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Hangiety

I thought it was a good moment to talk about alcohol and hangovers. Why? Well, yesterday was the final of the Soccer European Nations Champion in Berlin between England and Spain. Spain won by the way, so well done to them.

As I am sure most of us know, hangovers are the unpleasant aftermath of consuming alcohol. Usual symptoms include headache, sickness, dehydration and fatigue. Other more subtle symptoms include increased blood pressure, irritability, depression and even anxiety.

Yes, according to the National Institutes of Health or NIH (a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services), about 12% of people also experience anxiety as part of their hangover. When the body is recovering from a night of drinking alcohol, cortisol levels (the ‘stress hormone’), blood pressure and heart rate all increase. And this can make you feel anxious and on edge.

Alcohol dehydrates you and so it causes thirst, light-headedness and headache. It also can cause an electrolyte imbalance – when certain minerals (Sodium, Potassium, Phosphate, etc.) levels in your blood become either too high or too low. As well as drinking water, a sport drink can help with this.

Alcohol can cause inflammation of the stomach and intestines and this can lead to nausea, vomiting and even diarrhoea. It also will disturb your sleep either making you sleep less or have poor quality sleep.

Alcohol intoxication also causes impaired brain function, affecting risk assessment, decision-making, attention scan, and memory. This is due to cognitive effects that makes changes in neurotransmitter function in the brain. In extreme cases it can contribute to psychological consequences.

Hangovers are more than just physical discomfort; they also impact your mental health, productivity, and well-being. If you do find yourself dealing with a hangover, consider rest, hydration, and self-care to recover effectively.

Not everyone has the same reaction to alcohol and have varying degrees of a hangover. But for some the symptoms can be severe. As Robert Benchley (American Humourist) put it, “A real hangover is nothing to try out family remedies on. The only cure for a real hangover is death”.

So, consuming a small amount of alcohol is thought to be mostly harmless and even could be beneficial. But drinking to excess, to the point where you have a hangover the next day, is harmful and can have unforeseen impacts on your brain function and psychology.

If you or someone you know are struggling with your alcohol consumption, Hypnotherapy can help. It can help you visualise and work towards an alcohol free future as well as use regression therapy to explore past experiences and traumas that may have caused the addiction. So, if you or someone you know could benefit from this, then contact me.

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Eating Disorders

I recently read a newspaper article about a girl in Yorkshire, England who had only eaten Yorkshire puddings (a baked pudding made from batter that’s similar to the American Popover) for seven years. If she tried to eat other foods they would make her feel physically sick and gag.  Interestingly, this eating disorder was overcome with the use of Hypnotherapy. So, I thought I would talk a bit about Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) and how Hypnotherapy can help.

Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, also known as selective eating disorder, is a condition where individuals avoid certain foods or food groups, or restrict their diet to a limited number of foods. This is more than picky eating or liking odd foods which is quite common especially in children. Also, unlike some restrictive eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia, it does not relate to body image concerns.

The exact causes of ARFID remain unclear, but past trauma, excessive sensory sensitivity and a fear of negative consequences related to food (such as choking) all are thought to contribute. It’s more common in children, although it can affect anyone of any age, including babies. Also, those on the autism spectrum conditions, ADHD, and intellectual disabilities seem more likely to develop it.

It’s important for all of us, and especially children, that we eat a well-balanced diet. The health effects of ARFID can include inadequate weight, poor growth, electrolyte abnormalities, and delays in physical and mental development.

Those with this disorder can respond very well to hypnosis and counselling directed at the underlying cause of their eating issues. A good place to start is to explore the original trigger / trauma, if possible. The hypnotherapy regression technique is very effective at this. Hypnotherapy can also be used to reimagining / reframe the event that triggered their issues with food. Hypnotherapy can also be used to change the perception of food including the taste or texture if this is also a factor.

The support of the wider family and especially the parents is also important. And Olivia Newton-John (British and Australian singer and actress) put this very well when she said, “Eating disorders are usually nothing to do with food. Parents need to be with their child to see them through it. All the therapists in the world can’t help if the parents aren’t present, loving, and proactive”.

So, if you or someone you know has issues with food then Hypnotherapy can help. Contact me for more information.

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Cancer

If you have been lucky enough to not have been touched by cancer in your life so far then you have been very fortunate indeed. My mother died of brain tumour, my partner’s mother died of lung cancer and in the last few months we lost one of our beloved Maine Coon cats to cancer. It’s a horrible and seemingly relentless disease.  

As a Hypnotherapist I know that Hypnotherapy can be very effective in the treatment of cancer and its symptoms.  Sadly, it’s not a cure for cancer in itself but I have had success with clients using it as a complementary therapy that can enhance treatment outcomes.

Symptom Management. Hypnotherapy can alleviate many symptoms associate with cancer and its treatment, including pain and nausea. Also, Hypnotherapy can help you focusing your mind on positive suggestions and this can help with physical symptoms.

Relaxation and Stress Reduction. The idea is to address both the physical and emotional stress associated with cancer and its treatment. Specifically it can also be used to induce a state of deep relaxation, hypnotherapy can reduce anxiety, pain, and other symptoms. When you’re relaxed, your body’s stress response is minimized, allowing you to cope better with the emotional challenges of cancer

Enhanced Well-Being. The relaxation brought about by hypnotherapy contributes to overall well-being. As a result, it will improve your emotional state, enhance sleep quality, and have a positively impact your immune system.

Improved state of mind. Being diagnosed with cancer is a frightening and stressful experience. But have a positive state of mind can help both your physical and mental health. As Dave Pelzer (American Author) put it, “You can be a victim of cancer, or a survivor of cancer. It’s a mind-set”.

Of course, hypnotherapy should always complement conventional medical treatments. But while it’s not a replacement for evidence-based treatments, it can be a valuable supportive measure to enhance your quality of life before and during cancer care.

One upside to the pervasive nature of cancer is that there are a lot of charities and other organisations that can help you should you be diagnosed with it. This is one list of such organisations.

If you or someone you know is currently battling cancer and think that hypnotherapy can help, then contact me.

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World No Tobacco Day 

World No Tobacco Day is an annual awareness day observed on May 31st. It’s a global initiative to raise awareness about the health risks and downsides of tobacco use and advocate for policies to reduce tobacco consumption globally.

Smoking is incredibly harmful, is the single leading cause of cancer worldwide and is responsible for 70% of all cases of lung cancer. The CDC (Centre for Disease Control) estimates that 1 in 5 deaths in the United States are caused by smoking. It surpasses HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, car accidents and firearm related incidents combined. In addition to this, it has even been shown to accelerate aging. As David Byrne (Scottish Musician) put it, “The true face of smoking is disease, death and horror – not the glamour and sophistication the pushers in the tobacco industry try to portray”.

Hypnosis is an effective technique to help you stop smoking. Now, quitting smoking can be difficult, but hypnotherapy addresses the psychological aspects of addiction and underlying motivations for smoking. So, if you’re considering quitting smoking, hypnosis could be a valuable tool in your journey toward a smoke-free life. So, how does it work?

Mind set shift. Hypnosis can shift in your perception of smoking. During a session, your subconscious mind becomes more receptive to positive suggestions and new ways of thinking. These might include statements like, “You are a non-smoker.”, “You find the taste of cigarettes unpleasant.”, “You feel proud of your decision to quit.” or “You have increased willpower to resist smoking”.

Addressing subconscious patterns. Smoking is a deeply ingrained in subconscious patterns. These patterns can include associations with certain situations, like after eating or during a break, or emotional triggers such as boredom of stress. Hypnosis will help you to modify these patterns by suggesting healthier alternatives and breaking the link between smoking and these cues.

Visualizations and imagery. Hypnosis can involve guided visualisations where I will encourage you to imagine scenarios where you successfully resist smoking or visualise the benefits of being smoke-free. These mental images will reinforce your commitment to quitting.

Anchoring new beliefs. Hypnosis will help anchor new beliefs about smoking. By repeatedly reinforcing positive suggestions, your subconscious mind begins to accept them as reality. Over time, this can lead to a genuine ability to quit smoking.

Reducing cravings: Hypnosis can help reduce cravings by altering your perception of cigarettes. For example, you might come to associate cigarettes with a foul smell or an unpleasant taste. This can make it easier to resist the urge to smoke.

Stress reduction. For many people smoking is a way to cope with stress. Hypnosis will teaches relaxation techniques and stress management strategies, providing healthier alternatives to smoking.

Remember that hypnosis is not a magic cure, and results will vary from person to person. Some individuals experience significant benefits, while others may need additional support alongside hypnotherapy. It’s essential to approach it with an open mind and a genuine desire to quit smoking. If this is you, then contact me.

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Boundaries Guide

I recently did a series of workshops about creating and maintaining healthy personal boundaries and I thought I would share some of the keys messages with you now.

The importance of setting healthy limits, understanding their own comfort zones, and recognising the impact of boundaries on overall well-being is critical. We all need to have a comprehensive understanding of personal boundaries and their impact on mental and emotional well-being. Being able to define and articulate your unique personal boundaries without confrontation is a very useful skill.

Do you have some insight into narcissistic personalities? Recognising manipulative tactics and emotional blackmail. Being able to safeguard your emotional well-being when interacting with narcissistic personalities can save a lot of heartache.

Personal anxiety can be a barrier to establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries. Learning coping mechanisms, mindfulness techniques, and relaxation exercises can help you to empower you to manage anxiety effectively, thus promoting the establishment of robust personal boundaries.

Anger as a manifestation of breached boundaries is a real issue. Finding constructive ways to release anger, identify triggers, and channel their emotions positively is key. The goal is to empower yourself to handle anger in a healthy manner while reinforcing the importance of clear personal boundaries.

Having good self-awareness to identify unhealthy patterns such as of victimhood in our lives. Empowerment and resilience-building help to move towards breaking free from a victim mind set.

Forgiveness (both for others and ourselves) is a powerful tool for boundary setting. It can be liberating to forgive and shed emotional baggage, paving the way for the establishment of compassionate and firm boundaries.

Ensuring you practise self-care and self-love underpins good boundaries. Prioritise your well-being through intentional self-care routines and self-love rituals. This will reinforce your intrinsic worth and help you to establish boundaries that safeguard their mental, emotional, and physical health.

Finally, having a plan that is tailored to your unique needs and circumstances. This actionable plan ensure you have a practical roadmap for implementing and maintaining healthy boundaries in their daily lives.

Investing time and effort in developing strong boundaries is a fundamental act of self-care and personal growth. Unleash the power of boundaries –the subtle thread weaving through every aspect of your life; master it and watch your entire world transform.

Robert Frost (American Poet) said in his 1914 poem ‘Mending Wall’, “Good fences make good neighbours”. It’s such a powerful message that it’s become a proverb. Namely, that neighbours are best able to maintain positive relationships when they don’t intrude upon or harm each other.

I have prepared a useful guide to help establish and keep healthy boundaries. If you would like a copy, please contact me.

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Forest bathing

I love being in nature. Whether it’s sitting in my garden or walking in a forest I find it very therapeutic and refreshing and it is an important part of my life. And I am not alone. The Japanese have the idea of Shinrin-yoku or Forest bathing. It’s basically, spending time in a forest or natural atmosphere and focusing on sensory engagement to connect with nature.

The sensory aspect is very important and it can involve using all five senses. Some examples of exercising this can include:

  • Listening to the sounds of the forest (birds and insects).
  • Touching and feeling the ground, the trees and the leaves.
  • Smelling the plants and trees.
  • Watching the forest, the breeze moving through it and the animals within it.
  • Tasting the crispiness of the air while breathing

While it started in Japan where 80% of people live in cities, it has spread to other parts of the world and it popular in America and Western Europe.

There are many reported benefits including:

·         Immune system booster. Experiments have shown that shinrin-yoku was associated with increasing levels of natural cells which are important in combating infection.

·         Mental health and mood improvement. Shinrin-yoku is linked to a recharging of positive energy, higher energy levels, and a purification of negative thoughts.

·         Decrease in blood pressure and stress. Studies have shown that it can decrease in pulse rate, blood pressure and concentration of the stress hormone cortisol.

In his series, Bill Bailey’s Australian Adventure, Bill (English musician, comedian and actor) shared his theory on nature, “Humans have an instinctive desire to connect with nature. And most of the time, we spend our lives indoors, in cars, buildings, and yet, we yearn to be out in all of this. What this is, is this thing, bio philia, our innate desire to be amongst nature. It’s part of our evolution. Our ancestors spent all their time out in nature. In our DNA we want this, we wanna be amongst this. This is where we feel more at home, in a way. And that is why I think that so many people here have this positive attitude in Western Australia, because of the proximity to the natural world. And bio philia, this innate sense of desire to be amongst nature, to connect with it, is really what it means to be human”.

Forestry England have produced a handy forest bathing guide. So, why not try spending a little time in nature and see how it can benefit you.

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Luke Humphries

Are you a darts fan? Well, I am not, but even I noticed the incredible story of the two players who recently contested the World Darts Final. Perhaps the most newsworthy player was Luke Littler, a 16 year old rookie. But for me the most remarkable player was his opponent, Luke Humphries, who eventually won.  Humphries has in the last few years transformed his life by overcome crippling anxiety and losing weight to make the most of his talents.

Humphries, whose nickname is ‘Cool Hand Luke’ in reference to the 1967 film, was until 2018 working as a Roofer. But after winning several Development Tour Dart tournaments in 2017 he decided to pursue a career in dart full time.

After some initial success, he suffered an attack of anxiety in 2019 while playing in the German Open. Suddenly immobilised by anxiety he was 5-2 up against James Wade, but went on to lose 6-5. The effects of this led him to consider his future in the sport.

Speaking about this time he said, “I am very open and honest about that and it is something I am very proud of because about two years ago, it was a time in my life where I wasn’t enjoying darts and I contemplated giving it up because it was just affecting me so badly”. He went on to say, “It has proven that you don’t have to give up on things just because of anxiety, it is beatable. I still get it, but I manage it much better now and it doesn’t affect me much in darts anymore which is the key thing for me. It allows me to play at my full potential”.

As if this was not impressive enough, he also chose to use his time during the Cov-id lockdowns to lose weight and to improve his stamina and performance. In a tweet in February 2021 he said, “Really working hard towards the new darting season in a few weeks! Lost over 2 stone since Christmas. On reflection big changes were needed to myself to get to that next level in my career! I’m practising harder than I ever have. Hoping the rewards will pay off this year!”

He later went on to say, “I feel really good, I feel full of energy. The hard work that I’ve put in through lockdown is helping me in that aspect and hopefully it carries me through to being a better player in the future”.

I think Luke is an inspiration and what he has achieved is a shining example of how we can make changes in our lives. My mission is to help people overcome their personal obstacles by inspiring and facilitating change in their lives, in order to create a life full of purpose, meaning and joy.

I am a dedicated therapist and I believe that all humans have an innate ability to become the best versions of themselves. My passion is to awaken the inner warrior in people and reunite them with who they truly are. This can be done with traditional hypnotherapy to treat unwanted habits, conditions and feelings. Or it may be through exploring past experiences or lives to see if they are the root cause. To find out more, contact me.

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Obesity Awareness Week 2024

January 10 to 16 is UK National Obesity Awareness Week. In the modern world obesity is a growing problem. It’s estimated that by 2050, 50% of the UK population could be regarded as obese. As someone who has struggled with their weight for most of my life, I know it can be daunting.  The good news is that National Obesity Awareness Week aims to demystify obesity and practice easy ways to prevent it.

It is perhaps fitting that National Obesity Awareness Week happens so soon after Christmas. So if not the guilt of over indulging at Christmas perhaps the idea of a New Year’s resolution is a spur to try to lose weight.

Being overweight can cost you, both in literal terms and in with your health. Clearly, eating less would save you money. But also being overweight, especially in later life, can cause problems with the back and joints as well as heart disease and diabetes. It’s thought that these health problems cost the NHS in the UK £6 billion annually.

If you think about it there are no real short cuts, no magic diet. To lose weight you need to make permanent changes to how much you exercise and what you eat. So set realist goals that you can live with permanently. Following a harsh diet will mean you lose weight, perhaps a lot of weight, but once you stop the weight will go back on.

When it comes to diet, calories are important but also fat and sugar content. Try substituting sugary foods for fruit or vegetables. Portion size is also a factor to consider, gradually reducing portion sizes or eliminating side dishes can help you consume less food.

And while adult obesity is a problem, it’s also an issue with children. As Prue Leith (restaurateur and television presenter / broadcaster), “The obesity problem among children is very serious. When advertising budgets are big and business can corrupt the way we live so that it becomes the norm to snack all day – and if you are never hungry you are never going to feel like eating a healthy meal – that can’t be right”.

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.

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. It can also help you to explore the underlying causes and habits that cause you to eat too much or not exercise enough. If you feel this could be for you, then contact me.

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Boundaries

As I have grown older, and hopefully wiser, I have realised that having well defined boundaries are critical to happiness and being fulfilled. Now, I am not talking about your garden fence, but rather the boundaries that exist within our personal relationships and interaction. Having good boundaries are essential to being healthy both mentally and emotionally. 

So what is a boundary? Well it’s a real or imagined line that marks the edge or limit of something. But what I am really talking about is that it’s the limit of what someone considers to be acceptable behaviour. We all need to be aware of the boundaries and ensure they are working for you. What this means is understanding that you can control the relationships you have and can always say ‘Yes’, or, indeed, ‘No’.

How do you know that you have problems with boundary setting? Well, have any of these happened to you?

  • You often say ‘Yes’ when you really want or need to say ‘No’
  • You hate letting people down. It eats you up inside when it feels like you have
  • You give so much of yourself in relationships that you often feel drained
  • You over share personal information and then later on, feel embarrassed or regret it
  • You’ve been putting everybody else’s wants before your own needs and desires.

We all deserve to feel happy and fulfilled. And I feel so passionately about this that I am currently working on a workshop to help you set, maintain and if necessary change healthy boundaries. I hope that the workshop will be ready in the New Year. Watch the video below to get an idea of what your will get from it. And, watch this space and resolve to make better, stronger relationships in 2024.

And remember what Robert Frost (American Poet) said in his 1914 poem ‘Mending Wall’, “Good fences make good neighbours”. It’s such a powerful message that it’s become a proverb. Namely, that neighbours are best able to maintain positive relationships when they don’t intrude upon or harm each other’s land. Fences, for example, would restrict one’s livestock your own land.

 

If this is something you feel you can benefit from then contact me and I would make sure you have more information when the workshop is ready.

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Cartesian Questions

Do you struggle to make decisions? We make many decisions without consciously thinking about it. But what if you have a big, important decision to make? Perhaps about your career, lifestyle, family or something in your work life. Cartesian Questions can be used to evaluate a decision, action, strategy or proposal.

The French philosopher, scientist, and mathematician, Rene Descartes (1596-1650), came up with just four questions that might help. Descartes is widely regarded as an important figure in the emergence of modern philosophy and science.

The core of his Cartesian logic is a set of four simple questions that are useful in evaluating any action or decision. They are:

  1. What would happen if you did X?
  2. What would happen if you didn’t do X?
  3. What won’t happen if you did X?
  4. What won’t happen if you didn’t do X?

Initially these questions may seem repetitive, but they are effective in helping us to understand the consequences of decisions and actions from a much better perspective. They also challenge you to think about things in new ways that you may not have done before, thereby providing fresh and valuable insights.

It’s also a way to loosen up our model of the issue as we begin to examine the limits of our assumptions. I think Albert Einstein (German-born theoretical physicist) put it very well when he said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”.

These questions can be used to explore an issue by helping to:

  • Find new solutions and resources.
  • Get a deeper understanding of what motivates the client – what values are in play and what really matters.
  • Identify secondary gains (the benefits to the client of staying just as they are).
  • Identifying limiting beliefs and other areas where they can self-sabotage.

These questions can also be used in a business setting to evaluate an action, strategy, decision or business proposal. It can be used to explore the various consequences of a particular course of action realistically.