Stop negative self-talk

April 16th, 2014

Stop negative self-talkOvercome negativity with this simple guide.

Talking to yourself in a negative way is perhaps one of the key things that stops you from being productive and enjoying everything life has to offer. Talking to yourself in this way creates and reinforces existing subconscious beliefs that are likely to stop you achieving what you want.

Negative self-talk usually comes from relating your current set of circumstances with a previous experience. If you haven’t succeeded in something in the past, this could affect your ability to succeed in the future. Rather than shaking off past experiences, your mind focuses on the failure and tells you that you can’t do it.

Being aware that you are doing this is an important first step. If you can recognise your self-talk for what it truly is – nothing more than baggage from the past – you can choose to shift your way of thinking to put you in a better position to achieve success.

The next step is to understand that negative self-talk reflects your own internalised negative feelings rather than the truth. The reason this kind of thinking affects us so much is because our subconscious mind cannot differentiate between what is true and what is false. It can’t make judgements and doesn’t form opinions. All it does is take what is believed to be true, and when we are thinking negatively this makes the doubt and fear real.

How to stop negative self-talk

Thankfully, there are ways you can stop yourself from getting caught up in negativity. In the morning, try to start the day with a positive thought; when our first thought is a negative one, things can quickly snowball.

It is of course normal to have negative thoughts on occasion, but once you realise what is going on, you should feel more comfortable drowning out the negative thoughts with positive ones. Researchers say that on average we have over 600,000 thoughts a day, so the idea of monitoring every thought is pretty unrealistic. Instead, try to use your feelings and emotions as a guide. If you are feeling confident and happy, chances are you are thinking positively. If you are feeling low and anxious, you are probably thinking negatively.

When you do feel low, ask yourself what bad feelings you’re having and look to change your thoughts. When you change your thoughts you can change the way you feel and ultimately the way you experience life.

If you feel trapped in a cycle of negative thoughts, seeking help from a hypnotherapist could help. Find out more on our depression page.

View and comment on the original Inspiyr article.

Shouting at children causes further problems

April 11th, 2014

Shouting at children causes further problemsNew research shows that parents who shout at their children could be making behaviour problems worse.

Parents who discipline their children by shouting rather than reasoning with them can create further discipline problems, new research suggests.

Presented to the Royal Economic Society annual conference, a study by the London School of Economics found that excessive shouting and the issuing of harsh punishments is counterproductive to tackling bad behaviour in children.

Ignoring children was also revealed to be a factor contributing to deteriorating discipline standards.

Almost 19,000 children born in the first two years of the millennium were analysed in the study and data was collected from parents just before children’s first birthday, then when they turned three, five and seven.

Interviews took place with school teachers and older siblings, an assessment was also conducted into the impact of various styles of parenting on children.

Ultimately it was found that the mother’s parenting style “mainly influences the mental health of the child”, whilst “excessive shouting, punishing or ignoring a naughty child” in particular increases their behavioural problems.

Generally it was agreed by researchers that “reasoning with children” is more likely to have a positive impact on their behaviour at a young age.

In a statement they said:

“In this group, externalising behavioural problems are reduced when mothers read to the child, and increased when mothers shout at the child when naughty, take treats away, or ignore the naughty child.”

In some cases, it may be pent-up anger that causes parents to shout at their children when they misbehave. Discovering anger management through hypnotherapy can help control rage and may even lead to more reasoned parenting. To find out more, please see our hypnotherapy for anger management page. 

View and comment on the original Telegraph article. 

Why Smartphones and tablets are ruining your sleep

April 9th, 2014

Why Smartphones are ruining your sleepA new study reveals what many already suspected – checking Smartphones and tablets before bed disrupts sleep.

Many of us fall into the same habit – checking our phones before heading to bed. Whether we’re reading through texts, browsing the Internet or checking social media accounts, looking at devices that emit blue light can play havoc with sleeping patterns.

A new survey has found that 78% of adults questioned regularly expose themselves to devices that emit blue light before going to bed. This number rose to an incredible 91% among respondents aged 18-24.

The University of Hertfordshire carried out the survey and commented that the blue light disrupts sleep by suppressing the production of sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.

The recommended amount of sleep for adults is between seven and eight hours a night, with teenagers requiring at least nine. The amount of people getting too little sleep has risen by a fifth since the ‘bedroom poll’ conducted in 2013 by the National Sleep Foundation. Professor Richard Wiseman commissioned the blue light survey and commented on this worrying rise:

“This is a huge rise, and the results are extremely worrying because getting less than seven hours sleep a night is below the recommended guidelines, and is associated with a range of problems, including an increased risk of weight gain, heart attacks, diabetes and cancer.”

In the survey, respondents said they used Smartphones and tablets during the two hours just before bed. Another separate survey has also uncovered that under-25s check their phone an average of 32 times every day.

If you are struggling to sleep, limiting your time with blue light emitting devices may help. If you’re still struggling, hypnotherapy may be able to offer support. Find out more on our insomnia fact-sheet.

View and comment on the original Independent article.

Concern that being overweight is seen as the norm

April 4th, 2014

Concern that being overweight is seen as the normEngland’s chief medical officer blames the media and clothing industry for making obesity seem normal.

Dame Sally Davies – England’s chief medical officer – has expressed her concern that obese people are failing to recognise that they are of an unhealthy weight.

According to her annual report on the state of health, parents of overweight children are also among those who are failing to spot the signs that there is a problem.

Dame Sally believes this is the case because of the way weight is portrayed in the media and clothing industry:

“Larger mannequins are being introduced into clothes shops and “size inflation” means that clothes with the same size label have become larger in recent decades.

“And news stories about weight often feature pictures of severely obese people, which are unrepresentative of the majority of overweight people.”

A particular issue Dame Sally addressed is the amount of sugar children and adults of all ages are consuming on a daily basis. Last month she argued at the Health Select Committee that a sugar tax may be necessary to combat obesity and she continues to believe this needs to be “considered”.

Research suggests Dame Sally has good reason to be concerned. Today, nearly two thirds of adults and a third of children are overweight or obese. This is double the numbers in the early 1990s and figures continue to grow.

Professor Kevin Fenton, of Public Health England, said he agreed with Dame Sally’s annual report:

“We share her concerns. Overweight and obesity costs the NHS over £5 billion each year and is entirely preventable.”

If you are worried that your weight is getting out of control, why not consider hypnotherapy to help get your food cravings and unhealthy eating habits under control? To find out more, please see our hypnotherapy for weight-loss page. 

View and comment on the original BBC article. 

How to tackle workplace stress

April 2nd, 2014

How to tackle workplace stressFind out how to switch off and de-stress after the week from hell.

Leaving work at the office has become an increasingly difficult thing to do. With the advent of Smartphones and tablets, now we are able to connect with work whenever and wherever we want. For some this means that the lines between work and home are blurred beyond recognition.

This inability to switch off is putting both our mental and physical health at risk, inviting stress, depression and anxiety. Taking steps to relax and truly switch off after work can help improve your mental well-being for a stress-free work/life balance. Take a look at the following suggestions:

Prioritise sleep

The 24/7 lifestyle we tend to lead can cause havoc for our sleeping patterns. Worrying about work can keep you awake and stress your body and mind further. Sleep is crucial for giving your brain ‘down time’ and will keep you sharp and productive when you are at work. If you are struggling to get to sleep at night, try to establish a strict bedtime routine and follow these steps to better sleep.

Cut down on alcohol

A glass (or three) of wine may seem like an ideal way to wind down after a stressful day – but alcohol actually diminishes our quality of sleep and over time can damage our health. Try to limit drinking to just two evenings a week and relax in other, more healthy ways.

Write a to-do list

After work, it is common to continuously think about what tasks didn’t get done and what needs doing tomorrow. These thoughts can stop us from switching off and often get in the way of sleep. Try writing a to-do list when you get home from work that you can tend to in the morning. This way you won’t worry about forgetting anything and will put your mind at ease.

Include exercise into your daily routine

Exercise is not only incredibly good for you physically, it also helps you take your mind off work. Try to include some form of exercise (such as swimming, yoga or running) as part of your daily routine to help boost energy levels and de-stress.

Seek outside help

If workplace stress is something you struggle with often – you may want to seek outside help. Some people find hypnotherapy helpful as it can be used to relax and re-wire the brain to respond differently to stress. Find out more on our hypnotherapy for stress page.

View and comment on the original Women’s Health article.

Losing the baby weight is important for future health

March 29th, 2014

Losing the baby weight is important for future healthCanadian doctors unearth a critical time for women to lose weight following childbirth to promote good health. 

New research published in the Diabetes Care journal suggests that three to 12 months after giving birth is the most appropriate time for mothers to start losing the ‘baby weight’.

Those who fail to lose any excess weight within a year of delivery (or put more weight on) could be putting their health at serious risk.

The study – which was conducted at the Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto – tracked the weight-loss of 300 healthy women following the birth of their babies. It also monitored risk factors such as blood pressure, bad cholesterol and resistance to insulin.

Whilst most of the women did not start losing weight immediately after the birth, between three and 12 months 75% of them lost weight – with exercise and physical activity cited as a key factors in this weight-loss.

The 25% who had no weight-loss, or gained weight during this period were found to have a poorer risk profile for developing diabetes or heart disease in later life.

Results of the study also showed that a woman’s weight one year after birth can strongly predict the likelihood of her being overweight 15 years later.

Dr Ravi Retnakaran, the diabetes researcher and clinician who led the study, said:

“What we’re seeing is the period between three and 12 months after delivery is a critical window during which practitioner and patient attention to weight control may be very important to long-term metabolic and vascular health.”

British Heart Foundation senior cardiac nurse, Maureen Talbot suggests that new mums should aim to keep active and eat a balanced diet following childbirth to promote healthy weight-loss:

“With a new baby you will undeniably have your hands full, so don’t try to rush into diets and fitness regimes.

“Instead, steadily ease yourself back into fitness by working physical activity into your routine, for example with a lunchtime walk or a mother-and-baby exercise class.”

If you need extra help losing excess weight, you may want to try hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy can help to empower your mind so that you can take control of your food and fitness choices. Find out more by visiting our weight-loss page. 

View and comment on the original BBC article. 

Six steps to better sleep

March 26th, 2014

Six steps to better sleepStop chasing sleep and let sleep find you with these simple steps.

According to surveys, one in three of us has difficulty sleeping – with insomnia considered the UK’s most common mental health complaint. While an average night’s sleep hasn’t changed from 50 years (about seven hours), these days we are bombarded with information 24/7, making sleep more fragmented and hard to come by.

If you struggle to get enough sleep, try the following tips for a more harmonious bedtime.

1. Stop worrying

Worrying that you are not getting enough sleep ironically will only stop you from sleeping, creating a vicious cycle. Experts say the notion of needing eight hours sleep is exaggerated and that most of us can happily get by on six hours a night without any knock-on effects. Reducing your anxiety about sleeping enough will help you relax and fall asleep more easily.

2. Establish a routine

Give yourself ample wind-down time to ensure you are mentally and physically prepared for sleep. Take an hour before bed to turn off any screens, make a to-do list for the following day (to stop that mind from racing), have a bath, enjoy a small snack or warm drink and keep your bedroom quiet, dark and clutter-free.

3. Be mindful of what you eat

What you eat during the day can have a huge impact on your sleep. Surprisingly – when you eat breakfast is key. Eating within half an hour of waking will cause you to produce more of the sleep hormone melatonin during the day. You should also avoid caffeine in the afternoon and alcoholic drinks late at night.

4. Have an electronic sundown

The blueish lights from Smartphones, laptops and tablets can delay the body’s production of sleep hormones. On top of this, being ‘online’ can overload you with information that can’t be processed before sleep – keeping you awake. Try to turn off all electronic devices an hour before you head to bed and try reading or listening to music instead.

5. Tune out at least once a day

Studies have shown that 10 minutes of meditation a day gives your body as much rest as the final phase of sleep, allowing your brain the chance to recharge. If the idea of meditation doesn’t appeal, try going for a walk or some breathing exercises instead.

6. Have an action plan

If you do wake up in the middle of the night and struggle to get back to sleep, have an action plan to stop you from worrying. Avoid clock-watching and try not to turn on the lights to keep yourself in a sleepy state. Try a relaxation exercise and if you really can’t get back to sleep – get up and out of bed and try reading until you feel sleepy.

If you are struggling to sleep, seeing a hypnotherapist could help. Take a look at our hypnotherapy for insomnia page for more information.

View and comment on the original Express article.

Lose weight without breaking a sweat

March 21st, 2014

Lose weight without breaking a sweatForget gym workouts – we reveal some unexpected ways to lose weight.

For many of us, finding the motivation and time to exercise regularly in order to lose weight can be difficult, but there are ways to boost your metabolism without the need to break a sweat.

Below are some unexpected ways to shed the pounds, and they are all simple enough to incorporate into your daily life.

Keep cool

When the human body is faced with cooler temperatures, it has to work harder to keep warm. Therefore, simple tricks such as drinking cold water and keeping your heating down can make a big difference to how many calories you burn. Just by drinking eight glasses of cold water a day you could be burning up to 70 calories, whilst lowering your bedroom temperature to 19C will see you burn 7% more calories while you sleep. That’s approximately 100 calories for every 24 hours you are in bed.

Stand up

Standing up to do tasks such as making a phone call or applying your makeup before work will help your body burn an extra 42 calories a hour. This is because standing makes your heart beat faster, meaning more oxygen is needed. As a result, your metabolism starts working harder to convert calories into energy. According to Dr John Buckley – who led a study into the benefits of standing at Chester University – standing for three to four hours a day can help to burn up to 30,000 extra calories a year.

Eat early

Skipping breakfast is a dieting sin; especially as your body needs food after a night-long fast to kick-start the metabolism for the day ahead. If you do not eat within at least an hour of waking up, your body will worry about how to fuel itself throughout the day and so will cut down on calorie burning. To ensure your breakfast effectively boosts your metabolism, go for a protein and carbohydrate mix such as a lean bacon sandwich or scrambled eggs with toast.

Ditch decaf coffee

According to a study in the American magazine Physiology & Behaviour, decaf coffee drinkers will have a much slower metabolism than regular coffee drinkers. This is because caffeine increases the heart rate, boosting your metabolism and providing energy, albeit temporarily. If you’re concerned your sugar and milk intake may cancel out any weight-loss benefits of a regular cuppa, switch to green tea instead. As well as caffeine it includes an antioxidant that has been shown to act as a metabolism booster.

To find out how hypnotherapy can help you to change your diet and lifestyle habits in order to lose weight, please see our weight-loss page. 

View and comment on the original Daily Express article. 

Helpful hints to quit smoking

March 19th, 2014

Helpful hints to quit smokingIf you’re struggling to stub out for good, the following hints and tips may help.

Last week on 12 March it was National No Smoking Day, a day dedicated to help smokers quit their addiction for good. Since the campaign was introduced in 1983 the proportion of smokers in the UK has dropped from one third to one fifth. Despite this impressive decline, there are still around 10 million smokers in the country, and 100,000 of them die every year from their addiction.

The implications of smoking on health are widely known and include increased risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, blood clots and premature ageing – not to mention bad breath, gum disease and a rapidly emptying bank balance.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) organise No Smoking Day and believe that there are two factors that are essential for successful cessation:

  1. that you are ready for the change
  2. that you realise you needn’t do it alone.

There are several different routes you can take to quit smoking including medication and nicotine replacement therapies. The key is finding out what works best for you and not giving up at the first hurdle.

The BHF have the following hints for those looking to quit smoking:

  • Make a note of your personal reasons for quitting and keep it somewhere you will see it every day.
  • Set yourself a date to quit. Having a clear plan of action will help you devise strategies for the day.
  • Tell your friends and family. Making the commitment out loud will make it more real, while the support of those around you will be invaluable.
  • Visit your NHS Stop Smoking Service for further help.
  • Plan in advance how you will cope with the temptations to smoke. Make a note of your triggers and have an action plan for trigger scenarios.
  • Keep a log of how much money you’re saving to keep you motivated.

For some people, hypnotherapy can prove helpful when quitting. To find out more, please see our hypnotherapy to quit smoking page.

View and comment on the original Express article.

Tips for reaching your fitness potential

March 14th, 2014

Tips for reaching your fitness potentialWherever you are in your journey to better fitness, there are some simple tweaks you can apply to help you get to the next level.

Whether you have only just started exercising after years of sedentary habits, or you are a regular at the gym but have reached a plateau – it can do you some good to go back to basics. The following tips should help you fulfil your fitness goals by taking things one step at a time.

Make lifestyle changes slowly

This is especially important if you are at the beginning of your fitness journey. Trying to overhaul your diet and exercise routine too quickly could cause injury and make you feel demotivated. Instead, look to make small changes over time – you’ll be surprised at how quickly they add up.

This tip also helps those who are stuck at a plateau. Pushing yourself too hard to get out of it may make matters worse, so look to change things slowly yet surely.

Drink plenty of water

Yes, this tip is probably a no-brainer, but it is a simple habit that many of us forget. Staying well hydrated will help you perform your best when you exercise and will stop you from confusing hunger with thirst. Drinking enough water can also help to ward off headaches and boost concentration.

Keep a large bottle of water nearby and monitor how much you drink. If you find it difficult to stick to this habit, set yourself reminders on your phone or computer.

Remember to breathe

Breathing correctly when exercising can help you perform your best. Avoid holding your breath when lifting weights and exhale on exertion. When running, concentrate on filling your lungs up completely; a three-to-two inhale-to-exhale ration is considered ideal.

Mix up your routine

Doing the same exercise day in and day out will not only lead to boredom, your body will get used to it and cause you to plateau. Keep things varied by mixing up your routine from time to time and try to incorporate other active habits into your day.

Changing your routine like this will give different muscle groups new tasks and will challenge your fitness levels.

If you are finding it difficult to change your unhealthy habits, speaking to a hypnotherapist may help. Find out more on our frequently asked questions page.

View and comment on the original Inspiyr article.