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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Triathlon Sports Performance - Sports Psychology Video Testimonial:

As I write this I can already feel my legs starting to seize up a bit from this morning's 6.30am bootcamp. As much as I love the feeling after I've completed it (because it's so blinking intensely tough!), sometimes during it I have to dig deep to stay focused and in the right mental space to keep going.

Anyone who takes part in a sport knows that their mind-set is just as important, and often more so, than their physical state. If you want to be able to focus, keep good technique, push through the burn and get the job done. Then there are times when you've really got to be in control of your inner dialogue. If you aren't in control of your mind-set then it's easy to give up or to think you can't do it or to let any other amount of negative mind chatter take over. We've all been there and the more fatigued you get, the more that little negative voice can start to pipe up.

It's something that, along with physical strength, I continually try and work upon in my own exercise, and it's something that I often help others with in sessions. Developing your sports psychology capability can have huge beneficial impacts on your sports performance and getting the most out of yourself when you want or need to.

The other day, Ashley popped into the office to record a short video testimonial about how his sports psychology sessions had helped him with his most recent Ironman triathlon performance. You can check out what he said about his sessions below.

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Hypnotherapy to help you stop smoking:

When it comes to quitting smoking with hypnosis and hypnotherapy, we need to be clear from the outset. Any quit smoking programme involves motivation, commitment, effort and doing stuff. There is no way of passively becoming a non-smoker (successfully) - even someone switching to e-cigarettes has to take some action and go and get them and use them.

All of which, of course, means that there is no single system that will help everyone. And, in my opinion, there is no way to quit without putting in that effort, and for some, a good deal of determination and persistence.

This weekend I worked with a lovely lady who wanted to quit smoking her roll-ups. She'd smoked them for fifteen or more years and had never said no to a cigarette and had never gone a whole day without one. Before I sit down with anyone for the hypnosis session, there are several pre-quitting actions to take. Again, the more someone invests there time and energy in these the greater the likely reward. In this case, by taking those steps this lady went from 20 a day to averaging less than six a day during that week before she actually quit. Now that is solid motivation and commitment.

Of course, results vary from person to person, but hypnotherapy certainly is a valid option for many. 

Just recently I was invited to write for the awesome Good Zing website about how hypnotherapy can help someone to quit smoking.

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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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What are you focusing on? Things you can't control, or those you can?

The other day I was chatting with someone who was telling me all about a co-worker who, in their opinion, wasn't pulling their weight at work. They also told me about a conversation they had with someone over the phone and how they didn't like that other person's opinion or the tone of how they expressed it. All of these things were so prevalent in their mind that it was stressing them out and keeping them awake at night.

In another conversation, a client told me about how angry he gets when someone cuts him up in the car, or if he thinks they drive too slowly. That anger would lead to shouting and cursing. That emotion and those thoughts could take over his whole day.

And I think we could all reel off dozens of other examples; the way that e-mail was phrased, the look on someone else's face, that worry about what others think about us, that thing that doesn't go to plan, that person who is late, that response we get that isn't what we expected or wanted, that person who didn't say thank you when we let them pass or we did them a kind deed. 

It's so easy to get caught in the cycle of focusing on things that we can't do much about and then finding that those thoughts and that focus leads to us experiencing wave after wave of negative emotion.

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Could thinking the worst make you happier (and reduce anxiety and stress)?

Sometimes we all have to think about the worst case. Whether it's when taking out any type of insurance in case something bad happens, or when you get your will drafted, or even just when someone is very ill or sick and there's a need for planning. Because sometimes contemplating the worst case is an important aspect of planning ahead and being prepared. 

Of course, thinking or contemplating the worst case is very different to worrying about it or getting anxious about it. With anxiety, our anxious brain can start to imagine the worst in just about anything and everything, and because it is imagined in such an impactful and 'real' way, it can cause those unwanted feelings to seriously spike. 

But could deliberately thinking about bad things happening to us actually reduce anxiety and stress and become happier?

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Taking Action On Anxiety - The Latest Hypnotherapy Vlog:

This weekend saw the opportunity to walk over the new Ely bypass bridge before it opens for traffic later this month. Anyone reading this who ever travels to Ely from that direction will be looking forward to a reduction in the traffic bottlenecks (for those outside the area, at the moment a railway crossing and low bridge tend to block things up quite significantly).

Anyway, despite the pouring rain it was all to help raise funds for a great charity and one close to my heart because of the help they gave us when my Dad battled cancer a few years ago (MacMillan Cancer Research). So despite the protests of the kids, I hustled, cajoled and dragged them into the rain to take advantage of this once on a lifetime chance to walk the bridge before a few thousand cars get to take it over every day forever more.

Now, I love stuff like this because it was a chance to do something new and different...almost like the kind of stuff you get to do on holiday! A chance to walk a new road and take in some new views and sights, and, either because of the rain or because it's actually quite a wide road, it was nice and relaxed and there was plenty of space for messing about with the kids (one of whom mainly moaned a lot and one of whom mainly laughed a lot). I enjoyed our little family walk though and that's the most important thing!

Due to the weather and the need to dry out from the rain, we stayed in the rest of the day and that gave me a chance to upload my latest vlog all about the importance of taking action on anxiety (it's been a while since my last vlog due to my workload so I hope you enjoy their return!). You can check out my vlog further down the page.    

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When Anxiety Takes Over - Check out this client blog!

October 10th was World Mental Health Day and I was delighted to be tagged in a Twitter post that day from a former client. Lauren, who has her own brilliant blog called 'Girl Running Late' took the opportunity to write about her anxiety around running.

Or, as she writes, her anxiety around running that had grown into her everyday life. It really is worth a read of her blog as it touches upon how anxiety and panic can start to expand into all sorts of aspects of everyday life. And, of course, it's worth reading because it talks about how it is possible to rein it back in and take back control (and it's even worth reading it because she says some nice things about her work with me!).

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Gaining Perspective & Clarity - Seeing the Wood From the Trees!

It can sometimes be hard to get a sense of perspective and clarity on our own problems can't it? We can be so involved in something in our mind that we can't mentally distance ourselves enough from it to view it in a clearer way. All our thoughts, feelings, emotions and concerns create a mash up of being stuck in our minds, and sometimes in our life too.

Or as the old saying goes, sometimes we 'can't see the wood for the trees' (the meaning of which, according to the Cambridge dictionary is 'to be unable to understand a situation clearly because you are too involved in it'). 

And I think we've all been there. It's like those moments where we realise what great advice we can give to others about how they should handle a situation yet, despite knowing that advice, we seem unable to apply it to ourselves. We just can't get that distance and perspective on it.

Last week was a pretty rough one for me, simply because the man flu well and truly knocked me for six (and as we all know, man flu really is the worst!!). I think it was the longest period of sickness I've experienced for more than a decade. My high hopes of a swift recovery soon evaporated into a lost week of feeling rubbish and not getting much done in any area of my life. I had to rearrange clients (all of whom were great - thank you!), cancel meetings and pretty much draw a line through anything I had planned.

And perhaps the hardest thing for me was missing out on any exercise; just going from one room to another left me drained! Missing a couple of sessions here and there with a niggle or family commitments is frustrating; missing a whole week is a disaster. Isn't it? When I miss training I instantly feel like I've put on half a stone and I hate that feeling. I won't lie, there were times last week when I felt very, very sorry for myself! There were moments when I totally lost perspective. Instead of a week of illness it felt at times like the wheels of life were well and truly coming right off!

Of course that's not logical or reasonable. And it certainly isn't helpful!

So what I needed, and I think we all need sometimes, is a way to gain a bit of perspective and clarity on our current situation.

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Managing Emotional Distress Related To Medical Procedures:

This week has mainly been a bit of a write-off for me due to the dreaded 'man flu' striking me down (or 'a bit of a cold' as others might call it!!). It's hit me hard and has wiped out my exercise at bootcamp, my work and pretty much everything in-between. 

All in all it's been pretty frustrating but I know I'll get through it and get better and survive (somehow, like if I'm really brave about it!!). 

But, of course, the frustration and distress caused by a heavy cold is nothing compared to the emotional distress that can be associated with medical procedures. Only last week I heard back from a client who had originally been to see me about an intense dental phobia and fear about dental treatment. She told me how she had been and had a filling removed and replaced. She was ecstatic afterwards (as was her long-suffering dentist!) to know she can now do it without all that fear, anxiety, dread and distress.

Medical procedures can generate all sorts of distress and worry and that can impact both before the procedure and can even impact on recovery afterwards. Luckily we have a meta-analysis available that evaluates the effect of hypnosis in reducing emotional distress associated with medical procedures.

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