Taking Action On Anxiety - The Latest Hypnotherapy Vlog:

This weekend saw the opportunity to walk over the new Ely bypass bridge before it opens for traffic later this month. Anyone reading this who ever travels to Ely from that direction will be looking forward to a reduction in the traffic bottlenecks (for those outside the area, at the moment a railway crossing and low bridge tend to block things up quite significantly).

Anyway, despite the pouring rain it was all to help raise funds for a great charity and one close to my heart because of the help they gave us when my Dad battled cancer a few years ago (MacMillan Cancer Research). So despite the protests of the kids, I hustled, cajoled and dragged them into the rain to take advantage of this once on a lifetime chance to walk the bridge before a few thousand cars get to take it over every day forever more.

Now, I love stuff like this because it was a chance to do something new and different...almost like the kind of stuff you get to do on holiday! A chance to walk a new road and take in some new views and sights, and, either because of the rain or because it's actually quite a wide road, it was nice and relaxed and there was plenty of space for messing about with the kids (one of whom mainly moaned a lot and one of whom mainly laughed a lot). I enjoyed our little family walk though and that's the most important thing!

Due to the weather and the need to dry out from the rain, we stayed in the rest of the day and that gave me a chance to upload my latest vlog all about the importance of taking action on anxiety (it's been a while since my last vlog due to my workload so I hope you enjoy their return!). You can check out my vlog further down the page.    

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When Anxiety Takes Over - Check out this client blog!

October 10th was World Mental Health Day and I was delighted to be tagged in a Twitter post that day from a former client. Lauren, who has her own brilliant blog called 'Girl Running Late' took the opportunity to write about her anxiety around running.

Or, as she writes, her anxiety around running that had grown into her everyday life. It really is worth a read of her blog as it touches upon how anxiety and panic can start to expand into all sorts of aspects of everyday life. And, of course, it's worth reading because it talks about how it is possible to reign it back in and take back control (and it's even worth reading it because she says some nice things about her work with me!).

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Gaining Perspective & Clarity - Seeing the Wood From the Trees!

It can sometimes be hard to get a sense of perspective and clarity on our own problems can't it? We can be so involved in something in our mind that we can't mentally distance ourselves enough from it to view it in a clearer way. All our thoughts, feelings, emotions and concerns create a mash up of being stuck in our minds, and sometimes in our life too.

Or as the old saying goes, sometimes we 'can't see the wood for the trees' (the meaning of which, according to the Cambridge dictionary is 'to be unable to understand a situation clearly because you are too involved in it'). 

And I think we've all been there. It's like those moments where we realise what great advice we can give to others about how they should handle a situation yet, despite knowing that advice, we seem unable to apply it to ourselves. We just can't get that distance and perspective on it.

Last week was a pretty rough one for me, simply because the man flu well and truly knocked me for six (and as we all know, man flu really is the worst!!). I think it was the longest period of sickness I've experienced for more than a decade. My high hopes of a swift recovery soon evaporated into a lost week of feeling rubbish and not getting much done in any area of my life. I had to rearrange clients (all of whom were great - thank you!), cancel meetings and pretty much draw a line through anything I had planned.

And perhaps the hardest thing for me was missing out on any exercise; just going from one room to another left me drained! Missing a couple of sessions here and there with a niggle or family commitments is frustrating; missing a whole week is a disaster. Isn't it? When I miss training I instantly feel like I've put on half a stone and I hate that feeling. I won't lie, there were times last week when I felt very, very sorry for myself! There were moments when I totally lost perspective. Instead of a week of illness it felt at times like the wheels of life were well and truly coming right off!

Of course that's not logical or reasonable. And it certainly isn't helpful!

So what I needed, and I think we all need sometimes, is a way to gain a bit of perspective and clarity on our current situation.

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Managing Emotional Distress Related To Medical Procedures:

This week has mainly been a bit of a write-off for me due to the dreaded 'man flu' striking me down (or 'a bit of a cold' as others might call it!!). It's hit me hard and has wiped out my exercise at bootcamp, my work and pretty much everything in-between. 

All in all it's been pretty frustrating but I know I'll get through it and get better and survive (somehow, like if I'm really brave about it!!). 

But, of course, the frustration and distress caused by a heavy cold is nothing compared to the emotional distress that can be associated with medical procedures. Only last week I heard back from a client who had originally been to see me about an intense dental phobia and fear about dental treatment. She told me how she had been and had a filling removed and replaced. She was ecstatic afterwards (as was her long-suffering dentist!) to know she can now do it without all that fear, anxiety, dread and distress.

Medical procedures can generate all sorts of distress and worry and that can impact both before the procedure and can even impact on recovery afterwards. Luckily we have a meta-analysis available that evaluates the effect of hypnosis in reducing emotional distress associated with medical procedures.

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Using Choice Overload To Reduce Anxiety:

Ever noticed how when you struggle with anxiety, every possible option you can think of seems to be the worst case scenario. Whether you run movies in your head or find your inner dialogue is filled with doubt, dread and worry, it's like a sort of tunnel vision that invariably leads to things going wrong or ending badly for you in some way.

And as you'll know, the more you have those anxious thoughts, the worse you feel; and the worse you feel, the more your head fills with those anxious thoughts.

I remember sitting in a restaurant a few months back with my girls. We were nearly finished when a new family arrived on the next table. A quick read of the menu and three of the four had made their decision and were ready to order. One of them was not at all ready. She sent the waitress away so she could have more time. Then when the waitress came back she sent her away again. Even from our table you could sense the tension rising in her as she tried to choose what to have, a task not aided by the rest of the family who kept upping the pressure on her. Finally she chose. Only to then call back the waitress a couple of moments later as she'd changed her mind. At that point her frustration poured out and her family received a rather loud verbal lashing that I'm sure didn't do too much to improve the mood during the rest of their meal.

Now there may have been other factors at play yet certainly from where I was sitting it looked like a classic case of choice overload - when there are too many choices we can become well and truly mentally stuck in a fog of indecision.

And I was reminded of the restaurant story after reading an abstract of some new research that looked into which parts of the brain were active during choice overload. 

One technique I sometimes talk to clients about is how they can use choice overload to diminish the run-away train of anxious thoughts.

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New anxiety hypnotherapy video testimonial:

There are few things as satisfying to a hypnotherapist as watching someone progress from being filled with anxiety, worry and dread when I first meet them, to having them tell me how much happier and better they feel once we have worked together.

All that anxiety, worry and dread can take over your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. You may start dwelling on things that have happened, worrying about things that may happen in the future and you may also find yourself becoming self critical and negative about yourself and life.

You may already have read the many testimonials on my website pages, and watched the videos from people who have worked with me. And now there's another great anxiety hypnotherapy video testimonial to add to this ever-growing collection.

In the video below, Shaun give his feedback on his anxiety hypnotherapy sessions and how much they helped him.

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Does Adding Hypnosis To Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Help Treat Acute Stress Disorder?

In my last couple of blogs I've written about the research suggesting that adding hypnosis to cognitive behavioural therapy tends to enhance the results achieved.  

Or as Kirsch wrote, "The results of this meta-analysis indicates a fairly substantial effect as a result of adding hypnosis to cognitive-behavioural psychotherapies...hypnosis enhances the effects of cognitive-behavioural psychotherapy across a broad range of problems" (Kirsch et al, Hypnosis as an adjunct to cognitive-behavioural psychotherapy: A meta-analysis).

I've written about how adding hypnosis can benefit weight loss results and about the benefits of cognitive behavioural therapy with hypnosis for managing fatigue during breast cancer radiotherapy.

Today I'm writing about the benefit of hypnosis and cognitive behavioral therapy in treating acute stress disorder. And once again we have research to tell us about the added benefit of including hypnosis in the treatment.

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Plus Hypnosis - Fatigue During Breast Cancer Radiotherapy:

In my last blog I wrote about the research that demonstrates that adding hypnosis to cognitive behavioural therapy has a fairly substantial effect. That is, hypnosis enhances the effects of cognitive behavioural therapy across a broad range of problems.

One area where the effectiveness of a combined approach of cognitive behavioural therapy and hypnosis has been studied is with regard to treating radiotherapy related fatigue. This particular study involved women scehduled for breast cancer radiotherapy.

As the researchers noted, fatigue is frequently rated as the most distressing symptom faced by breast cancer radiotherapy patients. Fatigue typically increases over the course of the treatment and has detrimental effects to patients' physical, psychological, social and occupational functioning. In addition, there are other relevant factors such as catastrophising about fatigue and emotional distress.

As an aside, even before this particular study, an earlier one had demonstrated support for the use of hypnosis with breast cancer surgery patients. 

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Should all Cognitive Behavioral Therapy include Hypnosis for better results?

Some may consider it a big question, but should cognitive behavioral therapy be making use of hypnosis as a means to increase the likelihood of positive therapeutic outcomes?  

Perhaps we should start with this from Kirsch, in his meta-analysis of 'Hypnosis as an Adjunct to Cognitive-Behavioral Psychotherapy', in which he analysed existing studies in which cognitive behavioural therapy was compared with the same therapy supplemented by hypnosis. He wrote:

"The results indicated that the addition of hypnosis substantially enhanced treatment outcome, so that the average client receiving cognitive behavioral hypnotherapy showed greater improvement than at least 70% of clients receiving non-hypnotic treatment."

Pretty impressive stuff there in his analysis across a range of issues including weight loss, anxiety and insomnia.

So why isn't hypnosis part of the mainstream CBT therapy process if the evidence suggests that it is likely to help people get better results?

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Weight Loss and the Impact of Self-Hypnosis:

I remember way back being overweight well into my teens. In those days, it seemed much less common of a thing to find people who were overweight or obese. I'm sure they were about but all the evidence suggests not in as great numbers as they are today. Weight loss is now an industry, a problem and still a challenge.

Back in those days I remember standing out like a sore thumb at school because of my size. I ate too much junk, paid no attention to healthy eating and had beyond little interest in exercise (I hated P.E. with a passion and did all I could to get out of it!). Maybe people were slimmer because (like my mum) they were doing the Jane Fonda aerobics video or the Callenetics one.  

Anyway, I started to lose weight when I got so sick of being fat and the limitations that went with it (including wearing trousers with an elasticated waist!), that I decided to do something about it. I cut down on the junk, I moved more and I even went through many months of sweating it out every night on an exercise bike in my room.

These days obesity is often described as an epidemic despite all the knowledge we have about healthy eating and the benefits of exercise. And although many people start out with the motivation and determination to lose weight, for most, after a few months they find that unhealthy habits creep back in, along with overeating and the tailing off of physical activity. Those bad habits and overeating, often along with a sense of being out of control over eating, often mean that any weight loss achieved soon evaporates. 

And in many weight loss programmes and systems, the psychological aspects of eating, such as emotional eating to suppress unwanted thoughts and feelings, and using food as a form of reward, are often overlooked.

A recently published randomized control trial has now reported their findings. They set out with this objective: "Obesity is a worldwide epidemic; most obese individuals who lose weight after lifestyle educative treatments, soon regain it. Our aim is to evaluate the effectiveness of a training to teach self-conditioning technique (self-hypnosis) added to standard care in determining weight loss compared with standard care in patients with obesity.

The results of their trial (discussed below) would assess whether a self-conditioning approach, based on self-hypnosis, is able to help people to modulate unhealthy patterns of eating and sustain weight loss in the long term.

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Binge Drinking - the next day impact of heavy alcohol drinking:

Next month marks the annual 'Go Sober For October' campaign where thousands of people quit alcohol for the entire month to raise money for MacMillan cancer support (an awesome charity by the way).

And let's be honest, it really should be relatively straight forward to not need alcohol for a few weeks shouldn't it? Whether you are taking part in 'Go Sober For October' or have just made the decision to cut down your alcohol consumption, you are likely to benefit from sleeping better, feeling more energised and just feeling healthier (as well as saving a fortune that you would have spent on booze). And there's the added benefit of no hangovers (along with those hangover promises you make to yourself about how you'll never drink excessively again....).  

Some recent research has looked at the impact on the next day effects of heavy drinking and how it impacts on your thoughts and performance. 

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Health Anxiety - Is it Cancer?

When I'm working with someone with health anxiety, perhaps the biggest concern is that any physical symptom being experienced could be a sign of having cancer. And with so many references to cancer around us, it's perhaps no surprise that the anxiety heads in the direction of what is perceived to be the worst possible case.

In the last 24 hours alone, I've heard a cancer charity advert on the radio, seen a similar, watched a programme where a character had been diagnosed and heard about a relative receiving treatment. It can seem like it is all around us, impacting everywhere, and that is the fuel that anxiety needs to start imagining the worst.

And of course, 'Doctor Google' doesn't help here because just about any symptom 'could' be a sign of cancer. Of course, it could be a sign of something else or even nothing at all, yet those nagging thoughts continue to grow stronger and ramp up the panic. The internet just isn't that great at helping you to self-diagnose effectively. 

Once you calm the anxiety down (and ditch trying to be an online doctor), your thoughts become clearer, more logical and more reasoned. You can make better decisions about what you should do next.

Just recently I've had my own reasons to be thinking about cancer and my own future health.

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Are Mental Health Apps Helpful For Anxiety?

There has been an immense level of excitement in the Regan household over the last 48 hours, with levels not far off those experienced at Christmas. And it's all been because my daughter saved up and ordered herself a fitbit. From the moment the online order was placed she has was asking when it would arrive and whether it would come while she was at school the next day or whether it would be the evening. I reckon we were getting a dozen mentions, questions and references about it every hour!

The following evening, when it hadn't arrived by the evening, she could be seen going and standing by the door to look out for the delivery driver, and then things moved into the realm of questioning whether the order had actually gone through ok. Perhaps it had been lost? Maybe the company had delivered it to the wrong house? Would it arrive? Would it ever arrive?!!!! (By this point I think we were all just hoping it would arrive soon!).

The no sooner had it been delivered than she was sprinting down the stairs to unbox it and get started (those running steps obviously wasted because they weren't counted by the fitbit).

And the excitement didn't stop because no sooner was she awake than she was wanting to look at the app to find out how she had slept (no more relying on guesswork about sleep from now on!). And then the joy of updates every ten minutes on the number of steps she had taken. I say every ten minutes but it seemed like a lot more!

Now I don't mind all this excitement about walking and moving because it can only have a healthy goal of having her being more active. That can only be a good thing in the age of screen after screen.

And I think this is an example of technology and an app that serves people well if they want to improve their health and wellbeing.

But what about the ever growing multitude of mental health apps? Are they good for anxiety and other mental health issues?

A recently published study took a look at mental health apps to identify how they frame mental health, including who has problems and how they should be managed.

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Anxiety in the workplace - More Action Needed!

Over two years ago I was published in the Ely Standard newspaper calling for more action to be taken to be taken to combat anxiety and stress in the workplace ('Ely hypnotherapy expert calls for more effective action on stress and anxiety levels').

Sadly, a new survey published by mental health charity, Mind, suggests that poor mental health affects about half of all employees. Their survey of 44,000 employees revealed that poor mental health at work is widespread and only half of those who had experienced problems with anxiety, stress and low mood had talked to their employer about it. 

I remember when I struggled with anxiety in the workplace. When it was bad it would impact on my performance and there were times I was too anxious to even go to work. Back then, mental health was much less understood and recognised so there was no way on this planet I would ever have discussed it with my employer. Indeed, I was certain back then that it would have a detrimental impact on my career and I was very aware of cases of colleagues off work with anxiety or depression and how it quickly became common office news.

I really would like to hope that times have changed with mental health having been elevated as an issue that can affect anyone and with more understanding about it than ever.

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Sports Psychology: Trauma, Abuse and Injury:

I work with lots of sports people who are seeking to improve their performance or to bounce back after a setback. At the professional level, the benefits of sports psychology are well understood, and that recognition of the importance of mind-set and mental attitude is something that anyone who wants to improve and perform should be incorporating into their training programme.

Sports psychology can take many forms and will depend on the particular individual. For example, recently I worked with a triathlete who wanted to stop the negative internal dialogue that impacted on his performances. It was those pesky thoughts that can make us hold back and become lost in thoughts of potential injury or things going wrong, rather than focussing on what is actually happening.

I've helped footballers who wanted to get their motivation, confidence and self-belief back, horse riders who had become anxious and fearful after a fall, fighters nervous about competing, cyclists too anxious to ride and many others who knew that they would benefit from effective sports psychology help to engage in and enjoy the sport they love. Many of these have kindly gone on to give feedback on how their sessions helped and there are many, many more who preferred to just get on and deliver in their sporting arena.

And recently new research has again highlighted the importance of effective psychological help in sport. This research looked at the impact of lifetime sexual and physical abuse and trauma and its association with sports and non-sports injury.

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Anxiety and Dreaming - How Your Anxiety Impacts While You Sleep:

If you are currently struggling with anxiety then one thing you may have noticed is how it even seems to filter into your dreams while you are sleeping.

It's something that people with anxiety often describe to me - that they seem to experience vivid, negative dreams at night. Those dreams can be filled with unpleasant scenarios that lead to them waking filled with sensations of dread and fear.  Those anxiety filled dreams can create very real unpleasant emotions and feelings that may linger into the day.

Only yesterday, an anxiety client described how he had woken the night before during a dream, drenched in sweat, with his heart pounding and filled with fear and panic. Many other clients experience this or just find that those vivid images from their dreams upset them and make them feel low. 

When I was a teenager I remember buying a book in a bargain bookstore all about dream interpretation. It would say things like if you dream of a cat you will come into money or lose money, if you dream of flying you are destined to soon travel and if you dream of being killed you will not awake! Seriously, it did say that sort of stuff (I often wondered about the last example there because how would anyone know?!).   

Anyway, the world of understanding the role of dreams has moved on a lot since then! And there's some recent research about how your anxiety while awake impacts on the content of your dreams.

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Eight Years of Hypnotherapy in Ely - Thank You!

This month (September 2018) marks the eighth year that I have been running my business of hypnotherapy in Ely. Time has flown!

I'm very proud to have reached this milestone where I've helped so many people to overcome anxiety, increase confidence, let go of old limitations and achieve their goals. And I wanted to say thank you to all of you who have trusted in me, worked with me and supported me over these years - thank you!

I've had the opportunity to meet and help so many wonderful people, many of whom have kindly left feedback on our work together and I'm excited about continuing to grow, improve and help many thousands more people in future years.

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Migraine Treatment: Hypnotherapy, Acupuncture or Medication?

In my last blog I wrote about research into the effectiveness of hypnosis for the management of  headache and migraine. The researcher in that report concluded their systematic review by saying, "This study has demonstrated that hypnosis has a significant impact on the pain activity of individuals suffering with migraines and supports the findings of several double-blind, placebo controlled studies that have demonstrated hypnosis to be statistically superior or equivalent to commonly used treatments."

Which is, of course, great news and evidence for those with migraine who are seeking help and treatment or who are finding their current treatment programme isn't as effective as they would wish.

In August 2018, another study that discussed migraine and hypnotherapy was also published in addition to the one I discussed in the previous blog article.

This report compared the efficacy of acupuncture, hypnotherapy and pharmacotherapy in patients with migraine. The study divided 90 patients into three groups: one group was treated with acupuncture, another with hypnotherapy and the third with medication. 

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The Effectiveness of Hypnotherapy For Headaches and Migraines:

This week is Migraine Awareness Week, which seeks to raise awareness and understanding of migraines, which it is estimated affect one in seven people.

Migraine is a complex neurological issue that causes a range of symptoms including painful headaches, disturbed vision and sensitivity to light, sound and smells. There may be vomiting and feeling sick and, depending on severity, they may result in someone needing to be still or lie down for several hours. Someone may take hours or days for the 'migraine hangover' feelings to totally disperse.

And, of course, many people suffer stress and anxiety arising from migraine and the worry of another one happening as well as impacting on mood and quality of life.

With the essence of good timing, a review was published at the end of August about the effectiveness of hypnosis for the management of headache and migraine. Here's what it found...

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How To Choose Your Hypnotherapist:

In the internet age, choosing your therapist can be an overwhelming decision. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of people out there all claiming to be the best solution for your needs.

In many ways it's the complete opposite of the situation when I chose my first therapist to help me overcome anxiety. In the absence of any sort of guide as to how to chose and with the phone directory as my reference manual, I went for the most conveniently located person to where I worked. I had no comprehension of different types of hypnotherapy and naively assumed if someone was trained and had an office then they were probably ok and that one hypnotherapist was probably near enough equivalent to another.

In my case it was one of the worst decisions I've ever made, financially and psychologically.  In fact, the regression style approach adopted was nothing short of cruel. In the end I said I felt better just because being anxious was less painful than being guided to vividly pour over every painful and embarrassing moment that may (or even may not) have happened. It was several years before I even considered going and talking to another hypnotherapist.

So to avoid making the same mistake I made first time around, what can you do? Below I've listed the six things I think any professional hypnotherapist should be doing and offering. If I was advising someone I deeply cared about on how to find the right hypnotherapist then this is the list I would give them (assuming they couldn't work with me for some reason!). 

After all, I'd want the very best for them and their mental health and wellbeing. 

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Dealing with Anxiety and Trauma - New Video Testimonial:

Last weekend I took my daughter for her first experience of watching Ely City FC play, when they took on Norwich in the FA Vase at the Ellgia Stadium here in Ely.

It was a glorious day as we made the mile long walk there (during which we contemplated what it would be like if all other humans vanished and we were the only ones left...such is the mind of a ten year old! (Naturally, in the true British way, we also complained a bit about how hot we were!). 

Anyway, the game itself was a cracker! Ely fell behind twice in normal time and managed to equalise each time so at 2-2 it went into extra time (my daughter was not too impressed as she'd had enough by then!). Ely again went behind in extra time, only to equalise yet again. Then Ely went ahead for the first time, and despite missing a penalty that would have clinched it, held on to win and go through to the next round.

One thing I particularly admired about the Ely team was how each time they went behind and got knocked back, they stayed positive and kept going. It's easy to let our heads drop when we get a knock back yet here was persistence and resilience in action. And, just as in other areas of life, by picking themselves up each time they went on to ultimately succeed. Great stuff!

And recently I've been working with a lovely lady who, despite a very major set back, has shown the reilience, persistence and mental courage to keep going. 

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Overcoming The Fear of Swimming in Open Water:

Do you have a fear of swimming in open water? Well, if you are a triathlete then that fear can seriously impact on your enjoyment of competing as well as your performance levels. Further down this article you can watch a testimonial from Miranda who overcame her fear and absolutely smashed her triathlon.

I'm just back from a week away with my family in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, an absolutely lovely place where we all had a great time. The weather was good, the beaches were amazing and we all really enjoyed our time there. Even the weather was just right (mostly!)!

The kids loved playing in the sea, whether it was splashing around, swimming a bit or getting knocked over by the waves. It was great to see how confident they have become in the water compared to previous years (I splashed around a bit but mainly stuck to dry land because the water was freeeeezing!!). 

There were also plenty of swimmers out in the sea and we often watched them make their way along the horizon. There's an Ironman triathlon event coming up in Tenby so I'd bet a few of them were in training for the open water swimming part.

Yet if open water swimming fills you with fear then a triathlon, or any other open water swimming, could fill you with dread, anxiety and worry. 

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Self-Esteem: You Gotta Sing Your Own Special Song:

Recently I've been working with a lot of people who are seeking to boost their self-esteem because they believe they aren't good enough or worthy in some way. And of course, whenever they learned this or adopted this, it now affects their sense of self-worth, their belief in themselves and their perceptions of how others will view them and judge them. 

And like all patterns we run, the more you consciously or nonconsciously act, react and think in this way, the more habitual and automatic it can start to feel.

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Reducing Anxiety in Sport and Increasing Performance:

Ahh Facebook memories, always there to remind me what I was doing on a particular day over the years (or at least those bits of my life I stick on there). Today I was reminded that on this day two years ago I was training for a road marathon and, judging by my appearance (have a look below), it was pretty hot that summer too!

When I used to line up at the start of a race, I would always have that curious blend of nervousness and excitement flowing through me. At the start, especially in the hanging around quite a bit waiting to get going stage, there's that balance to be found in having enough intensity and energy to perform to your best, yet not too much so that it impairs what you do. You don't want to be throwing up, freaking out or burning up all your energy before you even take a step.

The other day I had a great update from a triathlete I was working with as she conquered her open water fears and absolutely smashed her race.  Awesome stuff! 

And only just recently a clinical trial showed how mindfulness based techniques can help increase athletic performance and reduce sports anxiety in athletes.

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Anxiety Disorders - Why you should get moving to treat anxiety:

As I write this I'm feeling a bit sorry for myself because it's a Saturday and not just any old Saturday, but a very rare one where I've had to miss bootcamp. I've tweaked something in my back and it's letting me know about (loud and clear!) any time I try and exert myself so it's an enforced exercise abstinence for me for a few days.

I'm already getting twitchy and eager to get back to it because I know how valuable and beneficial exercise is to my happiness and mental and physical wellbeing. It was true when I had anxiety and it's just as true now.

A lot gets written about how exercise is good for your mental health and how if you are battling anxiety it can help you feel better. And now there is solid evidence, in the form of a recently published systematic review of meta-analysis, for the effectiveness of exercise in the treatment of anxiety and about the level of intensity of exercise required to lead to improvement. As an exercise lover this is music to my ears and is certainly good news for anyone seeking to implement a treatment plan to overcome anxiety.

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Hypnosis is Conscious and Voluntary:

There are still many out there who think that hypnosis is some form of 'mind control' where they will be asked to stare at a swinging watch while the hypnotist quietly takes over their brain. 

Which of course is a long, long way from what actually goes on around here.

There are actually still many hypnotherapists who still rely on flawed notions of the existence an all powerful 'unconscious' or 'subconscious' mind in their work. They believe that by communicating with an actual thing called the unconscious mind they can help people to make changes. But a quick look at the anatomy of the brain tell us that there is no actual bit of us all called the unconscious mind. Of course, we do many things nonconsciously, from the bodily function like digestion and the beating of our heart, to habits and patterns that we follow through our day.   

So I was very pleased to read a new scientific report today called, 'Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Demonstrates That Hypnosis Is Conscious and Voluntary'. I mean, how exciting is that, to have fMRI brain scans showing what is going on during hypnosis?

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The haters gonna hate, the fakers gonna fake...how to shake it off:

Life's a funny old thing isn't it? One moment everything is swimming along nicely and then, out of the blue, comes some sort of challenge that knocks things a bit off balance and swallows up your time and energy.

Take last week for instance when someone decided to abandon their car in the office car park (minus a wheel for some reason!). What a faff about that became for everyone involved here, trying to resolve it and make alternative arrangements for parking. But hey, what are you going to do, shout at the car to move? Get stressed out and angry about it? The car would still be there however much negative emotion and wasted thinking anyone would care to do (it's no longer there by the way!).

And then only this week, my wife received an aggressive phone call from another parent accusing one of the girls of being responsible for all sorts of stuff involving her son. Rather than seeking to establish fact and understand the situation it seems this parent decided to launch into what later transpired to be a free-flowing emotional torrent of exaggerations, distortions and plain falsehoods. And I get it, because I think most of us want to think that our kids are well behaved saints when at school and that they could never say a mean word or carry out a mean act. I mean, not one's own children! No way! 

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Why You Must Deal With Your Anxiety & Depression:

Back when I struggled with anxiety, I tried all that I could think of to find a solution that would help alleviate all those unpleasant thoughts and feelings. There would be times when things would ease a bit and I would think I was heading in the right direction, only for the anxiety to hit again and put me back at square one.

During those anxious moments I thought that there was something seriously wrong with me. Other people didn't seem to go through this constant inner battle with themselves in their heads. Having tried every method I could think of myself, it took me quite some time to build the courage to seek help to overcome my anxiety. After all, how could I expect someone else to help me take away that ceaseless feeling of dread, of being uncovered as not being good enough or those nagging doubts about whether this was just something I had to learn to live with until my dying day?

With my focus on my anxiety from day to day, moment to moment and situation to situation, the last thing I had any mental space for was to think about how my anxiety might impact on my future health and wellbeing. 

Yet recent research suggests that anyone struggling with anxiety or depression, even at low levels of distress, really should take action and seek help to deal with it sooner rather than later. 

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Beat The Boredom & Start Enjoying Things More Again:

Do you ever find yourself feeling like you are in a bit of a rut, doing the same things in the same old way and no longer enjoying things like you used to? If so, new research has suggested a way to break through that boredom and rediscover that sense of enjoyment.

One thing I often talk to clients about is how we are all very much creatures of habit and pattern. Most of us do things in the same way that we always do in most situations, which is usually by doing things like we did the time before. We get up in the morning and follow our usual routine that gets us out of the door on time, we eat the same foods, watch the same TV programmes and travel the same routes.  

And often that's pretty useful isn't it? We can get stuff done while running a bit on auto-pilot and thinking of other stuff. However, on the flip side, it can lead to a bit of boredom and that feeling of going through the motions like a hamster on a wheel. And when the things we usually enjoy start to become a bit boring and mundane that our sense of fulfilment and joy can start to diminish, often this impacts on our mental health that reverberate in other aspects of our lives.

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Overcoming Anxiety - Two More Success Stories:

It's been another hot, hot, hot weekend here. On Saturday I headed to bootcamp for 8am when it was already twenty degrees or more. Still, always worth getting up and out early on a Saturday for a tyre routine, forget all the other stuff, a tyre routine is still my favourite!

Because of the heat we headed into the forest to try and seek out some shade rather than scorching in the sunshine. It's always good to head out into nature and to have a bit of adventure with the girls...although I could have done without the bugs who bit my arm so that it swelled to about twice its normal size by Sunday. Curse you nature!!

Now believe or not, when I battled anxiety, going to new places was a bit of a thing for me. There was always a worry about what might happen when I was there and what if something went wrong. I used to get tense and agitated just leaving the house sometimes. 

I'm sure I'll have mentioned before how, because I've been there with anxiety, I really love helping others to overcome it. There are few things as satisfying as helping someone go from a state of anxiety, dread and fear to a position where they are able to do things they want to do and to enjoy life.

Recently a couple of clients who had my help to deal with their anxiety kindly agreed to record video testimonials to share their stories in the hope that others will also take positive action to overcome their anxiety.

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World Class Visualisation Can Carry You a Long Way:

It's been scorching hot recently hasn't it? And as the heat wave has continued (thank goodness for the air con in my office!), the other Sunday it was just too hot to even go outside anywhere. It really was that hot.

And so I took the opportunity to do some ironing (that's how I roll!), which probably made no sense because whilst trying to stay inside and keep cool I was holding a very hot thing next to me! Anyway, whilst doing some pretty poor quality ironing, I stumbled across a TV programme about the long jumper Mike Powell and his record breaking jump at the 1991 World Championships. At the time Carl Lewis was the king of athletics and it was fascinating to hear about the intense level of competition between them.

Whilst talking about his world record jump, he described a neat little visualisation process that he used to help him stay focussed and perform to the best of his ability. I'll cover that in a minute.

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New hypnosis downloads coming soon:

I'm often getting asked to record new hypnosis downloads so earlier this week I headed back into the recording studio to create a couple more new hypnosis tracks that will soon be available for you (keep an eye on my Hypnosis Download pages).

The new audios are to help boost self-esteem and to let go of anxious thoughts, and I also took the chance to update the free Rapid Relaxation audio you can get when you sign up for my newsletter (the new version will have a much higher quality of sound). 

I always love hearing from people who have used my hypnosis downloads on how much of a positive impact they have had for them so I hope that you will enjoy and benefit from these new ones too.

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Anxiety - Taking Back Control Over Worst Case Scenarios:

In a recent blog I wrote about the Rochester Dickens Festival and how Charles Dickens was a master of taking what was around him, such as the people and buildings, and crafting them in his imagination into wonderful tales that are vividly full of life.

Which is a bit like what happens when you have anxiety. You take some piece of what is going around you, such as how you are feeling and the people, places and situations you experience, and you vividly imagine things going in the worst possible way in the future. That might mean running anxious scenarios about embarrassing yourself or failing in some way, scenarios about being anxious and panicky in front of others or any other type of worst case that fills you with dread and anxiety when you think about it happening.

Which shows just how powerful our imagination is, because just by vividly imagining something that may or may not actually happen, you can find your emotions becoming overwhelming, even to the point that you try and avoid stuff completely.

But of course, however strong and 'real' these imagined scenarios are in your mind, they aren't facts at all, simply because they haven't happened yet and may never happen. Anxious worst case scenarios are actually just things we are making up in our minds, based upon our current habits, perceptions and emotions.

And as Mark Twain is credited with saying, 'I've had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.' He also described how 'worry is like paying a debt you don't owe' - I like that quote a lot.

So how can we take back control over anxiety and diffuse those worst case scenarios?

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The Rochester Dickens Festival & The Power of Your Anxious Imagination:

Last weekend I headed down to Kent with my family for the Rochester Dickens Festival. Now if you've never come across this fantastic event, it celebrates all things related to the author, Charles Dickens, as he had a strong connection with the town (many locations in Rochester appear in his books).

We first discovered the festival one year when, after completing a marathon down the road in the morning, we headed into Rochester, as the nearest town in the afternoon and found ourselves amongst dozens and dozens of people dressed up as characters from Dickens' novels and in period costume. 

We headed back this year just to be part of the festival as it is such a fun and enjoyable event. There's the procession of all the people in costume down the High Street and led by Fagin (form Oliver Twist) and the local pipe band, there are many different street performances, a fun fair by the Castle and a wonderful, welcoming and friendly atmosphere throughout. I absolutely loved it!

I even got my own line in a quick fire drama performance of Oliver Twist that took place in the street. So ok, I got to say one thing but I think I carried the whole show with my perfect delivery! Actually, after holding up a sign that said 'Ahhhhhh' and getting the whole crowd to say it, the guy on stage turned to me and said 'now you sir, on your own!' But still, I gave a great impromptu delivery of it in my own humble thespian opinion!

Something I always find interesting it to think back on how such a moment on the spot would have terrified me in my anxious days. I'd have been fearful of the possibility of any involvement in front of such a crowd, and would have mentally beaten myself up about it afterwards. Nowadays I just thought it was quite funny and teased my kids about how they could tell everyone back at school about how I'm such a star! 

Dickens himself was a fantastic story teller, which is why his novels and TV adaptations of them, remain so popular to this day. And in much the same way as Dickens drew upon the people and places around him in his stories, so we all draw upon our perceptions and what we see, hear, feel and think to create our own story about who we are and what we believe ourselves capable and worthy of in life. 

And in much the same way as Dickens used his creativity and imagination to engage his readers and listeners, so with anxiety, you can find that you imagine all sorts of worst case scenarios and possible unwelcome outcomes. And even when you deal with one scenario, you may well find that the anxiety simply flows into some other scenarios of things going badly, even if that is just worry that you may feel anxious.  

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A very brief history of hypnosis:

I think any professional hypnotherapist should continue to pursue their learning and development and so for that reason, last year I decided to undertake another hypnotherapy qualification course to go with the qualifications I already held. The field of hypnosis and hypnotherapy, like all of psychology disciplines, continues to grow and evolve and it's important to keep abreast of the latest developments, particularly from the field of research, and to take on board other points of view and schools of thinking, rather than being wedded to only one approach or programme. I want to make sure I am offering the best possible advice and service to benefit my clients.

Whilst many hypnotherapists turn their back on an evidence based approach, I think it provides useful clarity and insights that can be adapted to help you achieve your goals.

Part of my research for the course included writing a brief summary of how hypnosis and hypnotherapy have evolved over time.  The field of hypnosis has a very long history and continues to evolve and develop to this day, yet for those interested, here is a brief overview of how things have adapted and changed over the years.

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Do you 'believe in anti-depressants'?

The other day a client was telling me how she'd spoken to a previous therapist before coming to work with me. That therapist had told her that she 'didn't believe in anti-depressants'. Now I don't know about you but I find that rather an odd thing for a therapist to say to a prospective client having only met them for half an hour or so.

Now bear in mind that this client had been through some pretty upsetting and traumatic stuff, had visited their GP and, on the advice of the GP, was taking anti-depressants and having regular follow up reviews with their doctor. So for a non-medically trained therapist to turn around to the client (whose self-esteem was pretty way down there anyway) and effectively tell them they are doing stuff wrong seems pretty incredulous to me. 

I'm going to apologise right now if it seems like I've got a bee in my bonnet about this but the fact it I have. I think it's pretty insulting for a therapist to force their views and beliefs onto a client and, more than that, it shows a lack of respect to the client and to the medical profession as a whole. For some reason there are whole bands of therapists (of many types) out there who feel they are more qualified about medication than a doctor and who seem to think of doctors as nothing more than evil minions of powerful pharmaceutical companies with nothing better to do than dish out anti-depressants irrespective of the needs of their patient.

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Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone:

We hear a lot of talk about how life begins at the end of our comfort zone don't we? Like we can't possibly be happy and content for a moment because we need to push, push, push...

And whilst I sometimes wonder just how true this is as an absolute (after all, if you do what you always do and are happy and healthy then do you really need to go outside that comfort zone?), it's often considered a human need to stretch ourselves and to learn and grow. For example, the Human Givens Institute suggest that being stretched in what we do and think gives our life meaning and purpose.

Personally I like to push myself in many facets of my life (although not necessarily all at once!). For example, we've just had 'Hell Week' at bootcamp where every session is ramped up a further notch and you have to dig deep physically and mentally to get the reps done. I kind of like that, the taking it a bit further, after all, we are all too often far more capable than we think we are and sometimes we need an environment that nurtures and promotes that within us.

This month marks the third anniversary of when I moved into my current office, a change that at that time seemed like a massive leap outside of my comfort zone. Up until that point I had always operated out of complementary health clinics, being around other practitioners and have that support structure. Yet I knew that I had outgrown that set up and the demand for my services meant I needed my own space. Yet at the time of planning it and committing to it, I can remember constantly questioning myself about whether I was doing the right thing or not.

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Overcoming Emotional Eating - New Weight Loss Video Testimonial:

Earlier this month, I recorded this new video hypnotherapy testimonial with a lovely lady who sought my help to change her relationship with food.

Interestingly, the testimonial was recorded around the same time that Public Health England reported on progress towards their target to reduce our sugar intake and their challenge to manufacturers and the like to cut 20% of sugar in a range of foods by 2020. One year after being set the target, retailers and manufacturers had achieved a 2% reduction in both average sugar content and calories in products likely to be consumed in one go.

Of course, sugary foods are often those that we turn to when we emotionally eat. The sugar fix calms our stress, anxiety and worry for a bit but then we may find ourselves repeating the same pattern of using food to feel better over and over. And that can have a huge impact on our health and waist line.

The other week my kids were eating a (not to be named brand!) chocolate and hazelnut spread and challenged me to try a bit. Because I want to encourage them to try different foods to decide whether they like them (rather than deciding they don't like it in advance of ever trying it!), I had a bit. I'll be honest: it was lush. Later on that day I saw I saw the jar in the kitchen, and suddenly deciding I was hungry and needed an energy boost, I had a bit more. "It's alright," I told myself, because I need the energy for exercising. Over the next few days I found myself thinking about eating it, even looking forward to it. I started to get little cravings for it that grew and grew if they weren't satisfied. 

Now luckily I spotted what was happening and decided that nothing should have that much of a hold over me and stopped my unnecessary consumption in its tracks. But I think it shows how sugar and fat filled foods can quickly take a hold and start to escalate the unneeded calories we consume. Add in an emotional element like stress or anxiety or feeling rubbish about ourselves and that hold and that emotional eating pattern can take on a force that can be hard to resist.

Anyway, back to what Laura had to say in her video review of our sessions together...

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The power of music to ease stress and anxiety symptoms

Last week I had the privilege of being invited as a guest to watch the awesome blues artist, Danny Bryant, perform in Cambridge. If you've never checked him out you should take a look at some of his stuff right now because his singing and guitar playing are something special. 

In fact music can be pretty mesmerising can't it? There were moments at the concert where I was lost in a sort of music trance while watching the band play and listening to the songs. Some of the time I pretty much lost track of where I was and the other people around me because I was just enjoying watching and listening so much.

And I bet you've had those moments where a song comes on and all of a sudden you remember a time from the past linked to that song, perhaps even eliciting an emotional response to the music. Of course, what we often do is listen to the music that reflects our current mood so if we are feellng down we listen to sad songs and if we feel happy we listen to songs that give us a good feeling.  

As music can have such strong associations it makes sense to try and utilise this power doesn't it?

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Ely Eels Day - Embracing My Inner Morris Dancer!

This past Bank Holiday weekend was a record breaker for the high temperatures reached here in the UK - it has been scorching hot for three days straight (a slight contrast to the persistent rain we've had in recent weeks!). And this weekend marked the annual Ely Eels Day here in Ely, Cambridgeshire. In fact, Ely derives its name from the Isle of Eels when it was an island surrounded by fen marshland and eels were a much bigger part of life than they are now.

Now one thing I love about living in this part of the world is when the various Morris dancing groups hit town (as they do a few times a year). Suddenly you have these groups of dancers, all dressed up in their unique garb, performing through the day around the City. I really do enjoy watching them perform and I'm even almost tempted to want to tie bells to my shins, paint my face green and dive in for a song or two! (Anyone else want to join in?!).

Of course there were lots of other things going on with street stalls, a procession, rides for the kids and an arena where local dance groups performed their routines in the sun for the huge crowds (everything from ballet to street dance were on display). 

But back to Morris dancing because I think there are a few valuable things we can all learn from Morris dancers...

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Overcoming Embarrassment - Ending Anxiety & Fear

Do you ever get anxious that you might somehow embarrass yourself in front of others? It's a pretty common thing to worry about how others might judge or perceive you if you are battling with anxiety or self-consciousness issues. 

In fact, it can go a little further than that and you may find that you take on anxiety for fear of other people being embarrassed or because of something they are doing. I've even known clients with anxiety and fears to become panicky when watching things on TV or in meetings happening to others yet responding as if it is happening to them.

The other day I was messing about making up silly new lyrics to familiar songs with my kids and the words I was saying came out pronounced all wrong. Now in an environment with people where you can relax and be yourself, such things can just be laughed off and forgotten as soon as you move on to something else.

Yet sometimes things happen (or could happen) around others, and that's where the fear and worry comes in. I can still remember a time many, many years ago when I fell over on the bus to where I lived as it swerved around a corner. It doesn't bother me to think back on it now yet at the time I was acutely aware of people laughing, of someone I knew from school seeing it happen and the anxiety and embarrassment that coursed through my mind and body. It ruined the rest of that day and I brooded on it for days after (and avoided as best as I could being seen by that person who knew me). It made me anxious about bus journeys and hyper on edge on them for many months after in case I should endure a repeat performance.

Fast forward to earlier this year and we were out in Bury St Edmunds shopping because the girls had got vouchers as part of their Christmas present from a relative. We were in a crowded little shop that sells pencils, rubbers, pencil cases and lunchboxes (and a million other things aimed at little people) in bright colours. To me it looks like overpriced tat but to kids it seems to be irresistible. Anyway, I was trying to squeeze past everyone to escape from the shop when somehow my rucksack caught the table display and brought the whole lot crashing down in a mass of boxes and brightly coloured stationary type things. It went everywhere and it was loud. It was the shopping equivalent of when you are in a pub, restaurant or coffee shop and someone drops and smashes a glass and in that moment, the entire place stops mid-sentence and turns to look.  I paused, sincerely apologised to the assistant (who, judging by his reaction, was clearly already having a very bad day) and we bought our stuff and left to get on with the rest of the day.

The first occasion on the bus, when I was anxious and self-conscious, was like torture; yet the experience in the shop was just a fleeting unfortunate mess-creating moment that was soon forgotten. 

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Data Protection Law Changes and My Privacy Policy

Unless you've ditched all your e-mail systems and avoided the news recently, you probably are aware that there are data protection law changes coming into place from May 2018 (in the EU). 

Many years ago now I worked in data protection and information compliance in the public sector, often involving sensitive data about people (it was in the legal field). In those days, it was very much about looking after data, keeping it accurate, keeping it secure and not sharing it with anyone who wasn't entitled to it. And these are pretty much the principles I took with me into my professional hypnotherapy practice.  

And, of course, these principles carry on within the new data protection regime that anyone who deals with anyone are currently getting their heads around (it's a mammoth piece of legislation!). 

This short blog is just a quick update on data protection related things.

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Social Anxiety - Why We Need More Than Just Conversation

The sun is finally shining here in the UK, Spring seems to have finally arrived and yesterday was my youngest's seventh birthday. Blimey time flies! It doesn't seem that long ago that she was coming home from hospital after being born! 

To celebrate her birthday we had family with us and a garden picnic and lots of running around, messing around, laughing and playing. Having moved on from fidget spinners, the next thing currently seems to be creating slime. I've got no idea what it's made from but it feels wet and slimy and cold when you hold it. So there was lots of slime making and colouring going on and, in one of my favourite moments, our rabbit seemed to learn how to play football!

And there was one moment yesterday when, as we were all sitting around in the living room, I know in the past (when I struggled with social anxiety) would have crushed me inside. When my social anxiety was a thing for me, I would have felt sick, hot, tense and then afterwards have replayed it a thousand times, each time twisting the knife inside because of how I would have perceived I'd made an idiot of myself in front of others.

You see, at some point, someone suggested playing that game where the others write a celebrity name on a post it note and then give it to you to put on your forehead before you ask them yes/no questions to try and work out who the person is. Now, if you suffer with social anxiety you may well appreciate how such a situation could seem like an ordeal. There you are in a confined space with half a dozen people watching you, while you try to ask sensible questions and not make an idiot of yourself along the way. I know when I had social anxiety I would have wanted the earth to open up and swallow me right there and then. But of course without that old anxiety, it was actually quite fun (mine was Elvis Presley in case you are wondering!). 

Recently a You Tube star (or at least that's how she was described in the press!), attracted a lot of publicity after starting a conversation about social anxiety on Twitter. And of course any raised awareness and openness about mental health issues is to be welcomed (if people want to talk about their mental health issues that is). Yet are we really going to just stop there - with conversation? Aren't we actually going to move on to real solutions about how to overcome social anxiety? 

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Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy - what it is and how it can help you combat anxiety:

Often when clients come to meet me for the first time they seem to think, based on the sloppy portrayals of hypnosis in the media, that I will start swinging a watch in front of their eyes and evoking some sort of mystical persona (perhaps a bit like Gandalf in Lord of The Rings or something from Harry Potter). They've seen things in TV programmes and in films and stage show type environments that leads them to form an opinion that hypnosis is something unknown, mystical and magical in some way. 

They may also think that hypnosis is something you can either do or not do, that is, either you can 'go under' or you can't, either it will work for you or you can't be hypnotised (full stop). And it makes sense that we form these perceptions based upon the things we see and hear about 'going under' and myths about being controlled by the hypnotist.

In fact, part of the reason I went to a hypnotist for help with my anxiety was that I wanted to be 'knocked out' and then come round to find that I had ultra amazing levels of self-belief and confidence, before heading off into the sunset with ultra-confidence and anxiety freedom for ever more (seriously, I thought I would be put under and awake to have all the confidence in the world). The first hypnotist I saw spent hour after hour taking me back through unpleasant and anxiety filled memories in the hope of finding some root cause yet all that did was make me feel more depressed and more anxious. The next hypnotist I saw transformed my life and whilst the results of hypnotherapy often seem magical, they are of course, built upon normal psychological processes that we are all capable of identifying, taking control over and changing.

Rather than being seemingly controlled by ongoing, intrusive and habitual anxiety filled thoughts, those same psychological processes can be used to create thoughts and feelings that leave us feeling happier, calmer and more in control.

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Motivation and results - Come rain or shine!

It's been a lovely day here today yet earlier this week, just a few days ago, it was a very different story. Over the Easter bank holiday weekend the heavens seemed to open and the rain poured down. Lots of well made plans were waterlogged (including my trip to watch Ely City FC with my daughter and father in law). 

And on Monday morning, which was a bank holiday here in the UK, my usual evening bootcamp was moved to eight in the morning. Whilst I only ate a small amount of chocolate over Easter, anyone who knows me knows I love that feeling after a hard work out - my mental health feels boosted and i know my physical health is benefitting too.

That Sunday night and into the early hours of Monday it absolutely poured down. The rain was so heavy that the noise of it on the windows woke me up two or three times during the night. When my alarm went off at 7 a.m. (cause yes it takes me an hour to wake up physically and mentally before I can exercise), there was a massive temptation to switch it off, roll over and go back to sleep. My bed was so warm and comfy and outside I knew it was wet and cold. 

So what do you do? Stay in the warm and dry and enjoy the comfort, or push yourself out of bed and just get on with it?

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Sugar Cravings - are you craving chocolate at Easter?

As I write this article, Easter is just a few short days away and already my kids are craving chocolate that they expect to receive over the weekend (from the Easter Bunny herself!).

Yesterday I nipped into a local supermarket with my daughter to grab some water (for us) and spinach (for our rabbit) and it never ceases to amaze me just how many Easter eggs they can cram into one shop. The moment we entered the store we were faced with tall towers of brightly packaged eggs that seemed to be screaming to be eaten. There were hundreds of them. They were seemingly everywhere around the store; every corner and end of aisle was rammed with chocolate eggs. And assuming that the other local shops are equally as stocked up, I'm pretty sure that if we've divided them out there was enough for everyone in the City to have one (if not two) each! 

When I was a kid I loved this time of year and the huge hit that met my sugar cravings and cravings for chocolate. I'd eat tons of the stuff and that probably explains why well into my teens I was fat and overweight. 

And even though I never eat sweets (apart from during one ultramarathon as an exception), and don't have much chocolate, all those brightly coloured wrappers and promises of luxurious melting chocolate goodiness was enough for me to start salivating a bit (albeit way short of a full blown chocolate craving). I have been to sugar craving land and there was a time when I couldn't be in the same building as a chocolate digestive - and I've been known to fall into festive chocolate craving traps (even if I usually manage to keep to my arbitrary rule of only having three of them).

For sure, all that sugar and fat is enough to create chocolate cravings so overpowering that we can almost feel helpless in the face of the cravings. The chocolate call to us, it cries out from the kitchen beckoning us to enjoy both the sugar hit and the relief from battling against the cravings. After all, once that lot is all eaten, we certainly won't ever buy any more ever again, will we?

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Hypnosis Downloads - New Titles, New Shop...

Earlier this week I headed back into the recording studio to record a couple of new hypnosis downloads. As much as people keep asking me to record new hypnosis tracks, finding the time to research, prepare and then record them has proven to be a bit of a challenge in recent months due to the high volume of people I've been helping in Ely and Newmarket and over Skype/Facetime.

i always get great feedback on my hypnosis downloads, which I currently have for such issues as anxiety relief, stress relief, letting go of worry and boosting self-confidence.

I'm very pleased to now add two new titles to the collection and am making a commitment to get back in the studio much more regularly this year to expand my offerings.

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Ely Hero Awards 2018 Nomination - Thank You!

Very honoured and grateful today to learn that I've been nominated for an Ely Hero Award 2018. 

It really does mean a lot to know that I've made such a positive difference to someone's life that they felt compelled to take the time and effort to nominate me. Thank you!  

There are many, many local people in Ely doing great things in this area and I hope many of them also get nominated for the great stuff they are doing.  

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Depression, Anti-Depressants & Mental Health - Do The Tablets Actually Work?

It's a debate that has gone on as long as anti-depressants have been available: Do they actually work or is it all down to the placebo effect? In my professional circles, social media has long been littered with those who are advocates of anti-depressants in the treatment of depression (often those who are or who have found personal benefits from them) and those who can only be described as opponents of them (often from a philosophical or anti-big-pharma standpoint). 

I've worked with hundreds of people with depression (and anxiety). Some chose not to start taking anti-depressants; of course they are entirely within their rights to make this decision and to pursue other sources of effective help. Some people who come to me are taking anti-depressants and noticing no change from taking them or report they are finding them only partially helping to ease their symptoms and so are seeking additional support. And of course there will be others who are prescribed anti-depressants and who find them completely helpful and so don't require any other therapeutic help.

My view, which I can state upfront, is that it is up to each individual to make the decision that suits them best. When someone comes to work with me, they may or may not be taking anti-depressants, yet either way we work with their individual situation, thoughts and feelings to make progress. Following this progress, my client can then go back to their doctor to discuss the possibility of gradually coming off the tablets if they wish to do so (and with the full co-operation, advice and review of their doctor). 

Sadly there are also still too many therapists (of many types) who seek to impose their own views upon clients and who, despite not being doctors or knowing the person's medical history, still suggest to them they should stop taking the tablets (usually with the advice to seek treatment from that therapist). In my view, this is both unprofessional and unethical and should be a big, bright waving red flag if you ever hear such assertions.

Anyway, I digress slightly as the main focus of this article is the recent study that has found that anti-depressants are more effective than placebos at reducing symptoms of acute depression in adults.

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My latest vlog - Mental Health & Pets:

Recently I wrote an article about how pets can benefit your mental health. This followed on from a recent research paper that carried out a systematic review of 17 studies involving 1727 pet owners, all of whom had mental health conditions. 

In the conclusion the report says, 'this review suggests that pets provide benefits to those with mental health conditions through the intensity of connectivity with their owners and the contribution they make to emotional support in times of crises together with their ability to help manage symptoms when they arise.' 

Now I like this because I think pets can help to support our mental health even in the absence of having a mental health condition. Pets provide a consistent and close source of calming support and companionship, distraction from unwanted symptoms, a sense of purpose and routine and they offer acceptance without judgment. 

When I was a young teenager, struggling with low self esteem and anxiety, we inherited a cockatiel following the death of a family member (he was called Joe for some reason and he must have been camera shy because I haven't got a photo of him). Many was the time when I would get home from school feeling low because of some (at least perceived) anxious or embarrassing moment I'd endured that day. So I'd get Joe out and we'd sit on the floor and interact (he liked to rip matchsticks to pieces with his beak) and maybe I'd have some sort of conversation with him about my day (I did all the talking!) and I'd invariably feel better for it.

Recently, following a campaign of sustained requests from the kids and being sure they were old enough to care for her, we adopted a pet rabbit who my daughter has named 'Nibbles' and it's really impressed me how involved and purposeful the girls have been in taking care of her. Nibbles makes her first ever video appearance below...

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Latest hypnotherapy testimonials - overcoming anxiety:

It's always a lovely thing to receive a hypnotherapy testimonial from a happy client. As my clients know, I invest a huge amount of energy, time and focus into helping them make progress and achieve their goals.

And having suffered and overcome anxiety in my life, the knowledge of how overwhelming all those anxious thoughts and feelings can be inspired me even more to help those who seek my help. Of course, effective hypnotherapy is a joint effort. My clients have to be motivated to change, adopt a positive mind-set and take structured action outside of our sessions too in order to reap the results. And of course it's a fantastic moment for me, both personally and professionally, to help so many people overcome anxiety, increase confidence and succeed in many other ways.

I know many people take the bold step to seek my help having themselves been inspired and motivated by learning of other people's success. And the more we all talk about how we can improve our mental health the better. Yet increasing our mental health is more than just talking and talking about problems and issues; it's about taking action to change such things as our thoughts, cognitions, imagination, beliefs, mind-set and perspective.

Recently I've received some wonderful feedback from people who have literally changed their lives through our hypnotherapy sessions and I want to share these inspiring stories with you here in the hope that if you are struggling with a mental health issue, you too will take that first step to successfully overcoming it.

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Weight Loss - Does Britain need to eat less?

This week Public Health England announced steps to reduce 20% of calories in popular foods by 2024 to tackle childhood obesity. 

As they put it, 'Too many children and most adults are overweight or obese, suffering consequences from bullying and low self-esteem in childhood, to type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers as adults. An obese parent is more likely to have an obese child, who in turn is more likely to grow up into an obese adult.' The aim is to help people achieve weight loss and be healthier by cutting the calories consumed by eating less.

Public Health England's challenge to the food industry is to reduce calories in their products, such as pizzas, ready meals and savoury snacks by changing recipes, reducing portion sizes and encouraging people to buy lower calorie products.

All very worthy stuff isn't it? And no doubt the food industry, sensing the direction of policy and keen to continue healthy sales will produce products to meet this weight loss demand. Anything that makes life simpler wlll help although actually, such products already exist for those who choose to take them. 

Personally I aim to eat relatively sensibly most of the time - having been 'the fat kid' at school, there is no way I want to go back to being overweight. I hated it. It impacted on my self esteem massively and created a negative spiral in that because I was unhappy I would eat more and being unfit I would avoid  the embarrassment of exercise as much as possible. Which meant that I ate more and moved less and got bigger. 

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Hypnotherapy on TV...Let's All Let Out A Collective Sigh:

I'm sure it's the same in many professions like paramedics watching hospital programmes and teachers watching school based programmes. You sit there and cringe wondering what on earth is going on. And it's certainly true (or at least should be for the well trained) for hypnotherapists watching hypnosis being portrayed on TV. As soon as a character in a drama mentions the possiblity of going to a hypnotherapist I let out a little sigh...

And soo it was with ITV's latest episode of Marcella. If you haven't seen it, Marcella is a detective drama starring Anna Friel. I think it's an excellent drama with a gripping plot and great actors and it's a firm fixture in my weekly viewing. But then they go and do that sloppy thing that dramas do and introduce a hypnotist to move the plot along.

You see, the main character (Friel) suffers with violent black outs in moments of extreme stress and has no recollection of them afterwards. So, having been given a contact number by her ex-husband's girlfriend, she goes to a hypnotist to help to deal with these black outs.

Let's remember that it is a drama and not a documentary but still...we get to see Marcella sat there, visibly distressed, before a hypnotherapist apparently induces hypnosis and takes her back to the time it all started, a particularly traumatic memory that generates huge amounts of distress and frustration for the detective client. To end it all, the therapist, to her very visibly distraught client, says something along the lines of "we'll leave it there for today then". Seriously? 

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Mental Health & Pets - How Pets Can Benefit Your Mental Health:

A recent review has suggested that pets provide benefits to those with mental health conditions. That's right: having a pet can help you if you have a mental health issue.

Interestingly enough, this review comes just a few weeks after we have expanded the Regan household to include Nibbles the rabbit. She's on her own right now as the other rabbit we were going to adopt fell ill yet soon we will be socialising her to live with a new rabbit friend. It's been pretty great to see how my girls have taken on the responsibility of looking after Nibbles. They are out there first thing in the morning adding hay and food and changing the water. They are out there again after school and before bedtime to make sure she is ok and to have some rabbit time. In fact, I think that the amount of times they spend watching TV and on other screens has probably dropped about 50% or more.

And, combined with a change of school for our eldest, we've really got our daughter back after the issues we had at her old school that were impacting on her mental health and wellbeing. It's been great to see. It's also given me a great excuse to repeatedly sing the classic 80's Chas & Dave song 'Rabbit' which although having nothing to do with actual rabbits, certainly mentions them a lot!

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Exercise & Mental Health - Depression, Stress & Memory:

This past weekend my daughter and I took part in our first ever virtual running race. Now if you are new to virtual running, it's like an organised running event except that instead of turning up to the start line on a specific day and time, you have much more flexibility as to when you do it. Our race was the Magnificent 5km organised by Zoom Virtual Races and we had to complete the run and then send evidence of having done it to the organisers before the end of February. 

As well as the advantage of flexibility, it's a great way for me to spend some healthy, active time with my daughter. If you've been reading my blogs for a while you'll know that we regularly run the Ely Festive 5k each year although, given the cold this weekend, I wish I'd stuck my fake Santa beard on my face to add some extra warmth! It was freezing cold! And for some reason I decided that the best place for us to run was in a muddy field where the strong wind came howling into us around every corner!   

Now I'm a great lover of exercise as I know it benefits my mental health and physical health. My long standing leg injury means I've turned more to bootcamp over the last year (and I love it!) and if nothing else, yesterday was more evidence that my leg injury hasn't yet subsided as much as I'd hoped. But never mind, because there is still much to benefit mental health even where there are some activities that are more challenging than others.

In fact, a lot of research has demonstrated the power of exercise to boost our mental health and I've got a few examples that are worth taking a look at in this article.

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Health Anxiety Help: 

Last week I headed over to an appointment with a physiotherapist about my long standing leg injury that has kept me out of running for about a year now (thank goodness for bootcamp or I think I'd have lost the plot by now without any form of exercise!). 

Anyway, he checked out my movement, flexibility, leg strength and all the usual stuff and has given me some exercises to practice. Interestingly enough I often use the example of a physio when explaining how hypnotherapy works to clients, in that, in order to get results you need to go away and actually apply the strategies and techniques and take some action towards your goals. After all, if would be a bit pointless to go to the physio and then come away, do nothing and hope it changes all by itself - wouldn't it?!

Anyway I digress, because one thing that the physio asked me (that I've never been asked by physios before) was, 'have you googled your injury?' (oh how the times they are a-changing as Dylan might sing!).

Now these days I won't go near Doctor Google with my symptoms, whether it's a running niggle or anything else health related, for the simple reason that it's a sure fire way to drive up health anxiety. It could almost come with a guarantee of increased anxiety. Like many others I learnt this the harder way.

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Negative Thoughts, Mindfulness & Anxiety - The 321 Vlog:

Recently I wrote about a way to interrupt anxious thoughts and negative thoughts using the 3-2-1 technique. This is a very mindfulness based technique that shifts your focus and awareness to the here and now, rather than getting caught up in things from the past or worrying about what might happen in the future.

For those who prefer to get their anxiety relief fix in video form, I've also recorded this vlog about how to use the technique (and yes I did feel the need to talk about the TV show 321 and to do my lame attempt at the way Ted Rogers used to do the finger thing):

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Sports Performance - Mindset, Focus, Motivation, Results:

I can remember several years ago being desperate to complete a 10km race in under forty minutes. I would enter race after race in my attempts to reach the glory of the sub-40 minute time. It filled my thoughts at work and it dominated my conversations with other runners. It was a goal I had set myself and I was determined to get there.

Yet try as I might, for a long time it eluded me. I would cross the finish line one or two seconds over forty minutes - literally one or two seconds from getting it nailed. Over 6.2 miles of running, a couple of seconds is nothing, it's almost meaningless. Yet when the clock stopped, those couple of seconds were pretty much the most frustrating things ever known! 

I knew I was physically capable of knocking off those couple of seconds but what I didn't appreciate at that time was, no matter how physically ready I was from my training, mentally I was getting in my own way. My mind was filled with pressure, stress, doubts both before and during the race. I might lose focus for half a mile and realise I was off the needed pace to reach my goal. Once in a race, as I approached a corner I saw a sign that said it was 200 metres to the finish line, I looked at my watch, realised I couldn't hit the sub-40 and slowed a little, only to turn the corner, see the finish line was only about 100 metres away and realise in that moment of over thinking and lack of focus, I'd blown what would have been relatively easy to achieve. 

Once I learned some effective sports performance hypnotherapy strategies I went out there and nailed it three races in row. I felt like Robert Bannister when he broke the four minute mile (albeit I was a much slower Roger!).  

And if you've ever seen a golfer miss an easy putt because the pressure got to them, or a striker miss an easy goal because they'd lost confidence, or a driver start to overthink and hesitate because of a previous crash, then you'll know how important your mind-set is to sports performance at any level.

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A Way To Change Negative Thoughts to More Positive Thinking:

Last time out I wrote about a way to interrupt unwanted thoughts using the 3-2-1 technique which can help you to deal with negative thinking or anxious thoughts.

That is, in order to break that cycle of anxious thoughts, stressful thoughts or negative thoughts (and any other unwanted overthinking), you bring your attention back to the here and now by describing to yourself three specific things you can see, three specific sounds you can hear and three specific sensations you can feel right now.  

You then repeat this doing two different sights, sounds and sensations and then one different example of each. You can repeat this pattern as often as is beneficial, always remembering to use different sights, sounds and sensations each time.

This mindfulness type of psychological technique works by having you focus on your experience right now, where thoughts of what might happen or what has happened don't exist. In addition, it moves your focus of attention from inside your own head (where all those thoughts were residing) to what is going on outside and around you. It's a way of taking control over what you are paying attention to and your thinking.

As such, it's a brilliant technique to learn and apply. Yet sometimes we want to have a way to actually direct our thoughts in a direction that we want them to go. We want to change negative thinking not just to this very moment but move towards creating a habit of more positive thinking.

So by extending this 3-2-1 technique we can start to do this very thing.

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Interrupt Negative Thoughts in 3...2..1.. - Anxiety Help:

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to get lost in your negative thoughts? Sometimes they just sort of creep up in your mind and before you know it, those anxious, negative thoughts and intrusive thoughts have taken hold and the spiral of anxiety can soon take over. And of course, once you feel anxious, your mind will always find something to attach it to in your imagination so it flows like a river, soaking everything you think.

Further down this article I've described a simple way to switch your negative thoughts so that your thinking and attention comes back to the here and now, rather than getting lost in future anxious thoughts. Anxiety is often described as like having an overactive mind that never switches off and starts to consider everything as a potential threat, and so you get all those what if this bad thing happens type negative thoughts, along with the worst case scenarios. And as anyone who has ever suffered with anxiety knows, most of those things never actually come to happen (but that doesn't stop the anxiety finding something else to worry about).

Yet when we bring our attention and thinking back to the here and now, there is no room for those types of negative thoughts and we can give our brains a bit of time off from all the anxiety.

Of course, one reason I love this 3-2-1 technique is because it reminds me of my younger days spent watching the TV show called '321' on prime time TV (back in the days when we only had three channels to choose from!). If you remember the show, you'll remember how the host, Ted Rogers, did this (seemingly amazing) quick thing with his fingers as he said the words three, two, one. We used to try and copy that on the primary school playground. And who can forget Dusty Bin!  (If you can't remember the quiz show, or are too young to have seen it, then have a look at this video which will help you understand the primitive world of TV in 1982! We thought this was great back then!! And be sure to catch the fastest fingers on TV!).

Anyway, enough of my childhood reminiscing, now back to interrupting negative thoughts in 3-2-1...

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Comparing Yourself To Others & Self-Esteem:

We've probably always done it, yet comparing yourself to others has hit boom time with the rise of social media. I like to think that, had he been alive today, Shakespeare would have changed his sonnet from 'shall I compare thee to a summer's day' to 'shall I compare how I feel and my own self-worth to your instagram and facebook profiles.'  

Now before anyone accuses me of blaming social media for leading us to compare ourselves with others, I'm not, and I should know it's been around longer because it's something I used to do incessantly before I'd ever heard of instagram, twitter, facebook and so on. There were times I could barely force myself out of the front door because of my anxiety-fuelled comparisons with others and worry about what they might think about me (and it was never something good).

Yet there's no denying that these days it's easier than ever to compare our own thoughts, feelings, perceptions and levels of self-esteem with the filtered, published results that someone chooses to portray online. We compare our inner self worth with someone else's carefully selected public profile. And if you are going through a hard time right now, then those images of smiley, happy people enjoying every moment of life can only make you feel a bit worse (after all, how come everyone else is so happy and you're not, right?).

It's something that comes up in my office, and I can reference a recent client where such a thing was adding to her feelings of low self-esteem.

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Quitting Smoking - Cut Down or Stop Completely?

This weekend just gone I spent Sunday with a lovely couple who had travelled over fifty miles to see me for help quitting smoking, having been referred my way by a friend who had also stopped smoking with me. One thing many smokers have tried in their previous quitting attempts is to start cutting down. 

It's perhaps long been assumed by many smokers that cutting down their habit must lead to a proportionate reduction in the risk of harm to their health. That is, if you go from a twenty a day habit down to ten a day, the surely the health risks must also be halved? 

However, recent research published in the British Medical Journal has found that, in the case of cardiovascular disease (the risk of developing coronary heart disease or having a stroke),  

As they conclude in their findings, "Smoking only about one cigarette per day carries a risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke much greater than expected: around half that for people who smoke 20 per day. No safe level of smoking exists for cardiovascular disease. Smokers should aim to quit instead of cutting down to significantly reduce their risk of these two common major disorders."

That's pretty hard hitting stuff if you are currently a smoker and you thought that cutting down was safer in some way, the fact is, it just isn't that much safer with regards to heart disease and stroke risks. And perhaps this is even more alarming when you consider that, as reported by the BBC,  "cardiovascular disease, not cancer, is the greatest mortality risk for smoking, causing about 48% of smoking-related premature deaths".

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Stoic advice for dealing with annoying people - Stress Management Help

Over recent weeks I've become more and more interested in Stoicism, an ancient Greek school of philosophy (and I can tell you outright that philosophy has never been top of my list of things I want to learn more about!). I certainly wouldn't describe myself as a Stoic, yet there is a lot of gold in the writings and approach taken by the Stoics.

And whereas stoicism is often taken to refer to 'the endurance of pain or hardship without the display of feelings and without complaint' (as a google definition describes it), in fact it more refers to ways and ideas to achieve more inner tranquillity, peace and joy in your life and by seeking an absence of negative emotions such as anger, anxiety and fear.

Which of course has huge overlaps with the goals that people describe when they come to see me for help to overcome these issues and to become more mentally calm and feel more confident in themselves (and thus reducing their anxiety, stress and fear).

So here today I'm drawing upon some of this good stuff to talk about how to deal with annoying people, or more accurately how you can take back control so that they no longer annoy you.

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And Now...For Something To Tackle Overthinking & Negative Thoughts:

It's been another busy weekend in the Regan household and once again we headed through the streets of Ely on a rock hunt (I've written about the benefits of rock hunting in another blog). This time we were out in the snow which fell consistently for a few hours yet didn't stop us finding over a dozen of the painted rocks hidden around the city.    

Of course, whilst we might find a few in close proximity, and there's always a bit of a family buzz about checking out the design painted on the rock and any writing about who created it, there can also be long periods where no matter how closely we are looking, we just don't spot any (and being a slightly competitive person, that just makes me more determined to keep searching for longer!).

During these quieter periods, it's only natural that the kids and I start to become a little disheartened. We start to notice that, in the snow, we feel a bit cold and want to get indoors in the warm and dry, and the kids start to get a bit disinterested and start complaining of being tired or hungry. 

And, just as with anxiety and stress and overthinking, it could be quite easy to fall into an ever increasing cycle of negative thoughts. That is, a negative thought starts to go around and around our minds, we feel anxious, stressed or low, and that leads to even more overthinking and negative thoughts.  

One of the key things in taking control over thinking and negative thoughts is to start to break that cycle. It's that loop where you get more and more stuck in your thinking and it all just seems to go around and around your mind with little or no let up or peace from it.

So here I have one quick technique that I teach to my clients, that I use with my kids (to shift them from feeling negative) and that I use myself. 

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Helping your child with bullying at school:

It's been a tough old week or so in the Regan household as we discovered that one of the girls was being bullied at school. Of course, we'd noticed that something was going on as there were changes in behaviours at home such as being tearful and anxious, becoming more attached, withdrawing from activities that were enjoyable before and a huge drop in appetite. 

And as many other parents experience when their child is anxious and upset (whether caused by bullying or something else), it isn't always the easiest to get to the root of what is going on - especially when it all happens when they aren't around you so all you see are the knock on effects. I've got to say it's tough seeing your girl so unhappy and not knowing what to do to help her because she doesn't want to open up to you or anyone.  

Thankfully, using some of the ideas below we have been able to break the bullying behaviours that were going on at school, put things back on track and we now have our usual happy girl once again. One thing I often get asked about by other parents if how they can help their children to manage anxiety and what they can do to help them so I've included in this article some of these ideas, with the caveat that I don't know your particular situation and circumstances so I can't guarantee how well they will work for you - they certainly helped us to resolve this bullying issue so I hope that they can help you too. 

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Rock-tastic Mindfulness! Why I'm Loving The Current Ely Rocks Mania!

This weekend was a big one in the Regan household as we went family rock-hunting for the first time around the streets of Ely. That's right, rock-hunting! 

Here in Ely, a growing number of people are drawing, painting and decorating rocks and hiding them around Ely for others to search for and find. There's a Facebook group with over 1200 members so that when you find a rock, you take a photo of it, post it in the group and then rehide it for someone else to discover. And as the Facebook photos show, there are some pretty talented artists out there of all ages. In fact, a quick scroll through the page shows I've come to this at least a couple of months late but hey, what does that matter now I'm here!

Now I don't actually know who started this idea or whether it's bigger than just Ely and the surrounding area, yet what I do know is that it's pretty addictively fun stuff! After finding my first rock on my walk to work the other day, I've found myself eagerly walking around my usual Ely routes yet with my eyes peeled to spot more amazing rock finds (ok, ok so my eyes are actually checking out every possible corner and hiding place along the way...and yes I have actually altered my route a bit to go past places where I'm sure there must be some rocks hidden...I mean they are just awesome places to put a painted rock...come on rockers, please someone put some more rocks out on my route!!).

And having taken my rock finds home to show my kids, they were very excited about the weekend and having a chance to get out there and find some rocks themselves. It's great family fun! 

Along with being lots of fun, here are some other reasons why I think no matter where you live, you should get rocking...

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How hypnotherapy can help you ease symptoms of anxiety:

I'm delighted to have once again been published on the Good Zing website, this time talking about hypnotherapy for anxiety and how it can help you.

If you haven't discovered the Good Zing website yet, it's a place where you can find everyday health and wellness tips on a wide range of issues and topics. If you are heading over that way, why not start by taking a look at some of my tips and advice for dealing with anxiety or my article about 5 Simple Ways to Shut Down Your Anxiety.

In my article I talk about how hypnotherapy can help you take back control over your thoughts and feelings, rather than being seemingly controlled by them. Why not click on the link below, have a read and then let me know what you think?

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Increasing Focus and Productivity in 2018:

Wowzers! It's the end of the first working week of 2018 already! How did that pass by so quickly? (Ok, I know that for most of us here in the UK it was a shorter week because of the Bank Holiday on Monday, but still....)

This week has been crazy busy with clients and I've been helping people with, amongst other things, overcoming anxiety (including a client who hadn't left the house for weeks and after our session was able to go to a packed-out event in London!), quitting smoking (I had a great update form a client who came just before Christmas and is now well on the way to three weeks as a non-smoker), ending exam anxiety, ending insomnia and many clients who want to increase their confidence and self belief.  

Outside of that it's been hectic with the kids going back to school and trying to resurrect the old getting up and ready on time routine and I've survived back-to-back bootcamps for the first time after a couple of weeks' break from them over the holidays.

So many people I've spoken to tell me how 2017 seemed to fly by for them in one big blur, and I can resonate with that as while overall I had a great year, it often seemed to whizz by, divided into my three main priorities of family, work and exercise. 

And because our time is so limited, I'm determined to get even more focused and productive at work this year so that I can enjoy more time with my kids (and throwing a tyre around at bootcamp). 

Yet if you are a bit like me then this first week has not been your most productive. Sure I've got the essentials done but with getting used to getting up in the morning and trying to get back in the groove with work processes and systems, it's seemed more of a lumpy journey than a seemless one.

So with these first few days out of the way, I'm getting back on track right now! Here are three things I'm putting in place to increase my focus and productivity:

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Happy New Year! Let's Get Cracking On with 2018!

Phew! Christmas week is over and it's been a pretty hectic one in the Regan household!

Christmas morning began at the early hour of 2 am when my very excited kids woke up to investigate whether Santa had been yet. My two had been told they could open and play with the presents left in their rooms but they were not allowed downstairs and they certainly were not to wake me and my wife before 7 am - turned out this was beyond wishful thinking and we had a slightly surreal moment when my eldest tried in earnest to persuade me at 3am that it was actually 7am! 

And in what seems like no time at all we have gone all through Christmas week and we are into 2018 already! I'm super excited about this coming year and can't wait to get back to helping people overcome their anxiety, stress and worry. I had some fantastic updates from clients over the Christmas week which has only fuelled my eagerness to get going with 2018.

Today I popped into the office with my eldest daughter to start getting things sorted ready for getting back to helping clients tomorrow. While there we recorded this short video to wish you a very Happy New Year and to encourage you to get started taking action on your goals so that this time next year you'll be looking back on a fantastic 2018 rather than wondering what happened to the year (and you can enjoy the moment where my soon-to-be ten year old decides to stick her tongue out!).

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So here it is Merry Christmas from Dan Regan Hypnotherapy:

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the Regan household with the decorations up, presents getting wrapped, Slade and Wizzard on the radio and two rather excited young girls!  Before we go any further let's settle about the best ever Christmas pop sings. The answers are Slade, Wizzard and Bony M. I'm glad to get that sorted.

Last Sunday I took the girls to see the fabulous Christmas tree at Ely Cathedral. It really is an impressive sight and looks amazing. And there was a light display that the kids loved playing around with to change the shape and the colour. We also made some progress on presents with one of my girls buying the other a present (but not vice versa yet!) - it really is incredible how long someone can spend deciding if they really, really want that 50p eraser as part of their presents. But we got there in the end!

And as well as having a wonderful year with my girls, it's also been a truly fantastic year for Dan Regan Hypnotherapy.

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How to stay in control over Christmas eating:

It's that time of year again when everyone buys enough food to last a month and over-eating becomes the flavour of the month! Or is it? 

Yesterday I was talking to a client who through our sessions has taken control over his eating, ditched unhealthy choices and ended binge eating. However, like many other people, he was a bit concerned that over the Christmas period this control would be put to the test and so he wanted a few quick and easy ways to help him enjoy the festive period but without impacting on his health and happiness. And that's exactly when I have for you here today.

Christmas can be a very testing time if you are someone who wants to be healthy and be in control over eating. There's almost an expectation that you should over-indulge in all sorts of food and drink or you won't be able to enjoy yourself. Of course that's nonsense, however, with sweets in the office and social events and alcohol, sweets and cake seemingly in every direction, it can be easy to overeat and then spend January wishing you hadn't!!

So here I've got 5 simple hacks to help you keep more in control over your eating if you want to enjoy the festive period yet not go too crazy!

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The top 10 blogs of 2017 from Dan Regan Hypnotherapy:

It's been another busy year here at Dan Regan Hypnotherapy and, as is often the case as we approach the end of 2017. It's a good time to look back on what has been achieved this year.

With over fifty website articles published this year, I thought you might like the opportunity to look back over some that have proved the most popular with visitors to my site. And while I'm about it can I just say a huge thank you to everyone who has read, liked and shared my posts and articles this year, I really appreciate your support.

So here we go, here are the top ten hypnotherapy articles of the year!

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Mindfulness - Being Mindful while playing in the snow!

We've had snow! It seems winter strikes even here in the tropics of East Anglia! On Sunday we had lots of lovely snow that poured down all through the morning and led to lots of fun in the snow with my kids.

Although actually, that Sunday was the first Sunday ever I had agreed to work with clients (usually Sunday is a no-go zone reserved for my family time). These two clients however were planning to travel quite a distance to work with me to quit smoking after being referred by a friend of theirs who had also been to see me to stop smoking. But the best laid plans can fall by the wayside once the snow arrives in the UK! Thirty minutes after leaving their house they had only made it two miles through the ungritted roads and so we had to postpone to another day.

On the plus side, I had the most awesome walk in the fresh snow on my way to my office! I love the freshness of the snow and how it transforms the landscape (even if it does tend to bring life to a standstill in the UK, unlike in the USA where the American football game between Buffalo and Indianapolis was played in a blizzard and the pitch could hardly even be seen!!).

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Quit Smoking Now with my Quit Smoking Hypnosis Programme:

There has never been a better time to quit smoking, especially if the cost of smoking is an important factor to you. Last month's UK Budget saw the price of cigarettes increase by 4.9% and tobacco increase by 5.9% (as reported in the Daily Mirror)

Of course, when it comes to your motivation to quit smoking, it may be that money is only part of the picture.

After all, health issues are normally way up that list of reasons to come and see me for quit smoking hypnosis. It may be noticing that you get out of breath more and more frequently or perhaps you or a loved one have had an illness scare that has tipped that balance to taking action. There are plenty of other reasons to quit smoking too, including the smell, worries about your kids copying your habit, the impact on your skin and the ever growing anti social nature of it that can mean you find yourself standing alone outside in all weather. 

Recently I've had a large influx of people coming to see me after other stop smoking hypnosis clients have referred them to me. 

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Ely Christmas Lights Switch On and Coping with Stress at Christmas

How are your Christmas preparations coming along?  We started putting up our Christmas decorations at home and last Friday we all enjoyed going to watch the Ely Christmas lights being switched on by the Mayor along with Boogie Storm (if you don't know who Boogie Storm are, they are a dance group dressed as Star Wars Stormtroopers who appeared on Britain's Got Talent).

Despite the freezing cold, we had a great time watching the Ely Pantomime characters on stage (and getting a photo taken of the girls with 'Willy'), checking out the various stalls, saying hello to Mickey and Minnie Mouse and visiting Santa in his Grotto. There was also a very talented fire juggler and loads of rides and other stuff that made it a great occasion. And there were some great fireworks once all the lights had been switched on.

You can have a look at my amateur video recording of the fireworks and a few bits from Boogie Storm in this video:

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How To Beat Exam Stress & Anxiety - Cambridge News

Just recently I've seen a large increase in the number of calls and clients I'm speaking to about exam stress and anxiety. With mock exams timetabled for early in the New Year, and final exams following in the summer, many students find that their stress and anxiety levels rise so intensely that they can't perform to their potential.

Some students find that the stress stops them concentrating, whilst others feel sick or a sense of dread at the thought of sitting in the exam room. And all those exam anxiety thoughts and feelings can really hinder effective revision and study, as well as creating worries about feeling unwell or going blank in the exam.

I was delighted to once again appear in the Cambridge News earlier this year. This time my article was all around how to beat exam stress and anxiety. With exam time fast approaching, I wanted to share a few tips on how students can perform to their potential in the exam room.

As I have written about in previous articles, there is a free guide to overcoming exam stress, anxiety and fear available from this website. The guide covers ways to ease any stress and anxiety so you can perform to your potential, feeling calm, confident and in control around your exams.

With Childline reporting a huge increase in the number of students calling them about exam stress, it has never been more important that we share ways to manage the exam period successfully. 

So if you, or someone you know, have exams coming up then be sure to point them in the direction of my free guide and the Cambridge News article (link below).

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Is your smartphone addiction increasing your anxiety? 

Before you answer that, let me tell you that recent research suggests that smartphone addiction and internet addiction are very possibly increasing feelings of anxiety, depression and tiredness.

Earlier this week I was talking to a client who was telling me about her sleep issues, or more accurately, her lack of sleep, issues. Now one thing I always ask about in relation to sleep is the use of screens because we know that the light from screen means daytime to your brain and the temptation to check messages and social media can be overwhelming. You may find yourself getting stressed and anxious about your messages and e-mails or simply losing more and more time you should be sleeping to scrolling through social media. Either way, your brain is active and alert and when you then close your eyes a few seconds later you may find you have difficulty switching off from your thinking.

Anyway, I suggested to my client that she either leave her phone outside the bedroom or turn off wi-fi at night to avoid any of these distractions keeping her awake. Her face filled with horror and anxiety at even the thought of this! After we discussed it some more I'm pleased to say that she agreed to implement this and it can only benefit the quality and quantity of her sleep.

And recent research suggests that smartphone addiction does indeed trigger effects such anxiety, depression and drowsiness.

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Mental Health and Exercise - family fun at the Ely Festive 5k

One of the things I love about living in Ely is that there seems to always be something going on. And that means lots of opportunities for family fun with my girls.

This weekend was a big one in our household because as well as my normal bootcamp and full day of clients on Saturday, my eldest daughter also performed on stage with her school choir and the highly acclaimed Witchford Voices choir. It was a brilliant evening and a proud moment to see my daughter standing up on stage and confidently singing her heart out in front of about 250 people. The grand finale featuring both choirs was a version of 'Africa' (the 1980s hit song by Toto) and was exceptional. 

Then Sunday morning it was up and ready and heading to the start line with about 600 others for the Ely Festive 5k, a fun run around the streets of Ely in aid of the Arthur Rank Hospice charity, who support people in Cambridgeshire living with a life-limiting illness. A fantastic cause I'm sure you'll agree. And a great excuse to dress as Santa and go for a run with my daughter!

Now if you've taken a look around my website, you'll know that I love exercise (or at least I love the feeling having completed a marathon or a tough bootcamp session!). I started exercising years ago because I was grossly overweight into my teens and hated being fat. Of course, with the anxiety I had back then I soon also discovered that good mental health and exercise go hand in hand. 

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Anxiety: 3 ways to ease anxiety and stress:

One moment you feel fine and then, almost out of nowhere, the anxiety and stress strikes and you find yourself feeling tense, on edge and your heart is pounding. Or maybe you've been thinking about that upcoming event and the thoughts of what might happen have started to set your anxiety and stress levels rising. 

I can remember being on a specific training course in Nottingham, over a decade ago in the days when anxiety seemed to be my constant companion. Even before I arrived at the course I'd started feeling a bit tense and on edge, after all, what if the other trainees thought I was an idiot, what if I made a fool of myself, what if I accidentally did something stupid? I'd have been mortified! The closer the course got the more it seemed to fill my mind. So on the day I was sitting in a room of maybe ten or twelve trainees and the trainer. The words I dreaded came out of the trainer's mouth, 'let's go round the room and all introduce ourselves, say what we do and why we are here.'

Now if you have, or have had, social anxiety then these words (along with 'let's do an ice-breaker' or 'how about we role play this in groups') will fill you with dread. I was about five or six down the line. Even as the others were speaking I was rehearsing my name ('arghhh what if I mess up my name!'). I was tense, I was sweating, I felt sick. Yet still in my head I was rehearsing over and over what to say and how to say it. The trainer got to the person next to me - which was always THE worst - you know it's coming your way and it's coming your way any moment now. It was all I could do to breathe (and of course that anxiety was reminding me that they'd probably all notice I looked nervous and so they'd all hate me). If you have anxiety / social anxiety then this is about as cruel as it can get. You're trapped in the room and there is no escape and you can see that wrecking ball heading right towards you.

To this day I have no idea what I said next. I can, however, remember the feeling of relief and exhaustion that followed. I'd avoided danger, at least for now. Ten minutes into the training course and I'm exhausted.  

And of course back in those days it wasn't just training courses. It was any meeting involving people, any social occasion, any time I had to deal with someone more senior than me (I used to hide in the toilet rather than speak to senior staff), in fact, almost any time I walked down the street. It was hell.

Of course, back then I didn't have the 3 techniques below to save me and to calm my overwired anxiety and stress system. 

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How To Sleep Better - Seeking Solutions When You Can't Sleep:

Last time out I wrote about sleep disorders and the epidemic of chronic sleep deprivation. That is, about how we often view sleep as something passive that eats into our busy lives and so we downplay it as a priority in our lives even though all the evidence shows how vital good quality sleep is for our physical and mental wellbeing.

In fact, sleeping less than six hours a night has been linked to an increased risk for obesity, stroke, diabetes and heart disease. If you are struggling with a sleep disorder or consistently can't sleep then it can impact on your memory and ability to learn, on your strength and endurance and can lead to an inability to focus and making more unhealthy food choices.

Perhaps ironically, although I tend to sleep really well usually, after writing about sleep deprivation last time I had one of the worst night's sleep I can recall having for years! Curses! The day after I felt lethargic, unmotivated, and like my whole body ached. Perhaps it was a reminder to myself of how important sleep is to my own sense of wellbeing!  Certainly since studying a University of Michigan course about sleep recently, I've become much more strict with myself about having a good night time routine and not sitting on the sofa channel hopping when I know I should be switching off the TV and switching off my brain.

Having worked with over 1500 clients, as well as from my own experience, I think that investing time and thought to ensuring good quality sleep is time certainly spent well if you want to feel better each day. But what can you do to increase your likelihood of sleeping better each night? How do you end the cycle when you can't sleep?

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Sleep Disorders - The Epidemic of Sleep Deprivation

How's your sleep right now? I don't know about you but with the coming of winter here in the UK, it often feels like I would love just five more minutes in bed each morning before I get up and get on with the day. Just let me lie in bed for five more minutes each morning!! 

Yet if you struggle with sleeping well (or even at all in the case of some insomnia sufferers), then your whole bedtime and night-time experience may seem like one long wrestle in which you desperately seek, yet struggle to find, enough sleep.

And whilst the odd night of poor sleep may not impact too greatly, consistently struggling to get enough good quality sleep can leave you feeling drained, unmotivated, irritable, struggling to focus and like your head is one great ball of fuzziness. You may find yourself relying on caffeine to drag yourself through the day, or smoking more to try and revive yourself, or over-eating in a quest for more energy.

Then the whole struggle recommences each night.

Recently I've been studying a course by the University of Michigan called, 'Sleep Deprivation; Habits, Solution, Strategies' where their Sleep Disorders Centre discuss the modern epidemic of chronic sleep deprivation.

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Social Anxiety No More! I'm looking forward to appearing on one of the world's most popular hypnosis podcasts!

When I used to struggle with social anxiety, any situation where I had to talk about myself and my opinions was a nightmare for me. Whether it was an interview, a team meeting or a presentation, it would cause me weeks of dread, fear and anxiety.

My social anxiety would kick in and I would lose hours to worst case scenarios where I was being judged negatively in some way, or making an idiot of myself or just simply not being good enough in some way. Then there were the sleepless nights and the exhaustion of being consistently anxious.

I can even remember times I called in sick to the job I had then, to avoid stressful meetings or the anxiety of presenting. It wasn't pretty and it wasn't pleasant. In fact, I can even remember a time I only had to do a presentation to two new members of staff (one of whom I'm now married to!). I was anxious and restless beforehand, I felt hot and sick all the way through it and I was a heap of exhausted relief afterwards. Social anxiety was just a familiar part of my life experiences. 

So nothing is more satisfying to me now than helping others to break free of all that needless social anxiety and to stop worrying about what other people think about them (and to stop assuming it will be negative too!).

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Dealing with grief - it's four years since my dad passed away

Just now on Facebook a 'memory' popped up from four years ago when I thanked my clients for their understanding after I was called away to my Dad's bedside in hospital in Cardiff. Not that I actually needed Facebook to remind me. When someone you love has been struggling with an illness like cancer for a long time, it's still the phone call you dread, that call that says you'd better come right now.

And even as I write about that time, I can still feel myself getting emotional right now, four years later. Not in the same raw way that it did in the months after he died when I couldn't even mention his name, but in that way we get for those we have loved and who have been an important part of our lives yet are no longer with us. Sure, it has elements of sadness and loss within that emotion, but is also has joy and love and hope because I always aim to continue to be the best son I can be to my Dad through how I support and nurture my children.

Of course I can't change the past, I can't turn back the clock and see him again and in many ways we all have to learn to accept that, when we lose a loved one, no amount of tears or sadness or longing can change the facts.

However, one thing I did in those long hospital days (my Dad had a strong heart and defied the opinion of the doctors by holding out for another week...we like to think because he wanted to hear the fireworks one last time!): I made the decision to deliberately recall many, many of the happy times that we experienced together. And there were many. We had long, funny conversations, we went for walks along the cliffs on holidays, we watched Wales play rugby in Cardiff and much more.

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Hypnotherapy Testimonials - building a relationship of trust?

One thing prospective clients often cite when we first meet is how the testimonials on my website gave them the hope and courage they needed to take the first step towards overcoming their issues. After all, reading feedback and watching real client testimonials of people who used to struggle with, for example, anxiety, low confidence or fears, and who successfully overcame it, is pretty inspiring. I know that it inspires me each and every day in my work because I want all of my clients to experience that joy (whether or not they decide to share their successful results with others).

I'm delighted to now have nearly 200 hypnotherapy testimonials, including forty videos, from clients who were delighted with the results from our sessions together and who wanted to encourage others to seek help too.

And each and every testimonial I publish is from a client who I have worked with and helped myself. I'm pretty proud of that. 

I'm also clear on my website that results cannot be guaranteed because both you and I have a role to play in achieving results. Each and every client I work with has their own responsibilities within the process, such as engaging in our sessions and carrying out agreed therapeutic tasks that help them take back control over how they think and feel between our sessions.

So as a professional hypnotherapist I was saddened this week when I happened to come across other therapists who seem to try and pass off the results of others as their own. I mean, is that really how someone thinks you develop an effective working relationship?

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Gambling Addiction - what's the cost?

There have been a few stories in the media recently about gambling addiction such as the story of the student who lost £5,000 in 48 hours on fixed bet gambling machines and a Government Review looking at the possibility of reducing the maximum stake for fixed-odds betting terminals.

According to the BBC report, at the moment, people can bet up to £100 every 20 seconds. That's a staggering amount that can be gambled and lost in no time at all. 

And from working with people who struggle with a gambling addiction, there is no doubt that, for some people, it's easy to get caught up in an ever deepening and desperate spiral of debt and financial loss. My clients will often describe how they go into a sort of trance where they are fixated on the next bet, getting a high from any wins and becoming desperate to recoup any losses. And of course, whilst many use machines of head into the local bookmakers, the easy access to online gambling means that you can bet on practically anything you like twenty four hours a day.

The lure of riches, the buzz of the risk and the high of any wins all play a part. There can also be issues of stress, depression, anxiety and low self esteem that contribute too.

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This past weekend I took the family for a weekend away - all the way to King's Lynn in Norfolk (about 45 minutes away in the car). Soemtimes it can seem like we are all so busy day to day with work and school that having a longer period together as a family only seems to happen at Christmas and on our summer holiday.

So after my early morning boot-camp, off we all went up the road to have a fun packed time in Norfolk.

After checking in at our hotel, the first stop for me and my girls was to head to the museum there. I absolutely love taking my kids to visit new museums and (I think) that they enjoy it too! Somehow or other this was the third half term museum we visited after a trip to Cambridge to the Fitzwilliam museum (which didn't seem to engage my two that much) and then the Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (which houses a pretty impressive three plus storey high totem pole).

We all had a great time there with the girls making bracelets, drums and puppets (yes I succumbed and made a puppet too!). We loved being creative together there. We also popped into the book shop where the children's section housed a pretty impressive book igloo all set up for Halloween.

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The Hypnotic Mindset - Are You Really in Control?

Yesterday I had a very interesting conversation with a client about the issue of control. Because of all the myths surrounding hypnosis and hypnotherapy, questions about being in control or fears of being out of control tend to be the ones that pop up most frequently.

For most people, their only familiarity with hypnosis is from stage show type formats where the whole thing is designed around the perception of the hypnotist making people do silly stuff over which they have no control, or from TV/movie portrayals of hypnosis being used to assist a storyline. And I'm sure there are some people out there who think hypnotists still swing the old watch in front of their eyes or do the whole 'look into my eyes, not around my eyes, look into my eyes' type thing (just like Kenny in 'Little Britain' -  "Look into my eyes, look into my eyes, the eyes, the eyes, not around the eyes, don't look around my eyes, look into my eyes, you're under" - and if you've no idea what I'm talking about watch this You Tube clip from the show).

But who really has the control within hypnosis and hypnotherapy?

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Is your inner critic keeping you anxious and stuck?

Are you your own best friend or our own worst enemy? Whether we realise it or not, all day long we are running a self-talk commentary in our heads of what is going on within us and around us. If you have learnt to be self-critical in your thoughts then you may spend your time telling yourself that you aren't good enough, or talking yourself out of doing things you want to do, or convincing yourself that you'll probably fail or make an idiot of yourself.

It's a bit like having a little devil on our shoulder all day long who delights in highlighting your perceived inadequacies, flaws or in naysaying any signs of confidence, hope and progression. 

When I used to struggle with anxiety, I'd told myself I wasn't good enough so many times that I'd stopped even noticing that I was doing it. It became so habitual that I just assumed that the stuff I was telling myself was fact and reality. I was sure that other people would think I was rubbish or boring or an idiot. I was always living on edge at some level in case I was 'found out' for being inadequate. I lived with a mind crammed full of inner criticism which projected my anxiety into each and every situation. I avoided things, I ducked out of things and I prayed no one would notice.

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End your struggle with anxiety - World Mental Health Day 2017:

 Ahead of World Mental Health Day 2017 (on 10th October 2017), I'm delighted to appear in the Cambridge News giving my advice on how to strengthen your mental well-being.

 In the article you can read my 7 tips to help you start ending your struggle with anxiety. 

cambridge news world mental health day anxiety

 

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One in Six Adults Battling Anxiety & Depression:

Around one in six adults in England are struggling with anxiety and depression problems according to figures from NHS Digital (and as reported by the BBC recently). 

The figures from their survey also show that women are more likely than men to have 'common mental disorder' symptoms (which comprises of different types of depression and anxiety) and women are also more likely than men to report severe symptoms.

And in another report, NHS Digital cite that prescription items for anti depressants showed the greatest numeric rise in 2016 (for the fourth year in a row), with 64.7 million anti depressant items dispensed. As they report, "The number of antidepressant items has more than doubled in the last decade. In 2016, there were 64.7 million antidepressant items dispensed - 33.7 million (108.5 per cent) more than in 2006, when there were 31.0 million." (Prescriptions Dispensed in the Community 2006-2016, NHS Digital).

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I love learning of my client successes following our sessions together, whether it's a musician free of his old anxiety on tour, receiving a postcard from a client who had avoided flying for decades, a client who can now eat pain free because they overcame fear of the dentist, or any other or hundreds of other positive outcomes that have allowed people to get on with what they want to do.

Back in June, my client Beth very kindly did me a video testimonial following our sessions which dealt with her night time anxiety (watch it here). 

Now Beth has her own You Tube channel where she talks about many things, including her journey from anxiety to confidence. I think you'll agree that for someone to go from being unable to order a drink in a cafe or answer the phone at home to confidently putting it out there in the world on video is pretty special indeed.

While all of Beth's videos are worth watching, I really liked one she did last month all about how you shouldn't be afraid to ask for help if you need it.

Check it out here:

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Quit Smoking and Stop Being a Social Smoker:

With Stoptober upon us once again, thousands of people will be attempting once again to successfully quit smoking. And, knowing the detrimental impact of cigarettes, I applaud each and every person attempting to take back control over their life and end their habit.

As part of all the advertising, there is a huge push towards stop smoking medication, patches and, more recently, e-cigarettes. Yet there is often much less emphasis on the mindset and habit aspects, aside from suggesting replacing one nicotine habit with another or telling everyone about your attempt and asking for their support.

It was a little disappointing that the NHS should have decided to push e-cigatettes as the answer to all smoking ills. After all, whilst they are considered to be a better option that cigarettes, they still leave you at the mercy of nicotine and the habits that go with it (and that's even if we overlook that no one is quite sure what the long term health impacts of e-cigarettes may be).

Surely it would be far more benefical to teach people how to end their smoking and nicotine habit completely?

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Where does the time go? Are you doing life your way? 

If you've been on Facebook for any period of time then you'll be familiar with their 'on this day' notifications whereby they tell you what you've posted on the same day in previous years.

And while I'm not overly interested in what I posted on that day seven years ago, I do love seeing my photos from yesteryear. A lot of these are running related from my marathon and other races but what I love more than anything is seeing pictures I posted of my daughters. These are full of happy memories and key milestones and I love to show them to my girls and talk about their memories of those family days. 

It being September, a whole load of these pictures have been school related milestones, like the manadatory 'first day back for a new school year stand in front of the doo'r variety. If you have children, or any of your social media friends have them, then you've probably been scrolling through a bunch of these recently.

Today, some photos appeared from my eldest daughter's first day of pre-school. Wowsers! I mean, she's in year 5 now! Where did the time go!

Which is something I hear a lot from people I speak to - where does the time go?

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This fear of flying no longer takes off!!

Nothing makes me even more motivated and determined to help people than hearing about my clients who are now getting on with stuff that worried and stressed them before.

Take fear of flying for example. How many people avoid going on holiday and enjoying new experiences simply because their panic, fear and anxiety about getting on that plane is overwhleming?

So I was overjoyed when I got inot the office today to find a postcard waiting for me from one of my clients, Beth, telling me  what a great time she was having in Menorca.

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Health Anxiety - is 'cyberchondria' making you sick with anxiety?

Many of you may know that these days I like to exercise (a far cry from how I was during my school days!). I've been a member of my local running club for over a decade and, more recently, I've been converted to the 'joy' of bootcamps at their toughest. To my mind one of the greatest buzzes these days comes from a hard bootcamp where I feel like I've given all I can that day. 

Yet way back in 2007, I can remember the moments of despair of thinking I may never be able to run again (I've since run a load of marathons!). A few months earlier I'd run my fastest ever marathon and I'd been setting new personal bests across the board. I was on a high. I was getting faster! Then around that time, my knee started to hurt. I mean it really hurt. If I tried to run a few steps it was excruciating. Sometimes just walking was enough to have me in pain and sometimes even bending my knees to pick up my then baby daughter was enough to bring it on. In summary, it hurt lots and it wasn't going away.

I did what any runner would do and tried to push myself through it (bad idea!). I tried putting ice on it. I took over the counter painkillers. I tried resting it for a few days and going again. I tried anything else I could think of to get back running.

And then I hit on the great idea of researching my symptoms on Google.

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Department of Awesome & That Lump In The Throat Feeling:

I hope that anyone who has ever worked with me knows that I invest a huge amount of time, energy, and resolve into doing all that I can to support them in achieving their goals. Why? Because when someone you help is able to go on and acheive their goals, and often more, it brings massive levels of fulfillment and pleasure to me. And why not, because I work with some wonderful people.

So many of my clients are graduates of the Department of Awesome because they have had the conviction and motivation to take action and seek help to change something in their lives that was causing misery or pain. They took action, committed to engaging in a positive mindset in and out of sessions and, as a result, are now getting on with life.

You may have already read some of their comments and watched their videos on my What People Say page.  

And over the last few days I've had more reasons to smile, and several times, I've had that lump in the thoat kind of feeling.

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Diffusing anxiety-fuelled worst case scenarios:

I don't know about you but I've always had a tendancy to imagine scenarios in my head about what might happen in the future if I do this thing or make this decison and so forth. These days, now that I understand more about scenarios and how to control them, these scenarios tend to be more of a neutral contemplation or even about good stuff happening.

But when I used to struggle with severe anxiety, these scenarios would be like major feature film worst case scenario type disasters happening; like not being able to answer a question in a meeting and looking an idiot, or of standing up to present and going blank, or somehow messing up in what I said or did when out socially.

Whenever I work with clients with anxiety, this capability to imagine all sorts of future worst case scenarios and disastrous "what if?" thoughts tend to appear. 

Our imagination is a wonderful thing, especially if you pause and consider that everything ever designed, built or made, from your computer to your chair, and every work of fiction you've ever read or TV show you've watched, started off as something in someone's imagination. How awesome is that?!

Yet feelings of anxiety will always colour your imaginings with shades of things going wrong or badly in some way, leading to feelings of more anxiety, leading to more of those anxiety fuelled thoughts. So how can you dilute them to such a point that the anxiety has to subside?

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How To Have a Happy Day!

Now I don't know about you but one thing I regularly notice on my daily walk to work to my office in Ely, is just how bloody miserable people seem to look! When someone comes in my direction I might move onto the road so they can continue on their way unimpeded, and as I look at them and smile they glare back as if I've stolen their last Rolo! (Remember the old advert about 'do you love someone enough to give them your last rolo'?) Or they stare at the floor and continue on their way as if I wasn't there and it didn't happen. 

(Or they may be so engrossed in looking down at their phone that maybe to their brain it didn't happen!)

But heck, these small interactions aren't going to colour my day, and I don't know what's going on in their world that makes them feel so grey and weary.

Of course not everyone does this; many others acknowledge me with a 'good morning' or 'thank you' along with a wonderful beaming smile and expression of gratitide. I like these people! I really do!

But if you're one of those people who wakes up glum, looking forward to nothing but a day of glum, going through the same old thoughts, feelings and experiences like you're on a hamster wheel, then you might want to do something about it, mightn't you?

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How To Deal With Anxiety - Hypnotherapy Review

When you struggle with anxiety, it can make even the simplest of tasks turn into a battle. Things other people seem to just do can become anxiety-fulled struggles to avoid or endure - things like talking to others, answering the phone or open the door.

Recently I read an article where a therapist described how anxiety is your friend and should be welcomed. And certainly where anxiety is at a reasonable or appropriate level to what is going on then it can be helpful - it can help us avoid threats and harm and give us a clear 'warning signal' that we might need to review our plans or what we are doing.

Yet when someone has an anxiety disorder, the last thing they consider their anxiety to be is helpful. When anxiety levels are too high, everything can seem like a threat and all those thoughts lead to more anxiety which leads to even more thoughts. Once we take away the emotion, the thoughts are no different to hundreds of other random thoughts that pop in and out of heads all day long, yet which don't stop us going about our day. 

And having been there with anxiety myself, I know what a relief it is to reset anxiety, feel back in control and start enjoing life again. 

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Are you living on autopilot?

I'm just back from a wonderful family holiday away up on the East Yorkshire coast. I had loads of good times exploring new places, playing on the beach and just spending quality time with my kids (who never cease to challenge and amuse me in roughly equal measure!). I even found time to watch my first ever live game of rugby league (a corker of a game with the home team, Hull KR coming our on top! 'When the red, red robin goes bob-bob-bobbing-along....') and I'm still trying to figure out how my 6 and 9 year olds keep comprehensively beating me at the card game 'Uno'.

One of the things I cherish most about time with my kids on holdiday is how we can all just relax and go with the flow a bit. It means if we want to explore caves then we can (like in the photo below), or we can sit and try and spot the seal popping his head above the water, or it may be spending some time looking for crabs or throwing rocks into the sea. 

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New Hypnosis Audios available very soon!

I'm often getting asked when I will be adding to the hypnosis tracks I have available in my online hypnosis shop, particualarly by those who have listened to and benefited from my current offerings and now want some additional and fresh content to listen to.

So I'm delighted to confirm that I will have two new products available later this month. 

The feedback from those who have trialled them has been awesome so I can't wait to share them with you and many others.

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Life Changing Hypnotherapy - Gaining Self Confidence

Do you ever struggle to interact with other people? I remember how, when I struggled with low self confidence and social anxiety, even the most straightforward of interactions would be an anxiety fuelled process full of potential minefields.

There were times when even standing in a queue in a corner shop would cause my anxiety levels to rise and I would be frantically rehearsing what I would say to the cashier over and over in my mind so I wouldn't mess it up and make an idiot of myself. And yes I did all those other things that socially anxious people do like avoiding people in the street, worrying about what other people thought about me, and spending waaaaayyyy too long thinking about what I was going to say rather than actually being present in the moment.   

And not only is all that worry mentally and physically draining, it also means missing out on doing things you want to do and having to endure rather than enjoy being around others.

So it's always a real delight to me when someone comes to me for help with self confidence and social anxiety when I can help them find a way to make the changes that mean they can happily achieve the things that they want to. 

Recently I worked with a lovely guy called Tom and you can read what he had to say after our sessions below.

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Hypnotherapy in Newmarket - New Location!

From 1st August 2017, I will be working from a new office location with my hypnotherapy in Newmarket clients (my Ely office is staying where it is though!). The new location is in a much more pleasant environment, has client parking available and is a much more user-friendly building.

My new Newmarket address is:

White Tara Complementary Health Centre

32 Dellor's Yard

Mill Hill

Newmarket

Suffolk CB8 0JB

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The Happiness Journal

Over the last eight years and through thousands of hypnotherapy sessions, one of the most consistently positive things that I encourage people to do is to start to focus on what is going right in their lives.

When we feel anxious, worried or generally a bit rubbish, a natural trait we share is to become more and more engaged with thoughts about all the people, things, situations and circumstances that aren't how we want them to be.

For example, an anxious person can become completely engrossed in thoughts of worst case scenarios or about things going wrong. Someone who lacks confidence may spend their time thinking about what if they mess up or people think they are weird or an idiot or some other negative judgement about them.

And the same can be true for someone trying to lose weight who criticises themselves after snacking, or a stressed person who becomes overwhelmed at thoughts of not being able to cope. No matter what the issue, it's easy to become lost in a cloud of unwanted and unhelpful thoughts and emotions and to lose sight of other things.

Which is where the happiness journal comes in.

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How To Get Rid Of Anxiety - Another Success Story!

As a former sufferer of anxiety myself, there is nothing I love more than helping someone discover how to get rid of anxiety.

After all, who wants to put up with all those unwanted thoughts and feelings dominating their life day in and day out.  

I can remember times feeling sick with anxiety, pacing around the house, my mind filled with all sorts of worst case scenarios and desperately wishing things were different. And of course, now I know that it doesn't have to be like that for anyone.

So I'm really pleased to bring you another inspiring testimonial video from someone else who has found freedom from anxiety. Because we couldn't find a way to match our schedules, this testimonial was recorded seven months after we finished our sessions together. Check it out by clicking on the image below.

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Business Coaching Testimonial - Help To Achieve Business Goals

One way in which I often get asked to help people is as a business coach. Whether the person I work with is a senior executive, a team manager, an employee or self-employed, there is massive potential to help them increase their effectiveness and results within their work.

I love being able to draw upon both my coaching and personal development knowledge, as well as my own experiences of being self employed and within previous office and management roles.

Sometimes it may be helping someone to gain confidence for public speaking and presentations, or it may be to help them deal with particular challenges or relationships at work that are taking up too much head space.   

And many times it will be help to overcome anxiety or gain focus and persistence towards getting things done and creating momentum towards personal and business goals.

Recently a client of mine very kindly recorded a short video in which he describes how our business coaching sessions have really benefited him and his business.

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Mindfulness for Anxiety, Stress and Worry:

With all the media stories, articles and books about mindfulness now available, it's probably true that you have heard about mindfulness and you may even have dabbled with it yourself.

As with hypnosis, there is a growing body of research that suggests that for many people, mindfulness can be helpful for anxiety, stress and many other issues. And as with the research showng that combining congnitive behavioural therapy with hypnosis substantially enhances treatment outcomes, there is a huge benefit to combining elements of mindfulness with hypnosis to overcome issues and feel better. 

Many people that I talk to about mindfulness tell me that they have found it frustrating and difficult to work with or achieve the results they are seeking. That frustration can then lead to never quite getting around to it with any sort of motivation or dedication and ultimately deciding it isn't for them.

So here I've got some simple techniques that you can start using quickly and effectively in your daily life so that you can benefit from mindfulness for anxiety, stress and worry.

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Stress Management Help - Stress Awareness Month:

Whilst stress can affect you at any time, April is Stress Awareness Month and so a good time to take action to relieve your stress levels from this point onwards.

I work with many people who come to me for help because they are struggling with stress and anxiety in their lives.

That stress may be from their workload, from colleagues at work or other career issues. It may arise from their family, friends and relationships. Or it may come from exam stress, health worries or, in fact, any other part of your life where you no longer feel in control or able to cope effectively.

I was delighted to be published once again in the Cambridge News, giving my advice on how to manage stress.

So whether you are looking for stress management help to proactively stay resiliant and handle pressures, or whether you feel that stress is having a detrimental impact on you, these steps will show you the way forward.

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Now Available - Exam Stress & Anxiety Guide:

 Following on from my earlier post about exam stress and anxiety, I'm delighted to let you know that my free guide is available for you to access right now. 

Just head over to my exam stress, anxiety and fear page and you can grab your copy.

With exam season fast approaching, I've been having more and more conversations with teachers, parents and students about the rising pressure and stress on all those within and linked to education. All the stress of performance tables, targets and demands can soon filter down and be absorbed by students.

I've already received a lot of positive feedback about my free exam stress guide so if you know anyone who has exams coming up then please do direct them to my website.

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Overcoming anxiety and symptoms of anxiety:

If your anxiety issues are weighing you down then you may find yourself feeling sick, down, stressed, sad and lacking energy. It may be impacting on your sleep and you may have found that your levels of confidence and self belief have plummeted.

All of those symptoms of anxiety can leave you feeling stuck, lost and alone, with no sign of that anxiety ever truly easing.

And these are all the sorts of things that Julie decribed when she first came to meet me for some help with her anxiety issues. Now she has more energy, sleeps better and her confidence levels are soaring. You can watch her video testimonial below to discover her story.

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Exam Fear & Anxiety - Help To Ease Exam Stress:

Is the thought of your exams stressing you out? Are you full of exam fear and anxiety?

If you are facing exams soon and are filled with fear, dread and worry then I've got something that is really going to bring you value.

Instead of feeling tense and worried, soon you can be feeling calm and in control so that you can perform to your potential.

It's coming very soon!

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Loving Life and Enjoying Happiness

If you are currently stuck feeling depressed, low and anxious, then the thought of loving life and enjoying happiness may seem  long way off for you.

Yet, by changing thoughts, feelings, emotions and beliefs, it is possible to start feeling better, enjoying happiness and moving forward in your life again.

In this latest video testimonial, Jodie describes how she came to see me because she felt low and depressed. Now she is enjoying being happy and loving her life again. Discover what she said about her hypnotherapy sessions in the video below.

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Quit Smoking - 10 Tips To Help You Quit

March 8th 2017 was National No Smoking Day and I was delighted to appear in the Cambridge News giving my top 10 tips to help you quit smoking.

With the financial cost of smoking ever-rising, along with the health cost of your habit, there never has been a better time to quit.

 You can get value from the tips by reading the article using the link below.

quit smoking cambridge news

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Smoking Cessation Help - Quit Smoking and Kick The Habit:

With National Stop Smoking Day taking place on 8th March 2017, there has never been a better time to finally quit smoking and kick the habit. 

If you are looking for smoking cessation help then very soon you'll be able to access my free support guide called 'Kick The Habit - 7 Steps Towards Quit Smoking Success.'

This guide really will give you value and place you in a strong position to make that move from being a smoker to enjoying increased health and happiness being free of it. Imagine how good it will be when you can take a deep breath of fresh air and truly know that you no longer smoke.

The guide is going live later this month so be sure to check back and sign up to get support and motivation delivered straight to your inbox.

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Agoraphobia - Help To End The Panic:

Do you struggle with, and feel trapped by, your agoraphobia? Whilst agoraphobia is often considered to be a fear of open spaces, it is very often much more than this and it can easily take over and limit your life.

I've worked with clients whose agoraphobia makes them too fearful to leave the house or to go more than a few steps down the road. For others, their panic attacks most when they are in crowded situations, or othe busy places outside their home. 

It can make even the most straightforward journey on public transport or going shopping into an ordeal of dread, fear and panic. And as anyone who has suffered with panic attacks will readily know, they are so overwhelming and so unpleasant that you will do all you can to avoid the possibility of another one. 

So how do you break the strangle hold that agoraphobia has over your life?

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS):

Do you struggle with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)? If you battle with IBS then the stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation can have a hugely disruptive and debilitating impact on your life.

It may stop you going out and doing the things that you want to do because of the pain and discomfort. Or you may worry and get stressed in case those IBS symptoms strike.

Whilst the exact cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is currently unknown, it is widely considered that stress, anxiety and other intense emotions contribute. 

And so it makes sense to see what you can do to ease that stress and anxiety to do all that you can to ease the IBS symptoms.

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Quitting Smoking After 30 Years:

Do you have a love-hate realtionship with smoking? Maybe you want to quit smoking and know you should yet sometimes you feel like you enjoy it or the fact that you get a few minutes to yourself.

Or maybe you are one of those smokers who actually hates it yet you still go on being controlled by it and a slave to it. And it could be that you are even afraid of quitting smoking in case you fail or you start over-eating instead.

Whatever the reason you continue to smoke, it is possible to sucessfully quit smoking, just like the person in the video below.

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Morning Routine - Best Way To Start Your Day:

How are your mornings? Do you dread the sound of the alarm that signals the start of another day? Do you feel like you have to force yourself to get moving as your mind fills with all the stresses and worries of the day ahead?

In this article I've got a simple morning routine that will kick start you for the day ahead. In fact I'd call it the best way to start your day.

If your existing morning routine is a sluggish struggle then implement this from tomorrow. Even if your wake in the morning full of joy and positivity, this routine is going to take that and enhance it to a new level.

And best of all it should only take you a few minutes to do yet it will set up your day to be awesome! Now that can only be good, can't it?

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Stressed out? Stress could be harming your health:

Are you totally stressed out? Are your frazzled and exhausted from all the demands that are pushed upon you? Perhaps it has been impacting on your wellbeing, sleep and energy levels.

In fact, stress can leave you feeling so on edge that you can't think clearly to make decisions and spend your time rushing from one thing to another, trying to balance all those spinning plates and hoping none of them fall and smash (because that would create even more to do).

And whilst we've always known that stress has huge mental and physical impacts, a new piece of research has shown that constant emotional stress is linked to an increased risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular conditions.

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How to get help for anxiety, stress, depression - Cambridge News:

 As many of you will know, I regularly help people to successfully deal with issues related to their anxiety, stress and depression. Over the last 12 months there has been a huge increase in the number of people seeking my help, many after receiving a recommendation from friends and colleagues who have worked with me and now feel better (you can check out what people have said here).

This week I appeared in the Cambridge News and also the Ely News talking about how to get help for anxiety, stress and depression (the link to the full Cambridge News article is below).

So how do you get effective help for anxiety, stress and depression?

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Blue Monday - the most depressing day of the year?

Blue Monday, often touted as being the most depressing day of the year, has become something of an annual talking point and this year has been marked for Monday, January 16.

And whilst the 'January blues' is a common post-Christmas slump and back into the usual routine kind of thing, Blue Monday itself is a bit of a facily. In fact, there is no such thing as Blue Monday let alone an official most depressing day of the year (Blue Monday itself goes back to a holiday company PR campaign).

Yet whether you decide you want to buy into Blue Monday, or you are just struggling with the January blues or you just don't feel as happy as you would like to, then what can you actually do about it?

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Hypnotherapy Reviews

Just a quick post to say a huge thank you to all of my clients who continue to send me their hypnotherapy reviews - I truly appreciate every single one of them. 

You can watch the client review videos on this page: Video Hypnotherapy Reviews

Or you can read more hypnotherapy reviews on this page: Hypnotherapy Reviews

And you can read my latest hypnotherapy review below.

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Relax - it's Festival of Sleep Day!

Could you use some help to relax? Well January 3rd 2017 is the Festival of Sleep Day! 

The Festival of Sleep Day was created for people who could use some sleep and rest, and to relax, after the hectic Christmas and New Year celebrations. It seems that the festive period leaves us exhausted at just the time we need to be physically and mentally prepared to return to our normal routines.

So if you are exhausted and struggling to relax, and if your sleep pattern has gone out of the window over the last couple of weeks then read on!

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Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Just a quick post to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

A huge thank you to all my clients and to all of you who have supported me during 2016. I wish you all an amazing 2017!

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Overcoming Anxiety in 2017:

If you have been struggling with anxiety then I want to help you make 2017 the year that you overcome your anxiety for good. 

Recently I appeared in the Elyi magazine giving you some ideas of how to start evaporating those unwanted thoughts and feelings and giving you three things to start doing now.

You can read those below, along with another four ways to help you start overcoming your anxiety and making this year your best yet.

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Driving Anxiety Eliminated - Fear of Travelling Conquered:

Do you struggle with driving anxiety?

Maybe you can only drive certain roads and routes without the anxiety and panic taking over or perhaps you can't even drive the car. And maybe you even struggle to be a passenger as that driving anxiety takes over.

Recently I worked with Pauline who, when she first came to see me, had a fear of being in the car, whether she was driving or not. And what a change from our sessions - read what she said afterwards below!

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Sports Performance: Motivation and Mindset

I'm so proud to sponsor Cambridge United WFC's Laura Mills who scored an awesome goal recently in the Women's FA Cup as Cambridge knocked out another team from a higher league.

You can check out that goal in the video below.

It perfectly encapsulates the need to have the right mindset in sport which, when combined with ability and motivation, leads to wonder goals like this one!

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Anger Management To Stop Being So Angry:

Are you angry? Perhaps there is something specific that is niggling away inside and triggers all that mess of angry thoughts and feelings? Or maybe you just seem to have become an angry person, like all that emotion has built up inside and you have to let it out somehow?

Many people talk about anger management as if it is good to let it all out, if that somehow will diffuse feeling angry and be the end of it forever. Yet, just like most things, being angry can become a habit that starts to create cracks in friendships and relationships and can become like a seeping wound oozing into your life.  

If you (and maybe everyone else) are sick of feeling angry then check out the anger management tips below.

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Stress symptoms and how to relieve stress:

Is your every daily existence blighted by the impact of stress and stress symptoms?

According to a report in the Daily Mirror, the average adult in the UK spends two hours and 11 minutes of every day feeling stressed - a total of more than 15 hours a week or 33 days a year or an immense five years and six months over the average lifetime.

That's a lot of time spent feeling stressed out about running late, work demands, family life and relationships. And those stress symptoms can cause problems such as persistent anger and worry, sleepless nights, a loss of concentration and many other health issues.

So how can you relieve stress symptoms?

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How To Calm Anxious Thoughts:

Recently I was asked by Soul Analyse to write a guest blog for them to help their readers learn how to calm their anxious thoughts. 

In the article I cover five ways to start calming those anxious thoughts. You can read the full article by following the link below.

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Health Motivation Help:

Could you use more help with motivation to make changes to improve your health and lifestyle? Perhaps you have a habit that stops you being healthier? Maybe you struggle to make the choices that you want to be making yet somehow can't stick to? Perhaps you just can't find the energy and focus to make it happen?

Further down this article you will find a new video testimonial from Julia who wanted to have the motivation to make positive changes for her health and wellbeing.

Julia wanted to get more active in her lifestyle and her health, to do more exercise and cut out things that weren’t great for her yet she had found it too hard to do on her own.

Take a look and listen to what she had to say below.

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Anxiety Treatment:

I just wanted to say a huge thank you to all my clients for the fantastic feedback they have given me. 

As someone who used to struggle with anxiety it means a huge deal to me to be able to help so many people move away from anxiety and get on with their lives.

If you haven't already taken a look, you can find some of the anxiety reviews below. If you currently struggle with anxiety I hope you will find them inspirational and let them give you hope that you too can leave your anxiety behind.

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Mental Health Day - How To Boost Mental Health:

Mental Health Day on October 10th, is an apt time to review how you can boost your mental health and strengthen your resilience and self esteem.

All the recent evidence suggests an ever increasing number of people are struggling with depression, anxiety disorders, stress, fear and other mental health issues. Whether you know it or not, you are almost certain to know someone who is dealing with an anxiety disorder or depression.

And as many people also struggle on in silence, it is likely that the true scale of the issue is much higher than reported. Many of my clients have not told others how they are feeling. After working with me to overcome anxiety, stress and fear, they are then surprised when they mention it to learn just how many others they know have also struggled.

So as part of Mental Health Day, here are some ways to boost mental health.

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Supporting Cambridge United women's football team:

I'm delighted to announce that Dan Regan Hypnotherapy is sponsoring Cambridge United WFC player Laura Mills for the 2016/17 football season.

As a regular spectator, along with my daughter, of Cambridge United WFC, I'm really happy that I can help support such a talented player.

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Asthma and anxiety:

Today I published a new video testimonial from Jen where she describes how our hypnotherapy sessions in Ely helped her with her asthma and anxiety issues.

Please do check out that video below, and you may also want to have a look at the many other video testimonials that people have kindly recoreded after coming to work with me.

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As you may have already seen on my webiste, I offer a free Rapid Relaxation Hypnosis MP3 which you can download totally free of charge. 

Hundreds of people all over the world have already grabbed their copy and I get tons of positive feedback from those who take the time to regularly listen. They tell me that it helps them sleep better, switch off mentally and eases worry, stress and anxiety.

So I'm always massively grateful and happy when someone takes the times to e-mail me how helpful they have found my audio.

And recently Nicky went one step further and sent me this video about how the Relaxation Hypnosis audio really helped her to end long term worry that was stopping her sleeping at night. Check out what Nicky says right now:

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Anxiety Expert for Good Zing:

I'm delighted to have been invited to become an anxiety expert for Good Zing (http://www.goodzing.com/).

Good Zing is an award winning platform to find, share and discover health tips and techniques covering many issues.

good zing dan regan hypnotherapy ely newmarket skype

 

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One thing that often comes up when I work with clients to build confidence and overcome self doubt and anxiety, is developing the resiliance and capability to deal with challenges. 

Life is going to throw challenges at all of us, and how we respond to them helps dicatate whether we give in and get out or stay strong and move on.

And I love seeing self belief, resiliance and determination put into practice. Yesterday I took my daughter to watch Cambridge United WFC play in a cup match and found their tenacity, team work and resiliance to be awesomely inspiring.

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I was delighted to have my free Rapid Relaxation Hypnosis Audio mentioned recently in Take A Break magazine.

Hundreds more people have now grabbed their copy and are finding twenty minutes to mentally and physically feel calmer and more in control.

take a break dan regan hypnotherapy ely newmarket

And with the national press reporting an ever increasing epidemic of anxiety and stress, now is the perfect time to grab your own copy - just fill in the boxes on the right of this page and you can get immediate access.

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How To Deal With Failure:

One of the things I'm regularly asked about when working with clients is how to deal with failure. And it could be about a relationship that has broken down, something that didn't go to plan, a fear of failure, a goal missed or a more general feeling of failure.

Because it seems that when it comes to how to deal with failure, we have a tendency to feel bad, frustrated, anxious or self critical.

Recently I had my own failure and this is how I have learnt, and even benefitted from it for the future.

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Anxiety - 5 tips to break free from anxiety symptoms:

Stuggling with anxiety? Recently I published my five top steps to break free from anxiety symptoms on the Daily Mail Online site.

So if you are currently battling those anxiety symptoms then take a look and put these steps into action right now.

You can read the article here:

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Anxiety help success:

As many of you will know, many years ago I struggled with anxiety until I discovered how to move past it and leave it in the past.

And because I know how awful anxiety can make you feel, I absolutely love it when someone who initially came to see me feeling trapped in worry, anxiety and fear, leaves our sessions with a smile on their face and getting on with their life.

Recently Calum came to see me for help with his anxiety and below you can find his testimonial video about how good he feels now.

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Horse Riding Fear to Riding Confidence: 

Does the thought of riding fill you with fear and dread?

It may be that horse riding fear just crept up to the point where it is now a problem weighing you down, or maybe you had a nasty experience that now seems to hold you back from riding how you want to.

Working in Cambridgeshire and Newmarket I naturally work with a lot of people who want to regain a sense of riding confidence. Whether you are someone who rides for leisure or fun, or someone who works in the horse racing industry or who competes, it is possible to eliminate that fear and enjoy riding again.

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Stuttering Help with Hypnotherapy Ely, Newmarket, Skype:

Recently I was contacted by the national Hypnotherapy Directory team to provide expert input on how hypnotherapy can help with stuttering.

Stuttering is common in young children and most grow out of it. However, where stuttering continues into adulthood, it can lead to anxiety, stress and frustration, as well as eroding confidence and self esteem.

Hypnotherapy can help with stuttering by combating that anxiety and stress as well as building self esteem and by enabling you to access the capability you already have from other areas of your life where you don't stutter.

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Anxiety Disorders and how to deal with anxiety:

According to a review led by the University of Cambridge into anxiety disorders, women and people under the age of 35 are at greatest risk of anxiety.

In fact, the review found that women are more than twice as likely as men to experience anxiety disorders.

The review also estimates that four in every one hundred people have anxiety - with more than 60 million people across the EU affected by anxiety disorders every year.

So what does this really tell us? It certainly doesn't tell us more research is needed (as I'm sure will be suggested) and it certainly does imply, as I've suggested before, that relying on the current approach of dishing out anti-depressants and formulaic CBT therapy is unlikely to ever make inroads into the modern day epidemic of anxiety disorders.

And the research is pretty meaningless if you are one of the thousands of people struggling with anxiety. So what can you do to deal with your anxiety effectively?

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Sports Hypnosis and Hypnosis For Running:

Sports hypnosis can help you maximise your performance and get in the mental zone for peak performance.

After all, it doesnt matter how well you have trained and practiced if, when you need it in competition, your anxiety, low confidence and lack of focus stop you delivering. Or it may be that you need to rediscover your love of the sport and get the motivation, commitment and determination to perform.

And having recently completed my thirteenth marathon, it was clear to me how important this mental aspect is, meaning sports hypnosis can be the difference between success or something less.

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Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

If you struggle with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) then you are likely to feel worried, anxious and on edge either constantly or for significant periods of time.

It's like being stuck in a constant high level of anxiety. And no sooner has one thing you feel excessively anxious about resolved itself or passed, then the anxiety flows like a river into some other thoughts and worries.

And whilst we all worry and feel anxious from time to time, Generalized Anxiety Disorder means that the anxiety is excessive and prolonged over many months. You may feel out of control and exhausted with the ripples of anxiety affecting relationships, friendships and your career as well as impacting on your confidence, wellbeing and sleep.

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Ely Cathedral Celebration of Business: 13 May - 16 May 2016

Ely Cathedral Business Group are holding their annual Celebration of Business exhibition in May 2016.

This great event is designed to celebrate the many wonderful and successful businesses that are based in the area. And it's always a pleasure to be part of it not least due to it being the beautiful surroundings of the Cathedral itself.

So if you are in the area be sure to call in and take a look - and leave me a note at my stand telling me you've been!

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How To Reduce Anxiety in Ely and Newmarket

Recently I wrote an article about the relentless persistence of anxiety and stress in the workplace. This followed the publication of workplace figures showing that 9.9 million days were lost in 2015 through stress, anxiety and depression.

This huge figure has remained fairly constant for over a decade, reflecting that current dependence on cognitive behavioural therapy and ever increasing use of anti-depressants is not tackling the issue. 

Hot on the heels of this, BBC Cambridgeshire has revealed that the number of students being given help at Cambridge University because of mental health concerns has risen 43% since 2012.

And I am sure that the levels of anxiety, stress and other mental health concerns in other walks of life and areas won't be too dissimilar from these. No wonder this is referred to as the 'age of anxiety'.

So how to reduce anxiety is a hot topic that needs addressing and below are some ways to reduce anxiety and start feeling better quickly and effectively.

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Help for anxiety in Newmarket, Suffolk:

As the anxiety management specialist in Newmarket, I wanted to share a couple of examples of the fantastic results that some of my clients have achieved.

Because whilst anxiety, worry and fear are all normal human reactions, often they can go into overdrive and start dominating your thoughts. Your mind fills with worst case scenarios and those dreaded what ifs. You start to feel restless, shaky, on edge and can't think clearly. You worry that something is seriously wrong with you.

Yet anxiety doesn't have to control your life - using the right methods you can soon take back control over it.

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Alcohol Abuse - Take Back Control Over Alcohol:

Has alcohol taken over your life? Alcohol abuse can creep up gradually - at first you feel in contol over your alcohol consumption but over time it takes more and more control away from you.

And whilst drinking is a generally accepted activity, you may have found that you need a drink, that you can't stop once you start, that you regularly drink more than you intended to and that you need more and more for the same effect. It is likely that it has started to cause problems in your life whether that is in relationships, friendships, your career or your health and self esteem. 

Depending on your level of alcohol abuse, you may have found that you are no longer in control - it controls your life.

So how can you start to take back control?

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Sugar addiction and compulsive eating help:

If you struggle with sugar addiction or compulsive eating disorder then you will know that the urges and cravings can become overwhelming and persistent. 

You may try and tell yourself that you will break the pattern of habits and emotions only to find that the same behaviours repeat themselves. It can have massive impacts on your health, your self esteem and your well being.

So how do you eliminate your sugar addiction and compulsive eating?

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Why I became a hypnotherapist:

One of the most common questions I get asked when people come to see me is, 'how did you become a hypnotherapist?' or 'why did you become a hypnotherapist?'

After all, it isn't one of those careers that comes up when you talk to a careers advisor at school (I think at that time I wanted to run a hotel like some bloke in Neighbours!).

For years I struggled with anxiety, low confidence and low self esteem and, after trying various avenues, it was only hypnotherapy that resolved these issues once and for all. 

In the video below I talk a bit more about this, why I became a hypnotherapist and how much I love helping others to end anxiety and confidence issues.

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Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket Success Stories:

It's wonderful to be able to help people every day to make positive changes in their lives, whether that's letting go of anxiety, ending panic attacks, increasing confidence and self esteem or another positive change that they want to make.    

And I'm hugely grateful to each and every person who has kindly provided either written feedback or a video testimonial to share the success they have enjoyed.

You can watch their video testimonials on this page: Video Hypnotherapy Testimonials

Or check out the short summary video below which brings you some of the highlights from what they have said.

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Social anxiety - 5 tips to overcome social anxiety. 

Do you struggle with social anxiety? Whether it’s in your career, relationships or socially, social anxiety, with all that worry about what other people think or that they will judge you negatively in some way, along with all those inner thoughts and questions - such as "am I good enough, what if I make an idiot of myself or embarrass myself", and so on - can really limit your life.

Whether you feel sick at the thought of public speaking, find excuses for social events or you push through and hope they are soon over, social anxiety can really limit your life, take away the enjoyment of meeting and connecting with people and the anxiety and worry can stop you doing things you want to do.

In this article, I’ll be covering how to deal with social anxiety and giving you 5 strategies that can help you overcome that panic and worry.

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Help dealing with anxiety in Ely and Newmarket is one of the main things I succesfully help people resolve so that they can move from anxiety, panic and worry to feeling calm and in control.

As I've writen about before, anxiety levels remain high with millions of working days lost and an ever increasing volume of prescriptions for anti-anxiety medication being issued.

And anxiety can affect anyone - many clients will tell me that they are the last person anyone would think of as struggling with anxiety - whether that's generalised anxiety or in a specific part of their life. So your anxiety can often be fueled by not knowing where it came from - or how to end that dreadful feeling of being stuck.

Many others think they know where their anxiety began or what contributes to it, yet that knowing still does not stop all those anxious feelings and thoughts.

And because of the huge impact that anxiety can have on you and your life, I am always delighted to help others succesfully break free of that weight and start feeling happier and more confident.

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If you are desperately seeking relief from anxiety symptoms then make sure you grab your free audio for coping with anxiety.

My Creating Calm audio will help you move from anxiety, worry and stress to increasing feelings of calmness and control.

You can get your free copy from my anxiety specific website: get relief from anxiety symptoms

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Stress and anxiety levels continue to affect people with latest figures showing that 9.9 million working days were lost in 2015 through stress, anxiety and depression.

The figures, published in the 2015 Labour Force Survey, show that stress, anxiety and depression accounted for 43 per cent of all working days lost due to ill health.

And these stark figures don't even begin to scratch the surface of the often devastating impact on individuals and those around them. 

With the level of workplace stress and anxiety remaining broadly constant for over a decade, it is evident that current initiatives are failing to help those who need the support the most.

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Clinical Depression and depression symptoms can mean that instead of being your usual self and able to function normally, you struggle with feelings of dispair, dread and anxiety. You may have stopped doing a lot of the things you were doing when you felt better, yet you can feel more exhausted and drained.

With all your confidence, motivation and energy replaced with clinical depression symptoms, the impacts can negatively ripple into every part of your life including your work, relationships, socially and more.

And whilst antidepressant medication prescriptions continue to soar in adults and children, could it be that in fact there is another way to find that hope, optimism and lightness you currently only remember as a distant memory?

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Do you need help with anger management to deal with your anger issues?

If your anger issues are having a detrimental effect on your life - damaging friendships, relationships, your career or other areas of your life - then just talking about it, or holding it in, or wishfully hoping that it will never happen again are unlikley to be effective anger management techniques.

To release your anger issues successfully you need to diffuse those triggers and find more constructive ways to handle situations. So what is the best anger management method and how can you deal with anger issues?

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Are you tired of the effects of smoking? Fed up of having your life dictated by cigarettes? 

You've probably been fed the line that smoking is an addiction for years, yet that can't quite explain how some people are able to give up overnight just like that. And nearly everyone knows someone who went from being chained to the effects of smoking and puffing like a steam train and then who quit smoking seemingly effortlessly overnight.

Whilst there is certainly a physical aspect to smoking from that nicotine, far stronger in stopping you in your efforts to quit smoking are the psychological habits and associations.

To start you on your way to breaking free, I've included some quit smoking tips below.

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Do you have a fear of deep water and a fear of swimming?

It may hold you back from learning how to swim, it may stop you going in swimming pools or in the deep water end of the swimming pool, and often people tell me it has an impact when on holiday when they can't go near deep water.

Your fear of deep water/swimming probably means you won't go beyond a level where your feet can touch the floor and you may stay close to the side of a swimming pool for fear of sinking. For some people, the fear can be so intense that they avoid going near the pool altogether.

And whilst for some people their fear of deep water means they panic about being out of their depth in a swimming pool, for others it can mean avoiding travel by boat, crossing some bridges or even flying over a large body of water. 

So how can you overcome your fear of deep water/swimming?

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5 weight loss tips to help you lose weight and keep it off are included in this article.

If you've been searching in vain for how to reduce weight successfully then you've probably already tried diet after diet, and maybe you've exercised until your body hurt and maybe you've even tried willpower and persistence.

Yet as every successful weight loss expert knows, if you are looking to reduce weight then it all starts in your head.

If you've been promising yourself you will become healthier and happier, yet you still find yourself over eating or lacking motivation then use these weight loss tips starting NOW!

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Cocaine addiction levels seem to be rife according to anecdotal evidence from the increasing number of people who come to see me to end cocaine drug addiction. 

Over recent months I have helped many people to end their cocaine addiction. 

Generally the drug addicition starts as something you feel in control over, maybe just occasionally, maybe with friends and perhaps even enjoyable. Yet over time cocaine addiction starts to creep in more and more. You may find yourself thinking about it more, working out how to get some, giving in to cravings and using more and more.

So how can you take back control over your cocaine addicition and end your drug addiction for good?

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Afraid of heights? Want to learn how to overcome your fear of heights? 

According to a recent study*, acrophobia - the fear of heights - often develops in later life. The theory is that as we get older our sense of balance tends to deteriorate which makes us feel more vulnerable.

However, if you are afraid of heights, no matter what age you are, there are ways to overcome that fear so that it is no longer overwhelming and restricting.

And whether your fear of heights happens on high levels in buildings, climbing a ladder, crossing a bridge or any other activity at height, in this article I'll cover how to overcome being afraid of heights. 

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Stress! Are you struggling with stress? Feeling overwhlemed? Searching for how to deal with stress? 

If you are totally stressed out it may just feel like you’ll never be able to get everything done, your head may hurt so much that you feel overwhelmed and exhausted.

If you want to know how to deal with stress and find ways to relax and refocus then read on.

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Exam stress and test anxiety can stop you learning, absorbing and applying all the things you know that you know.

No matter how easily you can recall all that information whilst feeling calm, once the exam stress and test anxiety kick in, you can find yourself feeling sick, on edge, going blank, unable to think clearly and a whole array of other overwhelming stress symptoms.

You may get so much stress and anxiety that you can't think straight to revise, or maybe it's in the lead up to the test that you can't sit still, sleep or eat properly. And many people I have helped talk about going blank in the exam room with an escalating sense of panic.

However it affects you, how can you take control over your exam stress and test anxiety?

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Are you desperately seeking stress relief? In this article I'll give you some practical ways to relieve stress levels.

After all, April 2016 is National Stress Awareness Month and an opportunity to put effective steps in place that will help you find stress relief and move forward feeling calmer and more in control.

Because stress is a problem. Some surveys show that over 50% of people in the UK struggle to relieve stress levels and, according to the Health & Safety Executive, 9.9 MILLION working days were lost to stress in 2014/5.

So if you feel overwhelmed and unable to cope with the demands and challenges in your life then read on to find out how to relieve stress and get back your strength and control.

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Compulsive overeating and binge eating disorder and problems is marked by periods where you will binge uncontrollably on food (without vomiting or purging).

If you battle with binge eating you may comfort eat or engage in secret eating, yet there will be a feeling of huge compulsion to overeat and binge that drives you and that you may be unable to successfully resist when it strikes.

Compulsive overeating is likely to involve what you consider to be bad or forbidden foods, which the binge eating urge drives you to consume, irrespective of whether you're hungry.

The many people I have succesfully helped tell me about the overwhelming urge to binge eat, the fear of being 'discovered' or seen binge eating, and the guilt and self-loathing that follows an episode. I have known people to avoid social eating situations and eating in front of others for fear that they may lose control in front of others.

So how can you take back control and end your compulsive eating and binge eating symptoms?

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Do you struggle with Selective Eating Disorder? 

Selective Eating Disorder will mean that you have a very restrictive diet, relying on the same food and unwilling or unable to try new foods. It can mean fear, stress and frustration at meal times and create problems around things others seem to find so easy, like ordering off the menu at a restaurant or going to someone else's place for food.

And whilst many youngsters go through a period of selective eating, if you are struggling into your teens and beyond then it can have implications for your current and future health as well as creating feelings of anxiety, depression and unhappiness.

So how can you overcome your selective eating disorder and fear of food?

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Emotional eating - is it something that you struggle with? If you eat when you aren't hungry then chances are that there is an element of emotional eating in what you do.

You may wake up in the morning with the best of intentions for the day, only to find that later on you can no longer resist the cravings and urges to eat.

It could be that your emotional eating is a response to stress, boredom, loneliness, unhappiness or anything else that leads you to seek relief in food to change how you feel.

And whilst using an external means to change how we feel is common, whether it is food, alcohol, drugs, shopping, gambling or another means, if your emotional eating is leading to you piling on the weight and feeling unhappy then now is the time to reprogramme your actions and reactions.

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Do you struggle with sugar cravings? Are you fed up of battling your sugar addiction?

Whether you are seeking to be healthier and feel in control, or if sugar cravings are sabotaging your weight loss progress, there's no doubt that the battle with sugar addiction continues to infiltrate our eating habits.

Week in week out, we are told that too much sugar leads to illness, health issues and obesity, yet willpower never seems to be strong enough or last long enough to really quash those cravings once and for all.

So how can you end sugar cravings and break your sugar addiction?

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As some of you may know, two and a half years ago I lost my Dad to cancer. Before he died, I ran the Cardiff Half Marathon to raise funds for MacMillan Cancer Research as they were so fantastic in their help and support during that difficult time.

I'm hugely grateful to everyone who supported me to raise over £800 for Macmillan.

Now, following a lengthy lay off due to injury, I'm back!! 

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As a full time, professional hypnotist, I believe that it is vital to commit to ongoing training and research (that's probably why I continue to consistently get such good feedback from people: What People Say).

So recently I was delighted to head up to Derby and complete a workshop in Modern Hypnosis with highly acclaimed hypnotist Anthony Jacquin. And what a worthwhile investment of a Sunday it was!

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Last weekend I took my children to watch the latest Disney film called 'Zootropolis' at the cinema.

If you've never heard of it, Zootropolis is based around a city where animals of all shapes and sizes live side by side. From elephants and rhinos to mice and lemmings, the animals live in a city, performing every day job and roles (in a world where humans don't exist). My kids and us grown ups thoroughly enjoyed the movie.

So what has this to do with self esteem and being judged (or the fear of what other people think)?

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Has Cognitive Behavioural Therapy had its day? 

Now there's a question that is likely to raise a few eyebrows! Because, like pills, those controlling the NHS purse strings love CBT as a catch-all treatment probably as much as they love people being treated with anti-depressants.

And it isn't hard to see why - CBT offers a fixed, standardised, cheap cost service, where the only downside is that people who are depressed or suffering severe anxiety may have to wait 8-12 weeks to get started.

Yet research last year found that CBT is getting less effective over time - researchers found that CBT for treating depression is roughly half as effective as it used to be.

And combined with the falling effectiveness, results from a survey by the British Psychological Society show that those delivering the services may be in more need of help than those receiving it.

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In this article, I'll talk about another success treating anxiety with hypnotherapy in Ely.

Heidi came to me for help to overcome anxiety and fear that was placing limits on her life that she wanted to break free from.

This is because anxiety has a way of placing limits on you as you seek to avoid things going wrong, feeling bad or something else unfolding in a worst case way (or you may just stop doing things just in case any of those what ifs happen).

So in this article I'll be giving you three ways you can start taking control to overcome anxiety and live your life on your terms.

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I love helping people increase their confidence and self esteem with hypnotherapy in Ely.

Having known what it is like to live with low confidence and self esteem, it is a wonderful thing to help someone let go of that burden and move on to living their lives doing what they want to do.

In this article, I'll be sharing some constructive actions you can immediately start taking to strengthen your confidence from today. I've also included a video testimonial from Marc who put these actions into place and is now more confident and happier in presentations, video conferences and in many other areas.

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Anxiety help in Ely helps Alice to overcome her severe anxiety symptoms.

I'm delighted to be able to share another video testimonial with you today. This one is from Alice who sought anxiety help to sort her symptoms.

You can watch Alice's video testimonial below and I know you are going to find it inspiring to learn how she overcome her anxiety and is now feeling happier and more confident.

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Recently I came across the term 'the illusion of limited choice'. I'd known the concept for some time as with anxiety and worry, as well as more generally in our lives, it's a thinking 'trap' we often unknowingly fall into.

We can become fixed on a limited number of choices, forgetting that there are many, many other choices we could be making.

In fact, I think it was my Dad who first introduced me to the concept when I was buying my first car.

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If you are struggling with anxiety, fear or panic then I'm delighted to let you know that my new anxiety specific website is now up and running.

And if you head over to Abolish Anxiety now you can also grab a copy of my new Creating Calm hypnosis MP3 free of charge. And please do like my Facebook page too because that would make me very happy in my mission to help more and more people find an escape form their anxiety.

creating calm hypnosis anxiety hypnotherapy ely

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A professional hypnotherapist can literally help you change your life! They can help you 'reprogramme your mind' so that you move from being stuck where you are now to thinking, feeling and behaving like you want to.

That's a pretty awesome thing!

And if you've never experienced the power of hypnosis before (or even if you have) you may feel a bit nervous or anxious about what it may entail.

As I read somewhere recently, 'not all hypnotists are created equal' so it makes sense as you look for a hypnotherapist to have some ways to filter all those names to ensure you contact someone with the professionalism and skill to help you succeed. So whether you want to end your anxiety, increase your confidence, eliminate a phobia or something different, be sure to make sure you are going to be in safe, professional hands by asking these four questions.

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Recently a client told me that if she didn’t do something perfectly then, in her view, it was completely useless, rubbish and pointless.

It was either 100% or 0%. Black or white. Success or failure.

And the fact is we all want to do our best (usually).

Yet mistakes do happen, things do get missed and life can get in the way.

And having to be perfect all the time is hard work, anxiety producing and can be stifling (after all why start if it may not go perfectly...).

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Anxiety wants you to take action and do it now! Your anxiety and panic prepare your body to move, to do something. 

Fuelled by all those anxious scenarios and thoughts, your body will respond to that threat or danger by increasing your temperature, releasing adrenaline, increasing your heart and breathing rates and so on. 

And in those moments or emotion, we are designed to stop thinking effectively. Think about it in evolutionary terms for a moment: if every time a predator was approaching we paused to have a good think about what to do and how to respond then...well, I'm sure we would have made a nice snack.

So how can you get that clear thinking, objective, rational part of your brain back in command? And at the same time calm those emotions?

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Recently I came across an article in Hello magazine which gave their top tips for coping with anxiety. Apparently some 'celebrity' (who I'd never heard of) had been posting about that anxiety and how it affects them.

As I was reading the tips for coping with anxiety that had been provided by a Clinical Psychologist, I naturally couldn't help but consider which one of the seven anxiety tips I would advise my clients to use and which I would suggest they do very differently.

So here is my take on the top anxiety tips you can use to overcome your anxiety from today.

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Do you need help to curtail your binge drinking? Are you unable to stop and continue until the last drop is gone?

Recently I was chatting with a client who had come to see me about binge drinking. I've been helping him to end his binge drinking and take control over alcohol.

And with the recent new UK guidelines on safe alcohol limits, now may be a good time to take control over your drinking so that you no longer need alcohol as a crutch or a habit you can't do without. 

So what are the first steps you can take to start controlling your binge drinking?

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As is common at this time of year, I've been working with increasing numbers of weight loss clients to help them make 2016 the year they become fit, healthy and happy. 

And recently I was talking to Ely Personal Trainer, Kevin Hurley, about what makes some people more successful than others at losing weight and keeping it off, and how people often go wrong.

So to help you to start successfully ending your battle with weight loss, I've brought together some of Kevin's top advice as a trainer, as well as my advice for how to get your mind in the right place.

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Do you struggle with a fear of the dentist? 

I get a lot of clients referred to me from dentists because they need treatment for their teeth yet they are so fearful that they can't go through with it. 

Many just avoid the dentist altogether until their tooth pain gets too great and they have to face their fear. Others may run from the chair or be unable to stop shaking, making dental treatment virtually impossible. Some will consistently cancel and postpone their appointments and I have even helped people who have had consistent panic attacks in the dentist chair.

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When you struggle with anxiety, all those anxious thoughts and feelings can leave you feeling exhausted and burnt out.

It takes a lot of mental energy to mentally race through all those anxious thoughts like worst case scenarios and those 'what if?' thoughts, and it can feel just as exhausting to try and force them away or distract yourself.

And with your mind on high alert, your body is also ready for action and you may experience all those energy draining symptoms such as a racing heart, sweating and shaking.

So how can you start to cool down all that stressful mental and physical activity?

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Happy Christmas from Dan Regan Hypnotherapy!

Just wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

And a huge thanks for everyone who has helped make 2015 such a great year - and let's make 2016 an even better one!

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Generalised anxiety rarely rests. For the anxious person it can be physically and mentally draining and seem like an endless cycle of fear and dread.

They would probably give their right arm to switch off their anxiety and start feeling calm again, yet their mind continues to race with worrying thoughts and their body continues to stay in a state of high alert. 

And even if someone does get moments of relief, or only gets anxious around specific situations, in those moments it can be hard to stand by and watch someone you care about facing their internal battle alone.

You want to help, yet what can you actually do that will help someone with anxiety?

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Living with anxiety can be tough. And trying to support someone with anxiety can be just as tough.

I'm often asked by partners, parents and friends how they can help someone they care about who seems to be anxious. After all, no-one wants to put their foot in it or make it worse and sometimes it may feel like anything you do seems to fan the flames of anxiety (or make them angry that you 'don't understand' or 'don't get it').

So you may be desperate to help in some way yet feeling helpless to help.

I'm going to give you some ways to help a person with anxiety, but before I do, what should you avoid saying to an anxious person?

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Are you fed up with running anxious scenarios over and over through your mind? And constantly thinking of things going wrong and worst case scenarios?

If you imagine vivid scenarios of things going wrong - and often these may be big, bright and colourful - then you can find that you start to generate the anxious feelings you would get if these were going on right now.

These feelings can grow and grow as you go from one scenario to another, each getting more catastrophic along the way.

So how do you calm those anxiety fuelled thoughts?

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Do you struggle to get a good night's sleep? Maybe you feel anxious in your own bed? Perhaps you can't stop all that overthinking?

Maybe you have even learnt to dread your bed time and that ritual of frustration, anxiety, worry and restlessness.

There is no doubt about the importance of sleep - we all know how much harder everything seems to get after a few nights of limited or poor sleep. Not to mention that we need enough rest to cope emotionally and to repair and recharge.

And you could turn to sleeping tablets and use them as a crutch or you could learn how to drift effortlessly and naturally into a wonderful deep sleep every night.

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With the festive season well and truly upon us, and all those Christmas meals and parties, your social anxiety may be getting to set to rise a few notches.

For some, just the thought of being around friends, relatives and work colleagues can create worry, anxiety and stress. After all, there is all that small talk to endure and all those 'what ifs?' about saying the wrong thing, messing up or being judged in some way.

And even if you decide not to go due to those fears, there may still be that nagging concern over what they will think if you don't show up. So you're kind of caught in a trap of worry about going versus the worry of not going.

Just like with presentations, social functions may lead to worry about making an idiot of yourself, perhaps by drying up during conversations, not knowing what to say, or worries about being thought of as boring.

So what can you do to lower social anxiety at social events?

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Very pleased to let you know that my new anxiety-specific website will soon be published.

My new site - Abolish Anxiety - will specialise in helping you to overcome anxiety, social anxiety, phobias and panic attacks.

With lots of useful tips and advice, as well as a free Creating Calm hypnosis audio, it's certainly worth keeping your eyes peeled for its launch.

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Does it feel as though your anxiety is running your mind and you've lost control over your own thoughts and reactions?

In many ways, anxiety is like a river - it will always find somewhere to flow and it will always find something for you to worry about. Whether those anxious thoughts are worst-case scenarios, what-ifs or whys, sometimes it can seem that they are never-ending.

And the more you think all those anxiety-infested thoughts, the more they seem to be there filling your thoughts. So how can you reign them in?

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I've been busy back in the recording studio producing a wonderful new (and free) hypnosis audio for you.

If you could benefit from feeling calmer, more in control and more relaxed, then this forthcoming hypnosis audio will really help you because I’ve specifically designed it to help you start creating more calm within the storm of your anxiety and worry.

Using this audio, I’m going to help you to start regaining a sense of inner peace and start letting go of all that anxiety and worry so that you can start feeling calmer and more relaxed in your life. Sound good?

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Very excited to have been published in a new book called 'The Hypnotherapy Experts: Strategies from the 'A' List' which is now available from Amazon. 

The booked is aimed at hypnotherapy professionals who are looking to expand thier business or specialise in a specific area.

My chapter in the book is about how hypnotherapists can help more people to successsfully abolish their anxiety and panic attacks.

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This week is National Anti-Bullying week and as part of that I thought I'd share some of my own experiences and learning from being the victim of bullying.

Personally I found it very hard to even admit (to myself or others) that I was being bullied. I was a grown man, working in a full time public sector role at the Legal Services Commission and I was living in a cycle of fear, misery and dread.

And one of the hardest things for me was that I hadn't even really noticed the bullying growing and deepening through the weeks.

In fact, as someone who at the time struggled with self esteem issues and a belief that I wasn't good enough, I thought it must just be me - that I wasn't up to the job, I was too weak, I was a failure, I had been found out at last...

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Very excited that the Hypnotherapy Experts Book is to be published at the end of November and includes a chapter I wrote about helping people to overcome anxiety and panic attacks.

The book is aimed at my hypnotherapist peers who are looking to grow their business and further their career as a hypnotherapist.

It contains help and advice for therapists on many topics, including my chapter on anxiety and panic attacks.

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Needle phobia is one of the most common phobias and fears that I help people overcome. 

If you have an injection fear it may seem like it has always been there and the thought of a needle, or the sight of one, could be enough to start up those feelings of anxiety and panic.

And you may have been able to get away with avoiding needles for quite some time, but eventually something happens that means you need to face your fear. Maybe you need a blood test, a jab to go on holiday or dental work and while you may try not to think about it, you know that the needle panic is lurking and waiting to strike.

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How do you cope with your anxiety? Whilst many people have a specific coping strategy they use, many others feel lost and helpless when faced with their anxiety, and many others simply try and distract themselves to get some temporary relief (although the anxiety usually keeps bouncing back...).

And with all these anxious thoughts and feelings rampaging through your mind and body it's important that you have your coping strategies set in place and well rehearsed (because in the midst of an anxiety attack it is virtually impossible to think straight enough to do something new).

So what are some of the most useful ways to cope with your anxiety?

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I help a lot of people who have low self esteem and confidence to learn how to feel better in themselves - to become comfortable being who they are.

So it was no surprise to come across a recent Daily Mail article with the headline, 'How having a facelift can make you feel worse. Some patients who appeared up to nine years younger after surgery said their confidence didn't increase.'

The article goes on to mention research that says that having a facelift doesn't necessarily boost self esteem and can even leave you feeling worse (not to mention financially poorer).

Which supports the obvious conclusion that self esteem is more than skin deep. So what exactly is this elusive self esteem that people are often seeking?

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It's good to talk...or so we are all told. And there certainly is truth in that to an extent.

Often the relief of talking about all the things that have been swirling around our heads for months or even years can certainly provide a release and leave us feeling mentally more clear minded.

And for many people that is all they may need to start putting the mental pieces back into place and moving on with their lives.

Yet for many others, the process of just talking about problems could be making things much worse. So why is this?

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Social anxiety can feel painful. You know you are fully capable ofr thinking and talking yet in those social moments that anxiety takes grip and you find youself trapped within your worry and panic.

It's no wonder that if you struggle with social anxiety, you may do all you can to avoid social situations and those uncomfortable feelings.

Yet it isn't always possible to avoid others, after all, you would probably like to enjoy spending time with others and doing the things you want to do and you may want to progress in your career and contribute to things that are important to you.

As a former sufferer of social anxiety, I know all too well the torment it brings, how it can rob you of enjoyment from social things and how it feels like you can't be the real you around others. So what can be done about social phobia?

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One of the most common fears that I help people overcome is their fear of needles and injections. Whether it's because you need a blood test, jabs or dental work, your injection fear can cause you intense anxiety and worry and even lead you to avoiding medical things altogether (even though you know that one day it's almost inevitable that you will have to face the fear...).

And often it is because they can no longer avoid their needle fear that people come to see me. Maybe they do need some dental work that will involve having an injection, maybe they need some jabs so they can go on holiday or maybe they now need a blood test and the thought of visiting the nurse creates a sense of dread. 

It may not be just actually having an injection that creates the fear, it could also be that other people talking about needles or seeing them on TV or in pictures is also enough to spark up that familiar feeling of fear.

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Could you use more confidence, self belief and motivation on the football field?

No matter how much time and effort you put into your physical and skills training, if your mind isn't in the right place then you may not be playing as well as you know you can.

Maybe you dwell on mistakes and it erodes your self belief, you may lose focus and concentration during the game or maybe you just find that your performances fall short of what you know you can deliver. And, whatever your position, not performing to your potential can leave you feeling frustrated, unmotivated and lacking the self belief you need.

And the less confident you feel the more it impacts when you play. Whether it's those negative things you say to youself before, during or after the match, or that feeling you can't be the real  player you want to be or perhaps it's like a block that leaves you stuck feeling bad.

So how can you improve your football with hypnotherapy so you can consistently perform in the zone? 

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In my last article I talked about driving fear and anxiety, how it arises and how it can impact on you whether you are a learner taking lessons, you are approaching your test or you have your licence yet still feel fearful when driving.

Recently I was invited to speak to the Cambridgeshire Association of Approved Driving Instructors (CAADI) at their October monthly meeting in Cambridge.

At the meeting I shared with them 5 ways to help anxious drivers to successfully abolish driving fear - and in this article I'll be sharing them with you so you can start implementing them today.

caadi driving anxiety ely

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Does your driving fear and anxiety hold you back? 

I help a lot of people who have driving fear to abolish their driving anxiety and become more confident and calm drivers - instead of dreading being behind the wheel they learn how to feel calm and in control (and even enjoy) the freedom of driving.

Your fear and anxiety may be around your driving lessons and driving test, or maybe you have a driving licence but there are certain roads you avoid like dual carriageways and motorways. It may be that faster roads make you feel uncomfortable or you over-worry about other road users.  

I can still remember my driving test (now over 20 years ago!!) quite clearly. I can remember parts of my final lesson beforehand and then hanging around for the examiner at the test centre. I felt restless and hot, I couldn't sit still and so paced around the room and I kept feeling like I needed the loo so back and forth I went. However, as soon as the examiner came and we got started it all calmed down and that energy helped me focus and be alert throughout.

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Recently I've been helping a huge number of people to overcome their dental anxiety in Ely. Many of them have been referred to me by their dentist or hygenist to get help to overcome their intense fear and anxiety around having dental treatment.

As with all fears, I've encountered a wide spectrum of experiences from those who can manage check ups but dread having work done, to those who have avoided the dentist for decades. I've recently helped people who are in acute tooth pain and know they need dental treatment yet keep putting it off, and those who now face the prospect of losing teeth because they have avoided check ups for so long.

And if you currently struggle with fear of the dentist, you may worry about experiencing pain or having injections, or you may remember previous times when you've panicked and worry about it happening again. Or perhaps it's a feeling of being out of control, a fear of all medical situations, the smell of the dentist surgery or - and this is commonly cited as an issue - the sound of the drill. 

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I'm delighted that my latest product - Anxiety No More - is now available from the Dan Regan Hypnotherapy Shop.

If you struggle with anxiety right now then this is the help you need!

Packed with valuable information and help, Anxiety No More includes all you need to overcome your anxiety - in just the same way that I have helped hundreds of people overcome their anxiety when they come and work with me.

In this powerful product you get three audios (including a bonus confidence boosting MP3) as well as a forty page anxiety freedom guide.

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When you feel anxious or worried it’s easy to start worrying about absolutely everything. Often people with anxiety tell me it’s like their minds have to find something to worry about or they just can't switch off their anxiety.

And anxious thoughts will always find a direction in which to flow.

Your mind is on high alert for anything to worry about so that you can take action to keep yourself safe. Except often there is no action to take and we lose perspective about what is and isn't important and what, if anything, you may need to do about it.

And so like a meandering river those thoughts may spread and flow into many areas and many things. And the more that stream of worry flows, the stronger its progress.

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Remember you can still get your FREE copy of my rapid relaxation hypnosis MP3 by entering your details on the right hand side.

I've had great feedback about it, especially from those who have struggled with anxiety and panic, as well as other issues such as low confidence and sleep issues.

I've made this available because I want to help you get that calmness and peace you crave, so please do grab your copy (you can play it online or download it).

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Do you live within your comfort zone, doing the same things day after day?

Obviously if you are happy where you are then that is fine! Yet many people feel stuck in the treadmill of their life, doing the same things over and over and getting nowhere even though they want to move forward.

We are all hard wired to want to learn and grow to feel fulfilled and more confident...so for most of us standing still isn't much of a fulfilling option.

So to start stretching that comfort zone and feeling naturally more confident and motivated do this:

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Are you always waiting until tomorrow to take action on your goals?  

Well, tomorrow is always a day away so if you want to make a change get started TODAY!

Even if only you take the smallest step forward step every day, you will create momentum, feel more positive and make progress.

Vividly imagine having completed your goal and how good that will be...

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It's been a busy day in the studio recording my upcoming product - Anxiety No More.

All the tracks have now been professionally recorded. The product will include a ten minute introduction explaining how anxiety starts and keeps itself going, a 30 minute anxiety freedom hypnosis and a 20 minute confidence boosting hypnosis track.

I've been getting some great feedback from my client reviewers and the latest recordings are now off for the second round of user testing.

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I love working with sports people - whatever their sport and whatever their current level - they all have one thing in common -  they want to perform to the best of their ability and to the level they know they can.

Recently I've been working with footballers, runners and many other athletes to help them harness their self belief, motivation and inner drive to succeed.

Because just as with other areas of our busy lives, things can get in the way of performing 100%.

Yet, as they and many others have discovered, you can soon have the confidence, motivation, self belief and fulfillment of being the 'real' you when you want to.

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Driving anxiety is one of the more common fears that people come to me for help to resolve, whether it's panic attacks during lessons, anxiety about the driving test or anxiety about driving after they have passed their test.

I remember when I first started lessons - I'd never been in the driving seat before and in control of (what seemed to me) a massive, powerful piece of metal! However that worry soon passed with practice and all went well during and beyond my test.

However, for others lessons can be an anxiety fuelled nightmare. Some clients dread their lessons and I have helped clients who suffered with panic attacks which meant they couldn't even start the engine.

For others I have helped, they have passed their test and 'know' they can drive but they do all they can to avoid it - and the more they avoid it, the more their driving anxiety grows.

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I'm very excited to confirm that, in a couple of weeks' time, I'll be heading into the recording studio to professionally record the audios for my upcoming product - Anxiety No More.

Following recent user testing, I now have all I need to produce these powerful anxiety busting audios that will help you eliminate your anxiety and start feeling calmer, more confident and in control of your thoughts and feelings.

Combined with a 40 page manual, there will be three MP3 audios - an introduction to anxiety, the anxiety no more hypnosis session and a bonus confidence boosting MP3.

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Recently I went to give blood for the second time in Ely - something everyone I've spoken to agrees is a useful and valuable thing to do. So what stops so many people actually taking an hour out and giving blood? 

Many people I've spoken to tell me they have a fear of needles or blood or are worried about fainting afterwards. And of course, needles, blood and the possibility of fainting are certainly part of the process! In fact, while I was there, one person did pass out despite being a regular blood donor, and another person felt faint and had to rest for a while.

I remember the first time I gave blood - afterwards I went a bit dizzy and had to sit down for a while. But it soon passed, and just like the lady who did faint, I was soon up and on my way again feeling fine.

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If your anxiety levels are sky high right now then you will be able to feel those physical feelings in your body - maybe in your heart, your breathing or in your stomach. Or maybe you just feel ill at ease or a bit shaky. Your mind is probably working hard running all those anxiety inducing thoughts and scenarios.

If this is you then today I've provided you with a two step anxiety reducing process that you can start using right away. Persevere and practice and soon, whenever you chose, you'll be able to ease your anxiety right down to a more comfortable level.

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Do you dwell on events that have already happened and make yourself feel bad?

Maybe you play over the things that didn’t go so well or even start to imagine that maybe you said or did something wrong.

And as you replay all those not so great moments you can start to feel bad within yourself and about yourself. You may even project it forward and feel anxious about the next time you are in such a situation or around those same people.

If you are fed up of using your imagination to make you feel bad then do this:

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Have you given up on yourself already? Or maybe if you don't get it right first time you decide there is no point and too difficult so what's the point.

I remember watching my daughter learning how to walk for the first time. She fell over, got back up and tried again. And then she feel over again but she kept going until she had mastered it.

Yet if a baby thought like most adults, she would fall over, decide she couldn’t do it, think she was a failure and bum shuffle her way through into her adult life! 

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According to a recent study, depression and anxiety could be inherited. According to the researchers, the brain function that underlies anxiety is inherited from your parents.

Some of the headlines seemed to suggest that people with anxiety should just shrug their shoulders, accept that they inherited their anxiety and wait for more research to lead to some pills they can take. After all, if anxiety is hereditary then what are you going to do about it? It's just your lot.

However, reading beyond the headlines, the research does go on to indicate that there is plenty of room for experience and environment to have a say in whether you develop a full blown anxiety disorder. In fact, the research seems to suggest that only about a third of anxiety related tendancies could be explained by family history. 

So it seems you can't just go and point at your mother and father and say "it's all your fault!"

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Do you have trouble switching off at night and letting go of the day, when all you want to do is get to sleep and get some rest?

If you struggle with anxiety and stress, you may well struggle with sleep - it's like in those quiet moments when you aren't distracted and keeping yourself busy, your mind decides to run through all the things you've been feeling anxious and worried about. The more you think about them, the more agitated, frustrated and awake you become.

Recently, a pretty incredible number of people have been telling me that they now use my free rapid relaxation audio to get to sleep or help them get back to sleep if they wake up in the night.

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Have you subscribed to the Bad News Daily?

Are you spending your day focussing on all the things that aren’t how you want them to be in your life - on all the worries, stresses and bad news in your life, other people’s lives and in the world?

When you feel anxious, it’s easy to focus on all the worries.

And the more you focus on them, the worse you feel. It becomes a self-feeding cycle and it may even feel like you have to find something to worry about.

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Do you dwell on the past or try and forget it even happened? 

Often it can be tempting to block out past negative experiences or, if we do think about them, to dwell on the negatives and generate more bad feelings.

I’ve worked with clients who carry the anger, fear, guilt and hurt of events that may have happened 10, 20, 30 or more years ago.

It's like they can't let go of the emotions and move on to fully appreciate and enjoy the life they have now.

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I often work with teachers (trainee, primary and college) to help them take control over their anxiety and stress levels.

From what they tell me about the workload, assessments, constant changes, long hours and demands from all directions, it isn't too hard to understand how all those demands and stresses can build up to breaking point.

In fact, a recent report by the University of Manchester's Business School has gone as far as to name teaching as one of the top three most stressful occupations, with endemic levels of stress, anxiety and depression.  

And I think it's pretty unlikely that the culture of testing, constant change and the demands from policymakers, other staff and parents are likely to disappear anytime soon. As well as how bad stress and anxiety make you feel, that feeling you can't cope can impact on your home life, sleep, confidence and health.

So what can be done about teacher stress and anxiety?

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Recently I helped someone who had smoked heavily for 54 years to easily stop smoking successfully.

And of course I've also helped many other people who have smoked for a few years, dozens of years or many decades to quit smoking for good.

In effect, they all went from being a smoker when they walked in the room, to being someone who used to smoke and no longer does when they left their session.

The reason my stop smoking programme works so effectively (as long as you want to quit smoking) is that it addresses all the key aspects of smoking.

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A huge thank you to everyone who came to my Ely office official launch on Saturday 27th June, and to all of you who sent me best wishes and messages of support. I'm very grateful for all the support I've received from friends and family and former and exisiting clients. 

Come and see me soon at 3A Lynn Road, Ely!

Here are a few photos from the launch:

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Recently I've successfully helped a growing number of women to take control over food and overcome their binge eating. 

Whilst they may also be seeking help with weight loss, in many cases the bingeing happens even with women who are comfortable with their weight.

Yet all of them who come to see me feel out of control, even desperate, to take control over it. Some tell me that they feel a huge compulsion to binge that they can't control except by giving in, and although there may be a period when it is better, soon the bingeing starts up again. One client, before we sorted it all, even told me she thought she was a food addict or junkie in the way she binged.

It may be linked to anxiety, stress and low self-esteem, or i tcould just be a habit or behaviour that has taken on a life of its own. 

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Are you a tightly wound up ball of anxiety? Do you struggle to switch your mind off and get some peace?

If you have anxiety then you will crave a sense of peace and calmness - both physically and mentally. You may feel like your mind never switches off and your anxiety may leave you feeling exhausted. 

Anxiety can create its own self supporting loops - you feel anxious and your mind fills with worries, what ifs and worst case scenarios. Thinking of these then makes you feel more anxious, and leads to more of those worries. It can then ripple into your appetite, cutting back or stopping things you used to enjoy, lying awake at night and can impact on friendships, relationships and at work.

And all you really want is a few moments of peace and freedom from all that anxiety. 

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Are you standing at the back of the queue?

I often work with people who have a habit of putting everyone else first and themselves last. And after a while, everyone else starts to put them at the back of the queue as well.

If you do this too, you may find yourself frantically running around feeling anxious, stressed and frustrated.

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I'm delighted to confirm that Sky 1 Presenter, Steve Miller, will be officially opening my Ely Hypnotherapy Centre later this month.

Steve, who presents Fat Families, is visiting Ely on Saturday 27th June to help celebrate the launch.

Steve says, “I have never visited Ely and I am looking forward to meeting lots of people at Dan's opening. I cannot believe how one man has such magic. I had suffered with a phobia of blood for years and now I just laugh at it. It's like my mind has been reprogrammed.”

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I'm very pleased and excited to confirm that from 1st May 2015, I will be operating from a bespoke hypnotherapy centre in Ely.

Appointments will continue to be available during the day, in the evening and at weekends and I can now offer improved flexibility when you book.

My Ely Hypnotherapy Centre will be based at:

First Floor

3A Lynn Road

Ely

CB7 3EG

For all enquiries about hypnotherapy in Ely, and for any questions, please call me on 01353 669941.

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For many clients, working out which came first, the anxiety or the depression, can see a bit like chicken and egg.

Are you depressed because anxiety rules your life and stops you doing the things you want to do? For example, one recent client I helped used to suffer very low moods in the summer while everyone went on holiday and she felt trapped at home, too worried about having a panic attack to venture too far.

Or is your anxiety part of your depression - a fear of the future, or feeling so bad or living with a sense of doom or lack of self worth. Many people with depression constantly worry and dwell about things in the past and things yet to happen.

But whether you have anxiety or depression (or both) - whatever label you or someone else has given it - the key question is always, how is this thing manifiesting itself now and how is it keeping itself going?

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Recently I've been working with loads of people who want to stop smoking (and who are now non-smokers!).

And I know there are many more out there who could use the help to quit.

To a non-smoker it seems obvious that you should stop smoking - they will tell you about the impact on your health and the cost of smoking, as well as the stink of it on your clothes and in your hair.

Every smoker I work with already knows that every puff is leading them to an early grave and that they really should stop smoking right now. So what keeps you smoking even when you know the consequences?

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If you struggle with anxiety then will be all too familiar with all those 'what-if' scenarios you run through your mind. And the more you think about all those worst case scenarios, the more anxious you feel - leading to even more vivid scenarios flowing through your mind.

And whilst you may be able to sometimes distract yourself or stay busy to keep the anxiety at bay, sooner or later, maybe in a quiet moment or whilst you are trying to sleep, these anxious scenarios keep coming back.

You may feel like all you want to do is stop your mind thinking for a while to give you some peace. Using the technique below will give you that peace by ending all those worries about the future and bringing you back to right now.

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Do you find that some people seem to be able to make you feel anxious or nervous? 

The more you have that anxiety, the more it seems to fire off even when you logically know there is no need. 

Recently a client told me about someone at his work who drove him up the wall – just the sound of his colleague’s voice would automatically make him tense up and feel anxious and on edge. And any interactions with that person would bug him for hours after and often long into the night.

When he came to see me he was sick of feeling out of control of his own thoughts and feelings.

Here’s what he did and you can too if you want to successfully break that cycle.

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In this video, Jean describes how I helped her overcome anxiety and panic attacks, over two years ago. 

As is often the case, once someone has had a panic attack, because they are so overwhelming, the fear of having another one starts to create even more anxiety. This often includes the worry about having a panic attack, as well as the worry about having a panic attack in front of others. 

Anxiety tends to feed off itself, generating more stress and worry and creating a vicious cycle of worrying about worrying. Yet as Jean demonstrates, it is possible to break free of that cycle and to start feeling calm, confident and in control.

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Ely Cathedral Business Group are running their annual Celebration of Business until Thursday 21st May 2015.

I have a stand at the exhibition so if you are in Ely please do pop in and take a look.

And thanks to everyone who has already sent me best wishes and messages of support - I'm glad you all like my stand and I really do appreciate your support.

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When I used to struggle with social anxiety, I would find most social occasions an anxious, worry-inducing struggle. I would worry beforehand about what people thought about me, I would constantly try and 'read' what others were thinking about what I was doing and saying whilst I was with them, and then I would dwell and replay situations in a negative way after the event.

I was constantly worried about not being good enough and being judged negatively by others.

Yet from an early age I thought that somehow I could push myself through it.

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Are you stuck playing the waiting game and wondering why you aren't getting the results in life that you want?

Recently I was working with a client who had spent many days - and many hours during those days - waiting for someone else to make a decision for him so that he wouldn’t have to make it himself.

He would worry, stress and lose sleep over it all. He would get angry, frustrated and self-critical while he waited. He would blame the other person for not making a decision and he felt resentful towards them.

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Anxiety is an unhelpful use of your imagination – you imagine vivid scenarios of things going badly or going wrong and, in doing so, you create all those anxious feelings inside.

The more you run those worst case scenarios, the more anxious you feel. And the more anxious you feel the more you run those scenarios. It becomes a self-perpetuating cycle of anxiety.

Yet if you were watching a rubbish programme on TV you’d probably grab the remote and turn over wouldn’t you? You’d find something you’d rather watch.

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To overcome your anxiety you need to learn to calm all the worry and anxiety and direct your mind in a more positive way. Anxiety thrives when you use your imagination in an unhelpful way by creating worst case scenarios and then feeling worried, uneasy and full of dread.

It may take some time and sometimes it will be easier than other times but you need to persevere and give your brain a break from all those worrying thoughts. To take control over anxiety you need to give your stressed, over working brain, more and more time off and rest so that the perspective of calm can gain a foot hold.

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Social forums have been buzzing for weeks (at least in hypnosis circles!) in anticipation of the latest ITV hypnosis show - 'You're Back In The Room' - which went out for the first time last Saturday. 

And judging by articles and comments appearing since the show, it's (as I think presenter Phillip Schofield tweeted) very much a marmite show - you either found it hilarious and can't wait for next week or you thought it was lame, unfunny and a poor relation to the Generation Game.

As you can imagine, as a hypnotherapist I made sure I watched it to find out how hypnosis was going to be presented and also because I expect a lot of clients will be asking me about it during the coming weeks.

So what did I think of it?

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Recently I was interviewed about my hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket by BBC Radio Cambridgeshire presenter Jeremy Sallis.

The interview formed part of his Workplace Wednesday feature and was broadcast on 11th March 2015.

If you missed the show and would like to listen it is available here until 10th April 2015:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02kq2tw

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Recently I was working with a client who was totally fed up of all those anxious and worrying scenarios going around her head, particularly when she was at work and needed to concentrate on what she was doing. They would keep coming back into her head time after time through the day and even stronger in the evening and when she was trying to get to sleep. 

And all that worrying left her feeling anxious, tired and frustrated. The more she tried not to think about the anxiety, the harder it seemed to be for her to forget about it.

So here is a quick, simple and effective way to start taking back control over the scenarios running wild through your mind.

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Do you struggle with a dog phobia? 

In the video below, Alison explains how hypnotherapy helped her young daughter end her phobia of dogs. Before coming to see me, Katie was fearful of all dogs; she wouldn't go near them and would actively avoid them. If she went to a friend's house and they had a dog, she had to know in advance that it would be shut away before she would agree to go there.

As with any phobia you have, with a fear of dogs, you will be on high alert whenever they may be around. The fear and panic can be so overwhelming that you may avoid certain places, you may hear every dog bark and constantly check whether dogs are on a lead or could come closer.

Yet after just a few sessions, Katie was totally free of her dog phobia.

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If you don’t try, you’ll never know.

So rather than living life with regrets and what-ifs: if you want it enough, get out there and make it happen!

If you need some help to take action then consider this:

Imagine it’s a year from now and you did nothing about moving forward with your dreams and goals. Really imagine how it feels in a year having done nothing about it – you didn’t even bother trying to make it happen for you. How bad would you feel? What regrets would you have?

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Have you grabbed your copy of my free rapid relaxation MP3 download?

If you need help to unwind, feel calmer and be more in control then why not give it a try today - just enter your name and e-mail on the right and you'll be taken straight to the download page. 

I've been getting great feedback from people who are using it so I'd love to know what you think - let me know!

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In this video, Glenn describes how he ended his habit and was able to quit smoking for good with hypnotherapy.

When Glenn came to see me over 6 months ago, he was smoking up to 20 day and was completely fed up with it. He desperately wanted to take back control and stop smoking.

Here Glenn describes how he quit smoking and how good he now feels:

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Had a great morning today in Ely talking about hypnotherapy with BBC Radio Cambridgeshire's Jeremy Sallis.

The show is due to be aired on Wednesday 5th March 2015 so make sure you tune into Jeremy's Show from 3pm on that day!

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Do you need some help to end anxiety, worry and panic?

Want to know how you can start feeling calmer, more confident and more in control?

If so, then let me know!

Contact me with your question and I’ll write up an answer that will help you and that others can read and benefit from too.

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If you struggle with panic attacks then chances are, because they are so overwhelming, you worry about having another one. The last thing you want to experience is that feeling inside, your heart racing, the panic, the feeling of being out of control and all the other symptoms of your panic attack.

And so to avoid having another panic attack, you may start avoiding going certain places or doing certain things. In some cases, you may even avoid going out altogether because of your worry and anxiety. 

Recently I was working with a guy who had barely left his house for 6 months because of his anxiety and worry about having a panic attack away from home. Just the thought of going out made him feel anxious and when he did step outside, that feeling of panic would rapidly escalate. It was so severe that he just decided he was better off staying at home.

Yet a few sessions later and he is out and about every day and doing more and more things.

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Do you hate going to the dentist? Is the thought of it enough to bring the nerves and fear that stop you going?

Along with needle phobia, dentist phobia is one of the most common fears I help people to overcome.

Most people with a fear of the dentist will do all they can to avoid making an appointment - they may go years without even a check up - until something happens like tooth pain and they are left with no choice.

And the nearer the appointment gets the more you feel anxious or try to not think about it. In the waiting room you may feel hot, sweaty, on edge and like you want to pace up and down the room. And once they call your name you may find that panic increases, sometimes even to the point of a panic attack where you have to get out of the dentist chair as quickly as possible.

I have worked with clients who in the past had been to the dentist four or five times, but every time their dentist fear had taken over and they had left without treatment. Some have even been told not to come back until they have sorted their dentist phobia.

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Do you struggle wih exam anxiety and exam nerves?

It may be that exams have become an ordeal for you because of your panic and nerves. Whilst most people get some nerves before exams, if those feelings of anxiety and panic get too overwhelming they can stop you performing to the best of your ability (or sometimes you can't even do the exam at all).

And the added pressure of knowing that, if you perform badly, you will disappoint family, teachers and yourself can intensify the anxiety. 

Recently I was working with a student who was overwhlmed with exam anxiety and panic. The nearer the exams got, the worse the anxiety and, based on previous experiences, the worse he performed in the exam room.

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Do you take the time to enjoy the little positive things in your life?

Too often you can get lost in focusing on only the big things – and you let all the good stuff that happens every day fall through the cracks of your life.

Maybe you tell yourself you’ll be happy when you earn this/have this/are free of this/own this etc and you forgo the enjoyment of the journey – and only to find when you get there you still don’t feel content.

So from today take the time to savour the little things.

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As you go forward with your goals and dreams this year there will be plenty of people ready to knock you back, rain on your parade and tell you to stop wasting your time.

These people will drain you of your motivations, enthusiasm and joy.

And they may be doing it for good reason - maybe they want to protect you from wasting your time (in their opinion) or failing or falling flat on your face.

BUT.....

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Do you struggle with anxiety around appointments, particularly medical appointments?

Many people with anxiety find that as meetings and commitments approach, their anxiety levels rise. Some won't sleep the night before an appointment and many others start worrying days before, the volume of their thoughts and intensity of their anxious feelings increasing the closer it gets.

Recently, I helped Danni to end her anxiety around appintments for the detnist, doctor and optician. Here's what she had to say:

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Do you worry excessively about what others think about you?

Maybe you are scared of rejection or failing and so you put on a mask around others and feel anxious because you aren’t being yourself.

Worrying about what others think can drain your confidence and leave you feeling stuck, unhappy and avoiding doing or saying the things you really want to. You may worry about being criticised or messing up or freezing or in some other way giving people the opportunity to think badly about you.

Recently I was working with a client who would let others rule her life - she was too afraid to say no and be thought of badly or invite hostility - and so she put her own life on standby waiting to be called to help others live theirs.

And another person stayed in a job he hated that didn't earn enough for him to live on because he felt he wasn't good enough to move onto bigger and better things.

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Think like Rocky for instant motivation!

Do you ever find you need more motivation to get going and get it done? Ever wish you had the energy and drive to get up and take action?

If your house was on fire or you'd just won the lottery you'd soon be getting up and taking action! But as I hope your house is ok and the odds of winning the lottery are pretty small, here's another way to tap into that inner motivation to get stuff done.

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Use this simple technique to quickly calm your anxiety.

When you feel anxious, the emotions can take over – you get all those anxious feelings and sensations and you probably just want to get out of that place to somewhere you can feel safe and calm down. 

As well as those anxious feelings, you also get the anxious thoughts – people often describe it to me as a racing mind, or feeling overwhelmed or like they can’t think straight or concentrate.

It's like there are two parts to your mind - the thinking part and the emotional, anxious part. When the anxiety increases, your ability to think clearly or rationally diminishes. You just can't think straight like you do when you feel calm and relaxed.

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Suffering with social anxiety can be a daily nightmare with meetings, parties and other events around others taking place all the time.

You probably worry about what others think about you and do all you can to avoid looking or sounding stupid or making an idiot of yourself in front of them. When around others you may feel on edge, anxious and worried. You may feel inferior in some way or not as good as others.

In extreme cases, you may structure your life to avoid any potentially anxious situations and so you avoid meetings, meeting new people, going out, presentations, dating or any other similar situations.

To combat the anxiety, here are 5 things you need to do:

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If your anxiety levels are sky high right now then follow these two steps to ease it down:

1) Close your eyes and sit comfortably. Put your hand on your stomach and with every in breath imagine inflating your stomach like a balloon. As you do this say that word ‘relax’ in your mind. Then with every out breath the balloon deflates again and you say ‘relaxed’ in your mind. Breathe in calmness and breath out and relax deeper (you can get your free rapid relaxation hypnosis MP3 to help with this - just enter your details on the right). 

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Is there too much going on in your head?

Maybe your brain is always whizzing around and always seems to be on the go – or finding something to worry about.

So may people tell me about how they can't switch off their mind - they are caught in a trap of over thinking that leaves them tired and drained. You may be able to distract yourself in the daytime but at some point, maybe when you are trying to sleep, all that brain activity can leave you stressed and frustrated and wide awake.

And maybe you have trouble concentrating - many anxious people tell me they just can't read to relax anymore because their brain is whirring around.

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Except when your anxiety is overwhelming, there can be many benefits to anxiety. Of course, if you struggle with heart palpitations, shaking, panic attacks and a racing mind, it may be difficult to believe that your anxiety has any positive points.

But here's the thing, at the very least those anxiety feelings and thoughts let you know that your safety responses are working well (even if they are set a bit too high right now). Should you ever be in a dangerous situation (although I hope you never are) you would want your body to automatically keep you safe by getting you out of there - so the sweating, increased breathing rate and rush of blood to the muslces can be pretty handy indeed.

And there are also many other things that flow from anxiety if you are able to harness them (even after you learn how to feel calmer and in control).

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The Ely News covered my recent award for National Hypnotherapy Business of the Year 2014. You can read the coverage here:

pdfEly_news_award_for_local_hypnotherapist_080115.pdf

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Whenever someone is looking for help with weight loss you can tick many, or even all, of these off their list:

  • You've tried and failed with several diets and dieting clubs
  • You use food as emotional support when tired, stressed, bored etc
  • You feel out of control with your weight with little control over eating
  • You're fed up of being unhappy, avoiding mirrors and being unable to wear those nice clothes

And there may be a few more habits, behaviours and cravings going on.

All of these combine to just leave you feeling out of control, unhealthy, fat and miserable.

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One of the hardest things if you suffer with a dog phobia is that dogs are everywhere! With many other phobias like the dentist or flying you can try and control your fear by avoiding those things.

Yet dogs can be found everywhere in your day to day life - outside shops, by play areas, on green spaces and even walking towards you down the street. And with a dog phobia you are likely to be alert to any possible sounds or sightings of dogs - especially dogs off their lead who could run towards you.

And most people with dog phobias whom I have helped have also carefully managed their contact with friends who own dogs. This may be making sure the dog will be shut in another room or even avoiding going to their house altogether.

When you are around or near a dog, that fear response will kick in. You will feel on edge, alert, probably keeping one eye constantly on the dog. Depending on how near the dog is and what it is doing you may even experience shaking, sweating, breathing changes and a racing heart.

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Living life in a struggle with anxiety is tough. There may be specific situations that trigger your anxiety or it may feel all encompassing - it's always lurking, just waiting to strike.

And when your anxiety kicks in you'll experience all these unpleasant sensations - that feeling in your stomach or chest, you get hot, can't concentrate, you get shakey and you just want to get out of there as soon as you can. 

With all those unpleasant thoughts and feelings, you may stop doing things that seem to trigger anxiety, or you may have to force yourself to endure them (perhaps telling yourself that if you do it enough the feelings will have to go, won't they?).n

So it's no wonder that may people with anxiety also talk about depression.

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I've been busy recording a FREE rapid relaxation hypnosis MP3 for you.

To get your own copy just sign up for my anxiety guide on the right of the page and you'll get instant access to download the hypnosis MP3.

I've been getting great feedback from those who have already used it and so I hope you find it helpful too. 

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Do you need to be perfect all the time? Would you describe yourself as a perfectionist? Is it either a complete success or complete disaster?

It’s a good thing to set your standards high and aim to hit them, yet often I meet people who feel bad because hitting 100% every time can be hard work and may not always be only up to you. You can then feel rubbish because if it isn’t perfect then it is that disaster.

Recently I worked with a client with anxiety. He had set himself five goals a day to drive forward feeling better, yet when he only hit 4 (80%) on one day he felt bad and considered the day a disaster and described himself as a failure (in fact, he was quite keen to write off the whole week).

Another client wanted to end the fear of driving, yet even after she got in the car for the first time in years and drove a few miles, she wrote it off as a failure because she wasn’t yet 100% calm and relaxed.

I also worked with a client who wanted more confidence so he could deliver presentations. He was calm and confident throughout but because he didn’t know the answer to one question, he started telling himself that he was rubbish at presentations.

The all or nothing attitude can keep reinforcing your anxiety and low confidence and help you stay stuck because you can't recognise your positive progress.

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Do you spend too much time criticising yourself and putting yourself down?

If you struggle with low self esteem and low confidence it may feel all too natural to accept criticism from yourself and others and to focus on perceived flaws in what you are capable of.

So now is the time to dilute this flow and start to focus on your strengths.

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With the New Year approaching, are you now planning to quit smoking? Maybe stopping smoking will be your New Year Resolution or maybe you've just decided that you no longer want to be a slave to the cigarettes and the toil they reap on your health.

If you want to successfully stop smoking for good then you can start to stack the odds in your favour even before you quit smoking. Your smoking feeds off your current habitual behaviours and associations around smoking as well as the impact of the nicotine and all the rest of the chemicals on your body.

Just trying to sort out your smoking habit alone can lead to increased stress and irritability and so you eat more or go back to smoking to cope. And just swapping cigarettes for another nicotine form doesn't address the habitual relationship you have with smoking. As one stop smoking client told me yesterday: even with nicotine patches he still felt the need to hold a cigarette and smoke and he ended up feeling dizzy and sick from increasing his nicotine intake.

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Christmas can be one of the most enjoyable times of the year….and also one of the most stressful.

Against the ticking clock as the day approaches there are presents to find, buy and wrap. There’s the food to organise and prepare and at the same time you may be busy clearing that workload, managing the kids or just keeping on top of the other day to day things to get done. Alongside this you may have social activities and many other friends and relatives visiting and making demands upon your time and energy. So much to do! So much stress!

It’s no wonder that with all these pressures sometimes we can all feel the stress, worry and strain of Christmas.

So here are 5 ways to make sure you have a truly enjoyable and relaxing Christmas this year.

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I'm very pleased to be able to reveal that I've won an award!

Dan Regan Hypnotherapy has won the award for Hypnotherapy Business Of The Year 2014.

The award was presented by the Hypnotherapy Business School and I'm very honoured to receive this in recognition of my work during 2014 striving to deliver an excellent service to my clients.

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People will try all sorts of things to try and get to, and stay, asleep. I've met people who drink, smoke, eat, watch TV, listen to the radio, look on their phone and those who just lie there getting more and more frustrated about still being awake.

And without a good night's sleep, everything gets much harder - we have less energy and feel less confident, our stress levels go up and we may eat to try and get hold of that missing energy and vitality.

So if you struggle to sleep then these 5 simple steps will set you up for starting to sleep better and better:

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When we feel anxious, we go ‘inside our heads’ – we become more and more aware of what we are thinking, feeling and experiencing, and less engaged in everything else.

Everything else becomes less noticeable and relevant as those anxious thoughts and feelings become stronger and take more control. You may be thinking about what you are saying, how you are coming across, how you look, what others are thinking and whether anyone else is noticing all your anxiety. You may feel your heart pounding, your body shaking and your mind racing.

To take back control you need to shift your attention and start to take notice of those things going on outside yourself.

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Anxiety makes you focus on all the things you don’t want to happen - your mind runs away with all those worries about the 'what ifs'. You then feel more anxiety and think even more about all those things that could go wrong for you:

What if I make an idiot of myself?

What if they don’t like me?

What if I make a mistake?

What if I have a panic attack, etc?

To beat the anxiety you need to start focusing on what you do want – how do you want to feel in that situation? Your brain is like a sat-nav – you need to tell it where you want to go.

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Over the last year I have been working with an increasing number of adults who struggle with food phobia or selective eating problems.

Whilst they do eat certain familiar foods, people with a food phobia tend to struggle with any new foods - they just physically cannot take a mouthful and swallow it. Depending on how long it has been going on, and the range of foods they can eat, this can impact on health - as well as causing social problems about eating around others.

If you struggle with something similar then it may well have been going on so long that it's just become what you do around food. You'll have a mental list of foods that are ok for you to calmly eat, and you will have developed practices to avoid getting into embarassing and anxious situations around food (e.g. making up excuses to avoid social eating, cooking your own meals).

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Are you worrying about things that may never happen? All those scenarios in your over-active mind can leave you in a heap of anxiety, worry and exhaustion.

So is it time to give your mind a break and let all that worry drift away?

Here's how you can let all that worry and anxiety float away to leave you feeling calmer and more in control:

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Is your mind always on the go? Do you find it impossible to switch off and just unwind?

It’s very common for people to tell me they can’t switch off their minds – they may distract themselves and stay busy but as soon as they pause (e.g. in the car or when trying to sleep at night), their mind goes into overdrive.

Of course, we are always thinking, so it's about learning to feel calmer and take control over those thoughts that gives us that freedom. 

So here is a quick way to start getting freedom from thoughts:

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This is a brilliant idea from a client of mine who used it to end her anxiety.

She used to find that she would lie awake at night and her mind would fill with anxious thoughts - some related to things going on in her life now and many to do with things that could happen in the future. The end result was that she found herself wide awake at night, hot, sweaty, on edge and anxious.

The insomnia was really starting to take its toll and wear her down. So she took the discussions we had in our sessions and made it work for her so she could shred her anxiety and sleep like a baby.

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Do you want your confidence to go sky high?

To be more confident you need to take consistent daily actions that propel you forwards. You need to direct your mind to what you do want and ditch all those old unconfident thoughts and feelings.

Here’s how to ignite those confidence blasters so you can soar up and away!

No matter where you are right now you easily can change your confidence at any time.

My 7 Confidence Blasters will help you:

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Are you a very important person?

A lot (if not all) of clients who come to see me to sort their low self-esteem and confidence regard themselves as the least important person in their own life – at work, at home and even when on their own they don’t feel worth it, good enough or that they deserve to feel better.

IT’s TIME TO CHANGE ALL THAT!

You are the most important person in your life – without you the show doesn’t get started.

Here are three ways to get started:

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Are you living your life as a sprint?

Today I was talking to a client who has been having trouble managing stress. Every day had become a whirlwind of deadlines, timescales and fire-fighting. By the end of the day she was exhausted and too mentally tied in knots to tackle anything.

Her whole life was being consumed by stress - leaving no mental or physical energy for anything else. And the more stressed she became, the more tired she was yet the worse she slept. Soon, every small task became a massive mountain to struggle against. 

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Is it time you got MORE SPECIFIC?

So many people let one small event cloud their entire day - or even their entire week. Long after the event they may still feel rubbish while everyone else has moved on and is getting on.

So keep this in mind - 

Remember that one bad day doesn’t have to ruin a whole week.

In the same way, one bad morning doesn’t have to ruin a whole day.

And one bad hour doesn’t have to ruin a whole morning.

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As many of you will know, the front door at Ely Complementary Health Centre has been out of use for some time due to essential maintenance and repair work. For many months, only the rear entrance to the building has been in use.

So I'm very pleased to update that work has now been completed, the scaffolding has been removed and the front door is fully operational again. Hooray!

And here's how it looks now:

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in 1996, Matt suffered a panic attack while driving on a motorway in Wales.

After his panic attacks, Matt found himself unable to drive on motorways and dual carriageways because of the high level of panic and anxiety he experienced about driving on these types of road. To avoid motorways, Matt would plan journies using only back roads which took much more time and effort.

Matt came to see me when he was in a position where he really needed to be able to drive calmly on the motorway, just as he had before his panic attack.

in this video, Matt explains how he worked with me to end his driving fear so he could drive on motorways feeling calm and in control:

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Recently I was very pleased to have one of my hypnotherapy success stories featured online in the Huffington Post

The article, by fellow hypnotherapist Steve Miller, referred to how I helped Kate to increase her confidence and end self doubt. You can watch the video where Kate explains how working with me helped her on the video testimonials page.

As Steve put it:

"I was particularly enthused watching a video where Hypnotherapist Dan Regan treated Kate for confidence issues. Seeing her report how she now feels so much more confident was fabulous. Kate laughs as she reports how she still feels hypnosis is some kind of voodoo magic, but how it has made a massive difference to her life."

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When Kate first came to see me she was, by her own admission, in a dark place which had eaten away at her confidence and led to increased self doubt. Despite being skeptical about hypnotherapy, Kate decided to go ahead and discover what may happen.

It's fine for people to be skeptical if they have never been to see me before and experienced the positive benefits - after all, you want to make sure that what I'm doing is making you feel better and getting you results.

In this short video, Kate explains how working with me helped her re-discover her confidence and end that self doubt. She also talks about how she benefits from training both her mind and body to perform better in her body building competitions.

Read more ...

When Claire came to see me she told me all about how her fear of flying affected her life. She would dread the prospect of flying for weeks beforehand, she would struggle with her fear during the flight itself and would then spend her holidays worried about the upcoming flight back rather than enjoyng herself. Now that she had children, she was worried that they may pick up on her fear and start to learn to have their own fear of flying.

Fear of flying can turn what should be a wonderful holiday into a draining anxiety-ridden ordeal. Even before the flight you may run many scenarios over in your mind of what may happen - and all those 'what if's' only add fuel to your fear. The fear only increases if you catch any stories in the news about things happening to planes.

And all that fear and anxiety is even before the flight itself, where the anxiety levels may rocket as you wait at the airport, only to increase further when you get on the plane, take your seat and await take off.

Many people try using medication or alcohol to numb some of the anxiety, yet often even that isn't enough to stop the fear taking hold. And even if you do force yourself through the flight, there is still the daunting prospect of repeating the whole ordeal on the return flight to contend with.

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The Cambridge News has just featured an article about how I helped Steve Miller finally overcome his 40 year phobia.

Before working with me, Steve had struggled with anything to do with blood and needles. Even saying the word 'blood' or seeing anything with blood on TV would cause him anxiety.  

Steve now tells me that he is completely calm and relaxed about those things that used to cause him such fear.

You can read the article here: pdfCambridge_News_201014_Steve_Miller_end_phobia_with_hypnotherapy.pdf

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Phobias are often funny things aren't they? How is it that the sight of a spider can make a grown person desperate to get out of the room? Or the sound of a dog barking can generate intense panic? Or even,as was the case with one client I worked with, the thought of being somewhere with balloons was enough to make him avoid places.

Logically you know that you are not in physical danger. Yet somehow out of your logical control all that fear kicks in - you may feel faint, sick, sweaty, on edge or any of the other symptoms associated with panic and fear. You may even suffer panic attacks.

And having learnt to experince all that fear and those feelings in relation to your phobia, you'll have soon found how reliable your keeping safe reactions are when in other similar situations.

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Over the last year I've had an increasingly steady stream of clients seeking help to end their cocaine addiction.

They all tell me that when their habit started they felt in control over it - perhaps only using once or twice a week. Yet for whatever reason their habit had grown and grown to the point where they no longer felt in control over the cocaine - it was taking control over them.

Naturally many cocaine users keep their habit a secret from others - there may only be a few people who know they use. They may even try and hide it from those closest to them.

Sometimes life changes and the impacts of using cocaine lead to a desire to want to change - a partner who threatens to leave, concerns over impacts on the kids, the growing financial burden or that feeling that the cocaine is changing who you are somehow.

Whatever the history and circumstances now, they all tell me how it has become much more of a battle to resist the temptation to use.

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Fear and anxiety love inaction – they stop you doing things, fill your mind with all those what-ifs, and piece by piece they can shut you down and stop you doing the things you used to enjoy or that logically you know you should be able to manage. 

To quench fear you need to take action. 

Whether you take a large step or a small step, bit by bit you can smash through your fear and let it shrink in your life.

Read more ...

I often work with clients who tell me that either they achieve something 100% or they feel they’ve failed. They may reach 99% but something happens outside of their control. And then they feel bad because they’ve failed (in their eyes).

Start giving yourself more credit for what you achieve. Keep a note of your successes as a reference.

You can follow these steps:

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Here’s a quick way to shake off anxiety about an upcoming event – recently I helped a client about to start a new job and another giving a presentation using this technique.

Often we look forward to an event and our mind starts to try and fill in the gaps of what might happen with unhelpful scenarios (what if….I mess it up/I can’t do it/I make an idiot of myself etc).

And all these things that we make up in our minds can start raising anxiety levels. The closer the event gets, the more we think about it and the worse those scarios of things going wrong can get. All the while you are linking feeling anxious with the event so that when you get there you have already primed your mind to feel anxious and you may not perform at your confident best.

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From POSITIVE THINKING to POSITIVE ACTION

Positive thinking is great – you can dream big, achieve goals in your mind and feel better for a bit.

But POSITIVE ACTION is what gets it done!

When you have something you want to achieve – whether it’s to feel less anxious when you leave the house, be more confident in social situations, learn to stay calm or another goal that means something to you – you need to do something about it.COMMIT to taking one small step every day towards what you want.

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To win the battle against anxiety you have to start relaxing and giving your tired brain a rest from all that worry and stress.

In the same way that when you are physically tired you need to rest your body, your brain also needs regular time outs.

Most people with anxiety will say they never relax, or they aren’t very good at it – some will even say they never relax, their minds are always whizzing around.

Learning to relax is like any other skill or activity – the more you practice it, the better you get at it and the calmer and in control you start to become.

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Stoptober is upon us and you may be one of many smokers hoping to stop smoking for 28 days - and hopefully to continue stopping smoking beyond that.

I fully support anyone who is trying to stop smoking - it's an unecessary habit that gives you very little in return for the massive price you end up paying with your health.

And although may people quit smoking using will power alone, you may have experiened the 'elastic band' effect in the past. This happens when you force yourself to stop something for a period but like stretching an elastic band, sooner or later it springs back to its starting point.

Because in many ways aiming to quit smoking for just 28 days can be a bit like going on a diet in the few weeks before going on holiday - the longer it goes on the more you start to think about food and want to eat it. Once the holiday is over, the motivation and reasons eavaporate and you find yourself putting all the weight back on.

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Do you want to take control over the direction of your own life?

One of my clients was telling me today how much she loves the technique in this article and what a difference it has made to helping her rediscover her happiness.

If you currently struggle with anxiety and low confidence you probably spend a lot of time thinking about all the rubbish stuff, the bad stuff, the mistakes in your life. You may dwell on things, criticise yourself or get lost in your worry.

But we’re going to flip it! 

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Sometimes it can seem like our minds are too organised (even if we think our thoughts are a bit chaotic!).

I often work with clients who can be relaxed and confident in one situation and then in another situation they turn into a nervous wreck and can't think straight. It's like their mind files their confidence in a certain box that they can't access whenever they want to - even though they know they know how to be more confident.

Now some of this can be due to associations, habits, beliefs and experiences, yet part of this is also that we aren't always the best at teaching our minds to act and react in they way we want to, when we want to.

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Are you too afraid to be happy?

I've been working with a client who has never allowed herself to be truly happy. A part of her is always fearful that something bad might be around the corner if she allows herself to fully enjoy life.

Sometimes a part of us wants to keep us safe from feeling too good in case we come back down with a huge bump. It's like carrying insurance around with you all day long and assessing the potential damage.

But what if you allow yourself to be happy?

Read more ...

Do you have a habit of thinking the worst and then feeling stressed and anxious?

To stop catastrophizing use these steps:

Read more ...

Here’s a quick technique you’ll love because it shifts your focus from worry and stress to feeling positive and happy: 

1) Ask yourself: ‘Who or what makes me feel happiest?’ 

2) Write down your answer and spend 30 seconds thinking of that person or thing.

3) Ask yourself the same question and again write down your answer and spend 30 seconds on each until you have 8-10 happy triggers.

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Do you struggle with stress and worry?

It's easy to become overwhelmed and so get even less achieved - adding to the worry. Or maybe you try and distract yourself and not think about it, but then sooner of later those thoughts and worries come flooding back and you feel just as bad.

There's no point pretending that things don't exist or wishing they will disappear; you've got to start to take control over how you feel about them and how you react to them.  

Having worked with hundreds of people to ease their stress levels, I thought I’d share three of their favourite ways to take back control:

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I’ve had a busy week helping people turbo charge their confidence so they know they can achieve the things they want to with their life. 

They've been busy getting rid of limiting beliefs, ending their worry about what other people think and stopping thoughts of failure.  Being free of these learnt limitations means they can re-discover how to be confident and happy.

To get the confidence habit you need to:

Read more ...

To fire up your conifidence levels to new heights you need to SMASH out of your comfort zone and take action.

If you want to make changes in your life to bust anxiety and feel more confident then follow these steps to make it happen:

Read more ...

What are you saying to yourself all day long?

We all talk to ourselves constantly while we are awake - it's that voice in our heads we consider to be us as we run our commentary through thoughts and events.

Yet often we beome so used to that voice that we don't actually pay much attention to what we say or how we say it.

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To really fire up your confidence, you are going to have to break out of your comfort zone. 

When we stop growing and progressing, we can stagnate or even start going backwards and shrink back to the familiar. We lose momentum, everything seems more of a stretch and our confidence and well-being suffers.

So if you want to make changes in your life to bust anxiety and feel more confident then follow these steps to make it happen:

Read more ...

I’ve had a busy week helping people turbo charge their confidence so they know they can achieve the things they want to with their life. As someone who used to suffer with a low self esteem, I know what a limiting impact it can have for you when you doubt your own confidence.

One of my recent clients who lacked confidence told me she would often feel uncomfortable around other people, especially in a group or if she didn’t know them very well.  She just sort of assumed they weren’t very interested in what she had to say and probably weren’t that keen on having her there anyway.

So she would avoid these sorts of situations as much as possible, and if it couldn’t be avoided the whole thing would turn into an anxious ordeal where she couldn’t think of anything to say, would feel uncomfortable and would want to disappear into the background until the whole thing was over.

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If you are over thirty then chances are you have at least a vague recollection of Showaddywaddy from when they regularly enjoyed chart success (if you don’t remember them (shame on you!) or you are a bit younger then check them out on You Tube!).

Showaddywaddy were the first band I ever went to see live in concert. I was about ten and my mum took me and my brother to see them play in Cardiff. I remember it was very loud and I didn’t have a clue what was going on.

And I saw them another few times when I was a bit older. But it was the time I saw them in 2006 that made my anxiety rocket and tested my confidence levels.

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When I was younger I was the victim of bullying. It happened at school, it happened at university and it happened at work. 

And it was never the actual physical stuff, it was always the threat of it, the comments and the name calling in earlier years and later, people abusing their position to undermine me. 

For a long time I thought it was my fault. Bullies like that - it seems to give them even more strength and motivation. And as someone who lacked confidence and internalised things, it was easy for them to bully me and put me down.The more they did it, the weaker I felt.

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Ever had one of those days where even the small things seem to wind you up? Like you got up out of the wrong side of the bed or like everyone in the world has decided this is the day that they are going to do whatever it takes to stress you out?

And then you spend the next hour (or more) going over what happened, looking for other people to tell or silently seething inside because  you can’t just let it go?

Maybe someone cut you up when you were driving or maybe someone in the shop blocked your way, was dawdling along so slowly or did the (and I’ve seen this one a lot!) elbow nudge as they passed you.

Your boss or partner may have said something and it’s really niggled you, or perhaps you got something in an e-mail from ‘that’ person and you can’t help but dwell on it and wish the world would swallow them up so you could get on with what you need to be doing.

Or maybe it’s the kids when they just won’t do what you want them to, and the house is a mess and you were supposed to be somewhere 10 minutes ago.

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Start reigning in your anxiety and giving your stressed brain some moments of peace every day:

5 Foundations of an Anxiety Free Life

1) Practice relaxing your breathing several times every day. Spend a minute breathing in for a count of 5 and out for a count of 8. 

2) Move more – go for a 15 minute walk every day – keep your eyes up and notice the world around you.

3) Spend time every day doing something that you enjoy or gives you a sense of fulfilment – whether it’s reading, knitting, making something, playing an instrument or something else.

4) Learn to manage your imagination – relax and focus on what you do want.

5) Properly relax (not watching TV) – close your eyes and focus on relaxing every part of your muscle and then every thought in your mind.

Dan Regan

Hypnotherapist

www.danreganhypnotherapy.co.uk 

Many of my clients, when they first come to see me, use alcohol as an external method of trying to control bad feelings – they feel anxious so have a drink to relax and try and calm their thoughts, they drink a few before meeting up with friends to feel more confident, they need a drink at the end of the working day to unwind and so on.

The problem comes when it isn’t possible to not have a drink, their health starts to suffer, they start forgetting parts of the evening or they find they can no longer go without a drink.

If you want to break this cycle then here are a few starters:

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Do you have trouble sleeping?

If you are anxious, worried, stressed or feeling low, sleep can be one of the main things affected. And the less well you sleep the more tired you become and the harder it is to cope. You may also start to worry about not getting enough sleep and the impact this will have for you - and so you create a cycle of feeling anious about sleeping, which leads to not sleeping and more anxiety.

So here are seven simple things you can do to improve your chance of a good night’s sleep:

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Social anxiety is something I suffered with for years before hypnotherapy helped me overcome my anxiety and enjoy being comfortable being myself.

I would constantly worry what others were thinking about me and worry about making an idiot of myself or doing something wrong. I would waste time and energy playing negative scenarios in my mind and criticising myself for not being good enough. I felt like there were two versions of me - the real me I could be when on my own and with others I knew well, and the anxious me who felt uncomfortable and would worry, stress and be unable to function around others.

Interviews, presentations and social occasions were an inner ordeal and sometimes my anxiety was so great I just wouldn’t do them.

I remember one time in an old job calling in sick just to avoid giving a 5 minute presentation. And of course whilst that removed the anxiety around the presentation itself, I spent many hours worrying about what they would think about me not being there and imagining them thinking negatively of me. 

If you suffer with social anxiety some of this may feel familiar.

Overcoming Social Anxiety

I know that you can smash through your social anxiety, however bad you think it is right now.

Here are three things that you can start to do that will immediately kick start you feeling happier, more confident and more comfortable being yourself:

1) Make time to relax and focus on what you want to happen. STOP worrying about all the things that could go wrong and what others may think – FLIP IT and start thinking how you do want things to go and looking forward to feeling more confident and in control.

2) Do at least one thing a day that takes you outside your comfort zone. However big or small: make it happen. It may be starting a conversation with someone you don’t know that well, picking up the phone instead of e-mailing or saying one thing in a meeting. Sure, you may feel a small rush of adrenaline but the positive payback will be ten times the payback.

3) Take action on the things you want to do BEFORE you feel 100% ready. There comes a time when all the analysis needs to end. If the thought of doing it excites you then commit to it and tell that doubting little voice in your head to get onside or shut up!

And most importantly, know that whatever happens – YOU’LL BE OKAY.

Dan Regan

www.danreganhypnotherapy.co.uk 

A couple of months ago, I worked with a client who suffered with a massive level of health anxiety. She avoided anything to do with the doctor, dentist or optician because the fear and worry was too overwhelming.

And by far the biggest fear she had was about giving blood. It was unimaginable for her - just the thought of it made her anxious and worried. There were all sorts of imagined fears around needles and blood whirring through her mind.

Yet after just a few sessions she had been to the dentist for a check up, had her eyes tested AND given blood (and enjoyed it!). Amazing!

Giving Blood

I may be up on my soap box with this one a bit but please bear with me because it is important.

If you are anything like me then giving blood is one of those things you mean to get around to doing (unless you suffer with needle axiety or blood phobia in which case you don't!).

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One of my clients told me recently that she felt like a tightly wound up ball of anxiety. She constantly felt on edge, restless and tense and couldn't find any peace from feeling that way.

No matter how much she tried to distract herself for a while, all those unwelcome thoughts and feelings kept coming back.

However, that soon changed when she used the process below to find more and more inner calmness.

The Anxiety Ball

Here’s what worked for her and if you struggle with anxiety then you can benefit too:

anxiety ball

 

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As you would expect I'm a great believer in the power of hypnosis to help you manage emotions, end anxiety, boost self-esteem, increase confidence and in helping you to achieve your goals. It's a belief that is shared by my clients (you can read what people have said for more).

But everyday we go into 'trance' like moments and sometimes you may not appreciate your own internal power to hypnotise yourself negatively. 

Have you ever:

  • Felt nervous before an upcoming social event, presentation or exam?
  • Found your mind wandering and procrastinated when you should be getting on with something?
  • Thought of your future and felt a bit depressed because it doesn't seem on track?
  • Felt angry about something you need to talk to someone about?
  • Found yourself worrying or stressing at night so you can't sleep?

    Read more ...

Have you ever had one of those situations in a meeting or when talking to someone when you feel tense, uncomfortable, anxious and you just want it to be over?

Or maybe you sometimes feel that some people are more intelligent or somehow better than you and when you speak to them you get a bit lost in your own thoughts, maybe even not saying much because you don't want to look stupid?

And then you kick yourself because someone else suggests the same thing you were thinking and everyone responds positively. It could have been you who said it!

Putting People On A Pedestal

Obviously there is nothing wrong with admiring somone who is gifted at some skill, or wanting to learn from them.

However, recently I was working with a client who felt way, way down the pecking order at work and put everyone on some higher level in her mind compared to herself.

In meetings she would be reluctant to speak because her managers had been doing it longer, knew more and she thought she would make an idiot of herself. She would try to avoid giving her opinions and even try and avoid speaking to senior managers or others who she felt knew so much more than her. 

In these situations she would feel tense and anxious. Sometimes somone wlse would say the very thing she had been thinking and she'd mentally kick herself about her failure to speak up.

So how did we easily change this?

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If you suffer with a phobia or fear then you will know the levels of anxiety that can arise and you will probably do all you can to avoid the particular thing or situation. You may even feel anxious just talking about your phobia.

Recently I worked with Steve Miller, who you may recognise as the presenter of Sky 1's 'Fat Families' as well as from his books, magazine articles and other TV appearances.

Steve had suffered with a phobia around blood and a phobia around needles for forty years. When we first met he couldn't even say the words 'blood test' without getting anxious and on edge. 

In the video below, Steve talks about how he now feels about his old phobia after working with me for two sessions.

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How much time do you spend dwelling on the past and worrying about the future? Sometimes it can seem like all our time is spent looking back or looking ahead and never taking the time to be in the moment - where you are right now.

If you spend too much time looking back it may make you feel sad, depressed, low or even hopeless. And  too much time lost in future worries can lead to anxiety, stress and worry. You may also find that you put happiness and health on the 'never-never' - it becomes something you hope to have in the future without doing anything about it right now.

A Time And A Place

It can be useful to look back over the past to see how we have grown and moved on, to remember challenges we've overcome and successes we've achieved and to learn for the future.

It can be useful to think to the future to help us plan to successfully achieve what we want to in life.

However, it is alos important to make sure you spend some time in the current moment - in the now. We can forget to enjoy the moment and miss opportunities to experience gratitide. love and happiness. When you are more in the now, fears about what might happen in the future start to diminish and feelings from the past are put to one side or behind you.

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If you struggle with anxiety then you will be very aware of the two main symptoms that come with anxiety - those anxious feelings that you notice in your body, and the anxious thoughts that race through your mind.

Everyone is very different in how and when they experience their own anxiety - for some the feelings and thoughts are a constant burden through every moment of the day whilst for others they may come and go or be more acute in specific situations.

So when someone with anxiety comes to see me they are desperately seeking relief from the physical feelings and the worrying thoughts.

Your Stressed Brain

The simplest way to explain anxiety is the state in which your mind is on high alert looking out for any sign of danger so it can take action to keep you safe and protected. Of course you probably aren't in any actual, real danger but your mind can't tell the difference between worrying about a hungry wolf coming towards you and all the worry and stress that you are experiencing from work, family and all the other areas of your life.

Your mind registers all that stress, worry and anxiety and gets ready to take action - and so your body responds by getting you ready to move, and your breathing increases, you get hot and sweaty, the adrenaline pumps around your body. You notice all these things and start to interpret them as anxiety, which causes more worry and stress and leads to more physical symptoms and a cycle develops where the feelings and thoughts feed each other and fuel each other.

Anxious people often talk about thier brains feeling full or lilke cotton wool, how they have trouble concentrating and how tired they feel. It's like having a stressed out brain working as hard as it can and therefore has no room for anything but anxiety.

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How much news do you follow? I've worked with people who watch the news over breakfast, read the paper on the way to work, check their news app throughout the day, look at news online at lunchtime then back home for the evening news and the ten o'clock news before bed.

And as much of the news is full of disasters, pain, suffering and sadness, that's a lot of worry and stress being force fed into your mind.

Limit Your News Intake

Let's be honest, most news stories don't change so quickly that you need to check in on them dozens of times a day. What tends to happen is you get the same story wrapped up in several different ways. 

And all the pain, suffering and disaster you are absorbing is like waving a red flag in front of an anxious mind and screaming 'it's dangerous out there!' No wonder many people with anxiety would rather stay indoors where it feels safer from all that worrying stuff 'out there'.

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Could caffeine be contributing to your anxiety and stress levels?

Many of us like a few cups of tea or coffee each day. Or you may prefer energy drinks or other drinks that contain caffeine. You may like the taste, enjoy the ritual of taking a break at the same time or maybe you use them to help you overcome your tiredness and lethargy.

How Caffeine Fuels Anxiety

Caffeine is a stimulant that can help perk us up and keep us going. Yet the effects of too much caffeine can be symptoms such as feeling on edge or jittery, agitation, over-alertness and palpitations. In essence, it produces effects similar to stress on our bodies.

And if you suffer with anxiety, several of these symptoms may seem all too familiar already - such as those shaky, jittery, on edge feelings and those palpitations.

If you are already anxious or stressed then the impact of caffeine can be enough to amplify all those feelings. And the more you feel them, the more you focus on your anxiety, creating a cycle of worry and even more anxiety. It's like pouring fuel on your anxiety and then trying to cope with the fire you've created.

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If you currently suffer with anxiety then you may constantly feel on edge, tired and tense. Your mind may race through worrying thoughts and those 'what if's' that focus on things going badly in the future.

Often clients tell me their minds feel full or like cotton wool, they can't grasp onto things going on now and they often struggle to concentrate and focus.

In basic terms, all that worry and anxiety leaves your brain feeling stressed out and your body feeling exhausted.

Learning to relax

So to combat anxiety effectively you need to start learning how to relax, to give your mind a bit of a pause and some peace from all that other stuff whizzing around inside. 

Often anxiety cleints tell me they don't or can't relax. They have to keep busy to try and distract themselves from their anxiety. Yet as soon as they do stop, like when they try and sleep, all those thoughts and feelings come flooding back.

But just as you learnt to feel anxious, you can start to learn how to relax again.

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In this video testimonial, Eloise talks about how she struggled for over two months with anxiety around sleeping.

What started as a couple of nights struggling to get to sleep escalated into a cycle of worrying about going to sleep and then feeling too anxious to actually sleep. And the longer it went on, the more exhausted she felt and the more of a struggle it became to sleep.

Overcoming Anxiety Around Sleeping

Yet very quickly after working with me, she soon found that she could easily relax into a deep sleep and awake feeling refreshed and ready for the day.

As she put it: "I can honestly say that my two sessions with Dan were life-changing. I was becoming very low due to my constant lack of sleep, and it was having a severe knock-on effect on my life, however Dan enabled me to get a grip on the problem and overcome it. I can’t quite put my finger on how he did it, but he did, and for that, I will be forever grateful."

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I love helping people increase their confidence and self esteem. 

I'm very lucky to be able to help people move from feeling anxious, worried and hiding in the sidelines. Using the key of confidence hypnotherapy they soon light up, discover their confidence and feel comfortable being themselves. In a very short space of time they quickly start moving forward and doing the things that they want to do, achieving some amazing things along the way.

Hypnotherapy For Confidence

One client who used my confidence hypnotherapy to change her life was Anita and this is what she said after our sessions:

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It’s that time of year when many people decide to stop smoking for good – only for their healthy intentions to go up in a puff of smoke a short time later.

Actually stopping smoking is something that most smokers intend to do. Yet it can seem quite daunting to actually stop smoking. After all, you’ve probably tried and failed before and you may be surrounded by others with similar tales of failure and frustration.

If you really want to stop smoking and you want to start feeling healthier, happier and wealthier right now, then here are five things that will help give you that push and increase your chances of success. 

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Recently I was working with a client who told me she was suffering with anxiety and panic attacks. Even as she told me she was clearly on edge, anxious, and even a bit desperate to end the cycle of anxiety she now found herself in.

The anxiety had been creeping up for a while and then seemed to explode into all areas of her life. She had been signed off work and she felt many of the symptoms that go with anxiety and panic. 

  • Feeling restless and on edge
  • A loss of confidence to do things she used to do
  • Avoiding crowded places and preferring to stay at home
  • Constant worry and anxious thoughts and feelings
  • Hot and cold sweats
  • Sleeping very little or not at all
  • Worrying if she would ever ‘feel better’
  • Worrying whether she would have another panic attack 

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Do you struggle with a fear of spiders?

Recently I’ve helped a number of people conquer their fear of spiders. One of the first things that nearly all of them told me was that they knew it was irrational – but they still couldn’t stop their fear and panic around spiders.

One of my clients would visibly physically flinch at just the thought of a spider. She told me she couldn’t even look at a picture of one without getting that panicky feeling, and she had countless examples of times she had needed to call for help to get a spider out of the room. She even had times she dreamt about them and woke in a panic 

Other clients check places in their houses where they had seen them before, and the sight of a spider on TV, especially a moving one, can start that feeling of fear.

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As many of you will know, I lost my dad to cancer last November. It’s naturally led me to think about grief and the impact of losing someone close to you. I’ve probably written elements of this article in my head dozens of times over the past months.

And because it is probably the most personal article I’ve written, I’ve hesitated to actually publish it until now. I’ve only put this here now because losing a loved one is something we all have to face at some point in our lives and I hope that these words may be of help to others.

The stages of grief

It’s often said that there are different stages of grief, from numbness, denial and isolation, through pain, anger, sadness and acceptance. I’m sure I experienced most of these at different times in a varying order and to different degrees.

Of course there is no requirement to experience all of these elements of grief. Indeed, I remember working with one lady who had lost her partner and was

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There’s been a lot in the press recently about the amount of sugar in our diet and the potential negative consequences for our health and weight.

When you look at the figures, the amount of sugar in our diet has increased massively. And whilst you would expect to find a lot if sugar in ‘full-fat’ fizzy drinks, sweets and chocolate, it can be surprising to discover the amount of ‘hidden’ sugar where we wouldn’t necessarily expect to find it. For example, there is often plenty of sugar in products that are labelled low fat and even in bread and soup.

So why is all this sugar being added? Are we really all sugar addicts?

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Do you suffer with a phobia? Perhaps you know someone who does?

If you have a phobia or fear then it can have a very limiting effect on what you do and rob you of the freedom to enjoy your life in all the situations you would like to. 

Although the impact of a phobia can vary, they all involve fear and anxiety and a desire to avoid certain situations or things and an overwhelming desire to get away if faced with them. Whatever the cause, your mind now fills you with overwhelming fear to get you away and keep you safe.

You may feel anxious and uneasy just looking at or thinking about the phobia. And you may have had shaking, sweating, heart palpitations, breathing changes and panic attacks in the past. 

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Weight loss doesn’t need to be hard. So if you want to lose weight and enjoy the journey to being a thinner you then follow these steps:

1. Forget Diets – Think Healthy 

Forget diets – they don’t work long term and never will. Chance are you’ve tried at least one of the main ones and it didn’t get you the long term results you dreamed of. It’s time to step off the diet industry up and down roller-coaster.

As I tell my weight loss clients, your goal is to achieve a healthy lifestyle.

When you are living healthy, you move more, you make healthier choices most of the time and you can relax about your weight loss.

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With New Year approaching, the Government is all set to launch a new stop smoking campaign highlighting the toxic damage smoking does to your organs, including your brain 

If you smoke and haven’t quit smoking yet, you probably already know that it isn’t doing any favours to your health – now and into the future.

And with the New Year approaching, is now the time you find the way to stop smoking for good? 

Yet the sooner you stop smoking, the sooner your body starts to recover and your health and wellbeing start improving.

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You are probably quite familiar with the story ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Dickens and there will be many film adaptations on over Christmas (my favourite is the black & white version with Alistair Sim!).

And you’ve all heard of Scrooge, who was mean spirited until visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future which prompted him to then change his ways.

Most people can easily pick up on the message of being kind to others and having a kindness of heart and spirit towards others (although whether most people remember this for long into the New Year may be a separate question!).

For my mind, the most useful thing we can learn from Scrooge is the ability to take some time to review our lives and decide whether the life we are living is the one we truly want to live, especially in the future.

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I’ve just finished reading the book ‘I am legend’ by Richard Matheson (which, by the way, is 100 times better than the film!).

In the book, the central character finds himself alone in a world of vampires. The novel is all about his struggle to survive and the internal mental battles he faces. And the whole time he faces the risk of those pesky vampires getting hold of him.

Which got me thinking about something that my clients often mention to me.

Often they tell me about the people in their lives who seem to suck the very life (or at least their time) out of them.

Does this resonate with you?

Maybe it’s the people at

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Recently I was working with a client who had come to see me because he wanted to let go of his stress and anger, and start feeling happier and calmer.

As I usually do, I asked him how his day had been, how things had gone since our last session and a few other questions to learn how much better things were since the last time we chatted.

To each question his response boiled down to ‘not bad’.

How often have you asked someone how they are, how their day has been, how something went at work or even about how their holiday was – and all you get is a ‘not bad’ (or maybe a ‘not bad thanks’ if you are lucky).

And, I suppose that if you think about it

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Helping people successfully overcome their panic attacks is one of the most common things that people come to see me for help with.

If you suffer with panic attacks in your life right now, you may find it hard to believe that in just a few sessions the panic and anxiety could easily be a thing of the past and you could be enjoying getting on with your life feeling calmer, more in control and more confident.

Whatever the reason that led to your panic attacks starting – whether it was something specific or they seemed to come out of nowhere and you can’t understand what caused them – you can soon find that the anxiety and panic start ruling, and ruining, your life.

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You’ve been losing weight for a while and then, although nothing has changed you hit a weight loss plateau!

Now maybe you thought nothing of it, at first, but now you are finding it sticks in your mind. You’re feeling a bit anxious, maybe even panicky about what is going on with your weight loss plans.

There can be many reasons that you hit a weight loss plateau – and it is more common than you would like to think, to find that you stop losing weight for a while.

So here are four things to consider before you run for the diet industry’s short term fix.

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Just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who supported and sponsored me for the Cardiff Half Marathon.

Thanks to your kindness, over £850 has been raised for MacMillan Cancer Support - THANK YOU!

cardiff half marathon photo

I finished the race in a time of 01:30:39, coming 714th out of over 14,000 runners.

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With your fear of flying, thoughts of holidays can seem more like nightmares – unless you can get there by car. You may have used many excuses to explain why you haven’t been places on holiday or to visit friends and relatives.

Some people with a fear of flying don’t even like to look at planes passing by overhead or see planes on TV.

Because with your fear of flying you’ll do just about anything you can to avoid getting on a plane, until one day you either can’t avoid it anymore and you need to fly or you decide enough is enough and you take that first step to overcoming your fear.

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Are you looking to achieve super successful weight loss and sustain it year after year? Is it time you enjoyed being thinner, fitter, healthier and happier in yourself?

Maybe you are constantly frustrated with how diets never seem to work for you longer term, how you can make weight loss progress and then seem to sabotage it all, and all the time still having no control over unhelpful eating habits and behaviours.

If this resonates with you then the good news is that, whether you want to lose a little weight or a lot, I can help you succeed with your weight loss goals.

Because in addition to my existing successful hypnotherapy weight loss programmes,

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When will you stop smoking?

What will it take for you to finally take that step and quit smoking for good?

All smokers know that cigarettes are bad for them. You know that sucking in nicotine and other chemicals just can’t be good for you. And you know that you are gambling with your health with every drag.

And you may have told yourself many times that one of these days you will stop smoking for good.

So when will the time be right for you to stop smoking?

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On 6th October I’m going to be running the Cardiff Half Marathon to raise as much money as I can for MacMillan Cancer Support.

Why I’m running

My Dad has untreatable lung cancer. The doctors have done all they can and have told him that all they can do now is make him comfortable.

He was diagnosed with cancer over two and a half years ago and over that time has had chemotherapy and other treatments. Sadly they couldn’t keep the cancer from spreading.

Over the past couple of years he’s gone from a happy, active, engaged person to a shadow of who he was. I’ve seen him fade physically and mentally the longer he has become a prisoner to the cancer.

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If you suffer with panic attacks then you know

the overwhelming sense of fear and panic that seems to take over your mind and body.

You may become breathless, feel faint and start sweating and shaking. Some people experience chest pains and end up in A&E expecting to be told it’s a heart attack.

You feel as though you are under attack and out of control.

So it isn’t hard to understand why they are called panic attacks.

What causes panic attacks?

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With all the cars on the road today, you might think that driving from A to B is the easiest thing in the world.

And for many people it is that easy.

But if you struggle with driving fear and anxiety then just getting in the car may be an ordeal in itself.

About Driving Fear

If you have driving fear, you may try and avoid driving anywhere. Sometimes just the thought that you may have to drive can fill you with anxiety and your feelings only increase if you do get behind the wheel.

And the more you think about it, the worse that fear and anxiety seems to get.

The less driving you do, the more the anxiety increases and your driving confidence disappears. So it gets harder and harder to do anything about it and the anxiety continues to grow.

Sometimes fear and anxiety can be

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As a running leader with Ely Runners, and being a keen runner myself, I love helping people improve their sports performance and that feeling of satisfaction they enjoy when they perform to their potential.

Whatever your level and sport, you can learn from the techniques of champions and Olympians so that you get in your best performance zone and enjoy the results of all your practice and training.

Getting in the Zone

Recently I was working with an athlete who would get very nervous on race day. Vast amounts of energy were being wasted just trying to hold the anxiety at bay and all the things that worked so well in training would vanish.

She would perform reasonably well but was left emotionally exhausted by the end of the day and was worried about losing her love of her sport.

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When they first come to see me, many of my Ely weight loss clients tell me that it feels like the food (whether it’s chocolate, crisps, cheese or something else) has all the control.

They only have to see it or, in some cases, think about it and soon they find that familiar craving taking over. It may have even become automatic – walk into the kitchen grab it and eat. Without pausing.

Taking control over weight loss

A recent client of mine, who we’ll call Sheila, came to see me after putting on two stone which she couldn’t shift.

She told me she knew she was eating too much, even overeating on things which made her feel ill afterwards. She even called her eating an ‘obsession’ – thinking about food all the time and using it to try and help handle the stress in her life.

But knowing that we don’t want to be doing things the way we are, and actually changing them, can be two very different things.

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If you have PTSD (whether or not formally diagnosed) or have encountered trauma, and it still impacts upon your life now, then you may have symptoms such as:

  • Flashbacks and nightmares
  • Recurrent, intrusive memories
  • Avoidance of people, places, things that may act as a trigger or reminder
  • Emotions such as fear, anger, guilt or shame
  • Hyper vigilance, sleep problems or feelings of detachment
  • Changes in behaviour, interest and activity levels

And you may also experience depression, anxiety, stress and a loss of confidence

With PTSD it is common to suffer with distressing flashbacks, where your body experiences a surge of adrenaline along with vivid memories of what was seen, heard, smelt, tasted and touched at the time of the traumatic event.

And with all that comes the fear that was experienced originally. In effect, you are right back there in the traumatic event.

This is why it’s often said that PTSD survivors work on two clocks: the ‘real world time’ clock, which ticks forward in the same way for everyone, and the one that stopped because of the trauma.

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Would you like to feel happier more of the time?

We know that the more you focus on something, the more of it you notice and the more it becomes a part of your experience.

Just ask anyone with depression or who is unhappy or low and they’ll tell you how bad things are and how they can’t seem to imagine life ever getting any better in the future.

It seems to me that we often spend our days operating in some sort of reverse gear in our minds – instead of focusing on all the good things, we spend most of our time and thoughts engulfed in all the things that are going wrong or that we think will go wrong.

You only have to watch the news on TV or pick up a paper to engulf yourself in tales of disaster and gloom.

And it’s a useful little experiment to notice how many

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If you suffer with anxiety and panic attacks right now then you may be surprised to learn how many others experience similar anxiety levels.

Often you may feel that you are the only one who feels the anxiety and panic – that no one else could possibly understand how you feel. My clients who used to have anxiety and panic attacks are often surprised when they mention it to others and find how widespread an issue it is.

One of the hardest parts with your anxiety and panic is that it seems like you are no longer in control of your mind and body. The sweating, tension, fear and other symptoms you have just kick in – and you probably just want to get away to somewhere you can wait for it to pass.

Take control of your mind

Because of the overwhelming nature of anxiety and panic, it’s hard to think of anything except the fear and how you feel. Consciously you may know there’s nothing to really feel scared about, but that doesn’t stop you losing control.

All that anxiety and panic stops you thinking straight.

Yet if you

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Have you had enough of your phobia placing limits on your life?

It’s estimated that around ten million people in the UK suffer with a phobia of some sort.

Whether you have a fear of flying, driving, injections or something different, you already know how it can suddenly overtake how you feel, making it seem like you are no longer in control of your own mind and body.

Most people I have helped used to do as much as they could to avoid the situations or things that triggered their anxiety and panic. You may be unable to do the simple things that others do so easily such as flying, driving, going to the dentist or having an injection.

Just knowing that your phobia is irrational, limiting and frustrating isn’t enough to stop all the worry, anxiety and other physical symptoms that automatically kick in. Your mind is hard wired to protect you (which is a good thing!) yet for whatever reason your mind has decided that these things are dangerous so you need to fight whatever it is or escape as quickly as you can.

Yet rather than let it limit you, it is possible to

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I work with many people who suffer with anxiety and panic attacks.

And if you suffer with anxiety and panic then you’ll know what a limiting effect they can have on your life as you try and avoid any situations which may cause them to strike.

You may have found that your panic attacks now control your life – you fear experiencing that level of fear again, especially in any situation where you feel out of control, you can’t get away quickly or where others may see you panic.

However bad things may seem for you right now, there are ways to start feeling better quickly.

What People Say...

Here’s what two of my clients recently had to say after

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Does the thought of going to the dentist fill you with fear and anxiety?

My dental hygienist was telling me last week about the number of people she was now referring on to me for help with their dental phobia.

Now if you suffer with dental phobia then you may get so anxious that you don’t even make it as far as the dentist’s chair – you anxiety levels are just too high to put yourself in that situation.

Or you may be able to get into the dentist’s chair but then find that you are so anxious you don’t open your mouth. You may get shaky, sweaty, panicky and start hyperventilating.

Some clients I have worked with have literally run out of the room in a state of anxiety and panic. Their dental phobia was just overwhelming.

In fact, some of my clients had let their dentist down so many times with cancellations and running from the room, that the dentist had told them only to come back when their dental phobia was fixed.

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How often have you vowed to lose weight only to find yourself back in those old unhealthy ways of living? 

Maybe you promised yourself that this time would be different – no matter what, you’d stick to your plan, shift that weight and keep it off for good.

Yet somewhere along the line, things start going back to those old ways – it may be a slow, almost unnoticeable slide, or life may throw something at you and you run back to food to help you deal with it.

Does this resonate? I’ve seen this happen time and time again and I really feel for you if all that effort has left you squeezing into your clothes with nothing but frustration.

Are you sick of your boom-bust cycle of dieting? Fed up with those moments of guilt after using food to make you feel better? Had enought of failing at weight loss?

Maybe you don’t even know how or why you end up sabotaging your weight loss. It’s all too common to find that the part of us that wants to eat that cake or crisps or cheese just seems so much stronger that the part of us that screams to look after your health.

But here’s the key thing:

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If there was a way to feel happier and healthier every day could you find 30 minutes in your day?

What if it also gave you more energy, reduced stress and you could lose weight too?

A recent survey for the walking charity, The Ramblers, found that one in four adults walked less than an hour a week.

Now, assuming those people didn’t do any other form of exercise, that’s a whole lot of time spent sitting on their backsides!

Whether it’s at your desk, in front of your TV or in the car, it’s no secret that

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Today is No Smoking Day and regardless of the many different methods you come across to help you stop smoking, there is really only one way for you to successfully stop smoking.

So before you start spending time, money and effort to stop smoking you want to make sure that this ingredient is there at the very beginning.

The only way you can successfully stop smoking is this:

Decide you are never, ever going to smoke again

If this sounds too simple, then just consider, if this element isn’t there at the beginning, then anything else you do to stop smoking is just a waste of time, money and effort.

If you haven’t yet made the decision to stop smoking then it doesn’t matter which method you chose, you won’t successfully stop smoking.

Occasionally, I meet people who want to stop smoking because

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March is the Sleep Council’s National Bed Month…but maybe you are too tired to care?

You probably already know the importance of a good night’s sleep so you wake in the morning generally feeling ready for the day. In fact, it’s often suggested that alongside water and food, sleep is equally as important in enabling you to function effectively.

But if you aren’t getting enough sleep right now, everything seems that much more difficult doesn’t it?

You may feel irritable, lethargic, anxious, depressed or stressed as you struggle through your day, looking forward to getting home and getting to bed. But then when you get into bed

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Are you an optional extra in your own life?

You may have 101 things that you need to get done today, or a list as long as your arm or maybe you can’t even cope with thinking about how much there is that you need to get done.

So many people I meet give every minute of their time and every ounce of their energy to work, other people and their other responsibilities.

And somewhere down at the bottom of your list, for when you get time to get around to it, you may have something like:

  • Sorting out your eating habits and losing weight
  • Stopping smoking
  • Finding time to relax
  • Learning to manage stress
  • Developing more confidence
  • Or some other change to feel healthier and happier

Because you have so much to do for

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One of the questions I usually ask people when they come to see me with help for anxiety, stress and many other issues is:

‘How do you relax?’

Because as a whole it seems that we humans aren’t generally that good at simply relaxing. We’re always busy doing something or distracting our minds (e.g. with TV) or worrying about what we’ve still got to get done.

And when we never give our brains a chance to switch off, it’s no wonder that we have problems sleeping, we comfort eat or drink or we start to feel anxious and stressed.

Sometimes we haven’t got 20 minutes to lie down in a dark room, close our eyes and relax so we need ways to relax that we can do on the move – where ever we are - particularly if we are on our way to an important meeting or interview, or heading towards a situation that can cause us anxiety or stress.

So here are three simple ways to start feeling more relaxed, to give our minds and bodies a break and to quieten down all that constant chatter in our minds.

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People who come to see me about their anxiety often want to know what caused their anxiety to start in the first place. 

If you struggle with anxiety, you may have wondered why you have the anxiety. Where did it come from? And how can I say goodbye to the anxiety so I can start feeling better and getting on with my life?

Two Types of Anxiety 

In my experience there are two broad types of anxiety.

The first is anxiety brought on from a specific (usually traumatic) event. For example, suppose you are driving along quite happily one day in the same way you have for years and then ‘bang’ you are involved in an accident.

It’s possible (although by no means certain) that you may have been a bit shaken up or even injured. You may find yourself thinking about or re-living the incident in your mind. And you may start to feel anxious about driving (whether as a driver, passenger or even just linked to certain roads).

And the more you experience your anxiety and avoid situations that make it worse, the more the anxiety can take hold and limit your choices.

The second type of anxiety can often be

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I’ve worked with hundreds of people to help them achieve weight loss in a way that allows them to reach their target weight and dress size – and then keep at that weight for year after year.

And many people who come to see me tell me similar things about their experiences with weight loss, such as:

  1. I’ve tried every diet out there – and I lost loads of weight but then put it all back on again (and more)
  2. I suffer (or used to) with anxiety, depression, stress or something else and use food to help me feel better
  3. I’ve always had bad habits around food (maybe even since childhood) and can’t seem to change them on my own

Whichever one or more of these applies, there are things we can do to change it for the better to improve that relationship with food, your emotions and your health.

However, that isn’t all of it.

The Strangest Thing About Weight Loss

The strangest thing about weight loss is this:

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What happened to last year’s resolutions?

According to various studies, somewhere between 40% - 95% of us make New Year’s Resolutions.

Yet around 75% of people will have given up, given in or lapsed within just ten days.

Will you be joining them by January 10th 2013?

And this year, about 60% of people will make the same resolution that they made last year (and maybe the year before too).

So what goes wrong with New Year's Reolutions?

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As we approach the end of 2012 (where did the year go?!), and before deciding what you want from next year, it’s a useful idea to carry out a brief review of what happened over the last 12 months.

Up and down and round and round…

If you are like most people, then the year will have had its high points, some not-so-high points and all those moments in between.

And often people (not you because you’re reading this) just turn up to their lives and go through each day pretty much like the one before. And it’s a bit late on your death bed to wonder what happened to your life.

So take a few minutes to review 2012 before asking what

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Christmas is meant to be the season of peace and goodwill, a time to relax, have fun and spend some quality time with the people you care most about.

Yet for many the Christmas period is a time of increased expectation, more expense and additional demands on their limited time. Rather than ‘happy holidays’ it becomes ‘hellish holidays’ wrapped in stress and frustration.

What is there to stress about?

Or some might ask, what isn’t there to stress about!

There are presents to buy (making sure you get the right thing for the right people), more food and drink to get in, cards to write, places to go, decisions over where to spend the big day…and who with, crowds to fight, money to find and it all has to be done on time!! Stress...stress...ad more stress!!

And of course we tend to eat less healthily, drink more and do less exercise – all of which can make us very grumpy indeed!

It may have all become far removed from those Christmas times you look back on when all you had to do was have fun, get excited and the biggest challenge was whether you could get to sleep on Christmas Eve.

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In the last article I talked about knowing what you want to achieve and how you’ll know you’ve got there.

Yet sometimes the things we want can seem just too big or too far away from where we currently are. The enormity of the task freezes us and stops us even taking the first step.

So here’s an easy tip that’s going to help you.

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When I tell people I run marathons, I often get asked how I manage to stay focused on what can seem such a huge goal with weeks of training and preparation.

Recently I finished my eighth marathon (around the streets of Great Yarmouth) and wanted to share a few of the things I do to help me stay focused and motivated right up to the finish line.

And it doesn’t matter whether your personal goal is running, sport related or something else – try out some of these techniques and explore how you can apply them to keep you motivated, focused and ultimately successful at what you want to achieve. 

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Specifi….specifically…specifici….specificity – is that right? oh I give up!

Sometimes I have a bit of trouble saying the word ‘specificity’ – so I give up.

And it seems giving up when something doesn’t go quite right is a common thing for a lot of people.

Ever tried something and it hasn’t gone how you intended or would have liked? Or maybe the other person didn’t react in the way you thought they would? And that’s assuming you even try to do something and don’t give up before you’ve even begun.

Yet there are some things you can do which give you

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You get home, you’ve had a hell of a day and you feel stressed. You’re wound up, anxious, frustrated and tired. Maybe the people you work with have been a pain or haven’t done what they should have. Maybe your boss has been giving you grief. Maybe you just have too much to do so no matter how many hours you put in, the inbox keeps over-flowing.

Or maybe the kids have been a nightmare by making a mess, not listening to you, refusing to do as they are told, having tantrums…

Or maybe you just need something to help you unwind, relax and let go of the day; a bit of ‘me-time’ to switch off your brain and forget about all that stress and anxiety.

Getting rid of stress and anxiety

So how do you change the way you feel and get rid of that stress, anxiety and those other unwelcome emotions?

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October saw the launch of ‘stoptober’ – an attempt to try and get people to stop smoking for 28 days through October.

When you consider the impacts of smoking on your health and wellbeing now and into the future, not to mention the increasing expense, then I applaud anyone who finally makes the decision to quit.

After all, would you really want to wait until you or someone close to you gets a health scare before finally feeling you have to do something about it? Maybe you are already starting to get fed up with being out of breath, sore throats, chesty coughs or maybe just the thousands of pounds you are investing in feeling that way. 

By the time they come to see me, most smokers have tried

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We all have lots of things to do. Our inbox is always being bombarded and our to do list seems never ending and ever growing. Sometimes it can seem as though there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done that needs to be done.

When everything feels like you need to see it all done before you can pause, it can be easy to start feeling stressed, frustrated and overwhelmed. And despite our best intentions, when we feel this way it gets harder to get things done and we may start lots of things rather than finish anything.

Avoiding stress 

If you don’t have enough hours in your day and want to avoid stress, frustration and feeling overwhelmed then here’s what I suggest:

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Recently I’ve been working with a large number of clients who suffer with depression. Perhaps the main thing they had in common was how long they had felt that way and suffered with their depression.

Because we can never know exactly what is going on in someone else’s head, it can be quite common for people with depression to do a good job of keeping it from those close to them - on the outside they can come across as doing fine yet inside they are struggling.

According to research (1), people with even mild mental illnesses are more likely to

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Recently I’ve been helping to run the first ever Beginners Running Group with Ely Runners. We’ve had 40- 50 people turning up each week which has made being involved in the group a fantastic experience.

One thing that you become aware of in a group like this is that everyone has their own goals and reasons for being there. It may be:

  • To get fitter and healthier

Sometimes it can be difficult to let go of stuff from the past – wherever we are with our lives right now, it’s like those memories still haunt us and we carry around all the bad feelings that go with them.

They may pop into our heads when we aren’t doing anything else and remind us of an unpleasant experience. They may even stop us from moving on and doing the things we would like to do. And they may even come flooding back with emotions like anger, sadness or guilt and seem a bit overwhelming.

Of course the best thing about the past is

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I’ve been doing a lot of reading recently about how to be happy and happiness.

You only have to walk down the street to get the impression that perhaps happiness is in short supply - people with glum faces acting like the world is out to get them, not saying hello when you greet them and forgetting even the basics like please and thank you.

Now I’m not suggesting we should all go through our day acting as if everything is

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The fear of public speaking is said to be one of the biggest fears that affects people – in fact, many people will do all they can to avoid ever being in a situation where they need to give a speech, deliver a presentation or speak in front of others.

When I work with people who have a fear of public speaking the sort of things that concern them are: 

  • Worry about forgetting what you are talking about or going blank
  • Worry about freezing up or

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I’ve recently been working with several clients who have a fear of going to the dentist or having dental treatment such as fillings.

One client I worked with would visibly shake and cry just telling me about the possibility of going to the dentist. Another told me how she’s tried four times to have a tooth removed and each time she had experienced a panic attack and had run from the room. Others have talked about how they have avoided treatment or how they live with the constant worry that, at any time, they may need something done.

For whatever reason, their minds had decided that going to the dentist was the scariest thing of all and therefore triggered their flight response (sweating, feeling sick, hyperventilating etc.) to get them out of that situation.

Most people will tell you that, given the choice, they could find a million things they’d rather be doing 

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If you’ve been watching ‘Secret Eaters’ on Channel 4, you’ll have seen that each episode they follow around some people who want to lose weight to check what they are eating and when. Usually the people involved start the programme by saying how they can’t understand why they are overweight as they eat a healthy diet and avoid snacking or drinking too much.

What they often find is a great disparity between how much people think they are eating and how much they actually eat in reality. In most cases there isn’t any intention to deceive, it’s simply that when we do something so often (like eating), we don’t necessarily pay attention to or register what we put in our mouths. I’m guessing that most people reading this couldn’t definitely state what and how much they have eaten over the last few days without missing out some things.

That’s why when I’m working with weight loss clients THE first thing we work on is:

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One of the questions I often ask clients is

‘How do you know that you have this problem?’

At first it sounds straightforward doesn’t it?

But just think – you know you have this problem, or you wouldn’t even be sitting in the chair talking to me at a hypnotherapy session.

But how do you know?

How Do You Know?

Recently I have been working with

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When they come to meet me for a free initial consultation, people are often interested to learn what led to me becoming a hypnotherapist.

For many years, almost as far back as I can remember, I suffered with

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I’ll be at the Ely Cathedral Business Exhibition on the afternoon of Thursday 31st May – I’d love to see you there so make sure if you can make it, you come and say hello!

You can find me at the Ely Complementary Health Centre stand with

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Earlier in the month, I went to a conference in Cambridge where Michael Heppell (author of several books including ‘How To Be Brilliant’) spoke. If you ever get a chance to see Michael speak then I’d highly recommend you go.

At the conference Michael asked the audience:

‘How many of you could use more confidence?

Is there anybody here who can honestly say that they have all the confidence they need in every area of their life?’

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If you suffer with a phobia then you will already know how it can limit you or keep you stuck. You may suffer with anxiety or panic attacks and either struggle in some situations or avoid them altogether to try and prevent those anxious feelings.

In recent months, I’ve worked with clients to overcome phobias and fears such as:

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Are you fed up with failing to achieve your goals? Then maybe you are using the weakest word in the Endlish language!

Becasue probably the weakest word I come across people using day to day, in and out of therapy, is the word:

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I recently worked with a client who had suffered with insomnia for well over seven years.

Every night he would wake at about 3.30am and his head would be so full of thoughts that he couldn’t get back to sleep for a very long time. It had happened so many times that he had almost come to expect to have sleep problems and to feel tired and below his best during the day.

There are many aspects involved in

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In my last article I gave you the first three ways to start feeling better today to overcome anxiety, stress & depression.

They were:

  1. Realise that all feelings change
  2. Practice feeling calm and relaxed
  3. Use your imagination

Read on to find out

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I regularly work with clients to overcome anxiety, stress & depression.

Whether your anxiety, stress and depression is related to a specific issue or situation, or something that has just developed and grown over time, these simple changes will help you to

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I’m really pleased to have been awarded the title Cambridgeshire ‘Entrepreneur of the Month’ for March 2012 as part of a business growth group I go to.

The award was covered in the Cambridge News – who wrote:

“Hypnotherapist Daniel Regan, who works in Ely, Cambridge and Newmarket has been named Entrepreneur of the Month for Cambridgeshire by Nigel Botterill’s Entrepreneur’s Circle. He was commended on developing his business, Ely Mind Coaching, and for achieving outstanding results for his clients”.

hypnotherapy in Ely Cambridge Newmarket

If you want to find out how hypnotherapy could help you then contact me to arrange a free 30 minute initial consultation. Just call 01353 669941 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dan Regan

Hypnotherapist & Coach

Hypnotherapy Ely, Cambridge, Newmarket

www.danreganhypnotherapy.co.uk  

 

After just four hypnotherapy sessions, one recent client who had suffered with anxiety and panic attacks wrote:

I could never go anywhere on my own. I would fear getting out of my car to go into my house, walking in the dark, being attacked in and out of my home, the list is endless. This has changed my life, I can now enjoy and relax being on my own at home and pop into town whenever I want. My family and I have noticed big changes. Thank you so much.

Anxiety and panic attacks are

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I often see people who tell me that they lack motivation or that they just can’t get the motivation to do things they want to (or feel they should) do. This could range from weight loss and exercise to taking action on their career or relationship goals.

I also work with people who are performing well yet know they have an extra gear that they want to tap into to drive their performance even higher.

Here’s a simple way to get the motivation you need.

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Do you procrastinate? Is it time to stop the procrastination and get on with getting things done and achieving?

Hypnotherapy & NLP can help to remove those things that hold you back so you can move forward with motivation, happiness and confidence.

Maybe you find yourself just putting things off, like making decisions, or you just can’t get motivated to do something that seems overwhelming, boring or routine. Or maybe

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Want to start feeling better than you currently do?

Whether it’s anxiety, stress, depression or just wanting to feel better than you currently do, these three techniques will help you easily start feeling better today. 

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Are you stressed out? Does it just feel like you’ll never be able to get everything done on time? Does it make your head ache and mind feel overwhelmed and exhausted? 

If you answered yes to any of these questions then the good news is that hypnotherapy can help you to relax, refocus and handle everything that you face in your daily life.

Unmanageable stress is becoming more and more of a problem as we all attempt to cope with the ever increasing demands on our time and energy. It can be easy to feel simply overwhelmed by

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It isn’t often that I ask a client if I can publish an e-mail received from them before we’ve finished all of our hypnotherapy sessions together. However, I received an e-mail from one weight loss client recently that both moved and inspired me and I wanted to share it with you.

My client came to see me for weight loss hypnotherapy having struggled with weight loss since her teens. She’d suffered both anorexia and bulimia in the past and still felt her relationship with her self-image, weight and food wasn’t as healthy as it could be.

This is her update after three hypnotherapy sessions together:  

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Hypnotherapy to release anger: how angry are you?

Are you angry? What would it mean to you to regain your sense of calmness and control, reacting appropriately to things like other people seem easily to? 

Anger Awareness Week takes place in December and is a good time to consider this emotion and whether your anger is a problem for you. 

Hypnotherapy can be a very effective way of reducing anger so that rather than letting it define you as an ‘angry person’, it only kicks in when it is justified or warranted. You will also feel a lot calmer in life and be able to deal with things in the way that other people just seem to.

Maybe you are angry about

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Looking for successful hypnotherapy in Cambridge? Need help to stop smoking, lose weight, end anxiety & panic attacks, manage stress, build confidence or maybe another issue?

I’m very pleased to announce that hypnotherapy, hypnosis & NLP appointments are now also available in Cambridge, as well as in Ely & Newmarket.

Hypnotherapy in Cambridge 

Hypnotherapy sessions take place at the well-established and highly regarded Girton Physiotherapy Clinic. The contact details for hypnotherapy in Cambridge are:

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Stop Smoking:

 

Stop Smoking Hypnotherapy: Creating Your Future.

pdfStop Smoking Hypnotherapy - Compare Your Futures.pdf

  

Stop Smoking Hypnotherapy: How much does smoking actually cost you?

pdfStop Smoking Hypnotherapy - How much does smoking cost you.pdf

 

 

Weight Loss:

 

Weight Loss Hypnotherapy: How To Succeed with Weight Loss - 5 ways to start losing weight today. Your Free 24 page guide to successful weight loss:

pdfHow To Succeed with Weight Loss - 5 ways to start losing weight today

 

You can also access the succeed with weight loss guide online here: How to succeed with weight loss

 

Weight Loss Hypnotherapy - Simple Food Diary Template:

pdfWeight Loss Hypnotherapy - Basic Food Diary.pdf

  

Weight Loss Hypnotherapy - Food Diary Template

pdfWeight Loss Hypnotherapy - Food Diary Template

  

Weight Loss Hypnotherapy - Weight Loss Tips

pdfWeight Loss Hypnotherapy - Weight Loss Tips

  

 

Anxiety & Stress:

 

 How to Successfully Reduce & Manage Your Stress E-book:

pdfSuccessfully Reduce and Manage Stress E-book - Ely Mind Coaching Hypnotherapy.pdf

  

Exam Stress E-book:

pdfOvercome Exam Stress and Anxiety E-book - Ely Mind Coaching Hypnotherapy.pdf

  

Simple ways to start reducing stress: things you can start doing today that will have a big impact on the amount of stress you are experiencing in your life:

pdfHypnotherapy for Stress - Simple Ways To Reduce Stress.pdf

  

7/11 Breathing - Reduce anxiety, stress & panic:

pdfHypnotherapy to Reduce Stress and Anxiety - Breathing.pdf

 

 

How To Start Feeling Better Today:

  

Six easy ways to start feeling better today and combat anxiety, stress & depression:

pdfSix ways to start feeling better today - combat anxiety, stress depression.pdf

   

 

 Insomnia 

 

Hypnotherapy for insomnia - ten tips to overcome insomnia

pdfHypnotherapy for Insomnia - Ten Tips To Overcome Insomnia

 

 

Fear of Public Speaking

 

Hypnotherapy for fear of public speaking - public speaking tips

pdfHypnotherapy to overcome fear of public speaking - Public Speaking Tips

 

 

Goal Setting For Success:

 

Goal setting process: pdfAchieving Your Goal Process.pdf

  

  

Instant Motivation:

  

A simple technique to get all the motivation you need: pdfInstant Motivation.pdf

  

Relaxation:

  

Enjoy relaxation: pdfEnjoy Relaxation.pdf

 

 

If you have any suggestions for resources you would like to see added then please get in touch: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

Ely Mind Coaching & Hypnotherapy: Successful hypnotherapy in Ely, Cambridge & Newmarket, combining hypnotherapy, hypnosis & NLP.

 

Do you have a fear of injections and needles? If so, it can turn visits to the doctor, nurse or dentist into a huge ordeal with hours of anxiety and fear beforehand which builds up in intensity as the time gets closer.

Using a successful mix of hypnotherapy, hypnosis & NLP I’ve worked with both medical professionals who are giving the injections as well as clients/patients receiving them.

Needle phobia

For example, a medical professional who recently came to see me for hypnotherapy had difficulty giving injections. He would experience anxiety and fear leading

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I get a lot of queries asking about how stop smoking hypnotherapy works and what it involves. For many people who smoke, the idea that they could be free of the habit in just two hours seems difficult to understand after they may have been smoking for many years. 

Using advanced levels of hypnotherapy, hypnosis and NLP it is possible to stop smoking in just 2.5 hours. Consciously if you could just stop smoking then you would just decide never to smoke again. However, habits are run at an unconscious level and so we need to work with you unconscious mind to address the associations, habits and underlying reasons for smoking. 

It’s a bit like when you first learned to

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I see a lot of clients who hold a deep belief of ‘I’m not worthy’ or ‘I’m not good enough’. This can then lead to making images in their minds of things going badly, or bad feelings or an internal voice that criticizes and puts them down. The end result is ongoing feelings of anxiety, low confidence and low self esteem which impacts on career, health and relationships and stops them doing things in their life.

If I believe I’m not good enough (which I did used to believe before hypnotherapy helped me) then I must consider that

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Panic attacks seem to come from nowhere – one minute you’re getting on with your day and before you know it you’re in the grip of a panic attack. Panic attack sufferers talk about physical symptoms such as feeling sick, needing the toilet, shaking, shortness of breath, mind racing, dizziness and sweating. They may believe they are having a heart attack or stroke or that there is something wrong with them and they may fear fainting or losing control.

They may also experience a huge urge to get out of that situation or place as soon as they can and some end up stuck, feeling safe only when they are at home.

What is a panic attack?

Essentially, panic attacks are

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Does dieting work long term? It’s a question that not many people seem to stop and ask before they sign up to another dieting programme and start handing over their cash to try and achieve weight loss.

I’ve met dozens and dozens of people who are not happy with their weight, health, shape, dress size, fitness or some other part of them connected to weight, eating, exercise and self image. Yet I can’t recall more than a handful who have been able to meet the control and demands of any one system of dieting year after year after year.

I have, however, met many who have initially lost weight through dieting, maybe to their target or for a particular event, and then found their old habits coming back and their weight creeping up and up. And so they sign up to another, different diet plan and start the whole process again.

I’ve been working with a client who followed one of the well known diets and lost two stone. Six months later he’d gained three. Why? Because

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I’m very pleased to confirm that hypnotherapy appointments are now available in Newmarket, as well as Ely. 

Newmarket hypnotherapy sessions take place at the excellent:

White Tara Complementary Health & Beauty Clinic

7 All Saints Road

Newmarket

CB8 8ES 

Tel: 01638 669933

Newmarket Hypnotherapy

If you live in the Newmarket area and need help with any of these issues then please contact me to arrange a free 30 minute initial consultation to find out more about how hypnotherapy can help you: 

  • Anxiety
  • Low Confidence
  • Weight Loss
  • Stop Smoking
  • Phobias & Fears
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Excessive Drinking
  • Sports Performance
  • And many other issues 

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Is excessive drinking or binge drinking causing you problems? Maybe it’s affecting your relationships, health or career or maybe you know that the drinking has become a way to escape your feelings or you think you need it to switch off and relax.

Most people enjoy the occasional drink, whether it’s a social thing, when enjoying a nice meal or to unwind. However, when you start to rely on alcohol every day or you binge because you can’t stop yourself then you need to find a way to regain your control over your drinking.

Ending Binge Drinking

Recently I was visited by a client who would binge drink on a Friday and Saturday night. He would often have the best intentions of stopping after a couple but somehow that point came and went as he drank more and more. He would often

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It’s estimated that 10 million people in the UK alone suffer from a phobia – an irrational, intense fear of an animal, object, place or situation. The chances are high that either you or someone you know will have a fear of flying, water, heights, spiders, snakes, needles, social situations or some other fear.

Very often when describing whatever it is, the person will say something like “I know it’s silly but…” or “I know that it’s perfectly safe but…” or “I know it’s irrational but…” 

Someone with a phobia will often

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Are you stressed out? Does it just feel like you’ll never be able to get everything done on time? Does it make your head ache and mind feel overwhelmed and exhausted? 

Unmanageable stress is becoming more and more of a problem as we all try to cope with ever increasing demands on our time and energy. It can be easy to feel simply overwhelmed by the amount we need to do, whether it is work deadlines, family commitments, social pressures or some other addition to that endless list of demands.

Recently I was visited by someone who told me he had become trapped in

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If you are eating more than you want to and putting on weight then there will be reasons for this, whether it is: 

  • Eating too much, too fast or over-generous portion sizes
  • Emotional eating to try and help you feel better about yourself or life
  • Serial dieting so your body doesn’t know if it’s coming or going
  • Eating because you are bored, lonely, stressed, unhappy or tired
  • Lacking the motivation and energy to exercise and do things
  • Or maybe some other reason that pushes you to eat more as a habit

Recently I had a client who had put on several stone following illness and had fallen into habits she felt she couldn’t change with willpower alone – after our first weight loss session she told me she now felt 100% in control around food. Her portion sizes had reduced, she now enjoyed every mouthful and she no longer even wanted desert after a meal as she was already pleasantly satisfied. Her friends (who didn’t know she had seen me) had already commented how she seemed to be glowing, full of energy and looking thinner.

Another recent client discovered that exercise doesn’t have to mean

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Whether you’ve been a smoker for 40 years or just a few years and no matter whether your habit is 25 a day or a handful, hypnotherapy with Dan Regan Hypnotherapy can help you stop smoking forever.

Recently I saw a client who had smoked twenty plus roll ups a day for forty years (since he was ten years old) and was paying nearly £20 a week for the ‘pleasure’. He told me he had decided the time was right to quit after his health began to deteriorate and his shortness of breath started to affect his social life and job.

Another client had been smoking 5-10 cigarettes a day for thirty years, only pausing during pregnancy. She was fed up of the smell and of being the unsociable one who got up and went outside when out with friends.

What did both have in common? Both felt they wanted to quit and both

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That was the opening line I heard from a recent client when she initially came to see me for a 30 minute chat about hypnotherapy in Ely.

Whilst working together in subsequent sessions, we went into a bit more detail. Imagine if you were too worried to plan a night out with friends because you were fearful about panicking or having a panic attack, or if you were out and as the room filled up so that feeling of tightness in your throat increased, the images played in your mind of what happened last time and your mind started to race faster and faster until you had to escape out of there.

 After a while you’d also start to feel a bit down, wouldn’t you? Never knowing when

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When clients come to see me about weight loss, one of the first things I want to find out about are their actual goals.

Often people won’t have actually given much thought to making these specific and will talk in general terms about losing some weight or feeling and looking better than they consider they do now. They may also talk about

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Steve initially came to see me for a free consultation to hear more about how hypnotherapy could help him. You see, Steve suffered with problems including paranoia, anxiety, feeling self conscious, low self esteem and low confidence.

These thoughts and feelings were affecting every part of his life – he would worry about what people thought about him and anything he said or did. This had grown so bad that

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Imagine being able to finally stop smoking. How good would that feel? What would your friends and family say about your new levels of health and vitality?

If you are a smoker then it’s probably obvious, if you think about it, how much better your life could be if you found a way to stop smoking that worked.

One client who came to see me recently for hypnotherapy had struggled to find a

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The build up to your wedding day should be a time of excitement and fun and happiness. Shouldn’t it?

When Elizabeth came to see me she was feeling low, anxious and stressed about the whole wedding thing. She was getting an earful from ‘helpful’ relatives on how she should do things, she had so much to organise and she just felt so much stress with the whole thing. Everything seemed a far cry from the happy occasion she had been hoping for.

Yet after only a couple of sessions using an advanced mix of hypnosis, NLP and Time Line Therapy, all the wedding stress, worry, and anxiety had evaporated.

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What would it be like to simply let go of all that public speaking anxiety you’ve been carrying with you for all those years through all those work and social situations?  Imagine what you would say to yourself if you knew you had all the confidence and self esteem you could need to breeze through any public speaking situation in a calm and controlled way.

When Ella came to see me recently she was anxious (some might say petrified!) about

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According to some estimates 30-50% of the population suffer from insomnia – that’s a lot of people lying awake at night! And that means a lot of tired, irritable, miserable people during the day.

There are some things you can easily do which may help you get a better night’s sleep such as avoiding caffeine and alcohol late at night, keeping work out of the bedroom and making sure the lights and temperature of the room are right.

They also say you should never go to bed with your worries – for some people that’s easier said than done.

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This week is OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) awareness week and a perfect opportunity for anyone affected to take action to end their OCD for good.

OCD is the label given to a condition in which people experience repetitive thought and/or behaviours. I’ve worked with people who repetitively wash their hands, check locks, check household appliances are switched off, check facebook/e-mails etc or who are obsessed with fears about germs and contamination.

Whatever the exact compulsion, the person will feel forced to carry it out over and over and may become anxious or distressed if unable to.

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Everyone experiences a degree of stress in their everyday life – whether it’s stress at home, at work or with our health, finances, relationships or something different. There’s no getting away from it – we all have lots to get done and never enough time to do it all.

Friday, February 4th 2011 is National Stress Down Day, organised by the Samaritans and is a timely reminder that we all need to actively take steps to keep a healthy sense of balance and control.

A little stress can be

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Having been involved in a serious car accident several years earlier, Steve found it impossible to go back on the motorway. Just the thought of a motorway journey would make him feel tense, sweat and shake as he pictured all those horrific sights and sounds from the accident. It was like the other vehicle was still in front of his face as he hurtled towards impact.

Steve got around his driving phobia by travelling everywhere on back roads and avoiding motorways at all costs – no matter how inconvenient or time consuming that made the journey. To him it seemed the only way he could drive anywhere.

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Have you ever set a goal and missed, and then set it again and missed again and then set it again……? How tough is it to always fall just short and have to tell yourself maybe next time?

I once set a goal twelve times over four years before I finally achieved it. My target was specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed but there was something missing that stopped me succeeding.

My personal goal was to run under 40 minutes for a 10k race. Tough yet achievable. All I really needed to do was run about 5 seconds a mile quicker – that didn’t seem like too much to ask. Yet try as I might I couldn’t ever quite deliver on race day. On one occasion I missed by goal by one second – one second too many in 2,401 seconds of running.

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hen I talk to people about hypnotherapy, one of the most common concerns they have is about a loss of control. They imagine that, for whatever reason, I would want them to enjoy a deep state of hypnosis so they can cluck like a chicken or sing like Elvis.

These misapprehensions seem to generally come from having seen or heard about stage shows where the hypnotist seemingly makes a member of the audience do silly things. Stage shows are just that – shows – those who volunteer would probably do the silly acts anyway for an audience and there are selection processes before the start as well as the social pressure to do just as the hypnotist suggests or risk ruining the entire night for everyone.

My clients tell me they love the feeling of relaxation they get from trance and are surprised to find how aware they are throughout the session.

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Life isn’t fair when it comes to weight – it’s amazingly easy to pile on the pounds but seems much harder trying to shift them again.

As a teenager I was massively overweight. And I was massively unhappy about it. But I loved crisps and cola and sweets and anything else like it. Why eat vegetables and fruit when you can eat crisps?! I also hated exercise – quite frankly when you are an overweight kid, exercise is not fun and is not encouraged.

Weight Loss 

How did I shift the weight? I went into extreme exercise mode and (in the privacy of indoors) did 10 miles on an exercise bike most nights. When I felt a bit better about myself I went out and played football every night. As I grew older I started to enjoy running - but that’s another story.

Now it seems to me that if I suggest to people that they cycle 10 miles a night for weight loss they may do it for a day or a few days, maybe even a few weeks, but it isn’t going to last and it isn’t going to get to the root of their

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Picture this: I was waiting at Birmingham train station. I’d been on a four day training course. I’d passed the assessments but I felt low. The things I was telling myself in my head weren’t good. The images I had were all the stupid things I’d done wrong. I wanted to get home as fast as I could. The negative parts of the feedback I’d been given were ringing in my ears. I wanted to be away from other people and on my own.

I wandered around WH Smith to kill time and, as often happened, found myself looking for answers amongst the self-help books. I had a library full of them at home already – I’d never finished one yet and seemed to hope that by some sort of osmosis my life would be transformed. It hadn’t worked yet but I still had hope.

I picked up a book and began to flick through the pages. Something in the content resonated with me. Still I wasn’t sure so I

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When Adam (not his real name) came to see me at Dan Regan Hypnotherapy he told me how he felt anxiety and low confidence nearly all day long about one thing or another. He believed that he just wasn't good enough.

He was due to go on a big night out the following evening and was already worrying about how it would go, what people would think of him and whether they would like him and say good things about him afterwards. Even as he told me this he was running an internal commentary as he tried to guess what I was thinking of him based on what he was saying.

In his mind, he was constantly guessing what other people were thinking about what he was saying or doing. He couldn't relax and just be himself with this constant internal dialogue going on and

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