According to the World Health Organisation Of the 56.4 million deaths worldwide in 2015, more than half (54%) were due to the top 10 causes. And the top 2 causes for the past 15 years have been Ischaemic heart disease and stroke. Stress is often a feature of these two causes.
Have you accepted stress as part of your life?
Society has really changed hasn’t it. More families with both parents working, single parent families, caring responsibilities. Expensive houses to pay for, images and expectations to live up to and of course social media to keep up with.
There’s children’s education, clubs, hobbies, social events and physical and emotional needs to attend to.
You might choose to study. Maybe while working, running a home and raising a family at the same time.
Then there is convienience food and spending a lot of time sitting in jobs that require computer work. And a competitive environment for well paid work.
Wow, it’s stressful even writing all that.
Everyone seems to be in such a rush and has accepted that as normal. Have you?
Hence the popularity of retreats!
What impact is this stress having on your life?
You know the drill. Work as hard as possible do everything as listed above. But you are not too worried because yes! You have a holiday to look forward to. Maybe even all inclusive. Everything done for you. You can really enjoy this time to relax and unwind and just ‘be’. You arrive on the holiday and spend the first few days in a vegetated state. Or even worse… ill! You can’t believe it. Where is your energy? And your joy? They seemed to have gone on a different holiday!
This is so common for people who are living in a stressed state most of the time. The body gets a glimpse of ‘stopping’ and it makes the most of it.
Things you may not have noticed as signs of stress
Thing is, when stress creeps up gradually, you don’t always notice it. You take on more and more. Do more and more. And you are so busy you don’t notice some of the symptoms of stress are upon you like:
Muscular pain in our neck, shoulders or back
Fatigue and low energy levels
Raised blood pressure
Increased pain thresholds
Poor sleep patterns
Suppressed immune system and increased susceptibility to infections
Increases in blood sugar and cholesterol levels
Don’t ignore the signs
Left ignored these symptoms can build into bigger problems like burnout, depression and anxiety. It is your body and mind’s way of rebelling against the pressure it’s under.
Once you suffer from these they may affect:
Your relationships with family or friends
Your hobbies, interests and leisure time
Your performance at work, school or college
This is the most important point in this blog:
Noticing yourself is the answer to good health. Noticing how you feel. Noticing your energy levels. Your mood. Your interactions with others. How your body feels.
Imagine you had a leaking tap in your bathroom? And you didn’t notice. And it kept dripping and started creating a small flow of water that needed to escape. So it finds a way through a crack in the tiles. And it keeps leaking and leaking. And then there is a funny smell. And you notice but don’t address it. And before you know it you have a damp issue and a big problem to fix. It’s important to notice.
So all I would encourage you to do as a first step is to notice how you feel.
Notice what might cause you stress and then you can work on a plan to reduce the stress in your life. I will be writing a couple of blogs around relaxation which will really help you reduce stress.
Take an easy step to reducing stress and relaxing by joining my free 21 Day Wellbeing Challenge
It is called a challenge but it’s easy! I promise you will feel less stressed at the end. Sign up now!
I loved reading this book and so am doing a book review for Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
Even the title ‘Rest’ helped me relax
Talk about Hypnotic suggestion. Every time I picked up the book, I knew I was reading ‘rest’ and I felt ‘rested’ as a result!
Alex opens the book by explaining how we see rest as the absence of work and not something in its own right. I think this is the case for many people. How about you?
He goes on to say that if you put so much of yourself into you work then when you cease to work, you cease to exist. This is a strong statement! We have all heard stories of people retiring and passing away shortly afterwards and this being put down to them ‘missing work’ and being without purpose’. But without the evidence, this statement lacks truth for me.
He does say that work can be as emotionally fulfilling as being in love. Can you relate to that?
However the book is focused on the principle that many extraordinary leaders, scientists, philosophers and creatives valued the importance of rest and worked better as a result of the way they practiced rest.
The right rest restores the mysterious part of the mind and we underestimate how much good as serious rest can do us. I call this ‘mysterious’ part of the mind the subconscious 🙂
He gives us confidence to allow ourselves to rest by explaining that we need to allow ourselves to rest and remove the guilt for doing it. ‘You have to take rest and protect it from a world that is intent on taking it’.
Ok then. We will 🙂
Rest is important for creativity
If you work at 110% all the time, how much will you give when extra is required? Or will you lack the energy to give it more? By balancing your energy levels you will have the fuel in the tank that you need to put the pedal to the metal!
But it’s more than that. When you rest, you access a different part of your brain even though you are resting, your brain is almost as active as when you are working hard on a problem. When you become active again, that ‘different’ part of your brain turns off again.
So what does that ‘different’ part of your brain do? It:
Makes sense of the past
Searches for solutions to problems that your occupying your thoughts in your waking hours
I would call this part of the brain the subconscious mind. Alex explains how walks, art and music can wake ideas that are ‘slumbering’ there. Because when he talks about ‘rest’. He doesn’t mean lying down doing nothing, although that’s a pretty good way to rest!
He talks about rest being things that
Detach you from work
Let you spend your time in ways you enjoy
Take a break
No this isn’t a kit-kat advert. In his book, Alex mentions many tests to prove how breaks improve performance at work. He says ‘part of your mind is writing the next sentence, and the next paragraph, considering and discarding a thousand plot twists without you ever being aware of them’. For me this totally sums up the awesomeness that is our subconscious mind. It works away doing all kind of amazing things for us which we are never even aware of!
Alex talks about the importance of learning to monitor your attention and energy as this is a life skill that will serve you well.
Cats have the right idea about naps
Churchill took naps. Kennedy and Einstein too. But why? In case you didn’t know, a 20 minute nap can restore depleted energy and a nap of more than an hour takes you into REM state sleep and will help you remember more.
What you need to know if the ‘work’ is more important to you than that the ‘rest’
Cambridge mathematician John Littlewood said even for people whose mind naturally gravitate towards work, having clear boundaries between periods of work and rest allows them to get more from each. ‘It is too easy when tired to fritter a whole day but never getting properly down to it. You get nothing done and get no rest or relaxation’. Is that ringing any bells for you?
Walk the talk
I didn’t expect walking to be in a book about rest but it totally makes sense. Danish Philosopher Soven Kierkegaard said ‘I have walked my way into my best thoughts’. Have you ever had that experience?
Some companies have walking meetings now which are said to be good for solving problems, discussing, bouncing ideas and eliminating distractions. Steve Jobs did it. There is evidence that your mind becomes calmer when walking through parks and green spaces. In tests 81% of students did better in tests when walking.
Plus walking in autumn is absolutely glorious, So let’s get out there!
Let your subconscious mind do its work, so that you can do yours
I’ve long had a view that the Corporate work place is outdated. Many organisations are proud of themselves for offering flexible working. But the whole concept of work needs to be rethought out if we want to continue to evolve as a forward thinking society. By understanding how our minds work at their best and how to exploit our energy to be our very best selves, productivity and mental health will be much healthier.
No wonder so many corporate workers are so stressed. The way that they are working is not allowing them to rest or flourish. ‘Workers with little control feel more stress because controlling your time is liberating and restorative’.
But businesses are missing a trick because employees that ‘rest’ well are:
Better at dealing with challenges
More able to focus intensively on work tasks
And let’s not forget the 2 million entrepreneurs that are beavering away and want to succeed and so don’t take rest seriously for fear of missing an opportunity. Many entrepreneurs that I know are so passionate about their business they love working!
How good at resting are you?
As someone who has suffered from fatigue in the past, I rate energy very high in my list of priorities and try to manage it wisely. I really enjoyed this book as it had the right balance of brain talk, stats and common sense for my liking.
I would love to hear your thoughts or tips on how you achieve good rest in the comments if you have time. Do you rest or are you pushing yourself too hard?
So how can I be so sure that everything you think about Hypnosis is probably wrong? Well for two reasons. When I have free consultations with clients they usually have questions about Hypnosis which I like to sort out and answer as fully as I can before their sessions. And also, in preparation for this blog post I invited questions so I could answer them fully here.
Assumptions about Hypnosis
1 – You are under the Hypnotist’s ‘spell’ or control.
Hypnosis is not control. You can ignore suggestions given in trance if you want to, or if they are not in line with your wishes.
2 – Hypnosis is sleep
You are not asleep while in Hypnosis. Hypnosis is not sleep. In fact your mind is super alert! But you will probably feel deeply relaxed as relaxation is a wonderful by product of Hypnosis.
Questions people asked about Hypnosis
1 – Will it brainwash me?
Suggestions made in Hypnosis are hugely powerful. But they only take affect if you truly want them and accept them. For example… if you really want to stop smoking, Hypnosis will enhance all the reasons you already affirm are good reasons to stop.
One of the meanings of brainwashing is ‘to pressurise (someone) into adopting radically different beliefs by using systematic and often forcible means’.
So my diplomatic answer to this is – it can help you make true the things you already believe, but can’t achieve alone. NLP can change your beliefs but more about that in another post.
2 – Does it last forever?
This will vary for everyone. Some smokers stay stopped. Some don’t. I don’t have any stats around it, but many people change their lives and remove their unwanted habits with Hypnosis.
It’s like saying if someone gets rich, will they be rich forever. Well, they might maximise on their wealth or not, depending on the decisions and actions they take.
3 – What if I don’t want to change?
Then Hypnosis is not for you. You have to want to change for it to work. Although you might still enjoy the relaxation elements of Hypnosis.
4 – Will Hypnosis erase my personality?
No cases on record 🙂
5 – Can Hypnosis give lasting mindset changes?
Your mind does not know what is real and what is not. If you watch a movie you know it’s actors, in costumes, on a film set, playing a story in front of a huge film crew. You still cry and laugh like it’s real don’t you?! Your mind believes it and the emotions are real.
If the suggestions you receive during Hypnosis are consistent with what you REALLY want, it will give you the change you seek.
6 – What happens in a trance?
Hypnosis is a natural state of mind; people are often surprised that they hear every word and could get up and walk out of the room at any moment. Unless you enter a deeper state, you may not feel much different.
7 – Why do you speak directly to my subconscious?
I will talking much more about your subconscious mind in a separate blog. But an analogy is making changes in your conscious mind is like clearing your inbox, it helps at a surface level but real improvements happen at hard drive or cloud level and that is your subconscious! Your subconcious is much more powerful than your conscious mind so makes sense to use it!
Your subconscious is like the film of your life and your conscious like the photos. The subconscious knows everything and the conscious just has snapshots. So review the film to remind you of things from the past and address them so you can move on and feel better.
8 – I’ve had Hypno before but it didn’t work, should I try again?
I’m not going to be critical of my fellow Hypnotists here and put them at fault. I would say we all try things that don’t work at some point in our lives… relationships, diets, gym memberships, holidays, restaurants! Sometimes the time is not right, sometimes it’s the chemistry and sometimes it just is.
9 – What happens if I go to sleep?
The feeling can be similar to drifting off to sleep at night when you are not quite awake and not quite asleep but it is not sleep. If you were to fall asleep your Hypnotist would be able to sort this out and bring you back up to a suitable state.
10 – Will you make me do things I don’t want to?
11 – What’s the difference between stage Hypnosis and what you do?
A number of factors make stage Hypnosis different to therapeutic Hypnosis. When someone knows they are going to a Hypnosis stage show, they have probably decided if they will volunteer before they even arrive. They then put their hand up at the show and volunteer. They are giving their consent for Hypnosis to happen and they fully know some silliness will be involved! It is more likely than the volunteer is of an extroverted nature and enjoys being the star of the show.
12 – Will I definitely wake up?
You are not asleep. Please see answer to question 9
13 – I find it hard to shut my brain down so struggle with meditation too. Can Hypnosis break through that?
Firstly, here is an interesting video about meditation myths:
I get loads of clients who can’t meditate but desperately want to relax. Meditation can take years to perfect! Think monks lol.
Hypnosis puts you in the hands of a skilled professional who can facilitate you reaching your desired or acheiveable state.
14 – Can I get stuck in Hypnosis?
Even from the deepest trance state (which is delicious), you will still emerge or fall into sleep when you are ready. So no. You can’t get stuck in Hypnosis.
15 – Can I be Hypnotised?
I’m going to be honest with you here. The level of success depends on two things. Your allowance to yourself to let it happen and removal of any fear to it happening (although there is nothing to be scared of). A Hypnotic trance is a feeling of relaxation, it is different for everyone. The more you do it, the better it gets!
There is also expectation. If you expect your Hypnotherapist to lay you out cold, this might not be your experience! During Hypnosis you are aware of everything that is being said and you can bring yourself at anytime you decide. But you probably won’t want to!
16 – How do I choose the right Hypnotherapist?
I’ve put myself in your shoes here because of course I want to say contact me! Some might give you recordings. Some might offer group sessions and 121. Some may specialise in certain areas like PTSD, weight loss, stop smoking, working with children, anxiety or phobias. I specialise in depression and what I call ‘work of the self’ (but I treat anything I consider feasible after a client consultation aswell).
When choosing your Hypnotherapist you might want to consider the way they work. They might favour a quick approach or prefer to see you for more sessions. Not every issue is a ‘quick fix’ although many can be. Some therapists (like myself) integrate Hypnosis with other therapies such as NLP for really deep work with their clients. You can cover so much ground and make real purposeful transformations in just a few sessions. I love the satisfaction of knowing that my clients have had the opportunity of an ’emotional deep cleanse’ which they often haven’t been able to fix even with weeks/months/years of Coaching, Counselling or Pyschotherapy. They walk away with a spring in their step.
You can’t be hypnotised if you don’t want to be hypnotised.
You can’t be made to do things that you don’t want to do.
You can’t get “stuck” in a hypnotic trance.
It is NOT mind control by one person over another.
It is your journey. The therapist is more like a guide.
So what do you think about Hypnosis now?
I loved writing this blog! And I would love to answer any other questions you might have in the comments so please type away!
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Do you want to introduce daily mindfulness into your life?
Isn’t life busy….. Rushing from one thing to the next with a massive to do list and thoughts whizzing round in your head. And you just want to stop. Just for a bit. And recover, refresh and regain control.
You’ve probably heard of mindfulness but you might not know what it is. Or you might have tried to do it already but got a bit lost, or maybe it didn’t work or you didn’t keep it up consistently so didn’t feel the benefits. Mindfulness is one of the easiest ways to reduce stress and relax but it does take a bit of practice and dedication to make it part of your everyday life. That’s why it’s called a practice I guess 🙂
So what are the benefits of mindfulness?
Research from Harvard Health Publications says that Mindfulness improves well being, physical health and mental health. some of the key benefits are listed as:
Being mindful makes it easier to savor the pleasures in life as they occur, helps you become fully engaged in activities, and creates a greater capacity to deal with adverse events.
By focusing on the here and now, many people who practice mindfulness find that they are less likely to get caught up in worries about the future or regrets over the past, are less preoccupied with concerns about success and self-esteem, and are better able to form deep connections with others.
help relieve stress
And it can help with easing depression and anxiety which are two of the most common things I treat in my Hypnotherapy practice in Sussex.
So how can you practice mindfulness easily on a daily basis?
When you first wake up in the morning and you are still in bed, notice your breathing and take five breathes. Notice each one.
Be aware of any changes in your posture. Notice if your limbs and loose or stiff. Heavy or light. Notice what changes when you move from one position to the next.
Be aware of sounds around you. Really notice them. Whether it’s a phone ringing, a bird singing, a train passing, laughter, a car horn, the wind, the sound of a door closing—use any sound as a signal to be mindful and present.
Over the course of the day, when you are distracted, remember to come back to your breath and notice your breathing and take five breathes. Notice each one.
Before you eat something compose your breathing and notice it so you are fully present. Realise that the food was connected to something that nourished its growth. Think about what made that food grow. The sunlight, the rain, the earth, the farmer….. Eat slowly and conciously and be mindful that what you are eating is going to nourish every cell in your body. Notice the smell and taste of every mouthful and take the time to chew and swallow slowly.
Be aware of the movements of your body throughout the day. When you move, walk, stand or sit. Notice your posture and feel your feet connected to the ground. Notice any breeze on your face and in your hair and maybe the sound of the wind, rain or other noises. Be aware of your speed.
At any opportunity, on hold on the phone, in a queue, cleaning your teeth, getting dressed, cooking, waiting at traffic lights or in traffic. Be aware of how you feel. Are you tense or relaxed? How is your breathing? Where is your breathing high or low in your body?
Notice any tension in your body. Where is it? Can you relax it? Notice the difference that makes.
Be aware of any points of tightness in your body throughout the day. See if you can breathe into them and, as you exhale, let go of excess tension. Is there tension stored anywhere in your body? For example, your neck, shoulders, stomach, jaw, or lower back? If possible, stretch or do yoga once a day.
At bedtime, once you are in bed and still, notice your breathing and take five breathes. Notice each one.
As you can see, it doesn’t take long to be mindful and it’s easy to do. give it a go now. Just shut your eyes (hold on read this last bit first!) and notice yourself. Your feet connected to the floor, your breathing and your posture.
If you need more than mindfulness…
Even mindfulness can’t get you thought some stuff so if you need help to overcome your depression or anxiety please do get in touch and I can help you.
Or you might like to try my free relaxing download which gives you deep relaxation in just 12 minutes.
This is meant to be the peak time of year when people book holidays. Maybe it’s the January blues or just the desire to go somewhere warmer! One of the main things that people want to do when they go on holiday is to relax. To ‘escape from it all’. But what if you could could ‘escape from it all’ anytime you wanted to?
So what ways do you currently relax? With a glass of wine or a beer at the end of the day? With a bubble bath? With yoga? Everyone’s techniques and strategies are different.
There is physical relaxation and mental relaxation. They are interlinked and often relaxing one, relaxes the other. For example, if you’ve ever had a massage you might notice that when you lie on the massage table you are still thinking about the day’s work, or your kids, or your partner or your mile long to do list but as the treatment progresses, those things seem to ease and you are able to enjoy lovely ‘floaty’ feelings.
Build relaxation into your mindset
But what if you didn’t need to get to the point where you feel desperate for the need to relax on holiday or to unwind with a massage? As a Hypnotherapist, I spend most of my life in a relaxed state (don’t worry, I still get lots done). So much so that when I go on holiday I have plenty of energy for sightseeing and exploring! Because I have built relaxation into my mindset and make it a priority and you can too.
A lot of my clients say ‘they think too much’ or they ‘can’t switch off’ and then they have Hypnotherapy and say ‘wow!’ because it is a truly deeply relaxing state like no other. A state where you can just be and have lovely thoughts and visions in your subconcious (like meditating but better). Once you have connected to this deeply relaxed state, you will want to do it again! I give my clients recordings to listen to at home.
Do you have 12 minutes spare to relax?
Just share from this box and you’ll be able to download a fantastic audio that will help you relax. I’ve been told that this is a really easy way to switch off and relax because all you have to do is lie down and listen!
You can listen to a free relaxing download by me here
So how else can you relax?
The benefits of relaxation include lowered blood pressure and reduction in the thickening of the artery walls. Also slower age related memory loss and brain-cell deterioration. Being relaxed also improves your digestive process.
Improve your breathing, Breathing is our life-force and we take it for granted! Just try this. close your eyes and monitor your breathing for a couple of minutes. Then slow it down slightly and notice any difference. “Learn how to exhale, the inhale will take care of itself” – Carla Melucci Ardito
Progressive muscle relaxation. Lie down. Work from up to down your body or down to up. Tense the muscles in your feet and then relax them, then do the same for your legs, your buttocks, your stomach, your arms, your hands and lastly your face.
Try sitting quietly and focusing on your heart. When you have settled, place your hand on your heart and take slow and considered breathes and really connect with your heart.
Shake your legs and hands for one minute. When you finish you will feel relaxed.
Take a nap.
Play some relaxing music.
Use aromatherapy oils around your house. Lavender, neroli and ylang ylang are relaxing.
Make a space in your home where you can relax.
Add your ideas for ways to relax in the comments. We would love to hear them.
The important thing is once you build relaxation into your life, it becomes a habit. You mind understands what is required and does it for you more easily. It will soon be second nature:)
This blog is one in a 30 day series about self-development and practical lists we will be making to enhance our lives. I’m using these blogs to provide coaching and advice in my capacity as a qualified coach and Hypnotherapist working locally in West Sussex and Worldwide on Skype.
Quick review of your tenth list list:
Your tenth list was about judgements you might hold. Were there any surprises on that list for you?
Your eleventh list:
Your eleventh list is simply to make a list of ways you can personally relax. Choose things that appeal to you, that fit into your life. Even if you were to relax for 2 minutes every day you would feel benefits in a week.