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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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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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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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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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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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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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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