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Tips For Kicking Those Bad Habits That Are Damaging Your Health

Most people go through life eating, working, socialising, without thinking much certain about how their actions affect their bodies. We may notice the effects our bad habits are having when we feel under the weather or have problems sleeping; but while we can make some connections between physical symptoms and our habits we are unaware of the real damage to our health and what to do about it.

Read on to see whether you recognise any of the problems and symptoms of these common things that can result in bad habits.

  1. Diet

By eating a healthy diet, you can have a good effect on your body, brain and keep your weight under control. If you are eating a diet low in nutrients or foods that are bad for your body this can have long-term effects on your brain.

When you actively eat foods that damage your health, long-term your brain becomes exposed to cellular inflammation and this damages some cells that can cause development of diseases like Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Also food containing sugars and saturated fats like burgers, cakes and french fries can have detrimental effects on your brain. To stop this, you can start eating healthy foods: fruits, whole grains, fish and vegetables which are rich in antioxidants and these will fight damaging effects of inflammation.

  1. Stress

Stress and anxiety such as relationship issues, work commitments, family problems and financial issues can cause you to develop habits that can damage your health. Some stress is good when working hard towards your goals, but excess stress can lead you to eat too much of the bad foods. Stress can trigger a sympathetic nervous response that makes your breathing quicken and heart breath faster releasing cortisol.

After you calm down your parasympathetic nervous response kicks in which leads to you to relax. Chronic stress can make you forget things and be more anxious and perform badly at work. You may revert to bad habits like smoking, overeating or drinking too much. When you feel tense and anxious there are deep relaxation techniques, yoga, mindfulness, meditation and visualisation techniques that can help you get in control of the overwhelm.

  1. Exercise

An active lifestyle can help you not only stay physically fit but also keeping organs like your heart and lungs functioning better and maintaining your optimal weight. Exercise can also help keep you mentally acute and helps your cognitive health too. Movement improves physical and mental health, releases endorphins and keeps you looking young and healthy.

Even just walking for about 20 minutes a day is positive for your brain and can improve your cognitive brain functioning. It will mean making better decisions with your food habits, help you keep focused despite the many distractions around and help with conflicts that may arise.

  1. Sleep

Sleep can also enhance your health and well being. If you struggle with your sleep patterns, you will wake up irritable, tired and not able to concentrate on your work or at your studies. Lack of sleep can interfere with your brain function and you may resort to bad habits, such as eating junk foods to give you energy to work.

If you know that you struggle with sleep then aim to eat healthy foods in the evening – not chocolate or biscuits at night – also avoid caffeine or drinking alcohol before you go to bed.

  1. Willpower

Define the goals and set a time limit that is realistic with what you want to achieve by kicking the bad habits. It can be hard and emotional, but persistence will make you succeed.

If you can acknowledge your bad habits, take active steps with commitment and tailor your attitudes to match them, you will make positive changes to the bad habits that can damage your health.

If you would like help removing bad habits from your life, book a free 30 minute consultation with me to see how clinical hypnosis and cognitive behaviour therapy can help.

Kick Those Bad Habits With These Techniques!

Try a few of these techniques:

  • Recognise what your bad habits are and the reasons for doing the things that you regret later. Are they stress related or are you bored? Do they occur when you are doing a routine or do they occur in certain situations? Understand what your rewards for your vices are, what your triggers are and why your bad habits show up.
  • Replace the habit with a positive habit like replacing junk foods with starting a new exercise class. This will take up less of your mental energy rather than cutting the bad habit out of your life. Willpower is a finite resource, so make it easy by distracting yourself with healthier habits.
  • Don’t try to stop or contain your thoughts. If you are saying in your mind that you should eat that cake then all you will think of is that cake. So take away the temptations and surround yourself with healthy snacks.
  • Change your environment or routines that are related to the bad habits. If you stop to buy a chocolate bar on the way to work, go a different way to avoid passing the shop. If you want a cigarette when you go out with friends, cut down on socialising for a short time to give yourself the best chance of quitting.

Kicking bad habits takes a certain amount of willpower and a good understanding of how your mind works. You need to work with these mental patterns rather than fighting against them.

If you find it hard to make long-term changes to your bad habits, attitudes or behaviours clinical hypnosis with cognitive behaviour therapy can help. It can identify the issues and triggers that cause your bad habits, and make healthier suggestions that will help you improve your health and wellbeing.

Contact me for a chat about your individual situation – click here.

Quit Smoking With These Self-Hypnosis Tips

Whether No Smoking Day (8th March 2017) is the reason you want to quit smoking, or if you’ve just decided that now is the right time to stop smoking for good, finding the right smoking cessation method can be difficult.

Patches, gum, nicotine replacements and other methods can be successful for some people, but not for everyone. However, self-hypnosis is a great option – whether used alone or in combination with another smoking cessation method.

In this post, I share why self-hypnosis is so successful, and also tips for practising it at home.

How Does Hypnosis For Smoking Cessation Work?

Most people believe that hypnosis is like stage hypnosis, it will make you ‘cluck like a chicken’ or ‘dance around the room’; but hypnosis is an evidence-based method and does not make you fall asleep or do things against your will. During a hypnosis session, you will relax through visualisation and deep breathing exercises, and the hypnotherapist will guide you through the whole process. You will receive a piece a music that helps with the relaxation or a hypnosis CD. Suggestions given during the hypnosis session will help you change your feelings and thoughts; and the behaviour that follows. It will help you focus on your stop smoking goals by accepting the suggestions and preparing you for success.

Self-hypnosis can help you to concentrate and focus on your end goal to stop smoking for good by changing your habits and behaviours.

If you have found it difficult to gain control over your smoking habit in the past and respond well to suggestions, self-hypnosis will work well for you. Hypnosis relies on your belief that you can quit and you are ready to make the changes that is needed to quit. Your commitment to quit smoking and self-hypnosis will help you succeed with your goal.

The following self-hypnosis tips are best used after having had a professional hypnosis for smoking cessation session. If you would like to discuss your goals to stop smoking with me, please book a free 30 minute consultation here.

10 Self-Hypnosis Tips To Stop Smoking

  1. Practice self-hypnosis by finding a quiet place free from social media, mobile phones, or other distractions. Wear comfy clothes and schedule your time so you are not rushing through this process.
  2. Sit down on a comfortable couch and relax and take deep calm breaths. Try not to fall asleep just gently enter the deep hypnotic state.
  3. Self-hypnosis suggestions are given that are indirect statements such as ‘Smoking is bad for my health and I want to not put harmful substances into my body anymore’.
  4. Take deep breaths (in through your nose and out through your mouth) and focus on a specific spot in the room.
  5. Relax and close your eyes and ‘let your body go’ or settle deep into the couch, feeling heavy and loose.
  6. Allow your attention to focus on your in-breath and out-breath. Simply take calm breaths and if your concentration wanders bring it back to your deep relaxing breathing.
  7. Remember and repeat positive affirmations and keep them real so they are not too far from what you would normally say to yourself.
  8. Use a soft and soothing tone in your voice and don’t get frustrated as it might take a little while to practice and teach your body to relax and let go. For example: ‘I will not damage my body anymore and I respect myself’ should be said in the present not past tense and saying things that are happening for you at this moment.
  9. Once you have finished with the affirmations, feel that you are returning to the present and count from 1-5 and stretch and slowly open your eyes, return to the present.
  10. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time for this to work as self-hypnosis is not the same as being present in a session with a clinical hypnotherapist. Keep motivated and keep up with your practice daily and you will succeed.

Some people can quit after one session with the clinical hypnotherapist while for others it can take six sessions for this to work. Every person has their own unique way that therapy works for them. By practising self-hypnosis techniques you will be effective in gaining control of this habit that had plagued you for a long time. Keep your mind busy when you feel the strong urge to smoke, also eat healthy meals and drink plenty of water. Find an exercise class or an activity that you can keep busy with and try to avoid alcoholic drinks that may make you go back to smoking again.

Self-hypnosis can be difficult to master and does not work for everyone, which is why a session with a clinical hypnotherapist can help you get started. The therapist may be able to uncover other underlying issues that are affecting your ability to stop smoking, for example, stress and anxiety.

Quitting smoking with self-hypnosis as a stand-alone or as an adjunct therapy is an effective way to stop smoking. Self-hypnosis will help you to keep reinforcing the suggestions given in the sessions especially on the days that you feel the urge to smoke a cigarette. Remember that smoking is not a physical habit or behaviour, it is a mental problem and the way to achieve success with your quit smoking goal is through getting the help you need.

If you would like to discuss any of the above in more detail please get in touch with me. Call +44 (0)796 715 1790 or email astarandrea@gmail.com

Or you can get started straight away by booking your free 30-minute consultation below.

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Hypnosis For Personal Development: Is This What You Need?

Personal development is a lifelong process of working on our individual qualities, behaviours and feelings to help us achieve our goals and live the life we desire. For some of us this is an easy process but for others, it is difficult to find what is ‘missing’ in our lives. We may find it difficult to recognise the patterns of habits and behaviours that stop us from achieving our goals.

Many of us have self-destructive behaviours that undermine our ability to achieve our goals. They are learnt over time and are often associated with negative thoughts about ourselves. They may make us feel low and unmotivated, they may represent  that voice in your head saying, ‘I can’t do it.’

Personal development is important. It doesn’t have to be about progressing in your career or running a successful business; it can just as easily be about obtaining balance in your life, having healthy positive relationships, or having the strength to create a new life for yourself.

If you are struggling with personal development and want to break the cycle of negative thoughts that may be sabotaging your efforts, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and hypnosis is a great way to be focused and formulate your goals while changing negative thought patterns.

How Does CBT And Hypnosis Work?

Generally, we all believe that achieving success in life is difficult, and failure is easy. Our language confirms this belief – we strive for success, we climb mountains, we believe that achieving our goals is a challenge.

If we already have this belief when we embark on personal development, is it any wonder that it feels so easy to fail?

Of course, some things are difficult. Quitting smoking, losing weight, breaking habits and behaviours that have become embedded over time. Failure can also become a habit, those self-destructive thoughts that say, ‘I will never quit smoking because I’m addicted’ or ‘I will never lose weight because I comfort eat.’

Therefore before we even give ourselves a chance at success, our subconscious is already doing its best to make us fail.

So if you are serious about personal development, you need to break the habits that set you up for failure, recognise when those behaviours are sabotaging your plans, and then focus on positive and achievable goals that will help you view success as easy.

This is where CBT with hypnosis can be a powerful tool to help change the way you think, feel, and behave. It can help you understand when those past negative thoughts and patterns are affecting you NOW, and teach you how to get rid of these feelings and focus on positive thoughts instead.

CBT and clinical hypnosis are highly effective at with personal development in the following key areas:

  • Confidence building
  • Fears and phobias
  • Breaking bad habits
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Weight loss
  • Panic attacks and overcoming anxiety
  • Boosting self-confidence
  • Emotional upset
  • Relationship advice
  • Personal and career development
  • Goal setting and achievement

Clinical hypnosis programmes are tailored to suit the individual, their needs and goals, and the issues they are struggling with. It has been proven to help people remove the restraints that are holding them back and motivate them to find the success that they desire, and motivate them even further to live their life in a positive and constructive manner.

It is more than important in today’s world to learn more about yourself, know how your emotions work and manage them in everyday settings. Changeable times and rapid developing circumstances have created a cascade of emotional issues. There has been an increase in anxiety disorders, panic attacks, depression, anger issues and stress related problems. These emotional difficulties have made presenting psychological support and information the appropriate way very valuable.

Personal development is something all of us can embrace; just make sure that you provide yourself with the right conditions to make it a success.

If you would like to talk through your thoughts and feelings about personal development, book a free 30 minute consultation with me here.

How To Take Control Of Your Relationships

Having self-belief, confidence and healthy self-esteem will help you take control of your relationships. By focusing on the value you place on yourself – which is your self-belief – you will boost your self-confidence in your relationships with other people and build strong bonds with them.

The Importance Of Self-Esteem And Self-Belief

Your self-esteem is how to feel about yourself, your ‘positive regard’ and how much self-love you have. Your self-belief is influenced by how you think, feel and act. In other words, it comes from a sense of your beliefs about your identity and your stance in your world regardless of the expectations that you yourself or society puts on you.

Sometimes a woman’s self-esteem can be fragile. Women often compare themselves to other people and sometimes will change their behaviour to fit in accordingly. We live in a changeable world and many women feel they have to work really hard to fit into male-dominated environments. They feel they have to work hard to measure up.

Personal Relationships

A woman’s relationship with her partner can also be a vicious cycle, she may feel that she needs to conform her partner’s needs but this can lower her self-esteem and self-confidence. This also can weaken the bond she is trying to build with the partner. Instead of remaining true to her values and beliefs, she may focus on making her partner happy instead. And this distances her away from her own self-worth, self-belief and integrity, which lowers her self-confidence even more.

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself about your confidence in your relationship:

  1. What can I do to be my true self in my relationship without upsetting the apple cart?
  2. How can I do this without compromise and affecting my self-confidence?
  3. How does this low self-confidence and self-belief in myself affecting my relationship?

If you know that your self-belief, lack of confidence and self-esteem is damaging your relationships with other people, there is support available. Hypnosis is a powerful tool to address negative thoughts and behaviours and find the self-belief and confidence you need to take control of your relationships.

Contact me for a free consultation if you would like to discuss this in more detail.

The key to an honest and balanced relationship is for both remaining true to their own self-belief and integrity to build a strong and secure bond.

  1. Choose not to lose your self-belief and integrity. Take each day as it comes and takes baby steps to build your confidence and self-esteem.
  2. Gratitude can help build confidence. If you feel low and depressed your confidence will weaken as you don’t feel valuable to your relationship or society. Your worthiness is knowing who you are and believing it and plays an important role in our relationships. When you are grateful for what you have, your self-confidence builds as you feel your value and self-worth. In relationships, our self-worth plays a defining role and can be a key factor in the success or failure of the relationship. We feel confident and happy when we are in a balanced relationship and feel depressed or worthless when your relationship is not good.
  3. Avoid negative self-talk. Sometimes the negative voice in our heads can override the positive messages. They can come from past experiences – from being unable to meet expectations of parents, or previous relationships. Negative social pressure, illness or some trauma can also result in low self-esteem. Challenging the negative voice and listing to affirmations or messages that can influence you to believe in yourself. Your thoughts, feeling and beliefs can be replaced by positive messages.
  4. Projecting confidence even when you feel unconfident in situations. Sometimes it good to put on a brave face and face the challenges in front of you, you can then be strong for the next situation. Have the patience, face the fear and be kind to yourself, and then you can face the challenge you are scared of. By allowing yourself to be uncomfortable and not letting negative thoughts overtake you, you can boost your confidence.

Key areas you can change to boost your self-confidence:

  1. By identifying and understanding what areas of your life you are unhappy with and commit to change that.
  2. Positive thoughts and affirmations to build your feelings of self-worth.
  3. Read at least 20-30 minutes of articles or books to improve our mind. avoid the tendency to compare yourself to others as this will only develop into negative thoughts.
  4. Trust your instincts believe that you are a confident person
  5. A supportive environment with family and friends listening to issues you struggle with will keep you motivated.

Self-confidence is an amazing quality to have that this can help create and build a wonderful, passionate, equal and loving relationship.

Working with people to help them build lost self-confidence or boost their low self-esteem is a passion of mine so please contact me if you would like some help.

Never let obstacles get in the way of loving relationships and enjoying your incredible life.

How To Stick With Your New Year Resolutions In 2017

 

Did you make any New Year Resolutions this year? Lose weight, stop smoking, get a promotion or start your own business? Whatever your NY resolution is, you may now be feeling the pressure to start or stick with it…

You have tidied the house and all the Xmas decorations have been put away, but its end of January and you have not started using the gym membership or working through the things on your list. With February and March looming, you may feel like you’re struggling to keep up with the resolutions list, and it feels scary how far behind you are.

So did you make the right NY Resolution? If you made a life-changing resolution, a big plan to change direction or do something huge, it may be that the reason you’re now starting to panic is that you’ve taken too much on.

Setting small achievable goals, instead of a big goal that will overwhelm and frustrate you, can help you succeed in your personal life and business life. You also need to ensure that you have addressed those issues that could result in failure. For example, if you’ve tried to lose weight before, what went wrong and how can you improve your chances of success this time?

Often it comes down to confidence and self-belief. If these are already low it can be an uphill struggle to stick with and achieve your resolutions. Low self-confidence can sabotage your chances of success.

If this is an issue for you, consider addressing this first – hypnotherapy for confidence can help – and then with a boost to your self-belief you’ll be in much better shape to achieve those NY resolutions.

Tips For Sticking To Your New Year Resolutions

By taking small actionable steps and prioritising what is important to you, you will be more likely to stick with and succeed in your resolutions.

Here are some key points to remember to help you stick with your New Year resolutions:

  1. Setting out SMART goals Specific, Measurable Achievable Realistic and Timely goals, in the beginning, will set you up to understand what you are trying to achieve this year.
  2. If your goal is to getting on top of your finances, concentrate your motivation and energy on the most important aspect of the debt you have accumulated. In this manner, you will pay off a little of the money you owe at a time and have a strong sense of progress. This will motivate you to continue to keep playing and looking after your finances in a positive manner.
  3. Use whatever resources you have to help, for example – put your gym clothes ready when you wake up so you can immediately get some exercise before you start to make excuses about your exercise regime. Stay away from risky situations if you want to get fit and healthy don’t go to McDonald’s or go near fast foods or junk food. Put reminders in places where you are triggered to follow your healthy choices or behaviours like notes on the fridge, or on the bathroom mirror.
  4. Get organised! Don’t allow other tasks to stop you from achieving your goals – where possible automate them so they don’t distract you. Set out reminders to tasks that you have to do every few weeks time and look to see how you can prioritise some of them. Set out the actions you are going to take to achieve your next goal to keep going.
  5. Be flexible. If you have an all or nothing approach and fail at one of your steps it’s likely you will become disillusioned and not succeed in your overall goal. Instead, give yourself a break if you don’t meet every target, be flexible and realign your steps so you can move forward.
  6. Set yourself a reasonable time limit and if you are unable to keep up with it revisit your goal list and make changes so you can achieve the goals in small chunks.
  7. Don’t give up and keep trying. Create a balanced approach with baby steps that you can act on. Keep yourself motivated by being mindful of what you want and knowing the results you expect that will help you keep going.
  8. Get the support you need, having someone to talk to you will get a different point of view of how you are going to succeed with your goals. This will also help make you accountable and you might get different ideas in order to get results or solutions you desire. Asking and accepting help will strengthen your resolve and manage your anxiety and stress. Also seeking help from a coach or a mentor can help change unhealthy habits and behaviours and address issues you have suffered from in the past, procrastination or emotional issues.

Old habits and behaviours can be hard to change but they are often the key to successfully achieving your goals and resolutions. Once you understand why you respond to certain challenges or pressures in a particular way, it becomes easier to change your habits and behaviours.

Sometimes it can be as simple as changing the way you approach your resolution. Instead of saying, ‘I want to lose weight’ a resolution of ‘I’m going to eat more healthily’ can increase your chances of successfully losing the weight and keeping it off long-term.

Cognitive behaviour therapy with hypnosis is a highly effective way of identifying habits and behaviours that are sabotaging your chances of success, and then replace them with better responses that increase your motivation and drive.

If you’re struggling with your New Year Resolutions and would like to talk through ways of getting back on the programme, I offer a free 30-minute phone consultation for people in West Surrey / Hampshire. Book your appointment here.

Make Improving Your Self-Confidence Your Top New Year’s Resolution!

Every year we make New Years Resolutions and every year by the end January we fail to keep up with them. For your New Years Resolutions to work you need to develop healthy habits, positive thoughts and improve your self-confidence.

Self-confidence is the key to making other NY Resolutions stick.

With great self-confidence, we will believe that we can achieve our goals whether that’s to stop smoking, lose weight, find a new job or run a marathon. Therefore before you set yourself a challenge that could easily result in a relapse, let’s look at improving your self-confidence first.

Relapsing is when your brain defaults to what you do normally – habits and behaviours – and says “oh well, never mind”. Unfortunately, setbacks like this can result in negative feelings and depression. So instead of setting ourselves up for a fall, if we address those deep rooted behaviours and habits first we can build our self-confidence and increase our chances of success.

Self-Confidence Will Help You Achieve Your NY Resolutions

Creating new behaviours and habits to substitute the old ways of thinking will help you take control of your New Years Resolutions.


If you want to explore a therapy to help you boost your self-confidence, hypnotherapy for confidence is a highly effective way to change negative habits and behaviours and thereby increase your chances of achieving all kinds of goals and resolutions.


Here are some self-reflective tips that can give your self-confidence a boost and help you understand how you can succeed with your new year’s goals. Write down your answers on a piece of paper:

  1. What were your best achievements, personal successes or breakthroughs in the last year? Did you step up or into a new opportunity, try something you never tried before that make you fearful or uncomfortable?
  2. What were the challenges you had to overcome? How did you conquer the fear of failure, get up when you got knocked down, overcome the setbacks and find the strength to speak and fight even though you were scared?
  3. Where did you find your supportive network, people that influenced your methods, your motivation and how did you move forward? Where and who do you find your inspiration from and did you use this motivation to clear your space to focus on your goals?

Your brain has a way to re-inventing itself and those positive habits and behaviours you wrote down above can become the default response when you meet other challenges. Instead of relapsing into old habits and behaviours you can have the power and control!

Here are 7 steps for changing the way you think:

  1. Focus your thoughts on being positive – an important aspect of starting the new year with and finding success with your goals
  2. Make a plan and take small steps to work through each task or activity. If you try to tackle your goal as one big project you are more likely to feel stressed and relapse into old habits.
  3. Don’t associate yourself with negative people on social media or elsewhere. Also, list the negative beliefs you have and refute them and set some realistic beliefs about yourself. Being too judgmental about yourself will impede your progress.
  4. Set your goals in a SMART manner – Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Time-based. Break these down into small steps or you will find that you lose your motivation. The way to achieve success is to take one baby step at a time.
  5. Combine your SMART goals with STRETCH goals (a big dream goal) that mean you are dreaming big and going after your ULTIMATE goals. Both these together are called the WISE goals which are grounded in what steps you are going to take next to achieve success.
  6. Avoid thinking like a perfectionist. We can always do better but a healthier way of thinking is doing our best or ‘just good enough’. Focus on the positive. If we fall short of doing what we want and fail at our aspirations, it’s easy to fall into the negative spiral of thinking. So a healthier method would be to take baby steps and have a realistic / ‘good enough’ approach.
  7. Don’t wait for things to happen or come to you. Learn something new each day and challenge yourself.

By focusing on actionable SMART goals and measuring them with the success you have achieved you will create a positive focus and a feedback loop. This will help motivate you to take the actionable steps week by week and create habits and behaviours long-term.

You will feel motivated, positive as you complete each step, and this will boost your confidence and self-esteem.

Understanding yourself will minimise your weaknesses and strengthen your resolve to stay focused and driven to daily enjoy your accomplishments. Finding a mentor or a therapist to help you to stay motivated, goal focused and on track can also improve your confidence and wellbeing.

An important thing to remember is to be patient with yourself, self-confidence and esteem is a step by step process and practice.

To find out more about hypnotherapy for confidence visit this page.

How To Stay Cool, Calm And Collected During The Holidays!

The difference between getting stressed and staying cool, calm and collected during the holidays is self-caring. With the Christmas upon us, presents to buy and wrap, dinners to cook, families to entertain, and the cold and flu season too, many of us feel so tired that we cannot enjoy the Christmas season like we should.

You feel tired from all the racing around, stressed with the endless ‘to do’ list and are exhausted mentally and physically. During this time stress-related visits to the GP’s increases, and by January you are ready to collapse in a heap and need another break from it all – but have to go back to work.

Self-Care Helps Your Wellbeing And Others

Instead of resigning yourself to feeling stressed at this time of year, how about practicing self-care and still get through your ‘to do’ list?

By looking after your wellbeing you will increase your energy levels, find it much easier to deal with all the stress that Christmas inadvertently throws at us, and also have time to look after others.

Here are some self-care tips to help you:

  1. Don’t forgo your normal exercise routine over the holiday. Try to keep your normal exercise routine (or if you haven’t got one, now is a good time to introduce some regular exercise). Don’t allow that list of jobs put exercise on the back seat. Exercise will boost your energy, improve your mood and make you feel healthier. If you have children and they’re on holiday, encourage them to get out with you: it will elevate boredom, and make them feel better too.
  2. Practice mindfulness or relaxation techniques. It’s such a busy time of year with shopping, preparing your home for Christmas, entertaining, driving around the country to visit people or to collect family members from the airport. No wonder you feel stressed. Maybe it’s the first time you are attempting a festive meal for the whole family, or your mother-in-law is coming to Xmas dinner and you want everything to be perfect. Stay in the moment to stop your mind going in different directions and focus on relieving stress with breathing exercises or mindfulness techniques.
  3. Don’t be a superhero! If you get stuck – ask for help from friends and family. Make a list of all the things that need to get done for the Christmas festive season and delegate to all the member of your family. Kids can write the Xmas cards, tidy the garden, decorate the house ready for the festive season etc.. Your partner can help with buying some presents for his / her family so you can take that stress out of the equation. Learning how to delegate is one self-care practice that will last you a long time in the future.
  4. Watch what you eat and drink. Try not to indulge in too many treats or cakes, drinking too much or other sweet treats that you would not have any other times of the year. It is okay to indulge but in moderation which will be great for self-care. If you indulge in too much sugar, you will begin to feel tired and irritable with the ‘sugar rush’. So balance this by eating well and drink plenty of water during this festive season.
  5. Learn to say ‘no’. Try to schedule your time so you are getting enough rest. If you agree to attend 4 different parties, plan to host a big new year’s party, or agree to bake cakes for a friend’s children’s Xmas party, your stress levels will increase as you have taken more on that you can cope with. Don’t worry about missing out or turning people down. Yes, it can be difficult to say ‘no’ but it is also empowering! Say no when you want quiet days in with your family, or want to have a relaxing bath instead of partying, or have a night in with a glass of wine.

If you still feel like you need to do everything or there’s no time to fit it all in, think about how your stress levels will affect other people. Do your friends really want to spend time with someone who someone who is frazzled and can’t relax? Is it really that important to make your own mince pies if it means you stay up half the night and can’t keep your eyes open the following day?

By practicing self-care you will also ensure that everyone around you gets the benefit of the cool, calm and collected you! I’m sure they will all enjoy this version much more than the stressed one.

If you are struggling with stress, anxiety or overwhelm, hypnotherapy can help. Contact me for a free 30-minute consultation to explore more.

Coping With Christmas: Is It All Too Much?

Christmas can be a stressful time of year for many people. It can put a strain on relationships, bring old grudges and problems to the fore, and also be a very sad and lonely time for some people.

With the expectation that you should be enjoying yourself with friends and family, the expense of gifts and nights out, and the huge amount of work it takes to create a wonderful Christmas for your nearest and dearest, it’s no wonder that many people feel overwhelmed.

For those people who are far from home, lost a loved one, or perhaps have separated in the past year, Christmas can trigger anxiety, stress and feelings of loneliness.

This is perfectly normal and understandable. If Christmas is making you feel depressed or stressed, this is not because you are a modern day Scrooge.

Feeling Depressed At Christmas

Due to the commercialism of Christmas, we’re all under a huge amount of pressure to make everything perfect. The Christmas card perfect family, a stack of presents under the tree, your home looking like a cover shoot for an interiors magazine, a table laden with home cooked Christmas food.

If we can’t meet these expectations it’s no wonder that many people feel depressed and stressed. And some people go into the process of self-reflection and thought about the shortages in life and compare themselves to other people. This brings added pressure and they spend a lot more than they should on presents etc. that they don’t have. This can spiral out of control and get them into debt.

Some people deal with loneliness at Christmas due to loss of a loved one, while some deal with family conflicts, as it is the one time that everyone gets together. It may also be your ‘first’ Christmas after a life-changing event – for example, divorce, the loss of a job, or illness.

These factors can all come to a head over the Christmas period. Below are some of the steps that you can take to manage your stress and your finances:

  • Identify the reason that you are stressed: such as financial pressures. Set a budget and plan the things you can do and eliminate the things you cannot. Money saving tips can be saying to your family and friends that this year you will be buying gifts only for the kids. Or suggest a “secret Santa” for adults so to reduce the financial burden on everyone.
  • Research some cost cutting ways that you can have fun. Don’t let money saving spoil your fun. If you want to socialise organise a BBQ or a house party where all the guests bring a plate of food so that costs are shared.

Family Conflicts And How To Deal With Them

Some families struggle with getting on with one another and there is a lot of power play in the mix. Also, divorce among some of the family members means that unresolved conflicts can trigger stress and anxiety.

  • Be realistic about what will occur at the Xmas celebrations – it might not be perfect. Plan how you will deal with the stress and anxiety if it occurs.
  • If there are children from the different families getting together at Xmas time, be considerate and put the conflicts aside. Focus on having fun and making Xmas a special day for everyone.
  • Remember there can be conflicts but try to stay calm, don’t drink more than you have to and don’t use it to cope or take your frustration out on your loved one.
  • Know what your triggers are if your family argues on a certain topic avoid it.
  • Take baby steps when you are communicating with a member of your family that in the past there has been some friction, don’t bring up the past hurts or be sarcastic but try to improve the relationship by sticking to ‘safe’ subjects.
  • Breathe deeply if you get annoyed and something someone says, remember it’s what happens at Xmas and stay calm as it’s a special day.

Ways To Manage Your Loneliness

If you feel isolated if you have been recently divorced or a recent break-up, or have lost a loved one it can be really tough when everyone else appears to be having a good time. Here are some tips to cope:

  • Be honest and acknowledge that it is going to be difficult. Embracing the sadness will help with dealing with the grief. By doing this, being honest will release the sadness and loss, which will reduce long lasting, issues with blocked emotions.
  • Connect with new people, your friends and family. Call family even if they live far away, keep in touch via phone calls, emails. Also be patient if they take a while to respond as many people do get caught up with their own preparations.
  • Help or volunteer at a charity shop or a local shelter. They need help, especially at Xmas time. You will connect with different people and make friends and feel good.
  • Attend events like Xmas lighting ceremonies, Christmas carol singing, markets. Try to get out and be around people and this will help relieve loneliness.
  • Accept invitations for Xmas day and don’t stay in and feel lonely. Plan your whole day, have breakfast, attend the local church for a service, or take a walk and then have a wonderful meal and watch Xmas movies.

Cognitive behaviour therapy helps to recognise behaviours that will contribute to anxiety and stress during the Xmas period. If you are already feeling panicky about Christmas and think that it’s going to be hard, you could get help now.

CBT can help you to think positively, recognise the triggers that can lead to stress and feelings of depression, and act before they overwhelm you.

Get in touch if you would like to discuss how I can help today.

6 Quick Tips To Reduce Depression And Stress:

  1. Evaluate what your expectations are at Christmas so you are making doable plans.
  2. Be present and available when you are around your family – put cell phones and Facebook away and focus on having fun with them.
  3. Get enough sleep and eat healthy meals so it improves your mood and you don’t get irritable at small things. Also, take the time to exercise, it will relieve stress and pent up emotion.
  4. Delegating tasks and will reduce the overwhelm, also it’s a good opportunity to connect and spend time with each other.
  5. Set aside differences with members of your family, it will make the celebrations more fun, and improve relationships long term.
  6. Stay within your budget and do not allow yourself to compete with other people over expensive Christmas presents.

If you are worried about how you will cope emotionally over Christmas, please do get in touch to explore whether CBT and hypnotherapy can help. Call 0796 715 1790 or email astarandrea@gmail.com

How Can I Communicate Better With My Partner?

Relationships between two people don’t exist in isolation. Past experiences, personal history and expectations all influence a relationship, and often the way we communicate in our relationships is as a result of our past.

If you’re one of the many people who feel that you and your partner do not communicate properly, this post is for you. Here I explore how to open the lines of communication, especially if the relationship is suffering, and help build a stronger union.

Many people find that they are not confident about talking about difficult issues and emotions, even with their partner. They find themselves either getting upset or angry and struggling to really explain how they feel or what’s bothering them. This can be particularly difficult if their partner is not a great communicator either, or if they are super confident and prone to dominate a conversation.

You can get help with confidence issues and this can have a really positive impact on your relationships, helping you communicate better and build deeper relationships. Hypnotherapy for confidence can help, you can find out more about this treatment here.

The Importance Of Good Communications

Communication with your partner is not only talking about everyday topics like ‘how was your day’ or ‘did you have a good day at work?’ It’s about really making the time and effort to listen, be interested, and talk to each other in an open manner.

Couples who have good communication when things are going well will also find it much easier to communicate with each when things are not so good. This provides you with a great foundation for dealing with life’s ups and downs and making your relationship work through thick and thin.

The ways in which you communicate with your partner can make or break a relationship. Below are some tips for communicating when things are difficult. Following these can help you deal with emotions, resentments and relationship issues, and improve your relationship with your partner:

  1. Finding the right time to have a difficult conversation is one of the first things that you can do. If there is a problem or issue it is essential to make time to discuss it calmly in the right environment. Clear a few hours to have that difficult conversation so you’re not rushing. Put all of this in the diary/calendar so that there is no opting out.
  2. Make sure it’s face-to-face. These days there are so many ways to communicate like text messages, Facebook, Skype or emails. But these are not the best way to communicate with your partner about serious issues. Face-to-face, however difficult a conversation is the best way of opening lines of communication.
  3. Choose your words carefully when you are talking to your partner. Sometimes when we are angry and frustrated, the word ‘you’ sounds attacking and can result in your partner to be defensive and not receptive to your message. You can use instead ‘I feel that we had not been talking recently’ instead of the pointy finger ‘you’.
  4. Being honest is important as if you want the relationship to work even if telling the truth to your partner hurts. Every person makes mistakes and admitting and apologising for them is a natural process. This will make the relationship stronger and you will feel better.
  5. Your body language is another important factor. Sit and speak in a calm manner, give your full attention and make eye contact.
  6. There is saying that you should never go to bed angry. So if you or your partner is still hurt by an argument you had, follow the 48-hour rule and have that difficult conversation. Have the conversation about why you/they are angry or upset, and get it out in the open.

Ways To Communicate If There Is Anger

Most couples go through a period where there is anger in the relationship, it is, therefore, important to learn to resolve any conflict that arises in a healthy manner.

  • If you get angry take a deep breath, Stop, calm down and step back. Either go into another room, go for a walk or listen to your favourite music or do some activity that distracts you. Don’t vent the anger, give yourself breathing room to stop and listen to what your partner has to say in the disagreement you both are facing.
  • Think about the reason behind your anger, what was the situation that caused the upset and the words used. Be honest and open with yourself and your partner and don’t let the situation build up so the angry thoughts are swirling and you cannot think straight.
  • Talk in a calm manner to your partner and follow the stop and think first, then breath deeply and gently explains your point of view. Also important at this time is to look at the non-verbal communication signals that your partner is displaying, for example your partners’ body language (folded arms, no eye contact etc.), the tone of both your voices, eye signals and listen patiently to each other’s viewpoint. All these will give you a clue to what is occurring in the discussion and ways to resolve the issues.
  • Listen to your partners’ upset feelings, hurt and give them your full attention. Do this in a safe environment: your relationship deserves an expression of feeling from both partners in a safe environment. Don’t let the anger, hurt and pent up emotion dominate. Break the cycle of not communicating and listen to your partner point of view and say ‘I sometimes don’t hear what you are saying, but now focusing on listening to you’.

The most important part of communicating well with your partner is not letting a discussion turn into an angry argument. Treating each other with respect and keeping the discussion focused on one topic only, and making the time to have that difficult conversation. Sometimes we resort to cheap shots that can get the argument only more heated so by being respectful and stop, think, talk and listen you will then open the lines of communication with your partner in a healthy way.

If you think that hypnotherapy for confidence could help you become a better communicator, or would just like to discuss how it can help, please get in touch. Email astarandrea@gmail.com for a confidential chat about your feelings and the challenges you face.

Can Hypnosis Really Stop Me Smoking For Life?

Many people who have unsuccessfully tried other methods of giving up smoking are naturally sceptical about the effectiveness of hypnosis to stop smoking. I don’t blame you. If you’ve tried other smoking cessation approaches and still found yourself reaching for a packet of cigarettes, you will know that it’s not an easy habit to quit.

So what makes hypnosis effective, where other stop smoking methods fail? Read on to find out how this treatment works and whether it’s right for you.

How Hypnosis Stop You Smoking For Life

Hypnosis is a deep state of relaxation and focused attention, which a person goes in and out every day. This is when your subconscious mind is open to suggestions and ideas.

Health Implications Of Smoking

Everyone knows that smoking is bad for you, but if you’re smoker those warnings on the side of a cigarette packet only serve to make you feel more helpless about giving up. Let’s face it; it’s easy to not to think about the health implications when you don’t think you have the strength to quit.

During a hypnosis session, the clinical hypnotherapist will remind you that smoking can cause cancer and damage your health long-term. Suggestions and ideas can be reinforced during the session so that when you do read a health warning on a packet of cigarettes, instead of pretending it’s not there your subconscious mind will heighten your awareness and compel you to act.

Replacing The ‘Positive’ Aspects Of Smoking With Something Better

In most cases, smokers view the act of smoking as a positive influence, and this is programmed in your subconscious mind through the repetitive action of smoking.

You may feel smoking helps you:

  • Relieve your anxiety and boredom
  • Give you time-out from work or at home
  • Relax and help you concentrate
  • Feel confident when you are with friends
  • Deal with some uncomfortable thoughts and emotions
  • Helps you to fit in with your friends that smoke
  • Be in control of your weight as you will eat if you smoke
  • Keeps your hands busy
  • Reduces your stress and irritability

Your subconscious mind has become programmed to believe those smoking cigarettes will help make you feel better, reduce stress and any feelings of discomfort. After smoking for many years, smoking has now become this habit that has been repeated many times, reinforcing this positive association.

Hypnosis for smoking cessation works by reprogramming your subconscious mind so that smoking is not associated with positive things. Your therapist will also teach you ways to replace the feeling that smoking creates with healthier and better alternatives, for example by teaching you how to cope with stress or learn relaxation techniques that replace your smoking habit.

When Other Smoking Cessation Methods Have Failed

Typically hypnosis to stop smoking is used as a last resort when nothing else has worked. Often the reason that these methods have failed is because they don’t address the underlying issues of why someone smokes. Such as because they associate smoking with relaxation, or they always have a cigarette when they have a coffee or glass of wine.

Some of the methods people try first are –

  • Their willpower, but as they still think of themselves as smokers they force themselves to ‘stop’. If they ‘enjoy’ their cigarettes, then stopping creates a conflict within themselves which results in more stress and anxiety.
  • Cutting smoking down is another way that people try to quit but your body still has nicotine. So hours or days between cigarettes does not take away the cravings and the withdrawal that you will feel. You will count the hours between cigarettes and will eventually cave in and smoke more and more.
  • Nicotine patches and gum, e-cigarettes and medications do not reduce the nicotine in your body. But the habit and the cravings have not been addressed, and the reasons (emotional aspects of the smoking habit) for smoking also still exist.

With clinical hypnosis and cognitive behaviour therapy, you can change your habits and behaviours, and your unconscious mind will choose healthier options. Most of the time people smoke cigarettes because of the conditioned response to stimulation from their environment or a habit they cannot break.

Some Myths About Your Smoking Habit

And How To Overcome Them With Hypnosis And CBT

Most people believe in the stories or beliefs they tell themselves:

  • Withdrawal is difficult and I can’t cope with the cravings. When you smoke you imagine the pleasure it gives you and when you give up you start to crave that pleasure and don’t want the pain and misery of quitting. During a hypnosis session, you are given tools and techniques to get perspective on the habit and ways you can avoid slipping into the addictive trance state.
  • I cannot give up as I have failed before. Most people try the different methods to quit cigarettes and use hypnosis as their last port of call, but hypnosis helps them re-programme their subconscious thoughts, feelings and beliefs about their smoking habit so they then are in control of their behaviour.
  • I don’t have the willpower. Your motivation and willpower to quit smoking will be enhanced during the therapy session and you will get to know the real reason why you smoke and why you want to quit. You will view your behaviour with a different perspective and awareness of the impact cigarette smoking has had on your health. You will then feel free from the cravings and realise how smoking has affected your life and use the new found freedom to believe in yourself and be a happy and healthy non-smoker.
  • I’ve smoked for too long, it’s too late to give up. You realise that you cannot just stop smoking as you have been smoking for a long time. With the support and help of an experienced and accredited clinical hypnotherapist and cognitive behaviour therapist, you will come to the decision that smoking is harming your body and your subconscious will make changes that are permanent.

Sammy told her friend that her smoking habit was out of control. She was smoking 20 cigarettes a day for 35 years.

“I felt that if I had not given up smoking I would not have gotten over my chronic chest infection and breathlessness. Now I can breathe a little better and even walk up the stairs without stopping. My clothes smell nice and so does my breath. I had tried to give up smoking before but the cravings and the stress always made me smoke again. Now I feel free, it does not worry me if people smoke around me, I have started with some gentle exercise daily and I am saving the money I spent on cigarettes to go away in the summer next year. Hypnosis helped me gain clarity about where my life was and where I wanted to be. I am glad I did try clinical Hypnosis and CBT as I feel better than I ever felt before”

Find out more about using hypnosis to stop smoking here.