Problems and Challenges:

If there is one thing that is certain in life (apart form death and taxes...), it's that you will inevitably encounter challenges and problems along the way. Sometimes life can seem relatively smooth sailing but there will always be times when things are more tricky and there are obstacles to be navigated and addressed.

Many people when faced with problems find themselves getting stressed and anxious, and they may try to ignore it or find themselves fearful of dealing with it. Problems become things filled with anxiety, struggle and negativity that we would rather avoid, even though we know such things are bound to arise from time to time.

Your mindset and attitude when faced with problems and challenges will decide whether you experience anxiety, dread and worry, or whether you find the strength and resilience you need to tackle it. Problems and challenges are inevitable but (in most cases) they can have a positive side that helps you to learn, engage your mind and get better at handling things.

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Thank you NHS (Again!) - Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket

As I write this the sun is scorching outside, the shops have reopened and more lockdown easing is due imminently. While we all need to take social distancing and hand washing precautions, I've been sensing a shift in the general atmosphere towards life restarting and returning to much more normality. Whether or not you think that's a good thing, I hope that within the whirlwind of the pandemic there have been some positives for you that you can take forward in what you do or how you do it.

During the pandemic there was a mass outpouring of gratitude for the work of the NHS and other key workers. For those of us working from home and staying at home during lockdown and viewing all the pandemic news on TV, I think it seemed strange to think there were people going about their business almost routinely.

Early on in lockdown I recorded a short video to say thanks to the NHS and all key workers for what they were doing during the pandemic. At that time things were definitely still escalating and uncertain. 

I've been helping clients who are key workers with issues such as anxiety and stress, and some of the stories they've told me of life on the front line are pretty harrowing, particularly for those in the NHS faced with the risks and consequences of the coronavirus each day.

So as lockdown relaxes once again and we all continue to adjust, it's a good time to once again give thanks and to make sure we remember our gratitude into the future.

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Know Your Why To Achieve Your Goals:

Yesterday morning my alarm went off at 6am so I could be up and out for a run in time to get back and ready for work. The alarm went off as planned and I awoke to the sound of the rain lashing against the window. It was torrential! In that moment I started to wonder about postponing my run and going another, unspecified time. Yet I knew that if I didn't go then, I wouldn't have time later that day and I'd miss my planned run.

It's times like these when having your 'whys' at the forefront of your mind matters. Your 'why' is all the motivations and reasons you have for achieving a goal, the things you want and desire in your life, and those things that annoy and frustrate you that you no longer want and are moving away from.

Many people find their motivation is strong when they first start taking action to achieve something. Whether it's eating healthier, drinking less, stopping smoking, exercising or taking action to overcome anxiety and build confidence, in that moment when you decide you need to do something about it, your mindset and your emotions are pumped up and you are committed. 

Yet over time that initial burst of enthusiasm can start to wane. Time passes and those things become less compelling. Life gets busy and you don't find the time or mental energy to take the actions consistently. Or maybe you get some initial success and start to feel good but then that gives you reason to ease back rather than push on. And maybe, as often happens, you encounter setbacks, frustrations or challenges and you give up.

That's why you need strong enough reasons, they push you on and they keep you focused and resilient, even in the most challenging times (like when it's pouring down and windy and you need to get out of your comfortable bed and put your trainers on). Your whys give you persistence, motivation and tenacity to keep going.

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My Birthday Learnings and Mental Health - Hypnotherapy in Ely

So just the other day was my birthday and, as my kids like to remind me, I'm getting even older every year! My kids, of course, are still at those ages where every birthday (like every Christmas) is a very big deal indeed and how old someone is remains a key piece of information to discover and remember.

It was a lovely sunny day (like the day I was born, according to my Mum) and, despite the ongoing restrictions from the covid-19 pandemic, we had a lovely day spending time together. We went out for a walk in nature, grabbed a first coffee shop coffee for thirteen or so weeks and then played some games together. And around all that I managed to do a workout and play on my guitar too. A great day all round!

Now I don't know about you but I'm a bit of a thinker. I like to contemplate things and run them over in my mind a while. And one thing I aim to do every day, and that I suggest my clients do too, is to start the day thinking of three things they are looking forward to that day, and then reflect back last thing on three highlights or positives from the day. It's a great habit that helps you think more positively and recognise progress, rather than going through each day focused on the negative, being mentally on auto-pilot or being so busy thinking of the next thing that you neglect to notice how far you've come.

And there were three things in particular that are related to mental health that I noticed and appreciated and that are a useful reminder to me to make more of, and not just on birthdays.

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Ely Office Has Now Reopened! Hypnotherapy in Ely!

It's been thirteen (or so) weeks since the covid-19 lockdown was introduced and I'm delighted to say that my Ely hypnotherapy office is now back open for business!

Whilst I've continued to work with people online via Skype and Zoom, particularly for anxiety, worry and stress, it's fantastic that I can now welcome you to my hypnotherapy in Ely office for face to face appointments once again. 

As you would expect, there are a few covid-19 adjustments to how things are organised now, to minimise risks and to keep you safe. You can find all the details here: Covid-19 Safety 

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Why Do Some People Break Lockdown Rules?

 The past weekend has seen some of the hottest temperatures of the year here in England. And with that, hundreds of people have headed to the beach and other open areas to enjoy the sunshine. As I write this, gatherings have only today been relaxed a bit so that you can meet up to five other people outdoors, as long as you maintain social distancing. 

Yet throughout lockdown there has been case after case of people not following the lockdown rules and guidance. From high profile people who get 'caught out' publicaly to people you may have seen in your own neighbourhood. Even the figures on the daily briefing sldes suggest that about 20% of people have admitted going out other than for allowed reasons and where I live I would say that the figure is much higher. From street parties to visiiting family, and despite the number of deaths approaching forty thousand, some people have seemingly put their own needs above the interests of us all.

So why is that? Why do some people break lockdown rules?

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Update On Ely Office Reopening For Face To Face Hypnotherapy Sessions:

Well, it's been quite some time since lockdown started hasn't it?! While I've been busy helping people over Zoom and Skype with mental health issues such as anxiety, stress and worry, I've missed seeing clients face to face at the office.

The latest from the Government suggests that it will be mid- to late June before I can safely open up the Ely office. Bear in mind that this timeline very much depends on how things progress with other easings of the lockdown that are happening. Fingers crossed I'll soon be able to welcome you back here to help with all your mental health needs.

I recorded this short video with some details about reopening for face to face hypnotherapy sessions (which is worth watching just for how hard I make it look to put on a face mask!!):

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Boost Mental Health By Sitting Less and Moving (or Sleeping) more

A whole mass or evidence demonstrates that being sedentary is bad for your mental health and physical health. And a further mass of research shows the positive impact on mental health issues such as anxiety, stress and depression, from exercise.

The link between moving more and better mental health is pretty conclusive and widely recognised. I mean, even this week in the Government coronavirus briefing, there was talk about the benefits of exercise for your mental health (featuring the Health secretary and Welsh ex-footballer Robbie Savage!).

Now if you've been following any of my posts or articles for a while you may have gathered that I'm a bit of an exercise nut. From hating PE at school through to running and bootcamp, exercise has become an integral part of my routine, lifestyle and wellbeing. Although sometimes I still have to have a word with myself and push myself to get into gear and get started on moving.

Throughout the covid-19 lockdown I've managed to keep going with three runs a week and three bootcamp sessions (in the garden...which is now more mud and dust and less grass where I've worn it away slamming my tyre!).

Yet the lockdown and working from home has also meant more time for sitting and that kind of low energy expenditure stuff. From working at home on my laptop (like right now) to watching a film with the kids, there has been more time than usual being sedentary.

We know long periods or a lot of sedentary time is bad for your mental health, so what should you be doing with that time instead? Should you be doing high intensity exercise or are there other, less intense, things that can boost your psychological wellbeing?

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Mindfulness and Hypnosis

Lockdown is easing and the sun is out. It's a perfect time to pause and just enjoy the warmth of the sun, the sound of the birds and the blueness of a cloudless sky. Sometimes being present in this very moment is a wonderful thing to experience.

Rather than letting your mind fill with stuff from the past that has already happened, or imagining the future which has yet to happen, it can be beneficial to be in the here and now. This is something that is very much a central element of mindfulness. 

Mindfulness, which originates from Buddhist philosophy and practice, can be defined as the non-judgmental, accepting experience of the present, as it unfolds moment by moment. Rather than letting your mind wander or thinking about things that have happened or might happen, mindfulness involves paying attention to present moment experiences. You pay attention to your thoughts, feelings and sensations with an attitude of openness and acceptance.

In recent years, mindfulness has become a major player in the field of mental health, particularly in the field of stress reduction.  While often treated as a discreet activity (e.g. mindfulness meditation), you can also be active and doing things with a sense of mindfulness (something I've covered before).

With its increasing profile, and with its clear overlap with elements of hypnosis, here in this article I've covered the research into mindfulness hypnosis for reducing stress, the benefits of mindfulness and their relationship with each other in therapy. 

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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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