Tag Archives: stress

Worrying too much?

 

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worrying too much

Escape the worry cage

Text Version here:   Worrying too much?

…when I was younger and out of a true concern for my welfare – my Mum was always saying to me, “stop worrying too much!”

So I began to believe that as part of my identity it was normal for me to have cycling persistent worries – always trying to think one step ahead. “Just how could I deal with any negative outcomes that might befall me.”

It wasn’t until many years later that I came to understand that when we consistently  hear or persistently think of a negative possibility as being a probability, then not only is it exhausting but it can reinforce the uncomfortable feelings of those message.

Flexibility and the ability to live with uncertainty  sadly becomes  alien.

Now I’m not saying that it’s not a good thing to think about things through planning ahead in a more constructive light but…

Let’s attempt to switch perspective for a moment. 

What if there is a difference between being a worrier versus being a person full of curiosity?  Think about it.

Does that mean we’d be more likely to be able to think more clearly about a given situation? Is it more likely that we could reach out for help to find useful solutions and get the emotional support we need?

Notice if becoming curious holds a different internal feeling for you. Or maybe it strikes a chord which creates changes in how you’re thinking.  What’s the difference to your inner experience?

Which one, worry or curiosity, would give you a glimmer of hope for the future. It’s intriguing, isn’t it? …

Many clients have said that they wish they could be more resilient when the stakes seem high.  I believe they have a good point. Growing an inner resilience to handle life’s challenges doesn’t mean we have to be super-human.

On the contrary growing an inner resilience means gradually gaining a more adaptable outlook. When things aren’t certain we can have more control, by listening to our emotions as a way to be helpful and supportive to our self.

How to –  where to start?

We’re all human, and we’re used to going into a protective mode of thinking which when we’re under stress, can lead to negative over-thinking, and high anxiety.

But being human means that we’re also able to grow strategies that nurture resilience. That means in circumstances where we need to handle the normal and not so usual challenges of everyday life too.

History is full of normal everyday people who have gone on to do extraordinary things, or have overcome challenges to lead a happier life with family, friends, and for themselves.

Sometimes we need help to learn those strategies and that’s okay because in one way or another, we are all fellow strugglers.

Just being…In this moment

Worrying about things that haven’t happened yet, worrying about what others are thinking about us, not feeling good enough, loved enough.

Overwhelming factors which lead to fatigue can take the juice out of remembering times when we’re having fun, when we were really pleased with the outcome of something.  Those things can be simple things that can bring us a sense of joy and connection.

Re-edit your personal movie

When life gets tough then people often find themselves replaying fears based on past experience, without taking into account what they have learned or that they have changed.

I wonder what happens if you stop the replaying of the feared expectation, that imaginary snapshot of discomfort by using the imagination to re-edit the journey.

What went well? Who helped? What have you learned that could help you make better choices? What things had the potential to make you feel good?

What’s the first action you can take today towards a better outcome? Does that mean moving on or holding out?  The choice is yours.

Recall those good times too.

From experience, we can recall how feelings of confidence do grow over time, with practice and experience. From the first time riding a bike, to the first time we were in flow with a work task which initially we can recall, months or years ago, was a challenge.

The world didn’t end!

Recognizing that we have choices.  knowing deep inside that it’s really okay to be the best that we can be within each moment, of each day, can help us to feel better and give us hope on the journey.

It’s been said that we’re learning machines!  No one is saying that it has to always be easy to learn.  But why not experiment, by choosing to believe that it’s okay to just give ourselves a fair chance.

I like to think that showing ourselves a bit more self-compassion is preferable to constantly berating ourselves.  It surprising how these switches in perspective can lead to improvements in self-esteem too. Give it a go…

As attitudes to ourselves change for the better, I wonder how that could allow us the space to be kinder to others who may be facing challenges too?

Do you want to change?  We all have to start somewhere..and that could begin by one small step, by giving yourself a break and showing yourself some kindness.

Interested in getting some professional guidance on your journey? One to one therapy at my office or over Skype or an alternative web meeting link is available.

Contact me

Quest registered Cognitive Hypnotherapy

Maria Richards

 

 

 

 

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Reduce stress; don’t believe this myth…

The one thing that many people do to ‘reduce stress’…

In the lead up to the holidays are you reaching for more cigarettes as a way to combat and reduce stress?

Reduce stress Stop Smoking

You have a choice

Just for one moment STOP SMOKING…step back and READ THIS FIRST…

With stoptober way behind us, and the festive season looming it could be a time when additional stress or anxiety kicks in.  If you’ve been successful at saying bye to the smoking habit due to the NHS drive, well done.  If you find that your teetering on the edge of inhaling that  ciggie-smoke because, it’s the time of year to be jolly (and all my mates are smoking), or your tearing your hair out on the lead up  to the holidays with so much to do and so little time to do it in – and “just one drag from that fag will reduce stress” –  then here’s something that may help you re-consider.

If you can recall that cult classic TV show called the X Files – then you may also remember its main mantra “the truth is out there”.  AND in this instance ‘the truth’ may just surprise you enough to help you stop and think twice before succumbing to a false premise, because what many of the tobacco companies already know is that “cigarettes actually cause MORE stress”, and we’re talking about an accumulation of stress as the toxic fumes from that second smoke hits the back of the throat and rips its way down into the lungs. Now that’s a scary X File…

Trick of the mind:

Reduce stress_stop smoking

Duped again?

There are tricks to help the mind and tricks that delude the mind. The Nicotine trickster falls into the latter of the two.

For today’s blog one myth I’d love to dispel is “cigarettes reduce stress”, and then add in a few tips to help you get past the first 48 hours when cravings can be at their worse.  Old beliefs around the role of nicotine very often leads people to light up again and smoke even more. I believe we need to continue to get the truth out there, which gives you the choice to take back control and not be duped!

Nicotine is a chemical that attaches to the ‘dopamine’ receptors in the brain – this gives a crafty signal that you’ve got to have more nicotine because it HIJACKS the natural survival mechanism in the brain by triggering the release of much higher levels of dopamine. As the nicotine hikes up the dopamine factor then the idea of smoking becomes harder to resist. The trick being that the stress that’s associated with the need for a ciggie is actually CREATED BY THE NICOTINE as it’s withdrawing from the body. Lighting the next cigarette helps to create a balance but then the whole response cycle starts again. The brain in its search for meaning creates a learned association that tells it ‘nicotine relieves stress’ Da…dah… trick accomplished. Unless of course we become wise to that trick, educate ourselves to understand the science and take alternative action…

The first 48 hours: (what’s happening in the body)…  The poisons in tobacco create unhealthy levels of carbon monoxide in the body.

As we decide to break the cycle of the smoking – we may go through a period of craving otherwise known as ‘withdrawal symptoms.’  The good news is that once you’ve hit the 48 hour mark there is no nicotine left in the body.

  • 20 minutes – blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal.
  • 8 hours – Nicotine and carbon monoxide levels reduce by half and oxygen levels return to normal
  • 24 hours – Carbon monoxide is eliminated from the body. The lungs start to clear out mucus and debris.
  • 48 hours – There is no nicotine in the body. People notice an improvement in taste and smell.

So what about some practical ideas to help blast those cravings to smithereens…

Coping in the workplace?

Just time to squash another myth  – “When the stress is high then  I DON’T HAVE THE WILLPOWER.”

Such automatic thinking behind a craving can be more powerful than the craving itself. In reality a craving only last for around 5 minutes. What we now understand is that…

Emotional connections are usually more powerful than physical ones. So what are your thoughts telling you and where is the evidence?  ‘The truth can help to set you free’ and give you back the control to say NO to a cigarette…

If you’ve tried to stop smoking but feel it’s the craving that crushes your will, then here’s some practical alternatives to distract you long enough for the cravings to pass

“It helps me relax –  A cigarette delivers chemicals that heightens stress by lowering oxygen levels by around 20 per cent in the body, adrenaline is dropped into the blood stream and the heart starts to beat faster.  Sucking on a cigarette may have been a false premise to try and bring more oxygen into the body – think about the act of breathing in deeply.  Instead – walking away from your desk, taking a break from work stress by going for a walk to breath in fresher air, taking the stairs instead of the lift means that you’re relieving stress in ways that serves you better in raising oxygen levels whilst also encouraging a healthier endorphin hormonal surge.

What else can help me eliminate the craving?” – Keep sipping, plenty of water hydrates and flushes toxins out of the body. Many tobacco companies also introduce a sugar solution to the cigarette paper – the craving may also be associated with a sugar hit. Help your brain by introducing a trick of your own by sucking on sugar free mints or gum – the unconscious mind will think it’s a supplement for the sugar – which again helps you through those few minutes of craving.

Can I do it!  Can I make smoking a thing of the past?

A lot of people have gone before you and have been permanently successful. Ask yourself why you would want to leave that habit in the past, and then what would that give you in your present. Then using your imagination to explore the consequences of taking this action as a permanent part of your life, with all the positive differences to you and those you care about which brings happiness and a much better quality of life.

Trigger factors:

There are other things that can trigger the smoking – another truth is –  it’s not about will power AND it’s not your fault –  and these are the reasons why finding yourself a therapist who understands these things can really help you become permanently free from the nicotine trickster and the smoking.  So check out your hypnotherapist before you sign up – do they understand how to help you to untangle your unique factors such as:

  • Emotional triggers
  • Environmental triggers
  • Chronic inescapable stress – before you attempt to stop the smoking
  • Depression – severe depression could be an indicator of when not to stop the smoking – or at least not straight away – (yes I did just write that)

Do you have a financial incentive? A real factor if for example you’re saving for a deposit…

Jack is a characterisation – cost is real and based on a packet of 20 branded cigarettes in November 2015

Reduce stress-stop smoking_2

Check out the savings that Jack made!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ready to stop?  Maybe you had stopped and then you were duped back into the old habit again?  –   Maria is a specialist in ‘The Simmons Method’ (the science behind the addition), for ‘smoking cessation’.  This goes beyond the model of closing your eyes whilst listening to hypnotic inductions.  Clients receive specific attention to break the cycle of the smoking and the connections to their unique triggers.  Taught techniques to really help get permanently free. This includes documentation and an MP3 hypnosis download, that continue to support if ‘the smoking’ ever tries to trick you again.  Treatment is spread across two sessions giving a total of up to 3 hours personal one to one time. The Simmons Method supports you with ‘positive self regard’ for your well being, including the potential of an additional session for an extended period after the initial therapeutic session is over,  with the aim to care and give you the best possible experience of hypnosis and methods of treatment tailored just for you.

Interested in other tips to help reduce stress in your daily life?  Check out my blog:worry less or worry more”,

***Hypnotherapy was proven to be the best method of stopping smoking by a meta analysis of almost 72,000 subjects across USA and Europe conducted at University of Iowa by Viswesvaran & Schmidt (1992), reported in New Scientist (1992 – Volume 136, Issue 1845, Page 6).

Tricks of the mind – Worry well or worry more…

Oh My God

“OMG” Tips that help reduce stress

Okay so nobody is suggesting that we actually become mates with stress,  unless of course we’re talking about the type of stress that can be our buddy.  I’m thinking of a good exercise workout, resistance training, going for a run were the heart pumps harder, my favourite ‘Zumba’, and as with all these things as the sweat glistens then the body and mind can receive all the benefits of a natural high as we are flooded with the positive hormones called endorphins.  And it’s funny isn’t it how one person moves away from what (s)he perceives as a negative stress, whilst another person will move towards the same stressor because (s)he finds it exhilarating and exciting (think tandem-jumping out of a plane! ) Here it’s  the meaning we give to the event that matters,  our personal perception, and the meaning we give that event in that moment.

So what would change if we could understand a little more about the cause and effect of those not so nice stressors, which lead to persistent worry, stress and anxiety?  I know from my media and corporate worlds that where people experience a high pressurised environment, some may be silently suffering from health aliments including high blood pressure, digestive disorders or insomnia. This is because pressures within those environments based on expectation can cause a build up of a stress hormone called cortisol which can exacerbate those types of maladies.

Just like everyday 21st century modern living; if people struggle with worry because they focus on the negatives of the past, or fears from an imagined future it contributes to triggering within the body a primitive need for survival, otherwise known as the fight, flight or freeze response. The brain searches for explanation and resolution resulting in a cycle of persistent unhelpful thoughts and the body responds. In some cases people talk of irrational behaviour, irritability or anger which then impacts on how they relate to others.  When we lack the understanding of what is a natural process and how we can start to help ourselves, then it  can really stoke the embers of so many personal limiting beliefs. “I can’t cope”… “I’m not good enough”…etc…etc…

And of course, within the context of a life,  every person has a different process in how they experience their problem. That’s where additional help through seeing a Quest Cognitive Hypnotherapist can play a significant role in helping you to get better.

But back to some general self-help tips…

The other day I was taking a look through some of the things in my tool kit which many people have found useful.  Practical tools, or if your willing to use your imagination, tricks within the mind that can influence your ability to combat the effects of debilitating worry as a causation for stress and anxiety. So we know that physical exercise is a great way of reducing bad stress and bringing on the good stuff.  When it comes to the mind, there’s a great opportunity to include a few easy strategies, in order to help calm everything down – lowering stress and giving us the potential for thinking that bit more clearer, helping us find solutions and giving us greater peace of mind.

Here’s a few general tips that people have found helpful:

Set aside ‘worry time’…

It’s interesting that when we are hungry or tired and in a low mood then worries can take on an even darker persona.  Many people have found that jotting their concerns down as they occur, then setting them aside to be reviewed in specific worry time, say 20 minutes only in the day can work magic.  Ensuring that time is after a meal, after a good night’s sleep or after at least 20 minutes of a good exercise workout, helps with clarity of mind in creating a series of solution steps – and the self-promise to take one action a day.

Writing down worries can help people to review them more objectively. Asking yourself questions like:

  • “I am worried about…”
  • “The worst that could happen is…”
  • “The best that could happen is…”
  • “Things I can do now are”…

Create a possibility and probability box  (Trick of the mind)…

If you’re in the habit of turning events that are very unlikely to happen into events that are likely to happen.

  1. Imagine if you had inside your mind a small container the size of a thimble with the word ‘POSSIBILITY’ written on it, and on the right side a large container the size of your living room with ‘PROBABILITY’ written on it.
  2. When you get anxious about something which has a ‘small’ likelihood of happening, then it means that something that should be in the small container has snuck into the large container and your mind is treating it as a probability.
  3. If that happens imagine taking a look in the large container, finding the worrying thought, removing it and shrinking it in size putting it firmly in the small container.
  4. Finally put back in the large container the thought that ‘EVERYTHING WILL TURN OUT OKAY’.

When you find yourself becoming anxious or worrying about an outcome take five minutes looking in the probability container to see if any possibilities have sneaked in there. Find it, shrink it down really small, put it in the possibility container and replace it with the probability of what is likely to happen.

We’re all different in what we can find to be of most help, and it’s an opportunity for you to get creative,  as they say ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’ – so what have you got to lose by trying?

The Journey ahead…

Sometimes we need professional help and guidance, and this is best served by someone who will treat you with respect and have the capabilities and experience to construct a treatment plan that is unique to your needs. Working with you in an alliance which helps you recover from stress, anxiety or low mood.

Very often people say to me that they just want to be able to lead a normal life,  free of the pain or behaviour caused by worry, unwarranted stress or anxiety.  Whatever the context of your story you could find Quest Cognitive Hypnotherapy an alternative that’s right for you.

To arrange for a no-obligation conversation giving you the opportunity to take one single step towards that positive change, it’s now…

just one click away…Bunte Hnde mit Smiley als Hintergrund

 

Happiness!

Raising the default level of happiness in your life:

Flower of happiness_photo by MRichards

Find your creative-self

Theories abound about what it is that brings us true happiness.  Like for example,  “60% of our happiness is determined by genetics and our environment and that the other 40% is up to us”.  What’s for sure is that happiness can be something different for each and every one of us. Research within the field of positive psychology has shown that the pursuit of ‘pleasure’ in itself, does not necessarily have any contribution to lasting fulfilment and happiness.  Rather ‘pleasure’ is the icing on the cake for those of us leading satisfactory lives which have meaning,  and were we have a sense of engagement by being in-flow with what we are doing.

Yes really… this is possible to do.  In the rush of our lives it’s sometimes too easy to overlook those things that could make a difference in raising our own personal perceptions and happiness levels.

Here’s are few tips from those who practice happiness within their daily lives.

Surrounding yourself with other happy people:

Well who really needs to be brought down by other peoples negative attitudes and behaviours?  If we are constantly surrounded by people behaving or thinking  in a certain way it’s so easy to take on the same way of thinking and being.  Make a change and find people who are more joyous and playful – that too is just as contagious.

Cultivate resilience:

Okay so something you’ve tried out may not be successful at first.  To succeed we have to be willing to fail, then we can start coming up with the golden moments.  Take small steps towards what it is you want to do and remember to look out and celebrate the smaller victories too.

Appreciate simple pleasures:

At the end of your day, and just before you go to sleep, there is a ‘positive psychology’ tactic you can try out.  Take a moment to allow your unconscious to bring forward 1 to 3 positive gifts from the day. For example, it could be help from a stranger, the beauty of the sky, or a flower,  a piece of music, something you did to help another, whatever it is that would be a good thing to have happened because of, or while you were present.  Choosing to tune into optimism has many health benefits including reducing stress.

Learning ‘mindfulness’ or ‘meditation:

Giving you a chance to put to one side the cares of the day. Switch off technology and find a place to be at peace, just for 10 to 20 minutes  once or twice a day, using mindfulness or meditation techniques can lower your stress levels, recharge your brain functions and increase your resilience.

Connect with your environment in a new way:

By tapping into different habits you could make a difference to your day, or your week. Learning to make choices in how we interact with ourselves and the world around us in a more positive way. For example some people help themselves by creating a better experience of their day by choosing a different route through the park or a new street, opening up their awareness to the amazing things that surround us.

For many more tips and the route to background studies and research, I’d like to share with you this excellent blog from the Huffington post:

The Habits of Extremely Happy people

To your good health,

Maria

Cognitive Hypnotherapy offers a range of techniques and hypnotic downloads which can help you to relax or release you from the strains of stress and anxiety.  If stress or anxiety are causing you a problem please contact me and let’s see how we can help you take back control and create a much better experience in your life. 

You may also be interested in a previous blog on mindfulness – the spin cycle of stress – a small change can really help.

Stress?

…I’d like to stop the stress now please.”

Take control of your stress

Which one do you prefer?

One of the biggest factors behind any presenting issue, at my East London practice, is stress and anxiety. Even if a person arrives on my doorstep seeking help to stop smoking, I’ve found that stress can be one of the reasons why people believe they can’t give up the cigs.  (Actually nicotine is  a cause of stress too but that’s for another blog!)

Of course we’re not talking about ‘good stress’  i.e. that surge of energy known as ‘eustress‘ which helps us to adapt to change, get creative or learn new stuff. Or the stress released when faced with real danger, because it helps to protect us by giving us the ability to escape or save lives.

We’re talking about the type of stress that actually inhibits our ability to function on a daily basis. Many people are no strangers to this type of stress within our fast-paced, demanding society. Countless of us are unlucky enough to endure the effects of it frequently. The good news is that Cognitive Hypnotherapy with its combination of cognitive therapies, NLP and hypnosis can be very helpful in combating and resolving the effects of stress.

 (Some self-help techniques coming up a little later plus a free download!)

Now everybody is different and there are numerous triggers for stress,  be that environmentally or psychologically, but because our responses are unique what affects one person strongly might have no impact on another. I was speaking to a new client the other day who said that she was doing  just fine when ‘boom’, just one small thing tipped that balance and she found herself shaking.  The ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ is a saying used so often in hindsight as the stress regretfully leads to ‘chronic stress’, such as anxiety, panic or  depression. That’s why it’s a good thing to deal with any symptoms quickly.

Hardly any individuals live a completely relaxed life but most of us have a degree of psychological stress we can cope with daily without facing any overwhelming damaging effect on our overall health or well-being.

Indications that you may be struggling to cope with your present level of stress are:

  • being psychologically irrational, getting angry at the slightest thing that annoys or upsets you, being agitated by issues you usually wouldn’t have noticed, feeling restless or jittery, disturbed sleep behaviours, or feeling overwhelmed and not able to focus.

People overcome by stress may also report suffering with physical signs and symptoms such as:

  • stomach issues or finding themselves partaking in unwanted habits more frequently.

Getting help sooner rather than later is paramount if your struggling to cope with the negative effects of stress and before you find that its started to seep into other areas of your life.

Relaxation

Many people find hypnosis very relaxing, and if you are interested in experiencing a relaxation MP3 recorded by me then please accept my invitation to download the MP3 available direct from my website, free of charge.

Some of the key benefits of hypnosis and the techniques I can teach you, is that they help you cope with stress better. Quite a few people find they are able to maintain a peaceful inner self with far more ease. Developing your inner strength and confidence will also reinforce your new belief that you are able to overcome stress more effectively.

If you think that you suffering with stress and you want to do something about it,  you could try out some general self-help tips coming up shortly –  or choose to  contact me and take the first steps towards a more relaxed lifestyle.

The stress response – what’s going on?

Think of it being like a siren that goes off when it detects something it believes to be of danger to you. The stress response can be triggered by things that are real OR imagined, the brain doesn’t know the difference! Hence the power of negative thinking.. something that can be explored and helped using Cognitive Hypnotherapy too.

Next it produces changes in the neurochemistry, alerting the production of adrenaline, cortisol and those chemicals that prepare the human body to ‘fight, take flight or freeze’.  Just like our ancestors back in the day would have prepared to escape the sabre tooth tiger.  Unfortunately in our modern fast paced society many people have a learned response to issues, events or worries that can create the same impact on the human nervous system, ergo real, or vividly imagined the siren goes off and signals the release of the very same stress hormones to ‘fight or flight’.  But of course we do neither, instead these hormones can build up in the body resulting in chronic stress, anxiety and for some people depression. These conditions benefit greatly from seeking qualified, professional advice and therapeutic help.

Everyday stressors – self-help guidance:

Exercise

Is most definitely a great stress buster – as it speeds up the elimination of stress hormones within the blood stream.  Exercise raises levels of serotonin and dopamine which help to bring back a natural, healthy balance.

Some people buy into active gym membership or swimming, running, cycling and that’s great.  But  you don’t need to take up strenuous exercise to make a real difference.

  • What you need to do is get the heart pumping that bit faster and your lungs to breath in the air more deeply.
  • So try by beginning to walk that bit faster for just 15 minutes, (or more), twice a day and begin to notice how this can help you to make a big difference in how you’re feeling. Build on this ‘everyday’ ease-of-exercise by taking the stairs and not the lift, taking the dog for a walk, or getting those more active household or gardening chores done.

You could soon find yourself looking forward to doing more as your stamina increases.

You may be surprised that by having a way to release stress and encourage the build up of good endorphins (though more activity), you are able to overcome stressful triggers much more in your daily routines too.

STOP, THINK TWICE BEFORE…   ‘Treating’ any stress induced symptoms such as tiredness, anxiety, or worries with sedatives, stimulants, nicotine, alcohol or other substances because they can lead to a worsening of the stress symptoms.
Instead…   take a look at seeking professional help and the benefits that hypnotherapy could offer you in taking real long lasting control of your issue with stress.

And breathe… in 5 steps

Below is a simple breathing exercise for you to attain a sense of calm in stressful situations.

Also known as 7/11 breathing, this technique can be used sitting or standing and acts by encouraging the ‘parasympathetic nervous system’ to kick in by producing endorphins to enable you to get calm quickly by reducing the heightened adrenaline.

  1. Align your head over your body.
  2. Breathe through the nose naturally, deeply and evenly from the diaphragm (tummy goes in and out).
  3. Breathe in for a count of seven, counting the numbers to yourself in your Hold breath 2 seconds and then…
  4. Breathe out gently for a count of eleven, counting the numbers to yourself in your (allow your shoulders to relax on the out breath as your tummy moves in and you breath out through your nose.)
  5. Continue this for a few minutes. As you continue your body releases relaxing endorphins, dissipating any  previous tension.

If it’s easier you can change the count e.g. 3 counts for the in-breath and 5 counts for the out-breath,  as long as the outward breath has the longer count.

Short term stress – acute…

Hypnotherapy can help treat short term stress efficiently and in a natural way. For example, if you are aware a specific event coming up that will cause you stress, hypnotherapy can assist you prepare for it and learn how to take care of it effectively, so that you may not even notice what once would have bothered you – changing your ability in how you are able to respond.

Long term stress

Hypnotherapy is also a remarkable way to help those battling with long term stress. A person’s life can be ruined if they are struggling to cope due to stress.

By seeking help through Cognitive Hypnotherapy we’ll work together to find the underlying cause of your issue and I can tailor a unique treatment plan to provide you with the skills which will help you overcome the stress.  These techniques are empowering, because not only are you able to discover why these things bother you and the link with the symptoms but most importantly you might learn how to control it and contend with it yourself, giving you a lifelong resource.

…also known as Chronic Stress

Suffering varying levels of stress,  leading to anxiety, panic attacks or mild depression can be because of many different contributing factors.  If this is something you would like to explore and resolve, you can contact me today to set up a no obligation chat via phone call or Skype and let’s see how Cognitive Hypnotherapy could be helping you. Or first…

Check out my therapy options and you’ll find the invite to my free relaxation MP3 at the top of each page.

The Spin Cycle of stress…a small change can really help

Letting go of stress through mindfulness

spin cycleEver experienced going on holiday where you arrive at your destination and as you exit the plane, train, or motorcar you’re engulfed by the change from our usual seasonal weather conditions, you face less familiar sights and sounds, and you’re greeted by a strong whiff of unusual aromas?

In that moment our senses tingle with the awareness of a new external environment. A place where we give ourselves permission to let go of our concerns and worries, which as we do, we also recognise as a cue for our body and mind to relax, get ready for enjoyment or maybe get excited about a new adventure.

It may take a few days to settle and to shed the stress of the life we’ve left at home. The pace may slow down or become more exhilarating, but ultimately we end that holiday more refreshed, relaxed – with our batteries topped up we rejoin our daily lives.

Depending on where we’ve been we may sometimes experience jet lag and a real culture shock on our return. We arrive and step onto home ground feeling different but being aware of the old familiar place we’re returning to. ‘There’s no place like home’ some people say as the pace of the big city, or just re-engaging with our daily tasks, concerns and endeavours, kick in.

Pretty soon, for some, it can feel like they’ve never been away at all. Laying down our intention to set aside space for activities which will help us to sustain our energy levels and enjoyment of life; which help us cope with the expectations that others have of us, or that we ourselves know to be important. Oh, if only we had more time!

And of course what’s interesting is that whilst we gear up and become entrenched in our own daily lives there are other people arriving to holiday in our environment. Opening up to the possibilities that a different culture has to offer them, and all those things we take for granted. Be that the roll of the hills and dales or our historic buildings and frenetic cities,  and they leave refreshed or invigorated by what was a new cultural experience for them!

PerspectiveIt’s all about perspective

So I was thinking about how easy it is to become bogged down in what can seem like the spin cycle of everyday life. What things some people do to enhance their connectivity with the people and their world around them, and the things we don’t do which if we did could allow us brief moments to let go and bathe in an inner sense of calm and joy, by connecting more to the miracle of life and creativity that surrounds us.

How do you do it?

Some people choose regular exercise which brings up the heart rate, gives strength and endurance in aerobic activity, or healthy muscles in resistance exercise that makes them feel alive and connected.

I’m also a great advocate of meditation techniques, and as a cognitive hypnotherapist, a great believer in the use of self-hypnosis as a constructive way to take control in a variety of situations, as well as easing frustrations, inducing relaxation and washing away tiredness and stress.

It’s true that memories can be very evocative too – reaching for photos, finding that we still have grains of sand in our luggage or mementoes that anchor us to those feelings or thoughts we experienced whilst we were on holiday.

Norwegian FjordsA friend of mine mentally replays a holiday travelling through the Norwegian fjords every night before going to sleep – like watching a DVD she replays in her mind her real life experience, seeing stunning scenery, almost touching towering peaks, hearing the crashing waterfalls, pointing out the incredible wildlife …she is immersed in  sheer tranquillity as she recalls the smell of the sea and her body relaxes, drifting off to a peaceful slumber.

I wondered if by finding a method of ‘reflective attentiveness’ in the midst of our everyday lives we could help ourselves to create a link which is calming to our nervous system or exciting in  a positive way, by acknowledging that we can tune in to the vibrancy of our familiar surroundings. This could mean suspending our beliefs for a moment of how we are perceiving the world around us, by taking a fresh look.

Initially I noticed that we are bombarded by modern day technology – where natural sounds are consumed or replaced by the ring of mobile phones, repetitive sounds from computer games, motorised engines and appliances – whilst the eye is distracted by visual feasts of advertising and new ways to access film or TV via tablet technology. Even a visit to the countryside can be high-jacked by the bubble of the car we are in and the sound of the music player!

Start to help yourself create a better experience of your day.

SunriseSo maybe ‘reflective attentiveness’ could also be about taking a moment to connect with our natural or urban environment in a different way. By suspending just for a moment our beliefs and what it is that usually corrals our attention, we could become more open to different ways of seeing, hearing or thinking which means just placing our attention on what’s behind the noise, viewing what’s growing or changing as the season rumbles through, how we’re hearing the sound of the wind and noticing the playfulness of any wildlife around us. Making a choice to take action by trying an alternative route, whether through a park or different street, that engages our senses and opens our awareness in new directions … noticing others taking part in n the cycle of life, highlighting our observations only on the kindness of strangers – where everything including ourselves become ultimately connected.

When we look ahead, around or up, what is it we admire? How the sun reflects on glass, or the rain bounces off the pavement, the ingenuity of architecture or how nature interacts and lives within it – the aromas in the air, the change of wind direction, the flight of birds, the taste of our food, all and everything, down to the feeling of the clothes on our body, the breath and sensation as it enters our lungs and what happens if we allow ourselves to relax with a long, slow, steady release , re-oxygenating our amazing bodies which sustain us.

If we want to then we can take an excursion in our daily lives; just by choosing to refocus our attention for a few moments each day or night, on how we are perceiving those things around us, those things within us and by reaching towards an oasis which is nurturing by connecting to more positive emotions – whatever and wherever we may be.

Cognitive Hypnotherapy offers a range of techniques and hypnotic downloads which can help you to relax or release you from the strains of stress and anxiety. If stress or anxiety are causing you a problem please contact me and let’s see how we can help you take back control and create a much better experience in your life.