I have been meaning to write about procrastination for some time now, but haven’t got around to it. So, for those of you that don’t know what procrastination means… Postpone, delay, put off, hesitate, dawdle, protract, dilly-dally, haver, tarry, avoid, duck, elude, dodge, sidestep, evade, shirk, dither, shilly-shally.

OK, enough now. I think you get the message. I was never the sort of child who would do their homework at the start of the holidays. I would inevitably do it just before I was due to go back to school. We are probably all familiar with the creeping sense of dread as a deadline approaches. If we delay long enough, perhaps this will be replaced by a rising panic as we realise just how little time there is left. The prospect of embarrassment or failing finally gets us to start focusing and working on the task at hand. And, ultimately, that’s OK. There are no prizes for doing it early as long as it gets done, right?

Well, this applies to many tasks. But what did you do with the time you procrastinated? If it was something useful or productive then you could argue it’s not procrastination merely prioritisation. Or did you use the time to create a Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) bee photo and post it on social media? As Christopher Parker (British Actor) said, “Procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill”.

This is bad enough, but what about tasks that don’t have a deadline? Things you should do or would like to do, but no one will pick you up on it if you don’t do it. Perhaps learning a skill that will help you change careers or taking up a new hobby. Mark Twain once said, “We regret the things we don’t do more than the things we do”.

Now procrastination is not laziness. Procrastination is an active decision in that you choose to do something else instead of the task you should be doing. Laziness, in contrast, implies apathy, inactivity and an unwillingness to act. It normally involves delaying an unpleasant task in favour of one that is more enjoyable or easier.

Giving in to this impulse can have serious consequences for you. Minor cases of procrastination can make us feel guilty or ashamed, effecting our self-esteem. Longer periods can over time lead to demotivation and disillusionment with our work, which can cause burnout, depression and even job loss, in severe cases.

Procrastination is a trap we can all fall into. In fact, according to researcher and speaker Piers Steel (Professor at the Haskayne School of Business), 95% of us procrastinate to some degree. While it may be comforting to know that you’re not alone, it can be sobering to realise just how much it can hold you back.

Now when I get a chance I intend to write a follow up blog post about how to overcome procrastination. But then I did get so many likes for that bee photo, perhaps I will try to surpass that first.

If you procrastinate or struggle to focus on key tasks then Hypnotherapy can help. Hypnotherapy can help with exploring the root cause of a problem, breaking habits, will power and support. If you feel this could be for you, then contact me.



Mindfulness originated in Buddhist teachings and has four main elements (foundations). These are Mindfulness of body sensations, Mindfulness of feelings, Mindfulness of the state of mind and Mindfulness of the contents of our minds.

It’s easy to rush through life without giving much attention to where we are and what we are doing. We can, easily lose touch with how our bodies are feeling. Stopping and giving your current experience your full attention can be enjoyable, beneficial and can reduce stress. As Thich Nhat Hanh (Vietnamese Monk and Peace Activist) said, “With mindfulness, you can establish yourself in the present in order to touch the wonders of life that are available in that moment”.

Another key part of mindfulness is to connect with our bodies and experience the sensations our environment gives us. This means exploring our senses, what we can feel or hear or smell, etc. By doing this, we begin to experience, anew, things that we have taken for granted.

Allowing yourself to notice of your thoughts, feelings, body sensations and the world around you is the first step to mindfulness. You can practise mindfulness anywhere and at any time. To help practise mindfulness in your daily life it is often helpful to pick a regular time. Perhaps first thing in the morning or at lunchtime. . I like to set aside at least ten minutes a day to be in nature and be mindful. Sometimes I find that I am tense or troubled and I use this time to explore why this is and try to resolve it.

Breaking routines and trying new things, such as sitting in a different seat in meetings or going somewhere new for lunch, can also help you notice the world in a new way. Recently, I tried a different route to walk near my house. I had for some time wanted to buy a Buddleia bush to plant on my front lawn. While on my new walk, I saw a very small Buddleia plant growing wild amid some rubble. I took it home and am nurturing it so it can take its place on my lawn in a few years’ time.

Some people find that it is easier to calm their mind and achieve mindfulness by doing something to distract them such as Tai-chi, Yoga or even just walking. Everyone is different and there is no right or wrong answer.

When you have a setback or experience a difficult time, we should be aware that brooding about it isn’t helpful as you are getting caught up in our thoughts. It can be especially helpful to take a mindful approach if you realise that you have been trapped in reliving past problems or imagining future problems. This awareness can helps us notice signs of stress or anxiety earlier and helps us deal with them more effectively.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the UK health oversight authority, recognises the benefits of mindfulness to prevent depression in people who have a past history of it.

Mindfulness isn’t the answer to everything, but there’s encouraging evidence for its use in health, education and workplaces. And many people use it to improve their quality of life. As Kathy Bates (American Actress) said, “I have really focused on mindfulness. That helps me make better choices both physically, psychologically, and emotionally”.

For help and advice on Mindfulness, contact me. Hypnotherapy also has a number of techniques that can with stress, anxiety and burnout.


Blue Monday

The third Monday of January has been designated the saddest day of the year. Known as Blue Monday, in the northern hemisphere at least, this is due to the combination of failed New Year resolutions, Christmas bills falling due, cold weather, gloomy days, long nights and being a long time until the next public holiday. As Doutzen Kroes (Dutch model and actress) said, “I am definitely a summer person. Don’t get me wrong: I love winter when it’s beautiful and sunny – I don’t really care about cold – I just hate the grey”.

Now you might think this is nonsense, but there is some science behind it. Psychologist Dr Cliff Arnall derived a formula using various factors to determine this. As an aside, the same formula predicts that the happiest day of the year is usually in late June at the height of summer. Makes sense, I suppose.

Now this is a bit of fun and is not intended to trivialise depression. We all need to be mindful of our mental and physical health and take steps to preserve and improve them. One very real issue with winter is the likelihood of feeling low and out of sorts. In a recent UK survey about winter 77% of people reported that they had lower energy levels and 71% reported a poorer mood. You may have experienced this yourself – the winter blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of seasonal depression with the following symptoms:
• Persistent low mood
• Loss of interest in normal activities
• Irritability
• Feelings of despair and worthlessness
• Lacking energy and feeling sleepy
• Sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning
• Craving carbohydrates and gaining weight
• Lowered immune system

The causes of SAD are not fully understood, but it’s thought to be caused by reduced exposure to sunlight. It is thought that the lack of sunlight stops the brain from producing the right amount of several key substances. These are:
• Melatonin. A hormone that makes you feel sleepy. SAD sufferers produce more than normal levels.
• Serotonin. A hormone that affects your mood, appetite and sleep. Reduced levels are linked to feelings of depression.
• Vitamin D. This vital vitamin boosts the immune system and ensure healthy bones, teeth and muscles.

So, be mindful of your mental health and mood. Always take the opportunity to get a little sun on your face even if it is winter sun. Consider taking vitamin D supplements.

If you or someone you know is struggling with low mood, depression, anxiety or stress then Hypnotherapy can help. Contact me for more information.


Obesity Awareness

10-16 January is National Obesity Awareness Week and 13 January is Healthy Weight, Healthy Look Day. So with the excesses of Christmas rapidly disappearing in the rear view mirror perhaps now is a good time to think about dropping a little weight. The idea behind the week is to raise awareness of obesity and how it can affect our health.

According to a 2018 study by University College London (UCL) it is estimated that 22% of all people of earth with be overweight by 2045. And individual countries will have much bigger problems with the UK forecast to be 48% overweight by then.

Now that might seem a long way off, but the issue is already having an impact. The NHS (the UK health service) reported that obesity affects about one in four adults and one in five children. This can lead to serious health problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, strokes and some types of cancers. While early signs of future problems include high blood pressure, high cholesterol and access fat around organs such as the heart and liver.

Being overweight can also impact your quality of life. From body image issues causing anxiety and low self-esteem to physical limitations such as breathlessness, increased sweating as well as joint and back pain.

Now, fad and extreme diets are rarely successful, but I think they do have their place. If you have a special event coming up and you want to lose a few pounds then eating nothing but pineapple might be the diet for you. But for a diet to really work it has to be a permanent change otherwise the weight will return. And small changes can have a big impact over time.

As Marcus Samuelsson (Ethiopian-born Swedish-American Chef) said, “We struggle with eating healthily, obesity, and access to good nutrition for everyone. But we have a great opportunity to get on the right side of this battle by beginning to think differently about the way that we eat and the way that we approach food”. So, take an honest look at what you eat and how active you are. Perhaps you could eat a little healthier and avoid snacks. When do you snack and why? Do you need to have a biscuit every time you have a hot drink? Can you be a little more active? Don’t take the lift (elevator) try the stairs. Could you take a slightly longer route on the walk to the bus stop?

Finally, a note about weight and the importance of taking into account other factors such as your height when deciding whether you are overweight. Body Mass Index (BMI) is a value (ratio) calculated from the mass (weight) and height of someone. It does use the metric system of weights and measures. A useful conversation tool can be found here.

The way to calculate your BMI is to take your weight in Kilograms and divided it by your height in meter squared (timed by itself). So, a thirteen stone man weighs 182 pounds or 82.5Kg. He is six feet tall or 1.83m. So, his BMI is be 82.5 / (1.83 * 1.83), or 24.6. Generally a healthy BMI would be 18.5 to 25. A BMI of over 25 is regarded as overweight. Under 18.5 is underweight.

So, if you are struggling to lose weight then Hypnotherapy can help with breaking habits, will power and support. If you feel this could be for you, then contact me.


Festival of Sleep Day

Have you had a restful and relaxing festive period? Many of us will not have done so despite it being a holiday period. But fear not, 3 January is the Festival of Sleep Day. With New Year falling on a weekend for many of us this is the last day of the holiday period before plunging back into the chaos of normal work and family life. So take some time to catch up on sleep.

The fundamentals of sleep are timeless and largely stay the same regardless of social convention, fashion or technology. Sleeping is the body’s time to rest and restore itself. Insufficient sleep will affects your mental and physical well-being. It’s also an incredibly effective way to help you deal with stress, recover from illness and, even, to creatively solve problems. As Thomas Dekker (English Elizabethan era Writer) said, “Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together”.

Sleep comprises of several stages – Awake, Light sleep, Deep sleep and REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. It is during REM sleep when we have our most vivid dreams and is very important for memory and mood. We are lightly asleep for most of our night sleep and it promotes restoration. Deeper sleep supports learning and memory. If you wake feeling especially refreshed, it’s likely you got lots of deep sleep.

In these modern, busy, times it’s not always easy to get a good night’s sleep. So, here are some tips that might help. Try to stick to a regular sleep schedule – go to bed at roughly the same time each night. The more active you are during the day, the better night’s sleep you will have. Avoid alcohol, stimulants (such as caffeine), sugar and too much fluid before sleep. Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, comfortable, not too warm and well ventilated.

Finally, a word about light. Accurate time keeping using clocks, watches and mobile devices is a very recent invention in turns of human development. The Circadian Rhythms of our bodies pick up cues from the environment to determine what time of day it is and what activities to carry out. Getting the wrong cues can fool the body into thinking its time to wake up when you want to sleep.

So, try to make sure you are exposed to sunlight during the day and especially early in the morning. Expose yourself to nature light as much as possible during the day. Make sure your sleep area is as dark as possible. Try not to put the light on if you wake in the night for any reason. Avoid artificial light and blue light (such as from mobile phones and computers) especially before bed time. This light trick the body into thinking its dawn and suppresses the release of melatonin (an important sleep hormone).

Hypnotherapy can help with sleeplessness and other sleep disorders. If you or someone you know needs help with this contact me.