Confidence and Self Esteem

Tame Your Inner Critic – Hypnotherapy in Ely and Newmarket

Tame Your Inner Critic – Hypnotherapy in Ely and Newmarket

Tame Your Inner Critic – Hypnotherapy in Ely and Newmarket

Every waking moment you have a constant stream of thoughts running through your mind. You have ideas, you make decisions, evaluate things, replay things, imagine things and talk to yourself in an ongoing stream of thought as you go about your day. Much of the time you may not even notice this is particularly happening. Sometimes these thoughts are encouraging, positive and helpful and there may be moments where they are random or unfocused and your thoughts just seem to flow in all sorts of directions.

And, of course, there are those thoughts that cause negativity, low mood and that limit you and hold you back in a variety of ways. Sometimes the things you might say to yourself in your head are not that kind. You can berate yourself, criticise yourself and put yourself down about something you have or haven’t said or done or a mistake you think you’ve made. Long after everyone else has moved on and forgotten about it, you can still find yourself criticising yourself over and over inside your own head.

You may even judge and be harsh about yourself as a person, putting down who you are, what you do and what you are capable of achieving. You wouldn’t let a stranger talk to someone you loved in the same way yet there you are putting yourself down all the time. And it has real life consequences in how you feel and what you do. 

This inner critic is that part of you that grabs hold when you put yourself down and criticise yourself. You tell yourself you’re a failure, that you always mess up, that you’re a loser and that you aren’t good enough. And perhaps the worst bit is that this inner voice of yours follow you around all day, reminding you of every little mistake you’ve ever made.

Yet because this all occurs inside your own head it is very possible to tame your inner critic and to learn how to encourage and support yourself in ways that all you to move forward confidently and capably.

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Dress To Impress! How Your Clothes Influence Thoughts and Feelings

Dress To Impress! How Your Clothes Influence Thoughts and Feelings

Dress To Impress! How Your Clothes Influence Thoughts and Feelings – Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘dress to impress’ where it is suggested that you dress impressively to look good to others and to potentially influence their reaction towards you. Yet could it be that the clothes you wear have more influence over your own thoughts and feelings?

Could it be that your clothes influence thoughts and feelings so that you feel confident and feel good in yourself in ways that certainly could influence how you are perceived by others, as well as boosting your own self-esteem and positive self image.

Even as I write this I’m reminded of power dressing in the 1980s, a fashion style that suggested wearing certain clothes as a form of establishing authority in professional environments. Whilst designer labels were seen as a thing by both sexes at the time, power dressing was the fashion style that was associated with women standing up in environments traditionally dominated by men. And whilst I’m no fashion expert (obviously!), certain clothes and styles of clothes have always been associated with certain values, views and social groups and to either fit in or to stand out from others.

And recently I was reminded of the use of clothes to influence how you feel by a client who told me that wearing certain accessories and clothing styles helped her to feel more confident when public speaking.

Of course, if you subjectively perceive that what you wear affects your thoughts and feelings then it most likely will and that could either be helpful and positive or negative and a hindrance. And, there is evidence to support that what we wear influences how we think, feel and act.

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Comparing Yourself To Others – Confidence and Self-Esteem Hypnotherapy in Ely and Newmarket

Comparing Yourself To Others – Confidence and Self-Esteem Hypnotherapy in Ely and Newmarket

Comparing Yourself To Others On Social Media – Confidence and Self-Esteem Hypnotherapy in Ely and Newmarket

Do you have a tendency to negatively compare yourself to others online? 

Maybe you’re feeling a bit anxious, low or down on yourself and as you scroll through your social media feeds it just seems that everyone else is having a better time of things than you are. They are all happy, smiley and seemingly having a great time doing great things with great people. In your head you just start thinking how their lives are so much better than yours and how that means you aren’t good enough or are failing in some way. 

And as you mindlessly scroll on and on, perhaps pausing every so often to look at their photos, you start dwelling, being hard on yourself and you feel that you and your life are lacking and just not as good as everyone else’s. It probably all feeds into your anxiety, social anxiety, low self-esteem and low mood. You might even carry around all of the negativity with you for the rest of the day, feeling low and down, lacking in motivation and wanting to just hide from the world (while you just keep scrolling to try and distract yourself from your thoughts and feelings but continuing to feel bad).

Whatever your relationship with social media, and however much (or maybe little) you engage with it, there is no doubt that it can exacerbate any tendencies to negatively compare yourself and your life with others. You look at what they are saying and doing and compare it to how things are for you right now and to how you feel in yourself and about yourself. It’s very easy to start feeling worse as a result and yet to, paradoxically, scroll and spend even more time looking at the posts and photos from others that appear in your feed.     

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Is Impostor Syndrome Holding You Back? Anxiety Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket

Is Impostor Syndrome Holding You Back? Anxiety Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket

Is Imposter Syndrome Holding You Back? Anxiety Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket

Many years ago, I can remember being in my then manager’s office just causally chatting about some work related things, when all of a sudden they turned towards me, with a look of fear upon their face, and they said ‘I hope I don’t get found out as a fraud.’ This was my first real exposure to imposter syndrome and how it can affect anyone, even those you least suspect. 

This manager had always seemed competent and confident at work. Apart from the usual little grumbles that most staff have towards their boss, I’d not heard anything except positive things and respect from other people in the office. Yet on the inside, this person was struggling with that fear of being exposed as incompetent, of being shown to be a fraud and not up to the job. Underneath their outer facade of confidence, they were anxious, fearful and vulnerable like so many others.

In fact, imposter syndrome, and the lack of confidence and fear of exposure that goes with it, is surprisingly common. That inner anxiety and fear affects and limits many, many people, even those whom you may least suspect. It might even be something that holds you back and troubles you in your daily life, leading to self-doubt, catastrophising, fear, regret and anxiety. You lack confidence in yourself, worry about being found out and being exposed, and you belittle your achievements, skills and capabilities.

If you get positive feedback or compliments then you’ll struggle to just accept them and enjoy them, and if you get negative feedback you may feel angry, threatened and useless. 

More and more people have come to me for help with overcoming imposter syndrome and the unhelpful thoughts and feelings that come with it because they are tired and fed up of the constant sense of inner struggle and negative mind chatter.  And because it is something that is all about your own internal thoughts, feelings and beliefs, it is something that you certainly take positive action to overcome.

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Moving Out Of Your Comfort Zone – Hypnotherapy in Ely and Newmarket

Moving Out Of Your Comfort Zone – Hypnotherapy in Ely and Newmarket

Moving Out Of Your Comfort Zone – Hypnotherapy in Ely and Newmarket

We’re told a lot that life begins at the edge, or outside, of our comfort zone. The message is clear, if you want to live a fulfilling life and to be happy, then you need to do more and more and newer and newer things.

And certainly there’s an element of truth in this. As humans, we are learning machines, we seek out novelty and grow accustomed to sameness. We can become stale and feel stuck in the same old routine if we aren’t stretching ourselves a bit. Getting a bit uncomfortable can make life more exciting and interesting, and it can add that good feeling that comes from giving effort and focus towards a desired goal.

Yet, despite that, I do think there can be happiness and reward even if you stay within your comfort zone. You don’t need to start jumping from planes, dropping off cliffs, speak in front of a thousand people or do any of those things that living outside your comfort zone can easily inspire in your imagination. You can stretch yourself within the realms of the areas you already enjoy. You can add variety and challenge into what you already enjoy, whether that’s exercise and sport, playing an instrument, in your workplace or whatever. You can feel comfortable in yourself and your environment as you push yourself on a bit. 

And whilst usually I feel pretty comfortable in myself within my own routine, especially when it comes to my high intensity training and running, there’s still room for getting comfortable with feeling uncomfortable and room to try new things, experiment, set challenging goals and then put the work in towards them. Yet more recently, an opportunity has come up that has really pushed me outside of my own comfort zone in my training, yet which is bringing rich rewards beyond the ever oscillating mix of nervousness, fear, confidence and excitement.

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Could Talking To Strangers Make You Happier? Hypnotherapy in Ely and Newmarket

Could Talking To Strangers Make You Happier? Hypnotherapy in Ely and Newmarket

Could Talking To Strangers Make You Happier? Hypnotherapy in Ely and Newmarket

If you want to feel happier, could proactively starting up conversations with strangers help you to boost good feelings? 

Naturally, if you want to get better at connecting with others, then it makes sense to start engaging more in conversation and to go about deliberately seeking opportunities to chat. The more you do it, the more comfortable it becomes and the more relaxed in yourself you will be.

For others, their confidence and self-esteem can get in the way of doing this. Yet, it may that by getting over any general reluctance to talk to strangers, and by ditching any worry about what they think or of failing and looking stupid, may help contribute to your overall levels of happiness and enjoyment of life.

Routinely, we often ignore strangers who are close by and around us. We put our heads down, stare at a book or a screen, and stay rooted in our own space and comfort zone. Even when we may like the idea of engaging and chatting, we often hold back and the moment passes. And, of course, sometimes solitude and space can be nice. It can be enjoyable to have some time to not have to think or engage or talk. Yet research suggests that interacting and connecting with others can be a positive experience (for you and for them), even if we mistakenly expect that not socially engaging will be the more likely to make us feel better.

So what does the research say, and what might be getting in the way of us all being more social with strangers and taking these regular opportunities for boosting our own well-being and happiness?

 

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Impostor Syndrome – Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket

Impostor Syndrome – Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket

Impostor Syndrome – Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket

Recently I’ve been working with a number of people who, as part of their self-doubt, anxiety and stress, are struggling with imposter syndrome.

Impostor syndrome leads to you feeling like a bit of a fraud in what you are doing at work or another aspect of life, like at some point you expect to get found out and that others will finally discover that you aren’t up to the job and that you’ve somehow just been getting away with things. You doubt your own skills, capabilities, accomplishments and achievements and you live with a fear of being found out. 

Now, this worry, self-doubt and fear will continue even where you can point to a long list of achievements. You may put your successes down to luck or chance, or that others didn’t notice the flaws in what you did (which can contribute to elements of perfectionism). When you receive positive feedback you probably don’t internalise it and feel good, but rather think it’s well-meaning but false. 

And, of course, the more you achieve and the greater your responsibilities, the more there is to lose and the greater your fear of failure and of being uncovered for the fraud you think you really are.  

No matter what positive feedback comes your way, how well others may say you do or how objectively visible your accomplishements are, that perception that you aren’t as good as they think lingers on. It leads to self-criticism, putting pressure on yourself, fear of failure, perfectionism, anxiety, fear and doubt. 

By it’s very definition it’s a false perception of your own skills and capabilities. No matter how much praise you receive or how well things go, it doesn’t stop that feeling of fear of failure and the fear of exposure as a fraud.    

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Runners Therapy in Ely And Newmarket: Using Your Mind To Boost Your Confidence and Self-Esteem

Runners Therapy in Ely And Newmarket: Using Your Mind To Boost Your Confidence and Self-Esteem

Runners’ Therapy in Ely And Newmarket: Using Your Mind To Boost Your Confidence and Self-Esteem

It’s been twenty or so years since I took up running properly. Before that I’d done a bit of jogging and running but in a much more haphazard and inconsistent way. Over the last two decade, except for time out with injuries, I’ve pretty much kept on donning my trainers and heading out of the door.

To my mind, running reflects so many aspects of life. There are the good times, and the not so good: the smooth times when you feel on top of the world, and those where you have to draw upon every ounce of persistence and determination to overcome challenges. Both inside and outside of running, you can have all sorts of inner dialogue, thoughts, feelings, expectations and beliefs. 

When I suffered with anxiety, low confidence and low self-esteem, running was my crutch for everything. I would run after a good day and also to try and cope and deal with the less good days. I would run to try and feel better in myself, often succeeding for a while, yet the anxiety and mental health challenges in the rest of my life remained.

If I missed a run I would feel irritable, tense, frustrated and down. I could even go so far to say that in those days when my mental health struggles were the strongest, I felt like I absolutely needed to run and I had to run just to keep afloat in my life. Unless you’ve struggled with your mental health and experienced the highs that running can bring, you may struggle to understand the intensity of feeling and the need and desperation that comes from finding a way to demonstrate your own worth to yourself (and others), to find relief from the suffering and the need to run in order to cope.

There are many, many mental health benefits that come from exercise, yet running doesn’t always allow for full mental health recovery and relief, and those same old unwanted thoughts and feelings can continue to hold you back in other aspects of your life. 

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Your Confident Self: Increasing Confidence, Self-Esteem and Self-Belief

Your Confident Self: Increasing Confidence, Self-Esteem and Self-Belief

Your Confident Self: Increasing Confidence, Self-Esteem and Self-Belief

Over the last few months I’ve been busy learning how to play the guitar. Having not even picked up a guitar for over twenty five years, I’ve pretty much been learning all the notes and chords from scratch. And over the many weeks of practicing with online lessons from Fender, I kind of got to an ok level (think advanced beginner not Hendrix!).

At the end of last year I decided to start some online live guitar lessons with a great guy called Chris. Let me tell you, Chris can really play! Whilst I had a fairly ok level of confidence playing on my own to myself, that first lesson with someone who knows their stuff took me way outside my comfort one. In fact, in that first lesson with a pair of eyes watching me, I struggled to get my hands and fingers to co-ordinate in any sort of reasonable fashion.

Yet by the next lesson, and beyond, I’ve found myself able to play more confidently and to be ok with the inevitable mistakes that I make as I learn new things, and to feel good about the bits that go well and improve.

It can happen in any area of your life: you start something new, it takes you into a bit of discomfort outside your comfort zone, and then you adjust, adapt, learn and get better from perseverance. You learn that you can trust in your abilities, have faith in yourself and make some good progress.

It’s the same whether you train for your first race, meet someone knew, learn a new skill or do anything else new, different or potentially more challenging.

Yet sometimes, people struggle to have faith in their abilities and in who they are. They think they aren’t good enough or worthy in some way. They think they don’t deserve whatever it is. They dwell on mistakes and failures and things that didn’t go well and convince themselves it will always be like that. Their confidence, self-esteem and self-belief isn’t where it needs to be, or should be. 

Your self-image, confidence and self-esteem can be shaped and molded by life experiences, people, places and a whole range of other factors. But of course your self-confidence and self-esteem are ultimately down to the thoughts, feelings, behaviours and beliefs you have about yourself, your own self-perception and view of yourself. And whilst your confidence and self-esteem may not be where you want them to be, it is definitly possible to grow in confidence, to have faith in yourself, to feel good being you, to back yourself and believe in yourself and to feel comfortable in your own skin. 

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Confidence: Using Your Hypnotic Hero To Increase Your Confidence

Confidence: Using Your Hypnotic Hero To Increase Your Confidence

Confidence: Using Your Hypnotic Hero To Increase Your Confidence

From very early on and throughout our lives we are constantly learning from others around us. We observe what others do in their interactions, with certain behaviours, skills, phrases, responses and we often absorb and integrate things we have seen and learnt into what we do and how we do it.

Recently, I’ve been learning to play the guitar. The most effective way to learn a new skill like this is through watching someone else play and then practising and learning that for yourself. If you are like me then it can take some practice and guidance, breaking things down into small chunks, and then more practice (and then even more!). Through watching online tutorials and lessons on the internet, and with the guidance and support of my guitar tutor, my playing has progressed massively since I started last year. 

And it’s the same on other areas of life. When I joined bootcamp I had to watch what others did so I could learn and replicate it. In running, you watch and talk to other runners, you learn from their approach and attitude and you then seek to take elements of this and incorporate them into what you do.

Watching and learning from others involves a process of attention, retention, production, and motivation. Firstly, you pay careful attention to the person being observed. You then commit the observed act to memory through techniques and go about putting it into practice. To benefit, you need to be motivated to attend to, remember, and practice the observed behaviour in order to perform the skill accurately (Bandura, 1977).

Whether it’s a skill, behaviours, attitude or mindset, we can learn from observing others and seeking to replicate positive elements in a way that fits with who we are. If you want to be good at something, then it makes sense to find someone who is already good and observe and pay attention to what they do and how they do it (through observation, talking to them, reading about them and so forth).  

One aspect of life that we can all improve upon in some areas is our confidence and self-belief. Some people worry that if they become more confident then they will become arrogant, but these are not the same things. Being confident involves thinking in particular ways, having certain beliefs, patterns, habits, thoughts and feelings. Sometimes you can get stuck in your own limitations of what you think is possible for you and think you can’t do something or that you are not good enough or not confident at that thing.

As I’ve mentioned we can learn from observing and paying attention to what confident people do and then ‘trying it on’ for ourselves, in a way that fits with our own values and desires. In this article we are using the concept of a ‘hero’ or ‘role model’ to help you become more confident in certain aspects of your life. 

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