same, and stores information that is not currently needed within the files of the sub-conscious mind.
Over time some of this information may get lost or corrupted by new information. Some old information can be re-triggered and the relevant files are retrieved to be re-evaluated and compared with new information. Our emotions affect the information which remains hidden within the computer, or hits the memory buttons which re-stimulate certain thoughts.
Having a busy mind
can be an attempt to control thoughts and emotions on a conscious and rational level. However, that often leads to overload of the system, and then stress, anxiety and sleep problems occur. The evolution of modern society dictates to a certain extent our lifestyles, which affects our thought processes and coping mechanisms. This is having a negative impact on many people to the extent that they feel unable to switch off or feel guilty if they are not constantly thinking, planning and doing.
Some of you will now have heard of ‘Mindfulness’, a meditation approach, which helps to still the mind, and keep you in the present moment, as you focus on the breath, or the details of objects around you.
Relaxation, Yoga and other meditative practices also follow the principle of stilling the mind, bringing the attention inwards rather than on outside concerns, or the chatter of the mind.
However, these practices need personal discipline and commitment. We follow the same principles in the techniques we teach within Hypnotherapy sessions. Hypnosis helps to balance the communication between the conscious and subconscious minds. During a session which is recorded to listen to for home use, relaxation is instilled and reinforced with each listening, which assists the mind to create the required changes.
A still mind gives time and space
for the subconscious to calibrate and make sense of relevant information. The whole body is affected when there is stillness, and just as in sleep, it can rejuvenate, as the mind shifts and stores information, and deletes that which no longer fits. When you feel stillness in your mind, it is also felt within the heart, creating positive feelings and improving coping mechanisms. This further reinforces clarity of mind, and with a sharper mind, brings more thoughtful action.
Stillness, even for just a few moments at a time, is beneficial for you on so many levels. View our self-help and well-being audio programs at www.healthyaudiohypnosis.com
Smoking Posted on 12 Feb 15:38 , 0 comments
Today we look at smoking.
As an ex-smoker who has not had a cigarette in 33 years, I can safely say stopping smoking was one of the best things I did. My own history of being a smoker helps me in my practice when working with clients wanting to stop. I understand the cravings, the desire to eat, unsure what to do with your hands, and the sense of loss of ‘an old friend’ when becoming a non-smoker. If you are unsure about whether you want to stop smoking, then the time is not right. If you don’t think you want to stop then don’t.
All smokers know the facts about smoking and the damage it causes not only to the lungs, but many other parts of you body too. One thing no smoker knows however is which cigarette will contain the particle that will touch the cell, which will begin the chain reaction of that disease which will impact health, quality of life, and in many cases threaten the very existence of the smoker.
Regular readers will remember the equation of life ‘If you say yes to one thing, you are saying no to something else’ in short if you say yes to a cigarette, you say no to good health and longer life.
Another equation is: we take responsibility for what we choose to do, and we take responsibility for what we choose not to do. So sometime in the future, a smoker who contracts a smoking related illness, cannot blame anyone else – it was their choice not to do anything about it, and their responsibility. So before lighting the next cigarette take a thought for your future, and if the thought is ‘it won’t happen to me’ well consider the idea that it probably will!
For those thinking about starting to smoke – forget it, it’s not cool nor does it give you street cred, it only gives you an unnatural smell on your breath and clothes, costs a small fortune and in the end could make you one of those sad statistics we read about or see on TV.
For many smokers the damage will already be done, but it’s not too late to minimise the damage. If you want to stop smoking, see your doctor, there is support at your medical centre for you. If one thing does not help, try something else, as the campaign goes … don’t give up, giving up.
Hypnotherapy is often a last resort for people, but it is something to consider. It is relaxing, gentle and none intrusive. Hypnotherapy will not do it by itself. You still need will power, or a willingness to consider new thoughts and ideas, you still need determination to succeed. Only you can decide when the time is right for you do something about it. Whether is it Hypnotherapy, patches or gum or any other method available to you, remember that not only will you benefit, but those that you love and who love you will benefit too.
Because passive smoking and the harm that smoking causes to the non-smoker is another issue altogether.
If you are unable to visit my practice, take a look at “ An aid to Stopping Smoking” at www.healthyaudiohypnosis.com
We have all needed it
and we have all given it at some time in our lives. Have you noticed however that asking or taking advice can be a tricky thing to handle? In addition to the issue or subject that you are looking for advice about, you have to take into account the emotions of the giver.
If someone offers advice we often feel we have to take it. If we ask for advice we feel we have to take it. Advice however is only an opinion, suggestion or recommendation. They are not and never have been set in stone!
Many times I come across people who have taken advice, and acted upon it, even when their own gut instinct has been screaming for them not to. Going against your own instincts is usually rewarded with regret.
I learned pretty early
on in my practice days to bring in a qualifier to any asking of advice. I would ask for it, but also added “even though I am asking, I may not take your advice but I would be grateful for to hear it”. While people generally are taken back by that, it’s often better to get it out in the open as failing to do so can bring consternation to the giver, even causing possible long term damage to a relationship. So my advice would always be to qualify your request for any and all advice.
Sometimes however you may receive advice from a trusted, experienced older friend or colleague. There may be times when you just have to trust your instincts about the giver, rather than their advice. Older heads on older shoulders often see different perspectives, may have been in a similar situation at some time in their life. So then it’s a matter of balancing your trust in the individual, and your instincts towards the advice given. However remember whatever decision you ultimately make, you will have to live with it - it’s your life and your choice.
In my practice when I am counselling, I make it clear that it is not my job to tell my clients what to do. It’s my job to give them options of choice and considerations allowing them to make their own decisions. And the great thing about making choices and decisions is that the more you make the easier it becomes.
If you need advice for IBS, Anxiety, Insomnia, Stress, Chronic Pain or any other of my well-being programs please visit www.healthyaudiohypnosis.com though of course you don’t have to!
How important are you? How highly do you rate yourself?
It’s a question that perhaps many people do not even think about, until it’s almost too late! The majority of us have busy lives, we work, go to college, school or university. Even the retired often say they don’t know how they had time to work!
We may have busy social lives, or have to care for sick or elderly relative. We seldom have time to think how important we are. Take a moment and answer this question “Who is the most important person in your life at present?” Take a few moments, and count each one on your fingers, your partner, children, uncles, aunts, best friends and whoever else. You should count all those who are special to you. And when you have counted them all, stop and ask yourself “Where am I?” Did you place yourself last? Did you even think about including yourself? Many readers will find they “don’t count”!
And that is so often the first answer I receive when I ask that question.
Well for all those who answered as above, I have to tell you that you are wrong.
All those individuals you named and counted,
their lives would be affected if anything happened to you! You contribute to their lives as they contribute to yours. You are important to others, so why not to yourself? The answer often given is that it feels selfish to think of yourself in this way. And I always give the same reply – looking after yourself is not selfish, it’s self-preservation.
Some with low confidence or self-esteem, those who are stressed or anxious often don’t count themselves as being important.
If you don’t look after yourself, then sooner or later you will pay the price for it. If you work too hard, get stressed or are constantly worried, sooner or later the price will have to be paid. Mother Nature will stop you, and if you don’t learn your lesson she will stop you harder, until either you listen or it’s too late!
We need to make time for ourselves, time for those we love, to do our hobbies, to socialise, to take time to be quiet, to listen to ourselves, to our body and mind as well as listening to others.
We also have to learn not to take on the worries and problems of others. We can advise and support, but we can’t afford to live the problems of others, most of us have enough going on in our own lives that drains our own inner resources without taking on the problems of others.
So one of the first things we have to learn, or relearn, is to help ourselves, and we can do that by listening to what our body and mind are telling us. If we have inappropriate emotional or physical problems they are indicators that we are expending more energy than we are making, so we have to redress the balance, take more time for ourselves, doing things we want to do, not living our lives the way others want us to.
It is easier said than done, but it is worth doing. Remember it is often a matter of self-preservation not selfishness. Above all else remember you are important.
Start by saying yes to you, right now, see my self-help audio programs at www.healthyaudiohypnosis.com
When I was in first year
at high school at the great age of 11, one of the teachers (whose first impression on me was one of being a fearsome sort of individual, but who in later years I learned to trust and admire who also won my respect) wrote on the blackboard the words “Can Not” in big letters.
He told us to look at those two words for a few minutes and after what seemed an age, he lightly brushed the board duster over the words so they faded. He told us to keep watching as he passed the duster over the words again and then again and eventually the words faded so that they could no longer be seen. He told us to close our eyes and see the words in our mind and see them fading until they had disappeared. He then told us he did not want to hear any of us use those words - ever! He was insistent and he made the impression that still holds today, almost 50 years later.
As I went through life
I remembered those words I shouldn’t use. As soon as I thought them they disappeared. Because I knew if I used them then I would be closing down any chance to achieve whatever it was I wanted to achieve. It was a very useful if unusual lesson.
I read a story somewhere about a chap who had a big chunk of granite rising out of the ground in the middle of his garden. After a while he decided he to do something about it, so he took a chisel and hammer and eventually carved out an excellent reproduction of grisly bear. Passers by, friends and neighbours commented on the wonderful statue he had carved. They asked the man how he managed to sculpt such an excellent larger than life statue of a grisly bear without any image to model it from. “It was easy” he replied, “I just chipped off everything that didn’t look like a grisly bear”.
Whether this story is true or not,
it is one that made an impression on me. As we go through life we usually want to be successful, by our own standards so sometimes we have to re-model ourselves. We have to learn new ideas and approaches, sometimes knock off the bits we don’t like about ourselves.
Attitudes and negative emotions can dominate us, and eventually make us jealous or hateful or seeking revenge for something that was real or fanciful. If we spend our lives seeking revenge or looking to hold others back we simply sabotage ourselves, our lives and our future. While the individual(s) we are trying to get even with are achieving and living their lives successfully.
Benjamin Disraeli a former Prime Minister was known to do favours for people who deeply opposed him.
The story goes
that he once said “I never trouble to be avenged. When a man injures me, I put his name on a piece of paper and lock it in a drawer. It is marvellous to see how men I have labelled have a knack of disappearing”. Some times we should stop and wipe our own slate clean and start again. And not even consider the idea of “Can Not”.
To find out more about having a Can Do attitude, go to my website for self-help audio programs www.healthyaudiohypnosis.com
In the world of psychology
there are references to personality types A & B, and also internal and external locus of control. A type ‘A’ personality is one who generally works hard, is preoccupied with schedules, the speed of doing multiple jobs, interrupts people in their speech etc. Type ‘B’ are more laid back, creative, imaginative types generally taking life slower.
Locus of control basically refers to an individual’s perception about the underlying main causes of events in their life ~ simply put is your life controlled by yourself or by external forces such as fate, circumstances, others or higher forces. And there are combinations, for example external locus of control type A for example. All very interesting, for some at least!
However, there is perhaps a simpler way of looking at life. Regular readers and those who have been to my practice will know that I like to keep things simple, because the more we understand something the easier it is to change it, or at least to give it a different perspective.
In a less clinical example we can look at people in a different way.
Those who are radiators
and those who are drains! Radiators are those people we like to be close to, they give us warm feelings, they are welcoming, and they listen and help us when needed. Then there are the drains. These are the people who, if we let them, would suck our very life force from us. We see them coming and try to avoid them, they are self focused; nothing matters but them, and their problems. I am sure we all know some individuals who fit into these descriptions.
And then there are the ‘Anchor’ types and the ‘Propeller’ types. The Anchor types are people who drag along all their past problems worries and concerns, without looking for ways to solve them. They would never ask for help, rather be burdened than choosing to make a change or choice, nothing is their fault it is ‘circumstances’ beyond their control. And then there are the propellers, they move through life under their own steam. They have learned a way to move though the rough and smooth waters of life, they recognize they can make a difference to how they feel, and how they look at life.
However, all types
including the type A’s can learn to think differently, as can type B’s. External / Internal locus of control personalities can learn to think differently too, and it is accepted there are subtleties and complexities to be considered in both! So too can the Anchor type learn to be more like the Propeller, if we as individuals regardless of where we feel we are in life at the moment, choose to think and feel and act differently, and if we recognize we have this ability to change, life can be more fun, more productive and aims and goals can be identified and worked towards.
To finish, simply remember that we can make a difference despite our circumstances, and if the circumstances can’t change then we can see them in a different, more positive perspective and that in itself can move us from being an anchor towards being a propeller.
To find out more about how you can change your life in positive ways, go to my website for self-help audio programs www.healthyaudiohypnosis.com
Looking forward Posted on 15 Jan 17:13 , 0 comments
As we start another year
we can look forward to the lighter nights, the warmer days and all the opportunities this year will bring us. Looking back on 2015 I think many readers will simply be pleased it is behind us and we can start anew.
This year I am looking forward to a few new projects which I hope will come to fruition as the year progresses. I am going to make it a year I can look back on with a sense of achievement. There are many things I want to do, things I want to learn and teach, people I want to meet and learn from, and I am going to try my hardest to achieve them all.
Looking forward positively is healthy and if we really want to do or achieve something, having it in our minds eye, making it real, enjoying the feelings of how it will make us feel once we have achieved our goal helps us to keep focused and to really achieve it. I am not encouraging readers however to act illogically or recklessly. We have to keep a sense of reality, without limiting our drive to achieve.
Convincing ourselves we can do
or achieve something, just because we say so is not conducive to a life of fulfillment. Some people develop a mantra of positivity that they can and will achieve x,y or z without having the most basic level of competency to be successful. Doing so in my view is a recipe for disaster.
It’s like giving the keys to a high powered car to a non-driver; it’s an accident waiting to happen.
Planning, structuring and learning are positive ways to achieve those things you want to achieve. People often ask why I kept going when things were stacked against me, when I was developing the IBS Audio Program 100.
To explain the scenario, when I first started to develop this program in the early 1990s, I was told by several people and organisations it wasn’t possible to develop something which could help the IBS condition as I was proposing to do. But I learned, I structured my approach, I recognised my weaknesses and dealt with them, I had rejection after rejection in response to requests for assistance.
But I kept in mind how I would feel once I had brought it to market and – sure enough - in 1998 it was released. Now users in over 45 countries benefit from it. The NHS Nice guidelines in 2008 advises hypnosis is a valid treatment option after 12 months of non-effective pharmacological treatment.
What a journey!
The drive and determination paid off, and many people are living better and happier lives because of it, and so are their families. And that is the feeling I felt in the early nineties, how it would feel when it was completed. And now I know, and it’s even better than I imagined.
So at the start of this new year, look forward positively, difficulties will pass, focus on your goals, decide what you are going to achieve this year, and do it.
To help make 2016 the best possible year for you, visit my website www.healthyaudiohypnosis.com for self-help and well-being audio programs.
Freedom Posted on 15 Jan 17:04 , 0 comments
Freedom is something we may often take for granted.
Some may feel we don’t have enough freedom, others perhaps think we have too much. For me freedom is a human given, we are entitled to freedom, it should not be something somebody gives us, though many would try to take it from us.
Freedom is not simply about personal liberty and the enjoyment of political and civil liberties.
In my work I meet people who want inner freedom from guilt and shame, freedom to develop, freedom to express themselves, and be who they want to be. They often want the freedom to make decisions for themselves and their future, to break out of their shell, or to be mentally and emotionally stronger.
But this freedom is often elusive,
due to work and family responsibilities, financial, and relationship pressures.
While we have to live according to the laws of the land, we really do have the ability to set ourselves free from burdens and demands that we either place on ourselves or have allowed others to place upon us.
With freedom comes responsibility for what we choose to do and what we choose not to do. As children we are taught the implications of our actions, the impact of what we do or don’t do which brings the ability to balance our thoughts and actions.
Experiencing self liberation is certainly life changing. As we learn and begin to expect positive change to occur within our thoughts, feelings and emotions, we begin to experience these moments more frequently and easily.
July and August are often seen
as the freedom months where holidays are taken, schools are on their break and society generally is less stressed. And yet for many it is only a temporary state, we all know the feeling of freedom from work and study routines, and we all know the feelings of back to the grindstone, trudging the path of responsibility again.
Yet even though we have to meet the routines and challenges of life, we can also meet the needs of inner freedom. We don’t have to carry burdens and limitations, these days it is more important than ever that we exercise all our ability to grow and develop, to be free of the negative emotional chains and shackles which hold us back.
We have the personal choice whether to grow and develop or whether to allow personal stagnation. We have the personal choice of making changes to enhance our lives and the lives of those we love, or whether to simply put up with what life brings.
When we are unsure of what to do,
we often do nothing. If you feel that life is one long return to work feeling, then an inner part of you is telling you change is needed. We need to listen to what our mind and body and instincts are telling us, for ignoring them will most certainly lead us further down the captive path of despondency.
With even a small amount of forward momentum, change is possible, even just a change of inner perception and a concentration on the positive aspects of our lives rather than a pessimistic focus. We can learn it doesn’t have to be that way – even just a simple change of outlook can make all the difference!
Make that change today – you can find a range of self-help audio programs at