Covid Safety

Yes – I know its a boring subject, but I thought I ought just to say that I am doing all the right things. I have just done the unpleasant task of sticking a swab up my nose, which I do twice a week to make sure I am not passing Covid on to any of my clients. I have been double jabbed – but I still could be a carrier and not know it – so best make sure.

I always wear a face mask with clients, and insist that they do too – at least until the guidance from the National Council for Hypnotherapy says I don’t need to any more, and they will follow the government guidelines to the letter.

I have to spend time before and after each session cleaning down surfaces – the couch, chairs, in fact any surfaces that someone might have touched, and changing the paper couch roll on the couch to reduce the likelihood of cross contamination.

Such is the life of a hypnotherapist these days. All necessary, but I am looking forward to the day when we can go back to normal.

Anger

I have recently been asked a number of questions about anger – why is it harder to control anger when you are stressed, how to cope when you loose your temper, how to calm your own anger down and so on. In this blog, I explore anger – which is sometimes particularly difficult for people with anxiety.

Anger can manifest itself in all sorts of ways. Most children go through a stage of having temper tantrums, and some carry this on into the rest of their lives. Some people scream and shout when they are angry, and some go quiet even though they are burning with rage on the inside. You can get angry with strangers, or with the ones you love. These can end up in blazing rows, or the coldness of trying to freeze each other out. You can be angry with yourself, when you don’t achieve what you want to achieve, or angry with the world in general, when things don’t go your way.

Whatever the cause, whatever the outcome, its easier to slip into anger when you are stressed.

The Four Stages of Anger

Now you can think of anger happening in four stages:

Stage 1 is the trigger – something happens that kicks you off – Maybe someone cuts you up when you’re driving … or you’re at the airport about to go on holiday and you find you left your passport at home … or your partner just doesn’t seem to listen to you.

Stage 2 is loss of control – the angry part of your brain takes over, and yes, there is a separate part of your brain that deals with anger. It takes over and fills you full of adrenalin and cortisol … you stop thinking clearly as the angry part of your brain dominates the thinking part. This can happen very quickly.

Stage 3 is your immediate reaction – the angry part of your brain, being very stupid, just does what it always does – it gets you to swear, shout or throw things – or for some people, it gets you to go really quiet and still, while inside you’re seething.

Stage 4 is the aftermath – you’ve regained control from the angry part of your brain, but you still have that cortisol running through your veins which keeps you feeling on edge. You may have to apologise to others or sort out whatever it was you just did. And you will have added a lot of stress to that bucket of stress we keep – your brain will need to sort that out.

Reframing Anger

Now people tell me that they need to swear or shout as it relieves the tension. And yes, they are right – that immediate reaction you have after loosing control is a way of relieving the tension. However, you don’t have to loose control in the first place.

You need to train your brain to think differently about things. This takes time and effort; you can’t do it overnight.

Start by recognising what your triggers are. Is it that politician you hate spouting off again, or the kids not getting up in time for school, or maybe its your boss accusing you of doing something you didn’t do. When you know what triggers you, you can start to do something about it.

Once you’ve recognised your triggers, your can reframe them. Find a way to think about them differently.

I remember driving my car, when another car suddenly screeched in front of me and we both swerved and just missed each other. The other driver started shouting and I could hear him swearing at me. But my thought had been, “Phew, that was lucky. I better be really careful the next time I drive down here with idiots like that around.” He then wound down the window shouting rude names at me and giving me the finger. I found myself laughing – poor guy, he had totally lost control and seemed to be trying to make me loose control as well. It’s just a different way of thinking about the triggers.

So if your most hated politician starts spouting off again – just laugh at them and say, “Isn’t it funny how an idiot like that actually believes that rubbish.”

If your kids won’t get up in time to get to school, just tell them calmly that they can be late to school if they want, but they’ll just have to put up with the detention.

If you’re boss accuses you of doing something wrong that you didn’t, just tell them that they got it wrong – or maybe start looking for a better boss.

There are other ways to react instead of being angry. You don’t need to rise to it and loose control. And believe me, you will feel so much better for it, once you learn to shrug your shoulders and brush off any of those triggers. Imagine never having to be angry again.

Acknowledgements

Photo by Raamin ka on Unsplash

Using breathing techniques to calm anxiety

There is growing scientific evidence that breathing techniques can help you get your anxiety under control. These techniques are useful in helping with stress, anxiety and insomnia. In this video, I’m going to talk about how controlled breathing helps … and show you a basic technique that you can do on your own.

Ideas like controlling your breathing, and using your breath to chant … in order to calm yourself down and get into a better state have been around for years … and I used to think that it was all a bit “hippie” and fantastical. But, surprisingly, there is growing scientific evidence to support the theory that it really works.

One idea, that comes from some branches of yoga is alternate nostril breathing – breathing through one nostril for one breath … and the other nostril for the next breath. Or breathing in through one nostril and out through the other.

Chanting “om” is another breathing practice from way back. Taking a deep breath, then slowly chant the word “om” … “Ooooooommmmmmmmmmmmmmmm”

“Follow your breath” is a modern mindfulness exercise. First controlling your breathing – breathing slowly in, hold for a moment, breathe out slowly and hold for a moment. Then just focussing your mind on your breath, paying attention to the feel of it as you breathe in and out.

We see this pattern of exercises that focus attention on breath, and consciously controlling and slowing the breath. These exercises come from all sorts of different places. So does it work … and what is actually going on?

We all know that as our emotions change, our body can change with it. You can generally get an idea of someone’s emotions just by looking at them – are they smiling, frowning, is there tension in the shoulders … or have they dropped down into a relaxed position.

When we are stressed or anxious about something, our sympathetic nervous system comes into play. The brain sends signals to the body to along the sympathetic nervous system to tell it to get ready to deal with something dangerous. Our heart rate increases, our breathing rate increases, our muscles tense and so on. And for this reason, the sympathetic nervous system is sometimes known as the “fight-or-flight nervous system”.

Conversely, when we are relaxed, content and happy. When we are doing something enjoyable like eating or having sex, the brain sends signals to our body along the parasympathetic nervous system. So the parasympathetic nervous system is sometimes colloquially known as the “feed-and-breed nervous system.”

It is less well known that these nervous systems work the other way round too. If our body changes, it engages one of these nervous systems, and our emotions can change as a response. Now, not many people are able to consciously slow their own heart rate down, but we can consciously change our breathing patterns. When you focus attention on your breathing so as to make it slower and more regular, it mimics the pattern you get when you’re relaxed. This stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which calms your emotions.

There have been a number of scientific studies to demonstrate that this works. When you focus on slowing down the breathing, the activity in your amygdala – which is the part of the brain dealing with anxiety – reduces. And the activity in the prefrontal cortex – the part of the brain dealing with rational thinking and executive function – increases. And in this way, you can become calmer and less stressed.

So how do you apply this controlled breathing technique – what do you actually do?

There may be certain highly stressful situations where you can use a controlled breathing technique to calm you down – just before something important, like an exam or interview. If you have difficult falling asleep – then use it when you are lying in bed ready to go to sleep.

You can also use it as a regular everyday practice to help reduce the general stresses and anxiety of the day. This is sometimes called the “365 technique”. Do it every day – 365 days a year.
3 – the number of sessions you do it every day
6 – roughly the number of breaths you take in a minute
5 – the number of minutes you do it at each session

So, 5 minutes sessions, 3 times a day, 365 days a year. In each session, breath roughly 6 times a minute – that’s about 10 seconds a breathe – breath in for the count of 4 or 5, breath out for the count of 5 or 6. Some people say it is better to have a longer out-breathe than in-breathe. That’s the 365 technique.

So it could go something like this
……

In … 2 … 3 … 4
Out… 2 … 3 … 4 … 5 … 6
In … 2 … 3 … 4
Out… 2 … 3 … 4 … 5 … 6
In … 2 … 3 … 4
and so on for about 5 minutes.

Have a go, you never know, it might work for you.

My name is Tim Maude. I help people who are only just coping. I use hypnotherapy to help get rid of the negative effects of stress and anxiety.

References

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/proper-breathing-brings-better-health/

https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/parasympathetic-nervous-system

Acknowledgements

Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash

What is the difference between anxiety and stress?

I am sometimes asked, “What is the difference between anxiety and stress?” If you look up stress and anxiety on the NHS website, you will find that they are lumped together. The only difference is that there are some specific disorders that the NHS label as “anxiety” – Generalised anxiety disorder, social anxiety, panic disorder etc.

I tend to treat it as a scale – mild stress at one end of the scale, through to major anxiety at the other.

Everyone has a little bit of stress in their lives – even the most laid back, relaxed people feel a tiny bit of stress when their bladder is full and they need to go to relieve themselves. It’s part of life and motivates us to do something towards solving a problem.

When we have a lot on, or we have to get somewhere on time, our stress levels increase. The stress is our bodies reaction to a potential problem. If it didn’t really matter whether all our jobs got done or not, or if there were no consequences if we didn’t get to that meeting on time, then we wouldn’t get stressed about it – but it does matter – so we get stressed.

The worse the consequences are, the more stressed we get. When I was at school, I used to get really stressed about French lessons, because I wasn’t any good at it and the French teacher would get really angry and hand out severe punishments for getting things wrong.

Stress is the feeling we all get that motivates us to avoid something bad happening.
Stress has both physical and mental symptoms. Blood pressure goes up. Our heart rate rises. Muscles tense. It becomes increasingly difficult to concentrate on anything except the bad consequences that we want to avoid. Now a small to moderate amount of stress is fine – it motivates us to avoid bad things happening to us. But it can get out of hand – and we usually call that anxiety.

We can unwittingly train ourselves into anxiety. If we constantly think about bad things that can happen – we can overthink things, we imagine what other people think about us, we can get small concerns out of all proportion – If we constantly think about bad stuff that can happen, our moderate amount of stress can become full-blown anxiety and this leads to all sorts of problems.

Physically, we can get headaches and dizziness; constant muscle tension can lead to tiredness and muscle pain; we can get digestive problems like reflux, IBS, burping, even vomiting; hearts can race and we can get palpitations; some people can get skin complaints or sexual problems.

A common mental problem is overthinking, where we go over and over bad things in our head. Concentration can become difficult as a result, and sometimes it can be difficult to make decisions. Constant worrying can lead to being forgetful and irritable.

Anxiety can effect sleep patterns, encourage you to eat too much, or too little, and you can end up drinking or smoking a lot more than you usually do, as you loose a little bit of self-control.

Other symptoms and side-effects are phobias, OCD, panic attacks, avoidance of social situations and so on.

So everyone has a bit of stress in their lives. Most people manage their lives quite well with a low level of stress. But if you are only just coping with the amount of stress and anxiety you are suffering from, then remember that you can do something about it. There is a solution – self-help, therapy or medication – they all have their place, but you need to take the first step and decide you want to do something about it.

Hashtags

#Stress #Anxiety #Hypnotherapy

See Also

NHS on Stress and Anxiety

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/understanding-stress/

Wikipedia on Psychological Stress

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_stress

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

An Overview of Anxiety and Stress

There are loads of people who suffer from stress and anxiety, especially in these uncertain times.  Today, I want to tell you something about it.

Anxiety comes from a primitive part of your brain deep in the limbic system that seems to have a mind of its own. You can’t just say to it, “Today I not going to be anxious or stressed”. It’s not a question of will-power, because that primitive part of your brain won’t listen – It will stress you out anyway.

This primitive part of the brain is designed to protect you from sabre-toothed tigers when you are out hunting or gathering. It makes you on edge and gets your body ready to run the moment a sabre-toothed tiger appears.

So when something happens that makes you upset or angry or even just a bit down, this primitive part of the brain thinks, “Maybe there’s a sabre-toothed tiger around.” And it makes you anxious so that you’ll look out to see where the danger is, and it will get your body ready to run.

Sometimes, the primitive part of the brain gets a bit ahead of itself, and makes you anxious when there’s no reason to be. It can learn to get really good at getting you anxious when there’s nothing there.

The other thing that happens is that all the stresses in your life build up. It’s like you’ve got a bucket in your brain that all your stresses go into, and it’s filling up. Now, when you’re asleep, when you’re dreaming, your brain starts to sort through the bucket and empty it. The problem occurs when you’re filling it up faster than you can empty it.

So you’ve got two problems. One is that the brain has learnt to make you anxious when you don’t need to be, and the second is that you have a bucket full of stress that’s filling up too fast.

Okay … so what do you do about it?

My job is to help people with stress and anxiety in all its forms. I use hypnotherapy to help them learn new non-anxious patterns and also empty their bucket of stress faster than they can fill it up. But what can you do on your own?

Firstly, you can learn to be calm and have that sense of well-being: The key thing here is to practice being positive. You may only manage it for a few seconds to start with, but with regular practice you will build it up. Think about the positive things in your life. Interact with people in a positive way, and do something positive – even if it just doing the washing up. Take a few seconds to acknowledge that you have done something positive.

Gradually, over time, you will find that your brain gets used to being positive, and the anxiety diminishes.

Then you have that bucket full of stress that needs emptying. This is done quite naturally during sleep, so … don’t cut yourself short of sleep. You can empty even more of your bucket by doing things like meditation and mindfulness, or simply doing something that gets you totally absorbed – getting immersed in a good film, or a video game or a sport where you can just switch off and focus totally on something you really enjoy. When you do these things, your mind goes into a light trance and your brain can start sorting out that stress bucket in the background.

Hypnotherapy can speed things up a lot, but you can tackle it yourself. Whatever you choose to do … I wish you all the best.

Photo by Keyur Nandaniya on Unsplash

Stoptober

So Stoptober is here – are you ready to quit smoking?

Hypnotherapy is a great way to stop smoking:

  • It all happens in one session – and that’s it.
  • No need to spend money on patches or vaping afterwards.
  • You save hundreds of pounds in the first year alone.

It’s a simple process:

  • Call me first, I’ll answer any questions you have, and then book you in.
  • Find a quiet, comfy place where you can relax at home.
  • We’ll have one Zoom call lasting a couple of hours – then no more smoking.

Hypnotherapy works

  • Experts say that 90% to 95% of smoking addiction is psychological – not physical.
  • Hypnotherapy helps you reprogramme your brain.
  • Hypnotherapy works when you really want to stop, but somehow you can’t do it on your own.

Just imagine:

  • What will you do with the money you save.
  • How your family will feel about you when you quit for good.
  • All the health problems that you will avoid by quitting now.

Here’s what a client sent me

I had the most surreal hypnotherapy with Tim, I was using this for the first time to quit smoking and since having our appointment I have not touched or thought about a cigarette in 28 days.

Only call me when you really want to stop.

Tim Maude Hypnotherapy

07730 315503

The small print:

  • Calling me to have a chat and ask questions is free and there is no obligation to take it further.
  • Cost is £200 (a fraction of what you will save) for a single quit-smoking session – which will be around 2 hours.
  • During the pandemic, all sessions are conducted over Zoom (or other online video system), as recommended by the National Council for Hypnotherapy.
  • I am sorry, but I cannot offer a guarantee that you will quit forever. Hypnotherapy will only help you if you are fully committed to quitting permanently.
  • I only take on people who really want to quit, so please don’t ask me to help your partner. If they really want to quit, they need to call me themselves.

Photo by Robert Zunikoff on Unsplash

Pandemic Worries? Pandemic Stress?

Are you one of the many who are stressed by the pandemic? The Health Foundation reported, as early as June this year, that 69% of UK adults are feeling somewhat or very worried about the impact of COVID-19 on their lives. The World Health Organisation (WHO) are concerned about a potential mental health crisis with substantial increases in depression, anxiety and insomnia being reported throughout the world.

Worries about catching the virus, worries about the future of their jobs, worries about their children and family, increasing loneliness through isolation, worries about going back to school or work, anger at other people’s behaviour … these are just some of the mental health issues that the world is facing. And they are magnifying other underlying anxieties, depression and other mental health issues

By June this year, mental health had worsened by a staggering 8.1% since the beginning of the pandemic, and this in a time when access to mental health services has reduced.

The NHS has also recognised the issues of increased mental health issues, and has published their “COVID-19 anxiety tips”. When you analyse these 10 tips, you will see that they are all focused on the three P’s – Positive interaction with other people, Positive action through meaningful activities, and Positive thinking.

Hypnotherapy is a great way of helping you reduce your anxiety levels. Bad things (such as COVID-19) happen in the world, and hypnotherapy can never stop that, but it can help you cope with it better. Hypnotherapy can help you forge new neural pathways in your brain that help you reduce anxiety and cope better with everything that life throws at you.

In my practice, I use solution focused hypnotherapy, which looks at finding solutions rather than digging up the past – solutions that are unique to you, not simply generic tips. Following the NHS generic tips on coping with anxiety will be a great help for many people, and is a really good place to start. However, if you want to do more and find solutions that are unique to you, give me a call.

Tim Maude Hypnotherapy

07730 315503

Acknowledgements

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

One Man, Two Guvnors

or … One Brain, Two Minds

In Richard Bean’s play, “One man, Two Guvnors”, an out-of-work skiffle players ends up being employed by two different men and spends his time trying to stop them learning about the other. Anyone who smokes has exactly the same problem – One brain, Two minds

We all know that we have one brain, but what we don’t always recognise is that we have (at least) two minds. We have our rational, conscious mind that thinks it’s in control, making all the decisions. But hidden, outside of our conscious control, we have our primitive mind, that acts like a little child – demanding attention and taking over when it can.

For the smoker, it is the little child that is actually controlling what is going on. Every time your nicotine level drops, there is a small uncomfortable feeling, and your primitive brain spots this. You find yourself reaching for the cigarettes and heading outside, often without even thinking about it – because thinking requires your rational, conscious brain to be in charge and, at this point in time, it’s not.

If you decide you want to stop smoking, your devious primitive brain finds ways around it. It waits for a weak moment and then jumps in. Maybe it’s when you’re stressed, or your friends all seem to be having a good time chatting in the smokers’ area. The primitive brain has a tantrum that is impossible to ignore. Eventually, you give in, you come up with a plausible but erroneous excuse (“Smoking helps me relax”, “I don’t have the will power” etc.) and you’re back smoking again, giving in to the tantrums of the primitive brain.

So if you want to give up smoking permanently, you have to tackle the primitive part of your brain and stop the little child having tantrums. One great way to do this is to use hypnotherapy. It’s fast and effective. One session and you’re done. So when you are fully committed to giving up smoking, give me a call or message me and we can have a chat.

The Story of the Catman

Twenty years ago, if you had put money on boxer Glenn Catley- the Catman – to become super middleweight champion of the world, you would have made yourself a tidy sum. He was really only a middle weight and was up against Markus Beyer, the reigning super middleweight champion of the world. No one expected him to win.

I am never sure of whether or not I really approve of boxing. Nevertheless, this weekend I sat enthralled listening to Glen as he told his story. It was absorbing, touching and exciting, even though I already knew the denouement.

So why did the Catman turn up one Sunday morning to talk to a bunch of clinical hypnotherapists? The answer is simple. He puts his success down to one thing … hypnotherapy. Although I am sure there was a lot of skill and training that went into it as well.

Hypnotherapy is not only good for helping people with problems of anxiety, depression, phobias etc etc, it can also help to improve sports performance. Beyond all expectations and against all the odds, Glenn used hypnotherapy to improve his performance to the point of becoming world champion.

I don’t usually make recommendations, but today I will make an exception. If you ever get a chance to meet Glenn Catley and hear his story, seize the opportunity – you won’t regret it.

Glenn’s website can be found at http://glenncatleytalks.co.uk

Diets and exercise that fail

Have you ever been on a diet, and then six months later found yourself weighing heavier than before? Have you ever tried to loose weight but found yourself cheating without really thinking about it? Have you ever started an exercise regime, but found that you somehow just stopped doing it?

Most experts will tell you that your weight is all about two things – how much you eat and how much you exercise. Sounds obvious doesn’t it. But there is a third factor that plays a massive part – your brain.

The problem is, your brain sometimes works against you. The other day for instance, I noticed an open bag of salted peanuts on the table. As I went to put them away in the cupboard, I tipped a few into my hand and ate them … Why? … I wan’t hungry … I didn’t need to eat … In fact I didn’t really think about it at all. I just ate them automatically. Some part of my brain decided that I should eat the nuts before I even got a chance to think about it.

You see, we have different parts of our brain that all have their different jobs to do. Sometimes they work against each other. One part says, “I need to get to a healthy body weight,” while another (more primitive) part says, “you need food to survive – eat now.” Sometimes the primitive part takes control – particularly when we are under pressure, stressed out or tired. Therein lies the problem.

And guess what – going on a diet or starting an exercise regime often increases the amount of pressure you are under, makes you more stressed and makes you more tired. So that primitive part of the brain gets more control, which puts you under even more pressure … and so on. And guess what … six months later you’re fatter than before. Sound familiar?

So what can we do when our brain works against us?

Hypnotherapy is designed to help the different parts of the brain to work together instead of against each other. People I have helped with their diet tell me that, after a while, they catch themselves eating more healthily and doing more exercise – without even thinking about it. This is because the different parts of their brain are working more closely together and, in particular, they become less stressed and pressured.

If you are one of those people who struggles to control your weight, I am currently doing a special offer on a Weight Management Support Programme. When you start, we will have an initial consultation, where you can tell me what you want to achieve and I can help you understand some of the science behind how the brain works and what you can do about it. Following this, we will have weekly sessions that will help you get the subconscious parts of your brain working for you.

As we are in lockdown – all sessions are conducted online, over Zoom, Skype or Facebook Messenger video.

Search for “Tim Maude Hypnotherapy” and give me a call for an initial chat on the phone.

For the first five callers only, the special offer costs are £10 for the initial consultation, and £30 per session for up to eight sessions. Quote offer code WL101. Offer ends 19th June 2020.

#weightloss #hypnotherapy