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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