If you can't control something then you could be addicted to it. From pills to obsessive thoughts, hypnosis might be the answer you've been looking for.Read More
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