Award Winner For Service Excellence! Hypnotherapy in Ely

It's been a tough couple of weeks coming through being rather unwell with Covid and then getting back up to speed with work, exercise and life afterwards.

I know Covid is supposed to be mild but I can tell you that it made me pretty unwell with a fever, sore throat, fatigue and so on (I even lost my voice for two days because my throat was so bad!). Thankfully, our whole household has now come through it and we are all back up and running.

Sadly, Covid meant I missed the Ely Business Awards ceremony....but the good news is that I won something!!

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Most Read Articles of the Year - Dan Regan Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket

Phew! It's been another busy and engaging year and it seems like so long ago since the start of the year (and the third Covid-19 lockdown). 

Covid-19 and its impacts have continued to rise, diminish and lurk around over the year. Yet it has still been another year helping many people to overcome anxiety, end phobias, build confidence and self-esteem, quit smoking, lose weight and with many other issues that were getting in the way of their happiness. Thank you to everyone who has worked with me this year, those of you who have bought one of my powerful hypnosis audios and to everyone who has recommended me to others and left a kind review of our sessions together.

I always like to do a little personal review of the year in my head and to think back on some of the highlights of the year. I've really enjoyed meeting and working with so many people this year (face to face and online) and it makes my day whenever I hear how well you are doing (and it makes my week when you leave a positive review!). I've also been in the studio a number of times so that I can now help you with a wider range of hypnosis downloads, and I'm honoured to be a finalist in the Ely Business Awards.

Outside work, the kids are continuing to grow and to occupy my time and thoughts (usually in good ways!!); I've been continuing to practice the guitar (and can now play a few tunes recognisably!); and my exercise has continued to ensure that there is always some part of my muscle that aches.

I'll be off for a short break with the family over the festive period (I'll still reply to emails although may be a little slower than usual so please bear with me). 

As part of my review of the year, I've brought together a treasure trove of my most read articles from the past twelve months (just a snippet of what's available on my website blog pages).

There's a lot of things included here that can help you with issues, such as reducing negative thoughts and feelings from things like anxiety, stress and distress. And there are also many strategies and techniques for helping with sports psychology and for increasing confidence, resilience and well-being. In most cases there is evidence and research to support them which you can find over in the full article using the links (more and more we are able to call upon evidence based practice to help with aspects of mental health and psychology).

I hope you enjoy reading these articles as much as I've enjoyed researching and writing them. So whether you're visiting these articles for the first time today, or revisiting them and reminding yourself of how to boost your mental health, I hope you find something you enjoy that helps you and that you can take away to help you have a wonderful 2022, and even more, to make progress towards being the best version of yourself that you wish to be and can be. 

Happy New Year! 

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Merry Christmas from Dan Regan Hypnotherapy in Ely and Newmarket

It's been another strange year with the pandemic still looming over us all and now the new variant being the focus of attention. 

I've been busy this year helping clients (and thanks for all the recommendations and reviews!), writing articles and recording new hypnosis downloads to help you with a variety of issues. In between that I've enjoyed some great times with the kids, lots of fun as I continue to learn guitar, and some intense times exercising!

I hope that this past year has been kind to you and that you have found time to take care of your physical health and your mental health.

And before I switch off to take a short festive break with my family (and to sing endless repetitions of the songs from the Albert Finney version of Scrooge), I wanted to take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Wishing you a healthy, happy and wonderful 2022! 

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Ely Business Awards Finalist - Hypnotherapy in Ely

I'm delighted to confirm that Dan Regan Hypnotherapy has reached the SME Ely Business Awards Final 2021 in the Service Excellence category.

As anyone who has followed this website or who reads my posts knows, getting a positive result for my clients is the top priority in everything I do so I'm thrilled to have become a finalist.

The winner of the category will be announced in late January at the awards ceremony (should I start writing an acceptance speech? Haha!). (note: the awards ceremony has since been moved to March due to the pandemic).

A huge thank you to all of my awesome clients who have chosen to work with me and to those of you who have kindly left feedback on how much the hypnotherapy sessions helped you, and who continue to recommend me to your friends and family. Thank you!

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Health Anxiety - Hypnotherapy in Ely and Newmarket

Recently a client with health anxiety was telling me how he couldn't even put the TV on listen to the radio without coming across several mentions of health-related issues.  There's an almost constant stream of adverts and stories about illness, heart disease, cancer and other health issues. And, of course, over the last couple of years, all the mention of COVID-19, long covid and death from the pandemic has presented a challenge to anyone who struggles with health anxiety.

When I work with health-anxiety clients, they often tell me how any slight physical sensation or niggle gets magnified and amplified inside their imagination. Rather than being able to calmly consider and assess that slight pain, discomfort or niggle, their health-anxiety quickly escalates to a worst-case scenario where it is something serious like cancer (and then there are the fearful thoughts about everything that would come with that from impacts on them and their loved ones, to uncomfortable treatment, anxiety and the panic over their potential death).

Whilst the internet is a wonderful thing, with health-anxiety it can become a source of vague information that always points to a serious health condition (just about any physical symptoms can probably be directed towards something catastrophic like cancer).

And, of course, anxiety itself can cause physical sensations, for example in your stomach, chest or muscles, which adds more fear and anxiety to an already racing mind. Your health anxiety can lead to more sensations and aches, tension and pains, which then only adds to your worries about your health and maintains the things you are feeling in your body.

Now, of course, we shouldn't just ignore every physical sensation and put it all down to anxiety. Yet, like my clients, you can develop the ability to calmly assess what you are feeling, to consider what may have caused it and to decide upon and calmly take any actions that may be needed to treat it. And, of course, the calmer you are able to be, the more clearly you can think, the better your decision-making processes will be and the easier it will be to consider what you are experiencing (without anxiety creating or exacerbating it). And so rather than thinking that twinge in your chest is a sign of a heart issue, you can calmly recognise that you probably strained a muscle exercising. 

COVID-19 and the pandemic have certainly added to the health-anxiety levels of many people, whether from a rise in stress or anxiety about catching the virus and being seriously affected. And health-anxiety and the fear of contracting COVID-19 is something I'm covering here today. 

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Anxiety and Exercise - Anxiety Hypnotherapy in Ely

Knowing from experience how horrible and limiting it can be, helping people to overcome their anxiety really is my passion. There is no greater feeling than helping a client move from despair, lowness and overwhelm from their anxiety, to a place where they feel lighter and happier. I love it every time when someone tells me how they now feel calmer, more confident and more in control of their thoughts and feelings, no matter what challenges come their way.

Hypnotherapy for anxiety relief has good evidence to support it, as well as the wealth of positive feedback my previous clients have kindly left about their sessions. 

And, as I've covered before, exercise can also help with reducing anxiety symptoms, and works well alongside hypnotherapy. I've also drawn upon exercise to support my positive mental health, and I firmly believe it now helps me to stay in a good place and to deal with whatever comes my way in life.

I enjoy exercise, with my weekly bootcamps, gym work and running. Yet, I know some people (like my wife!) shudder at the very thought of structured exercise. Especially if you had unpleasant experiences with exercising in the past (my school P.E. experiences were largely miserable!), then you may not enjoy the thought of getting exercising. Below I cover the evidence that suggests that sitting less and moving more in some form, really can help your mental health effectively.

Of course, if you wait until you feel like exercising then it may never happen! I know that at 6.25am on a cold and dark winter morning I really do not feel pumped and excited about being at bootcamp! Instead, I focus on just doing it, on making it a routine behaviour (like brushing your teeth or going to work, just something you do regardless) and focus on all the positives that I'll get after exercising, such as positive feelings, reduced anxiety and enhanced mental health.

And as the science in this article shows, by calling upon exercise and hypnotherapy, you really can find relief from your anxiety and start feeling better and better in yourself.


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Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Anxiety Disorders - Hypnotherapy in Ely

If you struggle with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) then you'll already know how unpleasant, uncomfortable and limiting the symptoms can be. Although intensity and frequency of symptoms can vary, they include abdominal pain and bloating. People generally suffer with constipation, diarrhoea or a combination of both.

If you have IBS you may also struggle with mental health issues, such as anxiety. I've worked with clients who get anxious about leaving the house, being in situations where they are uncertain of access to toilet facilities, or any other situation where they may feel 'trapped' in some way. I've known of clients who need to allow over an hour of additional time before leaving the house and those who won't eat all day to try and minimise their symptoms. You may feel anxious about going to new places, long journeys and other situations where your symptoms could impact or you feel they might embarrass you. 

Of course, one of the common symptoms of anxiety is itself uncomfortable feelings in the stomach. And so there can be a negative spiral of anxiety and IBS, and IBS and anxiety, where each exacerbates the other. The end result is with anxious thoughts and feelings, frustration, stress, annoyance, catastrophising and limiting or avoiding situations.

Perhaps even more frustratingly, there is no certain test or procedure that can medically confirm the IBS. With severe symptoms, you may have undergone multiple investigations and tests, which can rule other things out, but which frustratingly can't confirm that you have IBS (they just confirm that you don't have the other conditions).

And because the symptoms of IBS can be unpredictable, and you may have better and worse moments, your anxiety can lead you to worry about the worst happening this time, or what if you have that bloating, discomfort, constipation or diarrhoea. Worse, what if others notice or you experience intense symptoms in front of people you would rather not know about your IBS, or where you just can't get to a toilet quick enough, or where you just need to be in the safe environment of home?   

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Help To Quit Smoking - Hypnotherapy in Ely and Newmarket

Are you looking to successfully quit smoking? If so, you'll already know all the good reasons why you should quit, yet somehow you either put it off or struggle to successfully kick the habit.

There's no doubting all the good reasons for stopping smoking, and in this article I'm covering some recent research that looks at the estimated increase in risk of certain diseases from each cigarette smoked (not just from being a smoker but from each cigarette). Many smokers use cigarettes as a way of dealing with mental health issues such as stress and anxiety and you may worry about your mental health getting worse if you no longer have that crutch. If this is you, I've also taken a look at the association between smoking cessation and mental health in this article.  

More and more people are being encouraged to switch to e-cigarettes because they are considered to be less harmful to your health than cigarettes. But does the evidence support e-cigarettes as helping you to stay off cigarettes?

I work with many people who want to quit their habit, and whether they are smoking 10-15 a day or more, and no matter how long you may have smoked, it is certainly possible to successfully quit. You may think you need to smoke, that you get something from it, and you may expect that giving up will mean all sorts of struggle and unpleasant withdrawal. 

Yet with hypnotherapy, many people can and do quit for good. As with any goal, it requires some motivation, time and effort, yet the rewards for your health, for being their for your loved ones, for being free of having to always think about when you'll get the next opportunity to light up, and for your finances, make a little bit of action very worthwhile. So as you know all the good stuff that will come with being a non-smoker, isn't it time you made it happen? 

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Mental Health and Pets...And Sad News of Nibbles the Rabbit

A few years ago I wrote an article about the mental health benefits of pets. Having a pet can help if you have a mental health condition, and I think the sense of connection, emotional support and sense of purpose are valuable benefits to us all.

I can still remember the excitement when Nibbles the rabbit joined the Regan household and she soon became a part of the family. The girls would hug, feed and groom her, and I know all of us enjoyed our little interactions in the garden (and all those private little conversations you have with your pets when no one else can hear you!!). 

During lockdown one in particular, I used to go out into the back garden each morning and do a bootcamp routine that had been shared online (as we weren't allowed in groups back then). As well as killing the grass with what seemed like a trillion burpees, I used to love interacting with Nibbles (who probably wondered what on earth I was doing but she kept quiet as long as the grass kept coming her way!). As soon as I went into the garden, up she would come running to remind me of my grass picking and feeding responsibilities, and every time I rested there she was giving me that little 'I'm just a poor starving bunny, even though I've eaten a ton of grass already' look that I couldn't ignore.

Of course, she did have her moments, like the time she escaped and it took us over an hour to get her out from behind the neighbour's shed. And I think she scratched my daughter a few times and even peed on the living room floor (while getting hugs from the kids).  

But despite those occasional little bunny strops, she was very much a part of our family and it was a very sad day indeed when she didn't come home from the vet last week. Poor little Nibbles.   

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Fear of Flying - Another Success Course with the Flight Simulator and Anxiety Hypnotherapy

As with most forms of anxiety and fear, the number one strategy for dealing with it, is to try and avoid it. Avoidance makes you feel better in the short term because of the relief it brings to you from the anxiety and stress reducing. However, it doesn't solve the problem or make it go away; it just postpones it until the next similar situation.

It's estimated that up to about 25% of people struggle with flying anxiety to some degree. There can be forms of general flying anxiety from even seeing a plane or talking about flying with others. Most flying phobics have elements of anticipatory flight anxiety where you feel anxious as you think ahead to your flight and you overthink and catastrophise even before you set foot on a plane. And then there's the flight anxiety itself where you may worry about something bad happening, feel tense and on edge and become very panicky around every sound and movement of the plane (especially that dreaded turbulence!).

But if avoidance has been your main anxiety-coping strategy, what happens when you need to fly? How can you cope with the anxiety, fear and worry that you may start to experience even weeks before your flight? That's where the fear of flying course comes to your rescue. Based upon sound research, and incorporating elements of psychology, virtual exposure and knowledge and information about anxiety and flying, you can start to feel more calm and relaxed around flying. Rather than feeling out of control on the plane (and perhaps almost wanting to take back control by flying it yourself!), you can learn how to take back control over your own thoughts, feelings, actions and reactions.

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Anxiety Help in Ely and Newmarket - Dan Regan Hypnotherapy

When you struggle with anxiety, it can seem like there's no escape from all those unwanted thoughts and unpleasant feelings. Those intrusive thoughts, filled with worst case scenarios, negativity and dread can dominate your mind and your thinking. And those uncomfortable anxious feelings just lead to more worry and uncertainty.

It can be exhausting trying to cope with everything you are battling with internally, as you try and get through each situation or each day. 

And, of course, the natural reaction to anxiety and dread is to avoid things, to get out of them or get away from them as quickly as possible. Yet that avoidance just exacerbates anxiety and means that the same unwanted pattern keeps repeating over and over. 

Whether your anxiety is about something specific, like work or social situations, or is much more generalised, anxiety has a way of creating its own cycle of misery. You feel anxious and struggle with negative thoughts and you avoid things or have to struggle through them. There may be moments of relief when you feel a bit better, but that same anxiety pattern comes right back at you when faced with a similar situation or circumstance again.

In fact, because anxiety is so unpleasant you may even start to dread the anxiety itself and worry about being anxious, all of which just adds to that internal mixing pot of unwanted thoughts and feelings. It could be said that the more anxiety you experience, the more anxiety you will experience. It can take over, stop you thinking straight, keep you awake at night, make you feel tense and sick, destroy your confidence in yourself and curtail your ability to engage in things and enjoy the things that you used to.  

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Disputing Your Irrational Anxious Thoughts

There can be few greater simple pleasures than spending half an hour or so reading at night before going to sleep. Ever since I was a teenager, I've loved reading detective stories, with anything containing Sherlock Holmes always being a favourite (in fact, I seem to recall that I based my English GCSE exam story composition upon a Sherlock Holmes story I'd been reading beforehand!). Agatha Christie's Poirot is another favourite, and I love anything in the British Library Crime Classics collection. 

In these stories there's no need for excessive violence, there are no computers or mobile phones or DNA to call upon, and it's all based upon deduction and reasoning to bring the plot to a successful conclusion. Perhaps it was this love of the logic and rational thinking and reasoning that led me to study my law degree (or maybe it was watching LA Law on TV, if you're old enough to remember that one!).

Poirot calls upon his 'little grey cells' to evaluate, analyse and solve cases, and there's perhaps no detective more famous that Sherlock Holmes for rational thinking and calling upon the facts (although he never actually says 'Elementary, my dear Watson' in any of the Conan Doyle stories).  

And so I was delighted and excited recently when I found out that my daughter's English class were studying Victorian Crime and Detective Stories, and particularly Sherlock Holmes' stories. I'd have loved that at her age, and even now I would happily go and sit at the back of the class so I could listen in! Ah here, I thought, was a shared thing that my daughter and I would be able to discuss and dissect with a shared passion for old detective fiction. Only it turned out she wasn't that bothered about the stories, so that was the end of that! 

So why am I talking about these great-thinking detectives here today? It's because very often, inside our own minds, our thinking gets distorted, generalised, embellished, catastrophised and we suffer from all sorts of thinking errors and biases. We can jump to conclusions, give meaning to things, make assumptions about what other people are thinking, make erroneous predictions, catastrophise and imagine and create all sorts of worst-case scenarios. Emotions like anxiety can lead to these kinds of negative and irrational thoughts, and the thoughts (which may or may not be accurate) can create emotions like anxiety.  

If you struggle with anxiety then you will be familiar with the overthinking, worst-case scenarios and 'what if' thoughts. Your anxiety can latch onto a train of thought and before you know it, it has been amplified and magnified inside your head and your anxious feelings increase.  An initial thought can move down that rabbit hole of thinking that moves further and further away from the current situation, and where things get worse and worse in your mind. 

So there is certainly benefit in bringing thoughts back to the present, and to the facts, rather than letting emotions like anxiety, stress, fear and worry take over. To take control over our thinking and feel better in ourselves, perhaps we all need to think a bit more like Sherlock in these moments when he said, "whatever is emotional is opposed to that true cold reason which I place above all things" (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign Of Four). 

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Improving Football Performance with Hypnosis - Hypnotherapy in Ely

I've written many times before about the research and evidence for improving sports performance using hypnosis and sports psychology.  In any sport, including football that I am talking about here, your mindset plays an influential role in your performance.

Using hypnosis can help you to improve your soccer performance through management of your emotional levels, effective visualisation and harnessing your self-talk constructively. You can draw upon previous successful performances, learn from role models, build your sense of self belief and capability and prime your mind for successful performance. 

Using these psychological techniques and strategies can help you with staying focused, decision making, skill development and handling challenges. When things aren't going well for you or the team, or you make a mistake, how you orchestrate your thoughts and feelings will have a massive impact on whether you bounce back or let your performance deteriorate. 

I find it fascinating watching football due to the emotions and psychology involved. Some players rise under pressure and goading from the opposition and perform at their best, while other sink under the weight of it all. Some players look like they want to be there and to play and seem to have endless energy and insight, while others are lethargic and lack belief in themselves. And when things go wrong, such as missing a penalty, losing the ball or a mistimed tackle, a player can either refocus and get back on with it, or a lack of belief or the 'red mist' ruin the rest of their game. 

Whatever your position on the pitch, you will benefit from confidence and a belief in your own ability. You can call upon psychological techniques to improve your ability to bring the ball under control, to complete successful passes and to make successful tackles.

Research suggests that hypnosis can help you to improve your soccer performance. If you want to consistently play at your best, then hypnosis for football performance may be the strategy that helps you get there and stay there. 

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Overcoming Fear of Vomiting and Sickness - Hypnotherapy in Ely

Autumn is well and truly upon us (which means winter is approaching), schools are back in full swing and people are mixing more and around others more as the (hopefully) last throws of the pandemic rumble on.

And all of these things can contribute to and spark anxious thoughts and feelings if you struggle with a fear of vomiting and sickness. 

The approach of winter can often lead to more illness and sickness bugs being passed about, especially from kids as they mix in school and bring things home with them. People mixing more, especially indoors in cooler weather, often leads to bugs being passed on and spread, and this may be amplified now after we all had a pandemic-related break from most of these activities. The conditions are ripe for sickness bugs (like the winter vomiting bug) to spread.  

That's probably why recently I've seen a big uptake in the number of people with a fear of vomiting and sickness contacting me for help. Many are concerned about winter sickness bugs, or anxious now that their kids are back in school (without the previous pandemic limits of mixing). Some have been unable to avoid the situations where they may well encounter unwell people, such as at work. And for others, the anxiety, fear and avoidance has become too much and they want to calm down their anxiety and nervousness around vomiting to a much more manageable level that doesn't interfere with their lives.

The good news is that hypnotherapy can help you to overcome your phobia and fear about vomiting and sickness so that, should someone around you be ill or sick, you can calm and capably handle it and deal with it, without that overwhelming panic and fear. 

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Overcoming Your Fear of Flying - Hypnotherapy in Ely

It's been another busy weekend running my fear of flying course over in Mildenhall. With the pandemic rules changing and more and more flying becoming possible, we're getting an increasing number of enquiries from people seeking support to overcome their fear of flying. 

Along with Serena at Sim2Do, we've been running our fear of flying course for a while now, with some very positive results for attendees. Whilst during the pandemic it was quite easy for someone with flying fear to avoid anything to do with air travel, that avoidance strategy is becoming less sustainable as things open up more. Luckily, there are ways to reduce that fear and to feel calmer and more positive about flying.

Avoidance is generally the first line of response for any type of anxiety and fear, yet whether it's because you want to go on holiday (or your friends and family want you to go on holiday with them!) or due to work, avoidance becomes more and more tricky. Such is the strength of some people's fear of flying, I've known clients to almost wish their upcoming holiday would be cancelled or at least postponed. Avoidance can make you feel a bit better for a while, because the unpleasant anxious thoughts and feelings subside for a while, yet it inadvertently strengthens the fear and means the next time you are faced with a potential flight, you again try to avoid it. If you can't avoid it, the anxiety and fear associated with it can easily take over.

Many people come to our fear of flying course with a sort of equation in their mind that flying equals fear. Yet we know there must be more to it than this because not everyone has a fear of flying (some people even love flying). That extra step is all the things that go on inside your head around flying. There are your thoughts, feelings, your imagination, your self talk, your habitual responses, experiences, expectations, beliefs and so on. It would be more accurate to talk in terms of how flying, multiplied by all your thoughts and feelings, equals fear.   

And this is good news because if flying led to fear for everyone there would be little you could do about it. As we know it's linked to your psychological processes, there are many things that we can do to alleviate your fear of flying and make everything a lot more calmer for you before your flight and when you are up there on the plane. This is where hypnotherapy and our fear of flying course can really help you to make a change and to overcome your flying fear.  

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Hypnotherapy For Anxiety in Ely - Client Video Review

My own personal experience of hypnotherapy for overcoming anxiety, and the many, many people I've helped with hypnotherapy to find freedom from anxiety (many of whom have kindly left reviews on this website), provide ample evidence of how effective hypnotherapy for anxiety can be. Rather than being ruled by your anxious thoughts and feelings, you can take back control and start feeling happier and better in yourself.

We also have the scientific research to support its effectiveness in alleviating anxiety. The review, which looked at the overall effectiveness of hypnosis as a treatment for anxiety, found that hypnosis is a highly effective intervention for anxiety (Valentine, Milling, Clark and Moriarty, 2019).

From the evidence they concluded that:

"The findings of this meta-analysis show that hypnosis is a highly effective intervention for anxiety. Our results indicate the average participant treated with hypnosis achieved more anxiety reduction than about 79% of control participants at the end of active treatment and about 84% of controls at the longest follow-up".

That's a hugely significant and impressive level of effectiveness. And once you add in other potentially positive factors, such as individual support around your own needs and working face to face with a therapist, alongside all of the other strategies and techniques that I've covered in the articles on this website, the likelihood of a positive outcome can only be enhanced. 

Certainly that's the experience of a client who has very kindly shared a video of her experience of our sessions of hypnotherapy for anxiety and panic attacks.

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Enjoying Leisure Time and Walking The Hills of Wales

It was a busy old summer with work and family things going on and now, already, the kids are back at school and the nights are starting to draw in (winter is coming, boo!).

This year we headed over to the Brecon Beacons in Wales for our family holiday, and it was a welcome return (after the pandemic and everything that has gone with it) to my old stomping grounds. There was lots of walking and exploring, as well as time to relax, read and chill over the week.

We were staying at the foot of a mountain (or large hill, or a giant mountain when compared to the usual flatness of the fens!) and so I made it my daily mission to walk the mile up to the summit each day and to broaden out my walks to take in more and more of the beautiful countryside. I know it's often commented upon but even to me, as a Welshman, there seemed to be more sheep on this mountain than I can ever remember seeing in one place before! 

Either side of the Beacons, we had a chance to stay with my Mum just outside Cardiff, in the village I grew up in and lived in until I moved over to Cambridge and then Ely. Not being able to run, I took the opportunity to hike out along the old railway lines where I used to play with my friends as a kid, up through the forest we would camp out in as a teenager, and up onto the Garth mountain in the next village, before heading back home (a circular route of about seven miles up and down). 

There's a spot at the far end of the Garth that is probably one of my favourite places in the world. You can sit on a rock a couple of metres down the side and look out over Cardiff and all the towns that lead up to the capital. Whether it's raining or sunny, the middle of the day or dusk, this is one of the most peaceful spots and you can just watch the signs of life down below, while feeling at peace and free to let your mind wander. Of course, you need to find your own favourite peaceful spot because I don't want to find it crowded the next time I get the chance to get there!

Having the time to relax and read, to have fun with the girls, to explore new places, and to feel that burn in the legs as you hike up a hill, as well as reminiscing along some old haunting grounds, made this one of the most enjoyable breaks I can remember for a long while. And, as I've covered many times before, laughter and fun, relaxing and exercise are all good for your mental health, along with experiencing enjoyable leisure time. 

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Hypnosis For Advanced Sports Performance

The Olympics and Paralympics have been and gone and the football season is now in full swing once again.  In this article, I'm covering a brief, research-based technique that can help with improving sports performance. It can be applied to most sports to help you with your mindset and goal achievement.

I've still been busy with my high intensity bootcamps, although my achillies' niggle continues to prevent me from getting back into running properly. However, every cloud has a silver lining and so I've had more time to work on strength and to take part in some pretty intense and gruelling personal training sessions (the suffering has got to be worth it, right?!). The goal is to be much stronger and more resilient by the time my running resumes and, in the meantime, to make the most of the extra time and energy to train hard and train well.

So without further ado, lets take a look at the benefits and support for hypnosis for sports performance, and how you can use this to boost your mindset and find that extra level of attainment and performance towards your sporting goals. 

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Hypnosis Downloads: New Titles Now Available

It's been great to have another opportunity to get into the studio and create some brand new hypnosis downloads to help and support you.

Many of my new titles are based on research and evidence to support them, as well as building upon my sessions with clients over the last decade or so. There are new hypnosis downloads to help with increasing confidence, staying focussed on your weight loss journey, reducing distress from past events, enjoying a sense of calmness, experiencing increased gratitude and well-being, and for taking positive action on your goals so that you live a fulfilling life without regret.

Naturally all of my 'classics' are still available too to help with anxiety, confidence, self-esteem, weight loss and stress. These are always popular with my clients and there are some lovely reviews over on my shop too. 

So let me introduce the new members of my hypnosis download collection...

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Fear of Flying Help and Support

It's great to be back up and running with helping you to overcome your fear of flying!

During the pandemic pretty much nobody was flying anywhere. Now that things are opening up and holidays and trips abroad have become more feasible again, those of you with a flying fear may be in need of some help and support.

As well as my one-to-one hypnotherapy sessions (in Ely, Newmarket and online), our successful fear of flying course is back up and running in Mildenhall. This fantastic course involves information, understanding and coping tools, as well as a hypnotherapy session and an experience in the flight simulator.  

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Hypnosis For Performance In Air Rifle Shooting Competition

I work with many people to help them with aspects of sports psychology and improving their performance. It's always a joy to work with people who have such passion, drive and motivation to get better at what they do.

Frustratingly, my own running has had to take a back seat recently with a couple of persistent minor niggles keeping me away from it. Thankfully high intensity bootcamp training has continued, albeit with modifications to avoid running and jumping, or anything else that could over stress my ankle or achillies right now.

To try and counter these niggles and make me more injury-proof in future, I've started some personal training sessions to go alongside my bootcamps. I always find it amazing how you can feel relatively fit and strong doing certain familiar exercises, only to take on something new and feel like a complete novice. After a session today I don't think my body knows what has hit it! The muscle soreness tomorrow may be off the chart... Yet it's all an opportunity to learn, adapt, get fitter and stronger, and come back into running all the better for having gone through this shock to the system.

Recently I've been working with an air rifle shooter to help them to enhance their performance and boost their confidence and self-belief ready for competition. And as part of my research and session preparation, I came acress a research paper that specifically looked into the use of hypnosis on performance in air rifle shooting competitions. 

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Hypnosis and Mindfulness For Weight Loss Success

Many people live their lives in a constant state of battle with their eating choices and their weight. Unhealthy habits, food cravings and overeating can all combine to impact upon your weight and to mean that, even if you lose weight, you find yourself frustratingly putting it all back on again.

Many people have also found that that pandemic-related stress and changes to usual pattens led to eating more, drinking more and putting on weight. Many people have told me how they have found themselves engaging in more mindless eating, increasing the quantity of food they eat and using food and eating to cope with things.

And it's not only recent events that can have impacted upon your weight. Many people endure a lifetime of struggling with their weight and not feeling comfortable in their own body. You may try a whole range of diets, lose some weight, only to put it back on again, binge eat, emotionally eat or just have an unhealthy relationship with food, which in turn means your weight goes up.

As well as diet and exercise, addressing the psychological aspects of eating is vital if you want to achieve weight loss and reach the weight, size and shape that you desire. You need to develop control, be able to manage your emotions effectively, be able to encourage yourself and learn healhty eating habits, thinking and behaviours. All of this is certainly possible with an approach such as weight loss hypnotherapy, and recent evidence has looked into the effectiveness of hypnosis and mindfulness strategies for successful weight loss. 

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Hypnosis For Pain Relief and Management

Pain is one of the most debilitating and limiting things that you can suffer with. Not only do you have the discomfort from the pain itself, but you can also find that as a result you struggle with other, linked, issues such as anxiety, depression, fear and worry. Chronic pain can cause huge amounts of suffering, interference with your usual activities and other limitations on your life. Even short term pain can lead to unwanted negative thoughts and emotions, and other psychological distress.

Pain can be experienced in many ways and can affect people differently. There can be chronic pain or that which is more short term. There can be pain that you know will ease and reduce, or pain that you have to adjust to and live with. Pain can be experienced and described as throbbing, burning, stabbing, sharp, dull. All pain though comes with the physical element and a psychological component. 

Of course, no psychological therapy, such as hypnosis, should replace seeking appropriate medical support to examine and assess your pain. Yet perhaps amongst all pain relief approaches and strategies, hypnosis for pain relief and management is one of the most overlooked, despite the research that exists. 

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Boost Your Well-being and Reduce Negative Thoughts and Feelings

I hope you are keeping safe and doing well. It's hard to believe how quickly this year is racing by!  I hope that you have been able to stay safe and healthy during lockdown and the pandemic, and that you are doing well as things open back up again. And if you've had your jab then I hope you didn't suffer as much as I did for the few days after mine!
One of the best things about lockdown easing is that, as effective as online hypnotherapy continues to be, it's wonderful to be able to now meet people in person at my locations in Ely and Newmarket. Welcome back! I've missed you!
Outside work I've been keeping busy with my running and continuing to learn the guitar, as well as having lots of fun with my girls (and the odd stern word too!). Within work, I've had time to write many articles that can help you to boost your sense of well-being, positivity and optimism, as well as helping you to reduce anxious and negative thoughts and feelings. I've highlighted a few of these later on in this article to bring them together in one place for you.  

Developing a Positive Mindset: Turning Negative Thoughts To Positive

Could you do with developing a more positive mindset? Thinking negatively can lead to you feeling low, down or anxious. The more those thoughts fill your mind, and the more time, energy and focus you give them, the worse you can end up feeling.

What's more, the more low or anxious you feel, the more of those thoughts there tend to be, leading to a cycle of not feeling particularly great. You may also find yourself thinking about all the things that could go wrong and then talking yourself out of taking action on the things you want to do.

Your habitual thinking patterns develop over time and from experience. The more negatively you think, the more low, down, stressed and anxious you feel, and the more it colours and feeds into your attitude, expectations and how you typically think, feel, act and react.

That's not to say that you should switch to always thinking positively and being uplifted into every moment. That could be equally exhausting and limiting. And there are times when it is reasonable and appropriate to feel a bit low or negative about some specific thing you are experiencing.

Yet the more you can undermine and replace habitual, unnecessary, casual negative thoughts, the more positive your mental attitude and mood will be, and you feel better in yourself. You can start to feel  more positive about life, yourself and the future, and to feel self-assured enough to believe in yourself and your abilities, and to take action on your goals. 

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The Hypnotic Mindset and Hypnosis

The other day, during a hypnotherapy consultation at my office here in Ely, a client asked about hypnosis and mentioned how they had read online about the subconscious mind and so on. Sadly, the way that hypnosis is talked about and portrayed in many quarters (including by some hypnotherapists) with a sense of mind control, mysticism, magic and mystery, means that it is no wonder that people are uncertain about what hypnosis is and what it entails.

Whilst we often joke about it, many people do expect me to pull out a swinging watch or to zap them somehow, in a way that leads to magical improvement (and where they will have no idea how it happened). There are many hypnotherapists and others who continue to advocate that hypnosis is a passive process for a client and that some form of unseen, unknown change occurs at the unconscious level. Even more sadly, these myths and misconceptions (and downright inaccuracies) put many people off seeking a form of therapy that could really help them (and that has scientific research and evidence to support its application).

Far from being a therapy where you are controlled by a hypnotist and unaware of what is going on, hypnosis allows you to take control over the kind of things going on inside your mind. Rather than being passive, you get to be active and engaged in your own progress and improvement, which stands you in good stead for the future because you know how to orchestrate your thoughts, feelings, actions and reactions. Hypnosis is a process that you actively participate in rather than being a passive that you respond mechanically to resulting in hypnosis.

Whilst we do things non-conconsciously and sometimes habitually and seemingly automatically, our minds work on pattern and repetition. In most cases, you will find yourselves thinking, feeling and doing things in a way that you did in a previous, similar situation or experience. By working out how your mind is doing this pattern, and how it continues to do it, you can interrupt that pattern and create a new way of thinking, feeling and doing things that serves you better in that situation. You get to take control and choose what goes on inside your own mind (how awesome is that!). 

Successful hypnosis involves you participating in the process of your own improvement. You adopt a positive mindset, build upon your motivation to change, grow your confidence in their ability to make changes, and create optimistic about the process, expecting to experience the things you are seeking from the hypnotherapy. Whatever your issue or starting point, you become better and better at orchestrating your mindset, beliefs, thoughts, feelings, actions and reactions.  

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Running Psychology: Increase Running Performance By Picking The Pink

As my own running training ramps up a bit, I've been writing much more about running psychology and how you can improve your running performance. Drawing upon successful races and training runs can help you to increase confidence and belief in your own running ability so that you can overcome past poor performances and achieve your future running goals.  

If you want to run to the best of your ability and potential, then applying elements of running psychology will certainly help you. You can take control over your self-talk, confidence, self-belief, imagination, motivation and many other aspects of your thoughts, feelings, actions and reactions. You can harness and direct your mindset towards running how you want to.

Today I'm talking about some research that goes to demonstrate just how important your psychology is towards your performance when running.  

It's incredible how much what goes on in your head can impact upon your running performance. That little voice in your head can help you push on and improve, or can niggle away and undermine you. What you imagine before and during a run can influence your motivation, confidence and arousal levels. Your confidence and belief in your running ability has a huge bearing on how well you run. And then there are all the other factors that can get in your head, from tiredness, hills, other people and more. I've known runners who smash it in training, only to be overwhelmed with anxiety and self-doubt at the starting line of a race. I've known runners who find that the negative thoughts sabotage what they are doing. And there are runners who are able to consistently perform, run well and stay up beat due to what goes on inside their heads, and who may even perform above expectations as a result.

And your mind is even more amazing than that. If you perceive something to be beneficial then it can improve your running performance, simply due to your expectation of a positive outcome (which is perhaps why so many runners and sports people have certain consistent rituals or habits that they carry out because they perceive them to be beneficial).

Here is more evidence of how your mind impacts upon your running performance... 

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Reducing Anxiety and Take Control Over Your Thoughts and Feelings

There's no doubt that the pandemic has had a massive impact upon many people's mental health and well-being. There has been stress, worry and anxiety through the many stages of restrictions, lockdowns and opening up that have taken place over the months. 

You can find many articles about the mental health impact of the pandemic on this website, and I've written about anxiety, fear, sleep problems and alcohol consumption, among other things. Covid 19 related anxiety, stress and worry has become a serious psychological issue.

If your mental health has been impacted upon by the pandemic then you may well be experiencing elevated levels of anxiety, stress or health anxiety. And I've certainly been helping people who are finding the removal of restrictions and the opening up of more aspects of our 'normal' lives to be causing problematic anxiety. Covid 19 anxiety syndrome can lead to avoidance, checking and heightened levels of worry and distress.

Covid 19 anxiety syndrome can involve issues such as avoiding public places (such a shops) due to the fear of contracting coronavirus, checking yourself (and others) for symptoms of Covid-19, becoming absorbed in news about the virus at the cost of getting on with other things, and imagining what could happen to family members if they contracted coronavirus (Nikčević and Spada, 2020). In essence, this anxiety syndrome, whilst pertaining specifically to Covid-19, involves the usual elements of anxiety, with avoidance, excessive worry, a heightened awareness of potential threat and all the accompanying unwanted thoughts and feelings.

Many of these anxiety issues may well continue to affect you even after the pandemic has passed, as anxiety certainly has a tendency to filter and generalise onto other aspects of what you think, feel and do. The good news, however, is that it is definitely possible to reduce your anxiety, interrupt unwanted thought processes and feelings, and to take back control over your thoughts, feelings, actions and reactions in ways that mean that you feel calm, confident and in control. 

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Runners' Therapy in Ely And Newmarket: Using Your Mind To Boost Your Confidence and Self-Esteem

It's been twenty or so years since I took up running properly. Before that I'd done a bit of jogging and running but in a much more haphazard and inconsistent way. Over the last two decade, except for time out with injuries, I've pretty much kept on donning my trainers and heading out of the door.

To my mind, running reflects so many aspects of life. There are the good times, and the not so good: the smooth times when you feel on top of the world, and those where you have to draw upon every ounce of persistence and determination to overcome challenges. Both inside and outside of running, you can have all sorts of inner dialogue, thoughts, feelings, expectations and beliefs. 

When I suffered with anxiety, low confidence and low self-esteem, running was my crutch for everything. I would run after a good day and also to try and cope and deal with the less good days. I would run to try and feel better in myself, often succeeding for a while, yet the anxiety and mental health challenges in the rest of my life remained.

If I missed a run I would feel irritable, tense, frustrated and down. I could even go so far to say that in those days when my mental health struggles were the strongest, I felt like I absolutely needed to run and I had to run just to keep afloat in my life. Unless you've struggled with your mental health and experienced the highs that running can bring, you may struggle to understand the intensity of feeling and the need and desperation that comes from finding a way to demonstrate your own worth to yourself (and others), to find relief from the suffering and the need to run in order to cope.

There are many, many mental health benefits that come from exercise, yet running doesn't always allow for full mental health recovery and relief, and those same old unwanted thoughts and feelings can continue to hold you back in other aspects of your life. 

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Mental Health Awareness Week - Mental Health and Nature

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and the focus is all about  noticing nature and making a habit of connecting to nature every day. Of course, every day of every year should be about helping and supporting everyone to promote their good mental health and well-being (along with their good physical health too), yet an awareness week helps to remind us all of the importance of self-care and looking after ourselves better.

Spending time in nature has a lot of research to support its benefits for your mental health. It can help you to reduce your anxiety and stress levels, and can help boost your mental health and well-being.  I certainly find that running and walking in nature helps me to feel calmer, more positive and boosts my own sense of well-being (and exercise, such as walking or running, helps with mental health too).

In my opinion, few things beat finding a nice quiet place to enjoy and explore nature on a nice day. Getting away from the usual daily load at home and work, and switching off from screens, means you can just focus on the sights, smells and sounds of what is going on around you.   

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Hypnosis Downloads - New Audios Now Available!

After quite some wait, due to the pandemic, I was really pleased to finally be able to get back into the recording studio and create some brand new hypnosis downloads for you. 

There are several new titles now available that cover help to reduce anxiety, increasing your confidence, gaining a more positive mindset and outlook, and reducing unwanted thoughts and feelings. I'm really happy to be able to share them and I can't wait to hear your feedback too! 

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Anxiety Triggers and The Covid Vaccine

The other Saturday I went and queued in line to have my Covid vaccine jab. It was a beautiful sunny day so I walked there and joined the line of about thirty people, all calmly waiting our turn to get the jab. 

I felt good that day. I'd been for a lovely ten mile run along the river and was pleased with how strongly I ran. I walked the five mile round trip to get my vaccine. I came home feeling fine and then later I felt quite tired but nothing else.

By the early hours I was shivering, burning up, moaning, unsettled, uncomfortable and feeling like I'd been hit by a truck! I know some people had no reactions to their Covid jab, but I was knocked for six. For someone who had run ten miles the day before, I struggled to sit up in bed to have a drink! And it's no secret in our house (just ask my wife) that I'm a very bad patient indeed! My kids did me more than proud though while I was out of action (and my wife had a reaction to the jab too) and did things together nicely, fetched and carried and were all around pleasant and helpful (apart from the sniggering because they've never seen me so ill and incapable before!).   

The jab itself is a doddle. Answer a few questions about medical type things (most of which I'd never even heard of) and within a painless second it's all over and they give you the 'I've had my Covid vaccination' sticker and send you on your way. If you do struggle with things like needles and injections though, get in touch because I can help you with that. 

However, vaccinations and needles aside, there was one thing during my appointment that reminded me of an old anxiety trigger that really used to get to me and send my anxiety soaring. 

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Achieve Your Running Goal - Running Therapy & Psychology

As runners, we know the importance of setting goals from training and racing and of then consistently and persistently following training plans and schedules that get us there. Whether it's a goal about speed, distance, racing or some other aspects of running, having a goal keeps you focused, motivated and moving.

Recently, I've been gradually building up my long weekend runs towards an autumn ultra, and last Saturday headed out for a sixteen mile long run along the riverside here in Ely (on a beautiful sunny morning). In the past my goals have been for other races and distances and from 5k up to marathon and ultra marathon.

I've worked with many runners over the years and goals can vary from getting motivated enough to get out of the door, having the confidence to complete a first race or to run a whole 10k, getting over a psychological setback or injury, and having the mental strength to complete, to long distance racing (or running as part of an Ironman). And, of course, I've helped many runners with other issues, such as anxiety, stress, worry and depression, that have impacted upon their running and which, once resolved, mean they can enjoy running again.

And I think we know that, without a running goal of some kind, it's easy to just plod along run after run with no specific aim from each run, from each training period and with nothing in particular to aim for. I've found in the past that without a running goal, my running can plateau a bit, the temptation to cut short a challenging run gets greater, training levels become more constant, and the fire and determination from having a race to aim for just isn't present.     

When you have a goal, you also want to build your confidence, motivation and self-belief that you can complete it successfully. You want to be able to dispel any negative inner dialogue or anxiety and you want to enjoy the process so that you can perform to your running best on the day. By using your mindset, you can build upon your training and hard work so that you can perform to the best of your ability and achieve your running goals. 

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From Night Owl To Early Bird: How I Became A Morning Person

The other day my wife suggested to me that I operate on a different time zone to everyone else. And that's pretty true in our household where, whether it's a week day, holiday, weekend or any other day, I will invariably be up and active while the rest of them are still in sleepsville.

Now, I don't know how other people do things and what time they get up and go to bed, but whereas a few years ago the thought of getting up early was a complete non-starter, now I can think of nothing worse than missing the best part of the day. There was a time when I went to bed late-ish and struggled to get up in the morning, with it seemingly taking me a good couple of hours and many coffees before my brain kick started.

If I had to get up early in those days it meant an evening of stressing about trying to get enough sleep, a few hours lying in bed thinking how tired I would be the next day and then a long, long day with a foggy head and an ongoing urge to yawn.

Recently I was talking to a client who wanted to move from staying up late to getting up early and being more of a morning person. He wanted to get up while it was quiet and have some time where he could read, study, meditate, exercise or whatever other positive thing he wanted to do before all the challenges, distractions, interruptions and noise of the day took over. And so we talked about how I managed to make the transition to becoming a morning person after years of insisting it wasn't even humanly possible for me to that.  

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Being A Confident Hypnotherapist - Hypnotherapy Supervision, Help & Support

I've worked with many hypnotherapists and coaches over the years and, just like everyone else, hypnotherapists can be affected by unwanted thoughts and feelings that impact upon your enjoyment of your work.

There may be things from other aspects of life, life's problems and challenges that impact upon how you feel and the kind of thoughts you have. These can then ripple into your work and drain away the positive, leaving you filled with anxiety, dread and worry. Despite the fact we help people with mental health issues day in and day out, hypnotherapists aren't immune to stresses, strains and worries in one form or another.

I've also worked with those therapists who are lacking in confidence and self-esteem, who feel anxious and filled with dread before sessions and who may then be harsh towards themselves afterwards. What might have seemed straight forward enough in the training room with a bunch of like minded people can be very different from sitting opposite a paying client and having to respond to their problems and goals. It can often be  a lonely business being a self-employed hypnotherapist with only yourself to push you forward, lift yourself and reason with whatever comes your way (including the things inside your own head). And whatever your level of experience, there is much to be said for having effective supervision, help and support to keep you positive and enjoying helping people.

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Clearing Out The Mental Trash To Reduce Anxiety, Stress and Worry

With so much information coming our way each day, and so many sources of information, opinion, commentary and fact that we encounter, it's no wonder that sometimes it just seems too much. We can feel bombarded with negativity, argument, speculation, opinion and more. Sometimes we deliberately think and talk about some of these things, yet other times  things just seem to get inside our heads and go around and around, often gathering momentum as they do so.

So many people that I work with for overthinking, anxiety, stress and worry describe how their mind seems full, how it never seems able to switch off, and how they find their heads filled with all sorts of thoughts. And on top of this, when there is emotion attached (as with anxiety, stress and worry), it can really exacerbate things.

It could be someone else's opinion that gets into your head and leaves you doubting yourself and questioning things. It could be some world event that you find yourself thinking about. And you may well find your mind is full of things outside of your control, things form the past, imaginings about the future, little things that seem like big things, small things you even know you don't need to be thinking about. And there can be a whole range of other negative, limiting, depressing, anxious thoughts that dominate and occupy your thinking.  

All these things can get inside your mind and become part of your thinking processes and can influence how you feel in unwanted ways. That means we all need effective ways to 'de-clutter' our minds, to interrupt unhelpful thought patterns and to take out the mental trash that contributes to your anxiety, stress and worry. 

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The Eye-Fixation Induction in Hypnosis

If you have been a client of mine, or used my hypnosis downloads, then you'll know that the process of hypnosis involves engaging your thoughts and mindset towards achieving your specific goals, such as overcoming anxiety. You engage your focus, imagination and concentration as part of entering hypnosis.

As I've covered before, hypnosis involves using and engaging your mindset, cognitions, imagination, motivation, belief and expectations in particular ways that help you to achieve beneficial therapeutic changes. It is not something that is done to you (as anything on TV would have you believe) but rather something you are actively engaged in. Hypnosis helps you to take control over your thoughts, feelings and behaviours, rather than feeling like you are controlled by them. You move from feeling stuck in a certain pattern, to being in control of a new, more helpful, way of doing things.  

There are many, many ways to induce hypnosis, including the eye fixation process I am talking about here. The hypnotic induction becomes your cue, or signal, to adopt a positive mindset, to engage in the process and to be mentally engaged in what you are doing towards achieving your goal. Hypnosis is a process that you actively participate in rather than being a passive process that you respond to mechanically resulting in hypnosis (which of course is great, because you are learning to take control over the things that go on inside of your mind rather than just trying to deal with them or needing a hypnotherapist to be there).

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Hypnosis Changes The Way Your Brain Processes Information

Today I'm covering some new research about what happens in your brain during hypnosis. Whilst most sections of the media tend to portray hypnosis in a nonsensical way, our understanding of its benefits and effectiveness continues to grow. More and more research shows how hypnosis can help you with issues such as depression and anxiety, as well as how it enhances the results you will get from cognitive behavioural therapy.

Sadly much of the misinformation seems to come from hypnotherapists who don't keep updated or read the research (as well as from other branches in the mental health field). There is a continually growing wealth of evidence and support that suggests that, if you are struggling with your mental health right now, then hypnosis can help you to make the changes in your thoughts, feeling and actions that will help you to feel better. 

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Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket: Update on Restarting Face-to-Face Sessions

With the pandemic having lasted over a year now, and lockdown three itself having entered its third month, it's great that things are finally looking more positive as we move through the year. My daughters are both back at school and doing well, bootcamp has restarted, we can now meet members of another household outdoors and finally (FINALLY!) the return of face to face sessions in Ely and Newmarket is on the near horizon.

It's been a busy period for online hypnotherapy sessions and I've been busy helping people with issues such as anxiety, panic attacks, self-esteem, phobias, weight loss, confidence and much more. Hypnotherapy sessions by Zoom have continued to work effectively and my clients have enjoyed some outstanding results (for more on online hypnotherapy sessions read this previous article: The Effectiveness of Online Hypnotherapy: Skype and Zoom Hypnotherapy Sessions). Zoom hypnotherapy sessions continue to be an option if you live too far to travel to my office or if you just prefer it now that we've all got used to do much more online.

In accordance with the Government's lockdown easing roadmap, face to face sessions can resume in Ely and Newmarket from 12th April 2021. I'll be contacting anyone who carried over sessions from before the lockdown to arrange a new time to resume appointments. And if you are seeking successful face to face hypnotherapy sessions in Ely or Newmarket then get in touch and ask to arrange your free initial consultation so we can have a chat about working together to help you overcome your issues and feel better. 

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Running Hypnosis: Getting Over A Perceived Running Failure

If you've been running for any length of time then the chances are that you've had those training runs or races where everything seems to just come together and you set a personal best, you perform well, you tackle a difficult course, you've felt accomplished or where you've enjoyed running successfully in some way. Who doesn't love that positive, good feeling that comes at the end of a good run? 

As I think back upon my running history, I can recall times where I've set a PB and felt good for it, times when I've made progress and felt accomplished and snapshots from other running events and races where I've performed to my best and where I've felt good as a result. As we run and train more we learn more about the best preparation, training and strategies that work for us. We can refine, amend and improve what we do and how we do it. 

But, of course, there are also those runs that we have all encountered where there are setbacks and challenges along the way. You fail to finish, you run badly, you don't meet your own goals and expectations. I think I've had my share of these, such as not finishing an ultra, struggling through a marathon, not pushing on in a 10km, feeling unwell, niggling something or where a run or race just hasn't gone to plan for some other reason.

When we encounter these setbacks and perceived failures it can be disappointing and demoralising. Often, after a time, we can shrug them off and get back on with it, hopefully with improved wisdom and learning to apply it in our running. Yet sometimes that perceived failure can rankle and stay with you. It can damage your belief in your capability and your confidence in your running. It can lead to doubt, anxiety, and worry about a repeat or about whether you can do it.  When negative thoughts and feelings creep in based upon a previous running performance, you want to be able to learn from it and move on from it in constructive and beneficial ways. 

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Running Psychology: Strategies In The Hour Before Running

I remember when I first started entering a few local, mainly 10km races. I had little idea of what to expect and used to just mill around somewhere near the start and copy some of the warm up routines and strategies from other runners who looked like they knew what they were doing. My training consisted of about three runs a week, totaling ten miles, and I was happy just to jog along in a race, get my medal at the end and enjoy that post-race glow from the satisfaction of finishing. I can still even just about remember doing the 'Run The World' 10km in Cardiff way back in the Band Aid days!

Over the years, my pre-run routine, and especially my pre-race routine, has become a bit more refined. To my mind, getting ready to perform to your best involves not only being physically ready but also mentally in the zone. My days of listening to the Rocky theme tune on repeat before a run are long gone, mainly because it used to get me so pumped in the car on a way to a race that by the time I got there I was already tired!

Because I run in the morning these days, my pre-run strategy for a training run  involves getting up, moving about and generally getting awake and moving a bit (along with coffee) before warming up and moving out of the door. For a race, I aim to get ready, travel there and then it's about getting the right level of intensity and focus to race, along with staying relaxed enough to perform as best as I can on the day. It's all about getting mentally and physically ready so that at the start line, I'm in the zone cognitively and emotionally (I've left out the trips to the loo, checking my watch for the time and making sure it has a GPS signal, trying to get my race number on comfortably and tying and retying my laces a few times!).

Of course, all runners have their own routines and strategies in the lead up hour to a run. At any race you can see runners getting ready, some pacing about and others still and composed, some seek company and others prefer solitude, some look lost in thought and others are busy doing warm up exercises. So what sort of strategies do runners employ before training and competition? 

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Reappraising Negative Emotional Memories: How To Reduce Distress From Past Events

Life can throw all sorts of challenges and problems our way. Sometimes it can feel like we are hurtling from one problem to another, and at other times, just as it seems everything is settled, something else crops up to occupy us. Perhaps the only certainty (apart from death and taxes!) is that we will face problems and challenges as we navigate our way through life.

To help us face life's challenges, we can develop our confidence and self-esteem, our resilience, positivity, optimism and ability to be in control over our thoughts and feelings. We can get better at problem solving, at letting go of things we can't control and at how quickly and effectively we recover and move on from stressful events we encounter.

Often we move on from these challenges over time, and the emotions attached to them wither and deplete. Time can lessen the initial emotional impact; we make sense of what happened, we find solutions and plenty of other things come along to occupy our attention. And there are plenty of therapeutic strategies and techniques that can help to lessen emotions on past events and to help you feel better when you think back, and as you progress forwards.

We have all encountered negative emotional events in our lives, whether it's the death of a loved one, illness, an argument, a perceived failure of some kind, or something else. Our memories are our perceptions of past events and how we think about things can change over time and based on how we feel right now. If you feel bad or low then that will colour how you think back upon events in your life and those feelings can lead to more negative thoughts, feelings and memories that match that feeling coming to mind. And when you feel better in yourself, those past things may not carry the same weight and you may find it easier to think back upon earlier negative things (and easier to recall more positive things too).

When I used to struggle with anxiety and low self-esteem, I could easily recall many, many past events that I consider negative, most of which involved (in my view) me making an idiot of myself in some way. It used to be that anytime I thought back on one of these things I felt a pang of regret and embarrassment. Now, if I think back on them much at all, I shrug, remind myself that was back then and move on with my day.

Here today I'm covering recent research that provides you with a way to reflect on your own capabilities, to boost your self-efficacy and resilience, and to reduce distress on negative emotional memories. 

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Teenager Anxiety and Mental Health During the Pandemic

With the ongoing nature of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has impacted upon us all, I've been helping loads of people who have been struggling with anxiety and other aspects of their mental health. 

With the stop start nature of school and college, the lack of social interaction, the rise of screen time and the other limitations, one group who really need help are young people (and their parents who see them struggling and want to help). As well as pandemic-related anxiety, depression and stress, many adolescents may have found that issues such as low self-esteem, low confidence and overthinking have been exacerbated.

Now everyone is of course different, some young people will worry more than others, some will be more comfortable expressing how they feel, some will be more prone to overthinking and anxious tendencies, many may use distraction to get some respite from mental health issues and sometimes it can be hard to open up about how you feel and that you are struggling. And for parents seeing their kids struggle and wanting to help them, it can often be a challenge to know how much to intervene or gently push, what to suggest that will work, and how to be there for them in a meaningful way. 

I've worked with adolescents from pretty much every school and college in this area for issues such as anxiety, lowness, self-esteem, confidence and stress (pandemic-related or otherwise). In this article I've covered a few things that can often help to alleviate symptoms and to help start feeling better. 

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How To Live A Fulfilling Life Free of Regret

As Frank Sinatra sang, 'Regrets, I've had a few, but then again too few to mention..." Just like Frank, we can all have some regrets in life. We can think back on different decisions and choices we could have made and wonder how things could have been different. 

Although, of course, we have to remember that we can all be a little guilty of romanticising things turning out better and of colouring our imagined past with more positivity than might be realistic. Yes, we can all have some regrets, things we put up with for too long, the path we didn't take, the courage we lacked, or the other choices along the path of our lives. There can also be many, many positives throughout our lives and things we are glad about or pleased in how we've lived and what we've stood for up to now.

If I find myself regretting some past thing ("if only I...."), I deliberately remind myself that I did the best I could at that time, and that I made the choices and decisions that seemed best or right based on who I was then (or I wouldn't have made them). I remind myself that I'm thinking back in a distorted way and that there is no benefit in second guessing myself or living in the past, and that I know more now with hindsight than I did back then. And then I remind myself of all the good things that may not have happened or that I might have missed had I travelled a different path up to now.

Even if we forgive ourselves and accept what has happened, that doesn't mean we can't benefit from pausing and taking stock of our lives for the future. All too often we get stuck on the busy treadmill of life, moving from one task to another, forgetting the bigger picture and longer term within the mass of responsibilities, tasks and distractions. Rather than waiting until many years from now, when it may be too late to do anything but regret, you want to know that you've lived a life that's full, that you've travelled each and every highway to live a fulfilling life and much more than that, that you did it your way (yes, I've ripped a bit off Frank in that last sentence). 

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Growth From Adversity: Post Traumatic Growth During The Covid-19 Pandemic

"What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger..." as Kelly Clarkson sang, and which has now made it impossible for me to say the phrase without singing the song! Although apparently the phrase originates from something Nietzsche wrote.

Be that as it may, it's all about going through difficult and challenging experiences and coming out the other side of it with more strength and resilience because of what you've been through. Going through difficult times can lead to personal growth as we learn what we can withstand and get through and develop more robust coping skills for whatever comes our way next.

Certainly all of the evidence shows us that for many people, the Covid-19 pandemic has been traumatic. Yet whilst there has undoubtedly been an impact in mental health, such as anxiety, stress and depression, there have also been more positive aspects that have been gained. Bad stuff can be painful and it hurts, but we can also gain insight, learning, knowledge of ourselves and psychological resilience for future events (although if you've been affected by a traumatic event, you may benefit form therapeutic help).

Growing from adversity (post traumatic growth) describes the positive changes experienced by people as a result of their efforts to deal with challenging circumstances. There can be elements of personal growth, such as positive, healthy changes to your lifestyle or developing coping skills. Coming through adversity can lead to improved relationships with others and a renewed appreciation of the people in your life. And you may experience a greater appreciation for life, new perspectives and more gratitude for things.

It isn't necessarily from the challenging events that we can gain positives, because many of these things can be painful and stressful, yet we can grow because of and as a result of these things. Through the traumatic events I've had to face in my life, from anxiety and bullying, to illness and bereavement, the result has been greater understanding of myself, the development of resources, a clearer perspective and focus on what's important to me, and more appreciation and gratitude for the things I value in life. The events themselves were painful, hurtful and at times even unbearable, yet there have still more positive aspects that have benefited me and my life.  

So has the pandemic led to any positive outcomes and how can you benefit from growing from any adversity you may face? 

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Hypnosis Enhances Results Of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: Updated Science and Evidence

It's always a pretty exiting day when you discover that some hot-off-the-press hypnosis research has just been published (at least it is a good day in my world!!).  As the world of therapy and psychology continues to grow, develop and advance, I believe that it's important that, as far as we are able to, we draw upon scientific knowledge, research and evidence to inform what I do and how I strive to help you. 

It always saddens me when I read hypnotherapy forums and look at hypnotherapist websites, how little knowledge there is of the research and evidence for hypnosis among many therapists. In a world where we are all very aware of fake news and false science (during this Covid-19 pandemic), it's disappointing to find so many therapists who never follow the science or ever read a research paper. But enough of this for now or I may never get around to covering the main point of this article, which is about what happens when you add hypnosis to cognitive behavioural therapy.

The hypnotherapy field (and broader psychological field) has an ever growing amount of scientific research to support it. Hypnosis can help you with issues such as anxiety, depression, fear, pain and stress (amongst many other things!). We now also have even more evidence that supports adding hypnosis to cognitive behavioural therapy to improve the results you get. 

As I cover here, cognitive behavioural therapy with hypnosis leads to better, and more enduring, positive results, than just using cognitive behavioural therapy on it's own. 

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Depression and Employment: How Therapy Can Help You Find Work and Be More Productive At Work

I can remember being faced with redundancy way back before I ever decided to become a hypnotherapist. It's a strange feeling to be faced with the uncertainty and loss of control as you go through the redundancy process. I know a lot of people who have taken redundancy and job loss very personally in their sorts of circumstances and where the anxiety and stress has impacted upon their mental health and well-being.

As it turned out, my role continued after that round, only for the whole thing to restart with another round of redundancy consultations a few months later. This time I decided to be proactive and, as part of dealing with my own anxiety and mental health issues, I started the journey that led to becoming a full-time hypnotherapist here in Ely.

Over recent months I've been helping many people faced with redundancy and job loss due to the impact of the pandemic. There are many ways that hypnotherapy can help in such situations. When faced with redundancy or job loss it's easy to find your mind filling with negative thoughts and worst case scenarios, and so we want to tackle these and ensure your thoughts are balanced, accurate and objective. There's also a lot of scope to switch your thinking to the aspects you can control (rather than being dominated by the hopelessness that can come from waiting for someone else to make a decision). Many of the people I've worked with have taken the opportunity to grow side businesses, to train to do something they've alwayws wanted to do, to take stock and change career or to brush up their CV and interview skills and connect with potential future employers. 

When there are things outside of your control, there is nothing more empowering and effective than taking action on what you can do something about. And that means whatever happens with your employment, you have choices and options about next steps and you can hit the ground running.

As it happened, because I'd already started trainig as a therapist, when the opportunity came I chose voluntary redundancy because I wanted to follow my passion of helping people with their mental health. It's a decision I've never had cause to regret.

There's no doubt that your mental health, such as anxiety and depression, has a huge bearing on your employment. That could be finding work or being focussed and productive in your current employment. Let's have a look at some of the evidence about cognitive behavioural therapy, finding work and being productive at work.

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Using Your Hypnotic Running Hero To Improve Your Running Performance

After a pretty cold and icy winter, it finally seems like Spring is here. I love running and training in the Spring; there's something uplifting in the air with the milder mornings, the lighter evenings, the warmth of the sunshine and just that sense of freshness and positivity that comes with it all. 

It's the time of year that I enjoy running the most. After enduring the bleakness, cold and darkness of the winter months, there's more of a spring in my step and a sense of optimism about training and racing. 

My running has been going reasonably well in recent weeks and I'm now up to a steady long run for over ten miles at the weekend, as well as a couple of shorter efforts during the week, and more recently my mind has been continuing to return to thoughts and aspirations about completing another ultra marathon. It's been a long while since I've been in a position to contemplate an ultra, after a long standing hip issue that took quite some time to identify and rectify. But now I'm well and truly invested in increasing my mileage and training over the coming months for an early Autumn ultra.

Perhaps in running, and other sports too, one of the main ways that you learn how to improve your running performance is through watching and learning from other runners, talking to other runners about their experiences and what has or hasn't gone well for them, and then applying that to your own approach, mindset, training and racing. And then, of course, learning more through your own experiences and things that work for you and things that you need to change or amend to suit your own approach and goals.   

There are also many books and blogs by runners out there. I've learnt tons from reading books about marathon training, for example, and following training plans by legends such as Hal Higdon (who's training plans have got me through over a dozen marathon races). You can also learn from watching clips on TV and the internet. There can't be many runners who haven't found the exploits of Paula Radcliffe or Mo Farah uplifting and inspiring, for example, or who haven't marvelled at the determination of the Brownlee Brothers or the speed and eloquence of other athletes who run. 

And, as I'm covering here, you can take that inspiration from your running role models and heroes and apply it to boost your own running performance. Whether it's their mindset, attitude, self-belief, persistence, determination or some other quality you admire and want to benefit from, you can use hypnosis for running to help you. 

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Positive Imagery Relaxation For Anxiety and Stress Relief

As the rain and wind batter my office window, how I wish I could be back in the sunny, relaxing New Forest. Last year, we headed over to the New Forest for a family holiday and it was one of the most calm and relaxing experience that I can remember. To avoid the heat I would rise early, get my trainers on and head out into the forest.

I just loved the quietness and the tranquility of being around nature, watching the wild horses and deer, exploring green paths and being in no hurry to be somewhere else. It was pure bliss (perhaps apart from the time I got lost in the forest for a few hours!!). I think we all love getting away from our usual routines and the demands of everyday life and having some quality time to switch off and unwind.

And let's face it, with the busy lives we all live, where there's always something else that needs doing and where we can feel mentally connected and switched on from the moment we wake, it can be hard to find time to relax well. Whether you want to combat anxiety and stress, curb overthinking, sleep better, perform better cognitively or just feel better physically and mentally, then taking time to relax is important. Yet it often seems like the thing on your to do list that you never get to and that gets sacrificed for other things.

And whilst many of us find time to relax physically, such as watching a good film, our mind is still whirring away and busy with it all. And, of course, you don't want to have to wait until you go away to mentally feel better. You can easily build it into your day and, by making it a priority to take care of yourself, you'll likely find yourself feeling more uplifted in your mood, more calm and relaxed, more able to think clearly and make good decisions and more free of tension and stress.

Even better, relaxation is a skill that you get better at through deliberate practice. So whatever your starting point, you will get better at being mentally calm and physically relaxed and those positive benefits will reverberate into every aspect of your life. 

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Running Hypnosis: Run Faster By Unleashing Your Inner Cheetah

This weekend I was out as usual for my long slow run. For one reason and another it's been a while but I'm now back over the ten mile mark and pretty pleased with that, especially given the freezing weather and strong winds we've been faced with for many weeks. Roll on spring and some warmer times and sunshine!

During my long runs I employ all sorts of psychological running strategies to help me keep going and complete my scheduled distances. I call upon everything from really associating with what I am doing, to dissociating and letting my mind wander, thinking about specific challenges, setting and imagining goals, breaking it down into each individual mile, calculating how much of my run I've completed and a whole host of other techniques depending on how I am running and what is the most useful at the time.

As long runs get longer, and getting comfortable with being uncomfortable and fatigue become things, I've always found it important to be able to manage that little voice in my head that comes out and can start to plant some negative seeds in my mind if left unabated.

Throughout my running over the last twenty years or more, I don't think I've ever particularly regarded myself as a speed merchant (although I'm happy to share my sprint finish victory story and how fast I ran when chased by a chicken). My style of running and my body seem to be more suited to slower, longer stuff. That said, I've hit some faster milestones that I'm pleased with for myself, such as a sub-20 minute 5km, sub 40 minute 10k and sub 90 minute half marathon. I'm pretty pleased with those personal bests.

Running fast is a personal thing. It isn't necessarily about being faster than everyone else; it's about running harder and faster (in a safe fashion) to reach what you personally are capable of. It requires effort, persistence and the right mindset to push on (even when it gets uncomfortable). 

In this article I'm covering a sports psychology strategy involving mental imagery that has been used by a world champion. It's something I've used myself when I need a hard, fast burst, like when we run at bootcamp and there's an element of competition. There will always be plenty who can run faster than me (and plenty I can run faster than, for that matter), yet it's about doing the best with where you are and what you've got, to achieve that and run faster. As well as taking care of the physical aspects of running and training, you also need to  work on the mindset and psychological side if you want to achieve your best. 

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Your Confident Self: Increasing Confidence, Self-Esteem and Self-Belief

Over the last few months I've been busy learning how to play the guitar. Having not even picked up a guitar for over twenty five years, I've pretty much been learning all the notes and chords from scratch. And over the many weeks of practicing with online lessons from Fender, I kind of got to an ok level (think advanced beginner not Hendrix!).

At the end of last year I decided to start some online live guitar lessons with a great guy called Chris. Let me tell you, Chris can really play! Whilst I had a fairly ok level of confidence playing on my own to myself, that first lesson with someone who knows their stuff took me way outside my comfort one. In fact, in that first lesson with a pair of eyes watching me, I struggled to get my hands and fingers to co-ordinate in any sort of reasonable fashion.

Yet by the next lesson, and beyond, I've found myself able to play more confidently and to be ok with the inevitable mistakes that I make as I learn new things, and to feel good about the bits that go well and improve.

It can happen in any area of your life: you start something new, it takes you into a bit of discomfort outside your comfort zone, and then you adjust, adapt, learn and get better from perseverance. You learn that you can trust in your abilities, have faith in yourself and make some good progress.

It's the same whether you train for your first race, meet someone knew, learn a new skill or do anything else new, different or potentially more challenging.

Yet sometimes, people struggle to have faith in their abilities and in who they are. They think they aren't good enough or worthy in some way. They think they don't deserve whatever it is. They dwell on mistakes and failures and things that didn't go well and convince themselves it will always be like that. Their confidence, self-esteem and self-belief isn't where it needs to be, or should be. 

Your self-image, confidence and self-esteem can be shaped and molded by life experiences, people, places and a whole range of other factors. But of course your self-confidence and self-esteem are ultimately down to the thoughts, feelings, behaviours and beliefs you have about yourself, your own self-perception and view of yourself. And whilst your confidence and self-esteem may not be where you want them to be, it is definitly possible to grow in confidence, to have faith in yourself, to feel good being you, to back yourself and believe in yourself and to feel comfortable in your own skin. 

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Increasing Muscular Strength With Hypnosis

At my bootcamp, one of the favourite lines from our coach is about how your mind will give up before your body. In the midst of the high intensity training, the discomfort you feel physically and the levels of tiredness can cause that voice in your head to encourage you to fail even though physically you may be capable of continuing.

It's the same with long distance running. As you get tired and those muscles are depleted, the mental demons can start to get louder and try to convince you that you can't do it, or don't want to. And anyone who has raced probably knows that the kind of images and self-talk that goes through your mind in the lead up, and on the starting line, can affect how you feel and how you perform.

We all know the importance of warming up before exercising to get your body ready for movement and exertion. Yet it's just as important to get your mind in the right zone too. And whilst most athletes spend a lot of time on physical training (and sometimes kit!), the mental aspect of sport can often be overlooked. There's a reason why all those sports people at the top of their game invest in their mindset and mental skills to improve their performance.

Hypnosis and other cognitive/mental imagery strategies can help you to tackle issues such as self-doubt, ​low confidence, ​anxiety, motivation or difficulty recovering from past events, frustrations and set-backs. Even better, sports hypnosis can not only remove obstacles, it can help you to enhance your performance too.

In this article, I'm covering some of the research on hypnosis and other cognitive strategies for improving muscular strength. Strength performance (e.g. maximal strength, local muscular endurance, and power) is pretty important across most sports, perhaps particularly in lifting, body building and power sports. We all use our muscles and all need muscular strength, so how can you benefit from hypnosis for increasing muscular strength?

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Confidence: Using Your Hypnotic Hero To Increase Your Confidence

From very early on and throughout our lives we are constantly learning from others around us. We observe what others do in their interactions, with certain behaviours, skills, phrases, responses and we often absorb and integrate things we have seen and learnt into what we do and how we do it.

Recently, I've been learning to play the guitar. The most effective way to learn a new skill like this is through watching someone else play and then practising and learning that for yourself. If you are like me then it can take some practice and guidance, breaking things down into small chunks, and then more practice (and then even more!). Through watching online tutorials and lessons on the internet, and with the guidance and support of my guitar tutor, my playing has progressed massively since I started last year. 

And it's the same on other areas of life. When I joined bootcamp I had to watch what others did so I could learn and replicate it. In running, you watch and talk to other runners, you learn from their approach and attitude and you then seek to take elements of this and incorporate them into what you do.

Watching and learning from others involves a process of attention, retention, production, and motivation. Firstly, you pay careful attention to the person being observed. You then commit the observed act to memory through techniques and go about putting it into practice. To benefit, you need to be motivated to attend to, remember, and practice the observed behaviour in order to perform the skill accurately (Bandura, 1977).

Whether it's a skill, behaviours, attitude or mindset, we can learn from observing others and seeking to replicate positive elements in a way that fits with who we are. If you want to be good at something, then it makes sense to find someone who is already good and observe and pay attention to what they do and how they do it (through observation, talking to them, reading about them and so forth).  

One aspect of life that we can all improve upon in some areas is our confidence and self-belief. Some people worry that if they become more confident then they will become arrogant, but these are not the same things. Being confident involves thinking in particular ways, having certain beliefs, patterns, habits, thoughts and feelings. Sometimes you can get stuck in your own limitations of what you think is possible for you and think you can't do something or that you are not good enough or not confident at that thing.

As I've mentioned we can learn from observing and paying attention to what confident people do and then 'trying it on' for ourselves, in a way that fits with our own values and desires. In this article we are using the concept of a 'hero' or 'role model' to help you become more confident in certain aspects of your life. 

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Your Best Possible Self: Improve Well-being, Optimism and Positivity

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, it's clear that there has been a substantial detrimental impact on the mental health and well-being of many of you. The Office for National Statistics reports that well-being and happiness levels in the UK are at some of lowest ever recorded levels.

This makes it even more important than usual (although it's always more than usually important) to take effective action to improve your optimism, well-being, positivity and to support your mental health. Recently I covered one technique, the three good things, that has evidence and research to support the benefits of adopting it as a regular practice in your life.  

Today I'm talking about another evidence-based intervention that you can use to boost your optimism, well-being and positive mood, and to help reduce negative or low feelings. The Best Possible Self technique involves thinking about your best possible self in a future where you have achieved everything desired, after working hard towards it. As I'll cover here, there is a mass of evidence to support its effectiveness, and given that it only takes a few minutes, it really is worth utilising it if you want to feel better in yourself. 

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Hypnosis and Cancer: World Cancer Day

This week marks World Cancer Day, a day set up to raise awareness, improve education and to encourage action in the challenge against cancer. It's about saving prevantable and premature deaths and improving access to the best cancer treatment. 

Cancer is the dreaded word for anyone to hear. I think we all know people who have battled it. I lost my Dad to cancer several years ago and have known many others who have faced cancer (which is why I've raised money to support the awesome work of MacMillan cancer support in the past).

At every stage of the journey there can be mental distress, anxiety worry and fear. There can also be the impacts of treatment on your mental and physical well-being. And whilst hypnotherapy and hypnosis can't cure cancer (in fact it is illegal for anyone to claim they can), there are many ways that it can help with the things that come with it, from cancer treatments or symptoms, such as anxiety, nausea, distress and so on. 

So, with it being World Cancer Day it seems appropriate to have a quick look at some of the evidence for the use of hypnosis with cancer patients.

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Anxiety and Imagination During the Covid-19 Pandemic

There's little doubt that the current Covid-19 pandemic, and everything that goes with it, has had a detrimental impact on mental health and well-being. I've covered before about the mass of studies and research that demonstrates this impact upon mental health.  

You may have found yourself experiencing symptoms and feelings of anxiety, irrititability, stress and even loneliness from being unable to see family and friends in ways you used to and would ideally wish to. As I write this (during lockdown three), positive tests and deaths are falling and the number of people getting the vaccine is accelerating, so let's all hope that these green shoots continue.

And with it being Time To Talk Day this week, if you are struggling with anxiety or depression, or your mental health has been impacted in some other negative way, then please do talk to someone you trust. It is possible to get through what you are experiencing and there are those around you who want to listen, help and offer support.

Today I'm covering some research about the association between anxiety and your imagination.  

Having a good imagination can be a positive thing; it can help with creativity, working things out, coming up with ideas and planning ahead.  However, your imagination can have a 'dark side' that is linked with higher levels of anxiety, emotional distress, rumination and catastrophising. If you struggle with anxiety then these things may seem all too familiar in the cycle of anxiety, thinking the worst, dread and feeling you can't cope with things.

So what does the research tell us about anxiety and your imagination during the Covid-19 pandemic, and how you can also use your imagination to effectively extinguish your anxiety? 

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Hypnotherapy For Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional bowel disorder than can cause symptoms such as stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and constipation. The uncertainty, unpredictability, pain and discomfort can have a hugely deterimental impact upon your well-being and quality of life.

When I help people with IBS, they often avoid certain places and situations due to the anxiety, stress and worry that their IBS will strike. I've come across clients who have avoided going out, who don't eat all day to avoid the discomfort or who suffer extreme anxiety about finding a toilet or the possibility of being embarrassed in front of others (e.g. from needing the toilet a lot, from not being able to find a toilet in time or from letting people down if the IBS is too bad). The very nature of IBS means it is often one of things people don't like to talk about or tell others about, which can add to the stress and anxiety about how your symptoms might be.

And whist it is usually a lifelong problem with no known 'cure', and with no universally agreed understanding of what causes it, the good news is that hypnotherapy has been shown to be very effective in helping you to alleviate your symptoms. 

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Three Good Things: Positive Psychology To Enhance Your Well-Being And Mental Health

As I write this, we are still in the middle of the third Covid-19 pandemic lockdown. In my last article, I wrote about a couple of research-supported positive psychological interventions that can help promote your well-being and support your resilience to things.

Today, I'm going into more depth about one of these techniques, the three good things, and the benefits of carrying our this straight forward exercise each day.  

Despite its many challenges and its adverse impact on mental health, perhaps one positive of the pandemic has been a sense of appreciation about, and gratitude for, things that we may have taken for granted before. We can all feel grateful for our health, our loved ones, the roof over our heads, the ability to get out and move, the kindness of others, the awesome dedication and effort of NHS staff and other key workers, and a whole host of other things. 

Having the ability to get out and exercise is something I'm certainly appreciating, both because of the possibility it could be taken away, and because of the benefits to my mental health, especially if I incorporate some time in nature too. I value conversations and time with family in an enhanced way, and one of the pluses of working from home is having more interactions with the kids throughout the day, and spending more time in the evening doing things with them (at the moment playing 'keepie uppie' with balloons is a favourite bit of fun!). 

One of the tasks I often set my clients is to spend a few minutes at the end of each day thinking back on three good things, or positive things, from that day. With anxiety, depression, stress, worry or overthinking the tendency is to spend more and more time thinking about negative or bad things or the kind of things that made you feel anxious, low or down in some way. Thinking about three positive things starts to counter that by deliberate and conscious focus on things that are going right. In conjunction with our hypnotherapy sessions, it starts to shift thoughts and feelings more towards how someone wants them to be. 

And it turns out that there is a lot of evidence supporting this psychological technique. Consistently adopting the three good things practice can promote your well-being, increase positive emotions and happiness, lessen negative emotions and support your resilience. As I'll cover here, this gratitude activity really does have positive psychological benefits for you. 

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How To Promote Your Sense of Well-Being During The Covid-19 Pandemic

There's little doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has had an adverse impact upon mental health, and that is illustrated in data that has shown a rise in anxiety and depression levels for many years.

During the pandemic, restrictions and lockdowns you may have found yourself feeling more anxious, feeing low, stressed or worried, and have experienced a dip in your well-being and mood. I've covered before how things like sleep, alcohol consumption and self-esteem have also been impacted upon. All of the research, data and surveys have provided ample evidence of the current adverse impact upon mental health.

If you are struggling with anxiety, stress or worry, whether pandemic-related or otherwise, I'd strongly suggest looking through some of the articles here on my website for information, advice, strategies and things that you can do to support your own mental health and well-being. There are many steps you can take that can alleviate unwanted feelings and interrupt unwanted thoughts.

During stressful events that change our normal lifestyle and routines, we can find ourselves thinking back fondly on life before the pandemic, with a sense of loss or longing. Alternatively, you may just be focusing on each and every day and getting through it, or maybe savouring the better moments. Or you may find that you tend to look ahead and think about your life after lockdown. 

When I work with clients, elements of thinking back, focusing on the present, and looking forward can all have benefits, if utilised in the right way. You can draw upon things that have gone well, successes, accomplishments and overcoming previous adversities to remind yourself that you are capable right now. It can be useful to focus on what is going right and the positives from each and every day to boost your mood and interrupt any tendency to only focus on issues and problems. And, inside your imagination, you can prime your mind for how you want to be thinking, feeling, acting and reacting in the future.

Thanks to some recent research, we now also know where you should direct your focus, and how, if you want to promote your well-being and feel better during the challenges of a lockdown. So would you benefit most from thinking back on things from before lockdown, paying attention to the present, or by looking forward to life after lockdown? 

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Lessons From Space To Promote Your Well-being and Mental Health

These past few weeks, amongst everything else, have included a whole bunch of tasks and exercises with my daughter during her home schooling. This term has been all about astronauts and space, with research, reading and writing about famous space names such as Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Tim Peake.

We've been learning all about their lives, Apollo 11, the moon landing, the International Space Station and a bunch of other related facts and information (making sure to include some chronological facts, past tenses, relative clauses, technical information and more!).

As part of her work, we watched a live video questions and answer video with Tim Peake, the British astronaut (who seemed like a very friendly, decent chap as he answered questions from young people). He covered a whole range of things, from his childhood and early education, all the way through to his time on the International Space Station and his current work. I certainly didn't expect him to describe the smell of space as being like burnt toast (which I think would just make me feel hungry the whole time!).

One of the areas he touched upon was about how he supports his own mental health and well-being, give that being in space can be a pretty unusual and detached experience. And, if it's good enough for an astronaut, then I think there are a few pointers we can all take, and include in our own approach, towards our mental health and well-being.  

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Mindfulness For Anxiety, Stress and Promoting Mental Health

Mindfulness for anxiety, stress and other mental health issues has grown as a therapeutic approach and self-help technique over recent years. I've incorporated some beneficial aspects of mindfulness into several aspects of my work.

When we talk about mindfulness we are generally talking about being present, or in the present moment. People eat mindfully, exercise mindfully and use purposeful mindfulness strategies to support positive personal goals. Certainly one of the reasons I enjoy learning the guitar so much is because, by its very nature, I have to pay full attention to what I am doing (with variable results but that's besides the point!!).

When you are engaged in the present moment, there is only right now and so worries about the future, or things from the past, are not at the front of your awareness (paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally).

Anxiety levels have been rising in the UK for many years so there is an ongoing need to understand and help people to use effective, scientifically supported, treatments. The latest data from the Office For National Statistics suggests that, at the time I am writing this (during Covid-19 lockdown 3), levels of anxiety are higher than they have been since the start of the pandemic. Over 40% of adults reported high levels of anxiety. 

So let's have a look at some of the recent evidence about mindfulness for anxiety, stress and for your mental health.

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Could Horror Films Make You More Psychologically Resilient To The Covid-19 Pandemic?

Out of all the research into the mental health impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, there comes something a little bit quirkier this time. Could horror films help you to be more psychologically resilient to the pandemic? And before any temptation to treat this as being something perhaps a little frivolous about something serious, do have a read about what the research says and how it links to psychological resilience and being able to deal with the mental health challenges of the pandemic.

Watching horror films is all about be becoming scared or fearful for your own entertainment. Although I have less opportunity to watch them now (due to the kids), over the years I've seen many horror films, some much better than others. I can remember way back as a teenager how me and my friends couldn't wait to watch Nightmare on Elm Street, almost in the hope of being scared witless! And films such as Saw are both horrific, tense, scary and clever in equal measure. Alongside these you can get more comedic films like Shaun of the Dead and the like. 

Watching horror films and those that portray other frightening, threatening or dangerous situations (such as zombie films, apocalyptic or alien invasion movies) involves intentionally exposing yourself to, and engaging in, fearful simulated situations and experiences. So can watching these sorts of films bring you psychological benefits and increased resilience when faced with real world threatening experiences, such as the current Covid-19 pandemic? 

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Covid-19 Anxiety, Stress and Trauma in Healthcare Workers:

There's been a lot in the news and media about the impact of the current wave of Covid-19 on hospitals and the healthcare system. Hospitals are busier than during the first peak, non Covid-19 procedures are being postponed and there are increasing delays with being able to access NHS help. 

It certainly supports the message that we should all be staying at home and reducing contact with others as much as we are able to. It's not just to help reduce the number of people getting ill and dying from Covid-19, it's not just to try and help those who are suffering with other issues that need treatment, it's not even only to support our wonderful NHS. We should all take action to support each and every individual doctor, nurse and healthcare professional who is giving their all right now (the very same people who are there for us and our loved ones when we need them).

When I talk to my clients who are healthcare workers, they all tell me of the harrowing scenes and challenges throughout this pandemic. There was everything we all saw and heard about way back in the first wave, and for many of these doctors, nurses and healthcare staff, there has been no let up in the demands upon them week after week, and month after month, during this pandemic.

All of the research and evidence shows that the mental health of healthcare workers is being impacted upon and that they now not only need mental health resources and support to be made available effectively, they also need the rest of us to do all we can so that they can continue helping people now and into the coming months.

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Why Now Really Is the Time To Quit Smoking

I've been helping people to quit smoking for over a decade. Whilst there can be many motivations and reasons for quitting, health usually features pretty highly. That could be due to an existing health issue that smoking exacerbates, worry over getting ill in the future, or fears, worries and hopes around wanting a longer life for you and to be there for your loved ones. Naturally there can be several other reasons and motivations yet not wanting to risk further damage to your health, or a shorter life than you could have, are pretty powerful reasons to quit smoking.

I mention further on, that research has now strongly suggested that being a smoker can increase the risk that you get Covid-19, and that if you do get the disease, that you will get more severe symptoms (increasing the risk of hospitalisation). If ever there was a time to quit, during the pandemic could therefore well be that time.

As it happens, I'm just about to start reading a novel that involves a lead character having hypnotherapy to stop smoking (Smoking Kills by Antoine Laurain). I'm hoping that hypnotherapy is accurately represented because often all I ever see in films and read in books is a load of mumbo-jumbo that isn't based on anything remotely like reality. According to the blurb on the back of the book the hypnotherapy is successful but overwhelming stress leads to lighting up again (incidentally, one of the reasons I cover in my stop smoking sessions, strategies for handling stress once you've quit). However, he finds that smoking doesn't give any sense of release from the stress like it once did (perhaps because nicotine is a stressor and smoking doesn't help you relax at all). He then stumbles upon some criminal way to recapture that nicotine joy...(although there really is little joy from nicotine and smoking and turning to crime is certainly not recommended!). I'll let you know how I get on with it once I've read it. 

And so back to the research about the association between being a smoker and Covid-19 risk.

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Effectiveness of Online Hypnotherapy - Dan Regan Hypnotherapy Zoom and Skype

Although I've worked online with people for many years, this year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the restrictions, I've been doing more online hypnotherapy sessions than ever. I primarily do hypnotherapy by Zoom and Skype.

There are many advantages of online hypnotherapy. You can still get help even during lockdowns and social restrictions. You can save travel time and fit therapy more easily into your schedule. And, as is the case with many of my clients, you can work with someone who is located way outside a reasonable travel distance to get the best therapy possible.

One of the first things people usually ask me when considering online hypnotherapy is whether it as effective as face to face hypnotherapy. In my experience it certainly is and this year I've been helping people with many issues, such as anxiety, fear, confidence. self-esteem and weight loss.

There is also a ton of research supporting the effectiveness of online hypnotherapy. As long as both you and your therapist have a positive attitude towards using technology then you can work well together and get great therapeutic results. The research has shown that online hypnotherapy and face to face hypnotherapy are pretty much equally effective.

I've written more about the research and evidence over in my blog, but the simple answer is, yes, online hypnotherapy is as effective as face to face hypnotherapy. So if you need help, don't let it be a barrier and instead go for it!

Check out this update by clicking on the image to watch my video (opens in current browser window):

Effectiveness of online hypnotherapy dan regan hypnotherapy in ely 

Effectiveness of Online Hypnotherapy

Hello, it’s Dan here. I hope you’re good today. I’ve just come off my laptop doing a Zoom hypnotherapy session with someone for anxiety, and one of the most common questions I get asked around online hypnotherapy is whether it’s as effective as face-to-face hypnotherapy.

And the honest answer is yes, yes it is, both in my personal experience and there’s a whole wealth of research and evidence that supports the effectiveness of online therapy as well. It’s certainly something that’s been looked at recently because of the virus and the pandemic and limitations and restrictions, and for periods this year online hypnotherapy has been the only thing I’ve been able to offer to people.

But now it’s more of a choice at the moment with the restrictions where I am as to whether people come here face-to-face or continue doing things online. And online sessions go really well, whether that’s for anxiety, weight loss, stresses or worries around the pandemic, or just general anxiety, stress and other goals that people want to achieve.

And the research really stresses that probably the most important thing is having a positive attitude towards it, both from me the therapist being confident in what I do and how I do it and being positive about using the technology, but also you want to be comfortable with it. Certainly it has many advantages, like I say, you can work around restrictions and still get help with your mental health needs and achieving your goals. If you’ve got time commitments or you’re really busy or, for a lot of people I work with, it’s because they live well outside reasonable travel distance, all across the country, and even into Europe and beyond, I’ve worked with people there as well because we can make it work.

It’s near enough in terms of the way I work and the way I approach people, it’s very similar to being in the same room. So, if you’re comfortable with that, it will work really well. And the research again shows that having that positive attitude helps in terms of its effectiveness. It’s certainly very possible to get the relationship and to discuss goals and to put therapy in place and that can work nicely as well. And all the research supports that online or video-type therapy is pretty much as effective as face-to-face stuff.

So the research shows it and my own kind of anecdotal, if you like, evidence of working with my clients tends to support that as well. As long as you’re comfortable with it and the environment and you can find a place, whether that’s at the office, whether that’s at home where you will be undisturbed just to engage in it and you’re positive towards it, and all the normal things towards therapy. Like I say, a positive attitude, like being committed, like taking action, like doing the kind of things, strategies, the steps outside it, wanting to make a change and being motivated to do that, then it will work really nicely.

In the field of hypnotherapy specifically, for IBS, there’s evidence that Skype hypnotherapy is pretty much as effective as face-to-face stuff. And like I say, therapy as a whole, of which hypnotherapy is covered by that, there’s that evidence as well. But like I say, my clients who do it seems to enjoy it and get great benefit from it and report great results from doing that. And all the evidence supports it as well so, in answer, and I’ve written more about this in a related article, and all the research and all the findings there if you want to know more, online hypnotherapy is as effective as face-to-face stuff, as long as you are comfortable and positive towards it.

So, if you’re thinking of it, and we can do a free initial consultation and try it out and have that conversation to get things moving, and then if you’re comfortable with it, or come in here face-to-face, or work around restrictions, or dealing with your other commitments and everything else you've got going on, or because you live outside the areas of Ely and Newmarket, you can still get a lot of help and also benefit and a lot of positive outcomes from online hypnotherapy.

So, yes, in summary, it is as effective, which is great news. We can use that technology, we can help you feel better, and improve your mental health and deal with those issues like anxiety and stress and worry. I’m about to pack up now ‘cos I’ve finished for the day. Getting ready for Christmas, got a few more clients booked in, but pretty much there. I hope you are too. I wish you a safe and healthy festive period and I will speak to you very soon. You take care until then. Goodbye now.


Dan Regan

29 December 2020

Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket

Need some help with anxiety, stress, worry and fear? Book your Complimentary Hypnotherapy Strategy Session with Dan now: Appointments

Find out what other people have said after their hypnotherapy sessions with Dan: Hypnotherapy Testimonials

And check out these powerful hypnosis downloads that can start helping you right away with anxiety, confidence and more: Hypnosis Downloads

Supporting Your Mental Health During Lockdown Three

The third national lockdown is upon us, and with it comes the potential and risk of increased stress, worry, anxiety and the negative impact upon your mental health and well-being.

There are mental health impacts from the ongoing restrictions and limitations, on employment and jobs, financially and from things like home schooling. And whether you are not working, working from home or still need to work as usual, all of the evidence shows that our mental health has been impacted during the various stages of this pandemic.

I've been working from home (as all therapists should be), and getting a lot done despite all of the distractions that come from being at home (including the kids and home schooling!). On the plus side there is still exercise to enjoy and I'm continuing to make time to learn the guitar. I've written before about how online hypnotherapy is as effective as face to face hypnotherapy, so if you are struggling then do get in touch.    

As this lockdown continues, and the pandemic endures, it's now more important than ever that you take a proactive approach to supporting your mental health. Whether it helps you cope and deal with things completely, simply mitigates any adverse mental health impacts, or allows you to function and get through things so you are in the best place you can be after all of this, you need to do stuff. Below I've covered what I suggest you do to support your mental health during this lockdown three.

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Hypnotherapy Supervision: The Benefits and Importance of Supervision for Hypnotherapists

Effective hypnotherapy supervision is one of the most important resources available to help you, as a hypnotherapist, improve and succeed in your work and business. 

The therapy market is a crowded place these days. Pretty much anyone can set up and call themselves a therapist, even if they've only ever done a cursory online weekend course (something the BBC reported on in 2020 was about how anyone can call themselves a therapist and start working with clients to help them with psychological and mental health issues). And, of course, more and more 'new approaches' continue to spring up weekly offering miracle results, and that we professionals know lack the science and evidence to support them.

That means that for those of us who are qualified and ethical hypnotherapists, we have to continually improve our knowledge and skills and get better at what we do to help our clients even further. We want to aim for excellence at what we do.

I can well remember my early days as a therapist, over a decade ago, when I qualified and set up my hypnotherapy business. It can be a pretty daunting affair to find yourself first working with clients. And as you gain more experience, there are still challenges to face, improvements to be made and a level of support needed.  That's where hypnotherapy supervision is a real benefit. Rather than being alone in your work and having to figure it all out yourself in your head, the support of a good supervisor will help you get better at making therapeutic decisions, at building upon your knowledge and resources, and improving in the work you love so much.

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Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket: Lockdown Three Update

I hope that you had a good Christmas and have been able to enter the New Year in positive spirits. Things were certainly different this festive season but I hope you and your loved ones are all healthy and well.

Christmas in our household, like many others I am sure, was fairly low key with plenty of time for exercise, guitar playing, games and a few good movies.

As no doubt you'll have seen, just before Christmas it was announced that several areas, including Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, were being moved to Tier 4 Covid-19 restrictions (at that time, the most stringent of the tiers). In fact, this was going to be a Tier 4 update on my hypnotherapy sessions. However, events have moved apace and this is now a Covid-19 lockdown three update instead.

Lockdown restrictions mean that I am only able to offer online hypnotherapy sessions until the lockdown ends. This covers my hypnotherapy sessions in Ely and Newmarket, and it means that once again all of my sessions are back being delivered online through Skype and Zoom.

This is the same arrangement that needed to be put in place during the two lockdowns last year. It worked very well during those weeks and I was still able to help many, many people with issues such as anxiety, worry, fear and stress (whether pandemic-related or otherwise). 

I've been getting great feedback from clients who have worked online with me, even if some may have preferred something more face to face had the option been possible. Over the last decade, and as supported by the research and evidence, online hypnotherapy sessions can produce results similar to face to face sessions.

So for the time being everything is back online to keep us all safe, yet fingers crossed we can all soon enjoy once again meeting in person. 

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Rediscover and Find Your Running Motivation

I come across a lot of runners who seem to have lost their running motivation. They are going through a dip and can't seem to get their grasp back upon their motivation, purpose and reasons for getting out and running.

Essentially motivation means having enthusiasm, a need or a reason for doing something. If your need or reason is strong enough then I'm not sure you have to be too enthusiastic, you just do it regardless. 

Most runners experience dips in their running motivation from time to time, as well as enjoying the motivation highs that come along too. As we continue to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, I think that dips in running motivation have become a bit more common. Whether it's stress and anxiety caused by aspects of the pandemic, a sense of lethargy from how long it's been impacting (with still more to go), the loss of usual activities and routines, the lack of running and racing with others in the usual way, or something else, running motivation can often suffer. 

When an area of our life doesn't seem to be going great, it can be easy to engage in those negative thoughts and feelings, and that leads to feeling worse and even less enthusiastic to get running or to run well. Certainly I think not being able to train and interact with others (in training and racing) can leave a big hole in your motivation and joy of exercise.

Yet, sometimes the best runs are those where you initially didn't really feel like it. Sometimes it can be useful to think about the reasons you run, the physical and mental health benefits, and how much better you'll feel if you do it (and how much worse you'll feel for not doing it). I often get myself out of bed by reminding myself how much better I'll feel for having done my run. 

Other times I try not to think about it at all. You can't always trust your thoughts and feelings to guide you. So I don't engage with them too much: I just get out of bed and start getting ready and if it's a run day then I run. It becomes a habit to run on the days you run and like any habit, it just starts and seems to happen whether you like it or not. 

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The Three Pillars of Mental Health:

Hello and Happy New Year! I hope that you had a wonderful festive period and that you are all set to have a positive and productive 2021.

The Covid-19 pandemic is still with us, of course, and it has certainly had a detrimental impact on mental health, with anxiety levels continuing to escalate. Many of you may well be suffering with anxiety, depression, stress and worry as a result of the pandemic (things I wrote about a lot last year if you scroll through my blog pages).

There are many things you can proactively do to support your mental health and to reduce symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression. It certainly is possible to deal with those unwanted thoughts and feelings so that you feel better and happier. The research evidence I've mentioned below certainly l suggests that our mental health has been impacted.

In this article, I'm talking about the three pillars of mental health that were published in a research paper at the end of last year.

Sadly, one of the actions for improving your mental health doesn't include chatting with kangaroos! You may have missed the news at the end of last year that animals that have never been domesticated, such as kangaroos, can intentionally communicate with humans (McElligott, O'Keeffe, & Green, 2020). I think that is pretty incredible stuff (almost out of the Scooby-do cartoons that my daughter keeps watching). I think talking with kangaroos would certainly boost my sense of well-being, although personally I'd rather have a penguin as a pal (and keep in mind that there is scientific evidence for the mental health benefits of pets, as I've covered before).  

I like the idea of communicating with animals, although that's got nothing to do with this article about the impact of the pandemic and the three pillars of good mental health.

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The Effectiveness of Online Hypnotherapy: Skype and Zoom Hypnotherapy Sessions

Online hypnotherapy sessions are something that I've been successfully using with people for many years. Yet whereas in the past it was mainly people abroad or who live outside a reasonable travelling distance, with Covid-19 and everything that goes with it (like social distancing and lockdowns), Skype and Zoom online hypnotherapy sessions have boomed.

There are many advantages that come with online hypnotherapy. As long as you have a reasonable internet connection, you don't need to live near Ely or Newmarket to work with me, you save on the time and cost of travel, and if you are struggling with something like anxiety or health anxiety, it can make accessing effective hypnotherapy much easier.

This year I've helped more people than ever with online hypnotherapy and for issues such as generalised anxiety, health or coronaphobia anxiety, stress, fears and weight loss. It's been great to be able to continue helping people during the pandemic lockdowns.

Whenever online hypnotherapy, through platforms such as Skype and Zoom, gets mentioned, one of the first things people want to know is whether it is as effective as face-to-face hypnotherapy, or even whether hypnotherapy online is effective at all. 

In my own experience it certainly can be effective, subject to the usual 'rules' of effective hypnotherapy that include someone being motivated and committed to make changes and to take action, and being willing to put techniques and strategies in place both in and outside the sessions. Yet rather than only rely on the positive results I get when working online, let's have a look at some of the evidence for the effectiveness of online therapy. 

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My Most Read Hypnotherapy and Mental Health Articles During 2020

I think we can all agree that 2020 has perhaps been one of the strangest and most challenging years we've ever come across. What started just like any other year quickly became a torrent of uncertainty, lockdowns and restrictions that impacted on pretty much every area of our lives. 

 There is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted upon mental health. I can still think back to those uncertain early days of the pandemic lockdown and remember the worry and stress from not knowing how things would pan out for me and the kids, and all the while against the backdrop of staying at home and watching terrible images from in hospitals and the every increasing death rate. since then things have been up and down with the virus and with restrictions, yet the impact of Covid-19 continues to loom large in our lives.

All of the evidence and research I've covered over the year shows increased levels of anxiety, stress, worry and fear. There are health fears about you or your loved ones contracting the virus and the risks that would come with that. You may have been hit financially and been impacted in your work and employment. Education has been impacted upon. Usual activities and routines have been disrupted. You may have been unable to spend time with loved ones or friends, or had to curb your usual sources  of enjoyment and fun. Each and every one of us has faced challenges, disruption and restrictions that have changed the usual path of our life.

At the end of each year I like to highlight the most popular articles on my blog. There may be ones there that you missed or that it may be beneficial to revisit (and remember too that you can also check out my many vlogs for even more help, information and suggestions).. 

It's no surprise that most of my most popular blogs of 2020 cover aspects of mental health and anxiety related to the pandemic. I've been covering the research and suggesting ways to support your mental health and well-being throughout the pandemic, and much of the same advice still holds true at this time. Yet there are also some other aspects of my hypnotherapy work covered such as sports performance, the science behind kindness and other aspects of mental health, overcoming anxiety and managing stress. Do read on and revisit the blogs that were the most popular from over the year. 

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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

It's been a strange year to say the least (which seems to be the main thing I come out with whenever I talk about 2020). Yet the festive season is now upon us. I plan to spend some time having fun with my girls and I hope that whatever you have planned, you have a wonderful Christmastime ahead of you too.

As the year draws to a close I always like to spend a few moments reflecting on my year. Given everything that's been going on with the pandemic, I think that just having made it through in one piece to the end of the year is something of a triumph. Certainly we've all faced challenges, uncertainty, restrictions and changes over the months and I hope that you have been able to take care of your physical and mental health. I've written a load of articles this year with suggestions for supporting your mental health (relevant during the pandemic and more generally too) so do check those out if you think that your well-being could be improved.

Due to the pandemic I've been working with more and more people online (via Zoom or Skype) which has worked really well, as well as helping people (outside of the two lockdowns) in my offices in Ely and Newmarket. I've moved office in Ely to a great new location, and been fortunate enough to celebrate a decade of being a hypnotherapist and helping people. 

Fingers crossed that 2021 will be a smoother year for us all and I wish you well with taking action upon, and achieving, your goals for the coming year. But before 2021 arrives, do have a very Happy Christmas! 

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Daily Physical Activities Can Boost Your Well-being and Mental Health:

It's been that time of year again when my daughter and I head out to take part in the Ely Festive 5k in support of the amazing people at the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity. 

My daughter tells me that this is the fifth year we have taken part, although as you might expect, this year was a little different and so rather than a few hundred of us racing together, we headed out around Ely in a virtual version of the event. Every year she says she never wants to do it again, followed by changing her mind (a few dozen times), telling me she is going to train this time, not training, and having me push, cajole, and occasionally encourage her over three miles (and this year someone from her school bubble ran with us too, which apparently made it sooooo much better than previous years!).

I've written many times about the benefits of exercise for your mental health and well-being. Certainly I find exercise, like running and boot-camp, play a massive role in maintaining my own good mental health and in making me feel better in myself. Most of this research has tended to look at more structured exercise when evaluating the mental health benefits. So what about the mental health and well-being impacts of more common daily physical activities, like walking, gardening and going up stairs?

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Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket: Post Lockdown Two Update

It's been a busy few weeks during Covid-19 lockdown two. Somehow it seems to have flown by while I've been working online with clients (through hypnotherapy sessions over Zoom and Skype) and getting on with some behind the scenes things, such as getting ready to record a load of new hypnosis downloads in the New Year. 

Of course my running has kept me pretty busy too (thankfully there has only one frosty morning recently!) and I've just started up with some guitar lessons (and I still need to get through another five seasons of Game of Thrones!). Busy, busy!

With lockdown two coming to an end, hypnotherapy sessions will be available face to face once again from Thursday 3rd December in Ely & Newmarket. And, of course, online hypnotherapy sessions will still be an option if you don't want to travel, live too far from my offices, want to limit your interactions with others or because you simply prefer it!

There are only a few weeks left until Christmas and the New Year will be here in no time at all so if you are seeking help with things like anxiety, stress,  worry, fear or something else then please do get in touch as soon as possible.

Looking forward to seeing many of you in person very soon!

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Reduce Anxiety and Stress With Nature During The Pandemic:

Winter is coming! Or so they keep saying in Game of Thrones which I've finally given in to and started watching (so many hours of my life are passing me by as I work my way through series after series!).

It's starting to feel like winter is now well and truly here. As I headed out for my run this morning it was still dark, there was frost over the cars and the thermometer was reading one degree.  It took all my will power to persuade me to get up and out of bed and to go and run five miles around the streets of Ely in the flipping cold! And as always, I felt loads better mentally and physically afterwards from moving, exercising and getting out. 

And to be fair, it wasn't as cold as the time I sat in a dark, cold student flat in Leeds all weekend one winter waiting for the shop to open on Monday morning so I could buy an electric meter token, only to discover that there had been a reserve amount in the meter that just needed a button to be pushed!  

When I head out for a run or a walk, I love to take in as much time around nature as I can. This morning I ran over the fields, along the river and through Ely nature reserve. And then afterwards I walked to the office through the same fields, only at a more leisurely pace where I could see the birds and squirrels and take in the trees and greenery.

Spending time in nature is good for your mental health. It helps you to reduce stress and anxiety and boosts your mental health and sense of well-being. I've written about this and suggested it a number of times before, but now a new research study has added even more weight to it by specifically looking at the importance of nearby nature for mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Anxious Thoughts - From What-If To If-Then:

With anxiety, you can find yourself imagining all sorts of worst case scenarios that might happen. You can worry about all the 'what if' possibilities and they can seem to take over your thinking, especially in the quieter moments. Even though you know logically that many of the things you are anxious about are unlikely to happen or are even irrational, you still find yourself worrying and worrying. 

And the more anxious you feel, the more you experience those anxious thoughts, which in turn leads to more anxious feelings and even more unwanted thoughts. It becomes a cycle and a pattern that may be linked to something specific yet could just as easily be more general and pervasive. Essentially your mind responds to all those perceived threats of things going wrong or badly in some way and starts to prepare you for taking action. You feel uncomfortable, you get a funny feeling in your stomach, you get tense and restless and your mind keeps overthinking it.

There are many steps you can start to take that will begin to interrupt that pattern of anxiety and start to reduce and diminish it.  

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Celebrating A Decade of Helping People With Anxiety, Stress, Worry & Fear:

It's official! November 2020 marks ten years since I first set up business in Ely and started helping people with anxiety, stress, worry and fear. A decade of helping people!

It's hard to think back and remember what life was exactly like when I made the decision, following redundancy, to set up practice in Ely. I do know that back then my eldest daughter was still in nappies and my youngest was yet to even enter our lives. 

Having struggled myself with anxiety and low self esteem for many, many years, and having found a way to overcome these issues, I do know that I was inspired to set up by my desire to help as many others as I possibly could to make similar positive changes to overcome limitations, challenges and unwanted thoughts and feelings that can stop you enjoying your life. 

So much has happened in the last decade as a hypnotherapist. I've helped thousands of people to overcome anxiety, stress, worry and fear, and to boost their confidence and self-esteem. I've worked internationally, appeared in local and national press, been published, created several hypnosis downloads that people tell me really help and I now have dozens of positive written and video reviews from people with whom I've worked. I've been blessed to have met many wonderful people along the way. 

So as I look forward to the next decade of helping people with metal health issues to feel better, I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported me, worked with me, trusted in me and believed in me and my approach. Thank you so much!

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Anxiety and Surviving Covid-19:

As I write this article, the coronavirus lockdown continues here in England, and the pandemic itself rumbles on. Whilst there seems to be optimism over a vaccine, infection levels remain high and sadly Covid-19 related deaths continue.

I've written a lot about anxiety and Covid-19, in terms of the impact of coronavirus on mental health, what you can do about your anxiety and the fear of contracting Covid-19 (coronaphobia). Most of the research I've come across up until now has been focused on how the pandemic is impacting on our mental health and the fear and anxiety around getting Covid-19, and the impacts from social restrictions and on things like employment and education.

However, some research is coming out now about what happens after someone has Covid-19. So rather than fear and anxiety about the possibility of getting it, what then happens physically and mentally to Covid-19 survivors.

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Support Your Mental Health and Support Talking FreEly:

As the coronavirus pandemic rolls on, and with the ongoing restrictions on life and social interactions that will likely be in place for some time yet, I know that many of you have been struggling with your mental health and well-being.

There may be anxiety, worry and stress from the virus itself, in terms of illness and death, as well as fear around contracting Covid-19 and the potential impacts of that upon your health and the lives of those around you. On top of that, many of you may have employment worries and you could just be struggling without your usual social interactions or from not being able to do the things you usually enjoy doing. I've spoken to many people who describe the anxiety and fatigue from the impacts of the pandemic that have been affecting us all for many months, and that still has a way to go yet.

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics Survey (covering early November 2020) reported that over 70% of adults were very or somewhat worried about the effect of Covid-19 on their life right now, and nearly half of adults reported that their well-being was being affected (e.g, through anxiety and stress) by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Looking after your mental health is more important than ever right now. I've spoken to many people who have told me how helpful and beneficial they have found my hypnosis downloads for their mental health.

At the same time, I want to do all I can to help as many people as possible to find help and support for their own mental health, whether it's depression, anxiety or in some other form. And that's why I'm delighted to let you know that every penny of profit from purchases of my hypnosis downloads during this lockdown will be donated to Talking FreEly.

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Doomscrolling, Anxiety & Your Mental Health:

Today I'm talking about screen use, social media consumption and how it links to your mental health, particularly in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.

I don't know about you but sometimes I have a terrible habit of having a quick check of what's happening on things like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Perhaps between tasks or when I feel like I need a break I take a quick look at the latest (even though plenty of it is neither interesting or helpful!). And I don't think that there is too much wrong with social media and smartphones and the like in general and if used constructively and purposefully. However, there is a flip side to screen time and social media consumption that can impact on your mental health and can contribute to anxiety.

Anxiety, with all of it's unwanted thoughts and feelings, can lead you to spend more time online, whether as an escape from those feelings or seeking more and more information. As you worry about worst case scenarios and things that could happen, you can find yourself consuming more and more negative information as you try and find a sense of calmness, safety and certainty. And with the coronavirus, there is a mass of information out there, some more accurate than others, and in seeking information, knowledge and certainty (in an uncertain pandemic) you may find yourself spending more time online and more time consuming negative news and opinions. 

It can seem like your anxiety compels you to check more and more negative news on social media and from other sources, and whilst a part of you might hope to find clarity and certainty about what is going to happen, the scrolling and negativity can just add more fuel to your anxious thoughts and feelings.

Doomscrolling refers to this compulsion to consume negative news on social media. And whilst as a concept it goes back before the pandemic, in recent weeks and months the coronavirus has made it more prevalent and more something we all need to pay attention to.

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Protecting Your Mental Health During The Second Lockdown:

The second  covid-19 lockdown is upon us following the recent announcement by the Government about the need to take action to try and curtail infection rates and the spread of coronavirus. And whether you believe it is the right course of action or not, or the timing is right, or even if you think the whole Covid thing is not a thing (and some people do), the fact remains that lockdown two is happening and will impact on all of us.

In many ways this Covid-19 lockdown is a whole different affair to the first lockdown back in March. Back then no-one really understood the disease or much about it, and there was a general sense of uncertainty and fear as the numbers hospitalised and those sadly dying rapidly increased. Whilst none of us knew when things would improve and how long lockdown would last back then, this time we have a time limited (at least that's what they are saying right now!!) lockdown. The daily number suggests more and more people are being admitted to hospital and once again an increasing number of people are sadly losing their lives to Covid-related deaths.

To help protect the NHS form being overwhelmed, to try and reduce Covid-19 transmissions and to hopefully save lives, I believe that moving all of my sessions to Zoom or Skype for four weeks is the right thing to do (not only that but I've had legal advice that it is the only thing to do!). Whilst rates in the East of England have been comparably lower than elsewhere in the UK, any steps that reduce contact for a short period means that your safety and well-being is prioritised.

In fact, it saddens me that so many businesses seem to have decided to continue working as they have been before lockdown. I've seen social media posts by many businesses of all types justifying continuing despite the pandemic. We all need to make money to pay the bills but if everyone keeps interacting in the way they have been up until now (including going from home to home working on non-urgent matters) then we may well find that the Coronavirus doesn't ever get far away and the risk of even stronger restrictions over a longer period continues.  

But hey that's just my two pennies' worth; we all have to make our own calls here and it's cool if you think differently (in a reasoned, objective kind of way). And so back to the topic of this article, which is about doing what you can during this second Covid-19 lockdown to protect and preserve your mental health.

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Lockdown 2 Hypnotherapy Update:

As you'll know, England is about to enter a second coronavirus lockdown that will last until Wednesday 2nd December.

During the lockdown (from Thursday 5th November) I will only be able to offer online appointments (via Skype or Zoom) rather than my usual face to face appointments for hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket.  However, fingers crossed that four weeks will be enough and very soon I'll be back behind my desk in my office. I'm already taking bookings into December so contact me now to book your appointment.

I don't think anyone (certainly not small business owners!) want a lockdown but if it saves lives and means the NHS can cope this winter then, rather than argue over something that can't be changed anyway, we can all be proactive in taking care of ourselves and each other. During the last lockdown there were many wonderful acts of kindness within the community and I hope that spirit continues and grows.  

There are many, many things that we can all do to support our physical health and mental health. I wrote about many of these things last time around so do check out those articles. I'll be adding more help soon too.

During the last lockdown I know many people found my hypnosis downloads a great support for their mental health and well-being, so do check those out if you need help and support. 

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Public Speaking Anxiety

The clocks just went back recently, and while the season is changing to Autumn with all the wonderful shades of brown on the trees, one thing that doesn't seem to change is the prolificacy of public speaking anxiety. It's often considered to be one of the most common fears that people struggle with, and there have even been surveys in the past suggesting people are more scared of speaking in front of others than of dying.

Recently I've been working with quite a few people who have a fear of public speaking. That anxiety may be linked to formal presentations (these days as often over Zoom as face to face) or speaking up, reporting, updating or asking/answering questions in meetings.

That anxiety can lead to all sorts of anxious thoughts in the lead up to speaking, along with that pit of the stomach nervous feeling and you may find that the thought of the presentation or meeting comes to mind more and more as the date gets closer. There are then all the anxious sensations on the day, in the build up and when speaking, and you may have a tendency to be overly self critical afterwards about how you did (sometimes even going over and over perceived mistakes or errors).

As I often point out to people, this isn't about whether you can talk, or about whether you can speak to people. Everyone does that with friends or family or in some other situations where they feel relaxed and comfortable. Yet certain perceptions, expectations, thoughts, feelings and beliefs start to creep in about speaking in other situations or environments that lead to you struggling with that anxiety all the way through until your 'ordeal' is over.

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 Covid-19 Anxiety, Stress and Negative Body Image:

I've been talking and writing for many months now about the mental health impacts from the coronavirus pandemic and everything that goes with it, such as social restrictions and worry about potential future consequences.

The latest data from the Office of National Statistics (October 2020) found that more than three quarters of adults were very or somewhat worried about the effect of coronavirus (COVID-19) on their life right now.  That level of worry has been increasing over recent months as the pandemic endures.  Levels of anxiety remained at their highest since the start of April, and life satisfaction has fallen.

As I've written about before, more and more evidence demonstrates that this Covid-19 pandemic is impacting on mental health for many, many people. As well as fears about contracting the virus, there are worries about the future, impacts on meeting and interacting with others, difficulties planning, impacts on work and education, and many other factors that lead to these high levels of Covid-19 anxiety and stress.

And whilst I've written about these mental health impacts and what you can do about them, a new piece of research has been published that suggests that Covid-19 anxiety and stress may also be having an impact on body image.

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Stress, Anxiety, Alcohol and Coronavirus:

Covid-19 and the impacts from it have impacted upon all us in many ways. With lockdowns and local restrictions (such as the three tier approach), all of us have had to adapt and make changes to our behaviours. There are some things that we are prohibited from doing, some that are allowed but are now set up differently to how they used to be, and all of us need to be vigilant and mindful of social distancing, wearing masks and hand washing.

As I've written about before, there is a wealth of evidence about how coronavirus has impacted upon our mental health, particularly anxiety, stress and worry. As well as the general fears and anxiety about jobs, money, education, restricted social interaction and so on, there is also the fear of contracting the coronavirus and the potential health and other consequences that could come from this (coronaphobia).

One thing that many clients, particularly those with anxiety, have told me about is their increase in alcohol drinking. Of course, many people use alcohol to unwind and relax and over the last ten years I've helped many people who struggled with binge drinking or excessive drinking to take back control over their alcohol use. Yet it does seem that many people, through this coronavirus pandemic, may have been drinking more to help them to deal with things and to try and physically and mentally escape and relax.

Whilst in my younger (not so long ago...!) days I used to drink a bit, but these days I rarely have any alcohol. I find it makes me feel rough and lethargic the next day, and it's not nice trying to get up at 5.30am for bootcamp or a run as it is!

So beyond the number of people telling me of their anxiety and alcohol use during the coronavirus pandemic, what does the science tell us about it?

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A super short blog today about kindness. In reality, it's more of a plea for us all to be nicer and kinder towards each other.

In recent weeks my wife has been on the end of some pretty distasteful treatment from someone, behaviour that I would say is close to the mark of sex discrimination and harassment. There was no need for it but there you go, sometimes you can only hope that other people engage their minds a bit. It was only the other month that we watched the TV programme, 'It Was Alright in the 1970s' and I think some of the attitudes and stuff experienced could have walked right out of the screen and slap bang into 2020! As I've said in previous articles, we don't all have to share the same opinions and agree on everything (and you can do that and still get on fine) but bullying, discrimination and harassing go way beyond what I think is acceptable.

Which brings me back to my plea for us all to be kinder to one another as much as we can. Youu never know what someone else is experiencing, how things are for them, so I think we all want to be nicer, kinder and more understanding, even if we don't always see eye to eye on every aspect of life.

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Can You Trust Your Gut Feelings and Intuition?

I've often had people tell me that they always trust their gut instinct. And certainly if you look online or on You Tube there are dozens of people, images and articles which claim that you should always trust your gut instinct or intuition. 

Many of these articles and so on talk about your gut instinct being your immediate understanding of something,  a moment of innate understanding or knowing that you should just act upon or make decisions upon without further thought or investigation. There are many quotes along the lines of always trusting your gut instinct and intuition because it knows what your brain hasn't yet figured out, or that if you have a certain gut feeling you should always trust it without exception.

But is that right? Can you always trust your gut feeling or intuition and act upon it in confidence that it is always right?

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Client running around the world to raise money for mental health

Someone I worked with during the pandemic has put his trainers on to raise money for the mental health charity, Mind. 

Chris Tromans is running  around the world in 80 days and wants his long distance virtual running to raise exactly £17,895 for the mental health charity (use the links below to learn why he has chosen that figure and why it is so important to him). 

As he mentions in his Ely Standard article and Just Giving page, Chris had a mental health issue at the start of lockdown and used the Mind website to understnad more about it. He also worked with me to help him with his anxiety and found that the sessions helped him.   

Quoted in the Ely Standard, Chris said: “I’m much better now, thanks to information on Mind’s website. I arranged for video sessions during lockdown with Dan Regan, a local hypnotherapist. He provided me with tools to help overcome the problem.”

You can read more about Chris and his running challenge in the Ely Standard: Dad-of-two aims to raise precisely £17,895 for Mind - and here’s the reason why he picked that target

And you can join me in supporting Chris and helping him reach his target for Mind, the mental health charity, by heading over to his Just Giving Page: Just Giving Page

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Coronavirus and Mental Health - Sleep Deprivation and Dreaming

As I've covered in several recent articles, the coronavirus pandemic has impacted upon the mental health and well-being of many people.

In their latest release, the Office For National Statistics (ONS), say that there has been a general increase in anxiety levels among the overall population, the most vulnerable in society, such as disabled adults, people with a health condition and who feel unsafe outside the home because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, have experienced greater increases in anxiety levels. This builds upon their previous release where just over half of adults said it was affecting their well-being and nearly half of adults reported high levels of anxiety. Coronavirus and lockdown impacted on their mental health.

Whilst some may have found the easing of lockdown has resulted in an equivalent easing in anxiety, there are many, many people still struggling with anxiety, worry and fear associated with the coronavirus. 

I've written before about some of the research and evidence around the link between the coronavirus and mental health (Covid-19 & Easing Lockdown: A Ticking Mental Health Timebomb?). In the earlier days of the pandemic, Shevlin et al (Anxiety, Depression, Traumatic Stress, and COVID-19 Related Anxiety in the UK General Population During the COVID-19 Pandemic, April 2020), investigated the prevalence of COVID-19 related anxiety, generalised anxiety, depression and trauma symptoms in a representative sample of the UK population during an early phase of the pandemic. They found that there were higher reported levels of anxiety, depression and trauma symptoms compared to previous population studies, but not dramatically so.  Anxiety, depression and trauma symptoms were predicted by young age, presence of children in the home, and high estimates of personal risk. Anxiety and depression symptoms were also predicted by low income, loss of income, and pre-existing health conditions in self and others.

And, in relation to the USA, Twenge & Joiner (Mental distress among US adults during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020) concluded that mental distress was considerably higher in a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults in late April 2020 compared to a nationally representative sample from 2018, providing "an early indication that serious mental illness has become strikingly more common during the COVID-19 pandemic". And another study from the USA by Adams-Prassl et al (The Impact of the Coronavirus Lockdown on Mental Health. 2020) has suggested that the large negative effect on mental health has been entirely driven by the impact on women's mental health. They suggest that the negative effect on women’s mental health cannot be explained by an increase in financial worries or childcare responsibilities.

I've worked with many people in recent weeks who have found that fears and worries over coronavirus have impacted upon their mental health, with increased anxiety and stress levels and worries about the future (such as catching the virus or losing employment).

Today, I'm covering the impact on your sleep (or sleep deprivation) and upon your dreaming when you do sleep.

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World Mental Health Day - October 2020 - Coronavirus and Mental Health

This year, World Mental Health Day falls on 10th October 2020 and the theme for this year is 'mental health for all.' 

And, of course, mental health help and support should be as available as that which exists for physical health problems. As I've written about before, it's great that there are so many mental health awareness initiatives these days. There should be no stigma around mental health issues and we all need to be aware of our own mental well-being, and that of those around us. If you have a mental health issue you should talk about it if you want to and we can all benefit from help and provide support and empathy to each other.  

Yet whilst there is a plethora of mental health awareness campaigns, conversations, advocates and other sources raising awareness, they can only go so far. Most of these people and initiatives can only offer basic (if any) evidence based psychological support to help you overcome issues like anxiety and depression. After that, you are referred on and that's where the need for mental health for all is really situated. Too many people can only chose between anti-depressants or a waiting list for treatment. Effective mental health services need to be more readily available, accessible and timely.

Of course, many people chose to work with a mental health expert like me to sort their issues, rather than continuing to suffer (and you can learn what many people have said by scrolling through my 'What People Say' pages). Yet particularly in this 'year of the coronavirus' more is needed than just awareness and good intentions. 

Coronavirus has led to many of you feeling anxious and worried. The uncertainty, restrictions and changes to our normal way of doing things can have a profound impact on your mental health and well-being. I wrote recently about the emergence of a definition for coronaphobia, the fear of contracting covid-19 and the implications of this for your health, livelihood and loved ones. Whether you have a predisposition to worry and anxiety, have a tendency to worry about physical symptoms (health anxiety) or your anxiety is more recent and related to the current times, your anxiety can have a huge impact on how you feel and on your life.

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Running and Mental Health:

I'm delighted to have had the opportunity to write a guest post about my running and mental health. I mean, how could I pass up the chance to write about two of my favourite things!

Running and exercise have been an integral part of my life for many, many years. At the outset, running was a way for me to try and deal with my anxiety, overthinking and low self-esteem problems. After a day at work it gave me an escape from those unwanted thoughts and feelings. It was a chance to think things through or to think about nothing at all. And I always felt physically and mentally better afterwards.

These days, exercise and running are key aspects of my life because I enjoy them, they give me a sense of achievement and they help iron out any of the challenges in life that head my way. Exercise and running now help to keep me mentally healthy.

The awesome team over at Run My World ( have recognised that lots of us get into running, or keep running, for our mental health. They organise virtual running challenges from 5km up to ultramarathons and, what is awesome, is that a percentage of profits from each challenge goes to various mental health challenges. It's awesome to see someone raising mental health awareness, contributing to the mental health conversation, and giving something back from running that will benefit others who may be struggling. I'm super excited to take part in some of their challenges (and the bling is pretty tidy too!)

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Generalised Anxiety Disorder Levels Continue To Escalate

Generalised anxiety is the biggest thing I help people with by far in my hypnotherapy sessions. Having experienced anxiety myself, I know all too well how unpleasant and uncomfortable it can be, as well as how it impacts on you physically, emotionally and socially. Anxiety can be well and truly debilitating.

Fortunately we know from the research that hypnotherapy is a very effective treatment for anxiety that can help you (for more on the effectiveness of hypnotherapy for anxiety have a read of this article: The Effectiveness of Hypnotherapy as a Treatment For Anxiety).

What we also know is that, despite effective treatments for anxiety such as hypnotherapy, the levels of generalised anxiety disorders continue to escalate over the years. More and more people are finding themselves struggling to cope with anxiety-related thoughts, feelings and symptoms.

Some time ago, I wrote about results from the Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (published in 2016) which suggested that one in six adults in England has a common mental health disorder (such as anxiety and depression). This translated to about one woman in five and one man in eight having a mental health disorder, and they also reported that rates of self-harming had increased. Studies have also previously suggested that increases in mental health disorders is being primarily driven by adolescents and young adults (for more on these see: The Rise and Rise of Anxiety and Depression).

Building upon the research that shows that generalised anxiety disorder levels continue to rise, comes a new study that looked at trends in anxiety and related mental illness in UK general practice over a twenty year period.

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Coronavirus Anxiety - Are You  Suffering From Coronaphobia?

As I write this article, new restrictions have just come into force limiting social interactions and the number of new cases of coronavirus that are being reported seems to be rising back up again here in the UK. There is a lot of anxiety and fear around the prospect of a second wave and the many impacts that may follow from this for all of us.

As well as fears around contracting the virus and the potential impacts for your health and for those around you, the uncertainty and ongoing nature of coronavirus can feed your anxiety and fear and may all add up to mean that you struggle with a new emerging phobia specific to Covid-19, called coronaphobia.

The fear and anxiety around coronavirus can relate not only to contracting Covid-19 and the health impacts (worries about falling ill, infecting others and worries around death and dying), but also extends to worry around finances, employment, education and just about every facet of our normal routines and lives. There can psychological, physiological, social and financial consequences

With the many diverse and uncertain impacts of the pandemic and coronavirus, it's no wonder that it evokes high levels of anxiety, stress and worry that can impact on your mental health and general sense of well-being.

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Cambridgeshire Hypnotherapy Service of the Year!

I am delighted to discover that I have been awarded the title of Cambridgeshire Hypnotherapy Business of the Year 2020! 

The Corporate LiveWire Prestige Awards celebrates small and medium businesses that have thrived in their highly competitive market and who have proven their success over the last twelve months. The judges were impressed with my personal nature, consistency of reviews and overall attentiveness as well as the fact that I seem to go over and above for my clients.

Naturally I'm very pleased to be able to add this to my Hypnotherapy Business of the Year award that I achieved a little while back.

Most importantly though I'm very grateful and thankful to you great people for choosing to work with me and to sharing your awesome, positive results (which you can find here: What People Say). 

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Stop Overthinking It

Do you have a habit of overthinking things? Whether it's anxiety, stress or worry related, or you struggle to switch off from thinking and thinking, overthinking can be a real pain. It can stop you getting on with things and enjoying things, it can make you anxious and frustrated and it can leave  you wide awake at night when you'd rather be relaxing into a deep sleep.

In the last of the videos I recorded down in the New Forest, I decided to talk a bit about overthinking and why you should emulate a horse and just be happy with having loved ones around you, enough to eat and being in a safe place. As you'll see, unfortunatley the horses (who up to that point and the entire week had not got up to much) decided to show-boat and totally freaked me out! This was totally unexpected (especially as I wasn't looking) and totally threw me for a bit! But anyway, stop overthinking! 

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Time In Nature For Your Mental Health:

There's no doubt that getting away from things and spending some time in nature has a positive impact on your mental health, and can help you to reduce your stress and anxiety levels. Like me, you may know this already from personal experience, yet the science and evidence also exists to back it up.

The research shows that just ten to twenty minutes in nature has significant and positive impacts on your mental health and well-being and that just doing these a few times a week is enough for you to benefit.

As you'll know if you read my blogs, I like to combine the benefits of being outdoors in a nature environment with the (also well evidenced and researched) benefits of running (or walking/jogging). I love training runs that go through woodland or that involve getting away from the built up areas and just being around the sights and sounds of nature. It's also why I enjoy my walk to my new office and looking out of the windows across the fields watching the birds and the deer doing their thing.

While on my recent rip to the New Forest I spent every early morning walking and jogging around the forest and enjoying being around the horses and other wildlife in the solitude and silence. I was fortunte enough to watch a fascinating 'stand off' between two groups of horses at a stream, where in complete silence they just seemed to stare at each other for minute after minute until the deadlock ended (there's a little bit from that at the end of the video below so keep watching to see the horses).

In this video, I talk about some of the benefits of time in nature for improving your mental health and well-being, and for reducing stress and anxiety:

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Hypnotherapy in Newmarket Now Back Open!

Hypnotherapy in Newmarket is back! After the long months of the pandemic lockdown and then sorting out my new office in Ely, I'm delighted to confirm that I am now back offering hypnotherapy sessions from the wonderful White Tara Therapy Centre in Newmarket.

Naturally there are a few Covid-19 secure changes since the start of the year, so please wash your hands (or use hand gel) upon arrival and wear a face mask when you come into the Centre and when leaving. Other than that, it's all systems go and I've already been helping people to deal with issues such as anxiety, increasing confidence and feeling better in themselves.

If you need a reminder about where the Centre is located then do take a look at the details here: Hypnotherapy in Newmarket 

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Worrying What Other People Think - Thoughts From The New Forest

A few weeks ago I was on holiday down in the New Forest with my family and recorded a video whilst out exploring all about worrying what other people think.

This is something that comes up a lot when I work with people on issues around anxiety, low confidence and low self-esteem. It might mean worrying so much about being judged that you don't do something you'd like to be doing, or don't contribute and say what you want to. You might worry when you are actually around those people and find yourself second guessing yourself inside of your head or trying to 'get things right' before you say or do anything. And you may well dwell on things afterwards and either judge yourself harshly for how you feel you did, or else worry that others are thinking badly of you in some way. 

I know I used to do all of these things and more when I struggled with anxiety and low self-esteem. In fact, I almost thought there was something seriously wrong with me because of how I was around other people and for holding back and doubting myself when I should have just got on with it.

And as it's something that has come up a lot in sessions recently, here's my short video where I share some thoughts about worrying what other people think about you:

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Hypnotherapy in Ely - A Brief Tour

Hello! And it's another post about my new office (sorry!) but moving office (to a new awesome place) is quite a big deal for any business so please indulge me this one last time! 

Today I have a brief video for you to show you around my new location a bit (just so you know where to come for the best hypnotherapy in Ely!). If you are coming here for an appointment or want to get idea of what the location is like before doing so, then this video gives you a quick idea. Even better, I manage to display my 'walking backwards while talking and filming' skills...without knocking into anything! Multi-tasking at its finest!

I've been getting lots and lots of positive feedback from people who have been here for help with things like overcoming anxiety and panic attacks, boosting confidence and self-esteem, and improving performance at work or in sports. It really is a great environment for dealing with problems and challenges, and achieving your goals.

And if you are very lucky when you visit, you'll get to see the deer wandering through the fields that my windows look out upon.

Have a watch of my video here:

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The New Location For Hypnotherapy In Ely

Hello from the new epicentre of successful hypnotherapy in Ely! 

I'm just about all moved into my new office at St Thomas Place, CB7 and pretty much just need my new desk to arrive before everything is fully in place (my new desk is delayed arriving due to Covid-19 so right now I'm using my daughters pink desk that has hearts on the pull out drawers!). As anyone who has ever moved office knows there is a ton to sort out and get shifted and thankfully there has only been one 'almost' hiccup (when my friend helped me move my bulky furniture in the pouring rain late on a Friday night and before he was due to go on holiday for a week, only for me to discover that I didn't know the security code to get in!).

I've started having my first clients visit and I'm getting their feedback and any comments on making things even better for you here.

Already there is reserved parking, disabled access and a waiting area, all of which are improvements on my previous office. It's so much quieter than being above a barbers, there are lovely views across the fields (where I'm still waiting to see the deer) and, of course, I have air con to make sure everything is comfortable when you visit (for more location details have a look here: Hypnotherapy in Ely). 

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Boosting Mental Health in the New Forest

I'm just back from a week with the family over in the New Forest, a truly beautiful place. The weather was great and I loved spending time with the kids and having some fun together. And I particularly enjoyed getting up early every day to head out into the forest to see nature at its best.

If you've never been to the New Forest then one thing pretty special is all the horses (and cows, and donkeys) that roam free around the forest and the surrounding area. It's pretty common to find a horse standing in the road totally unphased by the cars and traffic that he's holding up. And in the forest there seems to be wildlife around every corner from more horses to deer, cows and squirrels. I loved it.

Now if you've been reading my blogs for a while you'll know that getting out in nature, as well as being active, can both contribute to and support good mental health. There's a ton of research supporting this. I also think that time away from emails and normal routines, as well as the benefit of being in the moment as you explore the forest, also play a part in supporting mental health.

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On The Move - Hypnotherapy in Ely

I'm on the move for hypnotherapy in Ely! 

I mentioned in my last blog about some exciting news coming up and I'm pleased to now confirm my new office location from 1st September 2020. My new address will be: 

Dan Regan Hypnotherapy

Suite 5

28 St Thomas Place

Ely CB7 4EX

My phone number stays the same (01353 669941).

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My Go To Two For My Anxiety and Stress

I've lost count over my last decade as a hypnotherapist of how many times people have asked me, because I seem to so calm and upbeat when they meet me, whether I'm always calm or whether anything phases me. Of course some things do push my buttons and there have been times of stress and worry in my life (I'm only human after all!). 

Being a bit of a thinker, I need to keep an eye on where my mental focus and thinking is going sometimes. Thankfully, as with my clients, by learning to not worry about things outside of my control, and to take action (rather than being passive) about things I can control, problems become challenges to find solutions to. On top of that (again, as my clients get to learn), there will always be ways to tackle the kind of stuff that goes on inside your head that help you to cope better with the things you are facing and experiencing.

Recent weeks have been a particularly challenging period with my hypnotherapy practice, not just because of covid-19, but because of the consistent and persistent anti-social behaviour of another tenant in the building. I won't go into all the details but sadly discussion failed to improve things. As I mentioned above, I believe in taking action to deal with life's problems and challenges, so as the other business owner and my landlord have been unable or unwilling to help, I'm going to soon be sharing some super exciting news with you about an awesome new location I'll be operating from (it's a fantastic venue and I can't wait!).  

But in the meantime, I wanted to share my go to two techniques that I always call upon first for anxiety and stress, because they are easy to implement and because they work so well.

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Misconceptions About Hypnosis

'Look into my eyes, not around my yes, look into my eyes...' as the Little Britain hypnotist character used to say. Obviously that's a bit of comedy yet it seems many people (perhaps supported by films and TV) mistakenly do think of hypnosis as involving some kind of mysterious Svengali type thing going on. They think that hypnosis involves some sort of 'mind control' happening, with strange trance like effects, and worry about being controlled by some mysterious force wielded by an all powerful hypnotist (who presumably has spinning kaleidoscope eyes, a swinging watch and who uses a walking stick with one of those fossils in amber things at the top...).

Sadly these myths and misconceptions sometimes seem to hold sway more than scientific evidence and research, and I've even heard some of the nonsense spouted from the lips of those who should know better such as mental health 'ambassadors' and therapists who use some other types of therapeutic approaches.

Pretty much all of these misconceptions about hypnosis can probably be traced back to Mesmerism, which did indeed assert that any results were due to the power of the mesmerist invoking some sort of strange and powerful force of animal magnetism. Mesmerism was largely debunked way back at the time and indeed, hypnosis arose and was introduced in direct opposition and to correct the errors of Mesmerists (for more on the history check out Robertson's The Practice of Cognitive-Behavioural Hypnotherapy).

All of the evidence and research shows us that hypnosis is a conscious and voluntary process that someone has to actively engage in (for example, have a read here: Hypnosis is Conscious and Voluntary). 

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Hypnotherapy For Anxiety

Anxiety is one of the more prevalent mental health issues out there. It certainly forms the largest part of the issues that I help people with.

Whether it's in relation to a specific event or situation, social anxiety, OCD, or more general, hypnotherapy for anxiety can certainly be beneficial (and you only have to take a look through my What People Say pages to find out how many people have overcome their anxiety with my hypnotherapy).

You don't just have to take my word and that of my clients to know that hypnotherapy can be very effective for anxiety.  Last year (2019) I wrote about research showing that hypnosis is a highly effective treatment for anxiety (have a read here: The Effectiveness of Hypnotherapy as a Treatment For Anxiety).

And there are certainly reasons why hypnotherapy can work so well for anxiety.

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Anxious Worst Case Scenarios

If you struggle with anxiety then you'll be very familiar with those worst case scenarios that can take over your mind. Your mind fills with all sorts of imagined future situations and circumstances where things go wrong or badly in some way, or where people judge you negatively or you can't handle and cope with things. And you may have noticed how you can go down the 'anxiety rabbit hole' of thinking of that worst case scenario and then what the negative consequences of that would be. In no time at all you can move from something you imagined might or could happen, to overthinking and being mentally absorbed in even more disastrous and anxiety-producing outcomes.

With all that anxious thinking, it's no wonder that you are filled with dread, fear and anxiety. What's more, the more you overthink those possible worst case scenarios, the more anxious and on edge you tend to feel, and the more anxious overthinking you struggle with. It becomes a pattern that exacerbates and increases your anxiety. 

I've talked before about how, with anxiety, avoidance and escape become common behaviours. You avoid or get of that situation or thing that is filling you with dread, or if you are in a situation where you feel anxious, you try and escape and get away. Having escaped or dodged it, you feel relief and a bit better, yet that only negatively re-enforces your anxiety and avoidance in the future.

Overcoming anxiety and dealing with those anxious thoughts is something that I help people with day in and day out. Rather than being controlled by your anxious thoughts, you can learn to challenge them, to take away the anxiety and to take back control over your thinking.

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Positive Feedback - Hypnotherapy in Ely

I'm very fortunate to have received a whole mass of positive feedback over the years from people I have helped with issues such as anxiety, panic attacks, self-esteem and confidence. Whilst helping people move from a place where they are initially unhappy and troubled, to a place where they are calm, confident, happy and in control is rewarding in its own right and it's wonderful to receive hypnotherapy reviews from these people.

As I write this, I'm approaching somewhere in the region of 250 written and video hypnotherapy testimonials and I just wanted to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to everyone who takes the time to submit a review or record a video. Naturally these reviews help me but they also give hope and belief to others who may be struggling and uncertain what they can do to improve their mental health.

Many, many others prefer not to leave a review, which is absolutely fine, and to rather just tell me how well they are doing. A huge thank you to you too! 

Recently, since reopening after lockdown,  I've received an influx of positive updates from clients. This has included someone I helped to stop smoking and who has now been a non-smoker for a year (happy anniversary!), and someone I helped through a difficult and anxious time a year ago and has told me how his hypnotherapy sessions helped him to cope and helped him get back to his normal self. And another client who struggled with debilitating anxiety for three years also told me how she is now feeling good and getting on with life.

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Problems and Challenges:

If there is one thing that is certain in life (apart form death and taxes...), it's that you will inevitably encounter challenges and problems along the way. Sometimes life can seem relatively smooth sailing but there will always be times when things are more tricky and there are obstacles to be navigated and addressed.

Many people when faced with problems find themselves getting stressed and anxious, and they may try to ignore it or find themselves fearful of dealing with it. Problems become things filled with anxiety, struggle and negativity that we would rather avoid, even though we know such things are bound to arise from time to time.

Your mindset and attitude when faced with problems and challenges will decide whether you experience anxiety, dread and worry, or whether you find the strength and resilience you need to tackle it. Problems and challenges are inevitable but (in most cases) they can have a positive side that helps you to learn, engage your mind and get better at handling things.

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Thank you NHS (Again!) - Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket

As I write this the sun is scorching outside, the shops have reopened and more lockdown easing is due imminently. While we all need to take social distancing and hand washing precautions, I've been sensing a shift in the general atmosphere towards life restarting and returning to much more normality. Whether or not you think that's a good thing, I hope that within the whirlwind of the pandemic there have been some positives for you that you can take forward in what you do or how you do it.

During the pandemic there was a mass outpouring of gratitude for the work of the NHS and other key workers. For those of us working from home and staying at home during lockdown and viewing all the pandemic news on TV, I think it seemed strange to think there were people going about their business almost routinely.

Early on in lockdown I recorded a short video to say thanks to the NHS and all key workers for what they were doing during the pandemic. At that time things were definitely still escalating and uncertain. 

I've been helping clients who are key workers with issues such as anxiety and stress, and some of the stories they've told me of life on the front line are pretty harrowing, particularly for those in the NHS faced with the risks and consequences of the coronavirus each day.

So as lockdown relaxes once again and we all continue to adjust, it's a good time to once again give thanks and to make sure we remember our gratitude into the future.

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Know Your Why To Achieve Your Goals:

Yesterday morning my alarm went off at 6am so I could be up and out for a run in time to get back and ready for work. The alarm went off as planned and I awoke to the sound of the rain lashing against the window. It was torrential! In that moment I started to wonder about postponing my run and going another, unspecified time. Yet I knew that if I didn't go then, I wouldn't have time later that day and I'd miss my planned run.

It's times like these when having your 'whys' at the forefront of your mind matters. Your 'why' is all the motivations and reasons you have for achieving a goal, the things you want and desire in your life, and those things that annoy and frustrate you that you no longer want and are moving away from.

Many people find their motivation is strong when they first start taking action to achieve something. Whether it's eating healthier, drinking less, stopping smoking, exercising or taking action to overcome anxiety and build confidence, in that moment when you decide you need to do something about it, your mindset and your emotions are pumped up and you are committed. 

Yet over time that initial burst of enthusiasm can start to wane. Time passes and those things become less compelling. Life gets busy and you don't find the time or mental energy to take the actions consistently. Or maybe you get some initial success and start to feel good but then that gives you reason to ease back rather than push on. And maybe, as often happens, you encounter setbacks, frustrations or challenges and you give up.

That's why you need strong enough reasons, they push you on and they keep you focused and resilient, even in the most challenging times (like when it's pouring down and windy and you need to get out of your comfortable bed and put your trainers on). Your whys give you persistence, motivation and tenacity to keep going.

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Anxious Thoughts - Possible versus Probable

If you struggle with anxiety then you'll know how those catastrophising thoughts and worst case scenarios can dominate your mind, leaving you feeling tense, anxious and full of dread. The more vivid and strong those thoughts become, the worse you start to feel.

You may even be very aware that the things you are imagining are illogical or at least unlikely to happen in the way you are thinking, yet those emotions start to take over and that thinking dominates. 

So part of any overcoming anxiety treatment involves calming the anxious feeings and emotions so that they aren't fueling and taking over your thinking. And part of the process of overcoming anxiety is the switch from possibility to probability. Something you think may be possible, but that doesn't make it probable. 

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Anxiety and Avoidance

The classic behaviour that goes with anxiety is avoidance. Those anxious thoughts and feelings are so strong and uncomfortable that you make excuses, cancel plans or say and do whatever it takes to avoid going into that feared situation or environment. And if you can't avoid it altogether, your anxiety will certainly lead to you escaping from there as soon as you practically can.

When I struggled with social anxiety, making excuses and avoiding things were common occurences. I might have been looking forward to that night out when it was days away, yet the closer it came, the more I would worry about things going badly, about how I might look or saying the wrong thing (or having nothing interesting to say at all). The more anxious and filled with dread I would become, and the more it would play on my mind as I tried to think of a believable excuse I could use to bail out of the plans.  There were times when even if I was at a social event, I would feel so uncomfortable from anxiety that I would make my escape and head home.

Of course, sometimes a few drinks might relax me enough to enjoy myself but that's not a reliable, healthy or always acceptable strategy for tackling anxiety. And it can easily lead to overdoing it, feeling sick and losing the next day with a hangover (as well as those thoughts of what other people might have thought about what you were saying and doing). When it came to something like public speaking, I would try and get out of it any way I could, even to the point of faking sickness.

The problem with avoidance or escape because of anxiety is that it brings you relief when you do it. You dodge or get away from your anxious thoughts and feelings and then feel better as a result. But that short term relief only re-enforces your anxiety and makes feeling anxious and avoidance all the more likely the next time.

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My Birthday Learnings and Mental Health - Hypnotherapy in Ely

So just the other day was my birthday and, as my kids like to remind me, I'm getting even older every year! My kids, of course, are still at those ages where every birthday (like every Christmas) is a very big deal indeed and how old someone is remains a key piece of information to discover and remember.

It was a lovely sunny day (like the day I was born, according to my Mum) and, despite the ongoing restrictions from the covid-19 pandemic, we had a lovely day spending time together. We went out for a walk in nature, grabbed a first coffee shop coffee for thirteen or so weeks and then played some games together. And around all that I managed to do a workout and play on my guitar too. A great day all round!

Now I don't know about you but I'm a bit of a thinker. I like to contemplate things and run them over in my mind a while. And one thing I aim to do every day, and that I suggest my clients do too, is to start the day thinking of three things they are looking forward to that day, and then reflect back last thing on three highlights or positives from the day. It's a great habit that helps you think more positively and recognise progress, rather than going through each day focused on the negative, being mentally on auto-pilot or being so busy thinking of the next thing that you neglect to notice how far you've come.

And there were three things in particular that are related to mental health that I noticed and appreciated and that are a useful reminder to me to make more of, and not just on birthdays.

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Ely Office Has Now Reopened! Hypnotherapy in Ely!

It's been thirteen (or so) weeks since the covid-19 lockdown was introduced and I'm delighted to say that my Ely hypnotherapy office is now back open for business!

Whilst I've continued to work with people online via Skype and Zoom, particularly for anxiety, worry and stress, it's fantastic that I can now welcome you to my hypnotherapy in Ely office for face to face appointments once again. 

As you would expect, there are a few covid-19 adjustments to how things are organised now, to minimise risks and to keep you safe. You can find all the details here: Covid-19 Safety 

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The Anxiety Equation - Hypnotherapy in Ely and Newmarket:

Many people come to hypnotherapy thinking that the thing they are anxious about causes their anxiety. And in many ways this is quite natural because for you that thing is associated with anxiety, worry and dread.

Whether it's public speaking that makes you anxious, or flying, or driving on motorways, social situations, swimming in open water or something else, in those places, situations or circumstances, the anxiety can be overwhelming. There are the thoughts and feelings beforehand and when you think of that anxiety filled thing, the increased anxious thoughts, feelings and sensations when in the situation, as well as any analysis or self-criticism as you think back upon it afterwards.

Yet there is an additional element in your anxiety. We know this because not everyone struggles with catastrophising thoughts and anxious feelings about those things. Some people love flying, socialising or public speaking and those other things you try and avoid.

The fact there is more to it is good news, because it means that rather than being stuck wtih those thoughts and feelings, you can do something about them that can help you feel better.

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Hypnosis and Control - Who's In Control Really?

One of the issues that tends to come up time and time again in any discussion around hypnosis, is that of control. Perhaps due to movies featuring hypnosis or some of those old stage routines, there's an ongoing misconception that hypnosis involves you being controlled in some way.

And when it gets mentioned to me I can't help but have a wry smile, because why would I spend so many hours helping people with mental health issues like anxiety if I could make you all do my evil bidding (cue evil laughter!!). And I'd definitely also get myself a cape and some spinning hypnotic eyes like that snake in the Jungle book too.

But seriously, hypnosis has nothing to do with being under my control or being controlled in some way. In fact, it's very far from that.

It's all about helping you to learn how to be in control of your own mind.

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Sports Psychology & Performance: Hypnosis For Peak Performance

Today I'm talking some more about the evidence for incorporating sports hypnosis into your sports psychology techniques if you want to maximise and optimise your performance.

There's no doubt that the mental side of sport is vital, yet often overlooked. Your emotions during training and competition, the self talk (voice in your head) can keep you strong or make you doubt yourself, and your self-belief can dictate whether you achieve your potential or plateau. Getting and spending more time in the zone can certainly influence not only your enjoyment and motivation levels, but also your results.  

I know from my own experience of running marathons that physical training, practice and preparation are key, yet without the mental side and your mindset being right, it can all unravel. Your sports psychology mindset can determine the results you get. Over a marathon distance, your self talk, especially as you get tired, can tell you that you can't do it or can stay strong and encourage you to push on.  

Research has highlighted that hypnosis can be used to enhance the performance of footballers, cricketers, martial artists, badminton players, cyclists, golfers and basketball players. In fact, from a sports psychology perspective, hypnosis can help with successful athletic performance in many sports and disciplines because of the ability to harness thoughts, feelings, expectation, beliefs and perceptions.

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Why Do Some People Break Lockdown Rules?

 The past weekend has seen some of the hottest temperatures of the year here in England. And with that, hundreds of people have headed to the beach and other open areas to enjoy the sunshine. As I write this, gatherings have only today been relaxed a bit so that you can meet up to five other people outdoors, as long as you maintain social distancing. 

Yet throughout lockdown there has been case after case of people not following the lockdown rules and guidance. From high profile people who get 'caught out' publicaly to people you may have seen in your own neighbourhood. Even the figures on the daily briefing sldes suggest that about 20% of people have admitted going out other than for allowed reasons and where I live I would say that the figure is much higher. From street parties to visiiting family, and despite the number of deaths approaching forty thousand, some people have seemingly put their own needs above the interests of us all.

So why is that? Why do some people break lockdown rules?

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Update On Ely Office Reopening For Face To Face Hypnotherapy Sessions:

Well, it's been quite some time since lockdown started hasn't it?! While I've been busy helping people over Zoom and Skype with mental health issues such as anxiety, stress and worry, I've missed seeing clients face to face at the office.

The latest from the Government suggests that it will be mid- to late June before I can safely open up the Ely office. Bear in mind that this timeline very much depends on how things progress with other easings of the lockdown that are happening. Fingers crossed I'll soon be able to welcome you back here to help with all your mental health needs.

I recorded this short video with some details about reopening for face to face hypnotherapy sessions (which is worth watching just for how hard I make it look to put on a face mask!!):

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Emotional Thinking and Anxiety

Emotional thinking comes with anxiety and a whole range of mental health issues, like depression, fear and stress. It's all those black and white, all or nothing thoughts that can mentally escalate and make you feel even worse.

Over recent days, there has been a lot of emotional thinking going on about the Prime Minister's senior advisor, Dominic Cummings, breaching the lockdown rules by heading up to Durham and visiting Barnard Castle (to test his eye sight). Regardless of whether you think he broke the rules, this controversy has led to raising emotions of annoyance, anger and frustration leading to people saying and posting all sorts of comments and accusations.

And, with emotions (and identity and beliefs being challenges) a huge number of things being thought and said boil down to 'I'm right, you're wrong' with people drawing upon some facts and ignoring others, raising unrelated issues to muddy the waters and sometimes just trying to dismiss someone else's opinion with insults or calls to move on. It's quite incredible how many people will not countenance someone having a different view. It's a strange sort of democracy with freedom of speech where someone can't feel comfortable with different views, no matter how strongly held (assuming they aren't threatening harm or violence or being abusive). It comes down to black and white, all or nothing, right or wrong thinking.

But I'm not here to talk about politics or the current shambles (which may - or may not have all blown over by the time you read this). Yet it gives an illustration of where emotional, black and white thinking can end up.

Of course, with anxiety, that emotional thinking is all inside your head. You may even know in your mind that those worst case scenarios and things you ae catastrophising and dreading are irrational. Yet the anxiety keeps those thoughts coming one after another.

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Post Lockdown Anxiety - Hypnotherapy Vlog:

After many weeks of lockdown, it has now been announced that the UK lockdown will be eased further from next month, having already been eased a bit a couple of weeks ago. And, perhaps unsurprisingly given all that has been going on, many people are feeling apprehensive and anxious about the next stage towards things reopening and life getting nearer to some normality (albeit a new normality with social distancing rules). 

Many people are worried about what this next stage may look like and involve. There may be fears about safety and health, education and jobs, amongst other anxieties. And certainly some polls suggest people are worried about getting the covid-19 disease and the impacts and implications of that.

In recent articles I've talked about several ways to look after your mental health and to deal with anxiety and stress, alongside listening to the hypnosis downloads that I've made available over in my hypnosis download shop.

And it's worth keeping in mind that research shows that we are generally quite poor at predicting how we will feel in the future. If challenges come our way we tend to think we will feel and be a lot worse than turns out to be the case. In the same way that you've dealt with, handled and somehow got through all the challenges you've already faced in your life up until now, you will find a way to handle and cope with life after the lockdown. You are more resilient and capable than perhaps you've been giving yourself credit for. 

I covered more about this in a previous article (that you can read here: Are You More Resilient Than You Think? Dealing With Challenges Post Covid-19) and today I've got a video version for you so please do click on the image below and have a watch:

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Boost Mental Health By Sitting Less and Moving (or Sleeping) more

A whole mass or evidence demonstrates that being sedentary is bad for your mental health and physical health. And a further mass of research shows the positive impact on mental health issues such as anxiety, stress and depression, from exercise.

The link between moving more and better mental health is pretty conclusive and widely recognised. I mean, even this week in the Government coronavirus briefing, there was talk about the benefits of exercise for your mental health (featuring the Health secretary and Welsh ex-footballer Robbie Savage!).

Now if you've been following any of my posts or articles for a while you may have gathered that I'm a bit of an exercise nut. From hating PE at school through to running and bootcamp, exercise has become an integral part of my routine, lifestyle and wellbeing. Although sometimes I still have to have a word with myself and push myself to get into gear and get started on moving.

Throughout the covid-19 lockdown I've managed to keep going with three runs a week and three bootcamp sessions (in the garden...which is now more mud and dust and less grass where I've worn it away slamming my tyre!).

Yet the lockdown and working from home has also meant more time for sitting and that kind of low energy expenditure stuff. From working at home on my laptop (like right now) to watching a film with the kids, there has been more time than usual being sedentary.

We know long periods or a lot of sedentary time is bad for your mental health, so what should you be doing with that time instead? Should you be doing high intensity exercise or are there other, less intense, things that can boost your psychological wellbeing?

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Mindfulness and Hypnosis

Lockdown is easing and the sun is out. It's a perfect time to pause and just enjoy the warmth of the sun, the sound of the birds and the blueness of a cloudless sky. Sometimes being present in this very moment is a wonderful thing to experience.

Rather than letting your mind fill with stuff from the past that has already happened, or imagining the future which has yet to happen, it can be beneficial to be in the here and now. This is something that is very much a central element of mindfulness. 

Mindfulness, which originates from Buddhist philosophy and practice, can be defined as the non-judgmental, accepting experience of the present, as it unfolds moment by moment. Rather than letting your mind wander or thinking about things that have happened or might happen, mindfulness involves paying attention to present moment experiences. You pay attention to your thoughts, feelings and sensations with an attitude of openness and acceptance.

In recent years, mindfulness has become a major player in the field of mental health, particularly in the field of stress reduction.  While often treated as a discreet activity (e.g. mindfulness meditation), you can also be active and doing things with a sense of mindfulness (something I've covered before).

With its increasing profile, and with its clear overlap with elements of hypnosis, here in this article I've covered the research into mindfulness hypnosis for reducing stress, the benefits of mindfulness and their relationship with each other in therapy. 

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Covid-19 & Easing Lockdown: A Ticking Mental Health Timebomb?

As the lockdown restrictions here in England begin to get eased, all the focus is now shifting towards returning to work, being out and out about more, starting to be able to meet someone from another household and the possible return of school (at least for some children).

Having spent seven or so weeks being told to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives, the message now is shifting towards being able to take the next steps towards the 'new normal' and remaining 'alert' whilst maintaining social distancing. 

And there's no doubting that for many people, covid-19 and the lockdown has had an impact on their mental health and wellbeing. There has been anxiety, stress and worry about many aspects of life including health, education, employment, finances, being restricted and much more. I know that in the very early days of the pandemic and lockdown I suffered some stress as I adjusted to what it all meant for home, health, work and keeping a roof over our heads.

These sorts of concerns were being echoed all over the country with the ONS (Office For National Statistics) reporting in April, through their Opinions and Lifestyle Survey, that over 4 in 5 adults in Great Britain said they were very worried or somewhat worried about the effect that the coronavirus (COVID-19) was having on their life right then. At that time, just over half of adults said covid-19 was affecting their well-being and nearly half of adults reported high levels of anxiety. Covid-19 and lockdown impacted on our mental health.

Of course, whilst everyone experienced elements of social isolation, lifestyle disruption, impacts on income, employment and education, everyone's individual circumstances will vary, and some who are at higher risk may have had to isolate and restrict their actions even more than some others of us.   

Over recent days there have been a number of commentators and other people beginning to talk about a 'mental health ticking timebomb.' There seems to be a sense that the anxiety and mental health impacts of covid-19 and lockdown will continue even after lockdown eases, and that more and more people will need help to address their coronavirus-induced mental health issues.  

So will the mental health impacts of covid-19 continue in the post lockdown era?

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May 2020 Coronavirus Update:

As you'll know, the Government have begun the process of easing the lockdown (here in England) and encouraging us all to get back to work when we can, along with some other changes.

I just wanted to let you have a little update on where things are with my hypnotherapy sessions.

At the time of writing, my Ely and Newmarket hypnotherapy locations remain closed for face to face sessions. This is in line with the advice from my professional hypnotherapy association as well as conforming to Government guidance.

Online sessions via Skype or Zoom have been ongoing throughout and remain available - just message me for more information. My hypnosis downloads have been pretty popular too (including up to three free hypnosis download tracks over in my shop).

I'm currently carrying out a risk assessment of my Ely office to reduce the risk of the transmission of Covid-19 as far as possible ready for when face to face sessions are allowed. Social distancing is possible in my office, and although the entrance and stairs are a little trickier, face coverings, increased surface cleaning, hand sanitiser and hand washing will help manage this and help to keep you safe when you visit.

The Government are suggesting avoiding public transport right now so, as always, you will be able to use the marked car parking space. Sessions will continue to be scheduled to minimise the risk of unnecessary contact with others from outside your household.

I'm really looking forward to seeing you sometime soon (hopefully early June) and until then, stay safe and stay well.

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The Stress Mindset - Shifting Stress From Bad To Good:

There is no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has added to national (and international) stress levels. There's been the financial stress of businesses being closed down, jobs being lost and people waiting for Government support (if they qualify for something). The closing of schools led to many of us parents trying to work out some sort of home schooling routine, and in some subjects (like secondary school maths!) trying to even work out what the kids were being asked to work out. There has been stress from the uncertainty of not knowing what is going to happen, or when. And many have been struggling with not being able to see friends and family, or to go out much, or for those shielding themselves not going out at all.

From lockdown to now, some seven or so weeks into it, there has been stress, worry and anxiety. This has been captured in survey data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) which showed that over 80% of people in the UK are worried about the effect that covid-19 is having on their life and with around half of adults reported high levels of anxiety and stress.

And now with the conversation shifting towards easing the lockdown, many posts from people online reflect that this stress has now shifted to what the 'new normal' of life may be like as we start having more freedom and less restriction.

Yet whilst stress is generally considered to be something bad and unwanted, experiencing stressful events is unavoidable (like this pandemic), so can stress ever be shifted into something more positive and constructive that actually benefits us?

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What Can We Learn From The Covid-19 Pandemic?

It's week six (or seven?!) of the covid-19 pandemic lockdown here in the UK and as the rate of infections and daily deaths begin a slow, gradual decline, much of the commentary and coverage has turned to the next steps. 

There's no doubt that the pandemic has fuelled anxiety levels and worry. People are worried about money, jobs, health, education and a whole load more. Everyone has been affected in many ways. Survey data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has suggested that over 80% of people in the UK are worried about the effect that covid-19 is having on their life and around half of adults reported high levels of anxiety. 

I've written recently about some ways to manage anxiety and mental health during the pandemic and one of the things I suggested is supported by the survey findings showing that staying in touch with friends and family remotely was the most common action helping people to cope with staying at home.

I've also written recently about our future predictions are often wrong and how that relates to coping after lockdown. You have more resilience than you may give yourself credit for.

And in this article I cover three things that the research and evidence is telling us and that we can all learn and do and consider as we move through and beyond the pandemic. 

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The Benefits of Kindness - How Being Kind Can Make You Happier:

Throughout the covid-19 there have been countless stories and highlights of people doing kind and generous things for others. From volunteers and checking on the vulnerable, and from clapping for carers to Captain Tom's incredible NHS fundraising (raising more than £29 million!!), in some ways this crisis has brought out the best in many people.

Such acts of kindness also serve to highlight one of the evidence based things that you can do to boost your own happiness, whether that's during a pandemic or in normal life.

Research shows the link between happiness and kindness, and I'll cover some of the evidence in this article. If you want to feel happier in your life then kindness is certainly something that you should be actively incorporating into your life.

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Are You More Resilient Than You Think? Dealing With Challenges Post Covid-19

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and the associated lockdown, one element of us all that has been well and truly tested is our resilience. We've all had to cope with changes to our usual habits and patterns and we've all faced restrictions on leaving home. Whilst we all face challenges throughout our lives at one time or another, it's rare for a countrywide, and even worldwide, challenge to affect so many at one time.

As time passes and the rate of cases and deaths continue to drop here in the UK, more and more the focus turns to life after lockdown and the gradual return to more of a sense of normality, albeit that social distancing may be here to stay for quite some time yet.

For many of you, lockdown may have taken a toll on your mental health with increased symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. Some of the things that you may usually do to feel better, such as socialising, getting out, and some forms of exercise are not available at all or in the usual way. Combined with these changes to normality is the risk to health from catching the disease, financial worries, home schooling and a sense of being confined and trapped in a situation where you aren't in control.

Certainly your resilience has already been tested, and when the lockdown is lifted or relaxed, that resilience may be needed to an even great extent.

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Meat and Mental Health - Do Vegans & Vegetarians Have More Anxiety and Depression?

It's an interesting question that I'm covering today: is there a link between how much meat you do (or don't) consume and your mental health? As more and more people turn to a vegetarian or vegan diet for health or ethical reasons, are they in danger of damaging their psychological health and well-being?

Recently (April 2020) a systematic review of the current evidence set out to examine the relationship between the consumption or avoidance of meat and psychological health and well-being, such as anxiety and depression.

Before I get onto their findings, it's worth me mentioning that I am a vegetarian and have been for nearly thirty years now. My decision was an ethical one, yet I've always been of the view that there are health benefits too from avoiding things like processed meat and red meat (but hey I'm not a dietician so you should always satisfy yourself about the physical health benefits either way). And because it's always the next question people ask: no my kids aren't vegetarian; that's for them to decide when they are old enough.

Certainly there is some evidence that a diet without meat can help to reduce the likelihood of a number of diseases and so, if nutritionally adequate, can provide health benefits in that regard. 

When I became a vegetarian my mental health was pretty poor and I struggled with anxiety and low self-esteem. Was there a link between my anxiety and becoming vegetarian? I couldn't tell you. Has my mental health improved since then? Massively. But is there any sort link between meat consumption and mental health?

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Using Negative Visualisation To Support Having A Wonderful Life:

Here in the UK, the covid-19 lockdown continues and I've noticed an increasing number of posts online recently from people expressing how they won't take certain things for granted again in the way they used to, once things return to normal.

There are many things I think we will all appreciate when life does ease back into normality. Most of us have missed the freedom and luxury of just going out to places whenever we wish, of strolling around and sitting in nature and the great outdoors, and spending time with people from outside our own households. Many are looking forward to getting back onto their usual routines and doing the things they enjoy. And, as we watch the figures rise for the number of people affected by covid-19, I think we can all be grateful for our own health and, here in the UK, every week we show our appreciation for the NHS and key workers by 'clapping for carers'.

Indeed, the NHS is perhaps one of those things that as a country we've grown used to over the years and adapted to it being there so that now, in this time of pandemic, we have one again truly appreciated those who work within the health service and the fact that it is there for all of us.

Expressing gratitude is certainly one of those practices that can boost our sense of well-being and happiness and a wealth of science supports that fact.

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Mindful Hypnotherapy to Reduce Stress and Increase Mindfulness:

Mindfulness has been popular for quite some time now, and in the same way that hypnotherapy shares a huge amount of common ground with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, there is also an overlapping between hypnotherapy and mindfulness.

Within all of these therapeutic approaches, we are seeking to deal with our thoughts, feelings, actions and reactions. You find yourself with troublesome thoughts, feelings and behaviours and you want to change those patterns to something more helpful and beneficial. 

Mindfulness can be defined as 'paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.' It is something that I employ within my therapy room in combination with hypnosis to help clients with anxiety, stress and so forth, as part of helping them to achieve their goals and feel better. In addition to being okay with thoughts as they happen in the present moment, we also want to expand upon this to help you take this ability into everyday situations and to help you to progress towards your goals.

Recently, some research was published that examined the results of adding hypnosis to mindfulness to reduce stress symptoms.

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What Are The Key Strategies for Weight Loss Success?

Have you ever wondered how some people are able to achieve their weight loss and then go on to maintain it over time? So many people who sign up for a weight loss programme or group can start to lose weight with the initial burst of motivation and focus but then somehow it all comes back on. It's easy to get stuck in a cycle of yo-yo weight loss and gain, or to simply decide that no programme works for you.

Well, now we have the research and evidence that shows exactly what behavioural and psychological strategies these weight loss maintainers are using that support keeping the weight off over time. I've covered the findings below. You may be surprised at how unsurprising the strategies for successful weight loss actually are, however, on the plus side, that means anyone can utilise them to increase results. 

Now, of course, in a recent post I wrote about how weight loss in itself won't necessarily make you feel happier, according to all the research. Yet there is no doubt that there are substantial health benefits to losing weight and that is certainly a goal worth achieving. And if you want a better quality of life, to wear those clothes, have more energy, move more easily and prove to yourself and others that you can do it, then so much the better.

So what are the strategies of those people who lose weight and keep it off over the years?

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Weight Loss: Will Losing Weight Make You Happier and Healthier?

As I write this post, we are still under lockdown here in the UK and in many ways this seems to have become the new normal after a few weeks of limitation and social distancing.

Certainly my days have formed their own reasonably familiar structure from getting up to exercise and then onto doing some work, playing with the kids, practicing guitar, watching a movie, a bit of reading and then bed. Certainly I've found having a rough sort of routine and being occupied are making the days pass by reasonably smoothly.

And one thing I've been doing as part of my work on mental health and wellbeing, is revisiting the excellent Science of Wellbeing course run by Yale University (you can sign up and take the course for free on Coursera here: The Science of Wellbeing). I first went through this course early last year and found it to be excellent, which is why I'm taking the opportunity to go through the science again. 

As the science shows, what we think will make us happier and what actually does increase our happiness are often two very different things.

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More Ways To Deal With Anxiety - Mental Health During Coronavirus and Beyond

The Covid-19 coronavirus pendemic continues to dominate life here in the UK and elsewhere across the globe. As I write this, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has just left hospital after a stay in intensive care and the daily number of people who have sadly died in the UK has just been published and has risen over the ten thousand mark. 

Each and every day we are hearing more worrying news and updates about the coronavirus and its terrible ramifications. Life is uncertain right now and none of us know when any semblance of normality may return. And even in the things we can do under the current restrictions, there's a constant (justified) need to be alert and vigilant, to wash hands regularly, maintain social distancing and only go out for specified reasons. To beat this coronavirus, we all need to be thinking and aware, to keep abreast of the latest developments and to do all we can to protect our own loved ones and save lives.

It's no wonder in this kind of environment that so many people are struggling right now with anxiety and stress and are experiencing an impact on their mental health.

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Health Anxiety Hypnotherapy Testimonial (and Fear of Flying):

Whilst the coronavirus pandemic continues unabated here in the UK, there has been a surge in the number of people struggling with anxiety, health anxiety, stress and worry.

Within this mental health storm, I wanted to offer something positive in the form of my most recent hypnotherapy testimonial. Feedback like this can offer everyone hope and belief that it is possible to learn how to manage anxiety, worry and stress. If all of the people who have left feedback on my What People Say pages have been able to overcome anxiety then that means that you can benefit too.

It's always a huge privilege to help someone to make positive changes like overcoming anxiety, so it's a massive thank you to Charlotte for sharing her feedback on how her sessions helped with her health anxiety (and fear of flying too).  

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Free Stress Relief Hypnosis Download to Help During Coronavirus Lockdown

Hey! I hope you are doing ok in the current lockdown climate? 

I've already covered some ways to manage anxiety during the coronavirus outbreak so this is just a really short reminder that my stress relief hypnosis download is still available free of charge to help you.  If you could use some stress relief or anxiety help then my hypnosis download can really help you right now. 

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Skype Hypnotherapy and Zoom Hypnotherapy Sessions

I've had many requests asking me about online hypnotherapy sessions during the coronovirus. 

As has long been the case, I do carry out skype hypnotherapy sessions and zoom hypnotherapy sessions. It's not possible under social distancing to conduct face to face sessions but online sessions are just as effective if you need help with issues like anxiety, worry and stress. 

I know this is a worrying ad challenging time for many of you so if I can help in any way then do get in touch.

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How To Cope With Coronavirus Anxiety

It's perhaps hard to believe that we are only into week two of the lockdown as I write this. So much seems to have happened over the last ten days or so and I hope you are doing ok in these challenging times.

Certainly normal life and usual routines have all changed for all of us right now, which can only be  a good thing because the more we all stay home and keep our distance from others, the more our awesome NHS will be able to cope and the more lives will be saved. 

And whilst we are all calling it a lockdown, let's not forget that currently there are a whole range of specific reasons that mean you can get out and about if essential or needed. Compared to some other countries who are struggling more than the UK right now and have much tighter restrictions, I'm certainly grateful that I can get out for a walk or run to exercise each day.

The impact of the coronavirus can be felt by all of us yet in many different ways. Many of us are now working from home yet others are still going to work because they are essential workers or can't work from home. Some businesses and employers are doing well whilst others are struggling. Some people have financial concerns or are waiting upon Government support. You may be worried about your own health or that of loved ones should they contract the virus. Some of us are now also trying to do at least a bit of home schooling with the challenges that entails. And some people are being very productive and perhaps learning new skills, whilst many others are struggling with anxiety, depression and stress and just trying to cope each day. 

With all the uncertainty and worry, you may very well be struggling with anxiety and stress about one or several aspects related to the coronavirus. In this first article about how to manage anxiety during the coronavirus I've covered the first three things that I suggest you start (or continue) doing to boast your mental health under lockdown. 

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Coronavirus and My Hypnotherapy - Update

I'm writing this update on Monday 23rd March 2020 from my office in Ely. 

Since the end of last week I have ceased all face to face appointments with clients. Events with coronavirus are accelerating so quickly that it really is not safe to continue seeing people in person. Like most of us, I do not want to contribute to the spread of the virus, to people catching the disease and possibly dying and to the burden upon our wonderful NHS.

I want to say a huge thank you to all of my clients who have been supportive and understanding of this decision. I really do appreciate you agreeing to postpone until life returns to normal and it is safe to recommence. If any clients need email advice and support please do let me know and I'll do all I can.

I wrote a few suggestions in my most recent article (Coronavirus And Your Mental Health) and you can get a copy of my Stress Relief Hypnosis Download to support you.

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Coronavirus And Your Mental Health:

In my last post (Coronavirus update), I wrote a bit about how at the time of writing I'm still working with clients one to one and taking extra precautions (as we all should be) to keep us all safe whilst doing so.

I also mentioned how you can get your hands on a free copy of my Stress Relief Hypnosis Download which I hope will provide some help to those of you who may be feeling overwhelmed, uncertain or fearful right now. I'm really pleased that a whole load of you have downloaded it and I hope you find it helpful in the coming days and weeks.

The schools are about to shut, people are becoming ill and isolating themselves, the number of deaths continues to rise and people are naturally worried about what the future holds for them and their loved ones.  People are worried about their health, livelihoods, education, businesses, jobs, paying the bills and a whole host of other things. 

And the only certain thing right now is uncertainty. It's an ever shifting landscape that impacts upon each and every one of us.

Yet there is hope. We will come out the other side (for better or for worse). Life will return to normal (whether in weeks or months or longer). And right now it's more important than ever that you take care of your mental health and wellbeing.

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Coronavirus Update

Understandably it's pretty much all anyone is talking and thinking about now. The coronavirus has had, and will continue to have, a huge impact on us all for many weeks to come. And even as I write this post, I'm aware that the situation is constantly evolving and changing and much of what I'm writing may be out of date even before you read this!

At the time of writing this in March 2020, I am still fully operational and working to help my clients across a range of issues, and particularly with anxiety, worry and stress.

This is a time of great uncertainty and that can certainly exacerbate stress, worry and anxiety as we all try to keep updated, keep ourselves and our loves ones safe and well and deal with things like getting hold of shopping and the impact on jobs and livelihoods.

Whether you are still out and about, or have been forced to self isolate, the coronavirus can have a huge impact on your mental health and wellbeing.

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Confidence, Self-Esteem and Sports Performance - Hypnotherapy Testimonial:

Recently I write a blog all about the evidence supporting the use hypnosis for sports performance and improvement (read it here: Hypnosis For Sports Performance - Research and Evidence).

The other Sunday, several of my clients were busy taking part in the Cambridge Half Marathon, while at the same time I was just happy to get out for a 5k run around Ely as I continue my running comeback after injury. There is nothing quite like the feeling after a good run or other form of exercise; you feel better physically and mentally (and, of course, exercise is so good for your mental health. For more on this have a look here: Ely Festive 5k 2019 and Why You Should Get Running For Your Mental Health).

And recently one of my clients popped into the office and very kindly recorded a video hypnotherapy testimonial about how her sessions not only helped with confidence and self-esteem, but also how they helped with her sports performance. Have a watch!

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Do The Little Things In Life - How St David Can Help Your Mental Health

March 1st each year is marked as St David's Day in Wales, the date St David is considered to have died. For those of you who don't come from Wales, he was a Welsh bishop during the 6th Century and is the patron saint of Wales (although he hasn't managed to keep up with St Patrick when it comes to celebrations!)

Now I don't claim to be a fountain of all knowledge about the life and times of Saint David. At my primary school just outside Cardiff, I do remember that we would all pin leeks or daffodils on our tops to celebrate. There's nothing quite like the memory of siting in the assembly hall with the strong waft of leeks and while watching some of the boys at the back quietly munching on their raw leeks whilst trying not to get spotted by the teachers (I stuck to a more sober felt type daffodil on my top).

According to the BBC (St David: Ten things about the Patron Saint of Wales) he was a teetotal vegetarian, which kind of makes him alright by me.

And apparently his last words to his followers were 'Be joyful, keep the faith, and do the little things that you have heard and seen me do.' And also apparently (thanks BBC), the phrase 'Gwnewch y pethau bychain' ('Do the little things') is still well-known in Wales. 

I can't claim to have known that phrase as a common Welsh thing. Even though every rugby match I've ever watched seems to have a pundit going on about the team doing the little things (or basics) well. It certainly has never ranked up there with the one most prevalent in my family, 'now, in a minute' (which totally confused my wife when she first heard it! Do you mean now? Or do you mean in a minute?!!).  

And many is the time that someone has been confused by another family saying we had. When we split up in Cardiff to go shopping, my family would arrange a time to meet 'inside, outside.' Which if it isn't immediately obvious would mean meeting inside the shopping centre and outside M&S. Obviously.

But anyway, that little phrase of Saint David can be a pretty handy reminder when it comes to your mental health. 

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Using Nature To Positively Impact Your Mental Health

Ah the benefits of nature! In recent weeks this has seemed to primarily consist of rain and strong winds, interspersed with more rain and strong winds! 

I even mentioned about one of the recent storms in my last article about sports improvement (Hypnosis For Sports Performance - Research and Evidence). I for one will certainly welcome the start of Spring (hopefully some time soon) with its lighter evenings and promise of at least a little warmth and sunshine.

Nature can throw all sorts of things at us, yet much evidence shows that there are significant benefits for our mental health from spending some time in nature. An increasing body of evidence has demonstrated that spending time in nature can help reduce stress and anxiety, and support mental health and well-being.

The research also demonstrates that it doesn't even take that much of your time to achieve these physiological and psychological benefits. As the research below demonstrates, we should all be actively seeking to spend a little time in nature to support our mental health.

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Hypnosis For Sports Performance - Research and Evidence

Last month I headed down to Bournemouth to attend a two day seminar on hypnosis for sports performance. And whilst I've helped many sports people with their performance, it's always great to get new insights and discover new research and evidence about the effectiveness of incorporating hypnosis to enhance sports performance.

And, indeed, there is a wealth of research showing how you can enhance sports performance with hypnosis. I'll be setting the ball rolling by covering a comprehensive review of the research further below, and plan to cover much, much more over the coming weeks.

The event happened to take place over the same weekend that Storm Ciara hit the UK with its high winds and heavy downpours, so Bournemouth certainly was a blustery location that weekend! I'm a big fan of Bournemouth and love wandering through the park with the squirrels and then down to the beach and along the pier. Whether it's sunny or stormy, I could happily watch the sea for hours while drifting from thought to thought. 

It was certainly a very enjoyable place to learn about sports hypnosis and its application for improving performance and I'm super excited to be able to add more research, evidence and strategies to help my sports performance clients.

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Is Laughter The Best Medicine For Anxiety, Stress and Mental Health?

We all love to laugh but does laughter actually have mental health benefits for things like anxiety and stress?

The other Friday my wife and I headed to a local venue here in Ely with some friends for a comedy night. 'The Best in Comedy' night featured two great comedians (Ahir Shah and Glenn Moore) who thoroughly entertained us all with their jokes, quips and anecdotes. Despite having very different styles they were both excellent.   

Laughter certainly makes us feel better, at least for a time, and seems to boost our mental health and see the lighter side of life, or even laugh at the situations and challenges that we all face from time to time. In the past, going to see comedians such as Ricky Gervais, Rob Brydon and Jack Dee has left me with tears down my face and an ache in my tummy from laughing so much. We all love a good laugh (or a good groan it seems when it comes to some of my own efforts).

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Time To Talk Day 2020 - Talking About Mental Health

Time To Talk Day 2020 was on February 6th 2020 and is an annual event designed to encourage people to get talking about mental health issues as part of ending mental health discrimination. The organisers want everyone to be more open about mental health and to talk and listen about all things mental health.

I'm sure we all agree it's a worthwhile aim to challenge the stigma that can still pervade around mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. And certainly your mental health should be up there on a par with your physical health, in terms of both keeping healthy and seeking help when things are tougher.

And whilst I hear from clients many stories of supportive employers, partners, families and friends, there are those who still don't get it when it comes to mental health issues and the impact they can have on you.

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Can Anyone Call Themselves A Therapist?

It's hard to believe that we are already a month into 2020 and sometimes it seems time passes by quicker and quicker somehow. I've continued to be massively busy with hypnotherapy clients and, as always, anxiety and fear form a large part of the issues I've been helping them with. As I mentioned last time, I've also been busy in the studio adding to the hypnosis downloads I have available for you.

Combined with chasing the kids around, it can sometimes feel like there isn't a moment to pause (and I seem to have been learning a lot of geographical and musical terms and definitions in recent weeks while I've been testing my daughter for her tests). In fact the only downside recently seems to be the achillies injury I picked up running and that has curtailed my usual fitness routine. I'm banned from running, jumping and lunging for the next few weeks! 

Which was probably how I had a bit of time to scroll over the BBC website the other morning while eating my breakfast. And there, sitting on the News home page was a link to a video called, 'Can anyone call themself a therapist or counsellor?' which naturally piqued my professional curiousity (the video may or may not still be there by the time you are reading this!)

So, what is the answer? Can anyone call themselves a therapist here in the UK?

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New Hypnosis Downloads - Worry, Confidence and Loving Kindness:

It's been a hectic start to the year helping people with issues such as anxiety, worry, low self-esteem and overcoming fears (as well as settling back into the routine after the festive break). Amongst all that I have managed to get back into the recording studio to create some new hypnosis downloads for you.

Based upon the positive feedback I've received on my existing hypnosis downloads (have a look at them here: Hypnosis Downloads), I think you are going to love these new titles.

As well as my existing hypnosis downloads for issues such as anxiety and confidence, I've recorded a special morning calmness hypnosis download, as well as a morning confidence hypnosis one. These two can really help you to start your day in the best possible mind-set, knowing that you can handle whatever comes your way during the day.

There's also an audio to help you let go of unnecessary worry, and another to help you start being kinder to yourself and liking yourself more (which can help reduce self-criticism, anxiety and depression, as well as helping you feel better in yourself). 

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Anxiety Relief And Happy New Year!

A very Happy New Year to you! I hope that you had a great festive period and that you are raring to go now that we are into 2020 and a new decade. If you have been struggling with anxiety, depression or feelings of lowness then I really hope that this is the year that you take back control and start feeling better and happier.

Christmas in our house was its usual mix of craziness, fun and relaxation. By the time both kids were asleep on Christmas morning it was 3 a.m. which meant Santa arrived at 3.01 a.m. and just in time before they woke up at 3.05 a.m.!! And after lots of family time, quizzes, games and the like, here we suddenly are back into the usual routine of daily life (with a very short respite before my daughter's birthday celebrations begin...!!).

Yet if the New Year has found you still weighed down with anxiety and lowness, then the return to normality may bring some relief with a routine and normality, and yet with it, a great load of unease, dread and worry. And whether or not you have made any resolutions or set any goals, there are a few things that you should incorporate into your routine that can make a big difference to how you feel.

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My Most Popular Blogs From 2019:

This is my final blog article of 2019 before the Christmas holidays, when I'll be taking some time off to spend with my family (and to do some extra running no doubt!). 

It's been another busy year and I'm grateful to anyone who has been to see me for hypnotherapy sessions, purchased my hypnosis audios, left me a testimonial, read my blogs, watched my videos or who has supported me in any way. Thank you!

Before I power off and head off, I'd like to share the most read blogs from my website over the year. There have been over sixty articles added this year (with over fourteen thousand views...blimey!) so I hope you've found them (or at least some of them!!) helpful and beneficial. 

So which were the most popular articles?

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A Christmas Carol and Happy Christmas From Me!

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas as I write this post and I'm getting used to the daily updates from my kids about how many sleeps are left until Santa comes. 

Apart from the traditional watching of 'It's a Wonderful Life', most of the other Christmas activities (apart from the bootcamp Christmas jumper workout) have already taken place and been a lot of fun. In my last post I wrote about the Ely Festive 5k I ran with my daughter (along with writing about all the research about why you should get running and exercising). We've been up to Birmingham for their Christmas market, Santa has called around our street in his sleigh (pulled by a car because the reindeer are resting) and the other night my wife and I went to watch 'A Christmas Carol' being performed at Ely Cathedral. It's a fun and busy time of year!

The main purpose of this post is to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I'm grateful to all of you who have supported me and worked with me this year and I wish you all the very happiest for 2020. 

And, with the performance fresh in my mind, and always liking a bit of atmospheric Dickens at this time of year, I thought I'd also mention a few things we can all be mindful of from good old Mr Scrooge and company.

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Recent Anxiety Hypnotherapy Testimonials:

As a former anxiety sufferer myself, I'm always delighted to be able to successfully help others to overcome their anxiety too.

Anxiety has a way of creating its own momentum that leads to more and more anxious thoughts and feelings whizzing around inside you, and it can sometimes even feel like a never-ending battle to find some respite. 

For each person, the when, how and where they experience their anxiety can vary, yet those feelings of fear, worry and anxiety, and all those worst case thoughts and that overthinking can have many adverse effects on how you feel and what you can do. And because it can be limiting and debilitating, there are few things better than helping someone to feel calmer, more confident and more in control to do the things they want to do in their life.

You may have already taken a look through the twenty plus pages of reviews and testimonials on my website, that represent a fraction of the people I've worked with, and recently two new anxiety hypnotherapy testimonials have been added.

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Ely Festive 5k 2019 and Why You Should Get Running For Your Mental Health:

The other weekend my daughter and I once again took part in the Ely Festive 5k, which is organised to support the amazing work of the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity. Despite her protestations after last year's event that she was never, ever (EVER!) going to take part in it again, Sunday morning at 9am found us both at the start line dressed up in our best Christmas gear (ok, so I had to bribe her to take part with chocolate but let's pretend she really did want to take part with me!).

This was our fourth year in a row taking part together and one of my favourite things about it is all the pre-race stuff as my daughter and I walk to the start line, register, hang about and have some fun before my Santa beard goes on and the race starts. And despite spending the next forty or so minutes with me 'encouraging' her to put some effort in while she protested her legs are hurting (after about quarter of a mile), I'm always happy afterwards that we did it.

Now part of that is that I get to spend some great time with my daughter doing something constructive. But, as anyone who has read my blogs for a while knows, exercise and particularly running have for a long time been my 'thing'. What started as something to get fit grew into 10ks, half marathons, marathons and an ultra before crashing back down to the sort of 10k level I'm at now (after a persistent injury that stopped me running for a couple of years). These days I'm a bit more balanced in my exercise and aim for two runs and four bootcamps a week.

Scientific evidence for the mental health benefits of exercise aside (and there is plenty of it covered below), I find that exercise is one of the most important aspects of what I do to feel good both mentally and physically. The evidence shows that exercise can also help with depression, anxiety and in many other ways for your mental health (and that being inactive can be bad news for both your mental health and physical health).

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Can Mental Health Apps Help Reduce Symptoms of Anxiety & Depression?

In my last two articles I wrote a lot about the research into cell phone and smartphone addiction and the potential cognitive impact of your smartphone.

Those two articles looked more at the costs of our smartphone dependence yet there is no doubt that there are many positives and benefits in what our smartphones are capable of doing. One such potential benefit is the ability to download all sorts of apps for all sorts of things, from games to productivity to communication. In fact, some statistics suggest that right now in 2019 there are well over two million apps you can choose from. 

Apps can add to enjoyment and help us organise our lives and, naturally enough given the prevalence of issues, there are many, many apps that promise to help you improve your mental health. Yet aside from anecdotal suggestions and online reviews, it can be difficult to know how reliable any particular app actually is. Can you trust the content on your mental health apps? Are they based on solid science and evidence?

Recently (October 2019), a review was published assessing the inclusion of evidence based content on popular smartphone apps for depression and anxiety. So what did it say about these apps for depression and anxiety?

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Smartphone Addiction: The Impact Of Your Phone On Your Focus, Attention and Performance:

In my last article I wrote about the existence of cell phone addiction and smartphone addiction and about how their use can be problem that is tightly linked to technological developments which can impact on your daily life (have a read of that one here: Is Cell Phone Addiction a Thing? Smartphone Use, Sleep, Anxiety & Depression).

These can include problems such as their use in dangerous situations or prohibited contexts, a loss of interest in other activities, repeated interruptions, periods of insomnia and sleep disturbance, and feelings of irritability, anxiety and loneliness if you are separated from your phone or unable to immediately send or receive messages. And I didn't even mention other related problems such as online bullying and abuse, hackers and fraudsters.

I also covered a study that found that depression and anxiety scores were higher in a high smartphone use group than in a low smartphone use group. Those researchers concluded that depression, anxiety and sleep quality may be associated with smartphone overuse and that such overuse may lead to depression and/or anxiety, which can in turn result in sleep problems.

And yes our cell phones and smartphones have lots of cool stuff that makes life easier, give us information at our fingertips and mean we can communicate with others wherever and whenever we like. It isn't all doom and gloom! Yet how we use our smartphones and mobiles can impact on us and we may be blissfully unaware it is happening or even be in denial, such is our reliance upon these devices.

In this article I'm moving on to look at the impact your cell phone / smartphone can have on your thinking, focus, attention and performance in ways you may not have even yet considered.

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Is Cell Phone Addiction a Thing? Smartphone Use, Sleep, Anxiety & Depression

Is there such a thing as cell phone addiction? Many people often describe themselves as being 'addicted' to their smartphone but is this an accurate description or just a way we have of describing how our mobile phones have become more and more integrated into our daily living?

My wife has said to me in the past that she thinks I'm addicted to my cell phone as I may have a quick check quite a few times, especially if there are some live football or rugby scores to be checked. Yet when she has that screen five inches from her face for a long period she's much more likely to consider that she is being practical by responding to work messages. And my eldest daughter is rarely more than one metre away from her smartphone (or 30 minutes away from her next Facetime) and can seemingly start to get a bit edgy if her battery starts falling much below 20%.

Are we all addicted or are we just all making use of technology in a way that suits us individually? As technology continues to develop, is any of it really a problem?  

The research seems to suggest that cell phone addiction is certainly a thing and that there are outcomes and consequences from how we utilise cell phones that can impact on our sleep, anxiety and depression levels, as well as our cognitive processing and task performance. 

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Fear of Flying - How Safe Are You Up In The Air?

Recently I ran another great Fear of Flying course with the awesome Serena at Sim2Do Flight Simulator Centre in Mildenhall.

On this particular fear of flying course there were a lot of questions about how safe flying actually is. Sure, we are all told that flying is the safest form of transport and so any fears around flying aren't really rational or logical, yet what are those things in place that mean flying is so safe?

After all, isn't it just a piece of metal somehow moving through the nothingness of air at the control of some pilot or other in the cockpit??!!

And haven't we all read the news stories of plane accidents and crashes. If flying is so safe, how come these scary stories seem to keep popping up in news feeds?

Research estimates that anywhere up to 40% of people experience a fear of flying, the experience of an unreasonable amount of anxiety regarding flying and causing it to be avoided or endured with intense anxiety. 

On our fear of flying course, we not only include hypnosis and coping mechanisms to reduce anxiety and put you more in control of your thoughts and feelings around the flying process, we also cover anything and everything to do with air safety, how planes work and what exactly goes on behind the scenes to keep you safe.

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From Feeling Low To Feeling Good - Hypnotherapy Testimonial Video:

Sometimes when we are going through a difficult period or there has been some sort of change in life, it can be hard to think clearly and to access your usual ways of thinking, feeling and doing things.

You may find yourself overthinking about things, feeling emotional and struggling to mentally 'switch off'. It can impact on your sleep and eating. All your usual calmness, strength and confidence may seem like it has evaporated.

And whilst in the midst of that distress and lowness it may feel like things can and never will ever change and improve, the good news is that it is possible to find a way to deal and cope with things and move forward in your life. In fact, in the hypnotherapy testimonial below, one client describes how he went from feeling low following the end of his marriage, to now feeling good and being positive about the future.

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A Boost Of Happiness - How Sharing Positive Experiences Affects Your Happiness:

The joy of happiness! Who doesn't like being happy, right? In my office, one of the most desired end goals is for someone to feel happier at the end of their hypnotherapy sessions. That may means overcoming anxiety and panic, increasing confidence and self-esteem or any other host of aims and issues, yet within this and as part of this is the desire to feel happier in ourselves and in our lives.

I've written before about the benefits of gratitude for boosting your happiness and self esteem and potentially protecting you from anxiety and depression. Noticing and appreciating the good stuff in your life really can make you happier (perhaps not the shock of the century is it?!). Research really does demonstrate that people who deliberately notice and appreciate positive aspects in their life and their world tend to be happier, more optimistic, have positive self-esteem and are more positive in general.

All great stuff, yet can we derive even more positive feelings, happiness and even life satisfaction from our positive experiences? Could sharing our positive experiences with others give us a boost of positive feelings and emotions? Can we get a boost of happiness by telling others about the positive events in our lives?

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Hypnotherapy For Self-Confidence - Latest Good Zing Article:

Whatever your current levels of confidence, there is always room for improvement in at least some areas of your life. Confidence is one of those things that no matter how much we have of it, we know that there is the ability to grow further and to feel better in ourselves. 

Recently I was asked by the great guys at Good Zing, who provide trusted health information through their resources, to write a piece on how hypnotherapy can help you to increase your self-confidence. I'm delighted to say that this has now been published on their site and you can have a read using the link below.

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Dealing With Panic And Other Issues - Latest Hypnotherapy Testimonial:

It's always a pleasure to help someone move from anxiety and despair to feeling more positive and happier. Earlier this year Dave came to see me after a friend recommended me.

Dave lost his son in 2010 and, after he suffered a panic attack in the water during a triathlon he found that (in his words), his 'life was going downhill.' Through his sessions he has made massive progress in many areas of his life and is now in a much better place mentally. 

He's a great bloke (as well as being a fellow Showaddywaddy fan!!) and I'm massively grateful for the written and video testimonials that he has shared and which you can take a look at below. 

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Research Says Knowing This Will Reduce Your Public Speaking Anxiety:

Do you fear public speaking? For many people the fear of delivering a speech, talk or presentation in front of others ranks way up there on their list of anxiety provoking situations (some people even fear public speaking more than they fear death).

Many people experience significant anxiety when called upon to speak in public, and some of these people may even seek to avoid it altogether. 

And if anxiety, low self-esteem, low confidence or social anxiety are part of your life right now, then the prospect of any form of public speaking can send that anxiety and worry into overdrive. There can be fears about forgetting what you are going to say or freezing up in some way as well as fears about being judged or looking nervous in some way. You may worry that you will shake, sweat, go blank or show other signs of anxiety that your audience will pick up on. All of these can mean feeling anxious about looking anxious.

In the video below I cover a research backed way that can help you to reduce your public speaking anxiety and to improve your performance for both yourself and your audience.

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Can Other People Tell If You Are Feeling Anxious?

If you are feeling anxious or nervous then one of the things that can exacerbate how you feel is the worry that others will notice it. Having others point out that you look anxious or uncomfortable, or that you are sweating or a bit shaky, can send your anxiety up another level. 

You may worry that your anxious thoughts, feelings and sensations are apparent to others, which can make you feel even more anxious and mean that you think that your new, higher level of anxiety is then even more obvious to everyone else. 

However, whilst you may think that the anxiety inside of you is leaking out and noticeable by others, the research shows that people tend to overestimate the extent to which others can read how you feel.

In the video below I've covered the research that shows that we overestimate the extent to which our feelings and emotions are apparent to those around us.

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Do You Worry Too Much About What Others Think About Your Actions and Appearance?

Do you find yourself worrying too much about being judged by others? Certainly it's a common thing where issues of anxiety, social anxiety, low confidence or low self-esteem are concerned. 

You may worry about doing something embarrassing, saying the wrong thing, or making an idiot of yourself in front of others. Or perhaps you worry about your appearance and what people are thinking when they look at you, and you assume it's some sort of negative appraisal they are carrying out. Such anxious thoughts about being judged can stop you doing things you really want to do, can make you wish the ground would swallow you up if you are around others and can mean you dwell on events and feel bad afterwards.

And whilst all those thoughts and feelings seem very real to you, research shows that you will be overestimating the extent to which your actions and behaviours are noted by others. 

In the video below I explain more about this effect and the research showing that people tend to believe they stand out in the eyes of others more than they actually do.

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Do Others Judge You As Harshly As You Think When You Mess Up? Anxiety & Fear of Failure:

When we mess up, fail at something, do something embarrassing or blunder in some way, we are often certain in our minds that other people are judging us and thinking negatively of us. More than that, we assume they are judging us harshly and think we are an idiot or not good enough or a failure in some way.

In practice, even the thought that you might mess up, fail or do something embarrassing may be enough to even stop you attempting that that thing in the first place. You don't want to end up having people thinking badly of you so you don't take the risk.

But although you may worry about what other people will think about you if you mess up,  are they actually thinking in that way? Are other people really judging you that harshly if you make a mistake? 

I've written in earlier articles about our human tendency to overestimate how much attention other people are paying to our appearance and behaviours and about how we tend to believe that we stand out in the eyes of others more than we actually do (have a read of that previous article here: Why You Should Probably Worry Less About What Other People Think About You - The Research on Fear of Failure and Being Judged). As I write about there, the research shows that a great many of your fears about what others think and fear of failure may be misplaced or exaggerated. Other people are less likely to notice or remember your shortcomings than you typically expect.

Yet is that really also the case where we do something embarrassing or mess up in some way. Do people really judge us as harshly as we might think?

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Can Other People Tell How You Feel? Anxiety About Looking Anxious:

One thing that people with anxiety often worry about is that other people will be able to tell that they are anxious and nervous. Those emotions are so strong inside you that you presume they will spill out of you and be noticed by other people. 

That concern over other people seeing you are anxious can exacerbate your anxiety and make you feel even worse. You start to worry about looking anxious and worry about looking worried.

But is that belief actually true in reality? You may feel strong anxiety internally yet do other people notice this to the extent that you think they will? 

That's what this article is about today. Can other people tell how you feel? Do you really need to feel anxious about looking anxious? 

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Why You Should Probably Worry Less About What Other People Think About You - The Research on Fear of Failure and Being Judged:

When I used to struggle with social anxiety and low self-esteem, one of my biggest fears was the fear of being judged by others.

I would worry incessantly about what other people thought about me as a person and what I said and did. In my teens I went through a stage where I was obsessed about my hair looking ok so that people wouldn't think I looked stupid. There were times in later years where I could be on the verge of an anxiety attack if I thought others might think I looked weird, or if there was a chance of messing up. I would massively overthink everything I was saying and doing to try and avoid being judged and I had a massive fear of failure because of the rejection and negative perceptions others may have.

And one of the biggest things that holds people back, as far as social anxiety and low self-esteem are concerned, is that fear of what other people might think. It can stop you doing things, or even attempting to do things. It can lead to anxiety and overthinking that others will notice you aren't good enough in some way. It can lead to worry about what people you know, or even those you don't know, might be thinking about you. And it can mean missing out or feeling bad because of the fear you might look bad to others in some way.

But are people really that focused on what you are saying and doing all the time? Do they really spend that much time paying attention to you rather than thinking about other things? Do you really need to worry about what other people think about you because of the fear of failure and being judged badly? 

If you worry about what others think about you and you fear failure then the research should provide you with some reassurance that your fears are probably far removed from the reality.

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Latest Video - Hypnotherapy Treatment For Anxiety - How Effective Is It?

In a recent article, I discussed the very latest research that has been recently published about the how effective hypnotherapy is as a treatment for anxiety issues. You can have a read of that article here if you haven't read it yet: The Effectiveness of Hypnotherapy as a Treatment for Anxiety.

The research looked into the overall effectiveness of hypnotherapy as a treatment for anxiety and found some pretty awesome evidence and results.

This particular scientific research is pretty important stuff, especially if you are someone currently struggling with anxiety and looking for an evidence based way to deal with it. As it's so important in adding to the knowledge based around treatment for anxiety, I also recorded a short video to talk about the findings.

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Ed Sheeran, Social Anxiety and Feeling Like A Zoo Animal:

In a recent interview with The Sun, Ed Sheeran, the singer, has revealed that he suffers from social anxiety that makes him feel like an 'animal in the zoo.' 

For all the upsides of being famous and wealthy, even that kind of lifestyle can't protect you from social anxiety and Sheeran talks of his constant battle with it. And whilst his lifestyle is a little different from mine (just a little!), I have every empathy with him having battled social anxiety myself from school age and all the way into my thirties. 

Ed Sheeran describes living with social anxiety and the attention that comes with people filming and staring at him as making him feel like a zoo animal. I'd have described my own social anxiety as feeling like 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' whereby in one situation I would be relaxed, comfortable and at ease and in another situation I would be frozen by fear, overthinking, anxiety and worry. 

Yet whether it's Ed Sheeran, the younger me or one of the many people who come to me for help to overcome it, social anxiety has many familiar patterns that lead to doubt, insecurity, lack of trust and fear.  The better news is that all of these anxious thoughts, feelings, beliefs, patterns and behaviours can all be tackled, amended and changed.

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The Effectiveness of Hypnotherapy as a Treatment For Anxiety:

Anyone who has browsed through the articles on my website will soon pick up that helping people to overcome anxiety is one of my main passions.

Having been there and struggled with anxiety in the past, I know the all encompassing nature of those unwanted thoughts and feelings that seem to grow more and more out of control. I also know from my own personal experience, from the feedback of my anxiety hypnotherapy clients and from research, that hypnotherapy can be very effective as a treatment for anxiety. 

Anxiety problems and anxiety disorders are some of the most impairing and limiting mental health conditions that you can struggle with. They are also one of the most common mental health issues that impact upon people at some point in their lives.  All of which means that having effective treatments for anxiety available is more important than ever, both for you as an individual and much more widely too.

Hypnosis has been scientifically demonstrated to offer very effective help with a whole range of issues and conditions. However, whilst more and more controlled studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of hypnosis in alleviating anxiety in areas such as general anxiety, dental anxiety, medical anxiety and performance anxiety, there has never been a meta-analysis quantifying the overall effectiveness of hypnosis as a treatment for anxiety. 

Pretty hot of the presses (the research was published in July 2019), we now have that analysis. A recent thorough study has now quantified the effectiveness of hypnosis for reducing anxiety by conducting a meta-analysis of all controlled studies of hypnotherapy for anxiety and has published the results.

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Overcoming Driving Anxiety - My Latest Video Hypnotherapy Testimonial:

Driving anxiety is one of the most common anxiety and fear related things that I help people with. Whereas you can try and avoid some things that cause you anxiety, like flying or public speaking, pretty much everyone needs to get in a car at some point.

And of course, driving anxiety can vary greatly from person to person. I've worked with those who haven't driven much for a long period and find themselves getting anxious and worried even thinking about driving, let alone getting behind the wheel. And there are those who struggle and dread even being a passenger in a car, perhaps particularly on faster roads.

You may find that local roads are generally ok as the speed is much slower, there are places to pull over and you know your way around a bit. Yet when it comes to faster roads, like motorways and dual carriageways, most people with driving anxiety find that their fear, dread and worry rockets. Everything moves so much quicker, there is more to think about and you can't just stop and pull over if you feel like you want to. People often feel trapped and out of control as their mind races to process everything going on within and around them. The anxiety can be so great that you may decide to avoid them altogether if you can, even if that means taking a much longer route.  

And all of that driving anxiety and fear can cause stress, worry and frustration, particularly if it stops you going places or doing the things you want to do.

As you'll have gathered from the title of this article, I've got a new hypnotherapy testimonial video that I'm excited to share with you today from someone who overcame their driving anxiety and is now confidently driving anywhere they want to .

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How To Increase Willpower and Self-Control:

Do you struggle to find the willpower and self-control you need to achieve what you want to? It's something I hear a lot from clients, how they lack the willpower they need, whether that's to stop smoking, lose weight, get exercising, study, get to bed earlier or any number of other areas. 

When it comes to taking action and making better decisions, almost all of us struggle at one time of another to act in our own best interests or to forego something that seems more enjoyable or easier right now (especially compared to much longer term goals). 

You know what you ought to be doing yet, even knowing this, you find that your willpower, motivation and self-control quickly evaporate. It may seem like one ever lasting battle with yourself to make better decisions for yourself. All those short term temptations and rewards are irresistible and we give in and promise ourselves we'll do better in the future; for example, in our eating habits where we take the sugary/fattening option in front of us (who has told themselves when it's gone, it's gone and then I'll be healthier?), or quitting smoking (but the habits and stress kicks in so the decision gets pushed to another time) or it could be procrastinating by watching that next episode on Netflix, having a look at one more you Tube video, 'quickly' checking out social media or surfing the net and a whole host of other things that can mean you don't get around to exercising or getting stuff done or getting enough sleep.  

Knowing what we should be doing isn't enough to stop us doing what we want to do in that moment. We struggle to prioritise our long term goals over our more immediate behaviours and choices (and all the while promising ourselves that we will do better in the future).

Willpower and self-control are things we need more and more to make sure we achieve what we want to rather than jumping from one urge and instant reward to another. So how can you increase willpower and self-control so that you actually make stuff happen?. 

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Boosting Your Happiness and Well-Being:

Could you benefit from boosting your levels of happiness and well-being in some area of your life right now? I think we can all take deliberate steps to both increase and maintain the kinds of happiness, well-being and mental health that we want.

Recently I've been working my way through a really good online course from Yale University which is all about the Science of Well-Being. One thing that comes through pretty clearly is that a lot of our thoughts and expectations about what will make us happy are well wide of the mark.  

Another thing that comes through from the research is that increasing your happiness and well-being takes daily, intentional effort over a long period of time. This is something I often cover with my clients. Waiting for change to happen, hoping for the best or waiting until you feel like it, are usually not great strategies if you want to make positive changes in your life.

I'll cover a bit more about well-being and happiness a bit further down this article.

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Why You Should Be Kind To Yourself - The Benefits of Self-Compassion:

Do you find it easy and natural to be kind to yourself? Are you able to reassure yourself in times of adversity? Or perhaps you have a tendency to be self-critical, pointing out every perceived mistake you make and feeling like you don't even like who you are.

I work with many people who have a habitual tendency to be harsh towards themselves and who judge themselves negatively. And it can be associated with many mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. There are certainly few benefits to be gained, and not much respite to be had, from living your life being your own harshest critic. 

That's not to say that you need to strut about thinking that you are the best thing since sliced bread, yet being kind to yourself and exercising self-compassion has many benefits that mean you can encourage yourself, feel comfortable in your own skin and reassure yourself when dealing with challenges or adversity.

It can be easy, when things go wrong, or when faced with adversity or rejection, to turn the blame and criticism inwards and be harsh with yourself. However, a relatively recent piece of research has added to the study of the benefits of self-compassion which adds to the weight of knowledge about why you should be kind to yourself and develop self-compassion. 

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Overcoming Anxiety & Fear after Serious Road Traffic Accident:

There's no doubt that being involved in a serious road traffic accident can have huge consequences upon your life. I've helped people who were in a car, driving or as a passenger, that was involved in an accident and the shock and panic experienced stops them getting back into a vehicle. 

Once a panic attack has been experienced in any situation, the anxiety and worry about having another one, combined with the dread and worry about the situation itself, can be enough to lead to avoidance and other safety seeking behaviours. 

One client I have helped, and whose video testimonial is below, came to me after being involved in a serious road traffic accident as a cyclist. One minute she was enjoying cycling down a country road as part of training for an upcoming event, then in a flash of a moment, she found herself having been thrown off her bike, a car having hit her from behind.

Not only did she have the physical injuries to recover from, and come to terms with, she also had the anxiety, fear and worry about whether she would ever be able to get back on her bike again and dealing with the often difficult consequences on her life as a result of the accident. Her story is massively inspirational and this lady is well worth paying attention to for how far she has come since that fateful day.

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Emetophobia - A Fear of Vomiting:

Recently emetophobia, or the fear of vomiting, has been something cited by quite a few clients as either the main thing they are struggling with, or as part of their wider anxiety and panic issues.

While most of us can happily and calmly eat whatever we chose and go from place to place relatively worry free, someone with a phobia of vomiting can find their life becomes pretty restricted and filled with the potential for panic. There may be worry about going places where people may be sick (or places associated with themselves or others having vomited in the past), you may worry about contact with others and look to see whether they may look ill or likely to vomit (e.g. if they are vigorously coughing) and you may restrict what you will eat and worry that you may be sick.

A phobia of vomiting can manifest itself in three main ways: a fear that you may vomit yourself, a fear of others vomiting (which could lead to you catching something that makes you vomit) and a fear of vomiting in front of others and being embarrassed or judged negatively by them.

Certainly clients I've helped have described avoiding foods to reduce the risk of being sick, staying away from people who have had a bug and panicking if they think someone near them may vomit. For most of us casually saying we feel sick or mimicking vomiting is just a bit of fun; for someone with emetophobia it could add to a whole spiral of worry, tension and fear.

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Coping with Turbulence and a Fear of Flying:

Since the launch of my new fear of flying course with the great people at Sim2do, I've written quite a bit about overcoming the fear of flying and how combining knowledge about flying, coping strategies, hypnotherapy and the virtual simulator can help to alleviate your flying fears.

As part of our course preparation we have people spend a few minutes before they come completing a brief fear of flying questionnaire. This means we can tailor the support we provide based on whether someone gets anxious in anticipation of a flight, on the plane or if they have a generalised fear around flying. For the latest course participant it was all about the turbulence (or more precisely, the fear of there being turbulence on an upcoming flight). 

And this person is not alone in worrying about turbulence and being able to deal with it (without panic). It's one of the most common concerns when someone has a fear of flying, particularly if severe turbulence has been experienced before.

Before I get on to a little more about coping with turbulence, this week I found myself wondering what it must be like to be an astronaut and to fly into space. I mean, what must that turbulence be like? 

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Celebration of Business 2019 - Ely Cathedral Business Group

I was delighted to take part in the recent Celebration of Business event hosted by the Ely Cathedral Business Group. A great event in a fantastic location.

The event allows over a hundred local businesses, from a diverse range of sectors, to showcase their services and to meet other local businesses. 

It's always a great occasion and a highlight for any local business in the Ely / East Cambridgeshire area.

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Hypnotherapy for Stress Relief - New Video Testimonial:

This week is Mental Health Awareness week and I've come across many posts online from people struggling with stress and anxiety in their lives. I even caught a minute of something on TV the other night where a fisherman was talking about how he values the time just sitting in nature away from the seemingly ever increasing demands and pace of modern life.

It was only recently that I wrote about using nature for stress relief and improving mental health, and time and time again my clients will tell me how much they benefit from getting out for a walk in nature and finding time to unwind for a while (you can find that post here: Using Nature To Reduce Stress and Boost Mental Health).

Recently I was working with Ben to help him to reduce his stress and to stop overthinking. After our sessions he very kindly recorded the video testimonial you can find below.

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Overcoming a Food Related Fear and Phobia:

Thoughts and feelings around food can cause all sorts of issues and problems that people come to me for help with. 

For example, for some people their anxiety / social anxiety is so overwhelming that they struggle to eat in front of others. The anxiety and stress makes their mouth go dry, their throat feel like it's closed up so they can't swallow and their stomach is in knots. It can easily cause all sorts of problems in areas of their life such as socially and in relationships. 

I've also worked with people who struggle to eat certain foods, often fruit and vegetables, and can get panicky when thinking about or trying to eat these. Some people struggle with the sounds of eating and the anxiety, anger and stress of chewing and swallowing noises may mean they have to eat alone. And there are also those who are so worried about being sick and vomiting that they avoid certain foods or, at the peak of the panic, may struggle to eat very much at all.

Recently I worked with someone who would get panicky and anxious around even the thought of seeds and nuts, let alone being near them or eating them (like she used to).

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Ely Hero Awards Nomination:

I am delighted and grateful to have found out today that I've been nominated by a client of mine for this year's Ely Hero Awards.

My nomination is in the 'Most Amazing Professional' category of the awards.

Feeling very honoured and thankful right now! Thank you!

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Fear of Flying Course covered by the Ely Standard:

My new fear of flying course is now fully open and up and running. The course, which is a joint venture with Flight Simulator Instructor Serena from Sim2do (www.sim2do) includes many research backed elements that can help you to overcome your fear of flying.

We've been getting lots of interest about the course - particularly with peak holiday season fast approaching!

And I was really happy to have the Ely Standard cover the fear of flying course on their website this week (check it out here: Fear of Flying Course launched with hypnotherapist Dan Regan

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Could writing about your anxiety help reduce it? Journaling for Anxiety Relief:

Using journals seems to have become very much a thing these days. Just a quick search on Amazon shows results including claims that using the journal can help you believe in yourself more, become happier, increase personal wellbeing, deal with your past, have a more meaningful life, soothe stress, eliminate anxiety and achieve your goals (amongst many other advertised benefits).

So could journaling and writing about your anxiety, stress and mental health really help you to reduce anxiety and feel better?

Certainly writing down the things on their minds is something I've used with my kids at times over the years. Sometimes they may not want to talk about what is troubling them or struggle to put it into words or perhaps there isn't enough privacy to do so at that time (what with the four of us hustling and bustling about the place). Somehow writing it down has made it easier for them to think through what it is that is on their mind and making them anxious and to be able to get it out of their head and onto paper.

As a parent it really is helpful to have an idea of what they may be overthinking about, and to understand where that anxiety fits in the grand scheme of things. At one time my eldest would use one of those 'worry eater' soft toys to help her to handle challenges she was facing.

Writing down the anxious thoughts and feelings we are experiencing has been associated with improvements in mental health yet how can we make the best use of journaling and writing about anxiety related experience?

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Using Nature To Reduce Stress and Boost Mental Health:

Exposure to nature has great benefits, particularly towards our sense of mental well-being and mental health. Yet until some research published this month, the duration of time required to benefit from being around nature was less clear.

This was the first study to employ long term, repeated assessment and, rather than being prescriptive, participants were able to choose the time of day, duration and the place of their nature experience based upon personal preference and changing daily schedules. In this way, it was much more like 'real-life' than a laboratory controlled experiment to assess the impact of a nature experience on stress (using two physiological saliva biomarkers).

Now I don't know about you but I love those moments where you can find a peaceful spot in nature away from all the usual hustle and bustle, noise and demands of everyday life. About forty minutes down the road from me there is an RSPB nature reserve which is a wonderful place to find that sense of tranquility and peace, even if like me, bird watching is not high up on your list. 

As a family we've recently rejoined the National Trust and although these sorts of places can get crowded sometimes, there is usually some woodland of secluded natural space to wander around and explore. The other weekend we headed over to Ickworth House near Bury St Edmunds to grab some family time in nature away from screens and shops.

Now, as it happens peace and quiet weren't quite the order of that day because there was a Napoleonic Way re-enactment going on (think cannons, soldiers and guns!). That said, it was a great experience to stand, watch and enjoy the re-enactment. Certainly it was a lovely mental escape to just be present, watch and enjoy without a million other distractions and thoughts going on (a different form of being present and mindful!). I think you've got to be impressed with the dedication and enthusiasm of all involved (particularly as they camped out in the wind, cold and rain all weekend to put their passion into practice).

Yet, in the absence of a full scale mock war, how can you use the latest research to improve your own mental health and well-being and to reduce stress in your daily life?

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Anxiety and The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health:

Recently the Royal College of Psychiatrists advised their members to consider the impact of social media on all children they assess for mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.

To be honest I like to think that most psychiatrists, like other mental health professionals, were already doing this with both children and adults, because these days social media use, apps and other online sources form part of most people's everyday lifestyle in some way. So if you are doing a thorough job of discussing with someone when they experience their anxiety, what triggers it, what exacerbates it and what can ease it, technology is probably going to be in there somewhere.

That's not to say that all social media and online stuff is necessarily harmful to mental health, yet it makes sense to consider whether it is either a negative or a positive thing for you.

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Hypnotherapy - Ownership, Collaboration and The Abusive Client:

This morning started off beautifully. The sun was shining, I'd had a good night's sleep and I was looking forward to getting up and out to bootcamp (in the daylight and in the sunshine...double win!).

I had a few minutes so I took a quick look at my e-mails in case there was anything from clients I would be seeing later that day. Amongst all the nice messages and positive results was one from someone I worked with many months ago. It's not uncommon to hear from clients many months later yet upon opening this it became clear it was pretty unpleasant.

Over the last eight years or so and having worked with a couple of thousand people, I can probably list the number of unpleasant or abusive e-mails I've received on one hand. Yet as someone who prides himself on his professionalism and the amount of time, energy and effort put into every client and every session, it does make me smart a bit.  

Yet I do think there are some useful points we can take from the abusive e-mail (and I should mention that I have no idea what promoted the e-mail and whether there has been anything going on over past months. Given the way it was written I suspect there may have been alcohol involved).

Thankfully, the vast, vast majority of people I work with are lovely people who are motivated to make changes and committed to the hypnotherapy process. Many of them have kindly gone on to give written and video feedback (at the time of writing there are over twenty pages on this website). 

So what can we learn from this angry person about hypnotherapy to benefit us all in making positive changes?

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The Continuing Rise of Anti-Depressant Prescriptions:

The BBC reported recently about the increase in the number of anti-depressant prescriptions dispensed in England in 2018. In fact, the number of prescriptions for anti-depressants in England has nearly doubled in the last decade (2008-18).

NHS Digital figures showed that the number of prescriptions for these medicines, which are a common medicinal treatment for anxiety and depression issues, had jumped from 67.5 million in 2017 to 70.9 million in 2018.

Based upon these figures, it seems the continuing rise in prescribing anti-depressants is likely to continue to grow and grow.

Putting aside the cost upon the NHS, should we be worried by this continuing upward trend in prescriptions?

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Is Sedentary Behaviour Affecting your physical and mental health?

I've written many times before about the value of exercise and getting moving to boost your physical and mental health. In my own life my exercise is now a central part of how I prioritise my physical and mental health and I can really notice the difference if I miss my training for a while.

Yet it isn't just because I enjoy it that I promote getting moving; it's because research upon research demonstrates that getting active brings benefits physically and mentally. Getting moving and exercise improve our mental health, boost our mood, can reduce symptoms of depression and help reduce anxiety. 

As if that wasn't enough a recently published report looked at the impact of sedentary behaviour in the UK and, in looking at the cost burden on the NHS of sedentary lifestyles, once again highlighted the negative impacts on health.

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Hypnotherapy, The Unconscious Mind & The Fear of Losing Control:

People often ask me how it is that, despite the thousands of research papers and positive results achieved through hypnotherapy, hypnosis is still not available through the NHS in the UK.

And I believe that the answer comes down to the money to develop and provide it and train staff and so on, and misunderstanding about what hypnosis actually is and what it involves.

A few months back I was talking to a prominent mental health advocate who told me that, although he felt he needed therapeutic help with an issue that hypnotherapy is well suited for, he was worried about being 'out of control' during the hypnosis. Now this is a mental health advocate who speaks at schools and other organisations yet who was unaware that the science and practice of hypnotherapy is, in fact, the opposite of his perception. You learn how to take back control over your thoughts and feelings and 'mind' rather than seemingly having to just live with anxiety, stress and worry. 

And if those within the mental health profession don't get it then no wonder hypnotherapy is where it is (despite all the positive scientific evidence in its favour and despite the research that shows that hypnosis tends to increase the results of cognitive behavioural therapy). Although interestingly I've worked with many doctors, some of whom have even sent their patients and their kids to work with me, so perhaps there is a growing understanding of the role that hypnotherapy can play in improving our mental health.

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Challenging Anxious Thinking to Reign in Anxiety:

Anxiety can take pretty much most things in life and ramp up those anxious thoughts and feelings until they dominate your mind. And it really could be anything that ignites the anxiety, from a remark someone says, the way someone looks at you or a particular event or situation. Before you know it you just can't switch off from it and it starts to have an impact on you.

Recently, I had a health 'thing' that had all the potential to explode into a great ball of anxiety, and which, I'm pretty certain, would have done so in the past when anxiety was a big part of who I was. It was the sort of health thing that clients have told me about and which can affect them whether they have general anxiety or health anxiety problems.

Now, one thing that clients often remark upon is how calm I always seem. No matter what is going on, they tell me, I seem to have this aura of calmness about me. In fact, only a week or so ago, one client asked me whether anything ever bothers me or makes me anxious! 

As much as I admire Sherlock Holmes and his critical reasoning abilities, I'm not a robot and we are all meant to experience emotion that is appropriate to what we are facing. Yet, I also know that by developing the ability to challenge anxious thinking it is possible to learn how to stop habitual anxiety provoking thought patterns from leading us to a place of massive, unwanted anxiety.

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The Rise and Rise of Anxiety and Depression:

Anxiety and depression levels continue to rise and rise, despite the numerous national and local initiatives put in place to try and counter them.

The Psychiatric Morbidity Survey provides data on both treated and untreated mental health issues among adults in England. Their most recent survey results (from 2014, published in 2016), indicate that one in six adults in England has a common mental health disorder (which includes anxiety and depression). This translates to about one woman in five and one man in eight having a mental health disorder, and the rate has increased in women and remained largely stable in men.  

Perhaps even more alarming is that rates of self-harming have increased in men and women and across age groups since 2007.

Despite all the programmes and talking, mental health issues such as anxiety and depression continue to increase and impact on more and more people. The human cost of all this anxiety and depression, and the impacts that go with it, can't even be estimated.

Now, new data from America has suggested that there has been a generational shift in mood disorders towards certain age groups.

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Anxiety and Irritable Bowel Syndrome:

In my last article I wrote about the evidence for hypnotherapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and how research has demonstrated how hypnosis can really help alleviate the symptoms of IBS (you can read that article here: Hypnotherapy for IBS).

IBS is a chronic functional gastrointestinal disorder that is estimated to affect up to 15% of people. It causes persistent pain or discomfort that is associated with relief with defecation, looser or more frequent stools, or harder or less frequent stools. The symptoms need to have been present at least three days per month over the past three months for a diagnosis of IBS.

One feature I mentioned in that last article was how IBS and anxiety often go together.

There may be anxiety around needing the toilet urgently when out, or about getting caught out if there is no toilet available and there is an urgent need to go. There may be anxiety around experiencing symptoms when with other people or about being in discomfort or needing the loo urgently when with others. And there is often an elevated level of anxiety around any situation that may involve feeling 'trapped' or out of control such as being a passenger in a car or on a train where there may be little control over going to the toilet if needed.

And, of course, as well as IBS symptoms, anxiety itself can impact on our stomachs and digestive system which can exacerbate IBS type symptoms and lead to even more anxiety. It can become a very cyclical cycle of IBS creating anxiety and the anxiety then worsening the IBS symptoms...leading to more anxiety.

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Hypnotherapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome: The Evidence for the Effectiveness Of IBS Hypnosis:

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common yet complicated condition that affects your digestive system. Typical symptoms include stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and constipation, any of which may last from a day or so to much longer periods of time. 

Perhaps the most frustrating element of IBS if you suffer with it, is that it is usually a lifelong problem with no known 'cure' and there is still no universally agreed understanding of what causes it.   

I've worked with a lot of IBS sufferers and often stress and anxiety can exacerbate the symptoms yet IBS can also create its own anxiety. With IBS you may feel anxious about going places in case it strikes and may find yourself checking whether there are toilets available, avoiding going certain places if it would not be easy to get to a toilet or if there isn't one easily available and sometimes even avoiding eating to hopefully be free from symptoms when out and about. It can start to place huge limits on your life and whilst conventional medical interventions such as medication, education and dietary changes may help to some degree, it may not provide relief for your IBS bowel symptoms (or ease the anxiety that goes with the symptoms). 

When those traditional treatment approaches do not alleviate IBS symptoms, many people turn to treatments such as hypnotherapy for their irritable bowel syndrome. So, how effective is hypnotherapy for IBS?

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Cognitive Hypnotherapy For Depression - How Effective Is It?

In my last blog I wrote all about the evidence for the anti-depressant effect of exercise on those with clinical depression (you can read that here: Depression: Does aerobic exercise have anti-depressant effects?). The overall conclusions suggest that, with depression, it makes sense to include some active exercise components in your treatment plan.

In this post I'm going to be looking at the effectiveness of cognitive hypnotherapy to help reduce symptoms of depression. Hypnotherapy can help in many ways with the psychological aspects of depression, including motivation and tackling rumination, anxiety and worry.

We are going to be looking at a study that compared the effects of cognitive behavioural therapy (a well established treatment for depression) with clinical hypnotherapy to empirically investigate the additive effect of hypnosis in the management of chronic depression. 

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Depression: Does aerobic exercise have anti-depressant effects?

It's no secret, if you have read through some of these blogs, that exercise forms one of the main pillars of how I organise my life. In the past this was solely running focused and these days it incorporates several bootcamps a week with some short running. Exercise is important to me and boosts my sense of physical fitness and mental health.

Funnily enough when I was younger I hated exercise (I blame cross country in the rain at school). I had no interest in it and I was overweight, which put me off it even more because of the increased perceived effort required. Later life showed that once you find something that you enjoy and that makes you feel better in yourself then you can turn it around and find that you benefit from habitually exercising. Or as someone put it to me recently (a non-exerciser), I'm one of those weirdos who really enjoys exercising.

My own personal experience has been that exercise boosts my mental health. When there is a lot going on or an element of stress or worry in life then a good bootcamp or run helps me to process it and cope with it and emerge feeling mentally stronger.  

And it isn't just me who has found that exercise benefits mental health. There is a growing body of research that supports this and in this article I'll be looking at a couple of research reviews that tell us a lot about how exercise can benefit people with depression.

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Gratitude and Well-Being: How To Improve Your Well-Being and Self-Esteem:

In my last article I wrote all about the impact of gratitude on anxiety, depression and self-esteem (have a read here: The Impact of Gratitude on Anxiety, Depression, Self-Esteem and Well-being). The research I talked about there shows that gratitude is strongly related to several aspects of well-being and mental health. 

People who have a disposition to notice and appreciate positive aspects in their life and their world tend to be happier, more optimistic, have positive self-esteem and are more positive and they also experience less depression and anxiety symptoms. In fact, gratitude can be considered to offer some protection against depression and anxiety because you are able to encourage and be compassionate and reassuring towards yourself when things go wrong in life and when faced with challenges.

As the researchers concluded, "gratitude is also associated with an improved "relationship with the self," in the form of a more positive and compassionate way of treating ourselves when things go wrong in life, which partially explains why grateful people are also less depressed and anxious" (Petrocchi & Couyoumdjian (2015)).

As I mentioned in that last article, with so many mental health benefits of gratitude, it really does make sense to purposefully apply it in your life. You are more likely to feel happy, have positive self-esteem, a better sense of well-being and experience less anxiety and depression symptoms. 

And if you do want to benefit from these good things then I'll be covering some ways you can do so in this article.

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The Impact of Gratitude on Anxiety, Depression, Self-Esteem and Well-being:

As I write this article, the sun is shining and it's a beautiful day here in Ely (although by the time you are reading this it may well have turned back cold and wet!). And on a sunny day like today it's often easier to take a few moments here and there to be grateful for the sunshine and to enjoy the surroundings for a moment.

People do seem to be a lot chirpier when Spring arrives and to be much more appreciative of being able to get out and enjoy the good weather and to go and do things with the warmth of the sun pouring down upon them.

Certainly last weekend when I headed out with my girls I deliberately took a few moments to just make sure I was in the moment when I was with them so I could pay them full attention and to take some time to enjoy being out in the open around all the trees and nature and so on. And today I took some time to record a little vlog on the benefits of gratitude and how it can help boost well-being, happiness, self-esteem and more. Given all we know about the benefits of gratitude and appreciation it really does make sense from a mental health perspective to cultivate it purposefully...more on that later.

It may just be me, but one thing I like to do on my daily walk to the office is to keep count of how many people take a brief moment to show gratitude and appreciation for small acts by other people. On my route to the office I often encounter many parents who are in the process of dropping off their kids or who have just done so, along with others who are heading to work or even out walking the dog or running. I find it almost automatic to do things like move to one side to let them pass on their way, or to move onto the road so they can continue along the pavement.

And it is actually quite surprising how many people do not acknowledge even small acts of benevolence from another person (about 50% if you're interested). Not that it's worth getting wound up about (because worrying or getting annoyed about what someone else does or doesn't do is futile) but I do wonder whether they take the same attitude into the rest of their day and into work and friendships and so on. Often these people seem (from the outside) to be pretty unhappy and I wonder if they get annoyed and frustrated at their kids, colleagues and friends when they receive the same lack of thanks and appreciation from them. 

Yet regardless of what other people say and do (and regardless of my daily contemplations!), there is much to be gained from deliberately fostering an attitude of gratitude and putting it into practice for ourselves to boost our own well-being and happiness and to help with anxiety and depression. 

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Hypnosis and Exam Anxiety - Could hypnotherapy help you perform to your best in exams?

Spring seems to have arrived early in the UK as it's another beautiful sunny day and it's still only February as I write this. This time last year we had snow on the way so this a lovely change (although I love snow!) and I'm even wearing shorts in the office today. The mornings and evenings are notably lighter and it won't be long until temperatures start rising earlier until later (although it's sunny today it was still only about two degrees when I headed to bootcamp this morning). 

And it's been a pretty awesome weekend all around. Saturday started with a tough but oddly pleasurable tyre routine at bootcamp, I had a full day working with some great clients and then got to watch Wales beat England in the Six Nations rugby (always a highlight when we win!). On a post rugby high I ran probably the best I have all year on the sun yesterday and then spent a fun day at a nearby National Trust place with the kids. If every weekend was like that I would be even happier (yet probably pretty tired too!).

One thing the arrival of spring always takes my mind back to, is the link between the arrival of the nicer weather and how it is intrinsically linked to the knowledge of upcoming exams. I can still vividly remember for my GCSEs, A-levels and degree how the sun would shine and I would want to be outside, yet my focus had to remain on my work.

One of the things I start to get contacted about a lot from this point of the year onwards is for those who have GCSEs or A-levels coming up this summer. The growing sense they are coming closer, that sense of pressure to do well, the dread of the exam room and going blank and all the other exam related anxiety and stress, can lead to overwhelm and panic. 

Exams can be pretty stressful events at the best of times, but add in anxiety, stress and diminishing confidence and it massively escalates all those unhelpful thoughts and worst case scenarios and lead to underperforming in the exam room. 

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Virtual Reality Exposure and Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy For Fear of Flying:

Last week I headed back over to the virtual reality flying simulator team that I'll be delivering my fear of flying course alongside. I've written already about the VR machine and the fear of flying course we have developed, in these two articles: i) New fear of flying course - help to overcome flying nerves and anxiety; and ii) Fear of Flying - Calmly Taking To The Air in a Boeing 737.

Naturally, one thing I've spent a fair amount of time researching and investigating is the added value of virtual reality for helping with fear of flying and the best methods of integrating that aspect with my cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy. And there is actually a fair amount of research out there that has looked at virtual reality exposure treatment for fear of flying and its benefits and effectiveness.

Many existing approaches make use of anxiety management and cognitive techniques, alongside providing accurate information about aeroplanes and flying as a way to calm that fear. Some approaches make use of exposure techniques that could range from going to an airport, watching and listening to the sound of aeroplanes taking off and landing and then, where practical, sitting in a plane before then moving on to actually flying somewhere.

Of course, some of these elements are easier to realise than others to help you overcome your fear of flying. As long as it isn't too far, getting to an airport and watching and listening to planes is probably achievable. Actually arranging to sit on a stationary plane for a bit is harder to achieve and the opportunities for repeating this and subsequent steps become less and less. This is where virtual reality exposure can really nail the gap in your progress to reduce your fear before you actually fly.

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New fear of flying course - help to overcome flying nerves and anxiety:

Fear of flying is perhaps one of the most common fears and phobias around (along with the fears of public speaking and death). It's estimated that up to 25% of the population battle with the fear of flying.

This can lead to avoiding flying completely due to the fear and anxiety associated with it, or perhaps simply trying to force yourself through it and living with the uncomfortable thoughts and feelings that come with a flight. Other people may also use alcohol to try and numb the anxiety and help them relax or rely on prescribed medication such as diazepam. And, of course, all these methods can have negative and anxious connotations and consequences that make air travel something to be feared and limited.

I've helped many people to overcome their fear of flying and there is no doubt that hypnotherapy can be a very effective method of overcoming that aviophobia. Yet there is always a leap between the hypnotherapy sessions and then an actual flight. Unless you have easy access to a plane then there is not much scope for testing your therapeutic progress and for having an opportunity to put strategies and techniques into place. There isn't much scope for developing confidence and self-efficacy around flying.

Which is where my new fear of flying course comes in. I'm pretty excited at how well this can combine psychological processes along with education about flying, and the opportunity to put that learning and those calming techniques into practice in the cockpit.

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Does Mental Health Stigma Stop People Seeking Help?

A little while back marked the annual 'Time To Talk Day' which is part of the 'Time To Change' campaign to end mental health discrimination. The campaign encourages people to talk about mental health as a way of breaking down the barriers and stigma around the subject.

And, of course, showing support to others and creating a space where you can talk about and express feelings is a good thing. In my experience, many people still do not understand things like anxiety and depression unless or until they experience it for themselves. Being open, supportive and showing others that they matter is always important. If someone close to you wants to talk then be there for them; if someone close to you doesn't want to talk then be there for them.

There's little doubt that there is still much room for improvement in improving education, support and help for people struggling with mental health problems. Talking about mental health is good yet much more needs to be done for people to understand and feel able to actively seek the help they need (which is perhaps where many well-meaning 'just talking about it' groups come unstuck).

We could probably also have a long conversation about whether talking about 'stigma' inadvertently supports its existence. Some might argue that talking about it and highlighting it just re-enforces it because it keeps it in existence (if you follow me...if you keep telling people there is stigma and re-enforcing the idea in people's minds then it will always exist won't it?). Far better, in my opinion, to talk about what we do want - good mental health and appropriate support and recognition - and be the change we want to see.

Anyway, I could digress but here today I'm more interested in looking at whether mental health related stigma does in fact deter or stop people from seeking help.

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Relaxation Training For Anxiety - Could It Help You Ease Your Anxiety?

Like most weeks, this week I have been hugely busy helping many people to manage, reduce and overcome their anxiety. As part of that treatment, I always encourage people to find ways they can mentally, emotionally and physically calm things down a bit. After all, if you are more relaxed and calm for a while then your anxiety has to reduce a few levels doesn't it? 

Perhaps one of the best aspects about learning to feel calmer and more relaxed is that it is something anyone can do. Sure, with all those anxious thoughts and feelings it may take a bit of time and application, yet we are all biologically and naturally able to do so. We just need to learn methods that work for us and that we can incorporate into our daily lives.

And given that when we feel more relaxed we tend to feel better in ourselves and be able to think more clearly and rationally, it seems a little strange that relaxation training is often dismissed as 'just relaxation'. 

Earlier this week my regular bootcamp was cancelled twice in a row; once due to unsafe icy conditions and the other due to the illness of the instructor. Like many others who use exercise for their mental health and physical health I noticed a difference in how I felt without this usual release and focus. And certainly there is nothing I find more relaxing than lying in bed at night with a good book and getting absorbed in the story line (I love those classic crime novels!). I've also been using my Alexa a lot with the kids to play thinking games (like 'fact or fib' or 'escape room') so we all get some time away from the screen and have to use our brains a bit (even if my seven year old seems able to randomly guess the right answer in any true/false quiz and beat me time and time again!).

Finding time to relax certainly does pay dividends in reducing anxiety and helping mental health, yet could actual relaxation training also provide you with feeling better benefits? 

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Hypnosis - How Does It Work & What Are The Benefits? My Latest Good Zing Article:

"From managing anxiety to boosting confidence, a hypnotherapist breaks down how hypnosis works and how it can help you break bad habits." So begins my latest article for the fantastic Good Zing website. 

And as they write on their webiste, 'Good Zing is the best resource for you to find (*and share) all of the best wellbeing and self-care tips for specific issues – from dealing with everyday common physical ailments to emotional and mental health issues.'

My latest article is all about my take on what hypnosis is, how it can help you and with a bit about how hypnosis can help you with your anxiety (something I've also written about for their website in these earlier articles: Can Hypnotherapy Really Help Anxiety? and 5 Simple Ways To Shut Down Your Anxiety)

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Anxiety - How To Deal With Anxious Thoughts:

Phew! It's been a blistering start to the New Year and January is well and truly over already! How did that happen!

Hot on the heels of Christmas came my daughter's eleventh birthday one weekend, and a sleepover involving five over-excited (and then over-tired and over-sugared) ten and eleven year olds for her sleepover party. That was one loooonnnngggg night! And it wasn't helped by my seven year old who had to cram in to bed in between my wife and I, and who decided (in her sleep) that if her elbow hit something hard when she moved (my head) then the best thing was to keep elbowing it until it moved.

Being in the office and helping people to overcome their anxiety and other unwanted and unnecessary thoughts, feelings and behaviours has seemed like a rest compared to that night!!

On top of all that home stuff, and a return to bootcamp after the festive break (oh the muscle soreness!), I've been really busy helping people who have been struggling with anxiety and who want to break free from that ongoing cycle of anxious thoughts.

In this article I'm going to suggest some ways in which you can start to interrupt, challenge and let go of anxious thoughts so that your anxiety reduces and you can find yourself feeling more at ease, more relaxed and just generally feeling better mentally and physically.

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Sports Psychology: The Impact of Hypnosis on Athletic Performance:

As I write this, the weather here in the UK seems to have turned well and truly into a very cold and bitter winter. As I made my way to bootcamp this morning, the car thermometer was trying to kid me that it was one degree, yet clearly my car doesn't allow for the cold Eastern wind that sweeps across the Fens. Roll on Spring! 

Today was a good affair at camp where I felt pretty focused and kept my mind on each set, rather than allowing my thoughts to wander to what the next station entailed. Six minutes non-stop on each of six stations (each with two alternating exercises) certainly does require mental focus and the ability to shut up that nagging inner voice that wants you to slow down, or even better, stop and fall into a heap where you no longer need to carry your own body weight.

I work with a lot of athletes from all sorts of sports and with all sorts of personal goals who tend to have one factor in common: all of them want to perform to their best in their chosen sport. That might mean aiming to win, shooting for a personal best or wanting to improve focus, concentration and confidence. In all these cases, hypnotherapy has many tools that can beneficially aid them.

The other day I came across a wonderful research paper on this very subject of sports psychology and performance. This research set out to evaluate the efficacy of cognitive behavioural therapy with positive imagination of success during hypnosis on athletic performance. In this article I'll cover their findings.

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Anxiety and Uncertainty...And The Amazing Disappearing Rabbit!!

If you are currently dealing with anxiety, or even if anxious overthinking and worry are your habitual ways of thinking, then anything that involves uncertainty or waiting for something to arrive, like an appointment date, can lead to that anxiety escalating massively. 

In fact it can take over your every thinking moment. 

Those anxious thoughts can be there from the moment you open your eyes and all the way through to when you try to get to sleep at the end of the day (and you can find anxiety impacts on your dreams when you do sleep too, as I wrote about last year in this article, Anxiety and Dreaming - How Your Anxiety Impacts While You Sleep).

And here's the thing; when you are in the midst of some stressful or anxious moment and you can keep active and focused and 'doing stuff' then you probably feel at least a bit better. You may feel you are being productive, getting things done, taking action. You may feel like you are dealing with that anxious or stressful thing and that you are coping. That anxiety can, of course, come back to bite you when things calm down again and are quieter and you have less to occupy you.

Yet sometimes some of the trickiest times for anxiety and your mental health are those moments when there is nothing at all you can do, when you have to just sit back and wait for something to happen and where events are outside your control. What can we do then?

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How NLP can help you to overcome anxiety and depression (including what NLP is and how it can help):

When I first sought help to overcome my own anxiety, I was naturally attracted to the field of NLP, or to give it its full name, 'Neuro-Linguistic Programming.' It seemed to me to be the way to understand how our brains work and to make changes. 

Having experienced NLP with hypnosis with the hypnotherapist I saw to help me take back control over my thoughts and feelings, I was so inspired that I went on to learn all about it and now incorporate it in my sessions to help others to now manage their anxiety. 

So I was naturally curious and interested when I came across an Evening Standard article published recently by Samuel Fishwick called 'How NLP can help you to overcome anxiety and depression.' As he writes, 'Neuro-linguistic programming can translate anxiety into new ways of thinking'. Which is certainly true in my own experience of helping people with their anxiety and depression.

These days I rarely specifically refer to NLP with clients unless they know something about it already or ask about it specifically. Rather than point to NLP or another method or approach it works well to simply focus on what someone is currently thinking, feeling and doing and what they would rather be experiencing with particular people, places, times, situations and circumstances.

A while back I decided to further my knowledge of how to help people and completed another very thorough and comprehensive hypnotherapy diploma. Part of that course asked me to write about what NLP is and how certain techniques and ideas from NLP can be applied in therapy. So for all of you out there who want to know more about what NLP is, where it came from and how it can help you to overcome anxiety, depression and more, I've included a large part of my answer below.

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Fear of Flying - Calmly Taking To The Air in a Boeing 737

Another busy weekend has passed and I'm back in the office ready for a whole new week helping people to overcome limitations and make progress with their goals. As with most other weeks, Saturday was a trip to boot-camp before a fully booked day of clients, and Sunday was a seven mile run before relaxing with the kids. I even found time to have a little go on my ten year old 'original' x-box because there is nothing like a virtual reality game or Star Wars to mentally switch off from everything else. 

January has been manic with clients seeking to overcome anxiety, over-thinking, fear and worry. And whilst some fears are easier to approach in real life, such as overcoming driving fear by getting behind the wheel, fear of flying is much harder to re-create in real life (not many people have easy access to a plane!). Even though it is possible to overcome that flying fear, it is a little trickier to get the proof of change until the day of the actual flight (although most people notice they feel calmer and more relaxed beforehand).  

That's why last week I headed over to a flying simulator centre not far from me to progress our plans to create a course for overcoming fear of flying that combines the best of my psychological help with their knowledge and expertise of plans and flying, along with the opportunity to learn more and experience feeling calm and in control in the cockpit of a Boeing 737. It's a pretty awesome piece of kit and uses virtual reality to fill that gap of overcoming flying fear before your actual flight.

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Using Humour To Tackle Anxiety and Stress - Anxiety Relief with Laughter:

One of the things I'm really enjoying about having an Alexa at home is asking it to tell a joke each day. There's nothing that lifts the mood like a good joke is there? Or to be honest, even a bad joke that makes you grin and moan about how awful it is can lift the mood too.

The other day this was the joke of the day...'What's blue and smells like red paint?..........Blue paint!' That actually made me laugh out loud and I enjoyed it so much I've told it to dozens of people (I got a typical groan from my kids about how it's a 'dad joke'!). Come on: it's funny really!

And yesterday I was talking to a client about how we can use humour and laughter to reduce anxiety and stress. After all, if we are laughing (or even mildly chuckling) it's very hard to be anxious and stressed at the same time. And whether that simply lifts our mood for a while or makes those anxious thoughts seem a bit silly and so we get a change of perspective, making humour part of your coping strategy can really pay beneficial dividends.

Finding humour in things (or in general) can help us get a sense of perspective on our problems and issues as well as physically providing a release for tension and stress. In fact there is even a Coping Humour Scale which seeks to measure and understand how you use humour to handle problems (it asks you to rate on a scale things like: 'I have often found that my problems have been greatly reduced when I try to find something funny in them' and 'It has been my experience that humour is often a very effective way of coping with problems.').

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It's Peculiar People Day so celebrate your individual uniqueness!

Today is Peculiar People Day!! Now I bet you probably didn't know that...and nor did I until an e-mail mentioning it landed in my inbox. Yet it turns out that January 10th every year has indeed been assigned to be Peculiar People Day. So let's celebrate it!

Actually, when I saw the e-mail that mentioned it, I showed it to my wife and told her that they've finally created a day just for her!! I'm hilarious...

I've no idea where the idea came from or who decided that this day every year should be marked in celebration of the strange and unusual. The Days of the Year website describes it like this:

"Peculiar People Day is here to celebrate the leaders of the strange and unusual, those who refuse to succumb to the world’s idea of what is normal and sane. They challenge the status quo and utterly rebuke the concept that that which is out of the ordinary is bad. Whether they simply dress in their own style, or have very clear ideas of what is right and normal, Peculiar People Day is their opportunity to shine."

I'm not sure 'peculiar' is the word I'd use for those who do their own thing and express their own style and thoughts and ways of being. I think it's more about being unique and celebrating being who you are and who you choose to be.

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Hypnotherapy for Anxiety and Depression (and Happy New Year!):

Hello and Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful festive period and are all set and ready to have a fantastic 2019.

While busy enjoying my Christmas break, I was delighted to read a story in The Times about 'how hypnosis can sooth anxiety and depression'. A wonderful little piece about how effective hypnotherapy for anxiety has been at Southampton University and let's hope that many other universities and education establishments follow suit and get their mental health support in place. More on that story and the results of anxiety hypnosis in a bit.

I've got to say that this Christmas was one of the best I can remember. We had loads of fun playing cards and games, messing about, and trying to get our new Alexa to say funny stuff (my favourite so far is asking 'how much is that doggy in the window?' - and 'is this the way to Amarillo?' was pretty amusing too). Although if my daughter shouts for the Imagine Dragons to be played (again...and again...and again) then I may have to work out how to make it only listen to my voice!

The one thing I miss most over Christmas is boot camp! With all the eating and the lack of routine, I made sure to get to bootcamp on Christmas Eve (in my Christmas jumper) before using some of the spare time away from the office to get out for a few shorts runs. And right after the big day, we all headed off to the Ely Panto which is always a brilliant show and well worth booking in for. There was also time to head over to watch Ely City play Haverhill, a pretty even contest even though Ely ultimately lost.

And now, being back in the office for a few days I've already had the chance to help people to reduce anxiety, end unwanted thoughts, increase self-esteem and tackle their fears. It's all set to be another great year of anxiety-busting and confidence building! 

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Top 10 Blogs of 2018 from Dan Regan Hypnotherapy:

As another year starts to draw to a close I always like to take a quick look back on some of the highlights and successes over the last 12 months.

This year I've once again been able to help many scores of people to overcome their anxiety, worry and fear, as well as making many, many other positive changes. You can read the feedback of some of my clients this year in the What People Say section of this website. I've also been able to revamp my hypnosis download shop and expand the number of titles and I've received a ton of good feedback from people benefitting from these audios.

And over the course of the year I've written over eighty articles about subjects such as improving your mental health, extinguishing anxiety and ways to interrupt negative thinking and overthinking. Thank you for reading them!

In this article I've sifted through the stats and have the top ten most read blogs of 2018 for you to read and enjoy (for those of us old enough to remember the Top of the Pops chart countdown, I can't help but have the music they used in my head as I write this!).  

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Scrooge, the Ghost of Christmas Future and Increasing Motivation:

The Christmas countdown is in full swing in the Regan household as the big day continues to rush towards us all. The advert calendars are into single figures, Santa has been seen during his pre-Christmas tour and I've managed to wrap a whole load of presents a whole week early (wrapping has got to be THE dullest thing ever!). 

Yesterday the kids and I decided to check whether my wife was on the good list (and so would get lots of nice presents), or the naughty list (which would save me a lot of money!). We wrapped two presents and labelled them A and B and she had to choose one of them without touching either. After much deliberation she went for present A, which was a bag of potatoes and means she has failed to make Santa's good list this year!! 

Speaking of getting into the Christmas spirit, the kids have been endlessly practicing their Christmas songs ready for their school concert and I've just finished reading 'A Christmas Carol' after realising to my shame that I've never actually read the book before and have up until now only seen the film versions.

And it's that story of Scrooge and his redemption that has inspired my latest hypnotherapy vlog which you can watch below.

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Anxiety & Your Imagination - Hypnotherapy Vlog and New Research:

In my last article I wrote about anxiety and how your imagination interacts with it, following my trip to the Rochester Dickensian Christmas Festival. Anxiety driven imagination leads to thoughts about things going wrong or badly in some way. Your mind seeks to interpret the cause of the anxiety and it flows into all those unwanted scenarios that can fill you with dread, fear and worry.

Anxiety fuelled imagination strengthens that cycle of anxious thoughts and feelings and can lead to avoidance behaviours and that sensation that something bad is going to happen.

I've recorded a brand new hypnotherapy vlog for you about this very subject - anxiety and your imagination - and you can watch that further down the page.

And interestingly, not long after I recorded it, a new piece of research came out on this very subject which talks about how you can use your imagination to extinguish anxiety and fears.

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Anxiety and Imagination - The Rochester Dickensian Christmas Festival:

This past weekend was spent at the fabulous Dickensian Christmas Festival, down in Rochester in Kent. I wrote recently about how we can use the message of a Christmas Carol with Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Future to help us take action and make decisions right now that will cause us to live the life we want to live (go and check that article out if you haven't already).

In this article I'm mainly talking about anxiety and how our imagination and thinking can intensify those unwanted anxiety-filled thoughts, feelings, behaviours and emotions.

One thing I love about the work of Dickens is how he took experiences from his own life and the people and places around him and incorporated those into his stories to bring them to life. You only have to stroll down the main street in Rochester to notice all the plaques on the buildings describing how that place appeared in a certain novel of his. Rather than just creating everything from a blank canvas, Dickens took real life and wove it into the fabric of his work. It's certainly one of the ways that he brought his work to life and gave it that essence of being realistic and believable to us readers.

And if you are struggling with anxiety you may very well be able to relate to that process. Anxiety has a way of taking the people, places and situations around you and starting to distort them in your imagination into all sorts of worst case scenarios. And just like a good Dickens novel, the more you get absorbed in them, the more they come to life in your mind and the more your anxiety escalates.

All those 'what if this happens?' type of thoughts can grow and grow until everything seems like a disaster waiting to happen that will lead to bad outcomes, negative consequences and you feeling even worse. Your mind goes into overdrive seeking out those possible future threats so that you can prepare for them or avoid them, yet because most of it is anxiety-fuelled distortion and perception, you may find there is no escape from your own thinking.

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Dickens, Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Future:

Shops have started playing Christmas songs and the kids have started opening their advent calendars and that can only mean one thing: that we are on the ever-escalating countdown to Christmas.

This past weekend I took the family down to Rochester in Kent for our first visit to the annual Dickensian Christmas Festival. It was a far cry weather wise from the summer Dickens' Festival we went to and this time we spent more time trying to keep warm and dry rather than trying to find shade from the summer's blazing heat.

There were street entertainers doing short plays, magic and music, a chance to have a go at bell ringing (which my daughter got told she is a natural at!) and as many people dressed in Dickensian clothes or as characters from Dickens' novels as you want to spare the time to look at. There was also an absolutely ram-packed Christmas market and the kids loved going on the rides (except the scary ride which was over before it began for my two). And let's not forget the candle light procession and the 'guaranteed snow' (pumping out from machines around the town) that created a wonderful wintry atmosphere.. 

Now I love all this kind of stuff: the characters, the street entertainment and so forth. There is so much to watch and do that it takes all of your focus and you find yourself very much in the present mentally and free from all the other day to day stuff that can so often be there the rest of the time.

One particular street play I stopped to watch was a very well put together and funny rendition of a Christmas Carol, where Scrooge is visited by three ghosts (or four if you count Jacob Marley) who represent the ghosts of past, present and future. And it always reminds me of a particular hypnotherapy technique that can be useful where someone is seeking motivation or isn't doing something that they know they really need or ought to be doing.

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Ely Festive 5k - Santa boosted Mental Health:

This weekend marked the annual Ely Festive 5k, where a few hundred people (mostly) dress up in their finest festive gear and walk, jog and run around the streets of Ely. 

And, in what is fast becoming a family tradition, I dusted off my white beard and red hat, reminded my daughter that yes, she really had said she wanted to do the Ely run again this year, and headed to the start line alongside the fabulous Ely Cathedral. 

It's always a fun occasion and there is always a lot of friendly chat and encouragement from fellow runners on the way around. All of which helped me to cope with over thirty minutes of continuous moaning from my daughter about how a) every part of her ached b) she couldn't breathe and c) how she was never, ever, going to do this again (all of which are also fast becoming part of the annual tradition!!). But bless here she finished it and even managed a sprint finish over the last 50 metres AND she did it quicker than in any of the previous years. 

I think the awesome chocolate orange brownie she tucked into at the end helped to ease some of the 'suffering' and her next day muscle soreness will soon pass too (although not before a rather achy PE lesson at school!). And, of course, she felt better after having done the run and a sense of satisfaction in telling others of her endeavours.

I've written many times about the mental health benefits of being active... and I'm sure there must be research that dressing as Santa boosts mental health too! Anyway, before the run we popped into the office to record a short video...although it got overtaken a bit by my daughter experiencing a bit of an issue behind me!! 

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Misophonia - Dealing With Noise Sensitivity & Anxiety:

Some sounds can be just plain irritating and annoying. Sounds such as the high pitch scream of a dentist's drill or someone drilling a hole in a wall can set you on edge and make you want to move away.

Yet with misophonia, which literally means 'the hatred of sound', that noise sensitivity can send you into a rage and fill you with overwhelming stress, anxiety and anger. And it will often be sounds such as chewing, eating and the repetitive clearing of a throat, that is enough to make certain situations unbearable.

With Christmas approaching, and the prospect of sufferers trying to cope with, or avoid, eating with others, misphonia has received some press coverage recently.

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Should you wait until you feel like it? My latest hypnotherapy vlog:

Yesterday morning my alarm went off at 5.30am, something that has become much more of a regular occurrence of late. That's the time I need to get up to get ready if I'm going to get to bootcamp on time.  It's one of my least favourite moments of the week and it's repeated up to three times a week. 

As I tentatively opened my eyes to the realisation that it was still pitch black outside, every part of my mind and body was whispering for me to stay under the warm duvet and give it a miss. It was cold out there!

If you asked me in those first minutes if I felt like getting up, getting ready and going out to exercise in the dark and cold, I can promise you that the answer would have been a very clear and very precise 'no way!'

No matter how much I love and enjoy bootcamp, no part of me in that moment feels like running around, doing countless burpees and press ups or lifting some weights.  Yet I still get up and do it because I know how much better I will feel afterwards; I know the positive outcomes that await me.

And it's true even when we look at issues such as anxiety. 

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Some Thoughts On Grief - New Hypnotherapy Vlog:

This weekend marked the Armistice 2018 and a chance to take some time to remember those who served during the First World War, on the centenary of its conclusion, along with paying tribute and remembering those who have served in other conflicts on behalf of their country.

Here in Ely there was a march to lay wreaths at the Memorial and, in the evening, there was a Beacon of Light service that included the playing of the Last Post, a very well observed two minutes' silence and the lighting of the new beacon, along with the ringing out of the Church bells. It really was a very moving and poignant reminder of 100 years since the signing of the Armistice.

I always think it's very important that we all pay tribute and take a few moments on this day and it was very pleasing to hear my kids talking about it from things they had learnt at school.  

As well as paying tribute to those who have served and, in many cases, given the ultimate sacrifice, this past week has marked the fifth anniversary of the death of my father from cancer, which has naturally led to me thinking about grief and the loss of a loved one. I've recorded a short video about some of my thoughts around grief that I share with you below.

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Triathlon Sports Performance - Sports Psychology Video Testimonial:

As I write this I can already feel my legs starting to seize up a bit from this morning's 6.30am bootcamp. As much as I love the feeling after I've completed it (because it's so blinking intensely tough!), sometimes during it I have to dig deep to stay focused and in the right mental space to keep going.

Anyone who takes part in a sport knows that their mind-set is just as important, and often more so, than their physical state. If you want to be able to focus, keep good technique, push through the burn and get the job done. Then there are times when you've really got to be in control of your inner dialogue. If you aren't in control of your mind-set then it's easy to give up or to think you can't do it or to let any other amount of negative mind chatter take over. We've all been there and the more fatigued you get, the more that little negative voice can start to pipe up.

It's something that, along with physical strength, I continually try and work upon in my own exercise, and it's something that I often help others with in sessions. Developing your sports psychology capability can have huge beneficial impacts on your sports performance and getting the most out of yourself when you want or need to.

The other day, Ashley popped into the office to record a short video testimonial about how his sports psychology sessions had helped him with his most recent Ironman triathlon performance. You can check out what he said about his sessions below.

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Hypnotherapy to help you stop smoking:

When it comes to quitting smoking with hypnosis and hypnotherapy, we need to be clear from the outset. Any quit smoking programme involves motivation, commitment, effort and doing stuff. There is no way of passively becoming a non-smoker (successfully) - even someone switching to e-cigarettes has to take some action and go and get them and use them.

All of which, of course, means that there is no single system that will help everyone. And, in my opinion, there is no way to quit without putting in that effort, and for some, a good deal of determination and persistence.

This weekend I worked with a lovely lady who wanted to quit smoking her roll-ups. She'd smoked them for fifteen or more years and had never said no to a cigarette and had never gone a whole day without one. Before I sit down with anyone for the hypnosis session, there are several pre-quitting actions to take. Again, the more someone invests there time and energy in these the greater the likely reward. In this case, by taking those steps this lady went from 20 a day to averaging less than six a day during that week before she actually quit. Now that is solid motivation and commitment.

Of course, results vary from person to person, but hypnotherapy certainly is a valid option for many. 

Just recently I was invited to write for the awesome Good Zing website about how hypnotherapy can help someone to quit smoking.

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New Hypnosis Downloads - I've been back in the studio:

I've been back into the recording studio and have some awesome new hypnosis downloads available that are being added to the ever-growning range over on my hypnosis download shop.

I get loads of wonderful positive feedback from people who use my audios for things like controlling anxiety and increasing confidence. Some people have kindly left their feedback for you to read over on the shop, although many, many more tell me in e-mails and in person how much they benefit from repeated listening. And do remember that you can grab a copy of my free rapid relaxation hypnosis download by just filling in your details here: Free Hypnosis Download (you have downloaded your copy, right?!).

Although I've been to the studio quite a few times now, it's always a slightly surreal experience for me. I mean, it's just like one of those studios you see that popstars use on TV, with the headphones and microphone on the performer and a sound engineer sitting behind a screen with some massive deck of switches and dials. And with Christmas just around the corner (sorry all you 'not to be mentioned until December' people!), I always have a slightly mischievous temptation to burst into song...although if you've heard me sing then you can guess that my 'Classic Christmas Hits' double CD wouldn't be troubling Sir Cliff and that Buble fella for sales.

And if you ever want to get over that thing of not liking hearing a recording of your voice then this is one way to soon get over it. After listening to large parts of your own recordings out loud while the engineer cuts out all your (many!) mistakes, you'll soon start to become indiifferent to how different your voice sounds out loud compared to in your own head.

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What are you focusing on? Things you can't control, or those you can?

The other day I was chatting with someone who was telling me all about a co-worker who, in their opinion, wasn't pulling their weight at work. They also told me about a conversation they had with someone over the phone and how they didn't like that other person's opinion or the tone of how they expressed it. All of these things were so prevalent in their mind that it was stressing them out and keeping them awake at night.

In another conversation, a client told me about how angry he gets when someone cuts him up in the car, or if he thinks they drive too slowly. That anger would lead to shouting and cursing. That emotion and those thoughts could take over his whole day.

And I think we could all reel off dozens of other examples; the way that e-mail was phrased, the look on someone else's face, that worry about what others think about us, that thing that doesn't go to plan, that person who is late, that response we get that isn't what we expected or wanted, that person who didn't say thank you when we let them pass or we did them a kind deed. 

It's so easy to get caught in the cycle of focusing on things that we can't do much about and then finding that those thoughts and that focus leads to us experiencing wave after wave of negative emotion.

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Could thinking the worst make you happier (and reduce anxiety and stress)?

Sometimes we all have to think about the worst case. Whether it's when taking out any type of insurance in case something bad happens, or when you get your will drafted, or even just when someone is very ill or sick and there's a need for planning. Because sometimes contemplating the worst case is an important aspect of planning ahead and being prepared. 

Of course, thinking or contemplating the worst case is very different to worrying about it or getting anxious about it. With anxiety, our anxious brain can start to imagine the worst in just about anything and everything, and because it is imagined in such an impactful and 'real' way, it can cause those unwanted feelings to seriously spike. 

But could deliberately thinking about bad things happening to us actually reduce anxiety and stress and become happier?

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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 rein 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 behavioural 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 Behavioural 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 scheduled 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 Behavioural Therapy include Hypnosis for better results?

Some may consider it a big question, but should cognitive behavioural 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 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


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 (

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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Could therapy make you feel worse? The Dan Regan Hypnotherapy Blog:

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 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



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:

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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.


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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:


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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.


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.

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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.

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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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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?

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Do you have a habit of thinking the worst and then feeling stressed and anxious?

To stop catastrophizing use these steps:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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. 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


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 

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?

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