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Mental Health First Aiders

I recently qualified as a Mental Health First Aider. The idea is to be a point of contact for any employee who is experiencing mental health issues or some form of emotional distress. Normally, this ranges from having a friendly chat through to directing them to expert, professional help and supporting someone while they get the help they need.

While I am a qualified hypnotherapist, it is not essential to have any former of prior healthcare training. Typically, Mental Health First Aiders are just regular employees and are not part of the management team or Personnel / Human Resources. This is very important as many employees can feel a sense of guilt or shame at admitting they are suffering with a mental health condition and organisational attitudes and culture can be less than ideal. I have written in the past about reluctance of people to seek help and the perceived stigma of suffering with mental health concerns.

Mental health has long been the Cinderella of the health services both within the National Health Service (NHS) and in the workplace. Being given equal status would be a significant step towards acceptance of mental health issues.

The statistics around mental health are frightening. It’s thought as many as one in six of people at work have symptoms of a mental health condition at any one time. A survey by MIND (UK mental health charity) found in 2018 that 50% of the 44,000 employees surveyed had suffered some form of mental health problems at some point. These conditions are typically, anxiety, stress, burnout and depression. If you suffer from any of these and feel that hypnotherapy can help you them contact me.

A government commissioned review, published in 2017, put the cost to the economy of these conditions at between £74bn and £99bn a year. Having a system to support employees is clearly the right thing to do and makes good business sense. It also fits with the employer’s duty of care. And, when people feel supported and valued, it contributes towards a motivated and efficient work force.

The employees of an organisation are its life blood. When we have a sense of well-being we function so much better. From a business perspective, it’s incredibly short-sighted to ignore mental health issues. As Richard Branson (British Entrepreneur) said, “By putting the employee first, the customer effectively comes first by default, and in the end, the shareholder comes first by default as well”.

Having Mental Health First Aiders is relatively new and so it’s unclear how effective they will be. If an employer used them as a tick box – ‘We really care, we have Mental Health First Aiders’, without addressing the underlying causes of health problems the initiative will be worthless. Furthermore, from a humane perspective, to be forever increasing pressure on employees and not properly caring for them seems immoral. It indicates that some companies think only of shareholder value, profits or service level agreements, which is very short sighted and is nothing short of foolish.

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Introspective Hypnosis

If I can inspire one spark of awareness or get a spark of introspection or reflection about someone else’s life, that’s a beautiful thing, in my opinion. – Noah Centineo (American Actor)

As you may know, one of my passions is past life regression. But I am also a qualified practitioner of Introspective Hypnosis. So what is Introspective Hypnosis? Well it was originally created by Aurelio Mejia and has been adapted and taught by Antonio Sangio and Alba Weinman. It’s a collection of overlapping and complimentary Hypnotherapy techniques that help you to explore and heal the body, mind and soul. These include Hypnosis, Forgiveness Therapy, Role Change, Past Life Regression, Spirit Assistance (aka Spirit Releasement), Soul Fragmentation and Recovery and Entrapment of the Soul.

Now that may sound a little complicated, but in practice it means getting access to a person’s subconscious and look for the origin of psychological problems or psychosomatic symptoms such as fears, phobias, addictions. Often these are caused by a past event in this life or in a previous one. Other techniques within the Introspective Hypnosis family are then used to deal with these problems and bring relief.

Yes, I did just say that the root of a problem may be in a previous life. Deep in the mind we have traces of past experiences that it is not convenient to remember. Past-life recall comes from long-term memory stored in your subconscious. The soul’s history is stored in the Akashic Records which you are able to contact through your unconscious mind. Exploring your past lives can reveal a new understanding of your personality. This can explain why you are drawn to certain places, types of people or have a particular interest in something.

So, knowing the source of a problem is a key step towards solving it. Introspective hypnosis is used to release emotional conflicts and look for the origin of psychosomatic diseases in order to find and remove the triggering emotion from the problem. Regression therapy is a technique in which hypnosis is used so that a patient safely remembers the moment at the root of their phobias, fears, sadness, anguish, eating disorder, low self-esteem, insecurity, pain, obesity, obsessions, allergies, addictions, etc. Other techniques, such as Forgiveness Therapy or Soul Fragmentation, are then used to understand the reason for a condition, forgive, accept and reprogram their mind to generate a healing effect.

This is a very powerful, but gentle, technique and experience over many therapies has shown me that, in most cases, one session is enough to provide relief if not a full cure. If you feel this is something that can help you, then contact me.

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Nature, is in your nature

Time spent in nature is the most cost-effective and powerful way to counteract the burnout and sort of depression that we feel when we sit in front of a computer all day. Richard Louv (American Author). 

The Mental Health Foundation is holding a Mental Health Awareness Week from 10-16 May 2021. Their mission is to help people to better understand, protect and sustain their mental health. This preventative approach is the basis of what they do, as the best way to deal with a crisis is to prevent it in the first place. Their vision is good mental health for all. 

This year the theme of the week is Nature and its importance for good mental health. It’s easy to under estimate the importance of nature to our psychological and emotional health. For me it’s almost impossible to imagine good mental health without a connection to the natural world. Spending time in nature helps to calm, rejuvenate and energise me. For most of human history we have lived very close to, and as part of, nature. It is only in the last few generations that so many of us have lived and worked in cities and towns often with little or no assess to nature and the countryside.

As early as Victorian times, sanatoriums were set well away from towns and cities often in vast landscaped estates with private gardens for each ward. More recently, 1960s studies in the US found that patients who were treated in hospitals with a view of nature recovered faster.

Despite this sadly, many of us do not value or have access to the benefits of nature. It is thought that around 13% of UK households have no access to a garden. With greater pressure on land to build houses, green belt, gardens and park lands are being eroded.

If you are struggling with mental health issues, don’t suffer in silence. There is help available. With Hypnotherapy, for example, you are able to examine your thought processes and beliefs. These can be the cause of emotional, physical, mental or even spiritual problems. Once identified, changes can be made to address these issues and improve your quality of life. To find out more, click here.

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Could it be true?

Is Lockdown really coming to an end? What do we do now?

After more than a year of lockdown, fear of catching Covid19 and the rising death toll it does seem we have turned a corner. My partner  recently had his first vaccination and I feel things do seem brighter. The end does now seem to be in sight, but there is still some way to go. Perhaps, we can all start to think about how we will celebrate “getting back to normal”. It does occur to me as I write this in early April 2021 that this blog post may not age well if things go wrong from here, but this how things look to me now.

So, what is getting back to normal? We have all led different lives in the last year and have new routines. After lockdown I, for one, will have less free time and I will have to organise myself much better. I will have to think seriously about what activities I will continue with and which ones to discards. A year is more than enough time to develop new habits and even addictions. Perhaps you are not very active anymore or are drinking more alcohol than before. Now, addiction is an overused word.  An addiction is a condition where you do something and cannot stop, or have strong cravings if you stop, even though it’s harmful to you. So, being addicted to EastEnders is not really an addiction unless you cannot stop watching it and it’s somehow harming you. I know it can be depressing sometimes, but harmful? Similarly, if you have developed an “addiction” to regularly exercising during lock down, firstly well done and secondly it’s not really an addiction.

I have seen in the media that the feelings associated with coming out of lockdown have been given a name. The most common one seems to be re-entry syndrome. Going back to doing something you may not have done for a year or more will feel odd, be it traveling on a bus or train, being in the office or hanging out with friends and family again. This is normal and nothing to worry about – you will quickly adjust. But, it you are struggling to shed now unwanted habits or returning to how things were before, then help is at hand.

Some long ingrained habits that worked for you during lockdown, may not work well when you are not locked down. And these can be difficult to change. Lack of time or feeling outside your comfort zone can be stressful. Any major change in your life, not least society as a whole, can make you anxious and worry about the future. Hypnotherapy can help with addictions, unwanted habits, stress and anxiety. From mindfulness, to relaxation to hypnotherapy there are a range of techniques that can help. If you need assistant then ask. There is no need to struggle alone. Click here to find out how I can help. 

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Stress, what is it good for?

April is stress awareness month. Are you stressed?

We all feel stressed from time to time. Perhaps when we are busy or something unexpected happens. Stress is a state of physiological disturbance to your normal well-being, occurring due to environmental (external) factors. One way to look at stress is when the demands on you are greater than the personal resources you have. Perhaps, not enough time, information or money. Typical signs of stress include increased blood pressure, insomnia and irritability.

Some stress is not necessarily a bad thing and triggers responses in us to help deal with the situation we are in. When we are stressed, we release stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol which prepares the body for physical action – fight or flight. This reaction also causes physical changes such as blood supply being diverted to certain muscle groups and shutting down some secondary bodily functions such as digestion. These hormones provide us with a boost of energy to help us fight the danger or run away. This response is probably of more use to a caveman confronted with a dangerous animal, but it also has a place in the modern world. This response will be triggered by any stressful situation.

But, long term, unresolved, stress is not healthy and can have damaging effects on the body.  Raised cortisol levels can caused increase in blood sugar and blood pressure levels as well as a decrease in libido. Ultimately, if left untreated or unresolved, it can result in breakdown or even suicide. The problem comes when your body goes into a state of stress when it’s not appropriate or when this response is unnecessary. If you are stressed by a tight deadline, being ready to run or fight is not helpful. Also when blood flow is diverted to the most important muscles needed to fight or flee, brain function is impaired. This mean you can’t ‘think straight’ and this leads to poor decision making. A state that is not ideal in either our work or home lives.

Everyone experiences stress in different ways. For some it might be headaches or an eczema flare up. For others perhaps a change in personality such as being short tempered or impatient. Stress can also affect the immune system making us more likely to become ill.

Some stress is unavoidable, but managing it is the key. It critical that we recognise when we have too much demanded of us. Then we can take action to prevent ourselves from becoming overwhelmed – say ‘no’, delegate, prioritise or ask for help.

Hypnotherapy can help is a range of techniques including relaxation, mindfulness, boosting self-esteem and positive affirmation. These will help you to develop effective coping strategies for when you are stressed and ensure you remain focused and effective to resolve the stressful situation.

To find out more about Stress Awareness Month, click here

To find out more about how I can help you manage your stress then click here.  

Sleepless

Is there a yawning gap in your life?

This year marks the 14th annual World Sleep Day. It’s on March 19, 2021 and has the slogan, “Regular Sleep, Healthy Future.”

The importance of good quality sleep cannot be underestimated.  Especially when you think we spend up to a third of our lives asleep. You might think that time spent sleeping is not productive or useful, but that is far from the case. We restore ourselves while sleeping and remove metabolic waste that build up while activity. Also, studies suggest that a lack of proper sleep impairs the body’s ability to repair and heal wounds.

It is widely accepted that sleep plays an important role in memory, learning and other physiologic processes. It is thought it enables the formation of long-term memories and increases the ability to learn new information and recall it. It is also involved in the control of inflammation, hormone regulation, cardiovascular regulation and many other critical functions.  Put simply, sleep underpins our health, as well as our physical and mental wellbeing. Good quality sleep is crucial to ensure good health and quality of life.

Problems with sleep are very common. The Philips Index for Health and Well-being found that 35% of people do not feel they get enough sleep and that it impacts either our physical or mental health. Let’s not forget that sleep deprivation has been used as a form of torture and a lack of sleep can cause many psychological conditions such as depression, anxiety and, in extreme cases, psychosis. Longer term effects are being studied, but poor quality sleep or sleep deprivation are associated with significant health problems, such as obesity, diabetes, a weakened immune system and even some forms of cancers.

To help you here are some useful tips for better sleep.

  1. Try to go to bed and awake up in the morning at about the same time. A good sleep routine helps to signal to your body when to sleep and wake up.
  2. Try not to sleep in the day and if you do make it for less than an hour.
  3. Avoid alcohol consumption for four hours and caffeine for six hours before bedtime. Remember, caffeine does not just mean coffee. There is a lot of caffeine in tea, cola drinks and some other soft drinks, such as Red Bull.
  4. Smoking is bad for you anyway, but not smoking will help with sleep problems.
  5. Avoid a large meal or spicy food for four hours before bedtime. If you must eat, a small meal or snack before bed is fine.
  6. Avoid sugary foods for four hours before bedtime. Unfortunately, chocolate is doubly bad as it contains caffeine and sugar.
  7. Try to exercise regularly, but not immediately before bedtime.
  8. Make sure your bed and bedding is comfortable.
  9. Think about what is a comfortable temperature for the bedroom and try to keep it well ventilated.
  10. Block out or eliminate as much noise and light as possible.
  11. Where possible the bed and bedroom should be for sleep only. Try not to use it as an office, workshop or recreation room.
  12. Avoid using electronic devices such as mobile phones and tablets immediately before bedtime. The blue light of these device is thought to fool the body into thinking its dawn.

Using sleep aids, such as Nytol, can be a useful way to overcome short term periods of poor or disrupted sleep. These aids are only for short term use though and if you are suffering from long term problems you should seek help. Hypnotherapy can help you explore the reason for your sleeplessness and support you to address them.

To find out more about how I can help you with sleeplessness then click here

What is past life regression?

Progression through regression

What is past life regression? How does it work?

A Hypnotherapist has many techniques at their disposal to help their clients overcome problematic ailments and conditions. One of the most interesting ones, and one I specialise in, is regression. This is where the Hypnotherapist guides the client back in time to explore the root cause of a condition by finding forgotten memories stored in the subconscious mind. An example of this is a recent client who had been struggling with insomnia for many years. In his early working life he had worked at night. Using regression we were able to uncover the subconscious minds associating darkness with working rather than sleeping. Once this was discovered we were able to appeal to the subconscious to allow him to sleep at night and not prepare for work.

Interestingly, the amount of time you can go back is not limited to this life time. No one is quite sure why it works, but it does. It’s probably due to genetic memory, soul memory and reincarnation. This means our subconscious minds contain memories of other lives we have lived. It also means that these experiences and traumas can have an impact on the present day. Perhaps you are scared of dogs, even though you have always avoided them and have no real reason to fear them. Perhaps you had a bad experience with dogs in a previous life? Put simply we are a combination of all the experiences we have had over many lifetimes.

So why would I want a past life regression? Well, there can be several reasons. Firstly, if you are struggling with a problem that might be rooted in a past life this is the most effective way to resolve it. Past lives can affect many aspects of our personality, thoughts and behaviour. In some cases, past traumas can cause psychological problems or psychosomatic pain that cannot be easily resolved by conventional means.

Exploring your past lives can reveal a new understanding of your personality. This can explain why you are drawn to certain places, types of people or have a particular interest in something. This can be very rewarding and enjoyable. Frequent past life regressions mean you can start to understand your past lives in more detail, including places, names and historical periods. These can often be verified by research to provide a tremendously colourful view of your past.

One further aspect of past life regression is that groups of souls often reincarnate together. If you have ever met someone for the first time and immediately feel a connection, rapport or closeness, perhaps you have known their soul before.

To find out more about regression and what I can do for you, click here

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Smokin’ not Smoking

 

10 March 2021 is national No Smoking Day. Are you ready to stop smoking?

The writer, Mark Twain, once said, “It’s easy to quit smoking. I’ve done it hundreds of times”. I suppose me was right, as with all addictions it’s easy to stop, it’s not starting again that’s the problem. Smoking over the long term is very harmful and will likely cause severe health issues such as heart and lung problems, cancer and stroke. If you are pregnant then smoking is very harmful to your baby and you really need to try to stop.

Also, COVID-19 is a viral respiratory infection that particularly affects the lungs. If you smoke, you have an increased risk of contracting a respiratory infection and generally have more severe symptoms once infected.

If you smoke, stopping is the best thing you can do to improve your health. Even if you’ve smoked for a long time, quitting will reduce your risk of heart and circulatory diseases. It is never too late and you might notice benefits within just a few days. To find out more about this click here

It also effects those around you. Second-hand smoke, or passive smoking, is when you breathe in someone else’s cigarette smoke. Passive smoking also increases your chance of getting heart and circulatory diseases, cancer and breathing problems. With their bodies still developing, children are especially vulnerable to the effects of second-hand smoke.

Smoking is a powerful combination of habit and addiction, often with a social overtone. Addictions, such as nicotine from smoking, are difficult to overcome and you have to be motivated and in the right frame of mind to undertake the task of giving up. So, basically, are they ready? Could you be ready soon?

Wednesday 10 March 2021 is national no smoking day and now is an excellent time to stop smoking. Many of the usual routines of smoking are disrupted by the pandemic – you can’t go to the smoking area at work or smoke in the pub with your mates. Perhaps now is the time to try and succeed?

If you are really thinking of quitting, have just stopped or have been smoke free for a while then hypnotherapy can help. Hypnotherapy is most effective in supporting an imminent attempt or to help maintain an existing smoke free period by approaches such as helping to avoid triggers to smoke, boosting your will power and reducing cravings. To find out more about how I can help you, click here.

 

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I said, SIAD

Monday 1st March 2021 is Self-Injury Awareness Day (SIAD). What do you know about self-harm? Could you know more?

Did you know that 1st March 2021 is Self-Injury Awareness Day? To find out more about it click here

Self-Injury Awareness Day is designed to help raise awareness of self-injury and harm. Self-injury/self-harm is more common than you might realise. It affects people of all ages, sexualities, races, cultures and religions. TV and film tend to stereotype this as a problem with teenaged girls, but this is very misleading. If you take nothing else from reading this, it should be that self-injury or harm can affect anyone.

We all have ways to cope with an upset. For many of us, we find a way to express it, perhaps seek help and resolve the distress. But for some, self-harm is a coping mechanism used to handle extreme emotional distress. Put simply, for some people it’s easier to deal with physical pain than emotional pain.

There are many ways to self-injury. The most common is cutting or burning a body part – usually the arms and legs. But there are more subtle forms of self-harm such as alcohol or drug abuse. So, how do I know if I am self-harming? Well, if you are deliberately hurting yourself to relieve tension or distress, punish yourself or to cope with how you are feeling then it is self-harm and you should seek help to find a healthier way to cope.

Some people may only self-injure once, to experiment, perhaps. Some people might self-injure several times, but manage to overcome the issues or get help before things get out of control. It is important to seek help before self-injury becomes a habit or a default response.

Self-harm can be an insidious issue to have. Firstly, you are struggling to deal with an emotionally distressing event and this comes out in the form of self-injury. Then, once you have self-harmed, this can cause embarrassment, shame and reluctance to seek help for the injury and the underlying causes.  If this is you or someone you know, then seek help.

Hypnotherapy can help with stress, anxiety, phobias, addictions, confidence and much, much more. If you need help reach out to someone. To find out more about how I can help, click here

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I get locked down, but I get up again

Lockdown has been hard for many of us, but how can we make the most of it?

Like many of us, 2020 didn’t really play out the way I thought it would. Before it really got started the world changed and many of us were confined to our homes. Everyone’s experience of lockdown is different. Some lost their jobs while for some their jobs changed or became a lot busier. But for whatever reason, many of us found that we had more time on our hands. If you did, what did you do with that extra time?

Now, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. One friend of mine started reading again, having stopped in her early twenties, and is still working through the list of novels she has been wanting to read for years. Some of my friends put on weight and started binge watching TV series. So, between episodes, I took some  time to reflect. I decided I wanted to do something constructive with my time and I found, for me, the perfect solution. I trained to become a Hypnotherapist.

I had been interested in hypnotherapy and other talking therapies for many years and this situation gave me the time to do something about it. Now, on reflection, I was perhaps a little optimistic about how soon life would return to normal. So, I did an online, condensed, course over several months to gain a Practitioner Diploma in Hypnotherapy with Hypnosis World. Doing this has kept me sane and busy. But not everyone is so fortunate.

Many people have found themselves isolated both physically, emotionally and psychologically.  Not being able to see your mates at work, down the pub or at the school gates can have a massive impact of your wellbeing. When we have negative emotions you would be forgiven for wanting to get rid of them as soon as possible. The quickest way is often to self-medicate with a vice of your choice, be it food, sugar, alcohol or even something more damaging.

A more helpful and productive approach is to examine why you are having negative thoughts or emotions. Doing this is the first step to resolving the underlying challenge that is causing your distress. Negative emotions left unaddressed can be destructive and disruptive. We are all an accumulation of our experiences, thoughts and emotions. In extreme cases unaddressed, repressed, emotions can cause unwanted habits to form or be expressed through psychosomatic symptoms such as pain, anxiety and disease. Hypnotherapy can be used to explore the causes of these problems and help you to resolve them.

So, regardless of your lockdown experience, be mindful of your own needs, be kind to yourself and if you need help then reach out to your friends, family, support network or professionals for support. To find out more about my services click here