A quick video about patience and knowing yourself.
We all have inner voices that fight for our attention. It’s not easy to know which one to listen to, particularly when their messages are all contradictory and confusing. One voice, however, tells the truth. Among all your inner voices, your true inner voice is the one which encourages you, gives you hope, and wants you to trust and be kind to yourself. Inner conflict is caused by our inner voices telling us what to do, all singing from different hymn sheets. We get mixed messages from the various aspects of ourselves. Some voices are quiet and some loud, some are reassuring and some nagging and hurtful. Accepting that you have choices, you can hone in on the good ones, the voice of understanding, support, and positivity – this can help resolve internal conflict.
If you're unsure about which way to go or what to do next, you will benefit from finding and listening to your true inner voice. You can connect with it by remaining relaxed and alert, while listening carefully. Meditation and self hypnosis can still your conscious mind so you can listen without prejudice. You may hear many voices as you meditate and the one you should pay attention to is the one that speaks to you with love, understanding, and compassion. No more competing or in house fighting and it will never push guilt, annoyance or criticism on you. It has your interests at heart.
A good hypnotherapist can help you to quieten the destructive voices and bolster the good ones.
The more you listen to and believe in what your true inner voice is telling you about your value and your potential, the stronger that voice will become. The voices you ignore will fade in to the background and disappear. Like a theatre play, whatever you rehearse gets better. By finding and rehearsing your true inner voice, you can focus on the things that make you feel good and say good bye to the devils on your shoulder.
I heard something on the radio this morning that raised an eyebrow. Possibly two, there was no mirror to hand.
The NHS are considering making vaping available on prescription. Well, I meet a lot of smokers seeking hypnosis to quit smoking. They’ve nearly all tried patches and vaping.
People are happy with vaping for a while but they nearly always go back to cigarettes. They haven’t addressed the psychological causes of smoking and the secondary gain.
Vape away, friends. I doubt it will work though.
When you started smoking you were probably young and carefree. Then you got a bit older and your beliefs started to change. Smoking is nasty, it turns out. Who knew? The important question is this- how do you stop?Read More
In every life some rain must fall and tonight it did. No matter how great the sunshine is (and it really is), I was glad of the downpour. It's like we needed a bit of rain to spruce the place up a bit.
Rain and sun need each other. I've been to Abu Dhabi so I know. Anyway, hang on...
I've been trying to make a rain metaphor work for half an hour now and I haven't got very far. Basically, if we say (for the purposes of this post) that rain is bad and sunshine is good (I'm struggling here) then we have to accept that the rain also brings some good things with it. Like re-growth and drinking water and flowers and all that.
So we accept the rain and all that it brings. Just like we accept the roadworks on Bourges Boulevard. A pain in the backside for four months but think how brilliant it will be when we get the new traffic lights! Oh, hang on...So if sunshine is a functional contra flow traffic system and rain is Peterborough City Council....I can't do this.
I've really failed here. There's sun forecast for next week. I'll work on my metaphors until then. In the meantime, get the washing in off the line, it's chucking it down.
This week I've helped people with anxiety problems, low self confidence and driving nerves. I've helped someone come to understand and release negative emotions inherited from their parents and a man with obsessive compulsions.
No day is the same in my job and I like that. It keeps me learning. Everyone is different and needs a program designed just for them. It reminds me to keep working on myself so today I will make a new outcome frame. What's that? It's a plan for what I want to have happen over the next three months, combining a few NLP techniques to make sure that it's locked in to my unconscious mind.
Then I'm off to a wedding tomorrow. I hope the sun comes out for us all this weekend.
Thank heaven for music. It’s a great mood changer. I’ve just put on an album I love, quite loud, while doing the house work. I even did a silly dance and sang along
Then someone called and after a few minutes they said how upbeat and happy I sounded. I wasn’t sad when I woke up but maybe a little...low key. Amazing what a song and dance can do for your mood.
Some people go for a run, some people do some yoga. If that’s not for you may I suggest a little song and dance to some eighties synth pop. Better for you and cheaper than a new outfit or mood enhancer.
This isn’t a cure for depression but it might just shake you up for a bit. Over and out.
Fear of flying is a very common phobia, with an estimated one in 10 people experiencing flight anxiety. Fear of heights and dogs is quite common too, but so are fears of buttons, balloons and frogs. I've treated people with fear of a hundred different things.
Phobias are irrational and very difficult to treat with conventional methods. Hypnosis works because it works on an unconscious level, removing the negative emotion from the cause and then scrambling the patterns of fear that you have created.
If fear is spoiling the quality of your life, there is help out there.
I bumped into an old friend recently in the supermarket. He asked me what I was doing these days and I told him I was a hypnotherapist. ‘I don’t believe in hypnosis’, he said.
I didn’t fancy an intellectual debate in the dairy aisle of ASDA so I left clutching my whoopsied chocolate eclairs. Hypnosis is learning. I teach people to be free from emotional pain. I didn’t think of that until I was half way home though. Typical.
When I sat down with a cup of tea I started thinking about how to best explain what hypnotherapy is and what it definitely isn’t. Here are a few thoughts…
A clinical hypnotherapist can’t make you do anything you don’t want to do. You can’t get stuck in hypnosis either, just like you can’t get stuck in a dream. I got stuck in a revolving door in Debenhams once but that’s another story.
When hypnotised you will not be knocked out, unconscious or enter a parallel universe. It’s not so dramatic. You can hear and remember everything that goes on. It feels good to be hypnotised- it’s peaceful and comfortable like a daydream.
You can talk in hypnosis. In fact, it’s encouraged.
Hypnosis is not a truth serum. You won’t tell anyone where the bodies are buried.
Hypnosis is a natural state that we go in and out of all the time like when we are watching a film or driving down the motorway. Our analytical mind moves out of the way and we are more connected with our inner world.
Is hypnotherapy the same as stage hypnosis? Will I make you think you’re naked or run around like a chicken? Definitely not. Stage hypnosis is a comedy show and the volunteers are willing participants. They are hypnotised but they are playing along. It’s showbusiness. My job is to help, not to embarrass anyone.
Hypnosis is not the same as sleep; it’s actually a very active state of absorption. Can anyone be hypnotised? Yes, as long as they want to be. It’s a great way to release negative emotions and beliefs.
A belief is just a thought that gets repeated until it becomes a pattern. It isn't necessarily true but it becomes your truth. The unconscious mind doesn't know the difference between reality and fantasy, so whatever you tell yourself becomes real.
We rehearse bad feelings. We run over scenes in our mind and replay anxious conversations. Hypnosis can help with this. There is no need to get stuck watching sad or scary films over and over again.
I’ll leave you with this. People do the best they can with the choices they have available. Hypnotherapy gives you more control over how you feel.
I’d like to think that the man I bumped into in Asda wasn’t being mean, he just didn’t really know what hypnosis was. Either way, I hope he enjoyed his fray bentos steak and kidney pie
Does everybody dream? Do dreams mean something?
Sleep is often categorised into four stages, the fourth being the NREM, or very deep phase. At the top is the REM sleep of darting eyes and dreaming. If you wake up during REM sleep then you'll probably remember (briefly) what you were dreaming about.
REM is very important in our wellbeing and if you are denied it, you will suffer. It's primary function is to process our day's activity and emotional ups and down, deciding which to forget and what needs attention. It governs our memory and emotional state.
What destroy's our REM sleep? Alcohol, drugs, depression and sleep apnea. Some things may help you to drop off but they stop you healing and processing.
A lack of deep NREM and REM will leave you tired, stressed and potentially very ill. When I treat a client for sleep problems, I use hypnosis to find the unconscious cause then we work to release it. People get in touch to tell me that after a couple of weeks of good sleep they feel like a new person. It's worth thinking about how you'd benefit from a proper kip.
When you’re a therapist you’re meeting people that are suffering. You spend an hour or two with them and it’s hard not to take on some of that struggle. Especially when you’re tired. I think many of us take home stress or pain from work.
There are things you can do. I always wash my hands after every client, to symbolically end the session. This is a trick I picked up from a GP friend of mine. A shower is good but not always practical. A walk, burning some incense or a change of clothes can all help to bring some new energy.
I’d like to know if you’ve any strategies you’ve picked up for leaving the stress behind.
What, I wonder, is the point? What is the ultimate, definitive point in being alive?
Perhaps consciousness is an end in itself. There’s no need to ask questions that don’t have answers - it’s a waste looking for specific, definable meaning in a sunset, an argument or a piece of abstract art.
Life is knowing what you want to make you feel good. Life is a series of moments all stretching out in front and behind us. Life is learning to love and be loved.
LATE FRAGMENT by Raymond Carver
And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.
I ask all of my clients how they sleep and the answers are often the same. Not very well. We take a good night's sleep for granted when we are younger but as we get older things get in the way. Stress, anxiety, noise and bad habits can all mean that we lie awake with only our thoughts for company.
We all know that dreaded feeling when you're lying there thinking about the alarm clock and how tired you'll be at work in the morning.
Many of us use alcohol or cannabis to sleep better but it actually has the opposite effect. They both stimulate the nervous system and although they may help you to drop off, they will also stop you from getting REM sleep, the state in which we process information and de-stress. It's not just the amount of hours we get, it's the quality of our sleep that matters.
When we don’t sleep well, we can experience low energy, irritability and anxiety. Chronic sleep depravation can lead to obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, depression and diabetes.
What is a good night's sleep worth to you? You have the ability to sleep peacefully, perhaps you've just forgotten how.
I used to be late for everything. I even took pride in it, like it was an important part of who I was. My friends got tired of picking me up at our agreed time and I'd just be getting in the shower. I'd leave friend sitting in the pub for half an hour waiting for me (pre mobile phones so they had to make do with reading beer mats). I thought it was funny but now I know it was rude. It's not that I had a busy life or anything, I was just bad at managing time. I was bad at respecting other people's time. I was excellent at arsing around.
I was for ever running for trains, apologising to bosses and telling white lies about why I wasn't on time. It caused me stress and cost me money. I refused to set my alarm for twenty minutes earlier. I thought that it was 'just who I am'.
I changed. I can't remember exactly when. Perhaps it was when I became a professional actor and I was so amazed to be in this job that I couldn't bear to jeopardise it.
Separating my IDENTITY from my BEHAVIOUR was a step towards breaking old habits. Just like admitting that you aren't a smoker, you smoke cigarettes. Knowing that is a step towards quitting. You aren't a late person, you are a person that is often late.
Changing or deleting a behaviour is much easier than changing your core identity. We get them mixed up sometimes.
My old Nanny (she was my grandmother, I didn’t have an actual nanny like Mary Poppins) lived her entire life as if the war was still going on. Like a never-ending episode of ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’ she was always popping back to 1940, re-living the blitz. It’s amazing how exciting doodlebugs and powdered egg can be through rose tinted glasses.
The modern world left her standing. She was baffled by punk rock and bemused by the timer on her beta max video recorder. Actually, I think we all were bemused by those.
She was focusing on the good stuff and disengaging from the bad, and it can make for some very happy memories – but the temptation to dwell on the past came at a price.
Living in the past means that we can miss something wonderful that’s happening now.
Like when people spend a gig waving their phone in the air. It detaches them from the experience. The wobbly video they take will never beat the feeling you get by really being in that moment. They’ll probably never watch the footage back anyway.
Being totally present is also the best antidote to anxiety.
When we feel anxious it’s like there’s a video stuck on repeat, playing in our mind, wrapped around a negative emotion. It becomes a judgemental voice, a churning in the stomach or a tightness in the chest.
I knew a woman who’d had a traumatic car accident. A year later she still couldn’t drive because the sound of the clicking seatbelt started a chain reaction. In a heartbeat that sound triggered a memory of the crash, then a feeling of terror, ending in a panic attack.
Her mind was telling her that the crash was happening now and to take evasive action. This is also how phobias work, like a corrupted file on your computer’s hard drive.
Her friends and her GP couldn’t help. Some things can’t be overcome with well-meaning advice. I taught her how to access a trance state, to delete that association and replace it with a feeling of control. She was driving again after a few sessions.
I worked with her on an unconscious level because that’s where the problem was operating from, deep in the system files. People had reassured her and told her to stop being silly. This didn’t help. Like telling someone who smokes twenty cigarettes a day that it’s killing them- there’s no point. They know that already.
Some patterns can only be changed on a deep, unconscious level. That’s why hypnosis works.
If you feel stuck or anxious then I suggest you update your software to the latest build. Perhaps you have a corrupted file that needs an expert’s attention.
Or maybe you just need turning off and on again.
This article was published in the Peterborough Telegraph on 8th February, 2018
January is not the happiest month for many. It's cold, it's dark, people are skint and everyone's gone back to work. It's rubbish, basically.
Or is it? It depends on your point of view. I quite like January. Rather than going to a beer garden for a cold beer in the sunshine, I'll choose a dingy pub with a log fire for a pint and a pickled egg.
I've had time indoors lately and I've been glad to get on with a list of jobs that I've been putting off. Procrastinating makes me feel sluggish. I've been writing, printing, recording podcasts, researching and even ironing. I'd rather clean my wheelie bin with a toothbrush than do the ironing usually but I can't wear a wrinkly shirt. I only iron shirts, I'm not crazy. My mother, on the other hand, irons bed sheets, pillowcases, socks...
Motivation - Self Care
I used to be a big procrastinator. I was always late for appointments and it would take three days of terror to find my passport. Living like that now would stress me out. I prefer a little order in middle age. In January, I like to sit quietly now and then and ask myself what I want for the year ahead and what I need to delete from the year gone by. I don't want to carry anything with me that holds me back. I want to be healthier, happier and wiser.
I'll be busy again any day now and my focus will turn out to the world. I'll be glad of my hibernation then. Winter is a time of saving energy and living off the fruits of the summer. Our lives are more cyclical than we think and this time will come round again. What we can do is prepare for it. Perhaps even look forward to it.
New Year, New Me
In the whirlwind of secret santas, novelty socks and painfully long visits from the in-laws, it can sometimes feel like the Christmas season stretches on without end. Then all of a sudden January is here and we are facing a brand-new year. A good time to start afresh and take another look at what we want from life.
Whether it’s giving something up, like alcohol or cigarettes; or starting something new, like going to the gym – change can be daunting.
Motivation can fade. Bad habits can creep back in. We discover that changes we thought we’d made for good were only on the surface and, before too long, our hopes for renewal are like last year’s toys, abandoned and face down in the shed.
That’s why I stopped making resolutions twenty years ago. But then something changed. I got a wake-up call.
After years of being perfectly healthy, I found myself in and out of hospital having surgery for a blood clot on my brain. It was a shocking and scary time. I was single, I was hard up – and I was in real need of a change.
That time of illness did me a good turn though, as my long recovery gave me the headspace to reassess my life and ask myself some uncomfortable questions. Am I really happy with my job? Is my lifestyle as healthy as it could be? Am I carrying emotional baggage from my past that is holding me back? What do I really want?
To get some answers, I went to see a hypnotherapist. It took some time to find someone I felt I could trust (I found the cheapest were cheap for a reason) but it changed my life forever – and inspired me to retrain as a hypnotherapist myself.
Writing this now, six years later, I find myself healthy and in a happy relationship. I opened a very successful hypnotherapy practice in London and have recently moved to Peterborough. Not only do I feel great, I have helped hundreds of people to change their lives for the better.
When I was taken ill, the future felt unassailable. Life was like a bunch of bills and credit card statements, shoved in a drawer, unopened. I couldn’t face it. It took that dose of fear to wake me up.
Now I keep a notebook of all the things that I want to achieve. So this month I have a handful of new resolutions. If you want to make a change, what are you waiting for? Don’t suffer another moment. If not now, when?
You don’t need to face things alone. I see so many people who suffer from anxiety and fear who walk away changed forever.
Hypnotherapy works on our deep, unconscious patterns. It is a brilliant way to make new beliefs and delete old, unwanted behaviours. It isn't mystical and you'll remember everything. You won't run around like a chicken or bark like a dog. Unless you'd really like to, that is.
Happy New Year. And happy resolutions.
To find this article as published by the Peterborough Telegraph on 7th January 2018, click here... https://goo.gl/Uyi4X7