Author Archives: Linda

Spring-clean your mind to deal with your anxiety

Cherry Tree in bloomSpring is here at last!

The flowers are appearing and everything seems so much brighter.

We start spring-cleaning our homes and looking forward to the longer, lighter days.

How about a spring-clean for the mind then? How about clearing out all those negative, fearful thoughts so that you can accept things and spring into action?

Are you one of those people who is constantly worrying about life’s ‘What ifs’, clogging up your mind with junk thoughts?

What if it all goes wrong?
What if I say the wrong thing?
What if something terrible happens?
What if I don’t know anyone? etc.

These kind of thoughts tend to wear us down and keep us in a cycle of worry which at best does nothing for us and at worst can make us ill.  So the next time you are aware of yourself having a negative What if? thought, recognise and accept that it’s a waste of your time and energy, that it’s not helping you in any way and just clear it away, thus letting go of the junk in your mind.

If you’d like help to spring clean your mind and move on then contact me at linda@lfhypnotherapy.co.uk

 

Sticking to your new year resolutions?

clip_image002Well it’s just over a week into the New Year and those of you who have made resolutions may already be facing challenges.

 It’s said that the New Year, although traditionally a time for ringing in the new, may not be the best time to make changes because of the various pressures on us at this time of the year.  New work targets and deadlines, all those goodies left over from Christmas, the added pressures on our finances, the weather etc, sometimes conspire to make it that bit more difficult to stick to plans and of course relying on willpower alone seldom works.

 If, however, you have resolved to change something in your life, don’t be despondent.  Good on you for being prepared to change something that will be of benefit to you in the long term.  Sure, you may slip up or feel like giving up but take it in your stride – do it in little stages and focus on the steps you’re taking towards that end goal.   Make sure each step is realistic and achievable and keep moving towards your goal instead of giving up when you encounter a setback.   Accept that you will have some hiccups rather than focusing on what might go wrong.   There will always be external factors that can have an influence over your best intentions.   Be prepared for them and deal with them rather than either dwelling on them or ignoring them.   Avoiding them will only make them seem worse.  If you’re prepared you’ll be more able to cope with anything that does go wrong. 

 Also, accept that you’re human and do sometimes make mistakes.  Learn from any mistakes, don’t dwell on them.   Acknowledge any fears you may have – write them down and then write down the benefits of facing those fears and achieving your goals.   This will help you face them and keep you motivated.  Believe in yourself even if you feel afraid.

 Share your goals with your friends and seek their support and remember to reward yourself for each small step along the way (a nice long soak in a bath, a refreshing walk,  a good book, time out to listen to your favourite music or something equally enjoyable and relaxing).  Getting started is often the hardest part and you’ve already done that so go for it!

The Joy of Christmas Parties: how to cope with social events

“‘Tis the season to be jolly” we’re told at this time of year as we face the office party, the family get-togethers, the social events.    Lots of us let our hair down, embrace wearing the silly hats, getting  a little tipsy and throwing a few shakes on the dance floor, listening to Ted recounting the same story for the umpteenth time, eating just one too many mince pies, and all the while attempting to avoid the unbecoming photos that may end up on Facebook… 

 For others these social events of the year are one long nightmare: the very thought of socialising can strike fear into their hearts and they will go to any lengths to avoid it.   If that’s you then here are some tips to help you cope and dare I say Be Merry.

  • First of all know that you’re not alone.  Many people are nervous in similar situations – some just hide it better than others. 
  • Don’t focus on negative thoughts: if you think you’re going to have a terrible time, chances are you will.   Don’t set yourself up to be anxious.   
  • Relax yourself before the event, find somewhere comfortable and, while you’re in a relaxed state, visualize things going well and how you’d like to be, feel, behave.  
  • Arrive early rather than late so that you’re not walking into a crowded room or faced with an endless round of introductions.
  • Slow down and take deep abdominal breaths (when we’re nervous we breathe very shallow anxious breaths, so pay attention to your breathing).
  • Be aware of your body language.   Smile!   It’s good for your body as it releases serotonin (the happy hormone) and people respond to a smile.   Look for other friendly, approachable  faces and introduce yourself.   Ask open questions that require an answer.  What do they think of the venue, music, food, drink etc?   Have a few topics in mind before you go.
  • Be honest – if someone asks you if you’re enjoying yourself and you’re feeling nervous then it’s ok to say that.   People like people who are honest and don’t try to be someone they’re not.   You may find that they come back with a similar honest response and that can start a conversation going.  Remember, if you do make a mistake, or say something you didn’t mean to, don’t worry about it.  Nobody is perfect.  Everybody makes mistakes, even the really confident ones.
  • Remember that people are generally thinking about themselves too much to be bothered about judging others.   Engage with them, pay them genuine compliments to put them at ease and they are more likely to respond positively.   Others like to talk about themselves: listen to their likes and dislikes and ask questions. 
  • Live in the moment: take in the décor, music, food, styles, etc.   Focus outwardly rather than inwardly, stop worrying about yourself and have the intention of making those you meet comfortable instead.  

Can’t wait for your holiday but afraid of flying?

iStock_000016316738XSmallI’ve just booked my holiday and I can’t wait for take off!   Not everyone looks forward to it though – a phobia of flying always ranks in the top 10 lists of phobias.  It doesn’t matter how many safety statistics you mention or facts you present about modern day flights:  if someone is afraid of flying it can be an ordeal.

It doesn’t help that airports and airlines use so many negative sounding terms. Think about it: ‘Terminal’, ‘Departure Lounge’, ‘Final boarding call’. It’s like we’re being unconsciously programmed to think negatively! 

No two people have exactly the same fears: my clients typically can have one or a combination of fears from claustrophobia to fear of heights, mechanical failure or attack and more.  

Using hypnosis I help them learn new behaviours and ways of thinking about the flight, deal with the underlying fear and triggers, feel confident and manage the phobic situation and control any physical reactions.  I also give them tools and techniques to cope with both the expected and the unexpected.  A phobia is something that is eminently treatable.

 If you’re about to leave on a jet (or other!) plane here are some top tips:

  • Before you travel (and during the flight) think about all your positive reasons for making the trip and imagine how it will be and feel.  Do this regularly so that you think about that more than the journey.
  • Request an aisle seat near to the front of the plane: it’s less claustrophobic and the effects of any turbulence are likely to be reduced.
  • Don’t leave everything to the last minute: leave plenty of time for your journey to the airport allowing for any unavoidable hold-ups.
  • Let the cabin crew know that you have a fear – they are trained to help out.
  • Calm yourself with some deep breathing exercises. Breathe deeply from your stomach, not your chest: place your hands on your stomach with your fingertips touching on an out-breath. If you breathe in correctly, the finger tips should part as you do so.
  • Drink lots of water to keep your body hydrated.
  • If you come across turbulence remember it is just pockets of air: treat the turbulence as you would bumps in the road when you’re in a car.
  • Keep yourself busy and distracted: play a game, lose yourself in a good book or some music or the in-flight film (bring your favourite funny movie to watch if you have a laptop).
  • Take yourself off in your mind to another place/time when you felt really relaxed and/or confident and remember everything about that time.

It’s too hard to stop smoking! It’s easier to carry on.

That’s what I often hear from my clients when they come to me to stop smoking.   They all have their different reasons for quitting but whatever their reasons are, all of them say that change is hard and staying the same is easy.

 But is that really the case?   Is it so easy to keep things as they are?  Or are you investing an awful lot of time, energy and thought in doing so?   A lot of time and energy that could be used more productively?   All our thoughts, emotions and behaviours involve huge investment.   When you think that maintaining a problem is easy are you really thinking about the hard work involved in doing so – could it be that change may actually be easier and bring a lot more benefits?   

 Maintaining the status quo takes a lot of conscious effort.   When you smoke you are investing in a behaviour that puts your short and long term health at risk and is a constant drain on your pocket.  Taking that into consideration, alongside the endless time either talking about, worrying about or thinking about giving up, then perhaps the mental change needed to quit smoking might not be as hard as you first thought. 

 iStock_000007480596XSmallOnce you make the mind shift into thinking it may be easier to stop than to continue the good news about quitting is that you can reap the benefits really quickly.  According to the NHS after only 20 mins blood pressure and pulse are back to normal and circulation improves.  After 8 hrs blood oxygen levels normalise, nicotine & carbon monoxide levels halve and your chances of having a heart attack lessen.  After only 24 hrs your body is free of carbon monoxide & your lungs start getting rid of mucus and smoking related debris.   In 48 hrs your body is nicotine free and your sense of taste and smell is better.  In 72 hrs your energy levels are on the up and it’s easier to breathe.   Between 2-12 weeks your circulation is better and walking and exercising also gets easier. In 3-9 months lung efficiency improves by up to 10%, in turn easing breathing, coughing and wheezing.  After 5 yrs your risk of a heart attack drops to around half of that of a smoker.   In 10 yrs your risk of lung cancer will also drop to around half of that of a smoker and your risk of a heart attack will be about the same as someone who has never smoked.

 The benefit to your pocket will also be immediate and just think about what you could achieve with all that extra cash…

Trying to sleep and can’t? Stop trying…

I enjoy helping someone sleep when they’ve been troubled by a lack of sleep for years.   That’s just what I did recently when I helped a lovely woman get a regular good night’s rest.

If you’ve followed all the usual advice of avoiding doing something mentally active beforehand, or consuming too many stimulants or watching a stimulating tv programme, or associating bedtime with work (I could go on) yet still can’t sleep, what else can you do?

Think about what’s happening as you lie there tossing and turning.

Maybe you watch the clock all night, seeing the hours ticking by, constantly battling to get to sleep, worrying that it’s now early morning and you’ll soon have to get up again?   If that sounds like you why not give up the battle?  Instead of trying too hard to sleep, let go.  Tell yourself that time doesn’t matter as you’re resting your body anyway.  Imagine a situation where you had to stay awake but wanted to fall asleep.  Maybe you were in school and supposed to be paying attention to the teacher but the sun was streaming in the window and you just couldn’t stay awake.   Picture a scene like that and try to keep yourself awake instead of battling to sleep.

Maybe you’re a pessimist thinking to yourself,  “I can’t do anything right, what else can go wrong?, I’m not good enough, I can’t even sleep!“   If this is more like you, why not be kinder to yourself?  Think about the positive things that have happened in your day, however small: maybe someone paid you a compliment, maybe they thanked you for something, or you were asked for your opinion, or you helped someone out, maybe something made you laugh or you had a good memory.   Concentrate on the good things that happened and practise saying some positive things such as “something good is bound to happen again tomorrow”.   As you think of the positive things breathe in and think of a colour that you associate with good things and as you breathe out breathe out any of the day’s tensions and whatever colour is represented by that.   Gradually replace the tense colour with the positive colour.

Perhaps you’re more of a problem-solver, lying there figuring out ways to sort things out, your thoughts racing round in circles:  “What do I need to do, what if I do this?  I should have said this, or done that.  What should I do next?  How can I resolve this?”  If that’s you, then start by telling yourself that you will deal with things at a more appropriate time.   Imagine putting all those dilemmas into a box, put the lid on and put it away in your wardrobe or in a drawer, where it can stay until you are ready to deal with those issues at a time when you’re feeling more awake and clear-headed.

You’ve nothing to lose… apart from another night’s sleep?    Sweet dreams everyone!

Welcome to Linda Flanigan Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy is a natural, safe and effective therapy which can help you change whatever is holding you back in your life. My goal is to work with you to help you overcome whatever is stopping you.

No matter how big or small your issue may be, or how personal, or how long you have lived with it, together we can focus on your particular challenge and work towards resolving it in a positive, healthy and non-judgemental way, at a pace that suits you, so that you are in control.

If you are committed to changing then hypnotherapy could be an excellent solution for you.