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Social Media Break

Imagine this scenario. You are feeling happy and contented, your life is going well at the moment. You absentmindedly reach for your phone and check Facebook. First, you see a post from an old colleague announcing they have just been offered your dream job. Then you see a post from your cousin ranting about politics. You then see photos from a former neighbour’s holiday that looks incredible. And finally, your sister in law posts some before and after pictures from her latest diet. The next thing you know, you’re questioning your career, feeling angry at the government, wondering why you can’t afford a decent holiday and googling a quick fix diet.

For some people, social media has become an emotional roller coaster of comparison, perfection and opinions. Many celebrities have taken a break from social media including Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez, Gigi Hadid, Ed Sheeran, Kim Kardashian and Leslie Jones. And this is not just another celebrity fad. Studies have shown that spending too much time on social media can increase feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression.

As Alexis Ohanian (American internet entrepreneur) said, “It takes discipline not to let social media steal your time”. Now, you might be thinking that this is not a problem for you. But there are some signs that you may have an unhealthy relationship with social media.

• You become angry or anxious if you can’t access social media.
• You feel low, self-conscious or unworthy after using it.
• You spend more time on social media than interacting with others in real life.
• Checking it is the first thing you do in the morning.
• It isn’t fun anymore, but you can’t stop.
• You can’t stop comparing yourself and your life with others.
• You missed or forgotten about something important because you were on social media.
• Using social media provokes strong emotions – anger, depressed, etc.
• Rather than enjoy something, you prepare a post about it.
• You retreat to social media if you feel unhappy.

So what do you do? An important first step is to be mindful of your social media usage. Some apps provide usage information or you can keep a mental note of how much you use each and when. Being mindful of your usage – the intention and purpose of it – can be a revelation. Having a lockable case or some other barrier can help with this.

When having a break it’s good to, turning off notifications, set time limits for usage, and prioritise your own self-care with other activities you enjoy. As Caroline Ghosn (American businesswoman) said, “Your morning sets up the success of your day. So many people wake up and immediately check text messages, emails, and social media. I use my first hour awake for my morning routine of breakfast and meditation to prepare myself”. There is no prescribed amount of time you should stay off social media for. A few hours, days, or even weeks can all be beneficial to your health and wellbeing.

If you are struggling to successfully have a break then here are some ideas to help you.

• Leave your phone at home. Challenge yourself to leave your phone at home while shopping or exercising.
• Create phone-free places. Perhaps no phones in the bedroom. Reducing blue light in your bedroom will help your quality of sleep.
• Create phone-free times. Perhaps no phones at meal times, family times, etc.
• Use Airplane Mode. This will stop notification. Perhaps use this at bedtime or other restful times.
• Try a weekend off. Sign out of all your social media apps on Saturday morning tor Friday night. Resist the urge to log on until Monday morning.
• Specify a time each day or week when you allow yourself to look at social media. Perhaps fifteen minutes at lunchtime or only on a Sunday morning.

Don’t worry about missing anything during your break. All the news and content will be there when you come back. Doing this will help you find more “you time”. All the inspiration and connections you need are all already around you. You just need to stop and look around once in a while.

If you are struggling then Hypnotherapy can help with breaking habits and addictions. Hypnotherapy can also be an effective way to help you with stress, anxiety and burnout. If you feel this could be for you, then contact me.

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Abraham–Hicks’

Abraham–Hicks’ teachings are a popular belief system about our existence and the universe, especially among followers of Spiritualism and New Age ideas. Esther Hicks is an American Channeler, Public Speaker and Author. She has co-written several books with her late husband, Jerry Hicks, on the Law of Attraction and Abraham-Hicks teachings.

When channelling Hicks has frequently encountered an entity calling itself Abraham. This was first documented by Esther and Jerry Hicks in to 1980s. Many of Esther Hicks’ books are regarded as “translated from a group of non-physical entities called Abraham”. Hicks also describes these experiences as tapping into an “infinite intelligence”.

Through Hicks, Abraham has also said, “We are that which you are. You are the leading edge of that which we are. We are that which is at the heart of all religions.” And that, whenever one feels moments of great love, exhilaration, or pure joy, that is the energy of Source and that is who Abraham is. Source is the source energy from which we are all derived.

These teachings and philosophies are known as Abraham – Hicks teachings. Key elements of these teachings are that people create their own reality through their attention and focus. Also that emotions are a person’s guidance system that indicates how close or distant they are to how their Source feels about a particular topic of focus.

Another key part is that we are all the physical extensions of the non-physical entities. And Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (French Philosopher) put it very well when he said, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience”.

Other parts of Abraham–Hicks’ teachings are:
• People are in their bodies because they chose to be.
• The basis of life is freedom; the purpose of life is joy; the result of life is growth.
• People are creators; they create with their thoughts and attention.
• Whatever people can imagine clearly with emotion, by creating a perfect vibrational match, is theirs to be, do, or have.
• Individuals choose their creations as they choose their focus.
• Emotions indicate what people are creating, either consciously or unconsciously.
• The universe adores people; it knows their broadest intentions.
• Individuals are invited to happily relax into their natural well-being and know that all is well.
• Life is not meant to be a struggle, but a process of allowing.
• People are creators of “throughways” on their unique “paths of joy”.
• Desirable physical manifestations such as money, relationships, and lifestyle success are by-products of focusing on joy.
• Individuals may depart their body without illness or pain.
• People cannot die; their lives are everlasting. Death of the physical body does not end the life of the individual.
• The nature of the universe is life-affirming. It is infinite, creative and expanding.
• All desire can be fulfilled – anything you can imagine is yours to be, do, or have.
• Individuals are not only a part of the universe, but are the very source of it.
• As you are choosing your thoughts, your emotions are guiding you.

A large part of Hicks’ work centres around the Law of Attraction, a concept which William Walker Atkinson (American pioneer of the New Thought movement) wrote about in his book Thought Vibration or the Law of Attraction in the Thought World (1906). Esther Hicks has been interviewed about the Law of Attraction and Abraham by Oprah Winfrey in 2019. 

 

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Alcohol Awareness Week

15 to 21 November is Alcohol Awareness Week. It is coordinated by Alcohol Change UK and is a week of awareness raising and campaigning for change. The theme this year is Alcohol and relationships.
For most of us, we associate alcohol with fun and socialising. Culturally alcohol has become a part of our connections and interactions with friends and family. But when our own or a loved one’s drinking starts to have a negative effect on our relationships it can have a devastating impact on our lives.

Social drinking has long been a source of concern for health experts with many of us drinking more than we should. And this has only been made worse by the loneliness, uncertainty and isolation of the pandemic. Alcohol is addictive and the effect it has lessens the more you drink. This can lead to an escalating situation where you drink more and more and can’t easily stop. As Raymond Chandler (American-British Novelist and Screenwriter) said, “Alcohol is like love. The first kiss is magic, the second is intimate, the third is routine”.

Now you might argue that you choosing to drink too much is a personal matter. But the harm doesn’t always end with the individual. Everyone who drinks too much is also part of a family and a community who can feel the effects too; possibly through frequent use of emergency services, drink driving, crime, violence or neglect.

Alcohol Change UK works to build a future in which people drink as a conscious choice. Where the issues that can lead to alcohol problems, such as poverty, mental health issues, homelessness, are properly addressed through high quality support without shame or stigma.

It is estimated that every day, in the UK, 20 people die as a result of alcohol. This can be through, liver disease, one of seven forms of cancer and mental health problems. It is thought an estimated 600,000 people are dependent drinkers in England alone. These are people who are in a relationship with alcohol that is bringing them and their family’s ill-health, conflict and pain. Worse still, four in five of them are receiving no form of treatment.

In January 2001, 6.5 million people took on the Dry January challenge. It’s a UK based, one month alcohol free challenge. Cutting out alcohol or getting it under control will allow you to get your fun back, get your energy back and get your calm back. The benefits to your bank balance and health could be immense. As Alex Ferguson (Scottish former Football Manager) said, “In England, it’s a rare thing to see a player smoking but, all in all, I prefer that to an alcoholic. The relationship with alcohol is a real problem in English football and, in the short term, it’s much more harmful to a sportsman. It weakens the body, which becomes more susceptible to injury”.

If you, or someone you know, has relationship with alcohol, then Hypnotherapy can help. Specifically it can help boost will power, break habits and explore the root cause of it. If you think hypnotherapy can help then contact me for more information.

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Law of Attraction

Don’t worry, I am not about to talk to you about finding your perfect partner. Well, I am, as it happens, but not directly.

We are all where we are now because of our thoughts and actions in the past. Now, we are constantly processing and thinking either consciously or subconsciously. The problem is we are often thinking more about things we don’t want rather than things we do want. It is understandable to sometimes have thoughts or concern about things that haven’t even happened yet. But this is largely unproductive and can even be damaging. Wouldn’t it be better to think about the exciting and wonderful things that you have or want?

When you dwell on unhappy or unpleasant things from our past, it means you aren’t feeling happy right now, which creates a depressing future. But we can attract whatever we want in life. Be it happiness, wealth, health, the perfect weight, love, and a wonderful relationships. This is called the Law of Attraction, a concept which William Walker Atkinson (American pioneer of the New Thought movement) wrote about in his, 1906, book ‘Thought Vibration or the Law of Attraction in the Thought World ‘.

Now, our mind can be our best friend but it also be our worse enemy. I have written before about self-sabotage. If we don’t control our mind and dwell on negative thoughts and feelings, it’ll become our worst enemy because it’ll manifests an unhappy future.

But, when we learn to control our minds more, it becomes our best friend and then we can start to create a positive future. Everyone has a mixture of happiness and sadness in their lives, but, remember, life is not happening to you, life is responding to you.

The process of Law of Attraction combine cognitive reframing techniques with affirmations and creative visualisation to replace self-limiting or destructive (negative) thoughts with empowering, adaptive (positive) thoughts.

Cognitive reframing is the process by which we change the way we look at a situation. It’s a cliché but, for example – when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Cognitive reframing can work both ways though. Namely reframing to make something positive or reframing to make something negative. Imagine you meet a friend for a catch up after not seeing them for some time. You meet in a restaurant, have several drinks and a lovely meal. When the bill comes you friend insists on paying for everything. You feel happy and grateful to have such a great friend (positive view). But then you start thinking about how your friend has a well-paid job and how you sometimes struggle to make ends meet. Suddenly, you change the way that you think of this meal. Instead of a generous gift and a sign of friendship, you begin to think your friend thinks you are a charity case (negative view). This makes you angry, and you may begin avoiding your friend and hold resentment toward them.

Creative visualisation is the creation of autobiographical mental imagery. Essentially you visualise yourself in the desired circumstances (health, wealth, happiness, etc.). Combining these two techniques builds a powerful positive mind-set that will help you get what you want.

As Florence Scovel Shinn (American Artist) said, “Every great work, every big accomplishment, has been brought into manifestation through holding to the vision, and often just before the big achievement, comes apparent failure and discouragement”.

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Stress Awareness Week

The first week of November, 1 – 6 November 2021 is Stress Awareness Week. Organised by the International Stress Management Association (ISMA), it builds on the well-established Stress Awareness Day which has been observed since 1998. The ISMA is a UK charity and the lead professional body for workplace and personal Stress Management and Well-being. The week was developed as an annual event focusing on stress management and campaigning against the stigma associated mental health and stress issues.

I have written several times before about stress, but this time I wanted to focus in detail about what stress is and how to recognise the signs. The Confederation of British Industry describes stress as, “That which arises when the pressure placed upon an individual exceeds the capacity of that individual to cope”.

Stress can come from many sources, but typical sources in the modern world are work, family and finances. Stress is an ancient response to a threat. When we are stressed, we release stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol which prepares the body for physical action – fight or flight. While this might be useful in the short term (to run from a dangerous situation), prolonged unresolved, stress is not healthy and can have damaging effects on the body.

So how can you tell if you, or someone you know, is stressed? Well the symptoms fall into four main categories – Psychological, Emotional, Physical and Behavioural.

Psychological signs can include memory lapses and problems with concentrate (easily distracted, being unfocused, etc.), reduced creativity and difficulty sleeping. Other signs include negative thoughts and worrying, feeling overwhelmed, depressed or anxious.

Emotional signs can include mood swings, anger, irritability and frustration. Other signs include defensive behaviours, sensitivity to criticism as well as reduced confidence and self-esteem.

Stress often manifests in physical symptoms. This can be due to the negative impact on the immune systems. But sometimes the physical impacts are more subtle such as weight loss / gain, indigestion and ulcers or tiredness. Other physical signs can include raised blood pressure, hyperventilation, digestive issues and reproductive concerns such as reduced libido or menstrual changes.

Behavioural signs can include increased use of alcohol, nicotine or other recreational drugs. Other symptoms include lack of self-care, relationship problems, sleeplessness or withdrawal from friends and family.

Hypnotherapy includes a range of techniques including relaxation, mindfulness, boosting self-esteem and positive affirmation. These can help you to develop effective coping strategies for when you are stressed and ensure you remain focused and effective to resolve the stressful situation. As Andrew Bernstein (American Philosopher) said, “Remember that stress doesn’t come from what’s going on in your life. It comes from your thoughts about what’s going on in your life”.

So, if you, or someone you know, could benefit from Hypnotherapy then contact me.