It’s Hallowe’en – what does that mean to you? Fun? Terror? Or just another day in the year?
Our perception of situations can be coloured by all sorts of things – history; culture; religion; folklore. The way that we think about things changes the way that we respond mentally and physically. If I ask you to think about something scary, or if you actually witness a scary scene, you probably feel a tightness in your stomach, a catch in your breath or maybe your heartbeat increases a little? These physical responses to an image arise to help protect us against the danger that is perceived – whether it is real or imagined.
Our primitive mind doesn’t know the difference between imagination and reality. It produces a response regardless. It’s up to our rational mind (the human part of our brain) to decide whether the perceived threat is something we need to do something about. Whilst that part is making up its mind, the primitive part of our brain will have already pushed the buttons for adrenalin and cortisol – readying us for flight or fight. That’s all very well if we have actually seen a ghost, but not so great if we jump out of our skins every time someone says hello!
We can use this trait of the primitive mind to our advantage by ensuring that we give it images of how we want things to be, rather how we don’t want them to be. It’s a very powerful tool that can make us feel strong, confident, calm in situations where we may otherwise have felt powerless.
I help my clients take full advantage of this in their daily lives by creating a calm, relaxed space where visualisation of their goals becomes easy. The use of skilful solution focused questioning allows my clients to recognise their strengths and to use those strengths to their best advantage. One of the benefits of hypnosis is that it reduces anxiety and stress, which enables our rational brain to take control and see things for what they are, putting them into perspective and dealing with them easily.
The reality is that sometimes our strength and resilience gets a little lost in the rush and hurry of modern life. We all have everything we need to move our lives forward in a good and positive way, we just occasionally need some help!
I have joined forces with Lara Lewis to offer this fantastic new course which will give you the confidence and mindset to retake control of your body and your health. Contact us now for more information about the next course starting on the 8th November.
On the road to achieving our goals, we will encounter obstacles and difficulties which will often need an extra effort to overcome. Usually this extra push is a good thing. It confirms that we have the capacity to do even better than we thought we could. It also provides us with the chemical boost in our brain that motivates us to take the next step, and may even be the thing that takes us from ‘unwell’ to ‘well’.
I’ve been asking myself this question during a week when I’ve been nursing an injury I picked up in the gym. I already knew I was tired. Several factors had added to the fatigue over the course of the week, but we’d been working hard in the gym and I was feeling strong. The coach put up a challenging workout, there were others in the same class who I thought I could keep up with – game on! I managed the set – it was tough and my arms were sore, but I’d done it! Endorphins raced through my head and I felt pretty much invincible. Home for a huge protein-filled breakfast, ignoring the tiredness, and on to work.
Another gym session and one day later, I noticed how sore my left arm was. A few hours later and I couldn’t straighten it. No gym at all now for 3 days and I’m feeling sorry for myself. The swelling is gradually going down, but normal life has been compromised and I’m wondering if the extra push to complete that set was worth it…….
The fact is, that when we set our sights on a goal, we need to work towards it a pace that feels right for us. A pace that allows us to achieve smaller goals along the way. A sense of failure comes with setting the bar so high that it’s unattainable. On the other hand, recognising that there are many routes to your goal can give you the flexibility to occasionally take a wrong path and still know that you will eventually achieve it. It’s all about learning, being kind to ourselves and carrying on. I’ll be back in the gym tomorrow – using the lessons I learnt this week to give me the confidence to know that I’m still heading for my goals. (Handstands next!)
Want help reaching your goals? Contact me.
Isn’t it great to have choice? Choose what to eat for breakfast, what to wear, who to call today? Or big things like applying for a job, choosing where to live. Exciting, huh?
Then again… if you’re anxious, choice can seem overwhelming. What if I make the wrong choice, what if that means this goes wrong, that goes wrong?
Time and again, I see clients for whom choice is a problem, and this is because they have a hyper-alert ‘fight, flight, fear’ mechanism which just loves to flag up all the possible pitfalls of each choice, and send them into a spiral of negative thought and worry.
Wouldn’t it be lovely to be able to just relax and let go of the worries, choosing things because they are right NOW, and not even thinking about what might (or might not) happen in the future (or perhaps what went wrong in the past)?
This is what hypnosis can do – calming that over-vigilant ‘security guard’ and bringing choice back under the control of our rational, sensible brain. Solution Focused Hypnotherapy goes one step further – making sure that it’s the rational brain that’s in charge before hypnosis even begins, so that creativity and new ideas come along almost like magic ( it’s not magic, but it can sometimes seem like it!)
If you’d like to regain this sort of control and put yourself back in charge of your choices, give me a call and arrange a free of charge initial consultation. I look forward to hearing from you.
Sally Potter – 01752894160
How do you find the real you? Does it feel as though you are hidden beneath layers of events, anxiety, trauma? This is how one brilliant client recently described their journey from sleepless anxiety to calm and relaxed happiness. “I feel as though I am at the centre of an onion, and that one by one I am peeling away the layers to get closer to the real me” So how do we do that? How do we come to find the treasure that is the real, authentic us through hypnotherapy?
Anxiety and depression cause the fight flight freeze part of our brain to be on permanent alert – protecting us by keeping us on guard and creating layers of defence whilst at the same time preventing the kind of loose relaxed thought that leads to creativity and calm.
Over the years, the layers build up, until it seems that the person we once knew as us has become hidden and we no longer know how to be the real authentic ‘us’ any more.
Solution Focused work combined with Hypnotherapy allows us to begin peeling away the layers of protection, slowly and gently, until there are glimpses and then real sightings of the person underneath. These exceptions gradually become the norm, until all the layers are gone, and we can begin to live life freely again.
I’m talking in metaphors here, but time and again I see in my therapy room the magic of those layers peeling away. Clients who at one time believed that they would always feel anxious or depressed, seeing themselves once more as happy, secure, positive people with so much to offer.
Our brains are so good at creating the protective layers. Hypnotherapy is so good at removing them. If you would like to find out for yourself, please contact Sally at email@example.com or call on 01752894160 and leave a message. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
PS Shrek first used the onion analogy. Click here to see him explaining it to Donkey.
Eating is a funny old thing. As primitive people, what we ate would have been determined by what we could hunt for or gather, and we would have had the ability to fast when we needed to, or cut right back when stores were low, and also to gorge if necessary – going well beyond our feeling of fullness in order to store fuel in our bodies for another time.
Today, what we eat is a matter of choice for most people. Food is readily available all of the time and we can eat when we want to, what we want to. And this is the problem.
Our primitive brain is just that – still primitive. It’s changed very little over thousands of years, so it is very keen to make sure that we have enough food on board to see us through the rough times, and it hasn’t quite caught up with the fact that the Co-Op is just down the road!
Hypnotherapy steps in to help ‘reset’ the primitive brain away from it’s old habits, and to make sure that it’s our more modern, intellectual brain that’s in charge when it comes to making choices about food. When you’re committed to change in this way, hypnotherapy is extremely effective – you’re back in control!
Contact me if you’d like to talk about regaining control of your weight this summer. I look forward to hearing from you,
As it’s Mental Health Awareness week this week, I thought I’d explore a bit about community, and how being part of one, or not, can affect our mental wellbeing. Are we really better as a tribe than we are as individuals?
I gave blood today, as I have done 27 times in the past, so not unusual except that I had to go to a new venue. I’d been told that there was free parking, so I followed the signs, approached the barrier, and entered the car park, only to discover that there were no free spaces, and already another 3 cars inside trying to turn round! As these people were also here to give blood, I had no trouble identifying them as part of my ‘tribe’, and we made a collective decision about what to do – call the Donor Centre, find another car park, and accept that we were going to be late. Instead of feeling stressed about my individual failure to keep my appointment, the shared experience buoyed me up, and when we all eventually met inside, we already had a bond, even though none of us had met before.
This sense of belonging, and of being part of a shared experience is often missing in people who are feeling anxious or depressed. Feeling excluded leads to a sense of not belonging and a spiral of decreasing interaction. Various studies have shown that increased social support correlates with reduced stress and loneliness, so when we regularly share experiences and find ourselves part of a community, for whatever reason, this increases our sense of wellbeing.
Science aside, who doesn’t feel better – stronger, more able – when they are part of something bigger? After I’d given up my armful of blood, I sat with others at the table and enjoyed a cuppa and a biscuit. Conspiratorially, we laughed and said that we only came here for the biscuits. But we all know thats not true. We do it to be part of our community, to share an experience, and to feel proud. Or at least I do.
Contact Sally about Solution Focused Hypnotherapy for anxiety, depression and general wellbeing.
Hope may be what drives us on. But what if we don’t have hope? If we feel that hope is gone? This is where Solution Focused therapy steps in – enabling us to identify our hopes and bring them to fruition. Because when hope is restored, everything becomes possible.
Today I met a homeless young man on the street. I stopped and asked him how he came to be where he was, and he told me his story of loss and bad luck. The fine lines that had led from a comfortable home and relationship and a family, to sleeping in a car park until the police move him on. I asked him about his trade, and he told me that he hoped to be back in work soon, because he enjoyed work, the satisfaction of working and the comradeship. I asked if he was hungry now, because it had been my intention to buy him some food, but no, he told me that his best hope for the rest of the day was to raise enough to pay for a B&B tonight, that more than anything he wanted a shower and to sleep in a comfortable bed. I helped him towards that goal, and wished him all the best in realising his dream of getting back to work.
What struck me as I left him, apart from the utter shame of the fact of homelessness on our streets, was that despite everything that had happened, here was still hope. When we hold onto our vision of what we want, rather than what we don’t want, we move ourselves towards that goal. For most of us, there is a bigger goal – one that may seem unattainable right now – and lots of smaller ones. Each day we hope to achieve some small goal, which may move us towards the larger one. For some of us, it’s impossible to even see those small goals because we are overwhelmed by just trying to get through the day, or the next hour, and the bigger achievements may seem ridiculously out of reach. Solution Focused Hypnotherapy helps by creating a relaxed space where hope becomes real, and goals become achievable.
“Yesterday has gone, tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin” Mother Teresa
Contact Sally here for more information
The state of awareness that is known as trance is a normal everyday occurrence for humans. Anyone who has ever daydreamed has been in trance – it’s that lovely ‘other-wordly’ feeling that we get when we have allowed our mind to do it’s own thing. We’re on auto pilot. This state is good for us – it helps configure memories and is restorative for the brain. Some of our best ideas come to us in these moments of drifting freely – no worries about the past or future, just being.
When clients are particularly anxious, it can be difficult to begin with, to allow this state of trance to be induced by someone else – a hypnotherapist – and this may lead to the conclusion that one can’t be hypnotised. Most often, even the most “unhypnotisable” clients learn to let go and to enjoy the wonderful experience of being in trance, and this is the start of a fantastic new journey, a more elevated mental and emotional vantage point, from which all the best options and opportunities in life are always available, will always be seen.
I recently read in Matthew Walkers wonderful book ‘Why we sleep’ that Paul McCartney’s hit song ‘Yesterday’ came to him in a dream, and that Mendeleev came up with the correct order for the periodic table whilst he slept. Imagine what you could do if you were able to open your own treasure-house of creativity through hypnosis…..
To experience the transformative power of hypnosis for yourself, contact me now.
I’ve noticed over the past week how the weather forecast has kept me on full alert. My primitive, emotional brain has been looking out for signs of bad weather, constantly vigilant, ensuring that I keep safe by seeing everything from a negative viewpoint – will we be able to get the car out; do I need to cancel clients; have we got enough milk? By encouraging me to re run every possible scenario in my head, this part of my brain has “looked after me”, and indeed I am safe, well fed and warm, and all the clients I couldn’t get to this week have rescheduled for next. Happy Days!
The downside has been that it’s been difficult to find room for much rational, creative thought. Don’t get me wrong – I have managed to get a few things done – we’ve been out in the snow with the sledges and dogs, and I’ve been creative with the cooking (discovered a tin or two in the back of the larder which may not otherwise have seen the light of day). If I’m honest though, I have spent more time than I should just watching the snow come down.
This movement of my thoughts from the rational, intellectual part of my brain into the primitive, emotional part is a useful survival mechanism, which should easily reset once the ‘danger’ (the snow in this case), has passed. In fact, it is already happening. I’m writing this, I’ve hoovered the sitting room, and my diary is sorted for next week. For some though, the ‘reset’ doesn’t happen, and then they are stuck in a spiral of negative thought and forecasting, forever on full alert, always anxious and sometimes experiencing full blown panic. Not a good feeling.
So what can we do about it?
The amygdala – the flight, fight, fear part of our brain is the part that needs to be reset. It needs to know that the danger has passed and that it can downgrade the system to a calm level of vigilance. Hypnosis is a powerful tool for allowing this to happen. In the hands of a skilled hypnotherapist, clients can relax to the point that the mind is open to suggestion, so that the rational, creative intellectual mind can begin to take back control, calming things down and helping ‘switch off’ the full alert response. Once this has happened, decision making becomes possible once more, and we can move forward with confidence.
Sally Potter at Aloft Hypnotherapy (Ivybridge) and The Observatory Practice (Plymouth, Devon) offers Solution Focused Hypnotherapy for anxiety, depression, addiction, weight management, phobia and more. You can contact Sally here.