Hypnosis As A Treatment For Anxiety

Most people ask what is hypnosis and how does it work? Hypnosis can be described as a natural state of mind (at an unconscious level) that alternates between the person’s alertness and wakefulness. Everything that has occurred in a person’s life is present in the unconscious mind, whether it is real or imagined. You can be in an everyday trance state or hypnotic state when you are driving a car on your familiar route to work or when you relaxing listening to a lovely piece of music or just before you drift off to sleep.

What Does Hypnosis Involve?

To answer the question what hypnotherapy involves, it uses different techniques for therapeutic reasons and works at the unconscious level of a person’s mind where the individual’s desires, decisions and long-term habits are located. Trusting and being present with the person who is your therapist giving you hypnotherapy is one of the factors required for the therapeutic session to be successful. The hypnosis state is a deep state of mental relaxation, similar to being in a meditative state, in which the client becomes aware of their own inner world more than in their normal conscious or waking state.

People fear the unknown and for this reason, some people worry that during hypnotherapy the therapist will control their mind, and perhaps make them do things they don't want to. This is a myth that comes from watching hypnotherapists on TV or entertaining an audience at an event, it's not the same thing but I can understand why you may be worried about it. Instead with Cognitive Behaviour Hypnotherapy, there is a collaboration between the therapist and the client, this brings a level of trust and enhances the therapy session. It is this deep state of relaxation where you are most responsive to suggestions and hence you can make changes to your habits and behaviours that may be causing your problems.

I have people ask me regularly whether I am going to make them ‘cluck like a chicken’ or ‘dance around the room’. Stage hypnotists like Darren Brown do get receptive people do ridiculous things but the people that step on the stage are willing to partake in these activities. All hypnosis is 'self”- hypnosis and the hypnotherapist is a guide to your inner mind and the rest of the responsibility is on the client who wishes to be hypnotised as it is a collaborative process. Clinical hypnotherapy will not make you do what you don't want to do and you are in total control of yourself during the sessions.

Does the idea that all your secrets will come out during these sessions fill you with fear? You are in control of your mind during the sessions and if you are asked a question that you wish not to answer just “say no”.

Does Hypnotherapy Still Work If I Fall Asleep?

If you do feel as if you have fallen asleep during the therapy session, don't worry your subconscious mind is still hearing my suggestions and you are able to make the changes in your habits and behaviours. Each and every person has the insight and knowledge within themselves to recognise their issues and with the therapist support they go deeper within and find the root causes of these issues/problems. You will discover techniques and develop skills to access your subconscious mind and change habits and behaviours that cause the problem. Together with positive suggestions and strategies to stay in control you can change how you perceive the problems and let go of the hold the cause of this issue has over you.

Does Hypnosis Work And Can Everyone Be Hypnotised?

Hypnosis requires the cooperation and motivation on the part of the client, and this cooperation enhances the client's experience in their unconscious mind level. Hence Hypnosis/hypnotherapy has been effective in the treatment of anxiety. The following techniques for coping with anxiety can be greatly enhanced when a client has undergone hypnosis sessions:

  • Stop or pause when you feel anxious
  • Focus your attention on the part of your body that is affected by your anxiety reaction, as well as your feelings associated with this.
  • Learn mindfulness where you notice to focus your attention on.
  • Learn to mindfulness breathing
  • Challenge your anxiety thoughts: are these thoughts your opinion or facts.
  • Do things differently by checking with yourself what you are worried about or anxious about and as you do it several times a day you will start to reduce the checking over time.
  • Avoid situations and things or people that cause you to be anxious.
  • Get support from friends and family
  • Ask yourself what else I can do (like going for a walk or doing an activity) that will stop yourself from reacting to these anxious thoughts.

Hypnosis can help you change your response to situations that cause you anxiety so that you cope with them better and they affect you less. Understandably you may be concerned about using this type of therapy to treat your anxiety, but because it addresses the way you respond to stressful situations rather than only the symptoms of your anxiety, it can be a very powerful tool.

If you like to talk to me in confidence about your anxiety, how hypnosis may be able to help and to get an idea of whether you feel that we can build a trusting client/therapist relationship, please get in touch. +44 (0)796 715 1790 or info@formindssake.com


Why Your Diet Isn't Working

Most people who diet for long periods of time have different stories to tell about why their diet is not working. The general assumption is that they are unable to lose weight long-term because they did not have the willpower to keep dieting, or they were too weak or succumbed to some naughty foods.

The psychology of why some diets don’t work is that people did not know how to keep the weight off long-term. They cannot motivate themselves to keep going on the diet especially if there is a temptation from some foods that they are partial to. They don't see their setbacks as temporary and they should keep going, not give up. They are unable to control the cravings, sometimes unhealthy emotions overwhelm them and they feel hopeless.

When you start on your new diet it’s really easy in the beginning, but after a period of time, you are unable to persevere.

What To Do If Your Diet Isn't Working

You can successfully be in control of what you eat and your diet; you just need to know how to. For example, it’s like learning to swim, once you learn how to swim you never forget.

By learning to picture the effects of our behaviour in detail we are able to transform our motivation and change the way we feel and act. We see things clearly in a new light when we think of the consequences of our actions. You see what that behaviour does to you, the full implications of the negative belief.

Some people who diet have misinterpreted their negative thoughts and this prevents them from reaching their ideal weight.

The negative thoughts you self-sabotage your diet are as follows:

  • Justify why you are eating cakes and sweets,
  • Miscalculate the results of eating naughty food,
  • Cheating yourself by saying its ok if I eat this today, I can re-start my diet tomorrow,
  • Rules from your childhood: I cannot waste food because it would mean wasting money and I was taught not to waste food as a child,
  • Not wanting to say no to friends and family when offered a cake or chocolate,
  • Fear of being hungry so eating the chocolate bar or crisps.

Why did my diet not work?

  • You were starving yourself: due to the fact you are not eating enough, you are getting hungry in the middle of the day and then overeating later. Skipping meals means that your body loses its ability to feel full and you feel hungry and fail to burn the calories.
  • You exercise and reward yourself with food: you are possibly not exercising enough for example underestimation the amount of food you have eaten and overestimating your exercise to burn the burn of the calories.
  • You drink unhealthy drinks such as diet colas and no sugar drinks. These drinks can be deceptive and fake sweeteners can trick you into thinking that you are being consistent on you diet. But you might still crave a candy bar because fake drinks do not trigger a dopamine (feel good) release like sugar does.
  • You struggle with your weight due to your friends or family not exercising as well and you all fall in a pattern of eating unhealthy. So if you can make a deal with your friends or a family member to start a new weight loss program, which includes a healthy eating plan and an exercise plan, you will persevere.
  • You have not eaten fast foods or carbohydrates for a long while. This means that your body is lacking in nutrients like essential calcium and vitamin C and you will compensate by eating something that is not good for you and put on weight. Eating a variety of healthy foods, good carbohydrates in fruits and healthy fats is something you need to stick to long-term.

So how can you overcome these negative or self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviours? Owning up to them is a good step in the right direction. If you recognise any of the above behaviour be reassured that you’re not the only one who has these thoughts, many other people are in the same boat.

Here are a few things you can do to help yourself, and underneath where you can get further help and support so that your diet does work long-term:

  • Note down on a card your reasons for wanting to lose weight,
  • Plan in advance what you are going to eat and repeat your positive affirmations over and over again to be in control of your cravings,
  • If you crave foods that are not good for you, take your list out about your reasons for wanting to lose your excess weight, also distract yourself,
  • If you get hungry, eat a healthy snack and the feelings of hunger will go away,
  • Eat a healthy breakfast and lunch, eat a light dinner not too late in the evening,
  • Choose to exercise regularly and keep at it. Don’t give up,
  • If you do eat some naughty foods, don't give up keep going on your healthy eating plan. Don't just keep eating those naughty foods all day,
  • Eat slowly and mindfully, chew carefully and enjoy every bite you eat.

Hypnotherapy can help weight loss with Cognitive Behaviour therapy. It can help you to learn how to change your unhelpful and inaccurate thoughts about why your diet is not working and feel good emotionally. By identifying sabotaging behaviour with your cravings for naughty foods and respond effectively, you will reach your weight loss goals.

  • It helps face your weight loss challenges with self-confidence and you will be able to know what to do when you struggle with your diet,
  • Prepares your mind and body for any sabotaging thoughts, and helps you to become strong,

Find out more about hypnotherapy for weight loss here.


Anxiety Symptoms: Is Your Partner Or Friend Suffering?

Anxiety symptoms are the body’s fight or flight response kicking into action as a reaction to stress. It’s how our instinctive survival system copes with real, imagined or believed danger.

So, if you’ve noticed a difference in a loved one's behaviour - perhaps they seem edgy, nervous, extremely alert, agitated or overly worried - it may be because they’re under pressure and stressed.

Spot The Anxiety Symptoms

If you know your friend or partner is under pressure, for example, if they’re going through a difficult time at work or in their private life, it’s a good idea to watch out for the following anxiety symptoms. This way you can help monitor how well they’re doing and offer support when needed. However, if you’ve noticed some changes in a loved one and don’t know the reasons why see if any of the following sound familiar:

  • Feeling tense, breathing fast, racing heart,
  • Staying in bed and not venturing outside,
  • Sweating and feeling light-headed,
  • Avoiding places, events or people,
  • Feeling tired all the time and unable to relax,
  • Either sleeping all the time or not sleeping at all,
  • Either eating the wrong foods or not eating at all,
  • They have lost interests in the things they love normally,
  • Unable to concentrate on everyday activities.

Most of us feel some anxiety during out everyday lives, it helps us focus and be alert on what we are doing and the jobs we have to do. However, excess anxiety and constant stress damage our lives and everyday connections with people.

Helping People Cope With Stress And Anxiety

Providing your friend or family member with your support, helping them in recognising their symptoms, and pointing them in the direction of professional services are all steps you can take to help them manage their stress. Here are 7 ways you can help:

  1. Listen and encourage them to tell you what is wrong,
  2. Don't judge but accept them as they are,
  3. Plan a small outing so they feel comfortable and learn to enjoy these events again,
  4. Encourage them to join an exercise class or go for a walk or jog,
  5. Encourage them to eat a healthy balanced diet
  6. Ask them to make a list of their fears or distressing events that cause them anxiety and write them in the order of importance of how anxious they make your feel (10 –very anxious to 1 – little anxious),
  7. Ask your partner/friend these questions about what they are reacting to and to write it down.

The following are coping strategies that will help your partner/ friend deal with the physical symptoms of anxiety:

  1. Deep breathing techniques or mindful calm breathing – helping you to challenge the awkward thoughts and use positive affirmations;
  2. Note down these following: what are you reacting to, what will happen if you are faced with that situation, is it a fact, or you think the worst will happen, what is the worst that can happen if you are faced with that situation, are you thinking the worst of the situation or are you putting things in proportion and will this effect you in six months time. When you see these answers in written word you will be able to recognise your fears and what is causing your anxiety;
  3. When you feel that anxiety or panic sensation coming on Stop and take a deep breath before you let yourself react automatically. Observe what your mind is reacting to and why are you a feeling anxious at the moment and do something else;
  4. Pull back and question your automatic feelings and thoughts and check for yourself if it's a fact or opinion;
  5. Imagine coping with that anxiety situation in your mind and take baby steps to do the things that make you uncomfortable.

Listening to and supporting your partner or friend as much as possible is a positive step towards them managing their anxiety and coping with stress. However, if you think that your partner or friend could do with some additional support there are therapies available that can help them change their response to stress and their long-term mental and physical health.

Cognitive behaviour hypnotherapy can help them understand the triggers that cause anxiety and change their unhealthy thoughts, feelings and behaviour. If anxiety attacks are damaging their relationships, work or enjoyment of life, cognitive behaviour hypnotherapy can be a very positive step to take control of their thoughts and behaviours and learn to deal with stress and anxiety in a healthy way.

If you are worried about someone close to you and would like to discuss what treatments are available, please get in touch in confidence - 0796 715 1790 or info@formindssake.com


Is Cold Turkey The Best Way To Quit Smoking?

If you’re exploring different ways to stop smoking, you may be wondering whether cold turkey is the best way to quit. Many of us will know of people who have made this decision and stopped smoking overnight and might admire their strength of character, strong will, and ability to quit like this.

Going cold turkey is also the most effective way to stop smoking according to the British Heart Foundation. In a study involving half of the study group using the cold turkey method, and the other half using nicotine replacement therapies, they found that going cold turkey was 25% more successful.

However, it’s still a difficult process to go through, not least because of the withdrawal symptoms you may experience, and the temptation to have just one cigarette and then resume the cold turkey approach again.

Support For Smokers Going Cold Turkey

One of the key reasons some people are more successful than others at quitting smoking is the decision to stop in the first place. Many smokers will be under pressure to quit from friends and family, who are worried about their health. However, unless you have a deep desire to quit, you’ll find it more difficult whichever smoking cessation method you choose.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try! Instead before you set a date to quit you can prepare yourself mentally be addressing the reasons you smoke; the triggers that cause you to reach for a cigarette, pipe or cigar; any concerns you have about quitting such as withdrawal symptoms or not having a way to relax and de-stress; or anxiety about failing; as well as the reason you want to quit.

Once you understand your smoking habit: why you smoke, whom you smoke with when you smoke, your reason for quitting you will be able to put things into perspective. Then you will be able to work out how to actually say ‘no’ to cigarettes, understand the effects nicotine has on your body, work through your issues, get anxiety/stress relief techniques, so you’re able to quit for good.

Coping With Withdrawal

Whether you decide to quit cold turkey or use nicotine replacement therapies, you will have withdrawal symptoms. Usually, the first week after quitting is the hardest for most smokers, and if you’re going cold turkey it will be harder as your nicotine levels will plummet. However, your reliance on nicotine is an important feeling to break and the first step to staying on the course of stop smoking.

It is likely that you will feel irritable, grumpy and anxious and take these feeling out on your closest family. You may feel very hungry and worry that you’ll put on weight, and you’ll miss the feeling of smoking a cigarette – not just the sensation when the nicotine enters your bloodstream but having something in your hands or mouth. For those using the cold turkey method, rather than vaping, this feeling will be acuter. Headaches are also another common side effect.

On top of all of this will be a constant craving for a cigarette, however, this will ease after a few days making it a critical period to get through if you want to successfully quit smoking.

Here are some tips to distract yourself from the cravings:

  • Get your friends and family to support you, lean on a friend to distract yourself,
  • Deep breathing and relaxation techniques or meditation,
  • Go for a walk or a run or join an exercise class,
  • Write down why you have decided to quit the cigarettes,
  • Listen to some music or read to distract yourself,
  • Drink some water,
  • Stay motivated and positive with your reasons for giving up the cigarettes,
  • Chew some gum,
  • Try Behaviour therapy or counselling.

For some people, it can be helpful to change your routine completely during the first week or so. For example, book a holiday that takes you away from the normal triggers that make you reach for a cigarette, such as the smoking break at work, going out with friends who smoke, or other situations where you normally smoke. I’ve met ex-smokers who’ve taken themselves off on a walking or mountain-biking holiday to quit, providing themselves with new distractions, exercise and activity to get through those initial tough days.

Once you’re into your second week the withdrawal symptoms should start to ease, and this will help motivate you further. However, there will be situations that you can’t avoid forever and so now is the time to dig deep and manage these without cigarettes.

While quitting cold turkey may be more effective than gradual smoking cessation methods, it is a personal choice and you need to decide which method is best for you. Whatever your plan is, the starting point that is worth celebrating is that you have made the decision to quit smoking. Let’s celebrate that!

Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) can help you change the negative way of thinking, feeling and your behaviour (your smoking habit) that follows. The CBT therapist can help you find the triggers for your smoking habit, support you during the withdrawals and assist you in choosing the best method to quit that works for you.

To find out if Hypnotherapy can help you to Quit Smoking for good, Book a free 30 minutes consultation with me and finally get control of your habit and cravings.


10 Signs That You Could Be Suffering From Stress

Many of us suffer from stress at certain times in our lives. Often it will be a response to a tangible trigger such as being overworked or worrying about a family member or friend. Generally when the cause of your stress is removed, i.e. work returns to more acceptable levels, or that friend or relative’s issues are resolved, your stress also dissipates.

However, many of us are under pressure constantly, living our lives in an almost permanent state of stress, and this is not good for our long-term physical or mental health. It also may mean that events that should be pleasurable can add to your stress levels, for example,

Christmas, a wedding or a pregnancy, making you feel that you can’t cope and enjoy the moment.

Could You Be Suffering From Stress?

Our mind and body are constantly sending subtle signals to each other that we’re under pressure and feeling stressed, but often we don’t recognise them, perhaps blaming other factors such as a late night or eating something that disagreed with us. However, these are the signs we should all be aware of so we can take action before they escalate.

Just as you listen to your body when you’re hungry or thirsty, listen to your body and mind when it says you’re stressed. Here are some of the physical and emotional symptoms you may experience:

  1. Sleeplessness,
  2. Migraines or severe headaches,
  3. Aches and pains,
  4. High blood pressure,
  5. Bursts of irritable agitation, short temper and annoyance,
  6. Out of breath,
  7. Tiredness,
  8. Tummy problems such as constipation, gas, pain, diarrhoea or heartburn,
  9. Feeling emotional,
  10. Anxious and feeling low (hopelessness).

If you recognise these symptoms, or perhaps you think a family member or friend could be suffering from stress, it’s time to take action.

Do you take care of yourself or regularly ignore signs of your stress? How do you identify your triggers that you are stressed? What causes you to get stressed and how do you deal with it? Sometimes when you feel stressed you may manage it with over the counter medication or perhaps alcohol; many people find a glass of wine at the end of a stressful day at work or looking after young children at home a welcome respite. These may work in the short-term, but they don’t address the underlying causes of stress or help you find ways to manage it long-term.

Of course removing the source of stress is one solution but not always feasible. You can’t necessarily quit your job or abandon your family! While avoiding situations that trigger severe stress attacks can buy you some time to get stronger, it may not be a tactic that's sustainable. For example, if you avoid confrontation in a relationship because you find it stressful it won’t be helping the relationship overall, as problems do need to be aired and resolved openly. Similarly, if you avoid stressful elements of your job, you could be creating problems for your employer or colleagues and not fulfilling your contractual responsibilities.

So if you know that you need help managing your stress, or perhaps a family member or friend could do with some support, here are a few techniques that you can introduce into your daily routine.

Stress Busters

  • Try something different than you normal routine e.g. go for a walk, a new activity, exercise etc.
  • Relaxation exercises are done each day will help so you can calm your mind and body and have some fun in the process. This works when you create a balance between doing things that you enjoy and that gives you a sense of accomplishment, helping you connect and bring you closer to other people too.
  • Mindful breathing techniques and meditation,
  • Relax with some music that you can listen to, dance to, or exercise with,
  • Try grounding techniques hold an object that brings you comfort – see, smell and hear the comforting thoughts,
  • Positive imagery and self-talk,
  • Pamper yourself – spa days or days out with friends,
  • Look after yourself - eat healthily, drink less coffee and more water, sleep well, exercise a few times a week,
  • Write your SMART goals down and feel the sense of achievement when you succeed with some of them, increasing your dopamine (a neurotransmitter) levels. Also, weekly activity increases your serotonin levels making you feel calmer,
  • Connect and enjoy your friendships and relationships increasing your oxytocin level (a neurotransmitter) and promoting a sense of well-being,
  • When you do feel low distract yourself and do more enjoyable activities, not activities that drain your energy,
  • Last, but not the least, consider whether Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) with clinical hypnotherapy could help you manage stress and cope with the mental and physical symptoms.

CBT with hypnosis looks at ways of improving your physical and mental well-being by changing the way you respond to specific triggers, breaking the cycle of negative thoughts or feelings of being overwhelmed, and providing you with the strength to address stress before it escalates.

You may also like to read How To De-Stress At Work