7th February 2020
I think it’s fair to say we all have problems with socialising at some stage in our lives, whether it’s a work do that is bringing on a feeling of dread or a friend’s birthday whereby you do not know many people. Social anxiety can be a crippling condition for some people and over time can stop them seeing their friends or trying new hobbies which can have a long term impact on their wellbeing.
If socialising fills you with dread, then there a few things you can do to help the situation;
Stop comparing yourself to others. Other people around you may also be suffering with social anxiety. Just because someone appears to be outgoing, this does not give us an insight as to what is going on in their mind. Be mindful and appreciate this and it might just make your social interactions feel that little bit easier.
Ask questions and focus on learning about the person you are socialising with. This will make you an engaging person to speak with and will put your focus on them rather than yourself.
Challenge unhelpful thoughts. Start to examine how your own mindset and beliefs can be unhelpful. If you say to yourself ‘I’m not interesting enough’, start to ask yourself why you feel this way and if this thought is based on fact, an isolated experience or just an assumption you have made.
Remember that being shy is not a bad thing. Being shy can be seen as a negative in our culture but be comfortable with who you are without feeling the need to change yourself. Accepting yourself can be powerful and can help lessen feelings of fear and increase feelings of confidence. The world really would be dull if we were all the same. Celebrate the fact we are all different and interesting in our own right.
What’s the worst that could happen? You say something that someone doesn’t like? Something that makes you feel stupid? Not everyone in this world will like you or agree with everything you say. It’s a sad fact but it’s true.
Remember that you can say no if you feel that attending may have an impact on your mental health. Being a yes person is not always a good thing. On the other hand avoidance can also cause problems too so it’s about striking the balance that is right for you. Trust your intuition to guide you on how much socialising is too much.
Motivation is all you need........
17th October 2019
Whether you want to lose weight, save some money or learn a new skill, sometimes it can feel like we have a huge mountain to climb. It can be easy to feel demotivated early on if we do not get the results we require leading us to give up. This then erodes our self esteem and only serves to provide evidence to our belief system that we are unable to achieve our goals and we stop trying. The good thing is that there are ways of overcoming this. I have put some tips below on how to stay motivated in order to achieve your goals, whatever they might be;
Ensure whatever goal you want to achieve is a realistic one. If it’s too overwhelming this can be de-motivating so it could be that you need to split your goal into several smaller ones. However make it too easy and you will most likely lose interest very quickly. Using the S.M.A.R.T. approach can help in goal setting. Ensure you track your progress so you can evaluate whether you need to change your approach if something is not quite working for you. More information on S.M.A.R.T. goal setting here https://www.projectsmart.co.uk/smart-goals.php
Reframe how you see problems. Most of us like a challenge! Looking at problems or obstacles as challenges can help spur us on to overcome them. This simple mindset shift can really help us to start thinking about things in a different way and allow us to feel more positive about moving forward. Our internal language primes our feelings and behaviour. Thinking positively may sound like a cliché but it’s true.
Visualise what it will look like and feel like to achieve your goal. Every morning, imagine you have already achieved your goal; see it and feel it. This will not only keep your goal in mind but will also lay down new neural pathways in the brain meaning you will be more likely to adapt your behaviour in order to achieve that goal. Visualisation can be hugely a creative mechanism to kick start positive change and may help us access our inner resources which may help us overcome some of the personal challenges we face.
Set yourself a reward for meeting your goal. Maybe a spa day or a day out. Ensure your reward is something nourishing for the mind, body and soul.
Seek inspiration from others and your surroundings. Everything starts as an idea before it becomes reality. Watch some motivational videos, read some motivational books and allow yourself to be inspired.
Let go of your fear. Fear can be de-motivating whether it’s a fear of failure or a fear of success, let it go! Read my previous previous post on 5 tips for dealing with fear if you need more help on that front.
Be kind and compassionate with yourself. Nobody is perfect. If you have a day off then maybe you needed it to recharge and reset. Do not get disheartened because something did not go the way you wanted it to. Accept there will be mistakes and challenges but learn from them and move on. Negative internal chatter like ‘I can’t do it’ will only de-motivate you even more. If you find yourself ruminating on a previous failure, meditate on what you have learned from it and journal what you can do differently next time around to move forward then let that old memory go.
Although there’s bound to be ups and downs, enjoy the process. Change can be scary but it doesn’t mean you should give up! With motivation, determination and resilience you really can make the changes you want.
A little self compassion goes a long way
1st October 2019
There are times when we are our own worst enemy. We berate, criticise and chastise ourselves for not feeling happy, for not doing the washing and tidying, for not being perfect and for pretty much anything else whereby we feel we have failed or could have done better.
Self compassion is giving ourselves the same kindness, love, empathy and acceptance as we would give to others, to allow those feelings to go inwards as well as outwards. It’s understanding and accepting that we are not perfect and that’s OK. That it’s fine not feeling happy all the time. That it’s OK to make a mistake because we are human.
Through self compassion, we can gain a bigger insight into who we are and learn to accept who we are without judgment.
Here are a few ways you can increase your own self compassion;
Start to recognise when you are lacking in self compassion. If you are being critical about something you have done (or not done), then you are most likely not being compassionate with yourself. Would you talk to a friend in the same way you talk to yourself? Probably not. Think about how you would respond to a friend and give yourself the same compassion you would give them.
Journal your feelings and thoughts. This may lead to noticing triggers and patterns that may be contributing to your lack of self compassion. Also writing things down can help us gain a new perspective of our feelings and may even help lighten the emotional load.
Do a breathing exercise. Find somewhere quiet and imagine you are breathing in compassion and acceptance and breathing out any negativity. As you breathe in, allow the compassion and acceptance to spread through your entire body and as you breathe out, allow all of those negative feelings and thoughts to disappear into thin air.
Do something nice for yourself; run a bath, have a mindful walk, book a massage, pamper yourself. Whatever it is, find some time you can really dedicate to yourself. Making time for ourselves is important in increasing self compassion.
Express gratitude and write a list of all of the aspects of yourself and your life that you are grateful for. It doesn’t have to be a big achievement, it can be anything at all. Maybe you are grateful for the fact that you have a good sense of humour with the ability to make people laugh, maybe you are kind or maybe you are grateful for being a great cook. Write a list and refer to it.
Choose vitality, not vodka
17th September, 2019
After a summer of over indulgence, maybe some of you think it’s time to get your alcohol consumption back in check. Over the summer, we are awash with festivals, BBQs and a manner of social events whereby our alcohol intake can increase very quickly without us even realising.
A glass of wine or two to unwind after a hard day at work might seem harmless but the truth is that alcohol is toxic to us. It’s also a highly addictive substance and makes us crave it more and more.
Here are some tips if you want to decrease your intake;
First, be honest about how much you are drinking. There are a number of free online tools or apps to work this out but here is one from Drinkaware that may be useful. https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/alcohol-facts/alcoholic-drinks-units/
Choose a minimum of four alcohol free days and interrupt your usual patterns. If you drink every day after work, do a pattern interrupt by doing something different. Make a list of things you enjoy doing. It could be crochet, it could be running, it could be swimming, it could be anything! Be specific about which days you want to be alcohol free and plan ahead. Use a wall planner or diary if needs be.
Raise your own self awareness and understand your own personal triggers. Keep a journal or diary in relation to your alcohol intake. You may start to notice patterns and emotions that you did not even realise were present.
Start to read and understand what alcohol misuse does to the body and mind. There are lots of resources out there but here is a link to the NHS website for further reading. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/alcohol-misuse/risks/
Be confident in your decision to cut down. If you are prone to being roped in for after work drinks, then visualise yourself saying ‘No thanks’ over and over again. Visualising the outcome in your mind as you WANT it to be will make it much easier when it happens in reality.
Seek help from a qualified therapist. Do your research. There are a number of therapies out there including Counselling, CBT, Hypnotherapy and various support groups. If you think you may have a serious problem with alcohol, then GP advice should be sought. They will be able to provide you with the resources you need to get the best help possible.
Alcohol does not have to be a big part of your life if you choose it not to be. I’m seeing more and more people who want to moderate their drinking because alcohol is taking too much from them; money, health, energy, family time, creativity and this list could go on and on.
If you think that Hypnotherapy might be something you would like to try, then please feel free to visit my website for more information (www.abalancedmind.co.uk) or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
How Hypnotherapy can help improve mental health and wellbeing
3rd September 2019
There still seems to be an issue with people opening up about their mental health. There is still a problem with some people feeling they are able to tell others that they are not feeling OK. We all see pretty pictures on social media with seemingly perfect smiles of people leading their perfect lives but it pays to remember that you never really know what is going on behind those smiles.
There seems to be a lot of pressure on us to be happy all of the time but part of being human is to experience a wide spectrum of emotions.
Sometimes there are specific triggers that can trigger negative thoughts, which in turn trigger negative emotions within us and sometimes it’s more complex.
How can Hypnotherapy help? Well Hypnotherapy can help to interrupt negative thinking patterns which can lead to further downwards spirals of both depression and anxiety that can leave us feeling hopeless, helpless and powerless.
Hypnotherapy can help people feel in control again. It can help people have the confidence they need to face certain aspects of life that they could not face before with increased emotional resilience. It can set about life changing habits, it can smash limiting beliefs that hold us back.
So if you want to start your journey to increased wellbeing, then please contact me today to book your free consultation.
Ways to overcome fear
25th July 2019
Fear is a normal response and the purpose of it is usually to protect us and stop us from doing something that will potentially harm us. However, fear can take over us for situations which are unfamiliar like going for a job interview or meeting new people. Fear is a strong emotion and can stop us achieving what we want but below are a few ways which might help you to overcome fear;
Understand that fear can cause unnecessary worry and rumination for events that will most likely not happen. How many times have you come up with a scenario that has turned out not to be true? We imagine all kinds of things going wrong when we feel afraid but more often than not, those things do not happen. Remember the below;
False Evidence Appearing Real
Really challenge that inner voice. Ask yourself what is the worst than can happen? Tell yourself that whatever happens, you can handle it in a calm, adult manner. Ensure you always talk in positive terms. When we feel fear, we tend to shy away from whatever is causing us to feel this dreaded emotion and we might say internally things such as ‘I really do not want to do it’. Instead you can say to yourself ‘I can do it because I want to do it’. Doing this can help change how you feel about the experience. Fear can easily become excitement; moving from feeling helpless to feeling empowered.
Think about the outcome you want. If you have an interview (for example) that you are worried about, then think about answering all of the questions in a calm and confident manner, really see it as if it was actually happening right now. It’s believed our subconscious mind cannot distinguish between what is real and what is imaginary meaning that if you can visualise a positive outcome, your body will respond as if it’s actually happening meaning you will most likely feel better about the situation.
Remember a time when you previously conquered another fear or overcame a difficult personal obstacle in your life. Take some deep breaths and recall those feelings of inner strength and confidence that helped you to overcome it. We often forget our own inner resources and strengths and remembering them can be a great way of reminding ourselves that we can cope.
Remember that avoidance will only exacerbate the problem so the only real way to tackle fear is face it head on and challenge it!
Hypnotherapy for weight loss
18th June 2019
According to statistics from the NHS, an alarming 26% of adults are now classed as obese here in the UK up from 15% back in 1993.*
Being overweight is far more complex than just calories in versus calories out for some individuals who have a daily battle against their own will and for some this can be really exhausting.
If we are eating to satisfy anything other than hunger then we might not have a healthy relationship with food; relying on it for comfort, to ease boredom and using it to dull any negative feelings we have at that time.
The good thing is that you can change this. Change is not always easy but it’s achievable with determination, motivation and commitment.
Hypnotherapy will look to explore your relationship with food and seek to change it to a more healthy relationship by changing your behaviour and looking into new ways of coping with the stresses of daily life.
If you would like to understand more, then visit my website www.abalancedmind.co.uk and go to my contact page and contact me today for a free consultation.