Hypnosis is Conscious and Voluntary:

There are still many out there who think that hypnosis is some form of 'mind control' where they will be asked to stare at a swinging watch while the hypnotist quietly takes over their brain. 

Which of course is a long, long way from what actually goes on around here.

There are actually still many hypnotherapists who still rely on flawed notions of the existence an all powerful 'unconscious' or 'subconscious' mind in their work. They believe that by communicating with an actual thing called the unconscious mind they can help people to make changes. But a quick look at the anatomy of the brain tell us that there is no actual bit of us all called the unconscious mind. Of course, we do many things nonconsciously, from the bodily function like digestion and the beating of our heart, to habits and patterns that we follow through our day.   

So I was very pleased to read a new scientific report today called, 'Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Demonstrates That Hypnosis Is Conscious and Voluntary'. I mean, how exciting is that, to have fMRI brain scans showing what is going on during hypnosis?

Read more ... →

The haters gonna hate, the fakers gonna fake...how to shake it off:

Life's a funny old thing isn't it? One moment everything is swimming along nicely and then, out of the blue, comes some sort of challenge that knocks things a bit off balance and swallows up your time and energy.

Take last week for instance when someone decided to abandon their car in the office car park (minus a wheel for some reason!). What a faff about that became for everyone involved here, trying to resolve it and make alternative arrangements for parking. But hey, what are you going to do, shout at the car to move? Get stressed out and angry about it? The car would still be there however much negative emotion and wasted thinking anyone would care to do (it's no longer there by the way!).

And then only this week, my wife received an aggressive phone call from another parent accusing one of the girls of being responsible for all sorts of stuff involving her son. Rather than seeking to establish fact and understand the situation it seems this parent decided to launch into what later transpired to be a free-flowing emotional torrent of exaggerations, distortions and plain falsehoods. And I get it, because I think most of us want to think that our kids are well behaved saints when at school and that they could never say a mean word or carry out a mean act. I mean, not one's own children! No way! 

Read more ... →

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. 

Read more ... →

Beat The Boredom & Start Enjoying Things More Again:

Do you ever find yourself feeling like you are in a bit of a rut, doing the same things in the same old way and no longer enjoying things like you used to? If so, new research has suggested a way to break through that boredom and rediscover that sense of enjoyment.

One thing I often talk to clients about is how we are all very much creatures of habit and pattern. Most of us do things in the same way that we always do in most situations, which is usually by doing things like we did the time before. We get up in the morning and follow our usual routine that gets us out of the door on time, we eat the same foods, watch the same TV programmes and travel the same routes.  

And often that's pretty useful isn't it? We can get stuff done while running a bit on auto-pilot and thinking of other stuff. However, on the flip side, it can lead to a bit of boredom and that feeling of going through the motions like a hamster on a wheel. And when the things we usually enjoy start to become a bit boring and mundane that our sense of fulfilment and joy can start to diminish, often this impacts on our mental health that reverberate in other aspects of our lives.

Read more ... →

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.

Read more ... →

World Class Visualisation Can Carry You a Long Way:

It's been scorching hot recently hasn't it? And as the heat wave has continued (thank goodness for the air con in my office!), the other Sunday it was just too hot to even go outside anywhere. It really was that hot.

And so I took the opportunity to do some ironing (that's how I roll!), which probably made no sense because whilst trying to stay inside and keep cool I was holding a very hot thing next to me! Anyway, whilst doing some pretty poor quality ironing, I stumbled across a TV programme about the long jumper Mike Powell and his record breaking jump at the 1991 World Championships. At the time Carl Lewis was the king of athletics and it was fascinating to hear about the intense level of competition between them.

Whilst talking about his world record jump, he described a neat little visualisation process that he used to help him stay focussed and perform to the best of his ability. I'll cover that in a minute.

Read more ... →

New hypnosis downloads coming soon:

I'm often getting asked to record new hypnosis downloads so earlier this week I headed back into the recording studio to create a couple more new hypnosis tracks that will soon be available for you (keep an eye on my Hypnosis Download pages).

The new audios are to help boost self-esteem and to let go of anxious thoughts, and I also took the chance to update the free Rapid Relaxation audio you can get when you sign up for my newsletter (the new version will have a much higher quality of sound). 

I always love hearing from people who have used my hypnosis downloads on how much of a positive impact they have had for them so I hope that you will enjoy and benefit from these new ones too.

Read more ... →

Anxiety - Taking Back Control Over Worst Case Scenarios:

In a recent blog I wrote about the Rochester Dickens Festival and how Charles Dickens was a master of taking what was around him, such as the people and buildings, and crafting them in his imagination into wonderful tales that are vividly full of life.

Which is a bit like what happens when you have anxiety. You take some piece of what is going around you, such as how you are feeling and the people, places and situations you experience, and you vividly imagine things going in the worst possible way in the future. That might mean running anxious scenarios about embarrassing yourself or failing in some way, scenarios about being anxious and panicky in front of others or any other type of worst case that fills you with dread and anxiety when you think about it happening.

Which shows just how powerful our imagination is, because just by vividly imagining something that may or may not actually happen, you can find your emotions becoming overwhelming, even to the point that you try and avoid stuff completely.

But of course, however strong and 'real' these imagined scenarios are in your mind, they aren't facts at all, simply because they haven't happened yet and may never happen. Anxious worst case scenarios are actually just things we are making up in our minds, based upon our current habits, perceptions and emotions.

And as Mark Twain is credited with saying, 'I've had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.' He also described how 'worry is like paying a debt you don't owe' - I like that quote a lot.

So how can we take back control over anxiety and diffuse those worst case scenarios?

Read more ... →

The Rochester Dickens Festival & The Power of Your Anxious Imagination:

Last weekend I headed down to Kent with my family for the Rochester Dickens Festival. Now if you've never come across this fantastic event, it celebrates all things related to the author, Charles Dickens, as he had a strong connection with the town (many locations in Rochester appear in his books).

We first discovered the festival one year when, after completing a marathon down the road in the morning, we headed into Rochester, as the nearest town in the afternoon and found ourselves amongst dozens and dozens of people dressed up as characters from Dickens' novels and in period costume. 

We headed back this year just to be part of the festival as it is such a fun and enjoyable event. There's the procession of all the people in costume down the High Street and led by Fagin (form Oliver Twist) and the local pipe band, there are many different street performances, a fun fair by the Castle and a wonderful, welcoming and friendly atmosphere throughout. I absolutely loved it!

I even got my own line in a quick fire drama performance of Oliver Twist that took place in the street. So ok, I got to say one thing but I think I carried the whole show with my perfect delivery! Actually, after holding up a sign that said 'Ahhhhhh' and getting the whole crowd to say it, the guy on stage turned to me and said 'now you sir, on your own!' But still, I gave a great impromptu delivery of it in my own humble thespian opinion!

Something I always find interesting it to think back on how such a moment on the spot would have terrified me in my anxious days. I'd have been fearful of the possibility of any involvement in front of such a crowd, and would have mentally beaten myself up about it afterwards. Nowadays I just thought it was quite funny and teased my kids about how they could tell everyone back at school about how I'm such a star! 

Dickens himself was a fantastic story teller, which is why his novels and TV adaptations of them, remain so popular to this day. And in much the same way as Dickens drew upon the people and places around him in his stories, so we all draw upon our perceptions and what we see, hear, feel and think to create our own story about who we are and what we believe ourselves capable and worthy of in life. 

And in much the same way as Dickens used his creativity and imagination to engage his readers and listeners, so with anxiety, you can find that you imagine all sorts of worst case scenarios and possible unwelcome outcomes. And even when you deal with one scenario, you may well find that the anxiety simply flows into some other scenarios of things going badly, even if that is just worry that you may feel anxious.  

Read more ... →

A very brief history of hypnosis:

I think any professional hypnotherapist should continue to pursue their learning and development and so for that reason, last year I decided to undertake another hypnotherapy qualification course to go with the qualifications I already held. The field of hypnosis and hypnotherapy, like all of psychology disciplines, continues to grow and evolve and it's important to keep abreast of the latest developments, particularly from the field of research, and to take on board other points of view and schools of thinking, rather than being wedded to only one approach or programme. I want to make sure I am offering the best possible advice and service to benefit my clients.

Whilst many hypnotherapists turn their back on an evidence based approach, I think it provides useful clarity and insights that can be adapted to help you achieve your goals.

Part of my research for the course included writing a brief summary of how hypnosis and hypnotherapy have evolved over time.  The field of hypnosis has a very long history and continues to evolve and develop to this day, yet for those interested, here is a brief overview of how things have adapted and changed over the years.

Read more ... →