Cognitive Hypnotherapist and Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner in Kingston Surrey
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You don’t have to think like that!

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I’ve been working with a client recently whose quality of thought is driving her mad. She has a bee in her bonnet about her partner’s ex’s. Whenever he mentions a previous partner she gets herself into a frenzied thought pattern. We worked out what she was saying to herself:

He’s comparing her to me, how dare he?

What if she’s better than me?

What if he decides to dump me and go back to her?

He’s going to end the relationship

If he does, I don’t know what I’ll do.

And so it went on. A whole load of mind reading, and seeing catastrophe when it doesn’t actually exist.

She came to me because she didn’t want to think in this way anymore. It was causing major problems in her relationship and funnily enough, her worst fear was coming closer and closer.

Everyone has all sorts of negative, sometimes dark thoughts all the time. It’s part of being a human being. It’s not the thought that’s he problem, it’s whether you choose to feed it or not.

Consider this view of how we are. We all have these 3 things:

  • Mind – its like an endless paint pallet. Every colour you can think of and the possibilities within it are endless.
  • Consciousness – a whole range of experiences that create our reality. The picture we are currently painting, the way we make sense of the world, see the world around and feel about ourselves.
  • The gift of Thought – the paintbrush which determines how our reality is being created and re-created moment by moment and day by day.

So with this in mind, when my clients says ‘I don’t want to think like this anymore’, my response is, ‘Then don’t, you don’t have to!’ In truth we create our own reality, our particular perception of the world. If you don’t like it, change it. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? It can be a lot easier than you think

Cognitive Hypnotherapy is the most powerful way to change ‘our version of the world. This client now has a much happier relationship with her partner and chooses more to create the reality she wants by not feeding those unhelpful negative thoughts.

This way of working can achieve significant change irrespective of your problems.

How the brain tricks you.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiTz2i4VHFw&feature=share&list=UUC552Sd-3nyi_tk2BudLUzA

This powerful video shows how the brain makes short cuts all the time and tricks us into seeing things not as they really are.

Cognitive Hypnotherapy uses this trickery in the mind to achieve positive change. Problems are just your perceptions of difficult situations. The mind tricks you into believing these perceptions are true. Once you can begin to see beyond where you are right now, the possibilities of change can begin to open up in ways you may never have imagined.

Get back in control of your mind and you’ll be amazed what a difference that can make to your life!!

Laughing is healthy

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Laugh and the world laughs with you- that is if others find what you are laughing at funny!

Laughter is an instinctive thing and it is great for your health. Laughing releases endorphins, those good chemicals in to the system which make us feel good. It boosts our immune system by 40%.

Laughter is critical for building a social life. Natural comedians become very attractive for this reason. Laughing in the face of the negative stuff we all experience helps us to ride the ups and downs of life more effectively. Laughter is an antidote to fear, you can’t laugh and cry at the same time. If we all took things seriously, life would be hell, wouldn’t it?

So when life gets on top of you, which it does for all of us, try to see or do something that makes you laugh, it gets those good chemicals going, distracts from our worries and anxieties and gives us a healthy perspective. It probably isn’t always the best medicine but it certainly goes a long way to help!

How clever is your brain?

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It dnsoet mtaetr waht oedrr teh ltetrs aepapr yuor biarn siltl mkaes snsee of it as it rcoesiegns ptrtanes. Teh hmuan barin is a wdeoufnrl tool, so use it!

So how is this helpful?

Well if you had to logically process everything you encounter, you’d struggle to get out of bed in the morning! The brain has evolved to recognise patterns and these can be really helpful. Do you remember when you learnt to drive? What a fiddly, diddly, daddeley thing! Fee,t hands, eyes, outside world, mirror- signal-manoeuvre! And yet, if you are anything like me, I drive now without even thinking about it and sometimes arrive at the wrong destination! As I set off, the brain recognised a pattern and kept following it.

So our brain seeks causal links – if this pattern in front of me matches something from the past, this is what is likely to happen so this is the best thing to do; our brain is constantly shuffling between the present, the past, the future and then the present again (and usually in that order and all within half a second).

So when is this a problem?

The best example is a phobia. Most of us walk into a room and don’t see the little black speck in the corner. If we see a larger arachnid friend we may ignore it or put it outside or kill it ( shame on you!) . With a spider phobia, the person will search the room on entry and that black speck or even worse his much bigger brother is SPIDERZILLA! They run out of the room as their brain kicks in with an automatic, prelearned response – EXIT NOW!

This is a learnt pattern. Somewhere in the past, an event has happened which triggered this fear. Usually this is as a child. The brain has a powerful response and takes a snapshot of   afraid of. In order to protect you, anything that vaguely looks like this again- a pattern match- it will trigger you to flee as it thinks you are in mortal danger. Hence the phobia develops.

Eating habits can also derive from the same effect. My mum used to treat me after school if I’d had a bad day with some sweets. Over time I cam to associate eating sugary stuff with comfort. Enter problem restricting sugar which can be a massive factor in weight loss. I have dealt with this  now, by the way! I phoned a friend!

 

Are you deluded?

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Control is a funny thing. Sometimes we want to control everything and we can’t. Other times we believe we have no control and we have. The reality is that all that we can control is ourselves our own thoughts feelings and behaviour. Perhaps more importantly we can control how we respond to the world around us.

‘ It’s not what happens to us that is important, it’s what we make of it: ‘Epictetus AD 50 – 135.
I’m working with a client at the moment and he wants to control everything: his team at work, his older children, his wife, everything. However when he tries to control his wife, she does things behind his back. When he tries to control his older children, they sabotage his plans. When he tries to control his team they call him a bully.
The less he feels in control, the more he tries to control. It’s a vicious circle which has negatively affected his career and his personal life and he is a breaking point and is experiencing severe symptoms of anxiety.
When we sat down and wrote all the things he wants to control in his life and looked at the reality. He began to realise that all he could control was himself! We then wrote down all the things he could influence and that was a much longer list!
After more discussion when he was younger, his parents spilt up and he felt lonely and rejected so his unconscious had developed excessive control as a strategy for survival. It is almost as if this response, which is kind of understandable had outlived its usefulness for him today as an adult.
When we began to reframe and mature that part of him that wanted to be in control, his life changed dramatically. Coupled with some relearning helpful thinking and managing his emotions, he experienced some massive differences.Relationships at home and at work improved as he eased off and became in control of not being in control! The world around him was no different but his relationship with it was dramatically different.
Sometimes it’s good to believe you are more in control or you might not go to that job interview or take a risk in a new relationship. It’s also good to not be in control as it forces us to see things differently, make different choices. So in evolutionary terms having and not having control have been useful in getting us to where we are today – taking risks – or we’d still be in caves!

Odd socksI have a problem and it might be familiar to you.

There are 5 people in my house and I wash a lot of socks. On my radiator I have what I call Sockworld; lots of socks without a pair. Every time I wash, there is nothing more satisfying than pairing up socks. Things coming together as one, in a nice neat order. More often than not there are lots of odd socks. It makes me cross. I’ve washed everything in the basket, I’ve scouted round the house and still I can’t find the thing that matches up. There is a monster in my house who is eating all the socks! I blame my mother, she had sockworld so its a genetic defect she’s given to me. My children blame me. ‘ I’ve just got new socks mum and I’ve lost one, what are you doing?’. It’s not my fault it’s their’s, they don’t put pairs in the wash, tough luck!

Eventually I throw the odd socks away. There’s no point in carrying on waiting for socks to turn up. It’s a sad moment when my desire for order, socks coming together, doesn’t happen and the odd ones are cast into the bin. It’s a relief when its done, I’m no longer searching for order, sometimes it’s just not there. It’s a mystery that can’t be solved. Loose ends that don’t match up.

Then what happens; several months later that odd sock turns up in a duvet. I’m really happy at the prospect of things coming together but I’ve binned the other sock. So reluctantly I have to throw this sock away. Throw away what’s not useful any more. It’s a relief really when you stop searching for order where it doesn’t exist and when you accept that, the quest for the impossible can end. Or you can turn them into draught excluders. Ah, they can be useful when you change you see them.

So you can only deal with what you’ve got. Sometimes you don’t always get what you want and that’s OK. There are lots of other sock pairs to appreciate. And what about the frustrating stuff? Bin it or change the way you respond to it. No one’s to blame, it’s just the way things go sometimes. There always have been odd socks and there always will be. Life’s like that, so accept it, get on with it and appreciate the lovely socks you have got. Things don’t always make sense and that’s OK, so change the sense you make of it.

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When you are a teenager, you think you know everything.
When you are in your 20’s, you think you know something.
When you are in your 30’s you know nothing.
When you are in your 40’s, you don’t care.
When you are in your 50’s- ‘I’m sorry what was the question again?’

I used to think I knew everything. The older I get the less I know for certain. I wonder why this is?

I suppose in terms of our evolution, the younger humans might have needed the confidence that knowing it all brings to take risks and grow the tribe. The fiery warriors that are portrayed in cowboys and indians films are the ones who get into trouble ( and tend to be handsome – that’s Hollywood) but are the ones that go out and conquer and protect the tribe. This requires that ‘know it all ‘, fearless approach otherwise the tribe might not survive. The wise chief is the one that guides and curbs that energy.

The older you get, the more experience you have, which should mean you get wiser. But often older age can bring fear for some.
I’ve written before about the importance of doubt and uncertainty. So, there’s a choice here, fear and age with a quest for certainty and control or embracing the wisdom that comes with age and the power to grab what life has to offer however old you are.

The good news is that at whatever age you are, change is possible because the brain is plastic. We can continue to learn, relearn and change at whatever age- my oldest client was 89 and her life was shackled by chronic agoraphobia. I figure if you can change at this age, great things are possible!

What needs changing in your life?

http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/11/27/want-to-get-rid-of-negative-thoughts-throw-them-away/48160.html

 

This article evidences a technique which I use a lot for people who get caught in the reality of their thoughts.

Writing them down seems to get them out so the conscious, rational mind can take a look and decide whether they are valid and what can be done with them. When they rattle round and round in your head, they can get bigger and stronger and stronger and for some people can cause sleeplessness.

Try it. It’s a useful technique

http://www.spring.org.uk/2012/10/how-memory-works-10-things-most-people-get-wrong.php

My dad used to say this to me when I was getting nervous or worried and it used to drive me mad! In a strange way he was right!

This great blog on memory makes you realise how flexible the memory is and more importantly why it exists.

In evolutionary terms why is memory helpful? What value has when its only remembering things that have happened that have passed and are no longer relevant to us today?

It is true that the past makes you who you are today. Interestingly though memories aren’t always a correct reflection of the past. Any police officer will tell you that crime witnesses can give differing accounts of the same crime.  So if memory is random, what’s the point of it?

This blog goes some way to explaining why recalling and forgetting memories is a means of learning. If we weren’t able to sift through what’s relevant from the paste we’d be paralysed with too much information and not be able to function.

In working with clients, the fact that memory is unstable is really helpful. It’s not what happened in a past memory that matters but what you make of it.

I was working with a client recently who had chronic performance nerves to the point were he was so paralysed by his fear that it was seriously affecting his career. He got incredibly anxious and so was avoiding any situation When we tracked the memory back, it started from an early experience in nursery school in the nativity play where he’d tripped up and everyone laughed at him in the audience. It seems daft that this could have such a domino effect and result in his problems in the present. Once we reconfigured this memory as an insignificant event in the past, the dominos fell and it released his fear.

So maybe sorting yourself out means reconfiguring and restoring memories differently in the memory bank to get on and do what needs to be done. Maybe my dad was wiser than I thought at the time!

 

 

 

Hundreds of runners went 800m out of their way following a cyclist in a high-vis jacket who they mistook for a race official in a 10k race in Newcastle!!

London Metro 14th November 2012 reports.

Isn’t it funny how we can jump to quick conclusions and think that they are right and it can take us a while to realise that maybe they weren’t.

At an evolutionary level, we are programmed to jump to conclusions and make assumptions particularly when our emotions are involved, which they usually are. Weighing up situations and people quickly has enabled us to survive when we lived in caves. If we didn’t make quick decisions, it could mean life or death for our ancient ancestors. You need to act quickly when a sabre tooth tiger is looking at you as its next meal!

Most of the time, in the moment, these quick conclusions can work for us but as in the case of the runners it didn’t! What’s more interesting is in moments of pressure how easily led we can be, like sheep almost. This is another mental short cut that, again was helpful to our ancestors. If my neighbour is doing something, it makes it safer to follow. So it’s less of a risk, so I’ll do that or he knows something I don’t, so I’ll follow him. Most of these decisions happen out of our awareness, unconsciously

In the instance of the runners above ,the consequences of this are not that significant- unless of course you are going for the record time on the run!

I work with many clients for whom this quick decision-making goes disastrously wrong. Anxiety can result in catastrophising and imagining negative consequences, even life threatening danger or even death. It can seem crazy consciously, but these quick decisions don’t come from the rational,l logical mind, they come from the instinctive unconscious mind. This is why we don’t realise we are having these thoughts or feelings. We usually experience the physical symptoms of panic attacks, bad backs, IBS or in extreme cases depression without considering what is happening unconsciously to drive these patterns or habits.

If the world is perceived as life threatening all the time, the unconscious will drive a pattern of behaviours to protect you that forces you to be on constant alert which exhausts the body and mind. This results in less and less interaction with the world, poor sleep and a behavioural pattern which can result in severe depression.

When you retrain your mind and get it back under your control with Cognitive Hypnotherapy, it’s amazing the difference that can make even with severe patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving.  You can then become the master rather than the servant of your mind and body – and that’s a powerful thing that can really open up a different future for you. Now that’s worth considering isn’t it?