Hypnotherapy - a great way to make dry January a reality
You may be aware that it’s dry January, and the reason it’s promoted at this time of year is it’s probably a good thing to give Christmas over-indulgence a rest.
If you manage at least 60 days of a new habit, you are more likely to carry the newfound healthy habit further into the year.
Most of us know what the effects of alcohol are - euphoria, energy, confidence and less inhibition. We relax and become more sociable because the alcohol is affecting the pre-frontal cortex which is responsible for rational thought, self-control and decision making.
Our body, however, considers alcohol as a poison. From the moment it's absorbed into the bloodstream our bodies are trying to get rid of it - which is why we feel dehydrated in the morning. As the alcohol increases the effect of a brain neurotransmitter called GABA - Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid, it dampens responses so you’re more likely to drink more than is good.
Binge drinking, in particular, accompanied with blackouts are a warning sign trouble could be ahead. This behaviour over many years not only has a negative effect on your liver and kidneys, but your chances of developing cancer also increase, as do brain disorders.
Research carried out on animals show that large amounts of alcohol disrupt the growth of new brain cells, particularly in the hippocampus. This lack of new growth here effects short-term memory and spatial awareness. Hindering new growth lead to spacial problems, dementia and can be a contributor to Alzheimer's. It increases blood pressure and cholesterol, which damages blood supply to the brain and can lead to vascular dementia.
A retired gentleman I shall call Gary came to see me as he was concerned about drinking more than one bottle of wine each evening. He decided to try tackling it by hypnotherapy. Drinking was very much part of his work-life culture but now, when he had time to do all the things he promised to do when retired, the drinking was holding him back.
He was already familiar with the possible dangers, however when I added in how habits are formed the penny dropped and he realised he always poured himself a drink around the same time of day. I also told him that location also played a part. Consequently, if you want to change a habit, you know you need to understand the role of time and location when it comes to changing them.
The hypnotherapy sessions allowed Gary to find solutions to break the habit, making sure he was otherwise occupied at the critical time of day. He substituted different drinks, and found that Polish Cherry juice was a convincing and refreshing alternative to red wine. The added bonus is it helps you sleep better because of its effect on the production of melatonin. If he was out socialising, he chose tonic water with ice and lemon because no one could tell if he’s drinking G&T or not, which helped him into not feel so pressured into accepting alcoholic drinks from others.
Gary was one happy guy and had managed to control his drinking all through Christmas. This coming year he plans to put his retirement plans into action thanks to being sober and not suffering from hangovers.
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About Penny Ling
Penny Ling is an experienced solution focused hypnotherapist specialising in fears and phobias and many anxiety related problems in between. She was Editor of Hypnotherapy Today magazine for five years, and supervises other hypnotherapists. She has published an eBook - How solution focused hypnotherapy can help with life, accessed from her website.… Read more
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