Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hypnotherapy Directory

There's a new a website called Hypnotherapy Directory (www.hypnotherapy-directory.org.uk) which was launched a few months ago and is free to use. It is an online web directory listing hypnotherapists all over the UK. Each hypnotherapist has a profile stating what areas they specialise in, a bit about their background, and their qualifications. All the hypnotherapists registered with them have a relevant qualification and insurance cover or proof of registration with a professional body, so the organisation running the site are assured of their professionalism.

The site also has a wealth of information about various types of distress that hypnotherapy can help, as well as a blog about the latest health news. The search facility on the site means you simply type in your postcode or town which produces a list of all the hypnotherapists in that area, allowing the individual to browse through them and select one to contact.

Why not pay them a visit?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Negotiating So Both Sides Win

It doesn’t matter whether you are negotiating a pay rise with your boss, negotiating with a seller or buyer or sorting out who has the kids and when with your ex-partner, there are rules you need to follow to get the most out of a negotiation.

The aim of win-win negotiation is to find a solution that is acceptable to both parties, and leaves both parties feeling that they've won, in some way, after the event.

Here’s how it’s done:

Make sure you know what you want and what the other side wants.
This might seem obvious, but most of the time people don’t know what they want. Often in a dispute both parties are so angry that they haven’t even asked themselves how the issue can be resolved. If they don’t know what they want, how can they begin to set about getting it?

Depending on how complex the situation is, you should take the time to make a detailed plan of exactly what you want. It’s useful to ask the following questions:
What are my objectives? What does the other party want? What information could influence the outcome? How am I going to achieve my objectives?
Incidentally, you also need to decide what concessions you can make - in other words what you are willing to give up in order to get what you want. You can usually get what you want if you are willing to pay the price for it. Don’t ever begin a negotiation without knowing exactly what you want.

If The Other Side Is More Powerful Than You - Always Have a Plan B.
This is known as a BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement) It is a really important strategy to always have a backup plan. It’s a good idea to ask yourself questions that start with “how” or “what if?” - What if the other party likes this? What if they reject this? How can I sweeten the deal? How can I close the deal? Try to come up with some alternatives that will help seal the deal. Having a Plan B gets easier the more you negotiate. It becomes a way to be flexible and react to what the other side wants and think fast on your feet. The person with the most flexibility in a situation will always prevail.

Separate People from the Problem
It’s critical to address problems, not personalities and avoid the tendency to attack the other side personally; if the other person feels threatened, he defends his self-esteem and makes attacking the real issue more difficult. Both parties must acknowledge the fact that certain emotions are present, even when they don't see those feelings as reasonable. Dismissing another's feelings as unreasonable is likely to provoke an even more intense emotional response. Allow the other side to express their emotions without reacting emotionally to outbursts. Symbolic gestures such as apologies or an expression of sympathy can help to defuse strong emotions. Make sure you send signals that you know the conflict is about the issues at hand and not personal. This will help to prevent the other side from getting defensive.
Focus on interests not positions

Here’s an example:

There were two men in an office arguing about how wide a window should be opened. There was no solution until the manager asked the first man “ Why do you want it open? “
He answered “For fresh air”. She asked the second man “Why do you want it closed? “
He answered “To avoid a draught”.
Her solution was to open the window in the next room wide open. This allowed the influx of fresh air without a draught. Both party’s interests were satisfied without losing out to the other.

Use an Objective Standard if possible
How do you convince someone that your proposal is ‘fair’? Fairness is a subjective concept and people have different ideas of fairness. Just because you think something is fair doesn’t mean the other person will think it’s fair. One suggestion is to look to comparables or objective criteria, because people are more persuaded by an objective standard than by you saying that you think something is fair. Objective standards are criteria that are outside the specific negotiation; something both sides can look at and agree is fair. For example, if you’re buying or selling a house, you would want to know what similar houses have sold for recently. ‘Objective criteria’ needs to be independent of each side's will.

Invent options for mutual gain.
A good negotiator is creative. It’s important to broaden the options on the table rather than look for a single answer. One idea is to have a brainstorming session in your negotiation where all involved try to come up with creative ideas. It’s important to set two ground rules: first, no criticism is allowed of the options that are being generated;
second, no commitment to the options – they are options, not offers.

If we free ourselves from having to worry about whether an option is a good one, we’re more likely to come up with creative options.

Remember the men in the office? The only option they saw was opening or closing the window in the room they were both sitting in. In fact, there are many options: borrow a sweater, open a window in another room, move to a different spot, etc.

Search for mutual gain. In a negotiation, both sides can be worse off and both sides can gain. Remember, this is not about "I win" and "you lose".

Invent ways of making the other party's decisions easy.
Since a successful negotiation requires both parties to agree, make it easy for the other side to choose. This is where putting yourself in the other person's shoes can be very valuable. What might prevent "Jim" from agreeing? Can you do anything to change those things?


There are the three words we want to hear even more than “I Love you”. We love to hear those magic words, “You are right”. For some people, this is even harder to say than “I love you”. When someone says, “It is the principle that counts” or “It is not the money, it’s the principle!” the negotiation is in trouble. That is because the party is making a decision that it is more important to be a martyr than settle the dispute. When someone is obsessed with the principle of a situation, they are still emotionally vested in their feelings. Unless you can get beyond those emotions, the dispute is not likely to be resolved. The most important thing to remember in negotiation is that You don’t have to be right to settle.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Using an Indian Talking Stick

Communicating thoughts and ideas with others can be a problem. Others may disagree with you and have suggestions of their own that they wish to eagerly air. Sometimes you get a group of people at a meeting all shouting at once or a family dispute with all trying to get you to agree with them and not listening to your point of view. The Native Americans had a remedy for this by using something called a talking stick.

Sticks were important to the early American Indians. Sticks were used to plant corn, to beat drums, as pipes and flutes, as walking aides, and as weapons.

The Talking Stick

The Talking Stick was taken to council meetings or gatherings and used as a symbol of the speaker's importance. The person doing the talking or teaching would bring his or her own Talking Stick but if responses were called for or were sought by the speaker the stick could be passed on to others and they, too, would be given respect and attention. Often, an "Answering Feather" was used. The feather would be passed to persons wanting to respond to the main talker.

Here’s how this idea can be used in any dispute or meeting situation:

Any item can be designated for use as an Indian talking stick if one is not available. Use a feather, pen or pencil, rock or shell. What is important is that the object is designated as empowering the speaker with the right of uninterrupted speech.

When using an Indian talking stick it is important for all to agree that the individual who has the stick is to be allowed to speak without interruption until they are finished.

Perhaps you could design a family talking stick. It can be a thick tree branch decoratively wrapped with leather straps or a fluffy magic wand made of lace, beads and glitter. It can be a twig of any length. It can be plain or decorated with feathers and ribbon. Each family member can participate in the designing one stick for everyone’s use or each family member can have an individual talking stick. Designate a special place to store the family’s talking sticks so everyone knows where it is when it’s needed.

Decide when to use the talking stick. A talking stick can be used at family meetings or spontaneously when members want to express themselves. Talk about how your family or team want to incorporate this communication tool.

Take turns with the talking stick. At meetings each person takes a turn holding the stick. The person holding the stick has the floor until they’ve said all that they want to say. As long as the person is holding the stick, no interrupting is allowed. The talking stick gives the speaker a chance to reveal all of his concerns. When the speaker has said all that he wants to say, he holds out the talking stick and whoever wishes to speak next takes it. The stick is passed from one person to another until everyone has had an opportunity to speak. If a person wants to use the stick spontaneously, that means that the family listens closely to what is being expressed.

Demonstrate respect for the talking stick holder. The person holding the stick has accepted the right to speak and does so respectfully. The stick represents the group’s respect for free speech. The stick implies freedom to speak honestly without fear of judgment, humiliation or consequences. No one is judged or put down for speaking from the heart.

Honour the words. The talking stick is a symbol of the power of words. The person who is talking must not dishonor him/herself or the tradition by speaking in a way that dishonors the family. When a person accepts the stick he makes an agreement to speak with honor and respect for the process. The person speaks clearly and kindly.

Incorporate silent listening. No one talks until they’re holding the stick. This silent listening is very effective in keeping the discussion focused and is a respectful, productive way of handling disagreements.

Show consideration for the process. A talking stick is not magic, but the process of the talking stick is powerful and transformative. The magic happens through listening, hearing, and hearing over and over again without threats or lambasting, without rebuttal or criticism.

Remember, only the person with the stick can speak and no one may interrupt or speak until the stick is passed to them.

This simple tool allows everyone to feel valued and listened to. It allows everyone the chance to everybody else’s viewpoint making resolutions and agreements much easier to reach. It’s worked for the Native Americans for hundreds of years. It can work for your group too.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Learn To Laugh More

Research has consistently shown real health benefits from laughter ranging from strengthening the immune system to reducing food cravings, to increasing a person’s threshold for pain. There's even an emerging therapeutic field known as humour therapy to help people heal more quickly.

Laughter connects us with others. Also, laughter is contagious, so if you bring more laughter into your life, you can most likely help others around you to laugh more, and realise these benefits as well. By elevating the mood of those around you, you can reduce their stress levels, and perhaps improve the quality of your experience with them which helps to reduce your stress level even more!

Laughter is one of the best stress management strategies because it's free, convenient, and beneficial in so many ways. Here are some great ways you can get more laughter in your life:

T.V. and Films:
There's no shortage of laughter opportunities from the entertainment, both at the theatre and in the aisles of the video stores, as well as at home with T.V. comedies. Every month or so, my friend and I visit one of the Laurel and Hardy evenings that take place in and around the region. We join other Laurel and Hardy fans and watch these classic old films and just laugh. Even though we’ve all seen them countless times they never fail to reduce everyone to tears of laughter.

When you hear laughter, move toward it.
Sometimes humour and laughter are private, a shared joke among a small group, but usually not. More often, people are very happy to share something funny because it gives them an opportunity to laugh again and feed off the humour you find in it. When you hear laughter, seek it out and ask, “What’s so funny?”

Laugh With Friends:
Going to a comedy club with friends is another great way to get more laughter. The contagious effects of laughter may mean you'll laugh more than you otherwise would have during the show, plus you'll have jokes to reference at later times. Having friends over for a party or game night is also a great setup for laughter and other good feelings.

Look For The Humour In Your Life:
Instead of complaining about life's frustrations, try to laugh about them. If something is so frustrating or depressing it's ridiculous, realise that you could 'look back on it and laugh.' Think of how it will sound as a story you could tell to your friends, and then see if you can laugh about it now. With this attitude, you may also find yourself being more light-hearted and silly, giving yourself and those around you more to laugh about. Approach life in a more jovial way and you'll find you're less stressed about negative events, and you'll achieve the health benefits of laughter.

'Fake It Until You Make It':
Just as studies show the positive effects of smiling occur whether the smile is faked or real, faked laughter also provides the benefits mentioned above. So smile more often, and fake laughter; you'll still achieve positive effects, and the fake merriment may lead to the real thing.

Join a laughter club.
This is where participants gather in the early morning for the sole purpose of laughing. They are becoming as popular as Rotary Clubs in the United States. In this country there are even telephone laughter clubs where you dial into a conference call to laugh with other people prior to going to work so you all start the day in a great and inspiring way.

Laughing doesn’t just boost the immune system and lessen stress; it can also shave off those calories! Researchers from Vanderbilt University in America locked people in a room to watch comedy clips on TV and found that those who laughed used 20 percent more energy than those who didn’t. So, start laughing for 10 to 15 minutes a day and you will be able to burn off 2.2 kilograms of calories a year!

Laughter is a birthright, a natural part of life. The part of the brain that connects to and facilitates laughter is among the first parts of the nervous system to come on line after birth. Infants begin smiling during the first weeks of life and laugh out loud within months of being born. Even if you did not grow up in a household where laughter was a common sound, you can learn to laugh at any stage of life. Why not start now?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Putting Old Ideas Out Of Your Life

When we are growing up we are told lots of things. We tend to be influenced mostly by our parents, teachers, relatives and friends. When we start working, co-workers and bosses teach us things too. Unfortunately, nobody is perfect and often what we are taught ends up hindering rather than helping. Sadly the people who loved us and wanted the best for us sometimes unwittingly led us down the wrong path.

It’s important to realise that those people did the best they could. They honestly thought that they were acting with your best interest at heart. The chances are though that they were teaching you how they viewed the world – it’s limits and it’s possibilities. However, what is right or true for one isn’t necessarily right or true for all. It’s useful for us to gain a different perspective.

It is amazing how people will defend the belief system that they have even when the evidence against is overwhelming. Their ego tells them that changing will mean admitting that they or even worse, the people that they love dearly are wrong. This is something that most people can’t do. They would rather struggle through life repeating the same patterns of belief or behaviour that’s been duplicated for generations. This is why most people tend to lead unfulfilled lives.
An example of this phenomenon occurred in Japan. In the 1980s, Japanese managers were widely praised as role models for leadership behaviour. Books were written and "benchmarking trips" were organized so that leaders from around the world could learn from their success. Unfortunately, the style that worked in the 1980s did not work in the 1990s. Rapid changes in technology, the economy, the role of manufacturing and the workforce made the Japanese management approach far less desirable. It has taken two decades for many Japanese leaders to admit that their previous approach was no longer working and accept that change was needed.

Only a small percentage of people take the time to question what ideas they are carrying in their heads and how they got there. But by doing this you open yourself to releasing the patterns that invariably hold you back. If you really want to create the life that you truly deserve, it’s going to require you letting go of all those ideas that keep you from achieving it.
Successful people operate under an entirely different set of ideals to people who struggle through life. Here are 10 common beliefs of some of the most successful people I’ve met.

1. I believe I am 100% responsible for my own life.
2. Whether I believe I can or I can’t my results equal my belief.
3. I believe failure is a great teacher that leads me closer to success.
4. I believe no task is too small to give my best effort.
5. I believe it's what I know and who I know.
6. I believe in asking "What can I do right now to make things better?"
7. I believe in valuing and respecting self and others equally.
8. Whether I look for opportunities or obstacles I find what I’m looking for.
9. I believe in something greater than myself.
10. I control my thoughts, my thoughts control my beliefs, my beliefs control my actions, my actions create my success or failure.

Take a look at the beliefs that you have concerning love, happiness, relationships, money, success, debt, and motivation. Are there some ideas you hold that are currently holding you back?

If wealth is a goal of yours, why haven't you achieved it? What is it that you are missing? Do you think that it is too hard? Is it really any harder to be wealthy than to work for someone else?

Do you believe that you have what it takes to be successful? Is the way that you view yourself keeping you from moving forward? What role does fear play in your life? Is the idea that you will fail preventing you from acting? What if you believed that failure was not possible? How would that change you life?

Keep asking yourself these types of questions until you uncover what ideas are hindering your path to your dream life. Once you’ve uncovered those ideas ask yourself, “Is this belief really true?” Usually, you will discover that your limiting beliefs are baseless and that they were just implanted in your mind by someone else who themselves were never successful. Ask yourself, “What will happen if I continue living with that belief? And what will happen if I replaced this belief with a strong, supporting one?” Powerful questions can covert an average person to a success champion.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hypnosis may slow onset of dementia

Jul 29 2008 Liverpool Daily Post

A SCIENTIST at the University of Liverpool has found hypnosis can slow down the effects of dementia and improve quality of life for people living with the condition.

Forensic psychologist Dr Simon Duff looked at how hypnosis compared to a type of group therapy in which participants were encouraged to discuss news and current affairs.

They found that people living with dementia who had received hypnosis therapy showed an improvement in concentration, memory and socialisation compared to two other groups. Relaxation, motivation and daily activities also improved with hypnosis.

Dr Duff said: “Over a nine-month period of weekly sessions, it became clear that the participants attending the discussion group remained the same throughout. The group who received treatment ‘as usual’ showed a small decline over the assessment period, yet those having regular hypnosis sessions showed real improvement across all the areas we looked at.

“Participants who are aware of the onset of dementia may become depressed and anxious at their gradual loss of cognitive ability and so hypnosis, which is a tool for relaxation, can really help.”

Further research will establish whether hypnosis maintains its effects.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Rescuing A Bad First Impression

A few years ago I was reading a magazine while I was waiting to get my hair cut. There was a letter from a girl recalling an embarrassing incident that happened to her. She was going for an interview and had made a huge effort to look great.

Apparently she had arrived early and so went to the cafe across the road to have a coffee and steady her nerves. As she left the cafe she tripped over an umbrella that was poking out from behind an elderly gentleman’s seat. She ended up sprawled face first over this gentleman's full English breakfast and her outfit was covered. She was so upset that unfortunately she screamed and swore at the man for his carelessness despite his profuse apologies. She went into the toilets to try to clean herself off and when she emerged the man was gone and she made her way to the interview intending to apologise for her appearance and explain. When she arrived, who was the interviewer? That's right - the man from the cafe! She didn't get the job purely because of her reaction and lack of courtesy to an elderly man when things had gone wrong.

You never have a second chance to make a first impression, so what happens when that first impression is a negative one?

Have any of these situations happened to you? Forgetting your client’s name, unintentionally insulting a co-worker, sending a racy e-mail to the wrong person, or asking a woman’s due date when she’s not pregnant?

If we lived in a perfect world none of these things would happen, but the truth is, we all make mistakes. Great communicators are not only aware of how their actions impact on others; they also know how to respond in uncomfortable situations. If handled properly, mistakes can actually serve to strengthen your image and help you gain respect. If you’ve committed a social faux pas here are some ways you can recover.

Apologize Immediately. Time is of the essence when it comes to damage control for your image. As soon as you realize that you may have offended someone, address it. The more time that passes, the more the story can become blown out of proportion. Last impressions stick just as surely as first impressions, So take control of the situation by making your last impression a positive, sincere apology.

Avoid Over-Apologizing. Saying you’re sorry is important, but overdoing it can create another uncomfortable situation. First, your goal in apologizing is to acknowledge your mistake and re-position yourself as being responsible and sensitive. If you repeatedly bring up the past, groveling and begging for forgiveness, you’re defeating your purpose. Second, it puts the other person in the uncomfortable position of having to constantly reassure you. Eventually that person may choose to avoid you altogether.

Don’t make assumptions about the other person. It’s easy to assume that others think the worst of you, but usually what we imagine is far worse than reality. Approach your apology by owning your feelings rather than telling others how you assume they feel. This gives you a chance to test their viewpoint and get a real handle on the situation. So, instead of starting out with, “You must think I’m a total idiot…” speak for yourself, “I feel bad about how I behaved yesterday because I realized I might have offended you. Did you feel the same way?” Starting out this way also prevents over-apologizing because the other person may think it was no big deal.

Be Sincere in your apology. No matter what the circumstances, a sincere apology requires three steps. Firstly, own what happened fully without blaming it on other people or circumstances. Secondly, once you know, acknowledge how your actions affected the other person - which means listening without defending yourself. Thirdly, commit to what you will do differently in the future to avoid making the same mistake.

Try something like, “I want to apologize for what I said yesterday. From what you’ve told me, I can hear how much my comments offended you and caused embarrassment. I want you to know that in the future I will be more sensitive.”

Apologize in person. Please don’t hide behind e-mail. No matter how embarrassing it might be, the most sincere apologies are given in person. If that's not possible, pick up the phone. Face-to-face communication is necessary for feedback and clarification. The last thing you want to do is prolong or create another misunderstanding.

Sometimes Humour can work well. Depending on the situation, a little self-deprecating humour can save you. It breaks the tension and provides an opening for you to recover. Make sure it’s directed only at you and doesn’t increase anybody else’s level of discomfort. Be careful not to over do it. Too much self-deprecation can have the same effect as over-apologizing.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Great Telephone Interviews

More and more organisations are saving time and effort by conducting an initial round of telephone interview before calling you for a face to face meeting in their office. Often they ask you in the advert to call them and interview you there and then. If you’re job hunting and you haven’t experienced this yet, it’s likely that you will in the future. A phone interview needs a slightly different approach and needs to be done well if you want that all important second chance, your voice and the way you project yourself over the phone can make all the difference.

Here are some good ways to make the process easier.

1. Visit the employers' website
Prior to the interview, (not just an hour before!), Visit the employers' website and learn about the firm. Most companies upload the job specifications in the 'career' or 'work with us' section of the website. This will give you a fair idea about the key skills required for a certain role. It may be that you can find some snippet of news or information regarding something you have experience or knowledge of that you can drop into the conversation if appropriate.

2. Also prior to the interview Make notes
Keep some notes ready about the job description and your key strengths and accomplishments. It's a good idea to keep your CV in front of you as well. It all helps to jog your memory and prevent you forgetting things you really wanted to get across. Remember, they can’t see you so they can't see if you’ve got these documents for review.

3. Make some Practice calls
Call a friend from the actual phone you will use for the call and ask them to listen to your voice on the phone. Maybe your voice shrills; you speak too softly or too fast to be understood. You might discover a poor quality or dodgy microphone on the handset you didn’t realise you had. Ask for feedback and request that they critique your voice. If you need to then use another phone – Remember you won’t get a second chance!

4. Once you call them Get to the point fast
Make sure you choose an appropriate time and find a comfortable and relaxed setting for the call. Many bosses can tell you about calls people have made during their lunch breaks and needed to go outside the building for privacy and ended up losing reception on their mobile phones. Don’t put yourself in this position. Instead schedule the call for a more convenient time when you know you will be in a quiet, uninterrupted location without the concern of being overheard. This also gives you the chance to relax and gather your thoughts before the call.
The employer is already expecting calls from candidates. They know why you’re calling, so don't waste their time by giving them a reference of where you saw their advertisement or asking them, if there are any openings. Greet them, state your name and get to the point. Keep a glass of water ready next to you. Sometimes nerves can give you a dry mouth.

5. Keep a note pad and pen ready
Listen to what they ask and write down their questions so that you can stay on topic. Too often, people forget the original question and beat around the bush like a politician, sometimes saying something they later wish they hadn’t. Stay on target Put yourself in the shoes of the interviewer and provide clear, well thought-through answers to give them the information they require.

6. Keep your voice positive and energetic
Your voice is the only sales tool you have. At all costs stop yourself from sounding tired or uninterested over the phone. Stay energetic and excited, even if they've asked you the same question again. Sometimes an interviewer will ask you the same question in a different way to try to spot inconsistencies. Speak clearly and allow the interviewer time to make notes and probe further on your answers.

Also try to be standing up - an erect and confident poise will help your voice come across more confidently.

7. Be courteous
Be courteous and try not to speak over the interviewer or cut them off. If you do, say "I apologise for interrupting, please complete your question" and let the interviewer continue.

Sooner or later, if you are determined about your career progression it is an audition you will have to get through, so it makes sense to get up to speed with the fundamentals now.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Coping With A Long Commute

Nowadays many of us make long commutes to work and back, sometimes lasting hours.
Some companies, especially those in which Information Technology and computers are used heavily have begun to realise the damage that long commutes can have. The more enlightened ones have become more open to accepting flexible working patterns which might allow employees to work from home now and again, or even completely. This can reduce the impact caused by the daily grind of getting to and from work. For example, you can produce a document at home and send it via e-mail to the office instantly. You can even hold a meeting with other staff members and clients now that we have teleconferencing.

However, for some jobs, there is no escaping the daily commute. So, how do you cope? This will largely depend upon your method of travel. There are certainly some things that would not be appropriate if you are driving but would be entirely suitable for a long train journey.

One thing that suits both car, bus, and train is using Audiobooks. For anyone who has never heard of these, They are just ordinary books that are read by someone else and recorded. If you have an MP3 player there are many web sites where you can legally download free audio books.

Many record shops, department stores and even some supermarkets stock these on both CD and cassette tape. However they can be expensive so instead, go to the public library and borrow theirs. Some people find that if they go for the more fluffy and easy-to-follow things it can be easier to use in the car. In the days when I used to commute for over an hour at a time I was very fond of listening to lectures. I learned vast amounts simply by making more use of the two hours spent in the car each day.

Taking this one stage further, you could also use the time to learn a foreign language. Many people say that this is something that would really love to do but they just never have the time. Those same people are often the ones that commute each day. Using CDs I did a German language course over a few months. It's a while since I did it and I'm certainly quite rusty now, however at the time I would have been able to hold my own in conversation should the need have arisen. How handy would this be as you think about your next year's holiday?

Along those lines, (with due awareness of the copyright laws etc) you could occasionally ask friends to make compilation CDs to listen to: it's a good way to introduce yourself to some new music.

If you're travelling on the train and you're not the sort of person to talk to a stranger then these ideas are great for you too. However there are considerably more options available to you:

Read a book, the old-fashioned way, once again, the option is there to learn something if you want to or perhaps even to just lose yourself in a work of fiction. The library can help you with this. However there are plenty of stalls and shops that sell second-hand books. You can often pick up a book in excellent condition for less than a pound.

What about learning handicrafts (knitting, crochet, etc)? This way you also end up with something you can use, perhaps a new top, scarf or hat. Incidentally it’s worth pointing out that many men have discovered that they really enjoy knitting as it helps them to relieve stress and winds and down after a hard day. It could work for you too!

There are plenty of others ideas -
Become great at soduko or crosswords.
People watching can be fun. Study your fellow commuters and write or make up stories about them or draw them. Who knows you may end up writing a book that other commuters can read or discover an artistic skill you never realised you had.

You could invest in a mini DVD player and work on whittling down your “movies-to-watch” list or play a game boy (or whatever they call them now).

Meditation or self hypnosis can both prepare your mind for the day ahead and calm your mind after a busy day. Most probably you never have time to sit at home for 30 minutes and practice quieting your mind - but on the train you can have 30 minutes of pure bliss. It can help even more than sleep at times. A cell phone with an alarm will help you emerge before you've missed your train stop if you aren't getting off at the end of the line.

A good way to get exercise, if you can, is at the end of the day, don't get on the bus at your usual stop - walk to a stop further away if you can. It can also allow you the ability to do errands on the way home, instead of having to go out again when you get home. Once again it could also help you to clear the day's events from your head

One of the problems with long commutes is that; by the time you get home you are so tired that you are in no mood to cook. Often people will eat an unhealthy ready meal or go to the local takeaway. Why not invest in a slow cooker or crock pot and a crock pot cookbook. You chuck a load of things in your crock pot in the morning and switch it on. When you get home - a delicious hot, nutritious meal awaits you. There are TONS of crock pot recipes out there on the Internet too, so don't assume you're only limited to stew or pot roast.

If you do drive everyday it’s worth bearing in mind that more and more people are taking up Car pooling. If you only have to drive once or twice a week instead of 5, you’ll be able to relax and read a book or paper maybe on 4 of the 5 days and only have the stress of driving through the city on one day each week. It's great for the environment too. Alternatively, you might consider ditching the car altogether once in a while and taking the train or bus if it’s appropriate.

We’re never going to live in a society where commuting becomes a thing of the past. But it's only dead time if you allow it to be that way. Use it

Friday, October 17, 2008

How To Stop Compulsive Lying

One of the most damaging of all personal habits is that of compulsive lying. In my practice I have seenpeople who have, as they put it ‘destroyed their lives and relationships’ through compulsive lying.

What is the Difference Between a Pathological and a Compulsive Liar?

Pathological Liar
A pathological liar is someone who lies incessantly to get their way. They do it with little concern for others. Pathological lying is often a coping mechanism developed in early childhood and it is often associated with some other type of mental health disorder. Pathological liars have little regard or respect for the rights or feelings of others and are usually manipulative, cunning and self-centred.

Compulsive Liar
A compulsive liar is someone who lies out of habit. Lying is their normal and reflexive way of responding to questions. Compulsive liars bend the truth about everything, large and small. For a compulsive liar, telling the truth is very awkward and uncomfortable but lying feels right. Compulsive lying is usually thought to develop due to being placed in a childhood environment where lying was necessary. For the most part, compulsive liars are not overly manipulative and cunning - they just simply lie out of habit. It’s an automatic response which is hard to break and one that takes its toll on a relationship.

Most of us don't enjoy practicing deception, but lying is a difficult habit to break. If you're trying to get better at telling the truth, the following suggestions may be able to help:

You can’t stop lying if you haven’t admitted to yourself that you do it. Staying in denial only prolongs your pain and reinforces behaviours that make you unhappy with yourself. Therefore - admit and accept responsibility.

Check your feelings.
When you start to respond to someone with false information, you may feel physical symptoms. Your gaze may drop, your heart may pump harder, your face may redden, and your hands may clench. Become aware of these and other symptoms, and the next time you're tempted to lie, use those symptoms as a boundary that will not let you go further into a lie. Catch yourself and change your wording to reflect greater accuracy instead of deception.

List the reasons why your lying did not address your problem.
Ask yourself: "What didn't work here? Why not?" ( Example: Lying didn’t make me feel better; in fact it made me feel worse about myself later.) If you can learn as much as you can from one lie, then the next lie isn't quite so traumatic. Remember, it's more important to think of progress rather than perfection.

Practice apologising.
When you catch yourself in a lie, make a point of correcting your words to another person: "I'm sorry. That isn't quite right. What I meant to say is ...." Or try phrasing like this:
"No, I didn't actually get the work done, to be honest. But I expect to finish it up today."
Making yourself speak the truth, even if it means changing your story, will help you become more apologetic and truthful. You will start feeling more comfortable in saying difficult things when you find that nothing terrible happens when the truth is told. And others will come to trust you too, so that sharing negative views will become easier.

Remember: you are not your behaviour.
When you feel bad and find fault with yourself, you give power your lying habit. The best solution is to become aware of the lie, disassociate yourself from it - because you are not your behaviour - and notice how it made you feel.
Finally, reward yourself for success along the way. One way is to start by counting the number of lies you tell in a week. Let’s say at the moment you lie 20 times a week on average. After a couple of weeks of trying to reduce this number, you count up remaining lies for the next few weeks and find an average of 10, give yourself a treat as a reward. It all helps to keep you on track.

Telling the truth can often be painful, but it's far better to feel a pinch now than a punch later.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

How To Break A Habit

Habits help us but they can also haunt us. Some habits even become obsessive compulsive, such as nail biting, hair pulling & skin picking. Others such as smoking & drinking can alter our lives & even threaten them.

But habits can be broken just as easily as they are created and here’s a way to do it.

Decide how serious you are about breaking the habit. This is going to take a bit of time, effort and concentration. You’re going to have to pay attention to your behaviour so that you can change it. If you don’t have the motivation and commitment to do this then don’t waste your time. But if you do…

It’s important to realise that, regardless of how strange it might seem, behind every behaviour there is a positive intent. Almost without failure the reason for the behaviour clicks into our mind just before we actually do it. Often though that thought that tells us the positive intent comes and goes so quickly in our consciousness that we miss it.

Identify the times, situations and your emotional state when you perform the behaviour or you’re about to perform it. What does this habit do for you? Is it a way to deal with feelings of boredom, anxiety, stress, anger? Habits become automatic so conscious awareness is critical. When you can anticipate that you are about to perform your habitual behaviour before you actually do, you are likely to be more effective in stopping it.

Identify an incompatible behaviour that you can perform to interrupt or pre-empt the problem behaviour. Think of what you could do instead of the habit that would be a more positive way to deal with the feelings or situation. One great example I heard of was a smoker who decided to quit but instead of just shunning cigarettes he always kept a pack with him. He wanted to be able to reach for a cigarette just like normal. So he kept them where he knew they would trigger his habit.

As soon as he caught himself pulling out the pack and taking out a cigarette, he inserted a new habit to piggyback on the old one. With the unlit cigarette in his hand, he'd walk to a waste paper bin and shred the tobacco between his fingers and throw it away. Then he'd slip the pack back into his pocket. He could always pull out a second one and smoke it if he wanted to, but now he had a choice. That second one wasn't a habit-only the first one was. He continued to "use" 3-4 packs a day for a few days, but gradually that new, piggybacked habit began to become automatic. He'd get the urge to smoke, reach for the pack, and then, before pulling it out, he was already rubbing his fingers together, as though shredding the cigarette.

Try to catch yourself when you find yourself doing the habit and stop yourself as soon as you can. Start the alternative behaviour you decided you wanted to do instead. As often as you can, imagine being in the situation that triggers the habit. Rehearse the new behaviour in your mind. Using mental practice increases your chances of success.

Above all, BE KIND TO YOURSELF. Every time you’ve succeeded pat yourself on the back and reward yourself with something. You can break any habit you want, but you need the right strategy. So, if you have tried and failed to break a habit in the past, believe me - with a carefully worked out plan, you can do it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Believing In Yourself

Henry Ford once said "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right".

We've all met a wannabe entrepreneur - the kind of person that talks about starting a business but never actually takes the dive and does anything. Perhaps they spend all their time reading books on the subject but never really do anything to get things going?

They always seem to have excuses. They say…
" I’m too old to start now."
" I don’t know enough to be in business for myself."
" I can’t afford it."
" I will never be able to get finance."
" The economy is too unpredictable."

The amazing thing is that sometimes these people don’t even like where they are right now in life. I know several people who absolutely hate their jobs but prefer to suffer rather than actually look for a better one. It’s pretty clear that these people just don’t believe in themselves. They don’t believe they can actually become a success so they just keep doing what they’ve always done never moving forward.

Here are some simple ways to start learning how to believe in yourself and your abilities.

Get some paper and list every one of those things you really believe about yourself and your abilities or the lack of them. List them whether they are large or small. Once you have that list go through each belief and examine it. Ask yourself the following questions about each:

1. Is this true?
2. What is the proof?
3. Has there ever been a time when this wasn’t true?
4. If there hasn’t, what would you do if it wasn’t true?
5. If the belief is that you can’t or shouldn’t do something, what would happen if you did?

Then go and do whatever it is you feel you can't. It doesn't matter if you do it better than anyone else or if you don't do it as well as you would like. It only matters that you do it.

So often we allow self-defeating assumptions that leave us believing we can’t succeed. Very often this is caused by people in our lives who’ve impressed their own beliefs on us. If you accept this you are doing yourself a great disservice and giving your power to someone else. To reach your goals in life, believing in yourself is extremely important.

It is time to push beyond what you believe are your capabilities. The assumptions you have about yourself may not be true. You have simply accepted these assumptions as truth without proof. Consider all the possibilities of each situation. Challenge the assumptions and have an open mind to the possibility that you could be wrong!

Once you’ve challenged your belief, found that it wasn’t true and made a start, stay motivated. This can be tough if the people around you are always telling you what you can’t do instead of what you can do. There will always be someone who wants to bring you down, that is just a part of life. Of course it hurts when it’s someone whose opinion you value, like a spouse, family member or friend, but move beyond that and stay positive. Keeping a positive outlook will also improve your motivation. Try being a little arrogant, it's OK sometimes. KNOW that you can achieve what you set out to do. Don't allow the negativity and ridicule of others to destroy your motivation. Stay focused and keep believing. You’re well on the way to success!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Get Rid of Guilt

Someone once said “Guilt is interest on a debt that need never be repaid.“
Guilt is an emotion that is limiting and draining. It is mentally and physically destructive to us. It is also harmful to those around us.

Many people spend their lives in anguish due to feelings of guilt and shame. We fear that if we were to expose our true selves, then no one will love us. We believe that no one will understand what it is we have gone through - in our lives and the way we operate. When we make what we perceive are mistakes, we isolate ourselves emotionally and in some cases literally. We think that we are the only ones who have experienced a particular situation and fear that we will be judged if we share our experience with others so many choose to suffer in silence.

So many people are brought up with highly religious backgrounds. Often, authority figures in religions teach more about sins or what you mustn't/shouldn't do than they teach about love or what's right and what you should do. Consequently many people feel guilty about simply being who they were born to be.

So how can you get rid of guilt?

Firstly it's worth remembering that all guilt is self-inflicted and created by the mind. It is a feeling that we choose to experience. The feeling is rooted in our ego; a fear of not being accepted by the peers in our social group. So many people try to ignore feelings or describe them as a psychiatric illness, rather than a part of being a human responding to the world. The easiest and best way to rid yourself of guilt is to:

Fully Experiencing the Feeling
As with overcoming any emotion, the best way is to fully experience it. Spend a few minutes in uninterrupted space, close your eyes, now fully and deeply feel the guilt surge over you. Witness it as a third-person. It will be scary at first and probably hurt a bit, but just go with it, it’s an experience that will help you overcome the feeling. As you fully witness the feeling, you will notice the feeling slowly fade away.

Seek to Understand Why
We know that there's more beneath the surface of why we feel guilt. Ask yourself why? Why are you choosing to allow guilt into your life? What is it about this feeling that is serving you and your ego?

Accept that there's nothing you can do to change the past.
You did the best you could with the resources you had at the time. Know that you were as good, loving, and effective as you could have been. If you were able to go back in time, you couldn't do anything differently because that's who you were and that's what you knew then. Constantly going over what you could've or should've done is pointless. If you can't go back to the past, then why are we spending energy on it?

Ask yourself the following question:
“Have I punished myself enough for what I did or didn’t do?” Since guilt is self-punishment, go straight to it and ask yourself if you want to keep suffering more, or are you willing to let it go? If the matter is closed and nothing can really be done to correct the problem, then the best thing that can be done is to forgive yourself and do better in the future.

Focus on What You Can Do Now
Instead of things you haven't done. Distinguish between what's right for you to do and what you do or don't do because you're guilt ridden. Don't let other people's values dictate the way you live your life. Decide for yourself what's important to you, what you value, or the way you wish to be. Don't expect to be pleasant, wise, and even-tempered at all times. It's normal to feel irritable or angry occasionally. Feeling guilty about negative emotions is futile.

That’s not to say we have carte blanche to behave any way we like regardless of other's feelings, but we do need to stop beating ourselves up for simply living our own lives.

It's Been So Busy!

I haven't posted for a while because I've been working on a great new project (details to be announced soon!).

However, I'm back so here come the tips!


Friday, August 22, 2008

Taking Back Your Power

Do you wish you could stop letting people walk all over you? Some people let their family, friends, partners or bosses routinely disrespect them. They tell themselves they deserve to be respected and deserve better than that, and for once, to do what they would like. However, when they get in situations where they have to make a decision they always let the other person win. Sometimes people who allow themselves to be used will lend items or money to others which are never returned. The person can very often be afraid to ask for them back.

A friend of mine is having a problem with her neighbour. It's only small niggling things that the neighbour is doing but it's been going on for a while and isn't showing any sign of stopping any time soon. I asked my friend why she won't confront the neighbour and simply ask them to stop. She told me that she doesn't want to create a fuss because she has to live next to her and she doesn't want any bad feeling between them. It's strange isn't it how we'll suffer in silence because we want a relationship to continue but are unsure about the consequences of standing up for ourselves.

This 'doormat' type of behaviour results in our allowing others to determine what happens in our lives. It causes feelings of helplessness, loneliness, and poor self-esteem. We may also be angry and depressed at letting others control us which traps the thoughts and feelings we have inside us. These unexpressed emotions can lead to stress and its resulting physical problems.

We all really want to be liked by everybody. Some people find it difficult to make friends. Very often the reason that a person fails to stand up for themselves with a friend or partner is that they're afraid of being alone. Because of that they'll do anything to please the other person so they won’t leave them.

The American TV presenter Dr. Phil once said "You teach people how to treat you." So .. if you let people walk over you and disrespect you, then you've just taught them that you're a person who will take whatever garbage they feel like throwing your way”.

Assertiveness means expressing our own needs, wants, and basic rights as a person without violating the rights of others. Assertive behaviour shows that we respect others and ourselves, and, in turn, elicits respect from others. It also promotes self-confidence, self-control, and feelings of positive self-worth. Being assertive is the most effective way to solve interpersonal problems because it's direct - we confront the source of the problems, enabling our message to be heard without distortion.

So how can you learn to stand up for yourself?

Change your body language
Our body language is 70% of our communication. If someone's making you feel small the usual response is to fidget or start to nod, shrug your shoulders or even offer pathetic, apologetic smiles. This show that you are about to surrender. You've lost the battle before you've even started. It's crucial to give no body language clues as to how you're actually feeling. Stand or sit upright with your legs slightly apart. Direct all of your energy into your abdomen, feel yourself rock solid.

Look the person in the eye. This shows people that you don't intend to be brushed off. If you find this difficult then look directly at the bridge of their nose or between their eyebrows. It will look to them like you are looking right into their eyes. Wait until they’re finished before you respond; don’t even bother trying to interrupt them. This is their opportunity to speak, so give it to them - just make certain that when your chance to respond comes, that you insist that nobody interrupts you.

Speak in first-person terms
Keeping your language direct and from your own point of view. Say, “I disagree” or “I won’t” or “I think.” This prevents you from launching personal attacks on others. This is about defending your actions, motives or opinions against frivolous attacks by others that try to minimise you.
Being assertive does not mean that you should be rude. People are more willing to help and bend for someone who is both direct and respectful.

Don't say “I'm sorry but...” when you start to speak. Never apologise for simply standing up for yourself; you can apologise later for saying something in the heat of the moment that you didn't want to say but never apologise for defending yourself. Also leave out any references to you “finally standing up” for yourself; you should have no cause to explain.

Drop your tone of voice when finished speaking
When you want to stand up for yourself, the correct tone of voice is crucial. It’s the difference between being heard, commanding respect or simply being ignored.

Try hard not to stutter, mumble or speak softly. Use a clear, calm voice. You don't need to be loud, but you do need to make yourself heard.

Most importantly, don't finish what you are saying by raising the tone of your voice because this could undermine all your hard work. It turns what you've said from a statement into a question, and you aren’t asking anyone anything, you’re telling them. Finish what you are saying by dropping your voice down a tone from whatever level you’re speaking. Just doing this gives your words an unmistakable authority. You mean [drop the tone] what you say.

Bring the situation to an end
Someone else started this but you're going to finish it. If this means you need to stand up for yourself by delivering an ultimatum and you can afford to do so, do it: “I’m not going to change my mind on this; take it or [drop the tone] leave it.”

Most people who treat others disrespectfully - from bosses to pushy partners neither expect resistance nor know what to do when their confronted with it. It scrambles their program completely. Reassert your position if necessary, and appear as uncooperative and as unreasonable as the situation merits. However, if you're dealing with a boss it may be best to be a bit less uncooperative Perhaps suggest your own solution or, if you can live with it, a compromise.

We're all brought up to be polite, but there are times when you have to forget what your mother told you and raise your voice. Remember, the only power that anyone has over you is the power that you allow them to have. Keep your power for yourself. Life is so much better when you are treated with respect and you deserve it!

Friday, August 8, 2008

How To Stop Impulse Buying

For some people, shopping can be a great way of relieving stress and spending money can often boost a person’s mood significantly. We all know that money is a source of power, and being able to spend it can make a person feel empowered.

Impulse buying is fuelled by the uncontrollable urge to spend money, usually on unnecessary items. It can easily develop into a compulsive behaviour where it's the act of spending money that becomes the reward regardless of whether the person can really afford the purchases. The actual goods themselves are not as important as the buzz the person gets from buying them.

Unfortunately these Impulse purchase highs are often followed by feelings of regret, guilt and shame, which the shoppers try to justify or forget. They may even hide the evidence of their "inappropriate behaviour.” Impulse buying can become a serious addiction, and can land a person in financial trouble.

Of course, most of us have bought an item on impulse before, and later came to regret it. However, when a person starts having urges to spend money they don’t have, such as using credit cards to make luxurious purchases and then acts on those urges regularly, they could be allowing themselves to fall under the spell of impulse buying.

There are times that good deals just cannot be passed by, and that’s alright because impulse buying isn't always bad, provided you have the money. However, thinking about your purchase can help you decide whether it is necessary and keep you from mindlessly spending money for a useless item. I've got into the habit of always questioning my purchase decisions – over the years it's saved me a lot of money!

When you're about to buy anything be honest and ask yourself why you are buying this particular item. Is the purchase going to be useful to you in some way and on a regular basis? For example, if you are considering buying a CD, how often are you going to play it? Once a day? Once a week? Once a month? Or just once? Are you buying the item because it makes you feel better? Is this serving as some sort of reward? If it's something you want rather than something you need, perhaps you should consider waiting to buy the item until you’ve had chance to think about it some more. If you really can use the product or have a genuine and undeniable need for it, then the purchase can be justified.

Also, be careful of what you put into your cart. If you have two similar items, compare them, and decide which one is a more worthwhile purchase. This can shave off extra spending. Making a list before you come to the store, and then committing to the list while shopping can serve as a wonderful deterrent to impulsive buying. Believe it or not, many stores count on impulsive spenders, and actually arrange their products accordingly. Enticing displays for new products, pairing two products such as fizzy drinks and crisps on the same aisle, and various other tactics are designed to lure spenders to buy more than they came for.

Not everyone manages money effectively, but curbing your impulsive buying tendencies can help a you avoid the pitfalls of overspending, and help to keep you from debts you can't afford.

Monday, July 28, 2008

How to Create an Elevator Speech

Have you ever been at a party and someone you've never met says “So what do you do?” Then you say something like “I fix computers” or “I'm a florist” or “I'm an accountant”. Then they say “Oh..” then there's a pause and you then feel an overwhelming obligation to ask them what they do. They then say something like “I sell house insurance” or “I'm Chief Modality Officer for Information Services”. You say “Oh...” then there's another pause and soon the two of you part and go your separate ways.

It was probably a good thing. Most likely the two of you had nothing to talk about – or did you?

When you look at this scenario both of you did nothing to help either yourselves or the other person. You could be the most gifted accountant or florist. You may be a computer whizz. Neither of you gave the other an opportunity to realise how interesting each of you are.

An elevator speech is a concise, punchy, planned description that overviews the value provided by a person or organisation. It takes no more than twenty seconds which is the approximate time you might spend in an lift with a stranger and provides the answer to the listener's question, “what’s in it for me?” or “what’s in it for my organisation?”.
An elevator speech must meet the following rules:
  • it must be entirely truthful.
  • It must make someone think “Wow – that's interesting!” and want to find out more.
The best way to create an elevator speech that you can convincingly say without pausing, faltering, or stumbling (after you've rehearsed and committed to memory) is to start with “You know how ...?” and then state the problem you solve. Then follow up with “What I do is ...” and state how you solve the problem or meet the need and what the end result is.

As an example, here's my elevator speech.:

Q. “So what do you do Dave?”.

ME: “You know how people can have fears, mental blocks or habits that stop them achieving their goals in life? Well what I do is I help companies and individuals break through whatever that is so they can go on to achieve fantastic results in things that they previously thought difficult or even impossible.”

Can you see the difference? The usual response is something like “Wow...how do you do that? That must be so rewarding” Before you know it we're having a conversation and they are looking for ways I can help either them or someone they know.

Consider these two responses:
“I'm a wedding planner”

“You know how couples really want their wedding to be the most special day of their lives? Often they have incredibly busy lives and don't know who to trust when it comes to organising things. Well what I do is take all of that off their hands. I coordinate the whole thing for them and take the time and effort into getting things just right so that they can have the sort of wedding they've always dreamed of”.

What about this:

“I fix computers”

“You know how people rely their computers more and more nowadays. It can be really distressing when you've got hours of work or priceless family photos on there and a computer virus gets in and destroys them all or it breaks down. Well what I do is use specialist software to rescue all those precious lost files and then get the computer working again as good as new.”

or one last example...

“I'm an accountant”

“You know how tax rules can be so complicated? People often end up paying far more tax than they should or heavy fines where there was no need to. Well what I do is look after all of that for them and show them how they can keep more of their hard earned cash for themselves and their loved ones instead of giving it away to the Chancellor.”

Having a well rehearsed elevator speech means that you will never be stuck for something to say and you will ALWAYS be seen as an interesting person to talk to. If you're in business it can also bring you customers from places you never expected!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Hypnotherapy and the Prevention of Recurring Ulcers

An ulcer is a wound that develops inside the body where acid and digestive juices eat away at the mucous lining. Duodenal ulcers are ulcers in the duodenum which is the upper part of the small intestine that connects to the stomach. Symptoms of a duodenal ulcer include heartburn, burning in the throat, and abdominal pain. These symptoms are most likely to occur a few hours after eating and are more likely to occur when acidic foods are ingested.

Treatment of duodenal ulcers is highly effective with the use of drugs such as ranitidine, H2 receptor antagonists, and tripotassium dicitratobismuthate. However studies have shown that anywhere from 60% to 90% of people who suffer from duodenal ulcers relapse within one year of treatment.

According to an article published in the U.K. medical journal The Lancet, a study was performed to test whether hypnotherapy would play a role in preventing relapses in people who suffered from duodenal ulcers. The study consisted of 30 people of whom 14 were women, 16 were men, and the average age was 40. All participants had been diagnosed with the disease through an endoscopy. They also experienced relapses with the most recent relapse being within the past six months.

Treatment for the thirty participants included taking the drug ranitidine. The ulcer was given time to heal and was shown to have healed through an endoscopy. All participants continued to take the drug for ten more weeks. The patients were divided into two groups. One group received seven hypnosis sessions and was given a recording of the sessions to listen to on their own. The other group did not receive hypnosis during their sessions. The participants were taken off the medication and follow-up reviews (with hypnotherapy sessions for the hypnosis group) were performed every three months for the next year.

The hypnosis sessions consisted of an induction to promote relaxation. The participants in the hypnosis group were told to focus their attention and relaxation on their abdomen. They were told to imagine feeling a sense of warmth over their abdomen and the warmth was to control the secretion of stomach acid. They were asked to visualize this process.

All participants were reviewed after one year. The relapse rate in the hypnosis group was 53% compared to 100% in the control group. Statistically this comparison was significant. The study showed that hypnosis can help those who have frequent duodenal ulcers. Hypnosis was shown to be a successful form of treatment along side of medication.


The Lancet. June 11, 1988. 1299-1300.

Monday, July 14, 2008

How To Get A Good Nights Sleep

Recent studies show that 55% of the worlds populations are are not sleeping well. To look and feel fresh, you need to get approximately seven to nine hours of deep, restful and quality sleep each night. Sleep is a valuable and restorative resource that’s vital to well-being and stress management, but can sometimes be hard to come by for the busy and stressed. Here are some effective night-time habits to get into, to help enhance the amount and quality of sleep you get!

1. Light Exercise

Working at the office might make you sweat mentally, but it’s not giving your body enough exercise. People who have physical jobs tend to experience fewer problems with insomnia than those with office jobs because their bodies feel exhaustion too. Get plenty of exercise in the day so you’ll be naturally tired. Exercise will also help you get more oxygen to relax more. Remember not to exercise at least a couple of hours before bed so that you have time to wind down afterwards.

2. Take things that don't support sleep and romance out of your bedroom.

The purpose of your bedroom is ultimately to recharge you to be ready to deal with life. If you aren't sleeping well, take a good look around your room. Do you have a computer or work desk in there? Exercise equipment? TV? Telephone? And if you have them all in there, it's no wonder you have trouble sleeping! They don't do anything to help you relax or get to sleep. Find new homes for them. If you need to have a telephone in your bedroom, at least turn the ringer off. Sleep is too important to let wrong numbers wake you up!

3. Dust!

Keep your bedroom as well dusted as you can. Excess dust in your room makes it harder for you to breathe. It can cause allergy symptoms and seriously disturb your sleep. Dust frequently, especially if you have pets. Remember, don't only do the surfaces! Many people let dust collect under beds, furniture, on curtains, etc. for months and sometimes even years. Do in-depth dusting at least once a month and you will sleep much better.

4. Change the sheets!

Your sheets can be a source of your insomnia partly because they collect dust. Make sure you change your sheets at least once a week, but for some people who are very sensitive to dust, every 3 to 5 days works much better.

5. Keep a pen and paper by your bedside.

If you can't sleep, often it's because your mind is racing. Perhaps you are getting lots of ideas to solve a problem at work, or you are worried about a meeting tomorrow. Whatever is rolling around in your brain and won't stop, you need to get your thoughts on paper so you can get them off your mind! Keeping a journal has many stress and health benefits, making it a great way to end the day. Writing in a journal before bed can clear your mind, help you process emotions, solve problems, mentally prepare for the next day, make plans, and get your thoughts out of your head and on the page, where they can be picked up the next morning. A gratitude journal can get you in a positive frame of mind for sleep, and over time helps you change your whole frame of mind to a more positive, less stressed one. Writing helps clear your mental clutter so you can get some rest!

6. Have A Bedtime Schedule

Your life may not be routine, but your body likes it that way. Try to fall asleep and wake at the same time each day. even on the weekends. Work out how many hours your body needs to feel rested and schedule your sleep that way. Once your body gets used to a routine, it will naturally want to fall asleep at the scheduled time. Keep your biological clock turning in the right direction; otherwise you will be fighting against it. To help with this...

7. Have A “Going To Bed” Ritual

If you’re like most people, there are periods of lost time where you’re doing something but you don’t actually have to think about doing it. They are so automatic that you can daydream about anything else and come back down to earth when the task is complete.

Shaving does this for me. The rest of the world disappears while I shave. For some this happens while washing their hair or taking a shower.

You can create this state before sleep by establishing a repeated pattern. This teaches the brain that the last part of the routine is sleep.

A typical pattern may be:

1) Read something light for 20 minutes

2) Check doors

3) Go upstairs

4) Toilet

5) Brush teeth

6) Set Alarm

After following such a pattern for long time, you’ll not only induce the relaxed daydreaming state, but you will able to condition yourself to make the whole process more effective. Remember that by improving your sleep you will have a dramatic impact on your body composition, performance and health. If after using these techniques you're still having trouble then talk to your GP.

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You may find me at any of the following: www.merseyhypnosis.com www.liverpoolhypnotist.com www.davelaing.co.uk/hypno