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 willower, 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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