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How Many Hypnosis Sessions Will I Need to Lose Weight?

Generally, when a client comes to me for hypnosis for weight loss, it’s after struggling with diets and exercise plans and not seeing the desired results. While most diets and exercise regimes work in theory, in practice it can be very difficult.

Keeping on a restrictive diet is a challenge, and requires immense amounts of willpower and motivation. Similarly regularly exercising can also be hard to do, especially when there are so many other pressing activities we need get done during the day.

This is why hypnosis for weight loss can be so effective. It doesn’t replace a healthy diet or regular exercise – but it can help change the way you think about food and your body and help you achieve your goals.

I often think that it would be much better if clients came to me first before embarking on their weight loss plan. Then we can deal with those self-sabotaging thoughts, install positive behaviours, and maintain the motivation and energy to lose weight long term, right from the start.

However, whether someone uses hypnosis at the beginning of the weight loss plan, or comes to it after being unsuccessful, here I answer some common questions clients have about hypnosis for weight loss:

What happens during a hypnosis session and what does it feel like?

Every hypnosis session is tailored to the person’s individual needs, so experiences differ from person to person. Some of my clients feel calm and relaxed during our therapy sessions and some have experienced an increased state of awareness. While some daydream and others feel euphoric, still others feel as if they are asleep and wonder where the time went.

Regardless of how someone feels during a hypnosis session, it’s what happens afterwards that really counts! Typically, when a client has completed their first session they experience increased motivation and willpower with regards to their eating behaviours and are in control of their triggers for chocolate, sweets and fatty foods.

So how many hypnosis sessions will I need to lose weight?

Hypnosis works uniquely for each individual. When helping a person to lose weight, first it is important to reprogram the way they think about food, strengthen their resolve to eat healthily and not overeat. Clinical Hypnosis can help an overweight person lose weight by finding out what negative emotions are in play when they overeat. Why are they eating foods that emotional fulfil them, how does this affect their confidence and self-esteem, and how do they feel emotionally when they eat these unhealthy and junk foods? Hypnosis can help with the triggers that cause an individual to overeat, cravings for unhealthy foods, changing they way this person thinks and feels about their bodies and the way they perceive themselves.

The number of Clinical hypnosis sessions varies from person to person and can be determined during the initial assessment session. Normally a client will come each week for the first month to increase their willpower, release any emotional attachments to food and build their motivation to stay on goals to lose the excess weight they feel they have.

These sessions are extremely important at the beginning, then the sessions are tailored to the individual and their progress and goals to reach their desired weight. Often clients will come every alternate week until they have achieved their goals, reinforcing their positive behaviours and increasing motivation levels every time.

The client then moves on to the once a month protocol for support and maintenance to keep themselves focussed on their goals and desires what they want their ideal weight to be. Some group sessions are also provided to share their weight loss goals and have a supportive environment, the shared experience that keeps the motivation and progress going.

Why should you choose clinical hypnosis over other weight loss programs?

Hypnosis is a natural and long-term approach to obtain a healthy body image you desire. It helps you to be in control of what you eat, recognise when you feel emotional, stop you from reaching for those unhealthy foods. If your normal emotional response would have been in the past to eat junk foods when you felt sad, angry, frustrated or emotional, hypnosis will teach you how to manage this response in a healthy way.

When you go on a diet if feels like a chore and the negative effects are that our subconscious mind thinks we are starving and this feels uncomfortable. After a while you will feel under pressure to stay on this diet – it becomes a negative experience. Your body craves foods that will sustain you, especially those that have emotional connotations for you, and eventually, your diet fails. Your mind will trigger your self-preservation mechanism and you will go back to eating things that are not good for your weight loss.

Clinical hypnosis for weight loss is safe, natural, there is no use of medication: extreme dieting that makes you so unhappy or counting calories is not a part of the treatment.

Instead, it uses a combination of clinical hypnosis and CBT that changes the way you think and feel about food.

The focus is always on keeping the weight off long term so that once a client has achieved their weight loss target, or feels that they have the strength to continue on the right course, they don’t need further sessions.

To find out more about how clinical hypnosis can help you lose weight and keep it off, and to get started right away at home – download my eBook 10 Simple Steps To Weight Loss Success here.

If you have any further questions about clinical hypnosis for weight loss, please leave a comment below or contact me directly.

10 Steps to Increase Your Self Esteem and Propel Your Career

How you think and feel about yourself is one of the most important factors in becoming successful in your career and social life.

‘Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending’ Maria Robinson

If you are happy with what you do and who you are then you will find success, but in today’s world love for oneself is the missing link what people miss out on.

Why is the ability to build, maintain and keep your self-esteem so important?

  • Self-sabotaging thoughts – sometimes you can be your own worst enemy. By looking after your needs and keeping the bar raised high you can be motivated enough the things you like and love. And when you achieve your goals you will not self-sabotage.
  • Developing your inner stability – By liking yourself you will not look for attention and validation from other people. Then what other people say and think does affect your stability and you don’t need the recognition to feel good. When they say something nice it’s a bonus!
  • Your relationships and friendships will be healthier – if you display ‘needy’ characteristics or lack the confidence to be yourself, your relationships will not be built on a sound footing. Therefore if you can nurture your self-esteem you will also build better relationships with the people around you.
  • You will feel happier – in my experience when I like and value myself, I am a happier person and I am able to achieve success with my goals.

Here are 10 ways you can start to build your self-esteem today:

  1. Stop being your own internal critic – learn to handle and replace that judgmental voice inside you or you will drag your self-confidence down. What does the negative chatter say – you are not good at doing things and your job or you don’t look so good? When you hear the critical voice in your head replace it by saying STOP, a positive thought, an affirmation, or my favourite saying ‘no, we are not doing that again’. Or you can use your favourite saying or a constructive thought that resonates with you. As long it motivates you to find better ways to move forward rather than listening to the inner critical voice.
  2. Choose healthier habits – motivate yourself with thoughts and actions that will build your self-esteem and you are less likely to listen to the inner critic. You can do this by reminding yourself of the positive benefits using written or recorded motivational quotes or words that you keep somewhere easily accessible for daily reading. Think about what you would really like to do and refocus your energies on your needs and what’s important to you.
  3. Take a 2-minute gratitude break – a simple habit of following is to take a break for a couple of minutes every day to appreciate what you do. Do this exercise by writing down three things you do that you feel good about and appreciate about yourself, such as “I can make people laugh when they are stressed or I can be thoughtful when someone needs my help” etc. It may be for only two minutes but it’s a powerful way to turn off your negative thoughts, boost your self-esteem and fill you with positive energy.
  4. Do the things that will raise your self-esteem – exercise and eat healthy meals will make you feel good about yourself. Keeping that focus is not easy but can make a difference how you think and feel about yourself and get the results you want.
  5. Being perfect is not important – replace the thoughts that are destructive especially about being perfect. To overcome the perfectionist habits – go for the words ‘that is good enough for me’. Buying into the perfect myth in life can hurt your motivation and harm your job, family life and ability to achieve.
  6. Be aware that people make mistakes and look at them positively – fear of failure can stop us from trying to achieve our goals resulting in never fulfilling our potential. If you do struggle – try to relax and stay calm, don’t beat yourself up, find another way to be constructive and achieve your goals.
  7. Be kind towards people – it doesn’t take a lot to be kind and you will be treated like you treat others. Listen when someone has something to say about their problems. Encourage your family or friends to try new things and motivate them. Help someone in a practical manner.
  8. Stop comparing yourself to other people – everyone is different and if you focus on comparing yourself to other people you will have this self-destructive habit that goes nowhere. There are always people who do better than you, so focus on the goals you wish to achieve, not on what other people are doing.
  9. Spend time with motivational people – find someone you admire and emulate them. Also, avoid negative people that drag you down. Being kinder to yourself and to the people that motivate you, will replace the trying to ‘be perfect’ habit, will help you move forward and will give you a fresh perception of the way you want your life to be.
  10. Remember why is it important to build your self-esteem – to keep you motivated and build unstoppable self-confidence. Remembering the reasons why you want to build your self-esteem and making it your priority, this will help you achieve your goals in life.

If lack of self-esteem is preventing you from being successful in your business or personal life, there is help available. Don’t let anxiety and low self-confidence hold you back in your social life and career anymore. Therapies such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) can help you tackle low self-esteem, negative thoughts and self-destructive habits. Find out more by calling me for an informal chat about your needs. 07967151790 or [email protected]

Quitting Smoking When You’ve Tried Unsuccessfully Before

In my experience, by the time clients seek help to quit smoking using hypnotherapy they’ve already tried a number of other ways to stop – unsuccessfully. In this post, I’m going to share how one client who had smoked for many years and had tried to quit smoking several times, finally kicked the habit. If you are struggling to stop smoking, I hope that this will inspire you to try again.

Stop Smoking With Hypnotherapy A Case Study

Harry had tried many times over the past 5 years to quit smoking but always started up again when he felt his addiction to cigarettes return. He regularly said to himself ‘I have done damage to myself already so why should I quit smoking now, I won’t be able to cope with the cravings and anxiety I feel when I am not smoking’. But then he had a bout of pneumonia and the doctor warned him that if he continued to smoke he would seriously damage his health. He also has high blood pressure and gastric problems and a combination of these health issues motivated him to take action.

Harry had warnings about his health before but could not keep the cravings at bay and kept going back to his smoking habit. Harry smoked roll-up cigarettes for 25 years since he was 14 years old and as the years went by he was smoking more and more without realising how many he smoked in the day. Due to his addiction to smoking, his wife had started smoking too. He had a dedicated a room outside as his office, in reality, it was his smoking room. He has 3 children and the thing that made him contact me was a small sentence that his 10-year-old son said to him on the way to football practice. He said ‘dad you won’t be there will you when I grow up’ This made him stop and think and he contacted me in desperation as he really wanted to see his son grow up and become an adult.

Harry knew that if he did not change his smoking behaviour he would not be around for his kids, he has 2 younger children as well. He had tried vaping, nicotine patches and gum but none of them worked for him. He spoke about his struggles to a close friend who told about how he had quit using cognitive behaviour therapy and hypnosis. When Harry finally made that call, he had decided that it was the time he changed his habits and behaviours and make a life-changing decision to give up smoking for good. He wanted to get to the root cause of his smoking behaviour long-term and get back in control of his life.

After the first session, Harry was able to throw away all the roll-up cigarettes he had. He cleared his house, turned his ‘office’ into a playroom for his kids and started to spend time with his family that he had not ever done before. He also took an interest in the little odd jobs around the house that had piled up and started to tackle them one by one. He spent the first weekend in years attending to his family needs and having fun.

Making The Decision To Quit

When Harry came to our first session, he smoked 40-50 roll-up cigarettes a day, not noticing how many he was smoking in a day. When he realised what he was doing to his body and health, he made the life-changing decision to stop. His ‘aha’ moment came when his son said ‘you won’t be there dad when I grow up’ this struck a chord with him and he was shocked and surprised about.

After 5 sessions Harry was:

  • Not smoking, and had removed all cigarettes and evidence of smoking from his house and car
  • Was spending more time with his family, and encouraging his wife to stop smoking too
  • Joined a gym and working on getting his health back on track
  • Saving money – by not smoking he was able to book a holiday in the Autumn so he and his family could have some quality time together

“When I met Andrea my goal was to reduce my cigarette smoking as it relieved my stress but with her sessions I learned to cope with my stress and when I was under pressure and focused on quitting for good.” Harry

CBT focuses on the here and now – not what has happened in the past but how you are feeling today. Harry identified his negative thoughts and developed a new way of thinking about his life. He identified his distorted thought patterns and learned to deal with the stress that caused him to smoke. He was able to:

  • Build his self-confidence in his abilities at work
  • Motivate himself to quit smoking for good and never touch another cigarette again
  • Identify the triggers that caused him to smoke and using the techniques I taught him to respond differently in those situations
  • He learned to stay calm, relaxed and resisted the urge to smoke in times of stress
  • He changed his negative thoughts from ‘why am I trying to quit when I never will quit or what’s the point of quitting’ to ‘I feel good that I have quit smoking and I am happier and healthier than before, I will be there for my kids when they grow up’
  • He also replaced negative and destructive thought patterns with positive and healthy thoughts
  • He used the skills and techniques I taught to build a positive self-image without cigarettes
  • He learnt strategies like breathing exercises, mindfulness and importance of healthy eating habits, exercising of mind and body.

Harry said,

“I felt at the end of my tether when I came to Andrea and frustrated as I could not move forward with my life. I felt stuck and thought that if I don’t make changes now I will lose my family. I now feel fantastic. I have quit smoking permanently, choosing a healthy way of living. Identifying what causing me to smoke and keep smoking was the key to my success, it has been one of the best things that has happened to me. I will continue to use the techniques that Andrea has given me and am working on long-term goals.”

I have designed an online ‘Stop Smoking Course’ that can help you quit like Harry, click here for more details. Alternatively, if you would like to speak to me about giving up smoking and the options you have available, please contact me on 0796 715 1790 or email [email protected]

Why Are You Procrastinating? Positive Steps For Business People

Is procrastinating about things you have to do or must do, a good or a bad thing? Being negative about your delaying habits is not good for your self-esteem – you feel guilty about being lazy, feel unmotivated, and your list of to-do things gets longer and longer and you feel anxious and stressed. However sometimes procrastinators are very creative, and once they get to work on a project they can be more productive and create better results. If the consequence of this that other stuff doesn’t get done – dirty laundry and dishes, invoicing put off for another week – that can be OK.

What’s Going On When We Procrastinate?

When you delay doing a task that means your unconscious mind is working on the task and you are not ready to showcase your final project. So when finding other things to do such as cleaning the house, updating your social media profiles, or doing less important activities, you are letting your ideas percolate and giving your creativity and brain time to get a feel of the project. If you want to find a creative way to finish your project, procrastination happens when you are planning in your mind, letting the different pieces of information sink in and when you sit to start the job it synthesises it all in.

Daydreaming and procrastination also allow for your stress for the deadline to build and increases your motivation. There is an invisible relationship between your performance and the stress you feel and you can harness this together proactively. You can use this as your strategy to be more productive without allowing the feelings of overwhelming to build. Most people think that things need to be done a certain way but changing things up and letting your creativity flow is the smart thing to do. For example, if you had to start a report today, rushed to complete it but made lots of mistakes because you have not thought it through, you may find it surprising beneficial to spend some time procrastinating and then rework the project.

How To Procrastinate Proactively

Here are five steps that businesspeople can use to turn their procrastination into a positive force:

  1. Intentionally procrastinate: do this so you can percolate your ideas, giving yourself the time to be sure and think. Allow some time to procrastinate when setting yourself deadlines.
  2. Find out why you are procrastinating and what is the reason you are stalling from doing the job you need to. Maybe the reason you’re procrastinating is because you’re not actually ready to see through your ideas? Perhaps you don’t believe your plan is a good one, or that a product or service is really ready to launch. These uncertainties may be causing your subconscious to put the breaks on while you think things through. Or are you delaying because it’s against your values and principles? Do you fear failure? If you can find out the answers to all these questions then you will be able to move on.
  3. Don’t let your guilt about procrastinating stop you from moving forward with your business idea or product. If you start to have negative thoughts you will let your mind get into a negative spin of procrastination and be self-critical about your ideas. Don’t beat yourself up about procrastinating, instead see it as a positive that can actually help you long term.
  4. Solving the problem that causes you to procrastinate. If you’re putting off doing something because it’s daunting, find a way to break it down into smaller chunks. You may think you’re procrastinating because of the ‘big challenge’ but you may find it’s actually because of a single element of the overall challenge. For example, perhaps you need to have a difficult conversation to push the project through, or there’s a task involved that you don’t enjoy doing. You may find that tackling these head on will release your productivity.
  5. Make your business colleague or a friend help you be accountable – team up with this friend in order to share deadlines, achieve your goals and share ideas or suggestions that will make sure you meet your deadlines. You can both help stay accountable and on track by collaborating and talking or planning together to figure how to best achieve your goal.

If you find that your productivity and success if hampered by procrastinating and you’re struggling to turn it from a negative into a positive, cognitive behaviour therapy can help. For a free consultation or chat about the challenges you’re facing, contact me to see whether CBT could help you focus on what’s important.

Call 07967 151790 or email [email protected]

10 Mental Strategies For Weight Loss – Think Yourself Thin

One of the most common issues I help clients with is weight loss. Generally, when someone comes to see me it’s after several attempts to lose weight. They’ve tried various diets, exercise regimes and weight loss plans but haven’t been able to keep up with them and the weight has crept back.

The reason for this is often a combination of unrealistic expectations, unsustainable weight loss plans, and entrenched self-defeating habits and behaviours that make losing weight and keeping it off even harder.

In modern day society, people like to feel instantly gratified and tend to lose interest if losing weight takes too long. But most people lose weight slowly and keeping to a diet plan is a difficult and a lengthy process. Normally it is advisable to lose 1-2 pounds of weight per week and if we lose weight fast we lose lean tissue and water but not fat.

Keeping to a weight loss plan over time is hard. This is why it is really important to address what’s going on in your head, as much as what’s happening to the rest of your body. If you can change those self-defeating habits, how you view food and install some positive behaviours that will help you stick to your plan; you’ll have much better chance of losing the weight for good.

Weight Loss Strategies: Install Positive Habits And Behaviours

So here are 10 mental strategies for weight loss so you can achieve your weight loss goals and think yourself thin.

  1. Imagine yourself thin. Visualise yourself being thin 3 – 6 months in the future and how great you look wearing the clothes you want to wear. Find photos of you when you were your thinner self and this help motivate to achieve your ideal goal weight. Make a list of the different ways you can incorporate this into your life. Think or imagine you are eating less and not indulging in unhealthy foods.
  2. Break your old habits and see a positive image of yourself. Choose activities like a new yoga or Zumba class that will distract you and give you a new focus and a new you.
  3. Have realistic expectations. When setting your weight loss goals make sure they’re realistic and achievable. Losing a lot of weight quickly is not healthy and is often incompatible with daily life. If your exercise and diet plan does not fit in with your lifestyle, you’re more likely to fail. Of course, any weight loss plan involves making adjustments and compromises to your unhealthy lifestyle, but a balance needs to be achieved to ensure you can stick to it.
  4. Set small goals that are (SMART) specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Make a list of these smart and small goals that would improve your health and lifestyle and change your attitude to weight loss completely. Eating healthier meals with fruits and vegetables, getting 30 minutes of exercise per day, drinking less alcohol, eating healthy snacks, eating a salad instead of potato chips will help you to succeed in your goals.
  5. Accept support from your family and friends. Enlist friends and family to support your weight loss plan and help make you accountable. Even better lose weight with a friend so you can both motivate and support each other. Alternatively get an app that will send motivational messages and keep you on track when you have cravings. If you do have a day where you have indulged in a naughty treat then don’t beat yourself up but think of it as an off day and start again. Make this your one splurge of the week.
  6. Setting your action plan in motion. Create a programme for your exercise regime and a weekly healthy meal plan and you will see results. Make this a priority so can start building healthy behaviours from the offset so these become second nature.
  7. Give yourself a reward. A massage, a day at the spa, movie with a dear friend, this will help you feel good and grow your confidence. Reward yourself for accomplishing your goals you will feel good about your weight and celebrate your healthier self.
  8. Get rid of old habits of eating junk food if you want to succeed in losing weight. Identify the times when you are most likely to eat unhealthy foods such as cakes, biscuits and crisps. Swap them for healthy alternatives like a glass of water, fruit or nuts. Clear out the unhealthy snacks and replace them with better choices so you have less temptation to reach for the things that will cause you to put on weight.
  9. Keep a record of meals and snacks. Make a note of when and what you eat so that you can see how well you’re doing and also spot any triggers that cause you to eat unhealthily. For example, you may notice that if you haven’t eaten a proper meal at lunchtime you end up snacking on unhealthy food later in the day. With this information, you can plan your meals better, and avoid those unhealthy habits. By keeping a record you will also stay accountable so you less likely to go off track.
  10. Visualise you have a magic pause button inside you that stops you from reaching for the junk foods. If you feel like indulging in naughty foods ‘Pause and Think’ for at least 5-10 minutes before you make that decision to eat the chocolate bar. By not immediately giving in to your cravings you will realise that you do have the willpower to take control of your diet and weight.

For more support with losing weight download my eBook 10 Simple Steps To Weight Loss Success.

The Biggest Barrier To Success Is Self-Limiting Belief

What you believe in reflects what you experience in your life. How strong your self-belief is measured in terms of your success.

Many people do not have a clear idea about what is that they want, and what it is that they don’t want. Often we have made our goals a long time ago and never looked at them again or re-evaluated them. If you want to succeed it is time you set SMART (Simple Measurable Achievable Realistic Timely) goals and make them visible so they can be fresh and present in your mind and not hide in a drawer somewhere.

In this post, I will share some ways to overcome self-limiting beliefs that may be affecting your career or ability to make a success of your business.

How To Achieve Your Goals 

‘Building a successful business is not embracing someone else’s philosophy, but staying true to your own beliefs about the world and learning from the mistakes you make along the way.’ – Ben Parr

  • Being curious and learning as much as possible about how you can achieve your goal can be your first step in your journey. Start with researching online courses, reading books and listening to people who are successful – this will give you a benchmark about what you need to do to achieve your goals. Finding someone you respect and admire to mentor you is an excellent way to get the knowledge you desire, as well as support from someone who has ‘been there’. Don’t be afraid to approach someone about whether they would be prepared to help. Many successful business leaders want to contribute and help others succeed.

‘My beliefs will run through everything I do. My beliefs, and my values are my anchor when people try to drag me down, as I know they will, it is to that sense of right and wrong, that sense of whom I am and what I believe, to which I will always hold.’ – Ed Miliband

  • Use the different ideas you have learnt to create something unique and tailored to what you want to achieve is another step in your journey. Take risks, be brave and dare to be different. Concentrate on your end result and list all the things you need to do get the outcome you want. Try not to be distracted by what others are doing. When you try to be competitive you will focus on other people, so just try to succeed at your own pace but with determination. Believe in your mind that you can do it and you will use all your energy and commitment to achieve success.

‘People have a lot of different beliefs, and at the end of the day, we all have deeply held beliefs that probably don’t make sense to anyone.’ – Trey Parker

  • Think positively about your goals, and do not look at obstacles before you even start. Being positive and believing in your ability to achieve your goals will get you where you need to be. If you tend to be influenced by negative people then you will find it difficult to succeed. Fuel your desire for success with strong positive affirmations, don’t be afraid to fail as you will learn from your mistakes, face difficult challenges and view yourself without the self-limiting beliefs and negativity. Make a commitment to yourself to work hard and let nothing stand in your way to achieving the success you want.

Every business owner has to overcome their self-limiting beliefs before they grow and succeed in business. You might have buried these limiting beliefs or your fear of failure has stopped you from taking risks, but they will stop you from achieving your full potential.

The key to your success is growing, learning and development of a mindset that takes action and conquers doubt.

Here’s how to deal with five common self-limiting beliefs:

  1. Not feeling confident about what you say – it’s very common for business owners to question whether what they say about their business is good enough. The feedback that you receive from your prospective clients will tell if your content is good. Are emails that you have sent out being opened, have people been engaging on your social media posts, are people commenting on your blogs and visiting your website? Are you making sales? If you want to succeed don’t second-guess yourself and think that your efforts aren’t good enough. Look for evidence from other people about whether you’re getting it right. Don’t let this become a belief that is self-limiting to your success.
  2. Pricing your services correctly – people find money a difficult topic especially when you ask for payment. If you charge a fair price, your clients will value your services and you will give them your best. As you are offering to help your clients with their biggest struggles, base your charges on the value you provide.
  3. Competition – even if there are a lot of people providing the same service, you are unique and embrace that. Most people try to follow influencers in their field and mimic them, blend in and they don’t try to be different due to their self-limiting beliefs. Believe in yourself and infuse that in your business and you will be successful.
  4. Lack of confidence in your credentials – as a business entrepreneur your knowledge and confidence come from years of learning your subject and experience. While in some fields qualifications are essential, in others experience and natural ability are more important. Focus on building your credentials by delivering an excellent service to the clients you are helping.
  5. Not enough money and resources – most businesses require a financial contribution to get them off the ground, and without investment, it may hold them back. Don’t let money become a self-limiting belief that prevents you from growing your business. There are a lot of free resources out there, so learn and build your business step-by-step.

Changing your negative mindset that tells you that ‘you can’t do it’ or that you’re not good enough’ is vital if you want to succeed in business. Acknowledging that you have these thoughts is the first step; the next is to overcome them with more positive thoughts and beliefs. If you are struggling to overcome your limiting self-beliefs, you may find that cognitive behaviour therapy can help, providing you with the opportunity, to be frank with yourself, rationalise these thoughts, and change your attitudes and entrenched views.

From a business perspective getting help with this early could enable you to fast track your business success and achieve your goals sooner.

If you would like to chat about any of the issues explored in this post and find out more about my services and how I’ve to help business owners overcome their self-limiting beliefs, please get in touch. Call 0796 715 1790 or email [email protected]

Frightened Of Spiders? How To Overcome Your Fear Phobia

 

It’s the beginning of September and the spiders are out in force, coming indoors at this time of the year as the weather changes. Fear of spiders is called Arachnophobia and it is a very common phobia. So how to cope with your spider phobia?

I recently helped Wendy who had a long-term fear of spiders. With just one session of hypnotherapy, we were able to cure this phobia allowing her to deal with these eight-legged creatures in a much more controlled way.

How To Overcome Your Fear Of Spiders

As Wendy says, when faced with a spider her anxiety was so high that she once jumped on the dining table to wait for her husband to come home and deal with it. Her flight or fight response naturally kicked in to help her with her anxiety levels. Her heart rate, breathing rate and adrenaline levels increased.

If you have a similar response to spiders or other phobias you will know that someone telling you to calm down is not very helpful. Instead, a good method is to learn to control your breathing and stay calm, with the understanding that the spider or other fear will not actually hurt you.

Generally, when we are stressed our breathing quickens and when we are relaxed and calm we take deep slow breaths. By reversing your panic and anxiety symptoms when confronted by a spider, reducing hyperventilation and guiding your body towards being calmer, you will be in control. Also by mentally relaxing your mind and slowing your breathing rate, you will feel strong and in control of your fear.

Deep breathing techniques are powerful and can be used to:

  • To calm anxiety and panic attacks
  • Reduces your breathing when you hyperventilate
  • To calm your emotional arousal when you are in the presence of a spider
  • To relax and be in control of your mind and body

During her hypnotherapy session, I helped Wendy learn how to control her response when she sees a spider, giving her time to use relaxation techniques before her anxiety has a chance to escalate.

Here’s how to teach yourself deep breathing techniques that you can then use when confronted by your fears.

Deep Breathing For Fears And Phobias

Sit in a quiet place on your couch or lie on your bed and make your body comfortable (this might be difficult when you are anxious due to the presence of a spider but try to sit somewhere where you can relax).

Notice where you are tense and anxious and where you hold it in your body – tighten your muscles and relax them. Place both hands on your tummy and take deep long breaths – gently breath in and out, fill your lungs and then let go. You will feel your tummy inflating and falling with each in-breath and out-breath and not your chest. Notice how each in-breath feels and how it feels on the out-breath. Focus on your tummy as you breath out.

To get the best benefit in order to gain control over your overall breathing patterns always practice this at least 4 -5 times a day.

How to cope with your fear of spiders or other phobias: A practical technique:

  1. On a scale of 0 to 10 (with 10 the most scared) rate, your anxiety or nervousness with regards the fear you feel,
  2. Relax your mind and keep your eyes closed,
  3. Visualise the situation or imagine (first image) what it is like when you see a spider or experience your phobia. See what you see and hear what you would hear when you are in this situation and observe the tension, anxiety, panic and nervousness,
  4. Now imagine another image (second image) inside your first image, but this time virtualise yourself being calm and confident. Create a big image of yourself fighting this fear and winning, use previous experiences of being successful at something to help you recreate how this feels,
  5. Bring in the first image of that fearful situation, looking and hearing what you would when you are faced with seeing the spider, feeling scared and anxious,
  6. Quickly squash this fear your second image – calm and confident, breathing gently notice everything around you and the way you feel and behave,
  7. Focus on the calm image for about five seconds,
  8. Then open and quickly close your eyes,
  9. Now repeat your steps 4 till 8 for another 9 repetitions (repeating it for a total 10 times),
  10. Check if your nervousness and anxiety has come down between on a 0 to 10 scale
  11. If you still feel stressed repeat steps 4 to 8 for another 10 repetitions until you feel comfortable.

Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) uses systematic desensitisation and exposure therapy involving restructuring the way you think about spiders.

CBT helps by restructuring the way you feel (fear) and think about spiders and your action or behaviour of avoiding spiders. CBT helps by challenging and replacing your automatic thoughts, for example by replacing “I am scared and spiders will hurt me” to “Spiders are ok and are just small animals that run away when approached”.

When you get overwhelmed with your fears and phobias and you consciously scan your environment constantly for possible threats; a way to feel better is to reduce your general anxiety and stress. Generally, if your anxiety is high, perhaps because of other issues such work-related stress, relationship difficulties and low self-confidence, you can start to obsess about certain things. Your underlying anxiety is down to these issues, but it manifests most strongly in your fear of spiders or another phobia.

The benefits of reducing your anxiety will quieten your mind so you don’t obsess about things. By practicing deep breathing techniques, mindfulness, self-hypnosis, meditation and yoga you can achieve a calm and happier lifestyle.

If you have a spider phobia or any other fears that are making you unhappy, please contact me to discuss how cognitive behaviour therapy can help. Call 07967 151790 or email [email protected]

Why Do Men Find It Easier To Give Up Smoking Than Women?

Samantha says, ‘I have been trying to give up smoking for years. I have managed 3 times for a short time but always find myself starting again. I have tried really hard but find myself hopelessly addicted. My husband was trying to quit the same time as me and has given up for 3 weeks now.’

She’s not alone. Many women have similar stories of finding giving up smoking much harder than their male friends and family. So, why do men find it easier to give up smoking than women?

Generally, men find it easier to quit smoking than women because of the different ways our brains respond to nicotine addiction. Cigarette smoking tends to be a more of an emotional attachment to women, than physical. This is why addressing the emotional satisfaction and associations with the act of smoking, before the physical cravings, is so important for women to successful quit smoking for good.

Nicotine Receptors And Giving Up Smoking

Researchers at the Yale University School of Medicine in the US conducted a study that found that men had more nicotine receptors compared to men that did not smoke. Conversely, women who smoked had an equal number of nicotine receptors to the woman that did not smoke.

“When you look at it by gender, you see this big difference,” said study researcher Kelly Cosgrove, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine.

These findings are important because it suggests that addressing nicotine addiction is not as important for women, as for men. While men may benefit from smoking cessation treatments such as nicotine patches and gum, women need to take a different approach. The researchers in the study suggest that women benefit more from cognitive behaviour therapies that help to address the emotional and cultural reasons they smoke. Relaxation and deep breathing exercises may also help more than using nicotine replacement therapies.

Emotional Reasons For Smoking

For women, smoking can often be associated with emotional triggers such as having coffee with a friend, occupying themselves when feeling insecure or the tactile sensation of having a cigarette between their fingers.

Here are some of the reasons why women find it difficult to give up cigarettes:

  1. Women often find when they are stressed and anxious they relapse because they equate smoking with relaxation,
  2. Women may find withdrawal symptoms harder to manage because they are not just fighting their nicotine addiction but also the sensation or act of smoking,
  3. Aids like nicotine replacement – gums and patches are not as effective with women due to how nicotine affects their brain,
  4. Women may also be apprehensive about putting on weight, it’s a popular belief that they replace cigarettes with junk food, and may justify smoking for weight control,
  5. Hormones fluctuations during the menstrual cycle can make quitting harder as women may also have to contend with emotions that cause them fall back into the smoking habit.

How Women Can Increase Their Chances Of Quitting For Good

If you really want to stop smoking you need to learn to cope with difficult feelings or situations. This may mean finding alternative ways of dealing stress.

For many, smoking is seen as a stress reliever (although it actually increases stress) so deep breathing exercises that mimic the habit of cigarette puffing, can really help. In fact, deep breathing exercises can not only provide a substitute for smoking but effectively reduce stress levels, unlike cigarettes.

Motivating and building self-confidence can also play an important role in quit smoking.

  1. Identify triggers to your smoking habit: when are you likely to feel like smoking? Recognise your patterns and understanding what your triggers to smoking are,
  2. Identify the reasons that you keep smoking. What causes you to have low mood and self-esteem, be anxious, get stressed etc.?
  3. Do things differently. Don’t try to do quit using the same approach as your male friends and relatives. Get support from a Cognitive Behaviour Therapist; try mindfulness, deep breathing exercises, and ask for support from family and friends and the people closest to you,
  4. Set goals: SMART- simple, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely goals: Set a date, time and clear all the cigarettes from your home, desk and car,
  5. Drink plenty of water at least 6-8 glasses per day,
  6. Start a plan to exercise regularly and keep the momentum going,
  7. Avoid situation that will cause you to smoke again – social situations, friends that smoke, going to the pub. Don’t worry it’s only a temporary measure, once you’ve taken control of your smoking you can start to do these things again!
  8. Get a new hobby to replace your addictive habit,
  9. Use positive self-talk that will motivate and distract you from smoking. Many women find that delaying smoking a cigarette is an effective way to reduce the amount you smoke over time. For example, instead of having your first cigarette on the way to work, decide to have it later in the day and gradually extend this period of time. The feeling of empowerment can be very motivating – taking control – in fact, you might then decide to delay that first cigarette for good.
  10. Your nicotine craving will last only for 20 minutes so tell yourself, ‘it will pass, I can get through it.’

Women need to develop the confidence to find the best way to give up smoking for them. Instead of being influenced by what works for other people, particularly men, or what manufacturers of nicotine replacement products advocate, women need to understand what techniques will be effective for them.

In my opinion, the first step is to understand why you smoke. Forget about nicotine addiction, but focus on the emotional reasons you crave cigarettes and address these first.

If you would like to find out more about cognitive behaviour therapy and how this can be used to uncover those emotional triggers and teach you healthier ways to manage these, and give up smoking, contact me for an informal chat.

You may also like to take advantage of a free 30 minute consultation to chat through any issues you currently face.

Weight Loss With CBT: A Case Study

A wake-up call from his doctor warning that he was pre-diabetic and on a slippery slope to becoming morbidly obese; was the catalyst that resulted in him contacting me.

Toby knew that he needed to change his behaviour and habits around food. Slimming products were not having the desired effect as he was overeating and not exercising. Having found out about Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and clinical hypnotherapy, he decided that this was the way to turn his life around.

In just 6 sessions Toby was able to:

  • Gain control over his excessive eating and take control over what he eats,
  • Start an exercise regimen to suit his schedule and has now been going to the gym for the last two months,
  • Lose his target weight of 1 and a half stone in the 2 months since he has been to therapy with me.

Overweight And Miserable

When Toby came to me he was 42, four stone overweight, and living with his mother. He was increasingly finding that his weight was affecting his health, he found it difficult to get around and a blood test had shown his blood sugar levels were too high. His doctor had spelt out the prognosis, ‘lose the weight or you’ll become diabetic’ – diabetes and obesity can lead to other chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease.

As well as the impact on his physical health he was also feeling unhappy, self-conscious, anxious and lacked self-confidence because of his weight. This meant that he didn’t socialise and spent most of his free time playing computer games and watching old movies with his mum.

Bad Habits

When he first contacted me Toby said, ‘I snack a lot after my main meals, eating bread, chocolate, fatty foods and fizzy drinks. My mum cooks huge meals and I don’t want to hurt her feelings so I eat even when I am not hungry. I struggle with anxiety and panic attacks and eating makes me feel better, but that has meant I’ve withdrawn from the outside world and I’ve been hiding at home with mum’.

As his weight has increased Toby has found exercising difficult. He’s self-conscious of his body fat and his low mood has prevented him from feeling motivated and strong enough to go to the gym or to the pool for a swim.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy And Clinical Hypnotherapy

‘From the minute I met Andrea I know that she understood exactly how I felt and she immediately put me at ease. The sessions were relaxed, informative and I learnt calming and relaxation techniques that I will take away for the rest of my life’.

The warning from his doctor came at the right time and Toby decided it was the time he took charge of his weight and life too. He thought clinical hypnotherapy would give him the motivation to change his thoughts and feelings about his image, and also his behaviour towards food. He wanted to eat less and exercise more. He wanted to start eating healthy meals, cut back on the snacks and find the motivation to exercise to tone his body. As a result, he would feel confident to go out with a few people at work and make friends. He thought that this would also give him the courage to move out and then start to cook and look after his own dietary needs. He was right!

I worked with Toby over 6 sessions and during this time he made some significant changes.

Initially, we worked on his self-esteem and his negative and self-critical feelings – ‘I am useless, worthless, unattractive, not worth loving’. We also changed his focus on food and the thoughts he had around eating – ‘if I start eating I cannot stop – I am really out of control’.

Instead, we found a new focus revolving around exercise, healthy eating and mindfulness. Taking control over his diet and food consumption has radically changed the negative emotions he had around food, and this has improved his self-esteem.

At the same time, Toby has made some changes at home and in his social life. He now cooks his own meals to ensure that they are healthy and for portion control, and he has started to socialise with a few people at work. As well as swimming once a week, he has also renewed an old hobby (bowling), which also gives him an opportunity to meet new people.

The stand out feature of this therapy was that it has changed him and his eating habits for good. He felt better that he had ever felt in his life. He also felt confident and asked his boss for a promotion and started doing a course on weekends and online so he could work towards this. CBT and clinical hypnotherapy has given him a new lease of life, and one new friendship he has made has the potential to become more serious.

‘After 6 sessions I was able to change my habits and behaviours with CBT’.

Now two months on from starting CBT and clinical hypnotherapy, he no longer has any sessions but is continuing to achieve his goals.

Toby now exercises four times a week and has lost 1 and a half stone. He feels confident that he now has the right mindset to continue this good work and lose the rest of the weight in a healthy and sensible way.

He has also moved into his own home.

Toby says, ‘In my opinion, CBT and clinical hypnotherapy is a healthier way to lose weight as it has dealt with the negative emotions and behaviours I had about food and my body image. Andrea has gently guided me towards a healthier way of living, giving me the tools to continue working towards my goals.’


If you would like to talk in confidence about your relationship with food, weight loss, body image, anxiety or any other issue that Toby’s story highlights, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation. You can call 07967 151 790, email [email protected] or book a consultation here.

 

Is Fear Of Failure Damaging Your Career Or Business Opportunities?

Lack of confidence or a fear of failure is a common issue that many business owners and professionals suffer from. It can cause problems with your health and personal life and could damage your career. This fear of failing is conditioned in us and is caused by mistakes made in the past or our childhood experiences. To advance in life and stop things that will remove you from the world of opportunity, you can make a choice to overcome this fear and improve your self-confidence.

  • Do you find it difficult to finish a project because you’re doubtful of the results?
  • Do you, in front of strangers, avoid making a stand on issues you are passionate about?
  • Do you hide away from networking for your business with strangers even if it’s important?
  • Do you avoid pitching to new clients or applying for new jobs because you think you might not get it – even when you have the right experience and expertise?

If any of the above questions resonate with you then you should know that you are not alone. People hate to fail, failure presents itself as a threat to their motivation to be successful and they would do anything to avoid this threat. But fear of failure could actually be more damaging than failure itself, stopping you grasping new opportunities or taking risks that could result in career development or business success.

Fear Of Failure, Self-Confidence And Self-Esteem

Signs that you fear to fail at things:

  • Hesitation in trying something new or getting involved in a project that challenges you.
  • Anxious thoughts and procrastination that damage your self-esteem, and telling yourself that you are unable to complete your goals.
  • Low self-confidence reinforced by your negative thoughts.
  • Limiting yourself by only attempting challenges that you can finish perfectly, or you don’t try at all.

As you can see if you are risk-averse and always try to avoid doing things that you might potentially fail at, you limit your opportunities and also damage your self-esteem. However, if you view these perceived failures as opportunities to grow, learn, adapt to new things, and make positive changes, you can use failure as a tool to help you achieve more than if you didn’t try to start with.

  • Are you risk-adverse? If you fail at something you can learn from your mistakes and the next time it will be better. How you perceive this failure and use this as a stepping-stone towards managing these setbacks can be seen as a secret towards your success.
  • Do you give up really easily? Your career and ambition is important and there will be challenges ahead, some will be easy and some are difficult. Don’t give up too quickly or you might regret it and it will damage your future.
  • Do you have expectations that are unrealistic? When you make your goals make them SMART (Simple Measurable Achievable Realistic Timely) and accept that you can only do this within your limitations. In order to achieve success take your first challenge and then the next and next one after.

You can be successful if you are realistic, expect to face a few failures, obstacles and problems; acknowledge them, deal with them and never give up. Ask yourself ‘How much further would I be in my career if I could gain control over the fear of failure?’

“Failure is simply an opportunity to being again, this time more intelligently” Henry Ford.

How To Overcome The Fear Of Failure

The first step is to acknowledge that with the choices and decisions we make there is always a chance we can fail. Face the challenge that you have in front of you and embrace it.

  • Evaluate all potential outcomes: If you have a clear idea of possible outcomes, good and bad, you will be in control and this is has a positive effect on self-esteem.
  • Stop thinking negatively: It’s normal for you to fear failure but if it’s preventing you from achieving what you want out of life, it’s time to take control and get help.
  • Think positively: An incredibly powerful way to build your self-confidence is by eliminating all self-sabotaging thoughts and focus on positive thinking.
  • Have a plan for unforeseen circumstances: When you know what you will do if things don’t work out, you will be able to move forward and build confidence in yourself.

Goal setting is another important aspect. Important for self-confidence and for defining how you want to progress in your career. Experts recommend a tool called visualisation, where you can imagine your life having achieved your goals and this will keep you moving forward positively. You can start with taking small goals first and this will help build your self-confidence and prevent you from getting overwhelmed. With growing self-confidence, it will be possible to tackle the bigger goals when you’re ready.

Why Failure Can Be Positive

Once you have conquered your fear of failure, you may actually embrace it! Failure can teach us lots of useful things;

  • How to do these better or differently in the future,
  • How small fails are often insignificant when we look at the big picture,
  • How resilient and innovative you can be when things go wrong.

These experiences help us to become less risk-averse when faced with new opportunities or challenges, and this, in turn, means you are more likely to succeed and achieve your goals.

Changing the way you think about failure, your self-esteem and self-confidence can be difficult, especially if your fear of failure has become entrenched. However the benefits of overcoming this fear are infinite – potentially opening up an exciting new career trajectory, business growth, wealth or job satisfaction.


If this is something you struggle with and would like help for, contact me for an informal chat and to see whether a few sessions of hypnotherapy for confidence could help you.

07967151790 or [email protected]