Why You Should Be Kind To Yourself - The Benefits of Self-Compassion:

Do you find it easy and natural to be kind to yourself? Are you able to reassure yourself in times of adversity? Or perhaps you have a tendency to be self-critical, pointing out every perceived mistake you make and feeling like you don't even like who you are.

I work with many people who have a habitual tendency to be harsh towards themselves and who judge themselves negatively. And it can be associated with many mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. There are certainly few benefits to be gained, and not much respite to be had, from living your life being your own harshest critic. 

That's not to say that you need to strut about thinking that you are the best thing since sliced bread, yet being kind to yourself and exercising self-compassion has many benefits that mean you can encourage yourself, feel comfortable in your own skin and reassure yourself when dealing with challenges or adversity.

It can be easy, when things go wrong, or when faced with adversity or rejection, to turn the blame and criticism inwards and be harsh with yourself. However, a relatively recent piece of research has added to the study of the benefits of self-compassion which adds to the weight of knowledge about why you should be kind to yourself and develop self-compassion. 

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Overcoming Anxiety & Fear after Serious Road Traffic Accident:

There's no doubt that being involved in a serious road traffic accident can have huge consequences upon your life. I've helped people who were in a car, driving or as a passenger, that was involved in an accident and the shock and panic experienced stops them getting back into a vehicle. 

Once a panic attack has been experienced in any situation, the anxiety and worry about having another one, combined with the dread and worry about the situation itself, can be enough to lead to avoidance and other safety seeking behaviours. 

One client I have helped, and whose video testimonial is below, came to me after being involved in a serious road traffic accident as a cyclist. One minute she was enjoying cycling down a country road as part of training for an upcoming event, then in a flash of a moment, she found herself having been thrown off her bike, a car having hit her from behind.

Not only did she have the physical injuries to recover from, and come to terms with, she also had the anxiety, fear and worry about whether she would ever be able to get back on her bike again and dealing with the often difficult consequences on her life as a result of the accident. Her story is massively inspirational and this lady is well worth paying attention to for how far she has come since that fateful day.

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Emetophobia - A Fear of Vomiting:

Recently emetophobia, or the fear of vomiting, has been something cited by quite a few clients as either the main thing they are struggling with, or as part of their wider anxiety and panic issues.

While most of us can happily and calmly eat whatever we chose and go from place to place relatively worry free, someone with a phobia of vomiting can find their life becomes pretty restricted and filled with the potential for panic. There may be worry about going places where people may be sick (or places associated with themselves or others having vomited in the past), you may worry about contact with others and look to see whether they may look ill or likely to vomit (e.g. if they are vigorously coughing) and you may restrict what you will eat and worry that you may be sick.

A phobia of vomiting can manifest itself in three main ways: a fear that you may vomit yourself, a fear of others vomiting (which could lead to you catching something that makes you vomit) and a fear of vomiting in front of others and being embarrassed or judged negatively by them.

Certainly clients I've helped have described avoiding foods to reduce the risk of being sick, staying away from people who have had a bug and panicking if they think someone near them may vomit. For most of us casually saying we feel sick or mimicking vomiting is just a bit of fun; for someone with emetophobia it could add to a whole spiral of worry, tension and fear.

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Coping with Turbulence and a Fear of Flying:

Since the launch of my new fear of flying course with the great people at Sim2do, I've written quite a bit about overcoming the fear of flying and how combining knowledge about flying, coping strategies, hypnotherapy and the virtual simulator can help to alleviate your flying fears.

As part of our course preparation we have people spend a few minutes before they come completing a brief fear of flying questionnaire. This means we can tailor the support we provide based on whether someone gets anxious in anticipation of a flight, on the plane or if they have a generalised fear around flying. For the latest course participant it was all about the turbulence (or more precisely, the fear of there being turbulence on an upcoming flight). 

And this person is not alone in worrying about turbulence and being able to deal with it (without panic). It's one of the most common concerns when someone has a fear of flying, particularly if severe turbulence has been experienced before.

Before I get on to a little more about coping with turbulence, this week I found myself wondering what it must be like to be an astronaut and to fly into space. I mean, what must that turbulence be like? 

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Celebration of Business 2019 - Ely Cathedral Business Group

I was delighted to take part in the recent Celebration of Business event hosted by the Ely Cathedral Business Group. A great event in a fantastic location.

The event allows over a hundred local businesses, from a diverse range of sectors, to showcase their services and to meet other local businesses. 

It's always a great occasion and a highlight for any local business in the Ely / East Cambridgeshire area.

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Hypnotherapy for Stress Relief - New Video Testimonial:

This week is Mental Health Awareness week and I've come across many posts online from people struggling with stress and anxiety in their lives. I even caught a minute of something on TV the other night where a fisherman was talking about how he values the time just sitting in nature away from the seemingly ever increasing demands and pace of modern life.

It was only recently that I wrote about using nature for stress relief and improving mental health, and time and time again my clients will tell me how much they benefit from getting out for a walk in nature and finding time to unwind for a while (you can find that post here: Using Nature To Reduce Stress and Boost Mental Health).

Recently I was working with Ben to help him to reduce his stress and to stop overthinking. After our sessions he very kindly recorded the video testimonial you can find below.

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Overcoming a Food Related Fear and Phobia:

Thoughts and feelings around food can cause all sorts of issues and problems that people come to me for help with. 

For example, for some people their anxiety / social anxiety is so overwhelming that they struggle to eat in front of others. The anxiety and stress makes their mouth go dry, their throat feel like it's closed up so they can't swallow and their stomach is in knots. It can easily cause all sorts of problems in areas of their life such as socially and in relationships. 

I've also worked with people who struggle to eat certain foods, often fruit and vegetables, and can get panicky when thinking about or trying to eat these. Some people struggle with the sounds of eating and the anxiety, anger and stress of chewing and swallowing noises may mean they have to eat alone. And there are also those who are so worried about being sick and vomiting that they avoid certain foods or, at the peak of the panic, may struggle to eat very much at all.

Recently I worked with someone who would get panicky and anxious around even the thought of seeds and nuts, let alone being near them or eating them (like she used to).

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Ely Hero Awards Nomination:

I am delighted and grateful to have found out today that I've been nominated by a client of mine for this year's Ely Hero Awards.

My nomination is in the 'Most Amazing Professional' category of the awards.

Feeling very honoured and thankful right now! Thank you!

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Fear of Flying Course covered by the Ely Standard:

My new fear of flying course is now fully open and up and running. The course, which is a joint venture with Flight Simulator Instructor Serena from Sim2do (www.sim2do) includes many research backed elements that can help you to overcome your fear of flying.

We've been getting lots of interest about the course - particularly with peak holiday season fast approaching!

And I was really happy to have the Ely Standard cover the fear of flying course on their website this week (check it out here: Fear of Flying Course launched with hypnotherapist Dan Regan

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Could writing about your anxiety help reduce it? Journaling for Anxiety Relief:

Using journals seems to have become very much a thing these days. Just a quick search on Amazon shows results including claims that using the journal can help you believe in yourself more, become happier, increase personal wellbeing, deal with your past, have a more meaningful life, soothe stress, eliminate anxiety and achieve your goals (amongst many other advertised benefits).

So could journaling and writing about your anxiety, stress and mental health really help you to reduce anxiety and feel better?

Certainly writing down the things on their minds is something I've used with my kids at times over the years. Sometimes they may not want to talk about what is troubling them or struggle to put it into words or perhaps there isn't enough privacy to do so at that time (what with the four of us hustling and bustling about the place). Somehow writing it down has made it easier for them to think through what it is that is on their mind and making them anxious and to be able to get it out of their head and onto paper.

As a parent it really is helpful to have an idea of what they may be overthinking about, and to understand where that anxiety fits in the grand scheme of things. At one time my eldest would use one of those 'worry eater' soft toys to help her to handle challenges she was facing.

Writing down the anxious thoughts and feelings we are experiencing has been associated with improvements in mental health yet how can we make the best use of journaling and writing about anxiety related experience?

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