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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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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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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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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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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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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