Stop Smoking Tips 2In my first article on ‘how to stop smoking tips 1’, I discussed three of the essential background stop smoking issues that focus your mind on the big day. Firstly, recognise that the nicotine cycle is just cravings fooling your mind. Over time, as the addiction takes over, you will make up any justification to keep the addiction going. Secondly, by appreciating how anxiety and stress are connected with smoking, you can find new ways to cope with your anxious and stressful issues. Without this, you will feel like an “ex-smoker” who is still vulnerable to smoking again. Thirdly, recognise how breathing (inhaling) is part of your smoking habit. Relaxed breathing is a way of controlling anxiety and stress. When you see these connections for what they are, life without a cigarette becomes a realistic achievement. In my hypnotherapy consultations, I aim to identify other important issues that individualise your smoking habit and match them with an appropriate stop smoking hypnotherapy treatment. Converting to being a non-smoker requires an understanding of your personal smoking triggers and then rehearsing alternative ways to cope without a cigarette. This way you can be ready for your stop smoking transformation. If you want professional help to stop smoking: Stop Smoking Cardiff
Stop Smoking Tips #1:
If you’ve previously stopped smoking, identify what caused you to re-start smokingIdentifying the reason for your smoking lapses can help you to establish your vulnerability when you want to stop smoking again. Stopping smoking is one achievement; staying stopped is the ultimate goal. When you know why you have re-started smoking, you can prepare different coping strategies that take you through past failings. This is particularly significant if you have stopped smoking for more than 3 days. After 3 days, research has shown that the majority of the nicotine has left your body. After 7 days, cotinine (the main nicotine metabolite) is absent from the blood. Physiologically, you have done the necessary work; you are an “ex-smoker.” What draws you back into smoking cigarettes after this period of stopping is what you psychologically and emotionally associate with your smoking habit. If you lapsed in a social situation, then it can explain that you are socially anxious, you give-in to peer-pressure or seek acceptance through social rewards. Armed with this knowledge, you can then prepare for a different way of coping in social situations. Ironically, the first lapse is usually an issue of over-confidence. You have stopped for a few weeks and haven’t fully understood the nature of your psychological smoking habit. You believe that you can stop-and-start whenever you feel like it. You then find yourself in a situation where you feel that something is missing. You think that “just one” cigarette won’t matter. You may not even enjoy restarting, but the one cigarette is enough to draw you back into your addiction as a smoker. For the rest of the day and the following days, you succumb to the power of the nicotine cravings. You have now learned how addictive nicotine can be and that you are not in as much control as you once thought. Stress can be a reason for re-starting smoking. As discussed in the “how to stop smoking tips 1”, if you underestimated the impact of stress, it may have drawn you back into smoking when going through a crisis. Psychologically, at higher a level of stress, your mind goes back to what it knows. If you have previously convinced yourself that smoking cigarettes helps you to cope with stress, the smoking trigger will overcome you. So you start smoking to get you through the stress, but after the stress has eased, the nicotine addiction will have you hooked again. Hypnotherapy can help you identify the nature of your stress and offer you alternative ways of coping. When you can see yourself coping with stress as a non-smoker, your confidence will grow. You can change from the mind-set of the “ex-smoker” to the “non-smoker.” Another reason for re-starting smoking is because when you have stopped, you put on weight. There is evidence that nicotine can act as an appetite suppressant but taking this issue into account, there are ways to ensure that the weight gain is temporary. Where smoking has been used to comfort your stress, food will tend to be the next accessible crutch. “Skinny smokers” who have become non-smokers, have included exercise and healthier eating in their transformation. When this issue is identified in a course of stop smoking hypnotherapy, weight loss suggestions are used to ensure a smoother transition through these health changes. Other reasons for re-starting smoking are varied and personal. Some stop smoking hypnotherapy patients are unsure why they have restarted smoking. When the reason is unconscious, hypnotherapy can be a useful tool to uncover and treat past negative learning. When your mind can connect with “why” you have done something, you can develop the necessary tools needed to fix the situation. If you have smoked continuously for years, then this issue of “re-starting” won’t directly apply to you. But your smoking habit will have integrated a number of other issues. By identifying situations when you have smoked more cigarettes, you can establish when you will be hit by the physiological and psychological cravings (see stop smoking tips #2, below).
Stop Smoking Tips #2:
If you’ve never tried to stop smoking, identify when you smoke more cigarettes and what influenced you to start in the first placeIf you’ve never stopped smoking for more than 3 days then you are dependent on identifying your smoking triggers “inside” the nicotine addiction. Those with a heavier addiction may not be aware of those differences because there’s very little time when you are not smoking. Those with moderate addictions are likely to recognise these subtleties. Maybe it’s stress, anxiety or boredom. Once you have identified the link with your increased dependency on cigarettes, you can find alternative ways of coping once you have stopped. The reason that you first started smoking may have been several years ago, but don’t dismiss it as being irrelevant. Teenage traits can still direct adult behaviour. Many of you may have succumbed to peer-pressure back then. Do you find that you still smoke more cigarettes socially? If so then, social reinforcement is still part of your adult life. When you are stuck in a negative habit and are struggling to change it, hypnotherapy can be an effective technique to uncover the cause of the habit. Hypnotherapy can then be used to release the emotion behind the habit. For example, some of you may have started smoking to defy controlling parents. As an adult, the defiance is no longer required but is still blocking your progress. Taking a “U-turn” with your belief system can be difficult on your own. Many adult patients recognise that the reason for continuing smoking is pointless. But transforming defiance into something positive would mean changing a deeper part of your belief system. Regression hypnotherapy is used in this situation to help change emotional blocks.
Stop Smoking Tips #3:
Consider if you “miss” smoking in situations where you can’t smokeThis issue is something that smokers have had to deal with more since the ban on smoking in public places. When the ban was first announced, there was a moderate rebellion followed by general compliance. It may have hardened the defiant smokers attitudes to smoke “by right” when they ‘can’ smoke. For others, it was a breath of fresh air; (pun intended!) you just went outside! What is so helpful for the aspiring non-smoker is to consider if they “miss” smoking when they are not allowed to smoke. Many of my stop smoking hypnotherapy patients say that they just accept the situation and focus on other things. They don’t feel deprived. They flick the “internal smoking switch” off when entering their workplace, but switch “it” on again the moment they have left work. Can you see this positive “mind-mechanism” as a decision of choice? If you can, then it’s a choice that is transferable into other situations where you “can” smoke but chose not to smoke.
How to stop smoking tips: summaryIn this article, these 3 stop smoking tips consider the fluctuations in your smoking behaviour. It considers the beliefs and emotions when you first started smoking, re-started smoking after temporary stops and increases and decreases in the number of cigarettes smoked in certain situations.When you have an understanding of these issues, you can prepare your stop smoking programme to match these changes in your smoking habit. Hypnotherapy helps to create a state of deep relaxation. In this state, your mind is more receptive to the suggestions used by the hypnotherapist to stop smoking. In my stop smoking hypnotherapy courses, the techniques are personalised to treat your stop smoking blocks quickly to help convert you from a smoker to a non-smoker. For professional help to stop smoking: Stop Smoking Cardiff
For further information on stop smoking tips, and stop smoking Cardiff hypnotherapy courses contact Hypnotherapy Cardiff
Overeating: lose weight with hypnotherapy
Overeating: Do you ever wonder why you find it had to stick to a diet? When overeating causes you to stray from your diet, then weight gain is unlikely to be just about the food types. Do you find yourself raiding the fridge or the snack cupboard after a bad day at work? If you do, then it can mean that something in your mind is much bigger than the motive you had when you first started your diet. Ignore this ‘something in your mind’ and it will gradually erode the best dietary intentions and cause you to put on weight.This article focuses on overeating and considers how hypnotherapy can be used as an effective method to treat it.
What is overeating?Overeating and comfort eating are terms used to describe an increase in your consumption of food. This increase is usually (but, not always) motivated by negative changes in your emotions and feelings. Emotional eating describes either an increase or a decrease in the consumption of food, affected by a change in emotion or feeling. In many ways, these terms overlap but in essence, they describe how a normal eating routine can be altered by a change in emotion or situation. It’s as if the person is temporarily possessed by a mind-state that replaces the original eating intention. After the excessive snack or meal, the person is left questioning “why did I do that?”
Why do you start overeating?The reason can be a simple one: you are eating too quickly and so you are not able to recognise afeeling of fullness. Slowing down your pace, chewing your food more and drinking water with your meal can help. When you are made aware of this issue during a hypnotherapy consultation, you are likely to make a change to your eating style. Emotional changes can be more difficult to change. Emotions and feelings are the driving force in so many of your actions or behaviour. When faced with a decision to solve a problem, you will have a surge of emotion that could direct you to act in one way or the other. You are heavily oriented to pursue what is beneficial and keep away from what is harmful. But these choices are complicated by who will benefit and when will I (or they) benefit. There could be a number of other conflicting questions (or beliefs and values) that intrude on a feeling of choice. Sometimes in despair, you seek an immediate fix or way out from that problem just to feel better. Food is something within easy reach and has a history of gratification pinned to your memories throughout childhood. You have learned that food can momentarily distance you from the problems in your world and replace it with a sweet sugariness (or a creamy chocolaty treat). It’s no wonder that overeating is so common.
Why does overeating continue?A surge of emotion can create tension, disguising the usual internal awareness of fullness. You have already learned that food gives you momentary escape and thus a habit has been formed. So you keep overeating with the hope that it will ease the feeling of tension when a new problem surfaces. But some situations appear to have no way out. The overeating is ineffective at shifting the abdominal tension but you repeat the habit nevertheless, believing that it will still help you. You have become locked into a cycle of food being used to solve emotional problems by association. Now, your overeating is causing you to put on weight.
Who does overeating affect?Eating excessively can affect anyone; there is an element of over-indulgence in all of us. It can be something that starts unnoticed until you jump on the scales, change a clothing size or hear a polite mention from someone you know (and then despise!) This triggers an awareness of the issue and you will attempt to be more careful. If it’s controlled then it usually fades into the background. When these situations accumulate and the attempts to change it fail, then it is classified as a problem. Hypnotherapy can be a useful solution at this stage.
Would a diet help you to deal with overeating?Diets work best when someone is motivated to eatdifferent foods within a new routine. They also work best when there is a strong desire to integrate theroutine into your lifestyle. All emotions are pointing in the direction of the new diet. With overeating in the background however, the diet will start and then will soon buckle under emotional strain. One or more emotions will expose your weaknesses until the diet collapses. Unless these emotional issues are dealt with, you will find that diets only work for a short period. Use hypnotherapy to change the emotional associations you have with food and any lifestyle eating habits. A diet will then seem like a more natural change.
Can overeating be the same as binge eating?Overeating involves eating in excess, but doesn’t fall into the same severity as binge eating. Binge eating can be classified as an eating disorder. It involves frequent episodes of prolonged uncontrollable eating patterns that go way beyond any feelings of fullness. As a disorder, binge eating can be placed in the same category as anorexia and bulimia; there are a number of complex issues affecting these conditions. Even with hypnotherapy, binge eating is rarely dealt with in a short period of time.
What situations and emotions cause overeating?Any negative (and some positive) emotions can cause overeating. Generally, overeating can be used to comfort an emotion or divert the arrival of a worse emotion or situation. Positive emotions can include social situations or where food is used as a reward. Here are some examples of emotional situations where overeating is common: Anger: A row with your partner about something you both strongly disagree about can trigger a pattern of overeating. Anxiety: Worrying about and preparing for an exam can be a situation where overeating is used to divert your anxiety. Apathy: A persistent situation like a court battle can leave you feeling numb. Food might be used to lift the spirits during spells of frustration. Boredom: Overeating is a common response to a life of routine and drudgery. Even when work has become this way, the emotion carries through into your social life where overeating has become the activity of interest. Blame: A culture where the outcome of a situation must have a cause can be turned inwardly when you can only point the finger of fault at yourself. A mistake that has caused a row in a relationship may influence overeating to comfort this blame. Denial: Ironically, overeating can be a behavioural response when someone is putting on weight, but they’re not quite ready to admit that there is a weight problem. Depression: A change in your job description that now has pointless objectives can create a state of meaninglessness where overeating is a temporary escape. Despair: Overeating can comfort a situation that appears to have no way out. The arrival of a long-term medical condition is an example. Disappointment: Food can be used to comfort you when something you expect to happen just didn’t go your way e.g. not getting the grade you wanted in an exam. Guilt: Overeating can be used to block feelings of guilt in a relationship after you have done something wrong and have been denied the opportunity to apologise or put the situation right. Hopelessness: An accumulation of stressful events may provoke an overeating response as way of coping with the feelings of resignation. Loneliness: Feeling isolated because your peer group have not invited you to a social arrangement can trigger an overeating reaction. Loss of self-confidence: Doubting your abilities may be reinforced when a project at work has not achieved the objective. Overeating is used to negatively reinforce this self-doubt dialogue saying “I can’t do this!” Procrastination: Food can be a tactical way of delaying dealing with stressful issues. Resentment: Being constantly excluded from your work colleagues for no apparent reason could provoke an overeating response to counter feelings of loneliness. Responsibility: A recent job promotion and taking care of a large family can leave you feeling overburdened with responsibility. Overeating can become a ritual that “gives you some space” when things are going wrong and you making risky decisions that are affecting people’s lives. Sadness: When a relationship has suddenly ended, the emptiness in your life can spark a desire to fill that space with food. Overeating can be something that is used to fill the emotional gap. Self-hatred: Maliciously lashing out at a loved one to get their attention, but finding that they suffer fatal consequences as a result can cause you to hate yourself. Overeating can be used to conceal your powerlessness to remedy the situation. Self-pity: When something has gone wrong, overeating can be a way of medicating yourself when others have seen through your attempts to seek attention. Shame: When a sensitive subject-matter has been exposed and ridiculed by your peer group, overeating can seem like an escape from your feelings of shame. Shock: The news of an unexpected bereavement can trigger overeating patterns to hide your feelings of grief. Stress: Overeating can be used as a way of coping with the pressure of having intense work deadlines. Tension: Physical tension can be generated from any negative emotion or situation. Parts of your body feel tight and you can feel generally irritable. You may not be able to identify the situation but overeating can somehow shift the uneasiness in your abdomen. Worthlessness: Overeating can be a reaction to numerous criticisms that cause you to question your own abilities. So when you do something wrong again, you reach for food to divert your feelings.
How can hypnotherapy help with overeating?Each hypnotherapy treatment is individualised to your issues. Hypnotherapy is used to treat overeating in the following ways:
- Hypnotherapy can help identify the emotions or situations that are causing the overeating.
- Hypnotherapy can be used to access unconscious experiences that are provoking your overeating responses.
- Hypnotherapy can help dissociate the overeating behaviour from the emotion or situation.
- Hypnotherapy can help create new beliefs and attitudes towards your eating habits.
- Hypnotherapy can help you to recognise your internal feelings of fullness.
- Hypnotherapy can teach you breathing techniques that reduce your stress levels and so be less dependent on food as your comfort.
For further information on how to control overeating, comfort eating and emotional eating in Cardiff contact Hypnotherapy Cardiff
How to Stop Smoking Tips 1There are many articles offering ‘how to stop smoking tips’. In this article, these ‘how to stop smoking tips’ are based on my experiences using hypnotherapy as a successful smoking cessation method. Hypnotherapy uses techniques that help the patient’s mind to be more receptive to positive suggestions and visualisation. When this is combined with an awareness of central issues that drive the smoking habit, the hypnotherapy patient is ready to stop smoking. They can then go through a re-learning process of how to stay “stopped”.
These three ‘how to stop smoking tips’ are part of that early journey. Your mind and body moves from being a “smoker” to “ex-smoker”. Once you have stopped smoking, you can then ultimately embrace the belief system and lifestyle of the “non-smoker”. In this lifestyle change, you lead your life naturally without the want or need for a cigarette. This is how to stop smoking.If you are seeking professional help to stop smoking: Stop Smoking Cardiff
How to Stop Smoking Tips #1:
Recognise that the nicotine cycle is just cravings fooling your mindIn my view, the first of the ‘how to stop smoking tips’ is the most fundamental tip of them all. If you smoke on a regular basis, then you are likely to be addicted to nicotine. Being a very addictive drug, it serves a simple purpose – once addicted, it wants to keep you addicted.
When your blood-nicotine level falls, your brain registers this depletion. You begin to feel “incomplete”. Symptoms include irritability, edginess, poor concentration and physical tension. In many ways it is similar to mild anxiety. These feelings sweep through you in waves until you are able to smoke a cigarette. When you smoke your next cigarette, you are increasing your blood-nicotine levels. Your brain registers this increase and the irritability symptoms begin to subside as you feel “complete” or “relaxed” again. The blood-nicotine levels are normalised and for how long this equilibrium lasts depends on the severity of your addiction. It can be a few minutes to a few hours.Consider the nicotine cycle as purely an addictive drug cycle that wants to keep you on the inside. All other reasons for justifying smoking are superfluous to that cycle. If you are using those excuses of “but I like it” or “it helps me to feel better...” recognise that it is just the nicotine cravings that are deceiving you. Those who say that they “like” smoking have gone way past the initial nausea stage. You have dragged yourself through this stage, using another ‘value’ to keep you firmly on the smoking path e.g. “I want to look grown up”. As the nicotine cravings and smoking habits changed you, you will have suddenly realised that you are struggling without them. In my stop smoking hypnotherapy consultations, when my patient can recognise that they are stuck in the nicotine trap, they can then throw out all of the other excuses that justify the need to keep smoking. Hypnotherapy is a useful way of communicating this to the patient’s unconscious mind. It facilitates an important dissociation stage.
How to Stop Smoking Tips #2:
Appreciate how anxiety and stress are connected with smokingIn my stop smoking hypnotherapy consultations, the majority of my patients tell me that they smoke more cigarettes when they are anxious or stressed. Does this mean that smoking a cigarette reduces anxiety or stress? Does it relax you? Since stress and anxiety is individual, what you say is helpful, will be helpful (up to a point – and we’ll come back to this in how to stop smoking tips #3). If smoking cigarettes actually did this, I would have thought the cigarette manufacturers would have jumped onto the bandwagon by now and would have marketed this selling point. They simply don’t promote cigarettes as an anxiety or stress reliever. They don’t promote it as a relaxant. Which brings us back to ‘how to stop smoking tips #1’; it’s all about the nicotine. When blood-nicotine levels drop, the craving symptoms create irritability, loss of concentration and physical tension (amongst other personal symptoms) that are very similar to symptoms of anxiety and stress. But over the years of smoking, you will have forgotten the difference. So when you are genuinely tense about something, your brain associates the anxious feelings with depleted blood-nicotine levels. You need to smoke a cigarette to release the anxious feeling (this point relates to ‘how to stop smoking tips #3). You are in pursuit of a relaxation response and the cigarette is “artificially” giving you this to you. Over the years, the smoking habit confuses your handling of stress and the recognition of low blood-nicotine levels. Which issue it relates to no longer matters because you’ll smoke anyway. This point leaves a very strong imprint on your brain. The ex-smoker, who tells you years later that the cravings don’t go away, is still fooled by this issue. Physical dependency subsides after one week. Psychological dependency will persist and keep you in the mindset of an ex-smoker if you haven’t embraced this difference. Smoking cigarettes does not help to reduce anxiety and stress. They don’t relax you, they just keep you dependant on the nicotine drug. In my hypnotherapy consultation, dealing with the nature of your stress and creating new solutions increases your confidence to let go of your smoking habit. Many hypnotherapy patients underestimate the impact that stress can have on their smoking cessation goal.
How to Stop Smoking Tips #3:
Identify how relaxed breathing is part of your smoking habitIn my view, the reason that cigarette manufacturers have kept trapping people for so long is because smoking involves the process of deep breathing. Any habit or ritual that incorporates deep breathing techniques will succeed because it involves the very natural relaxation mechanism that you all have. It is a technique that is so under-used. You will probably have heard the advice to “take a deep breath” to release stress. Non-smokers who cope with their stress effectively will use this breathing technique. It is used in yoga, meditation and hypnotherapy. Most smokers take up their habit as a teenager. Teenage life has many anxiety issues and finding a reliable way to cope independently with this period of life is very important; you are effectively setting up a template of coping for your adulthood. The best time to learn relaxation skills would be around (or just before) teenage hood. If cigarettes are introduced during this period and before any independent skills have been learned, the smoking-breathing habit becomes the crutch. So if these skills are learned too late, you may already have become hooked on cigarettes and believe that they help you to “relax” when tense. Over the years as a smoker, you forget about this natural ability. When stressed, and in a place where you can’t smoke, you are left gasping for air. It’s as if only smoking the cigarette gives you the permission to breathe deeply and relax. It has become your stress management prop. Nicotine and smoking has deceived you over the years. So when ‘stressed’ and you smoke more cigarettes, it’s your ‘breathing’ technique that is relaxing you, helping you to feel better. It is the breathing that is reducing your anxiety and stress, not the cigarette (point made in ‘how to stop smoking tips’ #2). For the ‘ex-smoker’ to convert to the belief system of the ‘non-smoker’, these relaxation skills must be embraced. Without these relaxation skills, the ex-smoker goes through life as if something is missing. They fear a stressful event and their ability to cope independently. It’s more than just will-power that makes this conversion; the smoker must be aware of how your habit has changed your life. In my hypnotherapy consultations, learning breathing and relaxation techniques are part of the hypnotherapy treatment. They help you with the immediate cravings and cope with stress and anxiety once you have stopped smoking.
How to stop smoking tips: summaryThese are my three fundamental ‘how to stop smoking tips’. They connect the important issues of nicotine, stress and breathing. Understanding these connections and learning how to breathe for relaxation will help you to cope with the cravings and cope with stress. This will help you to recognise the cravings for what they are – a physical withdrawal from nicotine. Other ‘how to stop smoking tips’ will need to be considered to complete your transformation. Hypnotherapy ensures that the deep learning of these issues and the ability to replace them with coping techniques can be done whilst your mind is receptive to change. Each smoker’s psychology and behaviour is personalised. My stop smoking hypnotherapy course deals with your personal issues that can help convert you from a smoker to an ex-smoker and then into a non-smoker once again. (Stop smoking tips 2.) Professional help to stop smoking: Stop Smoking Cardiff
For further information on how to stop smoking tips in Cardiff, and stop smoking Cardiff hypnotherapy courses contact Hypnotherapy Cardiff
Breathing Techniques to Relieve Stress & AnxietyWhen the pace of life is taking over, there is a helpful solution: you can use breathing techniques to relieve stress and anxiety. Once learned, they can be used in a variety of situations e.g. before an exam or interview or prior to a performance to reduce anticipatory anxiety or panic attacks. Breathing techniques can control anxiety “during” an event or can be used naturally throughout the day. Breathing techniques can also help with insomnia when the mind is racing and needs to slow down before the sleep response can take over. Hypnotherapists commonly teach breathing techniques to relieve stress and anxiety in the early stages of a hypnotherapy treatment. It often forms the first stage of the hypnotherapy induction. Progressive relaxation and visualisation are also used to create a deep state of “inner focused awareness”. This helps the client to become more receptive to hypnotic suggestions given by the hypnotherapist. During the early part of the first hypnotherapy consultation, I like to ask my patient about any prior learning of breathing techniques to help them relieve stress. By ensuring that you are using the full potential of each breath, it can facilitate a more rapid hypnotic induction. The benefits of learning breathing techniques can also help you relieve stress outside of the hypnotherapy consultation. You can then practise these breathing techniques independently or use them with the assistance of a hypnotherapy relaxation CD.
How to use breathing techniques to relieve stressEven for those who have had some previous relaxation training outside of hypnotherapy, I am often surprised at how much emphasis is given to counting as the most important feature of breathing techniques to relieve stress. Leave out the numbers; each person’s breathing rate is different. When working with my private patients to relieve stress and during stress management workshops, I teach breathing techniques using the following stages: 1. Breathe in through the nose: With the aim being to slow down breathing patterns, I prefer the inspiration of air to be drawn in through the nose. The nostrils have a smaller surface area compared to the opened mouth and so help to ensure that the duration of inspiration phase is lengthened. 2. Breathe out though the nose: Whilst there is some flexibility with where you breathe out, my preference is still through the nose rather than the mouth. Unless a client has some prior learning and is proficient with several of these stages, I won’t make too many changes for them. Again, the smaller surface area is the advantage and keeping the focus in one place is just easier to remember for the novice student. 3. Hand placement: I demonstrate and instruct the client to place one hand on their abdomen and the other hand on their chest. I ask them to look down at their hands to provide visual and kinaesthetic (feeling) feedback at this stage. 4. Abdomen before the chest: In relaxed breathing, the abdomen (lower hand) moves before the chest (upper hand). This ensures that the important diaphragm muscle (the sheet of muscle that lies horizontally between the thoracic cavity and the abdominal cavity) is active in the breathing process. 5. Let the inspired breath expand the abdomen: This stage usually causes the novice (anxious breather) to push their abdomen out forcefully because it can feel unnatural to the untrained. What is paramount at this stage is that the air being inspired (by the movement of the diaphragm) is creating the abdominal inflation. A picture of the diaphragm and ribs moving during breathing can help visualise this process. I also ask my student to imagine feeling that the inspired air is expanding the abdomen. This image usually creates the desired effect. 6. The chest inflates after the abdomen: With the abdomen (diaphragm) now responsive, the second stage of the inflation involves a fuller breath by expanding the ribcage (chest). The untrained anxious breather instinctively finds this easier, hence the inclusion of stage 5 which is aiming to change a bad habit. I identify any unnecessary mechanisms at this stage now, like lifting the shoulders which play no valid part in breathing. With these mechanisms in place, I then progress onto the speed of your respiration. 7. Slow-motion breathing particularly with expiration: Since each person’s vital capacity (the maximum amount of air that can be inhaled or exhaled from the lungs) differs, emphasising a “one-fits-all” number system would create an unnatural count for those on the upper and lower limits. My approach is to individualise this stage by just prolonging each inspiration and expiration. This is a form of “hypoventilation” that makes each breath more efficient for relaxation. It may take a few breaths to settle this pattern but that is completely acceptable. Particularly with the inspiration of breath, the odd forced inhalation can seem like an “awakening” for some of the new muscles being used in this way. For the expiration however, I liken this stage to gently squeezing a balloon with the tiniest air-opening that lightly resists the pressure just enough to keep the air being constantly expelled. Extend the exhale for as long as possible, ensuring that the slow pace is maintained from the very start of your breath. Trust that your body has enough oxygen in each breath. With the diaphragm actively involved, the body can cope sufficiently by simply slowing these processes down. Exhaling with a slow, deep audible “sigh” is important because it enhances the release of tension and relaxes the respiratory system. Only a few, slow deep sighs are necessary and the breathing mechanisms naturally adjusts. The awareness of breathing can go into the background and become more unconscious. 8. Pause rather than hold: With the breathing now in constant flow, I emphasise a pause rather than a breath-hold. Create this pause at the end of each inspiration to stretch the diaphragm. Pause after expiration to ensure that the oxygen/carbon dioxide levels are rebalanced following hyperventilation often caused by high anxiety or panic attacks. Anxiety can cause breathing muscles to tighten, so a natural pause encourages continuity between each stage rather than a segmented “stop”. Imagine these stages akin to a large, slow-moving swing that has a huge momentum as it swings effortlessly in and out, almost delaying at the end of its swing, yet it is gathering momentum ready for the next slow swing return. 9. Eye closure: If it hasn’t happened naturally by now, many clients are innocently entering lighter stages of hypnosis and closing their eyes by themselves. As the client or student begins to access these breathing dynamics, mentioning eye closure helps to bring in more of their imagination and the internal awareness of their relaxation responses. A suggestion to remove the hands from the abdomen and chest and lay the hands comfortably on their lap can be a suitable progression for the progressing learner because you can now feel the internal movement of the breathing organs.
Breathing techniques: continuation exercises to help relieve stress10. Posture and general tension: A general observation of the client’s posture is natural for the hypnotherapist. For the novice who is learning to relax, freeing areas of tension can be facilitated when the mind is engaged into your internal state. Gradually work through the body from top to toe (or from toe upwards), releasing of any tense areas. Visualise each body part feeling helplessly heavy. Choose a place to practise at home where the head and body can be supported e.g. a high-backed chair, recliner or lying on the bed. 11. Visualising a calm place: These are the latter stages of relaxation training in which the topic can be an article in itself! In my hypnotherapy consultation, I discuss how my patient likes to relax. I then integrate this imagery into the hypnotic induction. 12. Using hypnotic suggestions You can use hypnotic suggestions to help you achieve your relaxation goal or any other goal that you may have. There is more information in this practise self hypnosis article. Click the following link if you want to know more about the differences between self hypnosis, meditation and mindfulness.
Practise your breathing techniques to relieve stressBeing mindful of your breathing techniques is an important part of relieving stress and anxiety. Your autonomic nervous system controls all of the unconscious bodily functions like gut functioning, heart rate, breathing and the release of hormones like adrenaline. By controlling your breathing, it gives you an opportunity to take back some conscious control over what your unconscious mind and body is doing. In effect, your breathing can be your “doorway” into slowing down some of the “fight or flight” responses that are triggered by modern living stress.
Evidence of the benefit of relaxed breathing techniquesIs there any evidence that if you practise breathing techniques to relieve stress that it actually has a physiological benefit? Yes, there is a strong connection between breathing and brain control. Evidence linked to this article suggests that the brain’s “pacemaker” can be altered by changing your breathing rhythm. Rapid breathing (common in highly anxious states) increases the activity in the brain’s circuit, whilst slow deep breathing reduces the brain’s circuit activity. Relaxed breathing can benefit some of the unconscious physiological functions controlled by the brain’s parasympathetic “calming” nervous system. These include better regulation of your blood pressure, improved emotional control, increased memory capability, immune system resiliency and energy metabolism efficiency. So perhaps there is much more behind the cliché “take a deep breath” than previously thought!
Breathing techniques to relieve stress: conclusionThis article has outlined how to use breathing techniques to relieve stress. As a practising hypnotherapist, my teaching points are built on a collection of numerous consultations with past hypnotherapy clients. I do not advocate that this is the only way to teach breathing techniques to relieve stress. Being responsive to your hypnotherapy client and observing where to focus help is part of being a successful hypnotherapist and creating therapeutic change.
For more information on practising breathing techniques to relieve stress contact Richard J D'Souza Hypnotherapy Cardiff
Gastric Band Hypnotherapy – Just another fad!Over the years in practice as a registered hypnotherapist, I have witnessed a number of “new” treatments that have come and gone. Gastric Band Hypnotherapy is the latest catch phrase when you want to lose weight. “New” hypnotherapy treatments can be created as a response to a new development or invention. In this case, the medical development is Gastric band surgery, an operation that limits the amount of food you can consume by reducing the capacity of your stomach. Rather than having this intrusive (and costly) medical procedure, you can have your “mind” taken through the process, in a course of gastric band hypnotherapy and live your life as if your stomach has been reduced in size...well, in theory anyway! Does gastric band hypnotherapy offer anything more credible for weight loss than other personalised courses of hypnotherapy administered by an experienced practitioner? In my view, it does not. When you delve a little deeper into what is being offered in a gastric band hypnotherapy course, it is little more than a re-hash of common methods, disguised to look new and more effective under a catchy phrase. What are the shortcomings?
Gastric Band hypnotherapy: Where’s the evidence?Until Gastric Band hypnotherapy research is published in reputable journals e.g. European Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, its claims to be any “more effective and long lasting” than weight loss hypnotherapy is nothing more than marketing tricks. Where is the evidence? What sample was used in the research? How was the trial controlled? These are some of the questions that when posed to a hypnotherapist offering Gastric Band hypnotherapy courses, they will be honest enough to admit that it has no evidence to be any more successful than traditional hypnotherapy. So, unless something has been published since writing this article, I would view the claims with scepticism.
Gastric Band hypnotherapy: If the Gastric Band hypnotherapy treatment is that successful, there wouldn’t be a need for the surgery.When a treatment is consistently effective, the NHS is quick to establish where money can be saved. Gastric band surgery can cost about £5000 and if there was a more efficient method that can save the NHS funds, they would promote that treatment which is cost-effective and reliable. At the time of writing, patients who are eligible for gastric band surgery must have (amongst several criteria) tried and failed with other weight loss treatments. I’m not aware that the gastric band surgery is in decline because of the success of Gastric Band hypnotherapy courses.
Gastric Band hypnotherapy: Does one story of success mean it’s good for everyone?When you desperately want something, you are vulnerable to believe anything that might confirm your ambitions. You can over-generalise one incident and take it as a fact that it will apply to everybody, in every situation. So when you see an article with a celebrity who has lost weight with Gastric Band hypnotherapy, it’s easy to believe that “if it worked for them...it’ll work for me”. Unfortunately, one incident of success can disguise some major issues that either wasn’t reported or just didn’t come to light in that treatment. So you go into it with an inflated expectation only to be disappointed when the hidden issue blocks the success of your treatment. In my hypnotherapy practice, you would think that when a patient makes a rapid change, the “word-of-mouth” success story referrals would be great for business. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. It can be quite harmful to business. Those referred patients arrive with that same inflated expectation and want to benefit in exactly the same way that the original patient did. Every patient is different. When those patients haven’t had their miracle cure, they leave with a feeling of disappointment. Expectation is important in therapeutic change, but inflated expectation can create unrealistic demands and disappointment.
Gastric Band hypnotherapy: Regardless of what you visualise, are you just having fewer calories?When a newspaper article headlines that hypnosis was the cause of an 8 stone weight loss, you are likely to believe that it was the Gastric Band hypnotherapy suggestions that caused the change. It’s as if a magic wand was waved and from that point forward, the patient lives the life of a gastric band surgery patient. In a Daily Mail article published on 30th August 2011, the patient followed the same extreme diet as that given to a gastric band surgery patient. They started on an all-liquid diet and then proceeded through to pureed foods and then on to solids. The article failed to mention the number of calories being consumed during this period of the programme. What is common understanding with weight loss is that if you eat fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight.
Gastric Band hypnotherapy: It’s more than just visualising that you have had the surgery in hypnosis.In the same newspaper article, the Gastric Band hypnotherapy patient had ten sessions of hypnotherapy altogether. The programme was aimed at three consultations. She had seven continuation consultations that supported or motivated her to keep on the programme. There must have been a number of other issues surrounding the patient’s weight loss that aren’t mentioned in the article. So you can assess that it was not all down to gastric band suggestions alone. It’s likely that she will have paid between £700 and £900 for the total cost of her treatment. Losing eight stone over this period is certainly an achievement and the therapist in question deserves credit for having treated those other issues. Those other issues aren’t emphasised in the article. With weight loss programmes, if independent lifestyle changes haven’t been internalised over this period, a patient can easily slip back into old habits.
Gastric Band hypnotherapy: Is it necessary to visualise anything different from a traditional weight loss hypnotherapy course.When you read weight loss hypnotherapy scripts, they commonly use suggestions that help you visualise that “your stomach feels smaller and tighter and you feel fuller and satisfied on less food”. This is a common direct suggestion building block that focuses the patient towards their goal. Helping to alter what they are eating and how they are eating it is also part of the treatment. Imagining that your stomach has shrunk in size can be a beneficial visualisation that creates the same effect – thereby feeling fuller and satisfied on less food. If the patient can imagine this, it will have the same effect as a Gastric Band hypnotherapy treatment. Going through the process of imagining gastric surgery is just not needed.
Gastric Band hypnotherapy: A good reason to be cynical about its effectiveness.When you keep hearing that “in order to lose weight, eat fewer calories than you burn”, there must be something authoritative in that information. There are many ways that you can achieve that goal. Gastric Band hypnotherapy attempts to treat weight loss in a specified number of sessions. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it can treat your weight loss successfully in that number of sessions. The psychology and behaviour of weight loss has a number of issues that can affect whether you ultimately eat or drink fewer calories. A personalised approach (rather than an unconfirmed “one treatment fits all”) takes into account your personal weight loss issues. It has the best opportunity to guide you further into achieving your goal.
For further information on choosing personalised weight loss programmes instead of Gastric Band Hypnotherapy in Cardiff, contact Hypnotherapy Cardiff
More Weight Loss TipsIf you have read my first article on weight loss tips, the majority of the weight loss tips focus on eating patterns, habits and rituals. How you approach your food will influence what you eat. From my weight loss hypnotherapy courses, the majority of my hypnotherapy patients know what they need to eat to lose weight. They struggle to lose weight because they are using a dysfunctional belief system, clouded by stress, anxiety and bad habits. They end up eating too much or lose control of their eating intentions. Changing your approach and belief system to anything can take time. When you allow these weight loss tips to fall into place, you will be able to make clearer choices about the food you want to eat and then stick to your intentions. These weight loss tips focus on making lifestyle changes that become a natural way of healthy eating.
Weight Loss Tips #1: Relax before you eatYour awareness of “fullness” can be affected by your emotions and a feeling of tension. A negative emotion like anxiety can cause you to lose your appetite and (at the other end of the scale) comfort eat. Positive emotions can also affect your gastric awareness. By relaxing before you eat, you can stabilise some of these emotional connections. Relaxation can simply be in the form of using three slow, deep diaphragmatic breaths when you have sat down and are about to eat. Diaphragmatic breathing involves the use of the abdomen when you inhale. Then pause before extending your exhale as is giving off a slow, deep sigh. This form of relaxation places your mind in the “here and now” i.e. how you want to approach your food. It also helps you to naturally incorporate some of the other weight loss tips. Relaxation training is an essential part of a typical hypnotherapy course. It is a fundamental technique for centring your mind. When relaxed, you can be internally more aware of signals like a feeling of fullness.
Weight loss tips #2: Eat consciouslyEating consciously is about devoting some attention to the eating process rather than focusing on what is happening around you. It includes what you are eating, how quickly you are eating, having a sip of water at regular intervals etc. It’s too easy to get drawn in to the emotions of the environment and lose the awareness of your eating style. Try eating finger-food with a blindfold on. You’ll be pleasantly surprised that you eat less food, eat slowly, chew more and notice a feeling of fullness much earlier. Like so many routine and repetitive activities, like driving the car to and from work, your “mode” of eating is influenced by your emotional state. When feeling anxious, there is the tendency to increase your pace. Have you noticed the way some people unconsciously eat popcorn when they are watching a thriller or horror film at the cinema? They take bigger mouthfuls and chew quickly, often unaware of the quantity they are consuming until the box is finished. Stress influences “daydreaming”, a natural occurrence where your mind is dealing with problems internally. It can cause you to lose concentration when you are doing something that is low intensity like eating. When stressed, you are more likely to eat unconsciously as if distracted, unaware of the quantity, pace and internal fullness signals. Using weight loss tips #1 (relax before you eat) will help you to eat more consciously. Sometimes the stress can be deep-rooted and hypnotherapy can be used to manage and release your stress. Even when “actual” situations can’t be changed, how you are coping with them can ease some of the symptoms, and that includes comfort eating.
Weight loss tips #3: Stop eating when you are fullFeeling full is not a visual response i.e. it is not about seeing that you have finished everything on your plate. But this is the common marker used for when you have “finished” your meal. Understandably, this is a deep cultural issue to “only leave the table when you have finished your food”. It’s likely that you will have been told this as a child and you will have guided your own children gently towards this aim. You don’t want to waste food if possible and you don’t want your children to “give up” on broccoli too easily when they know dessert is next and tastes much sweeter! Prioritise losing weight over the guilt of leaving a small amount of food. It won’t make you a wasteful person. Social pressure can also “force” you to keep going until you have finished everything on your plate. This is to avoid offending the host who has gone to so much trouble to prepare the food. You eat everything on your plate and then find it difficult to refuse an offer of a second helping in case it offends. You can see that there are situations that put pressure on you to override your internal “fullness” response. Another harmful situation is going to an “All you can eat for £...” meal. Unless you have disciplined yourself to feel your internal responses, you will keep going until just short of bursting point. Not good for the diet or the digestive system. Weight loss hypnotherapy courses aim to identify your vulnerabilities and then help you develop the confidence to deal with these situations more assertively. Some excessive eating issues are very individual.
Weight loss tips #4: Eat a variety of foodAs you move through these weight loss tips, you are becoming more psychologically prepared toapproach your food with choice. Begin a plan of eating different food types. Try not to eat the same type of food too frequently. This can ensure optimum nutrition from a variety of food sources e.g. different types of meat: chicken, red meat and fish and another day go vegetarian. Aim to eat a variety of different coloured fruit and vegetables. Vary the carbohydrate sources: potatoes, pasta, rice, couscous etc. Also vary the ways the food can be cooked: boiled, roasted, steamed, baked etc. Food phobias can limit the ability to eat a varied diet. In my weight loss hypnotherapy courses, part of a hypnotherapy patient’s goal can be to remove food phobias. Being sensitive to certain strong tastes and textures can be treated easily with hypnotherapy, so that you can learn to eat more healthily.
Weight loss tips #5: Have the occasional “treat”Give yourself some freedom with what you eat. When you are too strict with your eating plans, a small lapse can lead to a collapse! By allowing some freedom, you prevent an over-reaction in the form of a binge. When you are making gradual changes, the odd calorie-laden food won’t seem like a disaster. If you want to have a piece of chocolate, have it! In my weight loss hypnotherapy course, I help my weight loss patient set realistic goals that will become part of your lifestyle. Being relaxed about your food choices neutralises the “power” that food may have previously had on you. You can control food, rather than food controlling you. After following this second series of weight loss tips, you will be able to approach what you eat with confidence. There will be very few occasions where your emotions throw you off track. If you are still finding that you are vulnerable in any situations, a short weight loss hypnotherapy course will further break any over-eating responses that still remain. More information on how to diet and lose weight.
For further information on weight loss tips in Cardiff, eating habits and emotional eating, contact Hypnotherapy Cardiff
Weight Loss Tips 1There are numerous articles written on the topic of weight loss tips. It can be useful to refresh your knowledge, particularly when you slip back into old habits. My article on weight loss tips shares a wealth of experience dealing with weight loss hypnotherapy patients. These weight loss tips consider some of the emotional issues and eating habits that can knock you off your desired weight loss path.
Weight loss tips #1: Make time to eatMaking time to eat is about making your eating plan a priority in your life. It’s about you valuing YOU, your weight and your health. Without this, your other priorities will eat you up! At the start of this process, it will seem like eating is at the forefront of your mind. But that is only natural when you want to make a change. Aim to do this in a series of small steps. As you gain momentum through this series of weight loss tips, it will then feel natural and happen more unconsciously. In the absence of making time to eat, you are likely to skip meals. This is an absolute no-no! Low blood-glucose levels and fainting or bingeing are your mind and body’s attempts to compensate when there is no food. When I treat a new weight loss hypnotherapy patient and offer them weight loss tips, I find that they have usually failed because they have tried to give food less importance in their life. I use hypnotherapy to help them explore their strategies, beliefs and values related to food and the rituals that surround eating. I help them embrace the new habits that will create healthy eating lifestyle changes.
Weight loss tips #2: Eat regularlyEat meals regularly. Ensure that you have some food at least every four hours. This prevents you from feeling too hungry and then compensating by overeating. When you get too hungry, there is the temptation to binge on food. This is when you eat in excess without the usual satisfaction or fullness responses limiting the quantity. Some people live by the belief to “eat when you are hungry.” This can ignore the way that emotions can affect your awareness of hunger. Many people suffering with anxiety or depression are vulnerable to rapid unhealthy weight loss (or weight gain) because stress hormones interfere with the functioning of the digestive system. Your mind’s perception of hunger and “feeling full” can become distorted. When I treat a new weight loss hypnotherapy patient and offer them weight loss tips, I find that the majority of my patients seek my help because they have lost control of that "full" awareness. Suggestions are used in the hypnotherapy induction to create a clear path of communication between your mind and your digestive system, putting you back into control. By eating regularly, you are helping yourself to reduce those binge episodes.
Weight Loss Tips #3: Eat food slowlyEating food on the “go” or eating in a hurry can cause you to overeat. When eating slowly, a swelling stomach gives “gastric feedback” to your brain telling you that you are now full. But when you eat quickly, this signal has not yet been communicated and more food is still on route. This situation is made worse when you are eating “buffet style”. You can lose the awareness of your portion size because you re-fill a partially full plate and continue eating. When you make time to eat, you can chew your food slowly and more frequently per mouthful, reducing the chance of indigestion. You can appreciate your feeling of fullness and are more likely to enjoy the taste of the food. When you eat food slowly, you will eat less food because you will feel fuller earlier. When I treat a new weight loss hypnotherapy patient and offer them weight loss tips, I help the patient visualise turning down their “meal pace-setter”. Ultimately, this is about being relaxed enough so that you can take your time to eat. Use breathing techniques to help you relax. Any deeper past issues that resist these changes are identified and re-framed (using hypnotherapy regression techniques) so that slowing down at meal times can feel like a natural choice.
Weight loss tips #4: Keep hydratedDrink fluids regularly is important on most expert's list of weight loss tips. During meal times, ensure that you have a glass of water. It will slow down the pace of the meal and help to fill you with zero calories. If you prefer something with more taste, chose something that is low calorie. Reduce your intake of any drinks that can be harmful if drunk in excess e.g. reduce tea and coffee to reduce your intake of caffeine. But still enjoy these drinks in moderation. If you severely deprive yourself of something, you can build up a binge response. In between meals, keep the fluids up. Quite often the temptation to eat more food following a meal is an indication that you are still thirsty. This can be in the form of having plain water or low calorie drinks. If you have a small healthy snack, have a low calorie drink with it. Keep a glass of water with you if your work situation allows it. Reaching for a drink can give your mind a welcomed mini break. Use water or a low calorie drink during those vulnerable times when you are likely to snack but don’t need to have it e.g. when relaxing in the evening. You may have an eating association with a certain time of day, an activity or an emotion. In my hypnotherapy consultations, many patients associate (confuse) hunger with boredom. So when you are trying to fill your time at home, eating food becomes “an activity” rather than something you are doing because you are genuinely hungry. Ensuring that a drink is available can help break this association.
Weight loss tips #5: Clear out the junk food (to begin with)When you want to change your eating habits, keeping those unhealthy snacks available in the cupboard will play on your mind and reinforce the strength of that habit. In the way those habits have been learned, they can be re-learned simply by eating something healthy. If you justify keeping those snacks available, it signals that you’re using food as a comfort or a reward. I’ve heard many hypnotherapy patients justifying keeping unhealthy snacks available in case guests arrive, so that they have something to offer them. The problem is that the majority of the snacks don’t get eaten by the guests, so you buy more unhealthy snacks just in case. Justifying keeping it for the children or the partner only encourages them to eat unhealthily too. It’s those food associations or habitual eating patterns that remove the feeling of “choice”. When you slowly change the eating response, your mind gradually accepts that food can be something that you just “eat.” It may take a few weeks to re-learn this food dissociation in this way, but when your mind has accepted this change, eating the occasional snack will seem like a “free” choice once again. That’s the time to re-introduce a small amount of those unhealthy snacks into the cupboard so that you don’t feel deprived and it prevents you bingeing. As far as weight loss tips are concerned, this often surprises most patients to structure their weight loss plan in this way. By starting your weight loss programme slowly, these and other weight loss tips will change some of your rituals that pre-dispose you to eat more and to feel out of control when stressed. A weight loss hypnotherapy course will help personalise your treatment to your specific issues. You all relate to food in different ways. More information on how to diet and lose weight.
For further information on weight loss tips in Cardiff, eating habits and emotional eating, contact Hypnotherapy Cardiff
How to diet and lose weightWhen you are thinking about how to diet and lose weight fast, many people try crash/starvation dieting or over-exercising as a way of shedding those pounds quickly. Most attempts to diet and lose weight attempts last very long however. Typically, those on diets crash within about three weeks of starting their regime. They will have started with all the best intentions. As an experienced hypnotherapist, my 'diet and lose weight' hypnotherapy courses have helped many patients turn their failed plans into successful and long-term changes. Consult your GP when setting any goals to diet and lose weight to ensure that you are in good health to cope with these changes. This is a synopsis of where those hypnotherapy patients go wrong.
How to diet and lose weight problem: changes are too drasticWhen inflated plans to diet and lose weight collapse before they have really taken off, consider that severe changes can be too stressful for the mind and body to accommodate. A sudden, rapid drop in calories can leave you feeling lethargic, disrupting your day to day functioning. You can get away with infrequent snacking particularly if you want to squeeze into a dress for a special occasion for a short period. But once the occasion is over, if you haven’t planned this drastic drop in calories in advance, you are unlikely to keep this routine going for long enough without being malnourished and feeling lifeless. Planning what you will eat for that month before the special occasion could be enough to ensure that you diet and lose weight, and remain healthy during that period of routine change. Calorie count what you are eating. Aim for 500 calories less than your daily average per day to lose 1 pound per week. This is considered a healthy weight loss plan. Keep food varied in type and colour (fruit, vegetables, pulses etc) to ensure optimum health. Keep a watchful eye on those portion sizes – you’ll be surprised how quickly the calories add up. For my hypnotherapy patients who want to diet and lose weight and are seeking help late in the day, I help them to visualise a shrinking stomach combined with a feeling a fullness. I also use suggestions for a healthy diet and calorie count to maintain optimum health. I then use a follow-up hypnotherapy consultation after the “big day” to return any changes back to a sustainable level. How to diet and lose weight solution: Make small changes
How to diet and lose weight problem: Expectations are unrealisticGoals to diet and lose weight are doomed when the expectations are set too high. Typically, when I see my hypnotherapy patient in this “mode”, they want to imitate a celebrity who has boasted some weight loss figures, but ignores (or the report has not included) other essential issues. “They lost that weight, so can I...right NOW” is their desperate model of approach. Their urgency is so great that they will jump on the weighing scales after every meal and remove an extra item of clothing if there hasn’t been a positive change since the last weigh-in. Does this sound familiar? In many ways, being unrealistic accompanies the earlier point: the changes are too drastic. When your goals to diet and lose weight are this reckless, you will fail because the numbers on the scales direct your mood – weight has gone down and you feel on top of the world; weight has gone up and it’s time to throw the towel in. Unfortunately, no framework or method is considered in this model because the goal is the “method”. The scheme is too ambitious from the outset.
In my 'diet and lose weight' hypnotherapy courses, patience and long-term lifestyle changes are built into the programme so that realistic changes can feel lived (habituated). Your mind is taken through the process repeatedly in the hypnotherapy consultation so that it feels as if your goals to diet and lose weight have already been achieved, rather than something you are trying to set up from scratch. Using this approach, realistic eating plans feel natural and achievable.
How to diet and lose weight solution: Make realistic goals
How to diet and lose weight problem: Goals are too strictA regime to diet and lose weight that is too strict, is likely to fail because the individual can feel deprived. Deprivation is a strong emotion that causes the patient to lose control of their eating patterns. When you ignore the importance of this issue, it can re-surface as bingeing. If this issue is at the centre of your over-eating and weight gain, hypnotherapy can help you in many ways. When I identify that there is a background of “control issues”, I use suggestions that reset the 'diet and lose weight' belief system. This helps you to be “easier on yourself”, allowing for the odd treat as part of the plan. Hypnotherapy will then be used to break this association that food is your reward or your escape. This helps release you from the deprivation and binge cycle. Where you are vulnerable to a particular negative emotion e.g. worthlessness, the treatment plan is focused on building your self esteem, confronting and treating the “cause” and “effects” of your negative rituals from many different levels. How to diet and lose weight solution: Make your goals flexible
How to diet and lose weight problem: Goals involve skipping mealsIt can be tempting to skip meals as a conscious plan to diet and lose weight. When you have a hectic life, you may even justify it by saying that that there wasn’t time to eat. But the effect of skipping meals puts the body into “starvation” mode. In this state, the body slows down the key metabolic and digestive processes to conserve energy. The next time you eat, the starvation mode causes you to burn fewer calories and thus hinders weight loss. Skipping meals can cause immediate health risks because there is a lack of available carbohydrates. Symptoms of dizziness can occur because the body is trying to maintain blood-glucose levels. You may even feel faint if you participate in any intensive physical activity. When you do eat, there is a surge of insulin to cope with meal that is usually calorie-laden. With pro-longed meal skipping, these persistent patterns could develop into diabetes. Another key feature of skipping meals is that intense feelings of hunger can take over at a later stage in the day, resulting in a food binge that still doesn’t give any feeling of satisfaction. When you have eaten, you still crave more food. Potentially, you are condensing the calories from two or more meals into one and still feel like you could eat some more food. So your total intake of calories may be the same, but just eaten later in the day and in one sitting. Keep eating regularly to maintain your metabolic rate and optimum health via nutrition from your food. When your eating patterns are rehearsed in this way, you will find that the meals are effortlessly eaten on a regular basis. When making a change in your life, your priorities also need to be re-evaluated. In my 'diet and lose weight' hypnotherapy consultation, suggestions are used for optimum health to ensure that you make time to eat and eat regularly. How to diet and lose weight solution: Eat regularly
How to diet and lose weight problem: Goals ignore wider issuesOther wider issues can be called lifestyle issues. One lifestyle issue is the subject of exercise. Before participating in any form of physical activity or exercise, check with your GP that you have no medical conditions that could contra-indicate the exercise. Most people can participate in some form of moderate, low impact activity e.g. brisk walking. When considering the equation: eating fewer calories + burning more calories = weight loss, what calories you put into your body is certainly the bigger part of the equation and for many, the easiest part to control. The 500 fewer calories from your diet is roughly equivalent to 90 minutes of walking throughout your day. This may seem like a mountain, but is easily achieved with short walks, domestic work, gardening etc. So keep moving as a way of helping the second part of the equation, but be realistic about the part exercise plays in weight loss alone. There is only so much exercise you can do before other parts of your life become neglected. There are so many other health benefits from exercising e.g. reduction in affects of stress, boosting levels of serotonin to lift depression and lowering the potential for developing Type 2 diabetes etc. When you are exercising, you can find that you deal with life in a more positive way. Exercise can have indirect emotional benefits to your diet and lose weight strategies such as helping you to feel more determined. It can help to build mental stamina. Sleep is another lifestyle issue important for total health and well-being. When you are suffering with insomnia and regularly have less than six hours sleep, the production of certain hormones can be disrupted, changing your appetite awareness. When you lack sleep, leptin levels are suppressed which means you don’t feel as satisfied after you eat a meal. Ghrelin levels are also increased which means your appetite is stimulated, increasing your drive to eat more food. In my 'diet and lose weight' hypnotherapy consultations, wider lifestyle issues are discussed to ensure that you are aware of what “unknowns” could be affecting your ability to diet and lose weight. Any additional issues are treated so that you remain focused on the most essential features to diet and lose weight. How to diet and lose weight solution: Make healthy lifetyle changes
How to diet and lose weight with hypnotherapy“Knowing” what is required to diet and lose weight is very different from being “emotionally focused” on achieving those goals. Stress and emotional issues connected with food and eating patterns can lead someone down a very different path from their intentions. If these issues aren’t dealt with in a way that helps you to release these emotional connections, they will cause you to give in early. In my 'diet and lose weight' hypnotherapy courses, your treatment is personalised so that your motivation and emotional obstacles are taken into account. When it feels like eating food is a reaction to some underlying issue, a more thorough treatment plan like hypnotherapy is needed to help you diet and lose weight. There are so many benefits from hypnotherapy, it can be used to initiate your diet and lose weight plans and support you through a special occasion such as a wedding. More information on weight loss tips 1 and weight loss tips 2.
For further information on how to diet and lose weight in Cardiff, contact Hypnotherapy Cardiff
Insomnia & Sleep ProblemsWhen your insomnia and sleep problems are taking over your life, contact Clinical Hypnotherapy Cardiff to treat your nocturnal awakening and the issues that are causing it. Below are a series of articles on insomnia & sleep problems that can help you understand the nature of your insomnia. For more help, contact Richard J D'Souza to resolve all aspects of your sleeplessness. Insomnia: Using Hypnotherapy to treat insomnia & sleep problems Insomnia: Relax in your day to help treat your insomnia Insomnia: Resolve your anxieties with visualisation Insomnia: Treat your Insomnia by taking "sleep" to bed with you Insomnia: Learn self-hypnosis to help you sleep Insomnia: Getting to sleep Insomnia: Waking up in the night Insomnia: Restless sleep
Insomnia: Using Hypnotherapy to treat insomnia & sleep problemsHow important is a good night's sleep? Sleep is crucial for your health, your vitality and the maintenance of essential physiological and psychological processes. Various studies have demonstrated the part sleep plays in affecting cardio-vascular functioning, immunity, concentration and retention etc. Modern day living tends to run at a hectic pace and the quality of sleep is suffering. If you suffer with insomnia, you have lost your natural sleeping routine. You enter a negative cycle of anxiety just thinking about going to sleep. You generate physical tension in bed, tossing and turning, stressing about how you will manage the next day. Your approach to sleeping has become a desperate situation. And when expectation is taking you to your insomnia, hypnotherapy can be an efficient way of teaching you how to transform your sleeping patterns. Hypnotherapy can introduce helpful relaxation techniques to stop your negative sleep ritual. Relaxation has important links with good sleep patterns. It is the "pathway" into deeper sleep. Relaxation is also an essential time for when your mind resolves problems. When life is tempered with relaxation, it can release your mind from dealing with problems at night, allowing you to focus on sleep. It can ease your insomnia. Relaxation can take many forms. Have you ever observed that when you are doing "simplistic" tasks, some of your worries "surge up" into your awareness as if wanting to be processed? Driving on a frequent journey is a good example. Your mind can slip into day-dreaming mode, problem-solving your working day ahead whilst driving. When you arrive you have almost forgotten the journey that you have just made. Because you are familiar with the journey, your mind doesn't have to give it your full concentration. This process can also occur when you are sat "watching" television (but not really bothering to take in any information). You are aware that you have switched-off, dealing with a more important issue. Your "problem-solving" mind is letting you know that something essential needs to be dealt with. Without having the time to resolve these issues earlier in the day, these worries and anxieties will accumulate, waiting to be resolved the next time you begin to relax. Without relaxation earlier in your day, that next situation will be at an inconvenient moment - when you are trying to get to sleep! So rather than ignoring this "problem-solving" request and causing it to build-up, use opportunities earlier in the day to manage your issues and then off-load them. Avoid "saving" it for bedtime to treat your insomnia! Sometimes when you are extremely tired, you can override the effort of "getting" to sleep. Your exhaustion helps you drift off the moment your head hits the pillow. But the worries that are still lingering in your mind, worm their way into your dreams and develop a restless sleep pattern. Your unconscious mind is attempting to resolve these issues through your dreams but with the "dream director" completely limitless. These intense dreams can be specifically related to your anxiety, as if regenerating the whole situation. The dream can also be 'indirectly' related to the issue, but has the common association of tension (heart racing, breathlessness, feeling of edginess etc.) Classic dreams of this type are the ones where you are being hunted. Unfortunately, the consequence of building up tension is that it wakes you up. Sometimes you can wake feeling panicky! Having woken up, you are now lying there in the early hours with the after-effects of the dreamed problem. The remaining physical tension is lingering in your body. The stress you have generated means that you don't have the natural tiredness responses as you did when you first went to sleep. The issues are tossed around until the alarm goes off. It is hardly surprising that you feel shattered by the morning and for the remains of the day. So it's vital to use fatigue as a useful signal and cancel its effect with relaxation. This will prevent the negative sleep pattern from taking over you. Try soaking in a bath before bedtime as a gentle wind-down. Use self-hypnosis breathing techniques to calm your mind and treat your insomnia. Some adverse sleep patterns can be quite ingrained. If you have a long history of insomnia, you would benefit from a course of regression hypnotherapy to help change the significance of your past traumas. This would benefit you because so much of your current behaviour is based on past association. Traumas that you experienced in your childhood can have a lasting impression on your present life. It can be transferred into your adult life and still affect your adult sleeping rituals. Past traumas such as hearing your parents arguing at night, can become integrated into night time feelings of anxiety. These contravening (unconscious) emotions can resurface when (as the adult) you have a row with your partner and have an over-powering feeling of tension. Your sleep is disturbed and you feel agitated. You are more likely to retaliate at your partner and once again, you have (indirectly) entered your cycle of insomnia. In this deep-rooted situation, the negative reactions have re-emerged even though the argument is insignificant. Regardless of knowing your history, much of the emotion is still repressed. Hypnotherapy can help dispense with the emotion held in these past traumas. Hypnotherapy can also impart new relaxation breathing techniques so that you can renew your positive sleeping pattern. Hypnotherapy can be a very beneficial treatment for your insomnia. It can refresh your sleep ritual and alter the conflicting negative cycle that your mind has now adopted. Hypnotherapy can teach you how to relax and change your belief system associated with recurrent insomnia. In a course a treatment, hypnotherapy will also help you to revise the meaning of your anxieties, both distant past and present. As a benefit, it changes your beliefs and what you expect from your sleep ritual. From the hypnotherapy perspective, it is so essential to believe that you can access a good night's sleep! Use hypnotherapy as a dependable solution for your insomnia.
Insomnia: Relax in your day to help treat your insomniaAs a practising hypnotherapist, I find that insomnia has a common link with anxiety. Hypnotherapy patients who pursue help for other conditions are usually troubled by some minor sleep-related issue. It's fair to assert that when you are sleeping well, you are also managing your anxiety. Hypnotherapy offers several suggestions to cope with your insomnia. If your current sleeping habit is disrupted, it's worth putting some of those changes into practise. When I am treating my insomnia patient with hypnotherapy, here is one significant change that I like to discuss with them. It also accompanies many other anxiety-related issues treated with hypnotherapy. It focuses on a holistic part of lifestyle management and ill-health prevention: the need to have relaxation in your day. When life is comfortable, it's easy to take it for granted. Feeling irritated when modern-day technological gadgets go wrong are examples of how you can mistakenly expect things to be there for you just when you want it. A worthy night's sleep is another one of those taken-for-granted expectations. When you were a young child, "just shutting your eyes" would have been the method to get to sleep. If it just happened that way, you can praise your parents for having established a good sleeping habit that benefitted both you and them. Consider that parents are teachers of subtle hypnotherapy. Now as adults, when insomnia is disrupting your night routine, it is essential to actively make some changes. Use some new strategies that can change your insomnia into an effortless sleeping routine once again. When I consult with my new hypnotherapy patient, I ask a few questions about their relaxation patterns. Relaxation is the platform into your comfortable night's sleep. Your sleep needs relaxation to ease into unconsciousness. Relaxation is also an important time for your mind to solve problems. By giving your mind the opportunity to process these worries earlier in the day, it allows your mind to be free to drift into sleep at night without distraction. An action-packed day filled with unfinished issues accumulates this build-up of anxiety in your mind. These worries rise up into your awareness the next time you "have" to relax. Without earlier relaxation, that moment will be when you are trying to sleep. You've probably observed this phenomenon when you have day-dreamed whilst doing something menial or something that doesn't require too much concentration (a subtle form of self-hypnosis). An example is when you do some routine administration like photocopying. Your mind detaches from the process because once it is up and running, the photocopying takes care of itself. Your mind then reviews its own priorities. There is a moment of internal focus to establish the most significant issue. This is prioritised according to your personal value system; what you want or what has the biggest (emotional) consequence if left undone. If you have restful sleep, then you have probably developed a (now unconscious) process to release your anxieties through your dreams. It's as if your "dream director" is activated to resolve these issues for you. You make "therapeutic dream movies" that ease your negative emotions. You wake up feeling refreshed and your problems have been dealt with (in your mind at least). This is something that can also be achieved using hypnotherapy. When your lifestyle is hectic, you are dependent on the "exhaustion response" to trip your "sleep switch" the moment your head hits the pillow. In the short-term, this is unavoidable. In the long-term, unresolved stress can create your nights of restlessness that cause you to keep waking up. Or you "jump up" in the early hours following an intense dream, unable to fall back to sleep. This is a regular occurrence for insomniacs. But either way, you are not in control of your night's sleep. Stress and anxiety is ruling your sleep and waking responses. When morning arrives, the outcome is still the same; you feel shattered. Use relaxation in your day as a way of releasing that accumulation of anxiety and physical tension. Relaxation can ease the burden off your sleep ritual, helping you to focus on your "getting" to sleep. Relaxation can be an effective way of preventing insomnia. Sleep will feel more refreshing, helping you to cope with your day's agenda. Get involved in some new hobbies or easy-going activities as part of a new routine. Relax in the bath before bedtime or listen to some calming music. Chat to a few friends who are good listeners earlier in the day, to help process some of your anxiety. You can return the good deed at a later point. Any daytime physical activity e.g. brisk walking is a fantastic way of easing your build of physical tension. Using self-hypnosis breathing techniques would be an even more efficient method of helping your anxiety. This is something that would be integrated into a course of hypnotherapy for insomnia.
Insomnia: Resolve your anxieties with visualisationIn my hypnotherapy practice, I meet many patients suffering with insomnia or some mild sleep-related issue. When they enter a course of hypnotherapy, an insomnia patient will have attempted a number different sleep tips. Some of those sleep methods have a scientific basis; others are desperate attempts to alter the feeling of hopelessness. Insomnia has a solid association with anxiety and depression. The relationship is often two-way; those who suffer with anxiety and depression also suffer with insomnia or some sleep-related problem. Hypnotherapy offers a number of techniques to treat insomnia. Hypnotherapy does more than just introduce a form of relaxation. If you suffer with insomnia and you want a better night's sleep, then your mind can benefit by using visualisation to release those anxieties earlier in the day. This is one part of treating insomnia with hypnotherapy. Relaxation is like clearing an opening for you mind; it is now free to create a schedule of activity. But worries can act as an obstacle to that process, burdening you when you want to focus on something specific. Anxieties immediately fill that void in your mind, unless you have something intense enough to think about. You are probably aware of this mind phenomenon. Consider when you are doing something routine like travelling on public transport. Important issues float up into your mind wanting to be dealt with. Even when you keep active to avoid dealing with those worries, they can worm their way in to your awareness somehow. Instead of busying yourself as a way of managing this natural process, it is far more effective to deal with your worries and then put them on your mind's "shelf". It doesn't mean that these issues are complete; your mind can just feel more comfortable about them. Resolving your anxieties is about approaching the worries from another angle e.g. try imagining yourself stepping out of your stressful situation and viewing it at a cinema screen. With this detachment (or dissociation, a common technique used in hypnotherapy), visualise yourself handling it in a more relaxed and confident way. Or if your want to be in charge of the scene, imagine you are the director changing the scene to your advantage. "Role-modelling" can be another way of dealing with the situation from a different perspective. Do you know somebody who acts as a good example for their effective approach to problem-solving? Consider how they would react to your situation if they were placed in that same scene. After they have dealt with it, rewind the scene. Then imagine "teleporting" into their body, behaving as they would and copying their approach. Whilst "inside" them, transfer these positive resources back into you, so that you now own the resources. Replay your situation in your mind, "being" the confident person. If some worries have been lying dormant in your mind for what seems like an eternity, then maybe the answer is to internalise emotional change. Some events can't be 'physically' resolved, so amending your response to them can be your mind's release. A long-term medical condition for example requires an emotional adjustment to the physical effect it will have on your life. In this situation, easing the problem is about embracing the desired emotion e.g. being more at peace with it. Practise visualising what this positive change would alter in your life. It can be useful hearing other (courageous) stories from those who are also in a similar situation. Another hypnotherapy visualisation technique is to place an image of yourself on a historical "time-travelling line". You are standing here in the "present". To your right is your future existence and to your left is your past existence. Imagine that future situation when you have achieved this change (or when the problem has been solved). Consider the experiential world all around you: what you would see, hear, and feel etc. Contemplate what you would now believe and what you would talk about in this future situation. Aim to be realistic with this new change! An on-going medical condition won't disappear by the morning! Your solution might be that you're coping with your "new" situation more confidently. In other instances the chosen state could be calmness, worthiness or forgiveness. Now visualise taking a gigantic leap into that wanted state and embrace this change. Role-play some situations (in your mind) to establish how you are managing in this new existence. Then look back on your time-travelling line and evaluate the steps you took that encouraged your progress. Keep imagining it and "hold" the experience in your mind. Now slide the "future reality" into the present and embrace it as if it is yours! Aim to practise these "day-dreams" in your daytime; so that if the anxiety presents itself when you want to go to sleep, you can discharge it with your new "solution". These visualisations can reduce the build-up of your anxieties even if your predicament still exists in reality. How you manage a situation affects how you cope with it. Resolving your anxieties in your daytime is an important part of treating your sleep-related issue. Sometimes the problem is ingrained and a course of hypnotherapy is required to help you deal it. With stress and anxiety, the problem and the solution both exist in your mind. When you anxieties can be dealt with in this way, your mind can be distanced from the heart of the problem. You can then focus your efforts on your developing an effective sleep ritual.
Insomnia: Treat your Insomnia by taking "sleep" to bed with youIn my hypnotherapy practice, I treat many patients who suffer with insomnia. By the time the insomnia sufferer enters their course of hypnotherapy, they have cornered themselves into a cycle of anxiety and hopelessness. The insomnia patient is desperate to break their deficient night ritual, but what really needs to be broken is their "desperation". A hypnotherapy treatment can be an effective way of investigating deeper aspects of dysfunctional behaviour. Hidden below the surface of your behaviour is your belief system. If you suffer with insomnia, your sleep patterns can be improved by exploring what antagonistic beliefs are keeping you awake. In my hypnotherapy consultation, I like to enquire about this issue by asking: "In your mind, what are you taking to bed with you?" The reply is usually absent. But for that brief moment, when you are considering your answer, you are scratching below the surface of your own psychological barrier to insomnia. Before you begin a course of hypnotherapy, you can help yourself by asking that same question. Give your mind some time to respond. Your worries and physical tension need to be discharged before you can be ready to drift off to sleep. What you "think" about will generate a physical effect in your body. For each negative emotion, you set up a physical template of tension. "Think" anxiety and you'll "create" anxiety that will keep you awake. Think relaxed thoughts and you'll create a calm physical state that makes it easier to sleep. If there is no medical condition that is setting up your insomnia, then using hypnotherapy to analyse your strategy for sleep would be a beneficial step. This article focuses on one important stage of treating insomnia with hypnotherapy; take your "relaxed mind" to bed with you rather than your "anxious-mind" and you will sleep more comfortably. When you're working extended hours with close deadlines, you can get into a ritual of taking the laptop into bed and switching it off just before you go to sleep. You can probably manage to get away with this as a temporary measure. But over a pro-longed period, you will teach your mind that exhaustion is the only "response" to get to sleep. You will then find that unfinished anxieties will cause you to wake through the night and you won't have those tiredness responses there to guide you back to sleep. So the objective here is to organise and preserve competent routines. But routines can be learned and "un-learned" with your changing values or changing situations. Moreover, routines don't always change straight away. Sometimes it's like turning the steering wheel on a huge vehicle. You want to make a quarter turn (i.e. sleep) right now, but there's a pause before you can be naturally aligned in your new direction. It takes time to change old habits. Hypnotherapy can help you change your habit that releases your insomnia. Hypnotherapy can also accelerate the learning of your new habit to get to sleep. Another issue with working late is that anything requiring a lot of concentration is usually stimulating for the mind. As the mind is aroused, it will release chemicals into the body, placing you on alert. So working late on a project will damage your sleep ritual. At least half an hour is required for your body to process those chemicals and calm down from that intense concentration. This means being industrious with your time so that you can arrange the next day's work schedule much earlier, the evening before. Establish that you are not going to bed to solve problems – you are going to bed to sleep! One (debatable) ineffective insomnia strategy is keeping essentials next to your bed. In my opinion, they merely encourage your mind to be placed on standby. Essentials can include your mobile phone and a notepad to capture those bright ideas. If you want to break your insomnia cycle, move them away from your bed! It's not too difficult to consider how the notepad will have found its way there. In the absence of earlier relaxation, your mind will have unexpectedly found the answer to an important question during the middle of the night. You turned over and thought "I really mustn't forget that!" In the morning you were left pondering "what was that solution?" Your frustration would have then motivated you to put the notepad next to your bed, just in case you have another "light bulb" moment. However, believe that when you have enough relaxation in your day, those "light bulb" moments will pop into your awareness several times during the day too. You are more likely to act on them, so they don't stand out in your mind as much. Follow this and you won't need the bedside essentials, or the reaction to be on the alert at night. In you effort to diminish your insomnia, recognise that it takes a huge step to make your sleep and your well-being a priority. In the long-term, keeping healthy will mean fewer days absence from work anyway. Your overall insomnia strategy can involve use calming activities like reading to wind down. Relaxing in the bath is a good opportunity to practise self-hypnosis breathing techniques. Hypnotherapy suggestions from this article would be created to help your pathway into deep, more comfortable sleep. By recognising your psychological approach, you can learn how to take "sleep" to bed with you.
Insomnia: Learn self-hypnosis to help you sleepIn my hypnotherapy practice, I regularly meet patients suffering with sleep-related problems. It's reasonable to consider that their insomnia is linked to their anxiety and physical tension. At the beginning of the hypnotherapy course, their sleep ritual is drowned by frustration. The insomnia patient is being dictated by a night of misery that obstructs their mind. As a result, they create even more tension that further submerges any efforts to get to sleep. There are numerous ways to treat this insomnia. During my hypnotherapy consultation, I teach my insomnia sufferer self-hypnosis and breathing techniques to take them out of their negative cycle and focus them in the direction of a new sleep ritual. When a goal is constructed in a positive way, your mind is efficient at directing you towards the achievement of that goal e.g. "I want to create a deep state of calmness that will help me to sleep peacefully tonight". However, the mind fails miserably to focus away from negatively constructed goals. Try "not" to imagine a blue sheep and your mind struggles with this concept. You think of the blue sheep and then your mind focuses on something else. As the insomnia patient who is stuck in your negative cycle, you are driving yourself to your unconscious negative goal. Your typical approach will be "I am cringing just thinking about going to bed for yet another night of restlessness!" So your mind creates an image of you lying in bed, wide awake and is very likely to achieve that negative unwanted state. How a goal is phrased also plays a part in its outcome. For the insomnia patient (and most general anxiety patients), you are making matters worse by using "anxious" language patterns e.g. must, should, have to, got to etc. Telling yourself that you've just "got to get to sleep tonight" is another way of taking tension to bed with you. Understandably, when a goal is phrased using this pattern of language, it reflects the desperation of the sufferer. Despair (and any negative emotion) however, generates the common stress responses and physical tension that harms your attempts to sleep. Your mind is very sensitive to what you are instructing it to do. So the insomnia patient is setting up another frustrating night of sleeplessness without realising they are "fuelling the fire". Want, can, will, going to etc. are confident ways of structuring your language. This will help align your mind towards your desired state. Having recognised these adverse internal language patterns, you can then consider what methods will have the positive effect of helping you with your sleep ritual. Simply lying in your bed, waiting for your luck to turn, won't help you control your sleep. Self-hypnosis is a technique that is comparable to other disciplines that use focused thinking e.g. meditation, yoga etc. Essentially, self-hypnosis or self-guided hypnotherapy uses three stages:
- Relaxed breathing techniques
- Muscular relaxation and
Insomnia: Getting to sleepWhen a medical condition is affecting your life, some of the symptoms can creep up on you. You are innocently dragged along by your predicament. Before starting a course of hypnotherapy, it is important to identify whether your insomnia has a medical cause:
- Medical conditions – Cardiovascular conditions can make it challenging to get comfortable and control your breathing when in a lying position. Similarly, joint (arthritic) conditions can be painful when lying down.
- Medication – Some prescribed drugs can have a stimulating effect on the mind.
- Eating or drinking late – Problems with heartburn and reflux can be a symptom of eating late meals within an hour of going to bed. Drinking caffeine e.g. coffee or certain fizzy drinks at night can keep you awake.
- Late and extended napping – Dozing in the evening can upset your internal body clock. It can alter your natural tiredness responses that your mind would use to help you to go to sleep.
- Exercising late at night – When you exercise late in the evening, you produce Cortisol. This also has a stimulating effect on the mind and body.
- Working/studying late or doing shift work – Anything that requires intense concentration just before going to bed can put the mind on the alert. Working shift patterns e.g. days and nights can upset your body's natural internal clock.
- Anxiety and stress – Stress also produces the chemical Cortisol. Taking your anxieties to bed generates physical tension for your body. This makes it more difficult for your mind to use natural relaxation responses when you go to sleep.
- Frequent changes to your bedroom – Retaining an amount of familiarity helps your mind to feel secure. Repeated changes to your bedroom can agitate your mind at night. Noise from neighbours or a partner that snores in bed can distract your own sleeping habits.
Insomnia: Waking up in the nightA positive sleeping habit is important for your health and general wellness. When you're deprived of your sleep, you can experience tiredness, irritability and poor alertness. As an experienced registered hypnotherapist, I see several patients with some degree of insomnia. This can be the case even when it isn't their main therapeutic purpose. At the beginning of a hypnotherapy course, some questions into my patient's general lifestyle usually show that they are also having disrupted sleep patterns. Insomnia can be a symptom of anxiety and when your life is distressing; your sleep routine can be unbalanced. There are several kinds of insomnia. Some insomnia sufferers have problems going to sleep and others have intense dreams. Nocturnal awakening is the term used to describe irregular waking through the night. It is also used to characterise early waking with the inability to return back to sleep. This article deals with nocturnal awakening and how hypnotherapy can be used to treat it. Nocturnal awakening can be caused by a variety of ways:
- Anxiety about being awake – Having woken from your sleep, worrying about this only makes it more difficult to go back to sleep again. 'Sleep anxiety' can then further disrupt your insomnia.
- Anxiety and depression – Any anxieties that you battle with in bed can leak into your dreams. Anxiety produces cortisol, a chemical that places your mind and body on the high alert.
- Medical conditions – Certain medical states can interfere with your sleep at night including heart, lung and arthritic conditions. Pain awareness can make it more of an effort to go back to sleep.
- Medication – Some medication can have a stimulating affect on your mind. If you have made the recent choice to withdraw from your sleeping tablets, your body needs time to adjust to the chemical changes.
- Alcohol - Drinking alcohol at night can alter the natural cycle of your REM sleep causing you to wake up early. Once you have woken up, you don't have the sedating influence of the alcohol to get you back to sleep (unless you drink more!)