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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