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A great number of people have misconceptions about what hypnotherapy is, what it isn’t, what it can achieve, and what it can’t. Today I’d like to clear that up with you by telling you what hypnotherapy is all about, and tell you how it can help you!
For a start hypnotherapy isn’t about the stage shows, which is stage hypnosis, and shortly I’ll explain why a hypnotherapist simply cannot make you squawk like a chicken or generally act like an idiot without your agreement.
So what is stage hypnosis all about, and why can they make people do weird things?
Well, if you imagine that in the audience for a stage hypnosis show and there’s 1000 people there, and say 90% of them actually want to be there and are up for a show, so that’s 900 left in the pot of potential candidates. Before the show the hypnotherapist will ask who is willing to come up on stage and make a fool out of themselves. Say for instance that 50% of them agree, so we’re left with 450. The hypnotist will then go through a series of susceptibility tests to see who will make the best volunteers and will select, say 50. Then those people will go through another series of hypnotic tests to see who really is “up for it” to determine the most susceptible, outgoing characters in the group. The rest will be sent back to the audience, and those on stage will be “primed” ready for the show. So a stage hypnotist will load the tables before the group even start acting like chickens or whatever they are asked to do. About 60 years ago governments experimented with hypnosis as a means of interrogation for captured enemy soldiers. After many studies they discovered that enemy soldiers could not be hypnotised to give up secrets! What this proved was that the person being hypnotised is still always in control at some level and cannot be made to do something that goes against their core beliefs. So now you know that we can’t make you squawk like a chicken, without your agreement, what can we do with hypnotherapy?
What can we do with hypnotherapy?
Now this is the exciting part, and get ready for a long winded answer……. anything you can imagine! Now I do have to say there are physical limitations. For instance if you’re wheelchair bound and you come to me saying “Can hypnosis help me win the 100 metres mens final at the Olympic Games?”, you’re going to have to expect a “No”! But, if you come to me and say “I’ve had this phobia of heights for 20 years, but I really, really want to climb a mountain, can you help?”. In that case the answer is a resounding “YES”. If you have a problem and you want a solution then hypnotherapy can help you massively!
How does hypnotherapy work?
So how does it work then Duncan? I’m glad you asked that. We use an hypnotic induction to get you into a state of deep relaxation, very similar to a state of deep meditation. Once there the concious mind is pretty much switched into a standby mode (just like your TV) and the unconcious mind is ready to listen deeply and openly to my suggestions. We then use a series of hypnotherapy techniques (like embedded commands, illusionary choice, and metaphors) to speak directly to your unconcious mind and change the belief programming that has been causing you problems. Now the great thing is here that you are always in control, and your unconcious mind will accept the new programming deeply and allow it to take effect immediately. I’m going to go into more depth about the unconcious mind, habits and how the brain learns in another blog, which will be coming your way very soon! The simple fact is that when I have experienced hypnotherapy as a client and when my clients have experienced hypnotherapy with me they sometimes don’t even know why they’ve changed. The question I’d like to ask you now is “Do you need to know why exactly you’ve changed?”, I mean “Do you need to know exactly how the electricity gets to your house to be able to switch on the lights?”, or “do you need to know how the TV signal gets beamed through the air in order to be able to watch your favourite soap opera?”.
We deal with phobias, fears, unwanted negative emotions, performance coaching, weight loss, stopping smoking, the list goes on and on!
So whatever your problem come and see us, or give us a call on 01342 842 098 or 07917 879 052, to discuss or send us an email to ask how we can help. We don’t charge for email advice, or telephone consultations because at the end of the day our focus is getting YOU to YOUR solution! What have you got to lose, apart from those old unwanted habits and fears?
When asked what surprised him most about humanity, he answered -
Man, because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices his money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he doesn’t enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die and then dies having never really lived
Maybe we should take a few moments today to really think about what is being said here. Can you apply any of this to your own life? Does it resonate with you? And if it does, what can you do about it?
When I saw these words today, I was so grateful to my dad for insisting on our family all learning to meditate. Meditation is the greatest gift and the best way to avoid the trap the Dalai Lama is describing. It allows you to be in the present, and not to be the slave to your thoughts. It gives you peace in an increasingly stressful world. It gives you clarity from all the confusion.
So take those few moments today. Close your eyes, feel your feet on the ground, take a deep breath in and then slowly exhale as if you are pushing the breath down to your feet and into the ground. Do this a few times, whilst concentrating of the breath and nothing else. If thoughts arise, just let them pass and bring the attention back to the breath. Open your eyes and look around you, really see the colours, hear the sounds, feel the air. Then you can say, just for a few moments, you lived in the present today. Feels good doesnt it?
That was a question, not a statement by the way.
I saw a report in the news “JUST 12 per cent of Wigan’s smokers using the NHS Stop Smoking Service actually kicked the habit latest figures show“.
So why is it that these figures are so low? Well, here are some of my thoughts on the subject.
I found these words on the NHS Stop Smoking Service website
What to expect
When you join we’ll get you working with a trained adviser; either in a group or one-to-one. The sessions usually start a couple of weeks before you quit.
Why it helps
Your adviser will be able to tell you about nicotine replacement products and other stop smoking medicines, and recommend which product or combination of products could work for you.
We use a carbon monoxide monitor to measure your levels of carbon monoxide. This is a great motivational tool because it helps you to see the benefits of giving up smoking.
Many people find that sharing the experience with others is really helpful in itself.
The above addresses the problem of stopping smoking and offers to tell you about nicotine replacement products and medicines, but doesn’t ever address the problem of the habit itself. I wrote a blog on habits, the habit virus, some time ago which tells you what habits are, how they’re formed and, more importantly, how they can be changed into better habits for you!
The biggest part of quitting smoking is dealing with the habit itself, the part of you that tells you it’s time for a cigarette, the part of you that already has a cigarette in your mouth and lit up before you even think conciously about it! If you don’t deal with that then your struggle to quit smoking is just that much harder. Now don’t get me wrong people have quit simply by willpower alone, and deciding truly to quit. What I do is to make it easier for the people who do find they struggle with it. And before you ask yes I did used to smoke, so I know how difficult it can be to quit.
The great thing about hypnotherapy, neuro linguistic programming (NLP), and time based techniques is that we talk directly to the unconcious mind, the part of your brain that deals with your habits and literally help you to reprogam it so that you create a new, better habit of not smoking. This also helps with the anger a lot of people find they suffer from when they’re quitting. Imagine if you will two people pulling in different directions, nothing is achieved. If you decide conciously to quit, but your unconcious habit pulls you back to smoking, where will you end up?
If you truly want to quit smoking and want a guaranteed solution, then simply contact Ananda Healing on 01342 842098 or 07917 730944 to book a free consultation or an appointment.
Recently, on the way to work, I watched a fantastic short video clip from Shawn Achor about how we seem to strive for happiness, and yet manage to put it just out of reach. I often hear people saying things like, “When I’ve reached the next level [in work, sport, pastimes], then I’ll be happy”, or “If I could just change [fill in the blank], then I’ll be happy” If this sounds like you, or you’ve said this kind of thing in the past, then read on…..
The great thing about the video is that it doesn’t focus on the problem of putting happiness out of reach, it focuses on the solution, how to be happy and in that happiness achieve far more than you have before! It discusses something we, at Ananda Healing, already know. When you are happy your brain releases dopamine, which not only makes you happier, it also activates the learning centres of the brain. Therefore the happier we are, the more productive, creative, resilient we are and we tend to suffer far less from burnout. This is important not only for our personal lives, but also for our business lives, so for those of you with staff members suffering out there this can really help.
What has been advocated is setting aside 2-5 minutes each day for 21 days for positivity, whether that be gratitude, meditation, keeping a journal and others. For those of you that know Amanda and I, we advise so many of our clients to do just that. But, and this is a big but (not a big butt though), do we lead by example or do we just talk the talk? I know that Amanda is a daily meditator, so that’s her covered, but what about me? Do I spend enough time each day looking at the positive? It’s easy to say yes, but how do you know that I’m actually leading by example? Well now is the time to address that!
So, who’s with me?
Firstly, I guess I should tell you what I’m going to do on this journey. I’m starting a new group, The Happiness Revolution, and I will be spending time each day meditating, doing my gratitude and writing a positive letter. Added to that I will be keeping you guys, the ones who choose to follow me on this journey, going with motivation, reminders and sharing my journal. Now, I’m not saying this is going to be easy, I have more time restrictions than most, but let’s face it that’s just an excuse! My priorities for the next 21 days are to meditate, do my gratitude, and write a letter on a daily basis. I will then share that journey with you who chose to accompany me. I’m only going to ask you to do one of these. Chose what you’re going to commit to, and spend just 2-5 minutes each day doing it! It’s as simple as that. Now, I don’t want you to just tell me each day that you’ve done it while you sit around moping about how bad your life is, I want you to commit to your own positive future! This isn’t an exercise for me in being positive, I can do that at any time I chose, it’s an opportunity for you to take a positive, and active role in your own life. I know that if you truly commit to this process, and follow through you will see the benefits within the next 3 weeks!
So what I want from you is to:
- Yes, I’m going to take a positive, and active role in my life
- No, I’m fine the way I am thank you
If you chose Yes above, then decide
- I’m going to do my gratitude each day for 21 days. I will spend 2 – 5 minutes per day reminding myself of everything I have in my life to be grateful for
- I’m going to write a positive letter. I will spend 2-5 minutes each day writing it and reading it through. The letter can be addressed to anyone and can address any particular issues you’ve been mulling over. If you’ve had an argument with someone, apologise for your part in it. This is a great release if you’ve been holding anger towards someone or something. The letter doesn’t necessarily need to be sent, just written. But, you can send it if you wish.
- I’m going to meditate for 2-5 minutes (at least) each day. I will make sure that I put aside a quiet time for myself with no external distractions and use this time to meditate. If you have difficulty with this option then contact Amanda to discuss your meditation needs
Sign up, at the bottom of the post, with your decision to join, and tell me what your preferred route is; Gratitude, Letter or Meditation.
I will be joining you on this journey, no matter which option you select because I’m going to do all three! I’m also going to be available to you all for help, advice, someone to share your successes with or anything else you feel the need to share (keep it clean though)!
Let’s start the revolution, dare to be different, and be happy!
I’ll speak to all of you that decide to join me tomorrow by email. Don’t worry if you miss the first day, I’m going to make the 21 days rolling for other people to join us. Maybe this can be seen as a pebble in the still water, I’ll be watching the ripples grow, spread and overlap!
I’ve been asked by a number of people just what is The Happiness Revolution? And when is it coming around? So I thought I’d give you all a sneak preview.
I’m starting a 21 day, free programme, that will take up about 2-5 minutes per day for those that chose to follow me. It will be launching on Friday 9th March 2012 for 3 weeks initially, and continuing from there. The techniques that will be included are proven to increase happiness now rather than keeping happiness as that illusive desire just over the horizon.
I was inspired to take a 21 day journey changing some old, bad, habits and creating some new ones, and thought why not see if anyone else would like to join me?
I’ll be offering daily support throughout the programme, and will be taking you step by step to finding happiness right now in your own life!
So, on Friday 9th March 2012, look on here to see exactly what it’s about, and how you can easily join me on this wonderful journey!
As you know I have spent some weeks now researching how to get a good nights sleep and dealing with sleep deprivation.
There are good sites with useful tips and information on sleep. The one I would recommend is the Royal College of Psychiatrists http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mentalhealthinfoforall/problems/sleepproblems/sleepingwell.aspx
I followed each of the tips to see if they had any effect. I personally found the use of earplugs useful as I am clearly sound sensitive. Also the use of thick curtains at the window to prevent light creeping into the bedroom. Items such as mobile phones, TVs etc have long since been banned from our bedroom but I was startled by how many of my friends (especially those who also had trouble sleeping!) keep their mobiles by their bed. Another simple tip was not to engage in anything overstimulating before sleep such as a scary movie, computer games, even the late night news – how many of us do that though?
For me. however, I needed to get to the bottom of why I was such a light sleeper and sort it out!
A hypnotherapy session was the turning point for me. Some of you may have read Duncan’s helpful blog last week. I was quite sure the problem stemmed from the three years I lived in a ground floor flat near Gatwick Airport where my bedroom was right next to the entrance door. I think it is safe to say I didnt have one good night’s sleep the whole time I lived there! But how was I to get past this? A very simple session lasting about 1hour seems to have done the trick. My sleep has improved greatly and I am due to have another session this week which, I hope, will finally put this matter to bed (pun intended!)
I hope my story has been useful to you. We would love to hear from you if we can help you in anyway.
Now as many of you are aware, I am on a journey to good sleep at the moment and meditation has played an enormous part in keeping me going when lack of sleep has prevailed.
My gift to you this week is this lovely chakra balancing meditation, guaranteed to improve your feeling of wellbeing! Whether you are suffering from winter blues, feeling a bit under the weather or sleep deprived, this easy to do meditation is like a ray of sunshine!
Let’s start with a very brief overview of the chakras and their function.
Chakras are energy points that reside in the 3 bodies that make up the human being – the physical, the astral and the mental. Their function is to move energy, increase it or check it.
Each chakra lies in a particular location of the spine from the base to the crown and is responsible for different emotions, personality traits and body parts.
Good emotional, mental and physical health relies upon these chakras being in balance.
Below is a diagram of the chakras, their location and colour to help familiarise yourself.
So, let’s begin.
Find yourself a nice quiet place, you can either lie on your back or sit, as long as your spine is straight.
Close your eyes and take some deep, slow breaths. Breathe in, hold for a few seconds and then breathe out slowly until you feel yourself begin to relax.
Now, take a deep breath in and visualise the breath as a red healing light and image you are taking that breath down to your pelvic area (root chakra).
You may find initially that it helps to lay your hands gently on the area you are taking the breath too). Exhale slowly. Take the red breath down to the root chakra for 5 breaths.
Move your hands to your belly button – Sacral Chakra. Take a deep breath and visualise the breath as a vivid, glowing orange and take the breath down to the naval area and exhale slowly. Repeat your glowing orange breath to your naval 5 times.
Move your hands to your ribs, just below your chest. This is your solar plexus chakra and is yellow in colour. Take another deep breath and make it a warm, sunshine yellow this time. Take the breath to the solar plexus and then gently, slowly exhale. Repeat 5 times.
Move your hands to the chest and heart chakra. Your breath now should be a bright luminous green – the colour of spring. Take this deep, slow green light to your chest and exhale slowly. Repeat 5 times.
Move your hands to your throat (remember to be gentle) and fill your breath with beautiful blue light and fill your throat with its energy. Exhale slowly and repeat 5 times.
Move your hands to your 3rd Eye/brow chakra, on your forehead between the eyes. This chakra is indigo in colour so make your breath a vibrant indigo healing light. Take a slow, deep breath to the brow and exhale slowly. Repeat 5 times.
Finally, move your hands to your crown chakra (top of the head). This chakra is purple. Take a deep breath filled with purple energy and light and take it to the top of your head and exhale. Repeat 5 times. Feel your connection with the universe and its energy. Feel yourself being nourished and energised.
When you are ready, slowly open your eyes.
I hope you enjoy this little meditation.
As you will have seen over the last couple of weeks, I have become a woman obsessed – with sleep! Or lack of it.
For some years now I have become a very light sleeper, which occasionally leads to periods of insomnia.
Fortunately, as a long time meditator I have escaped many of the unpleasant side-effects of sleep deprivation. However, I have decided now is the time to deal with this particular ‘issue’.
My journey to good sleep starts here.
Do you suffer from the same or similar problem?
Why don’t you join me and we can find our way together?
Today, following research from BBC Science, The Royal College of Psychiatry and V.Culprin the Research Director of Ashridge, I have put together a list of actions we can apply.
So let us try them for a week and see how we get on.
- Avoid eating too close to bedtime
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine for 4-6hours before bedtime
- Exercise regularly but not directly before bedtime
- Create a calm bedroom environment (no TV, computers etc)
- Try meditation/breathing exercises
- Maintain a regular bedtime and waking time
- Block out as much noise and light as possible
- Keep the bedroom well ventilated
Don’t forget to let me know how you get on.
I will let you know next week and will also be giving you a meditation to try.
Remember if the actions don’t help initially, its OK. We will get there
I’m sure pretty much all of us have made a New Year’s resolution in the past. I’m also pretty sure that the vast majority have failed at them too. But just why do we fail to keep to our wonderful plans? What stops us from achieving our wildest dreams? Why are we so successful at failing to reach our goals?
Firstly how do we set our goals? Have you made your goal Specific? Measurable? Achievable? Realistic? Timely? By setting a S.M.A.R.T goal you are far more likely to succeed at it. I’d like to expand a little.
Specific – When you set a goal make sure that you are specific about it. How much weight are you going to lose? By when? What size waist are you going to have? What dress size will you be? When will you have quit smoking by?
Measurable – How are you going to evidence to yourself and others that you’ve achieved your goal? How will you now when you have truly quit smoking? Lost the weight and kept it off?
Achievable – Is your goal too hard to achieve? Is it too easy?
Realistic – Do you really think you can lose a stone of weight in a day? Make sure that your goal is realistic.
Timely – Do you have a timeline for your goal? When will you reach your goal? Do you have any milestones on the way to achieving your goal? If you’re going to lose weight how much will you lose each week?
So that’s dealt with the SMARTness of your goal, now let’s deal with your motivation. It’s easy to think about how it would be great to lose those pounds, give up smoking etc and be dispassionate about it. But why not dare to be different? Be passionate about what you want to achieve. Imagine how great you’ll look when you’ve lost those pounds, now REALLY imagine it. Build a picture in your mind, add some sounds and make the colours more vivid, imagine how you’ll feel looking in the mirror knowing that you’ve truly reached your goal. How will you feel when you congratulate yourself? Make the sounds bigger, bolder and clearer. Imagine the feeling growing until you’re totally bursting with pride for having achieved your goal. Ask yourself right now, how do you feel about your goal? Write down your goal, write down how it makes you feel so that every time you read it you’ll remember! Write down why you want to achieve your goal.
So now you’ve got a SMART goal that you’re passionate about. Are you passionate about it yet? If not then go back to the previous step and GET PASSIONATE. Once you are totally passionate, I’d be willing to bet that you mind with start coming up with a whole load of ideas to help you get there. So start writing! This is how I’m going to achieve my goal: ………….
Fantastic job, you’ve achieved a massive amount already. So now you’re motivated, you’ve got your goal written down and it’s a SMART goal. Publish it as a statement. Take some action that is really going to put it out there. Do you have a vision board? Pin your goal on there. Tell your friends, tell your family and especially tell your partner. By putting it on a vision board and telling other people about what you’re going to do, you are far more likely to achieve it.
But let’s face, let’s be realistic here. We’re British and we don’t do that sort of thing. That’s just too bold and brash for us Brits. I mean, what if we fail? We’re going to look a bit silly in front of our mates aren’t we. All the more reason to GO FOR IT! If you want to achieve something you’ve not achieved up until now, you’re damn well going to have to do something different to normal! Don’t want to tell your friends? Tell me. Send me an email and tell me what you’re going to achieve, when you’re going to achieve it, and why you just HAVE TO! What have you got to lose?
My goal for 2012? I am going to write a seminar on goal setting and start motivating people to reach their goals. Oh and get a golf handicap of less than 20 (and if I do that by the end of March, then I’m going to get a handicap of 10)! If I fail? Well, I’m not going to fail because I don’t do failure! Do you?
A brief trip into the way we form habits for every part of our lives, and how we can change them. I’d like to start with a couple of examples of how habits have been formed and examined in depth.
In a research study, five monkeys were placed in a cage with a ladder leading to a bunch of ripe bananas. One monkey headed towards the bananas, but hidden at the top of the ladder was a water spray which showered water over the monkey. So it abandoned the attempt. Another monkey tried; it too was sprayed with water. Each monkey in turn tried, but each was doused and eventually gave up.
The researchers turned off the water spray and removed one monkey from the cage, replacing it with a new one. The new monkey saw the bananas and immediately tried to climb the ladder. However, to its horror, the other monkeys leapt up and stopped it.
Over time the researchers removed and replaced all the original monkeys. Every time a newcomer approached the ladder the other monkeys stopped it from climbing up. None of the remaining monkeys had ever been sprayed, but still no monkey approached the ladder to reach the bananas. As far as they knew that was the way it had always been done, and so the habit was formed.
Ivan Pavlov famously discovered “Classical Conditioning”. When a dog encounters food, it salivates to ease swallowing the food. Pavlov became interested in studying reflexes when he saw that the dogs drooled without food in sight. It turned out that the dogs were reacting to lab coats. Every time the dogs were served food, the person who served the food was wearing a lab coat. Therefore, the dogs reacted as if food was on its way whenever they saw a lab coat.
In a series of experiments, Pavlov then tried to figure out how these phenomena were linked. For example, he struck a bell when the dogs were fed. If the bell was sounded in close association with their meal, the dogs learnt to associate the sound of the bell with food. After a while, at the mere sound of the bell, they responded by drooling.
How the brain works
When you learn a new skill, a new pattern is established in the brain. Each time you repeat the skill, the pattern becomes clearer, strengthening the connection between brain cells. This process builds the new pattern or habit into the chemistry of the human brain. The more you practise a new skill, the more the connections grow in the brain.
Imagine walking though a previously unexplored forest – if you are followed by 200 other people, the pathway becomes much clearer. In the same way, pathways and patterns of behaviour are developed in the brain. When you learn to drive a car, it takes a little time to get used to the controls and procedures to drive safely. However, it soon becomes second nature as you develop the new brain pathways to know what to do.
In a similar way, if you consider a journey you regularly make, there may be occasions when you feel you are driving on automatic pilot. You may even find one day that you take the journey unnecessarily, as your mind is programmed into the familiar route.
So, if we form habits by repeatedly carrying out actions, either real or imagined, can we form good habits? Habits that break other, old habits that we don’t want or need anymore? Can we change the way we think and react to events? Of course we can! It’s obvious isn’t it? Don’t we do that all the time? Don’t we learn new things that “overwrite” what we believed before? Once upon a time humans would have sworn that the World was flat? We changed that “habit”.
Have you ever heard of someone who swore that they used to have a phobia, but got over it/simply didn’t have it anymore/got help to get over it? Do you know someone who has a phobia currently, that restricts the way they lead their life? Do you know anyone that has a habit they wish they could change? Do you know someone that wants to give up smoking, but just can’t seem to “break the habit”? All we have to do is “overwrite” the old habits with new!
“ALL? ALL WE HAVE TO DO?”, I hear you say, “BUT SURELY MY PROBLEMS ARE INSURMOUNTABLE?”
The simple answer is yes, your problems are insurmountable, but only if you want them to be, and only with the way you currently think about them. I have quit smoking, and stayed off of them with no ill effects for a number of years now. I’ve overcome a phobia of needles, which was so bad that I would run screaming from the room at the very sight of a needle (hypodermic), or lash out with uncontrollable rage, or curl up and cry (anything to get away from the needles). Now I can quite calmly hold a needle up to my own eye with not the slightest panic!
At Ananda Healing I’ve also helped a number of people change their own insurmountable habits into new, better habits!