JOMO – the Joy of Missing Out

Who’s heard of JOMO? I hadn’t either, but I was familiar with the term FOMO – fear of missing out. It’s FOMO that drives us to scroll through social media the minute we wake up, check news sites obsessively and accept social invitations to events we really can’t bothered going to, we just don’t want to miss out! We want to be able to show on our own social media channels that we have a life too!

But here’s the thing, relaxing and doing nothing are also an important part of life. Many of the clients I see in my Hypnotherapy Practice are struggling simply because they’re packing too much into their lives, and our brains aren’t designed to cope with that level of activity. We need time to process our thoughts and activities and recharge, and when we don’t give ourselves that time our mental health suffers. The most common result of packing too much in that I see in clients is insomnia. When we sleep, we process the events of the day, and if we have too much to process our brain pings us awake in the early hours of the morning, as a self-defence mechanism. So, we don’t get enough quality sleep, wake up tired and irritable, and this starts a downward spiral.

So, here are my top tips for embracing JOMO

  • We’re often told to schedule exercise into our diaries to make it a priority, the same needs to happen for relaxation. Build time in your weekly schedule to relax. For me, that means no work or chores on Sunday. It’s a day for family, relaxation and fresh air.
  • Limit social media, it’s amazing how much extra time you have when you’re not scrolling for updates! You might have a total ban one day a week; or have a rule not to go on it for the first and last two hours of the day.
  • Have a good sleep routine – many clients with insomnia go straight from an activity to bed and then struggle to sleep. You need time to switch off and relax, maybe have a bath or read a book. If you’re watching TV try and avoid tense dramas!
  • If you have children, try and avoid the temptation to pack their evenings and weekends with clubs and sports. Kids especially are learning constantly and need time to unwind. They will benefit from time to just play and use their imagination, and you’ll certainly benefit from not being on taxi duty every night!

If you are struggling with relaxation or sleep, contact me for a free consultation to see how hypnotherapy can help.

Info@stepaheadhypnotherapy.co.uk

Worried about Job Security? Don’t Be

My Dad worked for the same company his whole life, but today people can expect to have 5 to 15 jobs in their lifetime. I’m 44 and have had 5 employers so far and been made redundant twice! The good news is that the more change we go through the more resilient we become, and that will benefit us in all areas of our lives. However, if we have worked in the same company for a long time and our job is threatened, it can be hard to handle. Our brains are designed to fear change, which can lead to anger, anxiety or depression when we feel under threat.

In my hypnotherapy business I’ve seen many clients who’ve lost their confidence after losing their jobs. As a Business Coach I’ve supported many people through restructures and helped them prepare for the job market.

So as someone who’s been through it, and someone who’s helped others, here are my top tips for dealing with changes at work.

Be Prepared

Accept that no job is ‘safe’ forever, and make sure you’re prepared. Things you can do:

  • Save 3 months wages. This means you won’t panic about where next months mortgage is coming from or feel you have to take the first job you’re offered, however unsuitable.
  • Have an up-to-date C.V. I’ve coached people who haven’t updated their C.V. for 20 years and it can feel like a very big task when you need it in a hurry. Get a template online and focus on what you’ve achieved in each job rather than your day to day duties. Update your C.V. every 6 months to capture key achievements.
  • Get on LinkedIn and once you’re on it, use it to network. Connect with friends and colleagues, engage with conversations and get yourself known. Many recruiters use LinkedIn to search for candidates, and many jobs come through connections before they’re even advertised.
  • Register on job sites that specialise in your area of work. Even if you’re not looking it’s useful to keep an eye on the job market and see what roles are being advertised. When you do need to look, it’s one less thing to do.

If you do lose your job

  • Accept it’s natural to feel sad and worried. You may be missing colleagues, banter, a sense of purpose. Give yourself time to grieve for what you’ve lost.
  • Set aside time each day for job hunting. As well as applying for jobs online, you might also register with agencies, network or approach companies directly. A routine will help.
  • Try and keep to the same sleep schedule and wake up time. It can be tempting to lie in bed but getting out of your routine will make it harder when you find another job. It can also leave you feeling demotivated and down.
  • Make sure you get out and about and see friends and family. Being at home alone all day can affect your mental wellbeing. If all your friends and family are working in the day, consider going to a coffee shop to do your job hunting.
  • People need a sense of purpose for good mental health. So now might be a good time to tackle a project you’ve not had time for before. It might be decorating, decluttering or getting fit. Make the most of the extra time, you’ll soon be back in work and wishing you’d made more of your time off!
  • Take comfort in the fact that this experience will make you more resilient and adaptive to change in the future.

If your mental health has suffered after a job loss or poor working environment, get in touch to see how hypnotherapy can help.

10 Tips to Improve your Mental Wellbeing in 2019

Tip 1 – Be Present

Anxiety is created when we dwell on the past or worry about the future. It’s important to be present in what’s happening right now. That can be harder than it sounds, so here are some things that might help

  • Limit social media – pay attention to what you’re doing or who you’re with instead of scrolling through details of others’ lives.
  • Try meditation or mindfulness to still your mind
  • Take a minute to tune into what you can see, what you can hear, how you feel

Tip 2 – Get out in nature

Exercise boosts serotonin (a happy chemical) in the brain. Sunshine and fresh air also lift your spirits Make it even more beneficial by noticing what’s around you; the sounds of the leaves under your feet, the smell of the air and the sounds of water maybe. Exercise and mindfulness are both great for mental health.

Tip 3 – Take time out

Modern life is busy and sometimes overwhelming. The to-do-list never ends. Your brain needs down-time to process and recharge. So, build in some quiet time; listen to music, have a bath; anything that calms you. This is particularly important before sleep.

Tip 4 – Eat well

What we eat affects how we feel. We wouldn’t run our car on lard and we can’t run our bodies on it either. Eating an unprocessed diet with plenty of fruit and veg is good for our mental as well as physical health.

Tip 5 – Put yourself first

Putting yourself first isn’t selfish – it’s the only way you can be strong enough for others to lean on. You can’t pour from an empty cup so make time for yourself on your schedule. Do something that makes you happy and that’s just for you.

Tip 6 – Think about who you’re spending time with

The people we spend time with can have a massive impact on our mental health.  Energy vampires leave you feeling drained, while spending time with positive people will give you more energy. If you’re unable to avoid negative people (family members perhaps) then put some boundaries in place and limit time spent with them if possible. Bear in mind too that your mood rubs off on others, so think about the effect you’re having on your family and friends.

Tip 7 – Practice Gratitude

No matter how your day has gone, there will be some things to be grateful for. Focusing on this, instead of everything that’s gone wrong, will improve your mental health. Instead of moaning about the traffic jam, be grateful you weren’t in the accident that caused it. Try writing a list of everything you have to be thankful for, I bet you’ll be surprised how long it is!

Tip 8 – Tune in

A good way of safeguarding your mental health is to recognise the signs that it needs some attention. When we feel under attack, our brains will try and protect us by helping us to fight back, run away or hide. This shows as anger, anxiety or depression. Look out for signs of stress, so you can do something about it before it spirals out of control.

Tip 9 – Have strategies in place

When you’ve recognised that you’re feeling under stress, it’s a good idea to have some healthy coping mechanisms in place. Instead of reaching for a glass of wine or chocolate donut, can you see a friend, meditate or pick up a favourite hobby? Do something that makes you feel good but is also good for you.

Tip 10 – Forgive yourself

If you do react badly to stress; yell at your kids, down a bottle of wine – forgive yourself! Nobody is perfect and putting pressure on yourself isn’t helpful. Tomorrow is another day!

If you’re interested in improving your mental health this year, check out my website and get in touch to discuss how hypnotherapy can help you. It’s very effective in the treatment of common mental health disorders; such as depression, anxiety, OCD, insomnia and phobias to name a few.

Resolution Reboot – make 2019 your best year yet!

The start of a New Year is a great time to refocus on your goals and plan what you want to achieve in 2019.

Yet only 20% of those who make resolutions are still sticking to them 6 weeks into the New Year, this is because most of us set ourselves tough goals centred round deprivation;

  • “I’ll never drink alcohol again”
  • “I’m doing a juice fast”
  • “I’ll lose a stone in 6 weeks”

Our brains are designed to keep us safe, which is why we’re encouraged to repeat patterns of behaviour including unhealthy habits; they don’t like too much change all at once.

In this 6- week programme I’ll show you how you can work with your brain to achieve the results you really want. This programme will set you up for success and give you the tools you need to set achievable goals for 2019 and make them happen.

The programme

Week 1

I’ll explain how the brain works and how we can use that knowledge to get what we want. We’ll look at what you want to achieve in 2019 and how to break it down into goals. Once you’ve set your goals, I’ll use hypnotherapy to tap into your subconscious, which is where lasting change happens.


Week 2

We’ll look at what gets in the way of achieving our goals,including why your brain wants to keep you in your comfort zone, and I’ll give you some tools and techniques to overcome obstacles.

Week 3

We’ll look at how habits are formed and how to create better habits to replace those that are no longer working for us. We’ll also look at the importance of nutrition, sleep, and why it’s ok to put your own needs first for a change.

Week 4

We’ll tap into the power visualisation, which is a surprisingly effective way to make things happen. A study of Olympic Athletes found that those who used visualisation brought home the most medals!

Week 5

We’ll discuss tools and techniques to support motivation and increase self-esteem, which is really important to you achieving your goals.

Week 6

In this last session, we’ll recap what we’ve covered and cement your plan to move forward and have the best year yet!

Cost

The programme is designed for small groups of six, meaning you can get it for only £20 per session, or £120 for the whole programme. If you wish to follow the programme individually, you can have it at the discounted price of £45 per session (normally £55).

The programme includes a workbook, a hypnosis download, and a 10% lifetime discount off further sessions. I believe in paying it forward so you will also receive a £10 discount for your friends and family.

Please email me at info@stepaheadhypnotherapy.co.uk or call me on 07973914718 to reserve your place. The programme starts on Saturday 5 January at 11:30 at my practice in Atherton (alternative dates are available). Please note a £60 deposit will be required on booking, followed by £10 a week payable at each session.

How can you tell if you’re Stressed?

When I was 20, I lived in France for a year, a requirement of my Degree course. It was one of the toughest years of my life and I was an emotional mess, never far from a box of tissues! One of my friends over there was emotionally fine, but caught one bug after another, and that was the first time I realised that stress will always have an out!

Now, as a hypnotherapist, I see all kinds of symptoms. Some clients will tell me that they don’t feel stressed; yet they can’t sleep, or have migraines, or have developed a need to re-check that the front door is locked 5 times when they leave the house.

So, what is stress? It’s the body’s way of responding to any kind of danger or threat. When working properly, it helps you to stay strong, focused and alert. It keeps you safe by giving you extra strength to defend yourself or energy to run away from a threat.

However, when you can’t run away from constant pressure at work, or fight a demanding boss, you can develop chronic stress, and this can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body; it can supress your immune system, upset your digestion and reproductive systems and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

A study by the Mental Health Foundation found that, in the past year, 74% of people have felt so stressed they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope. To stop getting to that stage, you really need to recognise signs of stress in yourself, so you can take action:

Signs of Stress

Emotional

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability or Anger

Physical

  • IBS
  • Aches and Pains
  • Frequent colds or minor illnesses
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Poor sleep

Behavioural

  • Eating more or less
  • Using alcohol, cigarettes or drugs to relax
  • Re-checking things
  • Nail biting

Cognitive

  • Anxious or racing thoughts
  • Worrying about the future or dwelling on the past
  • Seeing only the negative

Here are some suggestions to help you eliminate, or cope better, with stress:

  • Find out what’s causing you stress and change it if possible (e.g. if it’ your job can you get a new job?)
  • Ask for help – can you talk to your boss about your workload or ask your partner for more help round the house for example
  • Find healthy coping mechanisms – rather than relaxing with a glass of wine meet a friend for an exercise class or have a bubble bath
  • Eat well, to support your immune system and guard against illness
  • Spend time with positive people who you can have fun with – laughter really is the best medicine!
  • Practice some kind of mindfulness or meditation – focusing on the here and now will stop you worrying about the future or dwelling on the past
  • Reduce your exposure to social media and bad news stories – they increase the level of stress hormones in your body
  • Change your thought patterns – instead of talking about how rubbish your day has been talk about what’s been good.

And remember – you can’t pour from an empty cup. You need to look after yourself if you want to look after others.

 

 

Be more Dog!

I’m a great believer in modelling excellence. If you want to run faster, find out how Usain Bolt trains. If you want to become a pop star, find out how Ed Sheeran went from busking to playing Wembley.

So, if I want to be happier, who else would I model myself on but my dog Sky? No offence to cats (I’ve had them all my life) but they can be a bit tetchy. I mean have you ever tried to get your cat to the vets and come away unscathed?

Dogs on the other hand, are pretty happy as a general rule. And this is because they live in the present. They don’t hold on to what happened yesterday, and they don’t worry about what tomorrow may bring – they just are.

Here’s my guide to happiness, courtesy of Sky:

  1. Get out in nature more

Sky loves nothing more than going out for a walk – whatever the weather. She’ll stop to smell the plants (and pee on them but I’m not advocating that) and kick up the leaves. If she’s not out walking, she’ll be out in the garden, holding her face up to the sun. She knows that being out in nature is good for the soul.

  1. Move your body more

Sky loves to run and chase balls, when she’s at full pelt she’s a sight to behold. And throw her duck in the water and she’s in heaven! Physical exercise is good for the mind as well as the body as it increases serotonin and other ‘feel-good’ chemicals.

  1. Rest is just as important as exercise

Yes, she loves to run, but afterwards she’ll happily snooze the afternoon away. She’s not looking at her to-do-list, checking her emails or worrying about all the housework that needs doing. Our brains are designed to work for 8 hours, rest for 8 hours and sleep for 8 hours. That may seem impossible in today’s world, but scheduling rest and down-time is really important. Some of my clients who have insomnia are simply taking on too much. You need to rest if you want to sleep well.

  1. Eat what you need and no more

Ok it may be different for Labradors, but German Shepherds are great at regulating their food intake. If Sky overeats one day (well if Grandma is offering sausages it would be rude to refuse!) then she’ll eat less the next day. Food is fuel, and because dogs live in the moment, they’re not emotional eaters like many of us! Eat if you’re hungry and stop if you’re not.

  1. Live in the moment

Dogs live in the present, they don’t fret about what’s already happened or worry about the next day; they don’t hold grudges or take things personally. They very much live in the moment. Most of the clients I see with anxiety readily admit that they spend a large part of the time worrying about the future or going over the past. These thought patterns are never helpful, and they can be changed.

 

So, thanks to Sky for teaching me some valuable lessons! And While I’m on the subject consider getting a pet if you don’t already have one (for life not just for Christmas!) They’re great for reducing stress levels, improving your mood and lowering your blood pressure!

What is Solution Focused Hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is a deep state of relaxation, during which the client experiences a heightened sense of awareness. We call this ‘trance’ and it’s something you experience several times a day; for example, when you’ve driven somewhere and don’t remember the journey, or when you’re so engrossed in a book you tune everything else out. Being in ‘trance’ is a very relaxing experience in itself and helps lower your stress levels. It does have another benefit though, which is to give you access to your subconscious mind.

Let me explain why this is so powerful. If you’ve ever learned to drive, you’ll remember that at the beginning you couldn’t talk to anyone or listen to the radio because you were concentrating so much on how to drive the car. You were driving with your conscious mind. Several weeks later, you can hold a conversation easily and think about what to have for your tea when you get home. This is because the driving habit has been transferred to your subconscious mind and your conscious mind is free to think about other things.

So, think of your conscious mind as a computer and the subconscious mind as a programme running in the background. When you’re hypnotised, you have access to both and that means that any changes you want to make are more likely to be ‘hard-wired’ in.

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is a mix of hypnotherapy and psychotherapy. In the first half of the session we help you to focus on what you want to achieve and picture a goal. In the second half of the session we use hypnosis to embed that action in both your conscious and subconscious mind. We don’t tell you what to do or implant suggestions, because we believe you’re the master of your own life and will come up with the right solutions for you.

In between sessions, you listen to the hypnosis download daily to reduce stress levels and help you take action towards your goal.

Because you’re using the power of both your conscious and subconscious mind to make changes, results can be seen quickly and are long lasting.

Take a look at my website to see how Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can help you.

How Solution Focused Hypnotherapy has helped me

We know that to prevent disease and physical illness, we need to eat healthy and move more. Yet few of us have the same approach to mental well-being; we may seek help when we become mentally unwell but what do we do to take care of ourselves and make sure that doesn’t happen? I’ve been treated before for both anxiety and depression and thankfully made a full recovery, but it’s only since starting on this journey as a therapist that I’ve become aware of how to proactively look after my mental health.

In the first session with a client, I explain how the brain works; how anxiety is created and how we can suffer in the way we do. This is usually really powerful for people, as they can make sense of their behaviour and understand what they can do to change it. Did you know for example, that anxiety can cause the following:

  • Migraines
  • IBS
  • The need to re-check things
  • Anger and irritability
  • Problems sleeping

I’ve had a busy year, working full-time and studying as well. I’ve started to pick up on my own triggers. For example, when I’m taking on too much I start to notice that I’m checking the front door is locked 3 or 4 times. Or sometimes my sleep becomes disturbed and I start having bad dreams. When that happens now I pick up on it, and take steps to manage it. So I might go through my diary and create space for relaxation or fun, to give myself time to re-charge, or I might take the dog for a long walk because I know being out in nature calms me. As I write this, I’m on a balcony overlooking the beach on holiday. Closing my eyes and listening to the sound of the waves while I breathe deeply is a great stress buster! And when I’m back at home I listen to a download called ‘Lullaby of the Ocean’ on YouTube.

So what are your signs that tell you you’re struggling? And when you see them, what do you do about it?