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Hypnotherapy in Hebden Bridge

Wimbledon and Online

07525 012221

Are you making time for yourself?

All of us know that taking time for ourselves is a good thing; we’ve all heard of the phrase “me time”.  But how many of us actually do it? Stress and overwhelm is one of the most common reasons that people seek therapy in the UK.  Those feelings of stress are the response to a situation, or a range of situations which tell us that we need to take action. 

When we ignore those feelings of stress, telling ourselves that we just need to get our work done or the kids to school, we feel productive.  Society rewards us for keeping on going. However ignoring those mounting feelings of stress can be deadly, warn researchers.  A study published in the European Heart Journalfound that people who reported high levels of stress to the point where they were concerned that it was affecting their health were twice as likely to experience a heart attack as those who reported that they were unaffected physically by stress.

September 6th is National Read a Book Day. Reading, more than some other pleasurable pastimes has been linked to lowered stress levels and other health and social benefits.  However, regularly making time to do something that you find absorbing and relaxing is an excellent way to reduce stress levels and increase feelings of well-being. The act of taking time to yourself to engage in an activity that you find rewarding is enough to lower your stress levels and give you a new lease on life.

If you struggle to find time for yourself because you’re busy taking care of others, you might want to re-prioritise.  Perhaps you could designate the washing up to someone else and take an hour or two on a weekday evening to absorb yourself in a book, rather than watching TV.  Or maybe substitute your weekend newspaper full of doom and gloom, with a novel.  Joining a book club can be a great way of committing yourself to reading a book which you’ll later discuss with others. This provides a sociable outlet and accountability that makes you more likely to read the chosen publication and attend.

Many of us feel guilty when we take time for ourselves.  It can feel selfish.  However, taking that time for self-care means that we can be more present and less frazzled in other areas of our lives. Often when we feel as though we have no time for ourselves it’s because we aren’t prioritising ourselves.  How many things in a week do you say yes to when you wish you could say no? Perhaps you could make a deal with yourself to leave work exactly on time just one day a week or say no to the request to make 200 fairy cakes for the school fete.  While it might feel uncomfortable at first, you’ll grow to love the difference in how you feel as you have more time for yourself.

Many people who come to see me have trouble saying no to others.  This could be because of self-esteem issues, or because they were brought up in a family where they were expected to take on the lion’s share of household tasks.  This habit, whilst pleasing others around us, is detrimental to both our health, happiness and even success. 

If you want to learn the art of saying no or to find a way of making more time for yourself and your interests, hypnotherapy can be a useful tool.  In my practice I regularly see people who want to learn to prioritise themselves higher in their to-do list.  To find out more or arrange a free consultation, please get in touch.

What you need to know about flying phobias

The last couple of weeks will probably have been the busiest of the year at airports around the country. People heading off to far flung destinations will have been crowding the cafes and concourses waiting to depart. Some will consider their holiday as having started once they sip on their first wine or beer in the airport bar, whilst others will be attempting to steady their nerves. The seasonal rush to sunny climes will be a time of great excitement for many, but for a sizeable minority it will be filled with trepidation. These are the folk who fear flying. If you are one of these, your initial pleasure at the idea of a break in the sun or a visit to relatives may quickly dissolve into a time of tension, when you might even be considering the idea of a trip overseas a foolish mistake.

Naturally, the reasons people are afraid of flying differ greatly and so as a therapist it is important for me to discover what the real fear is that triggers their phobic response. It may have been caused by an earlier turbulent flight, a concern about claustrophobia, a fear of being sick or getting an upset tummy. Loss of control is something that is commonly cited by clients, although in truth we have very little control over most things; it’s the perception of control that has been lost. Anxiety about the inability to ‘get off’ is common too, with the fear of collision surprisingly rare in my experience. 

With the causes and concerns being so different it is important that I adapt my approach and not make assumptions as to what is required. I generally set out to discover if a fear relates specifically to flying, to all forms of travel or transport or is instead perhaps connected to Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Knowing whether someone’s fear is very specific or much broader is useful so that I can select my treatment approach.

Whatever the cause of your fear, I’m confident that I can be of help. I’m trained in a number of psychotherapeutic and psychosensory techniques, NLP interventions and of course hypnotherapy and I use all of these methods to help my clients overcome crippling fears and phobias. If you have a flight booked that is beginning to unnerve you, get in touch. Pushing a forthcoming flight out of your mind might seem a smart approach, but it’s best to seek therapy before the prospect of flying is making you anxious. Therapy for phobias can take as few as one session or may require a few appointments, but it is likely to be quicker than you might expect, which is good news, isn’t it.

Do you secretly fear being rumbled as a fraud?

If so, you may be experiencing Imposter Syndrome. Imposter Syndrome (IS) is an unpleasant manifestation of self-doubt or low self-esteem. Those who have IS will often believe that they have achieved what they have through a fortuitous fluke, rather than hard work or capability. Individuals (often women, but certainly not always) will fear being ‘discovered’ as not being good enough, knowing enough or deserving of a position or title. For this reason they will often undertake further qualifications or work twice as hard as their peers in order to become ‘good enough’. However, as the belief that they are undeserving isn’t based on evidence, but rather is a deeply entrenched distorted self-perception, no accolade or prize will boost the ego of the troubled individual.
Currently many young people are waiting, perhaps preparing for interviews, to find out if they have been accepted into their choice of university course.  Many more are on the cusp of graduation and about to enter the workforce. As Ore Ogunbiyi writes “...I begin to question whether I had done enough, even though I had done all that I could, or whether my passions were even welcome in this space at all?”
Friends or colleagues of IS ‘victims’ will often be completely baffled by their chum’s inability to recognise their success or achievements. To them it seems self-evident that their friend is a natural, a talent to be recognised. But those who struggle with IS continue to be crippled by doubts. So, who develops Imposter Syndrome? Sadly, it is often the children of high achieving or critical (if well-meaning) parents. Striving to impress to feel accepted becomes a habit that is often carried throughout a person’s life.
If you recognise yourself in this description, what can you do to feel better? Well, certainly not try harder! Sadly, that route which is undertaken by many high achievers fails to result in increased esteem; in fact it mostly has the opposite effect. This is because ‘the problem’ was not the lack of competence or experience, but one of low esteem. It is therefore this area which needs attention and a therapist’s help will need to be sought.  
Low self-esteem is not something you are born with, it’s a learned response to life situations including criticism or bullying throughout your school years. When you have a robust self-esteem you are more confident in pursuing your dreams. You can also make your life choices based on what you really want rather than what you hope will make you feel better or to achieve the acceptance of others.
Understanding that almost everybody has times when they feel like an imposter may help. Gaining perspective through working with an impartial therapist can help you to understand if your feelings have any validity or if they are a natural part of expanding yourself and stepping into new and challenging experiences.
Want to get started on your new, more confident life? Call me now on 020 8947 3338 or email me.

Volunteering will make you feel happier

Globally, 300 million people have depression making it the world’s largest cause of disability. Around the same number have anxiety disorders.  According to Mind, the UK’s leading mental health charity, approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem such as anxiety or depression each year.

While the causes of these periods of lowered mood are varied, from relationship breakups to redundancy or physical illness, the outcome is generally the same. It can cause long-lasting and severe feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a loss of interest in activities as well as sleep problems, appetite changes and physical pain.

Studies have found that helping others, in the form of volunteering has tangible benefits, both mental and physical, from lowering your blood pressure to reducing feelings of depression. Volunteers’ Week runs from the 1st to the 7thof June and highlights the benefits of volunteering and recognises the contributions of volunteers in our community.  Giving to others is now one of the five recommended ‘Steps to Mental Wellbeing‘ promoted by the UK’s National Health Service. “Acts such as volunteering at your local community centre can improve your mental wellbeing,” claims the NHS website.

Volunteering can benefit you in a range of ways; one of the most important of these is that it reduces social isolation and connects you to others in your community. Often when volunteering you spend your time in a team with other people working towards a common goal.  This means that you not only get to meet new people who have interests in common but you also get to enjoy the satisfaction of working towards a worthy cause. Volunteering can also strengthen your ties to the community, broadening your support network.

While some people are naturally outgoing and meet others easily, more of us feel shy and awkward when meeting new people.  Volunteering gives you the opportunity to meet new people without expectation, this gives you the opportunity to develop and practise your social skills. Once you have some momentum going, this can make it easier to go on to make more new friends and strike up conversations at the pub.

Volunteering can also help to counteract the effects of stress and anxiety.  Working with pets and other animals has also been shown to improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety. Further to this, the act of giving to others can help lift our mood and we can gain greater perspective about our troubles by working with those less fortunate.

Depression and anxiety can make people feel alone and isolated and as though they don’t have the ability to connect with others in a meaningful way.  When you are in this state it can be difficult to reach out to volunteer, and perhaps it might be more important for you to connect with a therapist who can help you.  Contact me today for a chat so that we can discuss how to help you experience positive changes in your life today.

Simple tips for dealing with Brexit uncertainty

With so much uncertainty surrounding us, perhaps you might think that it’s a natural reaction to feel a bit depressed. Perhaps it feels if you’ve lost your ‘mojo’. If so, you’re not alone, in the last 10 years the prescribing of antidepressants has nearly doubled and recent research conducted at King’s College London found that the there was a significant spike in prescriptions after the referendum vote in 2016. The UK mental health charity Mind released a statement this week citing Brexit and the policies of austerity as contributing factors in the increasing rates of depression in the UK.

While this uncertainty reigns it can be difficult to find the motivation or inspiration to do anything, but doing nothing results in nothing changing and this low and uninspired state continues. While there is so much chaos politically, whatever your views, it can be all too easy to externalise the cause and 'blame' life events for our mood, but we are responsible for, and in control of our emotional state. Yes, really.

Often a run of bad luck, a disappointment or a bout of poor health leaves us feeling that we’ve lost our ‘mojo’ – our passion, energy and motivation.  We feel flat, discouraged or low; perhaps you’ve experienced this? However, if we can change our perspective, our mood can change too.

So how can we recover our 'joie de vivre' if we find ourselves in a slump?  The first step is to resist blaming life events on other people for how you feel and avoid re-living or telling tales of your disappointments or worries about the future as this only serves to reinforce a negative mood. 
Secondly, we look to do something that will give us pleasure. By finding something creative and absorbing, perhaps cooking or painting or making something can distract us from unhelpful thoughts. By choosing positive activities that get endorphins going like exercise we can lift our mood and start to shift our perspective. This could be going for a walk in the park and feeding the ducks, by taking a leisurely bath or by putting your feet up and reading a good book.

A very simple yet effective technique I teach my clients to recapture some of those good feelings is to remember a time when they had some of that passion and zest for life or felt that they were at the top of their game. Try it now and you’ll see how easy it is... Close your eyes for a moment and take yourself back to a time when you were feeling really great. See what you saw, hear what you heard and feel what you felt at that time. Experience it as if you're there now and looking through your own eyes. Stay in that moment and enjoy those feelings. Notice how your whole mood and sense of wellbeing can change in just a few moments.

Why not decide now to take charge of your state, think yourself into the mood that you want and recover your mojo! If you’d like some help finding your passion in life contact me now to see how I can help. Book now for my spring promotion - 5 x sessions for the price of 4! Save £125!