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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

Where To Get Weight Loss Help In West Surrey

 

When it comes to weight loss and fitness, people differ genetically, physically and mentally. A certain method that works for one person may not work for others. This means that you may have to explore several different options before finding the best method for you, and this trial and error approach can be disheartening.

There’s plenty of different weight loss support available in West Surrey and other areas of the country, but perhaps the first place to go is your own personal support network: your family and friends.

Finding Weight Loss Support

A few kind words of encouragement from your support network, people to share those proud moments when you achieve milestones/goals, and a team that will help motivate you again when you’re finding it tough, can really make a difference. Positive feedback and affirmations will help move you upwards and forwards and reach for new goals in all aspects of your life.

With a strong supportive team behind you, it’s time to explore different ways to lose weight. Below are some of the local groups and therapists available in West Surrey:

  1. Slimming World,
  2. Weight Watchers,
  3. Get support – help from friends and family, encouragement, reminding not nagging,
  4. Support from a friend who wants to lose weight and you motivate each other to keep going with your goal to lose weight,
  5. NHS weight loss support,
  6. Goal setting and a physical activity plan: Local gyms can provide personal trainers to have one-to-one help or a schedule for different activities that you are interested in: Zumba, Yoga, Spin classes etc.
  7. Try a dietician or nutritionist for advice on a healthy diet plan and support.
  8. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy together with Clinical hypnosis can help you gain perspective and teach you to lose weight naturally.

Changing The Way You Think Around Food And Exercise

Many people feel very alone and unhappy about their efforts to lose weight. Perhaps your family are struggling with their own personal challenges and you don’t have the support at home. Or you may think your friends won’t understand how difficult it is to lose weight, or you don’t want to show them how vulnerable you’re feeling. While it’s definitely a big help to have someone to lean on for support many of the groups above can provide this, and so too can changing the way you think about food.

If the illustration below is something you recognise, you may find Cognitive Behaviour Therapy an effective way to change this mindset:

You wake up in the morning and feel it’s no point being on this yo-yo diet, I feel FAT (Thoughts) 

cognitive, negative thoughts, break bad habits, hypnosis, hypnotherapy help

Behaviour- Decide to eat last nights leftovers and some cake and forget the diet you are on.

Feelings– you feel tired and depressed and cannot be bothered with the difficult diet anymore.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy works on the premise that each client is an individual and this means that it provides a rationale for which technique works for your eating issues. Also, clients’ learned responses, thoughts, feelings and behaviours are the focus of the treatment process. This leads to the client learning how to deal with his/her issues and utilising behavioural or cognitive techniques to make changes necessary to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle.

CBT will give you an insight into your mindset about your food choices and lifestyle. You will be aware of what you eat, acknowledge your unhealthy eating habits and why do you sometimes emotionally overeat. This therapy will give you control of your cravings, teach you mindfulness techniques and behaviour techniques. This will, in turn, improve you improve your relationship with food and be in total control of your eating habits.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy includes the following techniques:

Mindfulness techniques will teach you to: Give your cravings a special name, and say ‘no’ to eating ‘bad foods’. Don’t cave into the temptation of eating that packet of crisps, keep an eye on your ultimate weight loss goal and imagine your future eating good foods and feel healthy.

Behaviour techniques: will help you change your habits and behaviours and not going near the ‘bad’ foods. Practice deep breathing and relaxation techniques and keep yourself distracted away from foods that are unhealthy.

  • Identify habit associated behaviour
  • Increase positive habit behaviours
  • Identify habit prone situation – write a list
  • Exercise regularly as when you eat healthy meals, you feel good too.
  • Seek opportunities to display improvement in situations (activities) that challenge you
  • Practice, practice & practice

CBT can be used in combination with other weight loss help, tackling what’s going on in your head as well as the changes you want to make to your physical appearance.

If you would like to discuss your weight loss goals with me, please contact me on +44 (0)796 715 1790 or info@formindssake.com

How To De-Stress At Work

 

Modern life today is full of demands, money worries, insecurities and frustrations.  Stress is a common place for many people dealing with life’s daily anxieties. While a certain amount of stress can keep you safe from danger and motivate you to do your best, it can also overwhelm people.

Stress overload can cause long-term damage to your health, reduce the quality of your life, and affect your mood and relationships. When someone gets stressed, the body releases a chemical called cortisol, causing a racing heart, increased blood pressure and respiration, tension in your stomach area and sweaty palms. While most healthy people can cope with this on an infrequent basis, if you experience this level of stress regularly it can result in physical, mental and social problems.

Research suggests that you can make a real difference to your wellbeing by understanding your stress response. This is about recognising the signs and symptoms of your stress overload and taking adequate steps to curtail any adverse effects. It’s the story you tell yourself when you are stressed, shifting your thinking from ‘I’m overwhelmed, I can’t cope’ to ‘I will do my best and get support’, that will make a significant improvement to your life.

Managing Workplace Stress

How you interpret your stress response can make a big difference to how you manage to de-stress at work or manage other stressful times in your life. When you feel your heart pounding and palms getting sweaty, make the choice there and then… you can choose to say ‘I am so very stressed and thinking about being stressed is making me more anxious and scared.’ Or you can say to yourself ‘Here we going again. I can feel the anxiety rising …but I am in control now and let me take a few deep breaths and calm down’.

Concentrate On Your Breathing

Taking control of your breathing is a powerful way to alleviate stress. Not only will it help to lower your pulse but it will also send vital oxygen to all the areas of your body, especially critical areas of your brain. This resets your nervous system and oxygenates the parts your body that needs it.

Here’s how:

Take a deep, relaxing breath …. Place your hand on your stomach and draw a deep in breath. Your hand will move in and out, and so will your chest.

Inhale for 5, hold for 2 and exhale for 7. Repeat and count with the calmness you feel …its one of my favourite counts.

But you need to practice, practice and practice. Either five minutes or fifteen minutes every day: here and there and build yourself up for long-term benefits. I usually start my day with a single meditation with 5 of those 5-2-7 deep in breaths, practice this a few times during the day 5-2-7 and before I go to bed its 5-2-7 again.

Practice makes this permanently imprinted in your mind, so when you do recognise your stress response and need to use this breathing technique, it’s second nature.

‘Stress should be a powerful driving force, not an obstacle’ Bill Phillips.

Quirky Stress-Busting Strategies

While we need to have some effective methods for dealing with stress like the deep breathing technique outlined above, it would be better to prevent your stress response to start with. Here are just a few ways that you may, or may not, use in your workplace to combat stress:

  • Could a weekly sing-along be an effective way of boosting morale and de-stressing in your workplace? Or would you find it too bizarre, and potentially stressful, having to join in with everyone in the office? You decide!
  • A survey by Staples found that 1 in 7 people use colouring books to de-stress at work. Crosswords and Sudoku can also help, providing a much need screen break and chance to focus on something other than work for a short period of time.
  • What about a furry friend in the workplace? Some companies have an office dog, aka Chief Happiness Officer, on hand to sooth stressed employees with a cuddle or available for a stroke or pat on demand. There is plenty of research on how pets can help alleviate stress, so introducing an office dog could be a good move.

These strategies are quirky but do provide a distraction in the workplace and research suggests that they do provide stress-busting benefits. If anything it allows for a break from the desk, ability to stretch and relax, the time-out from the screen, mindfulness moments and boosts happiness.

For me personally, I love the dog running around the office and use a colouring book in order to alleviate my stress at work – though I may give the weekly sing-a-long a miss. However, they don’t work for everyone as we all react to stress in different ways.

This is why it’s important for us all as individuals to understand how we react to stress; from understanding what causes the stress in the first place, to managing our stress response and learning to deal with it in a positive way.

As a Cognitive Behaviour Therapist I work with people to help them break the negative cycles of thinking, how this makes them feel, and then the behaviour that follows. The result is that they learn how to manage their stress response so that it doesn’t impact adversely on their wellbeing or their work. In fact, it can help them use stress in an empowering way, teaching them to recognise the signs early and put practical plans into action – such as prioritising tasks, delegating or seeking support.

What plans does your company have to alleviate workplace stress?

5 Self-Help Tips To Stop Smoking Today

We all know that smoking is bad for our health, but our minds are very good at convincing us that we’re immune to the side effects and the potentially catastrophic impact it might have on our lives and those of the people around us. We convince ourselves that we won’t be another cancer statistic, or that other smoking-related diseases couldn’t possibly happen to us.

Of course, figures show that these diseases do affect people just like you and me. Although your risk may differ depending on how long you’ve smoked, how many cigarettes a day your habit involves, and other factors that impact on your health, the fact is that smoking damages your health.

Stopping Smoking: Breaking The Habit

No one is under any illusion that stopping smoking is easy. It’s particularly hard when you’ve been addicted to the cigarettes for a long time, or if you have a partner who also smokes and who isn’t interested in quitting with you. So how can we find the motivation to stop smoking for good?

We all have the willpower and resolve to stop smoking, it’s a question of tapping into that strength and changing the way we think about smoking, recognise those triggers that make us reach for a packet of cigarettes and have the self-belief that you can quit smoking.

So when are you going to stop smoking? NOW is the time to quit smoking for good as it is bad for your health and you CAN do it! Quitting will test your resolve and willpower, and you will struggle to break this habit, but it can be done as lots of other people have shown. Make a plan TODAY, write down and understand the reasons why you want to stop smoking, find a method that works best for you, tell all your friends and family and get them to support you.

Finally, set a DATE in your diary to quit smoking.

  • Set the time you are going to quit and stay with it.
  • Emptying the stash of cigarettes from your house, car, and work including the secret places where you hide the emergency cigarettes.
  • Work out what triggers you to smoke: when you go to the pub, a break from work, coffee with a friend who smokes or having a drink in the evenings.
  • Take each day as it comes and you think about quitting positively. Think about the positive impact it will have on your long-term health, how empowered you will feel in your ability to stop, how much better you will feel and look, and how pleased your family and friends will be when you quit.

5 self-help tips to stop smoking:

  1. Record and monitor your daily routine (including your smoking habits), the annoying or stressful situations that cause you to smoke. Knowing what precedes your smoking habit (mannerisms and behaviours) makes it easier to nip the habit in the bud. Switch your routine around so you are not associating with those friends that smoke at this very crucial time. Avoid scenarios that would remind you of your smoking habit.
  1. Learn a relaxation technique (Deep breathing technique) that you can use when you feel like having a cigarette: Take three long slow deep breaths in and imagine you are feeling relaxed and calm ….Breathe IN cool clean air…. and breathing OUT any unnecessary nervous tension…. Take a deep breath in through the nose and hold it for a count of four. Then release it through your mouth for a count of four. Remember to breath in through your nose and release through your mouth, once again, breath in…slowly …and all the way out….. three …deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth …relax…. And let go …. Notice feeling calm and relaxed with each out-breath and finally let go and settle in the chair. Just breath naturally now and notice your breathing and feel the relaxing energy has spread through your body.
  1. Get support from family and friends. Or find a friend that wishes to quit and is willing to stop smoking with you, the support will be great. You can keep each other motivated and accountable. Giving up can be a challenge and it requires a great deal of willpower, your support network will be there for you if you feel the cravings and on the difficult days. The positive encouragement will be invaluable to quit long-term.
  1. See your decision of stop smoking now as an opportunity to start a new activity like joining the gym or an exercise class, or doing something that you have always wanted to do. Keeping your mind and body active will take your attention off any cravings or withdrawals you might experience. Spending time doing an activity that you love and being with people who do not smoke will help avoid the temptation of going back to smoking cigarettes.
  1. Clinical Hypnotherapy with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) can help you to get to the root of your smoking habit. This therapy will work with you to change your smoking behaviour and teach you coping strategies to help control your cravings. By helping you deal with your feelings and habits that have formed over a period of time you will be able to take control of your smoking habit and quit. Identify your triggers and habit prone situations and the associated behaviours that follow. Hypnotherapy can help you gain control and willpower over your habits and you will see yourself as a confident non-smoker. The relaxation techniques will help with any anxious feeling around your job or home life you may have that makes you reach out to the cigarette. You will be taught a self-hypnosis during these hypnosis sessions, which you can use to feel calm and in control in any stressful situation at home or at work.

In this article research by Green and Lynn (2000) concluded that Hypnosis is “possibly efficacious” treatment for smoking cessation. Their extensive research also suggests “it is impossible to rule out cognitive/behavioural and educational interventions as the source of positive treatment gains associated with hypnotic treatments”.

Evidence-based research shows us that with hypnotherapy there is a 40 – 50% success rate as an intervention to stop smoking and sessions can range from 1 to 5 sessions for motivation and skill development.


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.

How To Improve Your Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is a term used when describing the opinion that we have in ourselves. It refers to how we think about the type of person we are as well as the abilities we have and the things we expect to happen in the future.

When we have healthy self-esteem, we are able to feel good about ourselves. Importantly, it also helps us to have a positive outlook on life. High self-esteem allows us to have the strength and courage we need in order to deal with the twist and turns and ups and downs of our life, find the positives and fight through the negatives and helps to protect our long-term health and well-being.

Do You Have Low Self-Esteem?

It is believed that having lower self-esteem has been rooted in our childhood days. Our relationships and history with those people surrounding us such as our siblings, parents and friends are the ones who shape the opinion we have of ourselves. We are able to receive a combination of negative and positive messages as we grow up but, as anyone with low self-esteem knows, it’s the negative ones that tend to stick in our mind. The feeling of not being good enough can be reinforced as we get older if it is not dealt with.

The way in which we develop our self-esteem in our adolescence can bring a great impact on the future level of our self-worth. The natural personalities that we have can also play a big part. Some of us possess personality traits that can make us more prone to those negative thoughts with regards to who we are and our sense of what we can achieve in life.

Low self-esteem affects us in a number of ways. If a certain person feels that they are not worthy enough, it will reflect on their behaviour. They act in a way that reinforces their own low self-esteem for example by being self-deprecating, telling themselves and others that they’re not good enough.

Even people who outwardly appear self-confident with high self-esteem may be struggling with these negative thoughts and behaviour patterns. They may find it hard to get up in the morning to face their day, perhaps thinking that they’re not up to the job they do or that they don’t deserve to be successful. They may also be very self-critical and analyse everything that they do in their working lives, endlessly running through what went wrong or finding faults, unfavourably comparing themselves to others, and focusing on the negatives rather than the positives.

All this leads to feelings of depression, hopelessness, boredom in life and lack of motivation. Fortunately, there are things practical steps that you can take to improve your confidence and self-esteem.

10 Tips To Help With The Challenges When You Build Your Self-Esteem And Confidence:

  1. Positive affirmations and self-talk challenge your negative thoughts and practice motivational affirmations,
  2. Regular and consistent exercise: helps to elevate your mood,
  3. Stop comparing yourself to other people: trust yourself, don’t measure yourself to other people successes and find out your greatest strengths,
  4. Give yourself a break when you make a mistake: remember we all make some mistakes,
  5. Change the things you can and forget the things you cannot: focus on the positives,
  6. Focus on the things you enjoy: find time do some fun stuff,
  7. Honour your achievements: be grateful of what you have succeeded at,
  8. Create a balance: between your work, home and personal life,
  9. Don’t be critical of yourself: give yourself a break,
  10. Get your family and friends to support you: especially on difficult days.

Easier said than done?

If those feelings of being ‘not good enough’ have become entrenched, perhaps because you’re suffering from long-term low self-esteem, the steps above may be very hard to implement. If you’ve been self-critical for many years, it’s hard to break this cycle by simply acknowledging that it’s not doing your self-esteem any good.

Therefore it can be helpful to get some additional support to help you break this cycle of negative thinking and change your behaviour. Counselling, such as talking therapies can be useful, as can cognitive behaviour therapies such as hypnosis.

Clinical Hypnosis for improvement of self-esteem is a safe and relaxing process that involves having a direct attention to the subconscious and conscious mind. Its main goal is to identify and challenge the patterns of negative thinking. Aside from that, it also encourages the change of negative to positive thinking with the power of suggestion. A cognitive behaviour hypnotherapist will present to you a number of visualisations, hypnotic suggestions and other related techniques. It also helps you in promoting positive attitudes, thoughts as well as beliefs that support you to have a healthy self-esteem.

When you are in the relaxed and deep state of hypnosis, the therapist will help you break the negative cycle of feeling and thinking, when you see these clearly you will change the habits and behaviour that follow. By identifying your goals, the session will be tailored to meet your needs and suggestions made under hypnosis will be able to promote healthy and long-term self-esteem.

If you would like to discuss the above in more detail, and in confidence, please do get in touch. You can email me on info@formindssake.com or call 0796 715 1790

5 Evidence-Based Weight Loss Tips: What’s Right For You?

In this post, I share some tips that will get you off that weight loss roller coaster and help you lose weight and maintain a healthy weight for life.

Why Many Weight Loss Diets Don’t Work

Nearly two-thirds of adults in the world and more and more adolescents and kids are overweight these days. Research has shown that an overweight person is at a significant risk of developing diabetes and heart conditions. Most diets are very difficult to keep up long-term, this is because when you go on a diet you decrease the number of calories you eat and your body feels like it is starving. Initially, you lose weight because your body has to use the excess fat in our body. However, your body presumes that it is starving and lowers your metabolism. This is a biological and natural driven mechanism, which evolved to help the fittest survive. The result is that if you want to lose weight you need to eat less and less food.

But after a while, your body feels deprived of food and you start to resent this diet and it affects your mood. This decrease in your mood level results in binge eating and therefore you will put on the weight that you lost.

Weight Loss And Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

Cognitive behaviour therapy is based on evidenced-based techniques that can help you learn to change the way you think, feel and behave around your eating habits for the rest of your life. Also, you will learn to set some realistic goals and crush your self-defeating thoughts and pre-assumed beliefs about food.

First, you can identify those self-sabotaging thoughts and distortions and learn how to correct them. This then leads to you being positive, developing self-belief in yourself and motivating you further to stay on this healthy positive eating plan. Some of the self-sabotaging thoughts could be:

  1. You rationalise ‘bad eating habits’ by saying to yourself “it’s OK to snack on a pack of crisps because….”
  2. You follow the rules from your childhood about food wastage, remember your mum saying ‘its wrong to waste food, please clean your plate’.
  3. You have negative thoughts and distortions like “I will never lose the excess weight, so why should I bother trying”
  4. You have worst-case scenario thinking “what if I have low blood sugar and faint if I stay hungry, so I must have that chocolate bar”
  5. Negative visualisation you think is “what will my mother-in-law say if I don’t eat her chocolate cake”
  6. Some deluding thoughts you have could be “since I tricked a little by eating that chocolate pastry or pie… I might as well finish it”

Benefits of cognitive behaviour therapy are:

  • Your cravings for ‘bad’ foods will decrease,
  • You will be in control of your desire for food and won’t get into a panic if you are hungry for a little while longer,
  • You will have a daily healthy eating plan to follow,
  • You won’t feel deprived and resent the foods that you cannot eat,
  • You will feel great and positive about yourself,
  • Your self-confidence improves and you feel happier and healthier.

Here are some tips that I recommend my clients use between hypnosis treatments. They can be even more powerful when combined with a cognitive behaviour hypnotherapy that can help you break the cycle and get you off that weight loss rollercoaster.

  1. Note down on a flash card or postcard (and read the daily) the reasons why you want to lose weight. Also, find a healthy and nutritious eating program that works with your lifestyle, that is flexible and this will encourage you to change your mindset about which foods are ‘good’ for you and which are ‘bad’ for you.
  2. Be mindful and think of everything you put in your mouth (good or bad), eat very, very slowly, sit at a table when you eat, and acknowledge when you have done well. Reward yourself (praise yourself) for eating healthily.
  3. Clear your house, car and environment from all the junk food, crisps, chocolate etc. Set a reasonable goal to follow and make a distinction between your desire to eat, whether you are actually hungry or you are craving ‘bad’ foods at this time.
  4. Choose your exercise regime: so that you can burn off any excess calories, improving your health and fitness and this, in turn, will tone your muscles. Exercising makes you feel positive (physically and mentally), boosts self-esteem, relieves stress and anxiety and helps you feel better about yourself.
  5. Be in control of your cravings: practice mindfulness techniques and controlling your eating behaviour techniques.

Mindfulness techniques: Give your cravings a special name, and say ‘no’ to eating ‘bad foods’. Don’t cave into the temptation of eating that packet of crisps, keep an eye on your ultimate weight loss goal and imagine your future eating good foods and feeling healthy.

Behaviour techniques: Keep your craving at bay by not going near the ‘bad’ foods, plus drink plenty of water instead of snacking and drink low calorie drinks too. Practice deep breathing and relaxation techniques and keep yourself distracted away from foods that are unhealthy.

Please email me (info@formindssake.com) or call directly (07967151790) if you would like to practice these tips in depth and let’s get you started with losing any excess weight and feeling fabulous!

What To Do If Your Confidence Takes A Nosedive

We all know of confident people who walk tall, speak with self-assurance and never seem fazed by work, family or anything else. By comparison, they might make use feel anxious, overly apologetic, and full of self-doubts and negative thoughts. However, don’t be fooled by first impressions, many people have moments where things don’t look so great – it’s just that some of us are better at putting on a brave face than others.

How To Get Your Confidence Back

When your confidence does take a nosedive due to circumstances, such as relationship problems, issues at work or family worries, try to think of it as a temporary setback and address the issue before it gets worse. Self-confidence is something that we can learn, helping us to cope with stress and anxiety, feel good and have a more positive attitude. Not only that it can rub off on other people, so if your family members or friends are going through a rough period, your self-confidence and ability to face issues head-on can inspire them too.

Self-Efficacy

Self-efficacy is the strength of your self-belief in your ability to achieve your goals. Albert Bandura, a prominent psychologist created the ‘Self-efficacy model’, suggesting that self-confidence comes from self-efficacy. This model suggests that self-efficacy influences the way a person thinks, feels, acts and, therefore, makes decisions. A person can work to develop the task-oriented skills and motivation to succeed at their own level of self-efficacy. For example, if you were an athlete and have had a setback where you have been injured and stuck at home for a while, you might have felt depressed, your self-confidence dipped and feel sorry for yourself, you can raise your self-efficacy and self-confidence level by looking at your past achievements and draw on those past accomplishments. By using mental imagery/ rehearsal techniques, vivid imagery of past performances and positive thoughts you can change your mindset and work towards positive goals.

Also, you can identify and dispute your irrational thoughts or maladaptive thoughts, which are called cognitive distortions through a process called cognitive restructuring. 

Here is a PDF document to help you create a goal-setting system, which is one of the most important skills you need to become and remain self-confident: Create a Goal Setting System

Tips to build your self-confidence:

Here are some techniques you can try at home to help build your self-confidence, helping you cope with life’s challenges:

  1. Look at your past achievements and feel proud of the things you have done and achieved in the past.
  2. Notice where your past self-belief and resilience came from and trust in yourself to be self-confident again.
  3. Identify your weaknesses and work on strengthening them.
  4. Create a goal setting system and expect to be successful.
  5. Visualise positive thoughts and rationalise negative patterns of thinking.
  6. Lean on a close friend for support.
  7. Have a strong mental imagery of success in your mind.
  8. Clear all mental blocks and increase your motivation to succeed.
  9. Deep breathing and relaxation exercises.
  10. Self talk such as affirmations and positive words to keep your momentum going.
  11. Look at the way you think of yourself and change it around due to something that is bothering you and making you feel low and not confident.

Face your fears, put everything about your life into context and don’t let failure take over your life and build your interests and skills. You can look forward to a bright exciting future with confidence.

If you have any questions about self-efficacy and how to build your self-confidence, please get in touch. Leave a comment below or call / email me directly: 0796 7151790 / info@formindssake.com


 

“A first timer at Hypnotherapy, I chose Andrea because she was well qualified and uniquely, has nursing experience. What I didn’t know was how caring and reassuring she was! I immediately felt I had come to the right person. I suffered from extreme anxiety, low self-confidence, and low self-esteem and also doubted my ability is making decisions. With her professional help, I have worked through unresolved issues and my self-confidence improved drastically. More importantly, I have learnt a lot about myself, have self-worth and also worked on how to deal with various problems/issues life throws at me. Clinical Hypnotherapy was a wonderful and insightful experience” Paula.