Top 10 Blogs of 2018 from Dan Regan Hypnotherapy:

As another year starts to draw to a close I always like to take a quick look back on some of the highlights and successes over the last 12 months.

This year I've once again been able to help many scores of people to overcome their anxiety, worry and fear, as well as making many, many other positive changes. You can read the feedback of some of my clients this year in the What People Say section of this website. I've also been able to revamp my hypnosis download shop and expand the number of titles and I've received a ton of good feedback from people benefitting from these audios.

And over the course of the year I've written over eighty articles about subjects such as improving your mental health, extinguishing anxiety and ways to interrupt negative thinking and overthinking. Thank you for reading them!

In this article I've sifted through the stats and have the top ten most read blogs of 2018 for you to read and enjoy (for those of us old enough to remember the Top of the Pops chart countdown, I can't help but have the music they used in my head as I write this!).  

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Scrooge, the Ghost of Christmas Future and Increasing Motivation:

The Christmas countdown is in full swing in the Regan household as the big day continues to rush towards us all. The advert calendars are into single figures, Santa has been seen during his pre-Christmas tour and I've managed to wrap a whole load of presents a whole week early (wrapping has got to be THE dullest thing ever!). 

Yesterday the kids and I decided to check whether my wife was on the good list (and so would get lots of nice presents), or the naughty list (which would save me a lot of money!). We wrapped two presents and labelled them A and B and she had to choose one of them without touching either. After much deliberation she went for present A, which was a bag of potatoes and means she has failed to make Santa's good list this year!! 

Speaking of getting into the Christmas spirit, the kids have been endlessly practicing their Christmas songs ready for their school concert and I've just finished reading 'A Christmas Carol' after realising to my shame that I've never actually read the book before and have up until now only seen the film versions.

And it's that story of Scrooge and his redemption that has inspired my latest hypnotherapy vlog which you can watch below.

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Dickens, Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Future:

Shops have started playing Christmas songs and the kids have started opening their advent calendars and that can only mean one thing: that we are on the ever-escalating countdown to Christmas.

This past weekend I took the family down to Rochester in Kent for our first visit to the annual Dickensian Christmas Festival. It was a far cry weather wise from the summer Dickens' Festival we went to and this time we spent more time trying to keep warm and dry rather than trying to find shade from the summer's blazing heat.

There were street entertainers doing short plays, magic and music, a chance to have a go at bell ringing (which my daughter got told she is a natural at!) and as many people dressed in Dickensian clothes or as characters from Dickens' novels as you want to spare the time to look at. There was also an absolutely ram-packed Christmas market and the kids loved going on the rides (except the scary ride which was over before it began for my two). And let's not forget the candle light procession and the 'guaranteed snow' (pumping out from machines around the town) that created a wonderful wintry atmosphere.. 

Now I love all this kind of stuff: the characters, the street entertainment and so forth. There is so much to watch and do that it takes all of your focus and you find yourself very much in the present mentally and free from all the other day to day stuff that can so often be there the rest of the time.

One particular street play I stopped to watch was a very well put together and funny rendition of a Christmas Carol, where Scrooge is visited by three ghosts (or four if you count Jacob Marley) who represent the ghosts of past, present and future. And it always reminds me of a particular hypnotherapy technique that can be useful where someone is seeking motivation or isn't doing something that they know they really need or ought to be doing.

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Ely Festive 5k - Santa boosted Mental Health:

This weekend marked the annual Ely Festive 5k, where a few hundred people (mostly) dress up in their finest festive gear and walk, jog and run around the streets of Ely. 

And, in what is fast becoming a family tradition, I dusted off my white beard and red hat, reminded my daughter that yes, she really had said she wanted to do the Ely run again this year, and headed to the start line alongside the fabulous Ely Cathedral. 

It's always a fun occasion and there is always a lot of friendly chat and encouragement from fellow runners on the way around. All of which helped me to cope with over thirty minutes of continuous moaning from my daughter about how a) every part of her ached b) she couldn't breathe and c) how she was never, ever, going to do this again (all of which are also fast becoming part of the annual tradition!!). But bless here she finished it and even managed a sprint finish over the last 50 metres AND she did it quicker than in any of the previous years. 

I think the awesome chocolate orange brownie she tucked into at the end helped to ease some of the 'suffering' and her next day muscle soreness will soon pass too (although not before a rather achy PE lesson at school!). And, of course, she felt better after having done the run and a sense of satisfaction in telling others of her endeavours.

I've written many times about the mental health benefits of being active... and I'm sure there must be research that dressing as Santa boosts mental health too! Anyway, before the run we popped into the office to record a short video...although it got overtaken a bit by my daughter experiencing a bit of an issue behind me!! 

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Misophonia - Dealing With Noise Sensitivity & Anxiety:

Some sounds can be just plain irritating and annoying. Sounds such as the high pitch scream of a dentist's drill or someone drilling a hole in a wall can set you on edge and make you want to move away.

Yet with misophonia, which literally means 'the hatred of sound', that noise sensitivity can send you into a rage and fill you with overwhelming stress, anxiety and anger. And it will often be sounds such as chewing, eating and the repetitive clearing of a throat, that is enough to make certain situations unbearable.

With Christmas approaching, and the prospect of sufferers trying to cope with, or avoid, eating with others, misphonia has received some press coverage recently.

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Should you wait until you feel like it? My latest hypnotherapy vlog:

Yesterday morning my alarm went off at 5.30am, something that has become much more of a regular occurrence of late. That's the time I need to get up to get ready if I'm going to get to bootcamp on time.  It's one of my least favourite moments of the week and it's repeated up to three times a week. 

As I tentatively opened my eyes to the realisation that it was still pitch black outside, every part of my mind and body was whispering for me to stay under the warm duvet and give it a miss. It was cold out there!

If you asked me in those first minutes if I felt like getting up, getting ready and going out to exercise in the dark and cold, I can promise you that the answer would have been a very clear and very precise 'no way!'

No matter how much I love and enjoy bootcamp, no part of me in that moment feels like running around, doing countless burpees and press ups or lifting some weights.  Yet I still get up and do it because I know how much better I will feel afterwards; I know the positive outcomes that await me.

And it's true even when we look at issues such as anxiety. 

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Some Thoughts On Grief - New Hypnotherapy Vlog:

This weekend marked the Armistice 2018 and a chance to take some time to remember those who served during the First World War, on the centenary of its conclusion, along with paying tribute and remembering those who have served in other conflicts on behalf of their country.

Here in Ely there was a march to lay wreaths at the Memorial and, in the evening, there was a Beacon of Light service that included the playing of the Last Post, a very well observed two minutes' silence and the lighting of the new beacon, along with the ringing out of the Church bells. It really was a very moving and poignant reminder of 100 years since the signing of the Armistice.

I always think it's very important that we all pay tribute and take a few moments on this day and it was very pleasing to hear my kids talking about it from things they had learnt at school.  

As well as paying tribute to those who have served and, in many cases, given the ultimate sacrifice, this past week has marked the fifth anniversary of the death of my father from cancer, which has naturally led to me thinking about grief and the loss of a loved one. I've recorded a short video about some of my thoughts around grief that I share with you below.

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New Hypnosis Downloads - I've been back in the studio:

I've been back into the recording studio and have some awesome new hypnosis downloads available that are being added to the ever-growning range over on my hypnosis download shop.

I get loads of wonderful positive feedback from people who use my audios for things like controlling anxiety and increasing confidence. Some people have kindly left their feedback for you to read over on the shop, although many, many more tell me in e-mails and in person how much they benefit from repeated listening. And do remember that you can grab a copy of my free rapid relaxation hypnosis download by just filling in your details here: Free Hypnosis Download (you have downloaded your copy, right?!).

Although I've been to the studio quite a few times now, it's always a slightly surreal experience for me. I mean, it's just like one of those studios you see that popstars use on TV, with the headphones and microphone on the performer and a sound engineer sitting behind a screen with some massive deck of switches and dials. And with Christmas just around the corner (sorry all you 'not to be mentioned until December' people!), I always have a slightly mischievous temptation to burst into song...although if you've heard me sing then you can guess that my 'Classic Christmas Hits' double CD wouldn't be troubling Sir Cliff and that Buble fella for sales.

And if you ever want to get over that thing of not liking hearing a recording of your voice then this is one way to soon get over it. After listening to large parts of your own recordings out loud while the engineer cuts out all your (many!) mistakes, you'll soon start to become indiifferent to how different your voice sounds out loud compared to in your own head.

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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Plus Hypnosis - Fatigue During Breast Cancer Radiotherapy:

In my last blog I wrote about the research that demonstrates that adding hypnosis to cognitive behavioural therapy has a fairly substantial effect. That is, hypnosis enhances the effects of cognitive behavioural therapy across a broad range of problems.

One area where the effectiveness of a combined approach of cognitive behavioural therapy and hypnosis has been studied is with regard to treating radiotherapy related fatigue. This particular study involved women scheduled for breast cancer radiotherapy.

As the researchers noted, fatigue is frequently rated as the most distressing symptom faced by breast cancer radiotherapy patients. Fatigue typically increases over the course of the treatment and has detrimental effects to patients' physical, psychological, social and occupational functioning. In addition, there are other relevant factors such as catastrophising about fatigue and emotional distress.

As an aside, even before this particular study, an earlier one had demonstrated support for the use of hypnosis with breast cancer surgery patients. 

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Should all Cognitive Behavioural Therapy include Hypnosis for better results?

Some may consider it a big question, but should cognitive behavioural therapy be making use of hypnosis as a means to increase the likelihood of positive therapeutic outcomes?  

Perhaps we should start with this from Kirsch, in his meta-analysis of 'Hypnosis as an Adjunct to Cognitive-Behavioral Psychotherapy', in which he analysed existing studies in which cognitive behavioural therapy was compared with the same therapy supplemented by hypnosis. He wrote:

"The results indicated that the addition of hypnosis substantially enhanced treatment outcome, so that the average client receiving cognitive behavioral hypnotherapy showed greater improvement than at least 70% of clients receiving non-hypnotic treatment."

Pretty impressive stuff there in his analysis across a range of issues including weight loss, anxiety and insomnia.

So why isn't hypnosis part of the mainstream CBT therapy process if the evidence suggests that it is likely to help people get better results?

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