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Weight loss

There's no denying it - trying to lose weight can be a long and challenging journey. If you've ever tried and failed to lose weight before then you probably know just how frustrating it can be - especially when feelings like stress, low self-esteem and boredom crop up.

It's not unusual for people to get into a cycle of dieting, overeating, feeling guilty and dieting again. This is known as 'yo-yo dieting' and makes weight loss difficult to sustain.

While diets and nutrition plans focus on what you eat and how often, hypnotherapy for weight loss changes how you feel about what you eat. For example - on a diet you might eat a carrot and wish you were eating a carrot cake, but with hypnotherapy you can learn to enjoy the carrot and not give that cake a second thought. It might be hard to imagine a world where you'd happily turn down your favourite food for something healthier, but with certain weight loss hypnotherapy techniques, it may be possible to change your thinking patterns and gain control over cravings in a way that doesn't feel like a punishment or 'another diet'.

By targeting the unconscious mind with powerful suggestion techniques, a hypnotherapist will help you develop a positive relationship with food and exercise. The aim of hypnotherapy for weight loss is to make you feel confident about your body, change any negative thoughts about eating and help you lose weight responsibly without impacting your emotional well-being.  

·         Do I need to lose weight?

·         Body confidence

·         Why can't I lose weight?

·         How does hypnosis for weight loss work?

·         Will hypnotherapy for weight loss work for me?

·         Hypnotherapy for weight loss techniques

Do I need to lose weight?

A lot of people insist they need to lose weight, whether they're overweight or not. The truth is, very few people are happy with the shape and size of their bodies, regardless of whether or not they need to lose weight.

According to recent statistics from Public Health England, nearly two-thirds of adults in England need to lose weight because they're overweight or obese.

You may need to lose weight if you:

·         have a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more

·         are a man with a waist circumference that exceeds 37 inches

·         are a woman with a waist circumference that exceeds 32 inches

·         have a high body fat percentage for your age and sex

·         have pain in your joints (excess weight puts greater stress on joints)

·         have type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease.

Working out your BMI

1.     Firstly, find your weight in kilograms and your height in metres - e.g. weight = 50 kg height = 1.8

2.     Multiply your height by itself - e.g. 1.8 x 1.8 = 3.24

3.     Divide your weight by that figure - e.g. 50 ÷ 3.24 = 15.4

4.     15.4 is a BMI that is below the healthy body weight range.

If you do not have access to a set of scales at home then simply visit your GP or practice nurse, either of whom will measure your height, find out your weight and tell you your BMI.

To lose weight it's important to eat a balanced, healthy diet and exercise more. Signs you are overeating include:

·         You eat so fast you do not really taste the flavours in the food or notice your body signalling that it is full.

·         You always eat everything on your plate even if you are full, so as not to waste food (this can be reinforced by parents during childhood).

·         You eat when you are bored or lonely.

·         You eat when you are upset or miserable.

·         You eat to reward yourself (i.e. I've done so well at the gym, I deserve this chocolate bar).

It's unhealthy to be overweight or obese because you have a higher risk of developing/suffering from:

·         type 2 diabetes

·         high blood pressure

·         high cholesterol

·         heart disease

·         stroke

·         heart attack

·         cancer.

Being heavier than average can also have social repercussions, including discrimination, verbal/emotional bullying and even physical abuse. This stigma can intensify the feelings of shame and inadequacy some people feel when they look in the mirror. Feelings like this can lead to:

·         low self-esteem

·         low self-confidence

·         anxiety

·         depression

·         stress.

All of these emotions can quite seriously reduce a person's quality of life and even have a domino effect on their careers, relationships and everyday experiences. It is for this reason that many people turn to hypnosis for weight loss, as it can help to address negative thoughts and feelings as well as the underlying causes of unhealthy eating habits which may be contributing to weight gain.

Body confidence

While it is important for overweight and obese people to lose weight for health reasons, it's not good to feel down or depressed about it. Because body shape and size is so tied in with the western idea of beauty, people are constantly looking for 'quick fixes' to cut corners. Diet pills, fad weight loss diets and gruelling exercise regimes are just some of the ways people try to lose weight. What you have to ask yourself is - am I happy doing this? Can I carry on doing this for the rest of my life?

To lose and keep weight off, you can't just go on a six-week purge and then go back to your previous habits. You have to make real and often major lifestyle changes. This can be hard - after all, sugary, fatty, starchy food tastes good and exercise takes time and effort. What makes weight loss harder is the emotions we associate with certain foods and the act of eating.

This is where hypnotherapy for weight loss can help. In order to change your body, you need to first change your mind. You have to ask yourself - why am I unhappy with my body, and why can't I lose weight?

Why can't I lose weight?

Lots of people try and fail to lose weight for a number of reasons. These reasons are often unconscious, making it hard for us to overcome them. Hypnotherapy for weight loss aims to expose these reasons, allowing clients to finally break through barriers that may have been preventing them from losing weight for many years. Common reasons you might find it hard to successfully lose weight include:

You comfort eat

When we are babies we learn to associate feeding with the comfort of our mothers. Some experts believe this association never really leaves us. As we grow older and we take on more responsibilities, life can get more stressful and food can offer a reversion back to those early days of complete dependency. If you've ever found yourself reaching for a chocolate bar after a busy day, or ordering a take-away when you feel lonely and sad, then you might be a comfort eater.

As a comfort eater you will find it more difficult to lose weight because you've let food become your coping mechanism and without it, you might not know how to deal with your emotions. Weight loss hypnotherapy can help to address this, helping you learn how to process negative emotions in a way that doesn't lead to comfort eating.

You eat mindlessly

In order to lose weight, you have to be completely honest about how much you eat and exercise. Even when you keep a food diary or use a food-tracking app, it's easy to forget about the odd snack here and there.

Perhaps you pick at ingredients while you make dinner? Do you grab something on your commute to work, or tuck into a biscuit with your afternoon tea? It's often these 'on the go' foods that catch us out but they really do add up. Even if you religiously stick to salad for dinner, conveniently ignoring all the things you eat in-between won't be doing you any favours. This type of mindless eating is something weight loss hypnotherapy can help you to overcome.

You ban food

Like a mysterious box you're told not to open, eliminating certain foods from your diet can make them all the more appealing. If you find yourself having a daily face-off with the office cookie jar, you're more likely to want to binge by the end of the week. The key to sustainable and healthy weight loss is to learn self-control. If you can train yourself to stick to just one treat every so often, without feeling tempted in-between, then you'll be able to enjoy your favourite foods without putting on weight. Significantly, a key part of hypnosis for weight loss is helping clients to regain self-control - helping them to put emotional factors aside and develop a relationship with food that is sensible and promotes a healthy weight.

You don't exercise enough

Exercise is just as important as diet when it comes to losing weight. Sometimes mental blocks can stop us wanting to exercise, including:

·         feeling a lack of energy

·         feeling too self-conscious to exercise in public

·         not wanting to sweat

·         convincing yourself you'll 'go tomorrow' (every day). 

Exercise is definitely a mental thing. Weight loss hypnotherapy can help you break down those mental blocks that are stopping you from making the most of your body. More often than not, getting your body moving and your heart pumping will make you feel better about yourself in general, leading to healthier behaviours and happiness in the long-term.

How does hypnosis for weight loss work?

Hypnotherapy for weight loss is becoming increasingly accepted, and people all over the world are finding it a beneficial means of maintaining a healthy weight in the long-term. Despite its growing popularity however, hypnosis for weight loss is still met with some scepticism. Many people are still unsure about what hypnotherapy involves and how it works.  

It is useful to know that during hypnosis you will not:

·         be out of control

·         be asleep

·         be told to do anything you don't want to do

·         have your memory erased

·         be forced to reveal your deepest darkest secrets. 

Hypnotherapy will not see you being prized open and exploited by your hypnotherapist; you will remain in control throughout your sessions.

What happens during hypnosis for weight loss?

1.     Your hypnotherapist is essentially a coach. He or she will guide you into a state of deep relaxation.

2.     Once your body and mind are in relaxation mode (much like a daydream), your hypnotherapist will be able to access your unconscious mind (the part of us that works all the time but that we're not necessarily aware of, i.e. innate instincts and survival mechanisms).

3.     Soothing, carefully worded scripts can be used to explore a client's reasons for overeating and suggest new ways of thinking through visualisations. You have the control to reject any suggestions you don't feel happy with without any guidance from your hypnotherapist.

4.     Over time - and a series of weight loss hypnotherapy sessions - you will learn how to replace your negative habits and eating patterns with positive ones suggested by your hypnotherapist.

Will hypnotherapy for weight loss work for me?

One of the most commonly asked questions in hypnotherapy consultations is - will hypnotherapy work for me? The answer to that is it's hard to know until you try it yourself. While it certainly won't work in the same way for everyone, the process of talking about developing good habits and getting rid of bad habits should help plant a new level of awareness when it comes to food and exercise.

An important thing to remember is that hypnotherapy is a complementary therapy, and therefore should be used alongside a healthy eating plan and exercise regime. If you want advice about eating better and exercising, you may find it useful to speak to your doctor or a nutritionist. It is often a combined effort of all these things that leads to success.

Hypnotherapy for weight loss techniques

While each case is different because everyone has different reasons for wanting to lose weight, some suggestions you might encounter during hypnotherapy for weight loss include:

·         Envisioning the body you want or the level of fitness/health you wish to achieve.

·         Imagining how you will feel with your new look and health.

·         Imagining yourself reaching that goal effortlessly.

·         Seeing how much you will have improved from today.

·         Imagining how energised and confident you will feel.

·         Realising that the more you exercise, the more you will want to exercise and the easier it will become to do so.

·         Whenever you get the urge to eat something unhealthy, or eat when you're not hungry, imagine not reaching your goal and think about how that will make you feel.

These visualisations and many, many more are designed to empower you so that you can take control of your choices. Hopefully through weight loss hypnosis you will learn to enjoy the taste of healthy food and stop craving sugary, fatty foods. You should also learn to enjoy your body and not see it as a source of anxiety. By tackling those deep feelings that form the foundations of your eating habits, hypnosis for weight loss can help you adopt a healthier lifestyle and a happier mind set.

 

Anxiety

Anxiety can be experienced at different levels. It can be brought on by a fear of something that happened, or what we think happened and dread happening again. While most people will experience a relatively mild form of anxiety when facing a particularly stressful situation (such as an exam or presentation), anxiety disorders are very different. An anxiety disorder can disrupt the day-to-day life of an individual.

When a person suffers from an anxiety disorder, it can sometimes lead to them avoiding certain situations because they fear it may be a trigger. This can make regular life difficult, causing the individual to miss out on many opportunities. This constant fear can begin to affect their life, preventing them from achieving potential job promotions and developing personal relationships.

 

·         Hypnotherapy for anxiety

·         What happens during a hypnotherapy session?

·         Types of anxiety

Hypnotherapy can be an effective treatment in reducing feelings of anxiety. Hypnotherapy for anxiety aims to seek the root cause of the problem. It works to change the individual’s thoughts and feelings associated with it.

Hypnotherapy for anxiety

Hypnotherapy is becoming a more recognised method for reducing feelings of anxiety. Hypnotherapy for anxiety can help boost confidence and self-belief, while reducing feelings of fear and intense worry. It can help you develop the ability to access the calm state of mind needed to overcome the often-overwhelming emotions you are living with.

Hypnotherapy for anxiety aims to access your unconscious. Using the power of suggestion, it works to promote positive change. These suggestions can be tailored to help you learn what triggers your anxiety and why, as well as changing the way you react towards them.

Hypnotherapy can begin to teach you how to regain a sense of control and normality. It can help you understand what triggers your anxiety and how to cope when you start to feel anxious.

What happens during a hypnotherapy session?

To begin, you will need to discuss  what you hope to achieve from hypnotherapy. It is likely they will ask you questions about your life to try and establish any triggers or causes for the way you feel. I will then explain how hypnosis for anxiety works.  explaining the process to you, so you know what to expect and if you are completely happy to continue the session.

After your initial consultation, I will begin by helping you enter a relaxed state of mind. I may for example ask you to focus on a time when you have felt anxious. You may be asked to focus on the physical sensations, as well as thinking of what may trigger your anxiety.

Once you have recognised these sensations, your I will offer calming words or “suggestions”. What they say will depend on you and your personal situation. For example, if you have recognised a trigger to be pressure at work or university, the suggestion may be, “You can do this. Take a moment to breathe and clear your head then tackle the problem."

The idea behind this technique is that when you start to feel anxious or fearful, the suggestions or calming words will enter your conscious mind and help you cope. Your hypnotherapist may also teach you techniques to help you relax and calm yourself down when you feel anxious feelings building.

You may find that you only need one or two sessions to help you understand why you feel this way and what you can do to cope, or you may need more. In terms of how many sessions you have, you will be able to discuss this with me. Together, we will work to decide how many sessions you would like and what techniques you believe will be most effective.

Types of anxiety

Because anxiety is a normal part of life, it can be difficult to recognise when it is becoming a problem. However, if you are experiencing strong feelings of anxiety, or they are lasting for a long time, it can become exhausting and overwhelming. The symptoms and problems associated with anxiety will differ between each individual, but depending on the kind of problems you experience, you may be diagnosed with a more specific anxiety disorder.

Generalised anxiety disorder

Individuals suffering from generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) often anticipate tragedy. GAD can interfere with daily life as sufferers may seriously worry about family, money and health. Generalised anxiety disorder is often diagnosed when an individual spends at least six months worrying excessively about normal, everyday problems. It can be a difficult disorder to live with; the sufferer will feel as though there is no respite from the anxiety.

Panic disorder

Panic disorder is characterised by feelings of terror, which can strike suddenly and without warning. A common symptom is panic attacks, though not everyone who experiences a panic attack will have panic disorder. Those who are diagnosed with panic disorder can often feel constantly afraid. It is this fear that can often lead to panic attacks, where it becomes a vicious cycle. Panic disorder is more common than generally recognised and affects a large proportion of the population.

Social anxiety disorder

Social anxiety disorder (also known as social phobia) is defined by extreme anxiety and discomfort in social situations. Some of the common signs of social anxiety include fear of being around and interacting with people and being judged negatively by others.

Other forms of anxiety disorder include:

·         obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

·         phobias

·         post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

 

Pain management   

Chronic pain is a complicated issue that can be hard to treat. Often, a variety of approaches are needed to help lessen pain, improve independence and help you cope with the emotional implications.

There are many causes of long-term pain, including conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia. Concerns like this require medical intervention and a pain management treatment plan. For many, complementary approaches such as hypnotherapy form part of this plan.

On this page we will look at chronic pain management and in particular, how hypnosis for pain can help.

On this page

·         What is chronic pain?

·         Pain management

·         Hypnosis for pain

·         Relaxation for pain relief

·         Pain and mental health

·         Painful conditions

·         Getting support

What is chronic pain?

There are two different types of pain - acute and chronic pain. Acute pain (also referred to as short-term pain) is usually a result of an accident or temporary illness. In this case, your doctor will make a diagnosis and suggest ways to lessen the pain (for example, pain killers).

Chronic, or long-term pain is often more complicated. The pain may be a result of a medical condition, or there may not be any obvious cause. This doesn't mean the pain isn't real, it just makes treatment that much more complex.

If you are experiencing pain, you are always advised to see your doctor. They will be able to investigate further to find out what is causing it and how best to treat it.

Pain management

If you experience pain on a regular basis, it's important to consider chronic pain management. As tempting as it may be to lie in bed and not move, in most cases this only makes things worse. Inactivity can cause your body to stiffen up and over time you lose strength. This can then affect your sleep and mood.

If you are able to, try to stay as mobile as possible. Gentle exercise can actually work as a natural form of pain relief. Be sure to consult your doctor to find out which exercises you can do safely. Look for something that won't put too much strain on your body such as:

·         walking

·         yoga

·         swimming.

Sometimes just getting up and being active is enough. Listen to your body and don't overexert yourself.

Many people with chronic conditions require some form of physical therapy. This will be carried out by medical professionals as part of your treatment plan. Physical therapy generally involves stretching exercises, manipulation and other pain relief exercises.

Medications and painkillers can also form part of your chronic pain management plan. Your doctor should always advise this. Painkillers can be effective, however it is important to use them safely as they can have side effects.

Another important aspect of pain management involves looking at the link between the body and mind.

Hypnosis for pain

Therapies that address the mind-body link are often recommended for those dealing with long-term pain. Stress and anxiety are common side effects of pain and can even make the sensation feel worse. The way the mind responds to pain also links to the perception of physical sensations.

Helping to reduce stress and change the thought patterns related to pain can therefore make a huge difference to pain perception. For this, many opt for hypnotherapy.

When you are under hypnosis you focus on relaxation and letting go of distracting thoughts. This temporarily tunes out the conscious part of your mind, opening you up to the power of suggestion.

Rather than convincing you that your pain doesn't exist, hypnosis for pain aims to manage any fear and anxiety you may have relating to your pain. It also helps to reduce stress and relax the nervous system to help it become less reactive to pain.

Hypnosis for pain also refocuses your mind away from the pain and onto something more pleasant. For example, I may ask you to imagine that you're somewhere nice, like a beach. Using visualisation techniques you may be asked to describe the place in more detail. Thinking about what the sea looks like, the warmth of the sun and the feeling of sand between your toes will help to distract you from your pain.

The number of sessions you'll need will depend on your individual circumstances, however hypnosis for pain usually lasts between four and 10 sessions.

The nature of hypnotherapy means it doesn't work for everybody. However, it is a natural therapy with no side effects, so it is certainly worth trying. Many people say it is an effective tool to use as part of their chronic pain management plan.

Relaxation for pain relief

When we are in pain our bodies typically tense up. This only exacerbates the sensation, continuing the cycle of stress, tension, fear and pain. Relaxation techniques can help to alleviate this. When we are relaxed mentally, our bodies follow.

There are several different relaxation techniques you can employ for pain relief including meditation, progressive muscle relaxation and breathing techniques.

Meditation

Meditation is a process that aims to quiet the mind and relax the body. The two most common types of meditation are:

·         Transcendental meditation - This is where you repeat a word or phrase (known as a mantra) to allow other thoughts to dissipate.

·         Mindfulness meditation - This is where you focus on the present moment.

Studies have suggested that regular meditation can increase pain tolerance as well as reduce stress and anxiety. Mindfulness meditation in particular has been used to help those with chronic pain conditions such as headaches, low back pain and gastrointestinal pain.

Progressive muscle relaxation

Also known as systematic muscle relaxation, this technique involves tensing and relaxing muscle groups. The idea behind this is to help the participant recognise the difference between tension and relaxation, which in turn relaxes the body. Some hypnotherapists employ this technique during hypnosis for pain.

Breathing techniques

Breathing techniques are designed to teach people how to use their breath to relax and reduce stress. Hypnotherapists typically use breathing techniques to help clients relax and enter the hypnotic state. Many will also teach clients breathing techniques to practise at home.

Pain and mental health

Living with pain on a daily basis can be incredibly difficult - both physically and mentally. Having to cope with long-term conditions like this can lead to increased levels of stress, insomnia and even depression and anxiety.

Anxiety

If you suffer from chronic pain, you may find you experience anxiety symptoms. You may worry about the sensation and what it means, or you may anticipate pain. In some cases, certain situations induce anxiety as you worry about whether or not your condition will cause problems.

Being anxious can increase your perception of pain as you become more stressed and focused on the sensation. A big part of hypnosis for pain looks at this very issue. By helping your mind to react differently to the sensation, anxiety levels reduce.

Depression

With pain typically comes a great deal of negativity. You may think about how bad you're feeling or wondering 'why me?'. Negative thinking like this may lead to depression. This mental health condition affects quality of life and can become very serious.

Many chronic pain sufferers find it helpful to join a support group. Here you can talk to other people going through the same thing and openly discuss your feelings. If you are diagnosed with depression, you may be advised to try therapies like counselling or hypnotherapy.

Insomnia

When we are in physical pain, relaxing and falling asleep can become difficult. In some cases it can lead to sleeplessness, or insomnia. Sleep is important as it gives our minds and bodies time to recover from the day - something that is often especially important to those with chronic pain conditions.

Hypnotherapy for insomnia is a valuable tool for many, encouraging both relaxation and restful sleep

 

Painful conditions

Some illnesses and conditions are well known for causing pain. Some examples of these include the following:

Arthritis

Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation and stiffening of the joints. Depending on the severity, the pain can be mild or severe, making day-to-day living difficult.

Cancer

Most people who develop cancer will experience pain at some point. This may be due to the tumours themselves, or the cancer treatment. Again, the degree of pain will be dependent on the individual circumstances.

Cluster headaches and migraines

Cluster headaches cause sudden, sharp pain in the head and can last anything from 15 minutes to three hours. As their name suggests, they tend to come in clusters, leaving the sufferer in a great deal of pain.

Migraines are a particularly painful form of headache that can cause vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound. If you suffer from migraines regularly, your doctor may prescribe medication.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

This condition typically develops after an injury has been sustained. The pain following the injury is ongoing and tends to be disproportionate to the original injury.

Endometriosis

This gynaecological condition occurs when cells like those found in the womb are found in other parts of the body. For some women, the condition is painless. The majority however experience pelvic pain, severe period pain and pain during/after sex.

Fibromyalgia

The cause of fibromyalgia is largely unknown. Its symptoms include widespread aches with muscles feeling stiff. Painkillers, physical therapy and relaxation therapies are normally advised. 

Multiple sclerosis (MS)

MS is a condition that affects the brain, nerves and spinal cord. Around half of those with MS will experience pain. This can either be musculoskeletal due to pressure on muscles/joints or neuropathic, where damaged nerve fibres cause a burning/stabbing sensation.

Sciatica and back pain

Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve is irritated by the back (which often happens after a slipped disc). This causes an ache down the leg for sufferers. Other forms of back pain can be caused by previous injury or overuse of the muscles.

Getting support

If you have a chronic pain condition, it's important to realise that you don't have to go through it alone. Seeking both medical and therapeutic support is essential. Utilising expertise from the medical profession can help you to practically manage your condition, while mind-body therapies like hypnotherapy can help manage related symptoms and change the way you cope with the pain.

Very often, it is this combination of approaches that helps people with their chronic pain management. If you are considering hypnosis for pain, be sure to tell your doctor and remember that it is a complementary therapy, designed to be used in conjunction with traditional medicine.

 

Low self-confidence

Stress

We all experience stress at one stage or another. It can be caused by our professional or personal lives, and each individual will cope with it differently. What one person may regard as highly stressful, another person may regard as highly motivational. Problems occur when individuals perceive themselves as unable to cope with the level of stress they face. This can then impact both their mental and physical health.

Most of us think we know what stress is. Yet it seems to be a ‘catch-all’ term that’s used to describe feelings ranging from minor irritation to the cause of a mental and/or physical breakdown. There isn’t a strict medical definition, so it can be difficult to find out what the causes are.

There are however many treatments and techniques that you can implement for stress management, including hypnotherapy for stress.

This page will delve deeper into what stress is, and discover its causes and symptoms. We will also explore how to cope with stress, and how hypnotherapy for stress can help.

Stress can help or hinder a person depending on their ability to cope. It can motivate individuals to perform at their optimum level and boost energy. However as a hindrance, it can cause major health problems. It’s caused by the body's natural reaction to defend itself, so in an emergency stress will force us to exert maximum effort to protect ourselves. Yet when our body is prepared to face an emergency and no emergency happens, all the extra energy has nowhere to go, which can cause problems. Feelings of anger, depression, distrust and rejection can permeate.

If we live with these feelings for too long, the consequences for our mental and physical health can be dire. It can ultimately lead to headaches, insomnia and high blood pressure. So it’s no surprise that people are trying to find the best tried and tested ways to effectively relieve and deal with it.

Most of us can deal with a certain amount, as we know it's part of our day-to-day lives. We just manage to push on and get on with everything. Yet suffering with chronic stress is physically, psychologically and emotionally draining. When it reaches this stage, it’s classed as a ‘stress disorder’.

These disorders can be very debilitating; they can prevent us from fulfilling our potential in both our professional and personal lives. Very few people know any effective stress management techniques or how to cope with stress in its severe forms. In some cases, the individual may not even know the causes.

Causes

As each individual deals with it differently, it can be hard to identify the exact cause. However, there are a number of common causes. The brain doesn’t tend to distinguish between real or imaginary stress. It’s often created by what we think will happen rather than what will actually happen.

A number of common causes include:

·         big changes

·         high pressure environments

·         constant worrying

·         not having enough going on in your life

·         not having any control over a situation

·         having an overwhelming amount of responsibility.

There might be a single cause of your stress, but it can also occur because of a number of small challenges that have built up over time. This in turn might make it harder for you to distinguish what the root cause is.

Situational causes

Different situations can create varying levels of stress. The amount we feel may depend on:

·         Our perception of the event – Our past experiences, thought processes and our self-esteem might dictate our perception of the situation.

·         Our emotional resilience – Our feelings towards the situation – i.e. the more resilient you are, the more likely you can persevere through tough situations.

·         How we deal with pressure – Our skills we use to deal with pressure.

Everybody is different. You might find a situation at work stressful; yet another person on your team might seem fine. For example, some people can find public speaking fun and comfortable, whereas others dread the feeling of being the centre of attention, and exhibit signs of stress.

Here are a number of situational causes:

·         injury, illness or long-term health problems

·         bereavement

·         breaking up with a partner or getting a divorce

·         being a carer for a relative or friend who needs a lot of support

·         losing your job

·         retirement

·         problems with housing conditions

·         money worries.

‘Happy’ events such as marriage or moving house can also cause stress. This is because along with the excitement, these situations bring massive changes in your life. These ‘happy’ situations can be difficult to deal with due to the pressure or need to feel happy.

If you know a certain situation is causing these feelings, hypnotherapy for stress management might be able to help.

Symptoms

If you are experiencing stress you may exhibit physical, emotional and/or behavioural changes.

Physical changes

When you are in a demanding situation, your body releases more ‘fight or flight’ chemicals to prepare for a potential emergency. Noradrenaline and adrenaline raises your blood pressure, increases the rate at which you sweat and increases your heart rate. These chemicals can also reduce your stomach activity and blood flow to your skin. Cortisol releases sugar and fat into your body, yet it also hampers the effectiveness of your immune system. These internal changes make it easier for you to run away or fight.

Sadly, these changes won’t help you when you’re in a busy office environment or on the tube in rush hour. You won’t be able to fight, nor will you be able to run away. So in turn, you won’t be able to use up the chemicals your body has produced. If this happens continuously, the changes that the chemicals produce can damage your health.

As a result, you could feel nauseous and experience indigestion and headaches. You might perspire more, suffer from aches and pains, have heart palpitations and start to breathe faster. In the long-term there might be a risk of strokes and heart attacks.

Emotional changes

There are a number of feelings you may experience when going through a demanding situation. These include frustration, fear, anger, depression and anxiety. The unfortunate thing about these feelings is that they can feed on each other, which can lead to physical symptoms. Extreme anxiety, which can be caused by stress, can cause headaches, heart palpitations and giddiness. These symptoms may lead you to feel even more stressed as you may worry you have an even more serious condition.

Behavioural changes

You may start to behave differently when you become stressed. As an example, you may become indecisive, defensive or withdrawn. You may find it difficult to get to sleep. And even if you are normally a mild-mannered individual, you may become physically or verbally aggressive.

How to cope with stress

Different occupations will be more demanding than others, and in work, stress is recognised to be one of the main causes of sick absence from work. Research suggests that about half a million people in the UK experience work-related stress that they believe is making them ill. Changes in personal lives, such as the death of a loved one, a new relationship, a job promotion or the birth of a child can also cause it as adjustments in our lives are needed to be able to cope.

The aim should never be to eliminate stress completely, but find effective ways of managing it and using it to our advantage.

Tips for managing stress:

·         prepare to the best of your ability for stressful events

·         try to look at change as a positive thing, not as a threat

·         try not to worry about things you have no control over

·         exercise

·         eat a well-balanced diet

·         try to get about eight hours sleep per night

·         set realistic goals

·         ask for help from family, friends and professionals, including hypnotherapists.

Stress management techniques

Here are a number of stress management techniques that can help you learn how to cope with stress.

Two-minute relaxation

Train your thoughts to focus on your breathing. Inhale and exhale slowly a few times and mentally scan your body. Try to discover what areas are feeling tense and loosen them up. Rotate your head slowly a few times then roll your shoulders. Relax your muscles. Recall some pleasant thoughts. Take a few more deep breathes and you should feel a little more relaxed.

Mind relaxation

Shut your eyes and start to breathe through your nose. When you exhale, say a short word or phrase such as ‘one or ‘I feel quiet’. Continue this process for five minutes. If your mind wanders onto other things, think about your breathing techniques and your word or phrase.

Changing your behaviour

Changing behaviours and thought patterns can help people learn how to cope with stress. You could start to share your expectations with others, eat healthily, exercise and check your assumptions.

Treatment

Counselling and psychotherapy can be effective treatments for stress. Cognitive behavioural therapy can help individuals to understand why they think the way they do and how these thoughts can be positively changed to manage the problem.

As it is not the situation itself that is the direct cause (or everyone would be stressed by the same situation), but our reaction to the situation, hypnotherapy for stress can be effective. By altering our reaction to a particular situation during hypnosis to a more positive one, the feelings about that situation can also become more positive. When an individual then experiences that situation in real life, their reaction will often be much different.

Hypnotherapy for stress

Hypnotherapy can help address your stress and anxiety levels. With my help  you may be able to identify the cause(s) of your stress. Or you may find it’s a past experience, a situation, a physical issue or something to do with a relationship that’s the main cause.

After discovering the root of the problem, you will then agree upon a goal. This goal could include how you would like to feel and what you would like to do in life without stress holding you back. Your hypnotherapist will then work with you to achieve your goals using a variation of different techniques.

Hypnotherapy for stress can start to work in a few sessions, but it entirely depends on your reaction to the therapy. After attending a number of sessions you may start to feel more relaxed and confident in the situations that previously caused you to feel stressed.

 

Sleep disorders

Sleep is an essential component in our continuing health and well-being. It is an important process. The restorative cycle of sleep means the body is able to rest, refresh, recover and continue functioning normally.

For many of us, sleeping is a natural part of our routine. While we know the health benefits and importance of sleep, few of us truly appreciate how much we need it or know what happens when we don’t get enough. On average, an adult will need seven to eight hours of sleep each night. However, it is thought that one in three adults are affected by sleep problems.

These problems may include:

·         confusional arousals

·         restless leg syndrome

·         sleepwalking

·         teeth grinding (sleep bruxism)

·         sleep paralysis

·         insomnia.

There is a strong chance that we will all find ourselves lying awake on rare occasions. This can happen when we feel anxious, excited or roused by a bad dream. However, it is likely that we will be able to return to our normal routine when things have settled down. For others, problem sleeping is a far more common occurrence. Sleep disorders are now considered to be one of the most common health complaints. They can seriously affect the physical, mental and emotional functioning of many individuals.

Sleep disorders is the term used to describe any problems relating to sleep. This can include insomnia, excessive sleep, night terrors, sleep bruxism (teeth grinding) and nocturnal enuresis (bedwetting during sleep). Some sleep disorders may stem from an underlying medical condition such as a psychological disorder. Others may occur as side effects of prescribed medication.

There are a variety of warning signs which may be indicators of a sleep problem such as:

·         feeling as though you have had sufficient sleep but are very tired throughout the day

·         drifting off mid-conversation

·         a partner disturbing you regularly by snoring, physical movements, sleep-talking or sleepwalking

·         starting a new medication and finding your sleep to be affected.

Please note that not everyone who exhibits all or some of these symptoms will have a sleep problem. People will have their own experience of sleep disorders.

The sleep cycle

To many of us, sleep may seem like one continued state of unconsciousness. When in fact, it is a process made up of several stages. Sleep is a reoccurring cycle which can be split into two main categories. Rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement (NREM).

Non-REM sleep

The first phase of the sleep cycle we experience is known as non-REM sleep and occurs in four stages. Often, the first stage is referred to as “light sleep". Here the muscle activity slows down and though we are sleeping, we can be easily roused. We move into stage two after about ten minutes. Stage two on average will last 20 minutes, during this time our breathing and heart rate slow down.

The third stage sees us entering deep sleep. This is where our brain begins to produce delta waves and the rate of breathing and heart rate slow to their lowest levels. After this, we enter the final stage of non-REM sleep. This is characterised by a combination of limited muscle activity and rhythmic breathing. It is this stage of sleep where we may feel disorientated when woken suddenly.

During non-REM sleep, the body has the opportunity to fix any wear and tear from the day. The body will repair and regenerate tissue, build muscle and bone and strengthen the immune system.

REM sleep

Approximately 25 per cent of the sleep cycle is spent in REM sleep. This phase occurs 70 to 90 minutes into sleep. It is at this stage that the brain is the most active: our breathing rate and blood pressure rise and our eyes dart from side to side. Despite increased activity in the brain, it is assumed the muscles remain paralysed due to the body protecting us from acting out the dream.

We experience three to five REM episodes each night. During the night, each cycle will become less dominated by non-REM phases, progressively becoming more dominated by REM sleep.

It has been reported that dreams are at their most vivid when woken from REM sleep.

How can hypnotherapy help?

It is important to contact your GP if you are experiencing a sleep disorder. They will be able to provide you with a diagnosis and advice, as well as being able to rule out any underlying medical conditions. At this stage your doctor may recommend a special treatment or service, such as hypnotherapy.

Hypnotherapy focuses on understanding and changing patterns of behaviour. Though the cause of the problem will vary for each individual, there are many conditions that may increase the risk of developing a sleep disorder.

Certain psychiatric disorders, sleep deprivation, various medical conditions and medications, as well as previous trauma are thought to be underlying causes of sleep disorders.

Hypnotherapy has been used as a way of altering and reconditioning negative patterns of behaviour for many years. Hypnotherapy for sleep disorders will do this by seeking out the root cause of the problem and altering the individual’s perception of it.

Many sleep disorders are fuelled and worsened by issues that can be effectively treated with hypnotherapy, such as stress and anxiety. Usually it is not the situation itself that causes stress but the way we react to it. By inducing a state of deep relaxation, the hypnotherapist will be able to gain access to the unconscious mind. The hypnotherapist will target the negative thought patterns, teaching the individual how to manage the feelings and view them in a positive perspective.

Another technique commonly used is hypnoanalysis. This involves a combination of hypnosis, psychotherapy and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). Hypnoanalysis explores limiting patterns of behaviour and visualisation techniques. The individuals may be asked to imagine themselves in a particular setting where they feel calm and relaxed.

A hypnotherapist may use a combination of the techniques mentioned, or they may think you will benefit from just one. To achieve the most effective outcome, the practitioner will consider your concerns. After this, they will tailor the treatment to your personal circumstances.

Types of sleep disorders

Listed below are some of the most common sleep disorders and parasomnias affecting people today. Parasomnia is the term used to describe a group of sleep disorders. Parasomnias include unnatural behaviours, movements, perceptions, emotions and dreams that occur during various stages of sleep.

Confusional arousals

“Confusional arousals” is the term used when individuals awake from sleep but remain in a confused state. Sufferers will react slowly to commands and may have difficulty understanding questions. Generally, these episodes are very mild and only last for a few minutes. While harmless, they can be an indicator of another sleep disorder that may be causing the sleep disturbance, such as sleep apnoea and restless legs syndrome.

Nightmare disorder

Nightmares are vivid and frightening dreams that tend to rouse the dreamer from sleep during the REM stage. These dreams are a natural part of our lives and we will all experience nightmares. However, some individuals will experience frequent nightmares which can become a worrying and disruptive issue.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the criteria for nightmare disorder suggests sufferers will consistently wake from sleep. They wake feeling alert and with detailed memories of dreams that often involve a threat to survival. Individuals may also find that their nightmares commonly occur in the second half of the sleep period.

Nightmare disorder is not to be confused with night terrors. Night terrors is a condition characterised by episodes of extreme panic and confusion.

Nocturnal enuresis (bed-wetting)

Nocturnal enuresis, otherwise known as bed-wetting, is the unintentional passing of urine while asleep. There are two main forms of the condition, primary and secondary enuresis.

·         Secondary enuresis - This term is used to describe a relapse in an individual who previously had urinary control.

·         Primary enuresis - This is when an individual has consistently struggled to maintain bladder control. Medical conditions such as diabetes, sleep apnoea and psychiatric disorders can often act as contributing factors.

According to the NHS, the condition is far more common among children under the age of seven. Experts have said this may be due to children being unable to produce enough of the antidiuretic hormone (ADH) responsible for controlling urine production. Other contributing factors include psychological issues or the child may simply taking longer to develop bladder control.

Nocturnal enuresis can also occur in adults. This can be quite uncomfortable and embarrassing for an adult. Many sufferers attempt to hide their symptoms. This can impact their emotional state and relationships.

If the condition begins suddenly, it likely something acted as a trigger, such as a physical trauma.

Night terrors

An individual suffering night terrors will wake suddenly from sleep in a panic-stricken state. They may appear awake, but they will often be disorientated, confused and incapable of communicating. While the course of the night terrors will vary for each individual, it will be difficult to wake them and they may fall back to sleep. It is common for sufferers to have no recollection of the night the following morning.

Restless leg syndrome

This is a neurological disorder that causes unpleasant and uncontrollable sensations in the legs. Often the pain results in an overwhelming urge to move them to relieve the discomfort. Symptoms often occur when a person is in a relaxed state during the night.

Sufferers may find the severity of the pain and irritation increases when they are lying down, trying to relax. This is where sleeping can become difficult. If left untreated, the condition can result in the individual feeling exhausted. This exhaustion can then impact their working life, relationships and overall well-being.

Sleepwalking

Sleepwalking is when an individual performs a series of complex actions such as walking and roaming the house while asleep. Individuals will often appear clumsy, confused and will usually have their eyes open. It is not unusual for sleepwalkers to be quite vocal, though they may be nonsensical.

It is thought that sleepwalking occurs during the first or second sleep cycle, during the deep sleep stage of non-REM sleep.

Sleepwalking is more common among children and adolescents, although it can occur in adults. Experts believe sleepwalking is more likely to occur if a first-degree relative has a history of the problem. There are other factors thought to affect sleepwalking including sleep deprivation, stress or intoxication.

Physiological factors can also play a part. Pregnancy and menstruation is thought to increase the occurrence of sleepwalking in some individuals. In addition, certain medical conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic attacks, multiple personality disorder and gastroesophageal reflux are also said to increase the risk of sleepwalking.

Sleep bruxism (teeth grinding)

Sleep bruxism is the term given to the act of involuntary teeth grinding and clenching during sleep. For many, bruxism occurs as a side effect of a psychiatric or medical condition such as Parkinson’s disease, anxiety or depression. Reoccurring grinding and clenching the teeth can lead to dental damage and jaw discomfort. Experts have found links between the condition and recreational drugs and antidepressants.

Sleep paralysis

An individual experiencing sleep paralysis will find they are unable to move their limbs either at sleep onset or upon awakening. According to sleep experts, this will often occur during the REM stage when sleep is disrupted during a dream.

Paralysis is normal while sleeping. The body releases hormones to relax the muscles. However, if woken suddenly in the midst of a dream, these hormones can still be active. This is when the mind is conscious, but the body is not. This effect is not long-lasting and can be ended by touch or sound, such as a partner shaking or talking to the sufferer. While the disorder is harmless, it can be a frightening experience.

 

Phobias

Fear is a natural response caused by real danger. For example, we are all scared of coming face to face with a wild, hungry animal, and fear is a survival instinct which warns us against certain things or situations. A phobia, on the other hand, is an irrational fear of an object or situation that causes little or no danger. For example, arithmophobia (fear of numbers) may cause certain individuals anxiety, but the fear itself won’t cause any danger. Phobias are linked to our subconscious, and because they are irrational, they can often be dealt with effectively.

Phobias are extremely common and range from the less well-known i.e. asymmetriphobia (fear of asymmetrical things) to the more commonly recognised dentophobia (fear of dentists). There will usually be strong avoidance behaviour connected with the phobia, and feelings of anxiety, loss of control and panic. Sufferers usually know their fear is irrational, but they cannot control it.

Phobias are often categorised into specific phobias and social phobia.

 

Some common examples of specific phobias are closed-in places, spiders or a fear of flying. It is a fear of a particular thing rather than just extreme fear, and these phobias usually begin early in the person's life and continue into adulthood.

Social phobia

Social phobia is extreme anxiety and discomfort in social situations. Fear of being watched and judged by others is overwhelming and although those suffering are aware that they are acting irrationally, they are unable to control and overcome their fears. Social phobia can vary from fearing just one situation to fearing all situations involving other people. Social phobia also usually begins in childhood or adolescence.

Signs you have a phobia

·         trembling

·         sweating

·         nausea

·         headaches

·         racing heart

·         blushing

·         palpitations

·         difficulty talking.

Causes of phobia

Phobias often begin early in an individual’s life and may occur for a number of reasons. It seems phobias can run in families; however whether this is hereditary or simply learned behaviour is unclear. For example a child may learn a phobia by observing a family member’s reaction to an object or situation. Traumatic experiences and brain chemicals are also believed to influence the development of phobias.

Treatment for phobia

Hypnotherapy can help to identify the root cause of the phobia and enable individuals to react to the particular object or situation they once feared in a calmer manner when encountering it in the future. Phobias are displaced fears and because they are not rational, they can be dealt with.

Hypnotherapy can also help with relaxation and visualisation techniques for desensitisation and forming new habits such as being more calm and relaxed.

 

Obsessions and compulsions

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a condition that involves obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. It can affect anybody and can develop at any age, however it usually occurs during early adulthood.

The symptoms of OCD are intrusive by nature and impact on everyday life. Getting help early is key and there are several treatment options available to get symptoms under control. On this page we will explore obsessions and compulsions in more depth and look into the various treatment options. We’ll also discuss how hypnotherapy can provide further support during treatment.

Understanding obsessive compulsive disorder

Before we look into getting support for OCD, let’s take a closer look at the condition itself and how it affects people. While the disorder can affect people in different ways, it generally causes the following behaviours:

Obsession

This is when an unwanted thought or urge enters the mind repeatedly. Usually this thought is distressing, for example “If I don’t check the light switch X amount of times, my house will catch fire”.

Anxiety

Understandably, such an intrusive and distressing thought leads to feelings of stress and anxiety.

Compulsion

Typically there will then be an urge, or compulsion, to carry out an action. This may be physical (like hand washing) or mental (like counting).  

Temporary relief

Carrying out this action will temporarily quell the feelings of stress and anxiety. However, obsessional thoughts and anxiety soon return and the cycle begins again.

As obsessive compulsive disorder is an anxiety disorder, tackling anxiety is key. This is an area a hypnotherapist can support you in. Hypnotherapy encourages relaxation and speaks to you on a subconscious level to change thought patterns.

Obsessions and compulsions

Many of us experience intrusive thoughts from time to time. When these thoughts become persistent and dominate your thinking, it can become an ‘obsession’.

Those with OCD tend to have upsetting obsessions such as:

·         fear of hurting themselves or others (deliberate or accidental)

·         fear of being ‘contaminated’ by germs/bacteria

·         a desire for symmetry

The thoughts may be violent or even sexual in nature and can be very stressful for the person affected.

Compulsions to carry out a certain behaviour is the mind’s way of trying to prevent this anxiety (even if logically the behaviour and thought aren’t linked). The behaviours will differ from person to person but may include:

·         cleaning

·         counting

·         repeating words

·         actions

·         checking (i.e. checking doors are locked, taps are off)

Even though the person with OCD will likely be aware that the behaviours are irrational, the urge to carry it out overwhelms them. And as it offers temporary relief from the anxiety they’re feeling, doing it ‘just in case’ or to rid themselves of said anxiety can become the norm.

As the condition worsens, it becomes all consuming and some people struggle to carry out daily tasks or even leave the house.

Getting help

If you think you may have obsessive compulsive disorder, your first port of call should be your doctor. Remember that everyone has mental health and many of us need professional support to help us from time to time.

Your doctor will be able to assess you and determine whether or not it is OCD you’re struggling with. They can then explain to you which treatments are recommended.

 

Reducing stress and anxiety

Symptoms of OCD are often exacerbated during times of high stress or anxiety. Part of your treatment plan should therefore include techniques to help reduce stress/anxiety. This is an area where hypnotherapy can be especially useful.

A hypnotherapist can teach you self-hypnosis techniques to help manage stress and anxiety. This typically involves visualisation and breathing techniques which you can call upon when you need to.

OCD treatment

The two most common courses of treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder are:

·         psychological therapy (usually a specialised form of cognitive behavioural therapy, CBT)

·         medication (usually selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, SSRIs, to help balance chemicals in the brain)  

Many people find psychological therapies like CBT help, but may need extra support from medication. There is no ‘quick fix’ for anxiety conditions and there is no guarantee a certain approach will work for you.

If you are keen to explore other approaches alongside those recommended by your doctor, you may want to consider hypnotherapy for OCD.

Hypnotherapy for OCD

For some people, hypnotherapy can be helpful for OCD - whether it’s looking to help overcome the disorder itself, or to help reduce stress and anxiety.

If you are considering hypnotherapy and you are currently having another course of psychological treatment (such as CBT) it is worth explaining this to your psychotherapist and hypnotherapist. Between them they can ensure you’re getting the best out of each treatment and that there is no conflicting or overlapping content.

Hypnotherapy works with the unconscious mind, the part we are not aware of, or are able to influence normally. Hypnotherapy works by putting you in a relaxed state so that the hypnotherapist can access this part of the mind. Once accessed, they can then influence it using suggestion techniques.

This therapy can therefore bring about a change in thinking patterns by working on a deeper level. The aim is to change your way of thinking to give you back control over OCD and to reduce symptoms of anxiety.

Some of the techniques used are similar to cognitive behavioural therapy, however it works on an unconscious basis rather than a conscious one.

As well as supporting in this way, hypnotherapy for OCD can be a helpful way to learn relaxation techniques and self-hypnosis. Many hypnotherapists will offer to show you self-hypnosis techniques. You can then take what you’ve gained from your session and apply it to your everyday life.

Hypnotherapy is not guaranteed to work for everyone, however it is a safe and natural approach that many find helpful. When used as a complementary therapy to support you, it can be a useful tool to help overcome mental health concerns like OCD.

 

 

Public Speaking

The thought of getting up in front of a crowd of people and making a speech is enough to make most of us break out in a sweat. Having a fear of public speaking is common - and it's becoming even more common.

Modern lifestyles mean we are less likely to find ourselves in public situations. Much of our free time is spent in the comfort of our own homes or online. At work, more people are utilising email, online hangouts and conference calls, so there is rarely a need to speak in front of an audience. This all means that when public speaking situations do come up, understandably we can feel anxious.

For some people this anxiety develops into a phobia - known as glossophobia. On this page we will look at how hypnotherapy for public speaking anxiety and glossophobia can help you build confidence.

Glossophobia - fear of public speaking

Glossophobia has its roots in social anxiety and social phobia. When we're speaking publicly, the audience will be paying attention to you and listening to what you have to say. Glossophobia comes from a fear of being judged, which can be triggered when lots of people are paying attention to you. This, combined with doubts over your ability to deliver can feel overwhelming.

Fear of public speaking can be reinforced when we make mistakes. Even if we only make one small mistake when speaking, our minds tend to focus in on this, justifying our fears.

Symptoms of glossophobia can include: 

·         avoiding situations where you may be required to speak in front of a group

·         feelings of panic when asked to speak publicly

·         nausea

·         increased heart rate/palpitations

·         shaking

·         dry mouth.

Experiencing a little anxiety when asked to speak in public is to be expected. If your anxiety overwhelms you however and holds you back from what you want to do in life, you should consider seeking help.

It's important to note that a fear of public speaking isn't limited to making speeches in front of a crowd. Those with glossophobia may withdraw from a number of social situations, such as asking for directions, attending job interviews and speaking to shop assistants. Therefore it is a phobia that can affect day-to-day life.

How can hypnotherapy help?

As with most phobias, glossophobia isn't something you can control consciously. People may tell you to relax, but usually this does little to control your symptoms. This is because the symptoms you experience stem from your unconscious.

Hypnotherapy works with your unconscious to find out where the root of your anxiety comes from. Typically it comes from misinformation gathered from a past experience. Hypnotherapy can help to identify this and use suggestion techniques to correct any misinformation.

Suggestion and visualisation techniques can also be used to instil positive thinking, boost confidence and reduce anxiety. This will help you feel calm and collected when you are required to speak in public. 

Fear and your mind

When we experience fear, our minds tend to work against us. We have an influx of automatic, negative thoughts that feed into our sense of self-doubt. Becoming more aware of these thoughts and speaking to yourself with kindness is a great first step to managing your fear of public speaking. Fear makes our minds behave differently, to a point where logic and reason is all but forgotten. It does this by distorting reality and fixating on the negative. 

Reality distortion

Fear has a habit of distorting reality. You may think "If I forget my words, everyone will laugh at me and I'll lose their respect." In reality however, it is highly unlikely that this would happen. If you were to lose track of what you were saying, it is far more likely that everyone would simply wait for you to remember. And even if some people did judge you, this wouldn't affect your life.

This fear and anxiety can cause us to lose our perspective, thinking our lives will be over if it doesn't go perfectly. Try to challenge this way of thinking by asking yourself - "Will this situation matter in five, 10 or 20 years time?".

Fixating on the negative

Another common behaviour of the mind when it feels fear is to focus on the negative. This can lead us to think back to times in our lives when public speaking hasn't gone to plan. It can also cause us to fixate on the physical sensations that are frightening us, like an increased heart rate or tight chest.

Recognising this is helpful as you can re-direct these fixations on to something more positive. In a hypnotherapy session your hypnotherapist can teach you relaxation and visualisation techniques. Try to utilise these and imagine yourself doing well.  

How hypnosis for public speaking works

Hypnosis is essentially a state of deep relaxation. When a hypnotherapist puts you into this state, your unconscious becomes more receptive. This means the hypnotherapist can communicate with this part of your mind to uncover root causes of behaviour and influence thinking patterns.

In some cases it may be easy to pinpoint the underlying cause of a phobia. You may be able to recall an event that triggered a fear response for the first time. For many people however, it is hard to identify what caused the phobia.

If you don't know why you have a fear of public speaking, hypnotherapy can help. Once you are in a deeply relaxed state, your hypnotherapist can talk to your unconscious and help to uncover the situation or event that triggered your glossophobia. Much of the time, the event is seemingly insignificant, but over time it grows in our mind to become something we can no longer control.

Once the root cause is revealed, your hypnotherapist can use suggestive language to change the route of your thoughts. The aim here is to promote positive thinking and a sense of calm when faced with public speaking, instead of the previous flood of negativity.

Some hypnotherapists will also teach you self-hypnosis, relaxation techniques and visualisation exercises. These enable you to continue your progress away from the hypnotherapy sessions themselves. You can utilise them before you need to speak publically to help you stay calm and confident.