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Always Connected?

The Cov-19 pandemic has meant that many of us have been working from home for some time. But this has been a mixed blessing. While there is more time to spend on yourself and family due to not having to commute, the line between working time and leisure time has become blurred. Take email for example. You take a long lunch because it was a nice day and the dog was really enjoying her walk. So you log back into work for an hour after the kids are in bed. There is an email from the boss, do you reply? It’s going to take more than an hour to research the answer and reply to him.

The culture of companies can have an enormous impact on the mental health of employees. Some companies have an “always on” / “always connected” culture. Meaning it is expected that you are available at all hours of the day or night. I personally believe a balanced approach to extra hours is fair and reasonable. So, there are busy times (the end of a project, month end, year end, etc.) and an employee should expect to have to work harder / longer at these times. Correspondingly, when there is less demand employers should redress the balance (added time off, leaving early, etc.). An employer that always wants you to work at 100%+ all the time will only be rewarded with high sickness levels, high staff turnover, stressed employees and burnout.

Recently, some European countries have passed “right to disconnect” laws. These laws mandate that employers must have a policy for email use after working hours. The idea is to reduce the number of employees having to use email after work and over the weekend.

Today, email is an integral part of business and is an incredibly powerful communication tool. So much so, that employees often feel pressured to check email out of work hours. According to one recent study, the average employee spends 28% of their working day on email and 45% of employees check their work email out of hours.  This means you never properly switch off from work to recharge, recover and relax. And this, in turn will impact your relationships with friends and family. As Jacqueline Leo (American magazine Editor and media Producer) said, “One look at an email can rob you of 15 minutes of focus. One call on your cell phone, one tweet, one instant message can destroy your schedule, forcing you to move meetings, or blow off really important things, like love, and friendship”.

And Jacqueline Leo’s point is supported by research. Soviet era Psychologist, Bluma Zeignarik, found that people can recall tasks that are uncomplete or were interrupted 90% better than tasks that were completed without interruption. This Zeignarik effect means that uncompleted tasks stay in our minds much longer than completed tasks. Our minds see emails as mini-tasks and so email can be on your mind 24/7. As the inbox begins to pile up, you can’t stop thinking about all of those incomplete tasks. 

So what can we do? Well here are some suggestions.

  • Learn to switch off, unplug from work and be strict with yourself.
  • Develop a non-digital hobby – physical sport, a craft or gardening.
  • Use the features of email to help you. Set an auto reply when busy or unavailable, block spam, Inbox rules (auto file some emails in folders without reading them immediately).
  • Unsubscribe from unnecessary newsletters, mailing lists, etc.
  • Allocate and block out time for email, for work, for lunch, etc.
  • Use the calendar and set reminders to do things.
  • Follow and encourage other to use good etiquette – Avoid reply all (should this be a meeting?), send emails in normal working hours, think about who you copy in, etc.

As Gretchen Rubin (American Author) said, “Technology is a good servant but a bad master”. Make technology work for you – be its master, not its slave.

Hypnotherapy can 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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World Mental Health Day

The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day as 10 October every year. The objective of World Mental Health Day is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and help mobilise efforts in support of mental health. It’s also an opportunity for those working in mental health to talk about their work and the issues they face.

It’s important to realise that being mentally healthy isn’t just the absence of a mental health problem. To be truly in good mental health, you must be able to make the most of your potential, cope adequately with life and be able to play a full part in your family, workplace, community and among friends. Further, good mental health is characterised by a your ability to learn, the ability to feel, express and manage your emotions, the ability to form and maintain good relationships and, finally, the ability to cope with and manage change and uncertainty.

The theme this year was set by the World Federation for Mental Health and is ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World’. As Jagmeet Singh (Canadian Politician) said, “To me poverty, mental health, and addictions don’t sound like criminal justice problems. They sound to me like a social justice problem”.

The last few years have highlighted inequalities due to race and ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity, and the lack of respect for human rights in many countries, including for people living with mental health conditions. These inequalities have an enormous impact on people’s mental health.

It is thought that between 75% and 95% of people with mental disorders in low and middle income countries are unable to access mental health services at all. Access in high income countries is not perfect either. Lack of investment in mental health compared to the overall health budget contributes to a significant mental health treatment gap.

I have written before about the stigma and discrimination experienced by people who experience mental ill health. It not only affects a person’s physical and mental health, stigma also affects their educational opportunities, current and future earning and job prospects, and also affects their families and loved ones.

The 2021 World Mental Health Day campaign ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World’ will enable us to focus on the issues that perpetuate mental health inequality, both locally and globally.

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health and you think they could benefit from hypnotherapy then contact me.

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Uncertain times

It seems we are living in uncertain times. I try to remain positive and not worry too much, but worrying is an aspect of who I am. I have had some moments of pause and reflection on the world as it is now. Winter is on the way, COVID is still with us, the NHS is near breaking point, there are fuel shortages, potential food shortages and a spike in energy prices.

While these problems are real and should not be downplayed, I realised I was experiencing a period of anxiety. And this is understandable, normal and nothing to worry about in itself. But having a great deal of uncertainty about what the future holds is a challenge to our mental health and can lead to anxiety and depression. This is all the more so for those already dealing with issues as the fear of being out of control and unable to deal with uncertainty are common characteristics of many anxiety disorders. As Rosie Weatherley from MIND (UK mental health charity) said, “A lot of anxiety is rooted in worrying about the unknown and waiting for something to happen”.

So at times like this it’s good to remind ourselves how to protect our mental health and look out for others who may not be coping as well as we are. Firstly, make sure you have access to high quality, truthful information. If you are going to worry about something make sure it’s real.

Consider when you want to consume information. Checking the news first thing in the morning and again in the evening is probably better than being constantly bombarded all day long. Also, try to avoid things that trigger your anxiety. There are some media outlets that seem obsessed with alarming people and are always trying to predict the next big crisis.

Stay connected to people you care about and people who care about you. Limit your time with those who are very pessimistic or negative. Also, having a routine can be good to remind you that life, day to day, goes on.

Anxiety UK (UK charity for those with anxiety) suggests practising the “APPLE” technique to deal with anxiety and worries.

• Acknowledge. Notice and acknowledge the uncertainty when it comes to mind.
• Pause: Try not to react as you normally. Pause and breathe.
• Pull back. Don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are not statements or facts, they are just thoughts or feelings. Remind yourself this is just the worry talking. The seeming need for certainty is not necessary.
• Let go. Let go of the thought or feeling. You don’t have to respond to them. They will pass. You can perhaps imagine them floating away in a bubble or cloud.
• Explore: Explore the present moment, because right now, in this moment, all is well. Practise mindfulness – notice your breathing, the sensations of your breathing, notice the ground beneath you. Look around and talk in what you see, what you hear, what you can touch, what you can smell. Once you have centred yourself, shift your focus of attention to something else. Focus on what you need to do now, on what you were doing before you noticed the worry.

Hypnotherapy can be a powerful tool to help with anxiety and other disorders. If you feel that hypnotherapy can help you then contact me.

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Stopober

Stopober is the UK annual quit smoking campaign organised by Public Health England. It encourages smokers to make an attempt to stop starting on 1 October. It runs for the whole month because research shows that if you can stop smoking for at least 28 days you are five times more likely to stop permanently.

The campaign provides inspiration and resources to help you stop smoking. This year is all the more special as it the tenth anniversary of the campaign being launched. It’s thought that more than two million smokers have used the campaign to make an attempt to quit. So, if you are thinking about quitting, perhaps now is the time to give it a go.

Quitting smoking is probably the best thing you can do to improve your health and those around you. Even if you’ve smoked for a long time, quitting will reduce your risk of many heart and circulatory diseases. Reducing the number of smokers will help the NHS as well. As David Byrne (Scottish Musician) said, “The true face of smoking is disease, death and horror – not the glamour and sophistication the pushers in the tobacco industry try to portray”. It’s never too late to quit and you will start to see the benefits almost immediately. And it’s not just your health that will improve, your finances will too.

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

Once you start smoking it’s hard to stop because nicotine is so addictive. Consequently, stopping smoking is, put simply, very difficult. It’s thought only about 1% of all people who try to quit without any support will be successful. But, remember you are not alone. Make sure to enlist the encouragement of friends, family and colleagues. The NHS has a number of ways to help and support you. The Stoptober mobile phone app is available on the App Store and Google Play. It shows you how much money you’re saving, and sends you a daily email to boost your motivation. You can also join a community of fellow stop smokers and receive more personal support.

Also, the NHS Stop Smoking Services are free, friendly and can massively increase your chances of quitting for good. Your GP, Asthma Nurse or Pharmacist can advise you, talk to yours about treatments and aids, such as Champix or nicotine patches.

Hypnotherapy can be an effective way to help you stop smoking. If you feel this could be for you, then contact me.

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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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Loneliness, don’t suffer alone.

Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is the richness of self. May Sarton (Belgian – American Poet).


Loneliness Awareness Week is 14 to 18 June 2021 and is hosted by Marmalade Trust. It’s a campaign to raises awareness of loneliness and get people talking about it. In 2020, they reached around 271 million people with their campaign – all while in lockdown.

This Loneliness Awareness Week, they are encouraging us to view loneliness as an experience, not as a condition. Loneliness doesn’t have to define us. Everyone feels lonely from time to time. We are social creatures after all. We are designed for social contact and loneliness is simply the signal that we need more of it. So, by building greater awareness and acceptance of loneliness, we can help ourselves and others to better manage the feeling.

Covid-19 has meant that many of us are working from home over the past months, separated from our colleagues and many of our usual social connections. But even before the pandemic, an increasing numbers of people were experiencing loneliness in their working lives. The Co-Op and New Economics Foundation found that loneliness costs UK employers over £2.5 billion a year due to increased sick days, time off to care for others, burnout, to lower productivity and poor staff retention levels.

Loneliness can have a great impact on our mental and physical health. When someone suffers long-term loneliness, they are more likely to engage in unhealthy lifestyle choices. For example, poor diet, lack of exercise or increased use of alcohol, nicotine and other substances. This leaves them at a higher risk of obesity and other associated health conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Studies have also discovered that loneliness and a lack of social stimulation is associated with long-term cognitive decline. This can affect memory and develop into more serious neurological disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Furthermore, chronic loneliness can impair the immune system, leaving us less able to fight off illness and disease. The Neuroscientist and Researcher, John Cacioppo, found that people who felt acutely lonely over prolonged periods had higher levels of inflammation in their bodies.

After more than a year of lockdowns, social distancing, and other restrictions, more of us are experiencing loneliness than ever and this is having an impact on our wellbeing. We need to remove the stigma and shame surrounding loneliness.

So, if you are experiencing loneliness then reach out to others. If you have conditions that restrict your ability to do this, such as low confidence / self-esteem or anxiety, then contact me and we can discuss how hypnotherapy can help. Additionally, if you are struggling to adjust to return to normal or have picked up unwanted habits or addictions, then get in touch to see how I can help.

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PTSD…

Peace, Tranquillity, Serenity, Diversion? Not so much.

June is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness month in the US. While, 27 June 2021 is PTSD Awareness day more widely. PTSD is an anxiety disorder associated with traumatic events. It has also been known as battle fatigue, combat fatigue, combat neurosis and shell shock.

Many people think that PTSD is only something that happens to people in the armed forces, but this is not the case. Being part of or witnessing any traumatic event, particularly one characterised by fear, helplessness, or horror in response to the threat of harm or death, can cause some degree of PTSD.

PTSD is probably more common than you think. It is estimated that as many as 70% of Americans have experienced an event traumatic enough to cause PTSD or PTSD-like symptoms. Now, this does not mean that 70% all of Americans have PTSD. However, typically one in five people who experience a traumatic event will have PTSD symptoms to some degree.

PTSD can happen to anyone, at any time of life. It is not a sign of weakness or a character flaw. A range of factors can affect the chances that someone will develop PTSD, many of which are not under that person’s control. For example, if you were directly exposed to the trauma or injured, rather than witnessing it, you are more likely to develop it.

PTSD can cause a wide range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms. These include panic attacks, flashbacks, hypervigilance, irrational anger or fear, nightmares, digestive issues, feeling numb and exhaustion. In more extreme cases PTSD can cause suicidal thoughts or self-destructive acts. Symptoms can vary in intensity and there is no standard case. They may come and go, or be more persistent for a time. Sufferers can be high-functioning, while others may be more debilitated by it. The person may use alcohol or other drugs to ease or mask symptoms.

As Peter A. Levine (Psychologist) says, “Trauma is a fact of life. It does not, however, have to be a life sentence”. So if you, or someone you know, has these symptoms, then seek help. Regardless of the severity of the symptoms or how long ago the trauma happened there is help available. More severe cases can be successfully treated by psychotherapies such as Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprogramming (EMDR) and Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). While milder symptoms can be treated with Hypnotherapy. If you contact me, I will carry out an initial consultation to discuss with you what symptom you have. If I can help you I will set out how and let you know how many sessions I recommend. If I feel I can’t help you, I will refer to a better suited health professional.

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It’s OK to not be OK

The underbelly of the human psyche, what is often referred to as our dark side, is the origin of every act of self-sabotage. Birthed out of shame, fear, and denial, it misdirects our good intentions and drives us to unthinkable acts of self-destruction and not-so-unbelievable acts of self-sabotage. Debbie Ford (American Author).


One thing that frustrates me as a Hypnotherapist is that people are reluctant to ask for help. They suffer far longer than they need to before seeking assistance. You would not think about living with a broken arm, so why are conditions that are less visual any different. If you have conditions that effect your quality of life, even slightly, then don’t hesitate, get help.


Every human regardless of how successful you are has anxieties, insecurities and challenges. Anyone can suffer from mental health issues. Being rich or famous is no shield against it. Many celebrities, such as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Michael Phelps, Marcus Trescothick and Lady Gaga have publicly shared their stories of mental health challenges. This has helped to bring the discussion much more into the general media and everyday conversation. We need to continue changing how people think and act about mental health problems.

For example, it is thought that about half of people with forms of mental illness don’t seek help for their disorders. This is often because people avoid or delay seeking treatment due to concerns about being treated differently or fears of losing their jobs and livelihood. Sadly, the stigma, prejudice and discrimination against people with mental illness is still a problem. But be assured, as a health care professional, all information you give is treated in the strictest confidence and not share with others without your permission.

Reach out, talk to someone you will be surprised find you are not alone. So, if you have a condition or other ailments that Hypnotherapy can help with don’t wait any longer. Contact me to find out how I can help you. I will carry out an initial consultation to discuss with you what issues you want to resolve. If I can help you I will set out how and let you know how many sessions I recommend. If I feel I can’t help you, I will refer to a better suited health professional.

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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.