How to combat social anxiety and shyness

how to combat social anxiety

Overcoming Shyness and Social Anxiety

Some people experience difficulty starting conversations with others, especially when they are strangers. This is not a result of not being interested, interesting or of not having anything to say but it is the result of being scared of rejection.

The degrees of social anxiety vary from person to person. Some people find it hard to talk to people in public while they may be ok one on one. Others find it impossible to do everything when others are around.

Whether you are naturally less trusting of others and have experienced this problem all your life or you only have this problem in specific situations, hypnotherapy can help uncover the cause of this difficulty and clear any subconscious imprinting that may have made a natural predisposition even worse.

When social fear is left untreated it can lead to more serious problems, such as social isolation and eventually, depression or addictions (to relieve the pain of isolation or to numb the fear of rejection). A sense of belonging and personal intimacy are basic needs – just like food and drink – and we all require them to be fulfilled if we are to be happy.

Can Hypnotherapy help with Social Anxiety and Shyness?

Yes it can. First of all it is important for you to talk in depth about your concerns and specific situation with the hypnotherapist, before any treatment is entered into. Afterwards, when it has become clear what form of anxiety you suffer from the hypnotherapist will use hypnosis to find out what the cause of the anxiety is.

Once the cause has been identified and the feelings associated with the triggering event/s have been released, the situation can be reframed and new behavior can be learnt. This is because when underlying issues that cause social fear are dealt with it is easier to learn new ways of dealing with the fear itself.

Often self hypnosis will be introduced at this point, together with some simple yet effective breathing techniques that will help you remain calm in situations which you previously experienced as threatening. In addition to that it is likely that the hypnotherapist will guide you through future progressions rehearsals where you ll learn how to create what you want rather than what you don’t want so that you can explore more positive ways of relating to people.

If then you feel you want additional help you may get involved with psychotherapists that practice social cognitive  restructuring, social skills training, symptoms management skills and supportive counselling, which will also require your friends and family getting involved.

Whether you decide to go that way or you find hypnotherapy is enough you’ll have to  start putting into practice what you’ve learnt by meeting people and observing how well you can now relate to them. You might need more reinforcement sessions and practice self hypnosis a bit more , but remember that this is a process and it will take the time it takes.

Everybody is different, and while hypnotherapy is one of the most effective techniques there are that can help you get a kickstart, it is you, ultimately that need to put the effort in and push yourself beyond your comfort zone from time to time.

Remember: nothing of great value is ever achieved without great effort, but the effort is well worth the final result : a sense of personal satisfaction, a capacity to create intimacy, new found confidence and a much bigger horizon of possibilities opening up!

There is no better time than now to make that first step. Get in contact with me if you’d like to discuss your issues in more detail or if you wish to make an appointment to tackle your social anxiety once and for all.

Find out more how to help yourself overcome anxiety now with some useful tips.

 

 

 

 

 

How to overcome fear of public speaking

talking at presentationsSome people seem to be natural public speakers:  they appear charming, cool and confident ; they stay relaxed and calm throughout the entire experience. For a lot of people it is exactly the opposite: they fear public speaking more than most other endeavors and they find speaking in public a nerve wrecking experience.  So what makes someone feel one way and not the other?

Are you born good at speaking in public or can you overcome your fear and become a confident public speaker?

Understanding how our brain works

The answer to this question has to do with our brain and its neuro-plasticity: that is, its capacity to change. In order to understand how this works it is useful to know a thing or two about how emotions get processed in our brains and influence the way we behave.

The Amygdala is a very primal part of our brain that is geared for survival. By allowing us to recognize danger and immediately react to it , it makes us more likely to be able to avoid it and thus survive.

There are two parts of the Amygdala: the right side is responsible for registering risk in an immediate, profound and non verbal way, as if it were to say “oh-oh”… pay attention now!

Anything bad that has happened in the past gets registered here and since the amygdala is very alert to changes in the environment when something is seen as dangerous (whether new or related to the past ‘bad’ event previously registered) it gets activated. When this happens we become scared and as a result our sympathetic nervous system gets aroused in what we call the fight / freeze or fight response. We  experience this as getting a fast heart beat, sweating, and a general feeling of being ‘on edge’.

After the ‘panic’ physical response has been triggered the information about the event is sent to the Hyppocampus (the part of the brain that deals with the exact details of the experience) and then it all gets sent to the pre-frontal cortex so that we can analyze what happened.

People with panic and high anxiety levels have a bigger Amygdala than most. Whether this is because they were born with it or whether it developed as a result of trauma is not known but what is important to know is that is why these people might feel easily triggered by changes in the environment perceived as threatening.

The good news is that there is another part of the Amygdala whose role is to help us ‘un-learn’ : the left side. This side is responsible for comparing information, as if it were to ask “Is what’s happening now exactly the same as what happened before?’ If the answer is no, it tells the right side to knock the fight or flight response off so that we can get back to normal.

The thing is, sometimes the fear that has been triggered is so high that it over-rides everything and the left side cannot get the message across to the other side.  So in order for the right side to register that we are indeed safe we first need to be able to calm out our automatic reaction of ‘panic’. How do we do that? Simple: we breath deeply.

Why does deep breathing work ?

This works because our autonomic nervous system has two branches: one that causes arousal (sympathetic) and the other that calms us down (parasympathetic). The two cannot be activated simultaneously, so if one is activated the other cannot be. In other words: if we have started the process of calming ourselves down we cannot possibly stay aroused. Conscious deep breathing immediately activates our parasympathetic nervous system. When this happens we gradually become calm enough to allow the left side of the amygdala to ‘think us out of the danger-zone’.

How to overcome fear of public speaking

So now that you know why you feel the way you do, you are already more in control of what you can do about it. Here’s a few pointers:

  • Identify the initial panic trigger event and compare it with the present. Realize they are not the same. (This can be something as unrelated to public speaking and simple as  forgotten experiences of being bullied at school or criticized by a parent. They are often unconscious but as they still affect your present behavior they need to be identified and reframed first and this can be easily done with hypnotherapy)-Make a decision to consciously breathe deeply for at least one minute (better if five) before the event and if necessary during the presentation
  • Prepare enough to feel competent  (just like musicians or actors you need to warm up and feel prepared before you ‘perform’ so make sure you know your subject well and are confident with the content of the speech)
  • Rehearse physically and mentally (mental rehearsal is very successfully done in hypnosis as the brain does not distinguish between fantasy and reality;  when done in hypnotic trance the rehearsal can be as powerful as having experienced a positive imprinting experience of being a good public speaker)
  • Focus on the interest you have in the subject matter you are discussing to the exclusion of everything else. Self consciousness is all about worrying about how other people are responding to you. You cannot be self conscious if you are totally concentrated on something else that actually interest you. (The capacity to focus on one thing to the exclusion of everything else can be taught with hypnotherapy and it becomes easier with practice)
  • Imagine what you want to happen not on what you don’t want ! (The subconscious is a goal striving mechanism that responds to images and it does not understand negatives-  if I told you not to think of pink elephants what are you thinking about? –  So ask yourself : what is the best most positive outcome you would like from the experience? i.e. being successful, delivering a greatly inspiring speech, feeling elated and excited rather than scared and humiliated )

Above all express perfect confidence in your capacity to change. If you don’t believe it, who will?  You can change and if you truly want to, you will!

You can read more about how hypnotherapy can help you overcome your public speaking nerves here.

If you’d like help with the above techniques please feel free to contact me or just give me a ring on 075 44 24 7800.

How to be Happy

Everybody wants to be happy

It seems that is the true quest of every human being on earth. Sometimes success is defined in terms of happiness.  The American declaration of Independence even states that happiness is man’s inalienable right.

But why is it so important to be ‘happy’?

Well first of all, it goes without saying that life is already complicated enough without the added burden of moodiness and sadness. Also, it is scientifically proven that elation triggers hormones that are essential when it comes down to proper metabolic function and well being. Also, when someone is happy their positive side is brought to the fore and problems become easier to solve.

On the other hand issues such as poverty, oppression and stress do exist. There are still a lot of places where abuse is a commonplace occurrence and where people still die victims of hunger and violence. Are we advocating we just close our eyes to these and pretend they do not exist ? Certainly not. On the other hand, dwelling on problems and becoming depressed by them has never helped anyone.

The American Psychological Association states that teenagers as young as fourteen begin experiencing depression at least once a year until they are thirty. Human beings have a tendency towards negativity because often negative events and feelings carry more weight than contentedness and joy. As a consequence, a lot of us experience sadness that continues to influence us long after the triggering episode has gone. This in turn increases our risk of developing illnesses such as chronic heart failure, cerebrovascular accidents, apnea and migraine.

So perhaps we can all agree that it would be better to be happy than not.  But then, a question springs to mind:

What does it mean to be happy?

Happiness is sometimes defined as a state of mental well being characterized by positive emotions which can vary between contentment and joy. Another way to understand happiness is in terms of a way of life, rather than an emotion. It is hard to pin the concept down because happiness means different things to different people. Sometimes we are happy because we are confronted with unexpected positive events. Other times we are happy because we feel accepted and loved by others. 

Some psychologists have attempted to explain happiness: Seligman for example thought humans are most happy when they experience Pleasure (such as good food, warm baths etc) , Engagement (also called ‘flow’ which is feeling absorbed in an enjoyable yet challenging activity) ,Relationships,   Meaning  ( a sense of belonging to or a quest for  something bigger than themselves)   and Accomplishments (having realized tangible goals)

Maslow, the founder of humanistic psychology, understood happiness in terms of a hierarchy of needs shaped in the form of a pyramid.

 

At the bottom of the pyramid we have our basic needs that must be fulfilled at all costs. When we fulfill them we attain a basic level of happiness.

After that we ascend to ‘higher’ needs and a higher, more fulfilling sense of happiness is found. We proceed this way until we reach the last level where ‘peak experiences’ of profound love and understanding are felt.

When we reach the self actualization level we feel   more whole, more alive, self sufficient and yet part of the bigger world around us. This is the highest state of ‘happiness’ that we can experience.

 

Can we be happy all the time ?

According to this model we can’t be happy all of the time and we shouldn’t expect to be. Happiness depends on needs being fulfilled, therefore until they are fulfilled we can expect some kind of unhappiness. Surely, this model is useful to understand ourselves better and to aspire  to having our needs met at different levels as we proceed in life. 

However there is something to be said about how a positive attitude of mind can help us fulfill our needs quicker because if we feel good about where we’re at in the present , we cope more effectively with the circumstances we find ourselves in, while aspiring to better them.

If we see happiness as an attitude of mind we might find that our needs get fulfilled quicker and that we can feel reasonably happy  despite  all the negativity that surrounds us and despite  not having attained just yet  the highest levels of self actualization.

How do we foster a happy attitude ?

A good attitude is half talent half habit. Like some people are born with a talent for music so some people struggle with it. However anyone can become a reasonably good musician if they put enough effort and practice into it. In the same way, a good attitude is the product of a positive habitual way of thinking, which might be partly inherited from good parents and partly learnt and acquired.

So if your parents were negative and you were brought up, like most of us, in a society that thrives on fostering insecurity for economic reasons there is still hope for you. Luckily for all of us, our mind is extremely pliable and versatile and can learn new habits throughout our lives. It is never too late to change, unless of course you tell yourself it is.

I have found that the first step towards change is gratitude. We could spend all of our time focusing on what is missing but if we do that we will only attract more of the same. This is not because of magic. It simply is a psychological reality: whatever we tell ourselves we create in our minds.  And whatever we think produces an effect in feelings and actions. These in turn are reflected back to us by others and create more of the same. The tricky thing is to think about what we want, not about what we don’t want, because our ‘irrational’ mind does not understand negatives.  To illustrate:  if I said to you “don’t think of pink elephants!” what are you thinking about?

When we focus on what we have rather than what we don’t have and we are grateful for it (we feel positively about it) we are more likely to attract more of it. This is because not only we subtly inform our subconscious of what we want more of, but also we project a positive attitude to others and the world is more likely to respond positively to people who are positive rather than to people who complain.  This doesn’t mean that we should just accept our lot and be content with it.  But if we accept where we are, trying to see the opportunity rather than the flaw, we are more likely to have the energy to progress beyond it.

Therapy, Coaching or Self Help ?

So what if you want to get some support to learn how to change the way you think so your mind can be your best friend rather than your worst enemy?

The first step towards wholeness is the hardest and if you have read this far you are already well on the way to overcoming the tallest hurdle on your way. At the end of the day, the best help we can get is the one we give to ourselves. Even when we ask others to help us, we need to want to help ourselves first. 

So with this attitude in mind, taking responsibility for our own well being, we can read a whole array of books on the subject but If this proves not to be enough or we want some extra support we have a few options.

Holistic hypnotherapy, combined with NLP and Coaching could be the way for you to go. Or you could go on a self development course or a self hypnosis class. Alternatively you may want to find a humanist psychotherapist or perhaps a CBT counsellor. Or perhaps you could combine these to suit your needs. What is important is to listen to yourself, and to go with what feels right.

So begin your journey now by expressing gratitude to yourself for being the sort of person to even read this article! Give yourself a pat on the shoulders: well done for caring enough about yourself to be interested in self development! You are already closer to finding your way to live a happier more fulfilling life!

More on this: The Key to Happiness video.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How do you lose weight fast ?

How do you lose weight fast ?

Burn More Calories than you consume !

There are a million diets out there that claim to be able to help you to lose weight fast. But are diests the correct solution to successfully shedding your extra pounds? Chances are you have followed all the fads, bought all the products and tried all the diets hoping in a miracle cure of some kind. Did it work? If yes then good for you, but if you are reading this it probably hasn’t. The truth is diets don’t work because they foster a deprivation mentality. And we all know that if we are told we cannot do something that is exactly when we want to do it more!

In reality it is much better to eat a bit of everything (unless you have specific allergies) than to focus on eliminating types of food from your diet. Of course this doesn’t mean that it’s ok to go out right now and stuff yourself with fish and chips and cake. What it means is that the only way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you consume. And how do you do that ?

  • portion control 
  • healthy foods 
  • exercise

Why can’t I lose weight ? Help me lose weight fast !

A lot of you may be asking the question: “How can I lose weight fast ?” The answer is there are fast ways to lose weight but before you can find out what they are you need to ask yourself another question:”What has stopped you losing weight so far ?”  Chances are you are still overweight due to one or more of three factors:

  • Eating big portions / unhealthy foods
  • Lack of Exercise
  • Lack of motivation / willpower / unconscious blockages

A few questions to ask yourself are:

  • Do you over-eat (are your portions bigger than a fist size? How many meals / snacks do you have per day) ?
  • Do you eat “junk” food ? Do you eat regularly or skip meals and then binge ?
  • Do you get enough exercise ? (3 hours a week of low to medium intensity or 3 bursts of 20 seconds high intensity exercise once a day)
  • What are your beliefs about food ? (i.e do you use it for comfort ? Do you feel you always have to finish all the food on your plate ? Do you eat when you are genuinely hungry or is it an habit ?)
  • Do you find that despite your best intentions you keep falling back to your old bad eating habits?

Tips on losing weight fast

The first step is to be honest with yourself and face the truth of what you really do rather than what you want to be doing. In order to figure this out it is helpful to keep a record of what you eat so you can become aware of exactly how much you eat and when for at least two to ten weeks.

  • Once you have figured this out you need to decide what you want to accomplish. It is no enough to say “I want to lose weight” You need to have a goal of exactly what weight you want to be, what size and how many pounds you want to shed in how much time. Make sure that your goals are realistic and possible to achieve!To give you an example, it is reasonable to lose 1 or 2 pounds a week but if you set a goal of 3 or more a week it won’t happen and you’ll be discouraged.

  • Once you know what your dream is you need to clearly visualize it as if it already happened. In other words you need to visualize the ideal outcome. This is because the subconscious is a goal striving mechanism. What you tell it to do it will. So if you keep on thinking of what you don’t want to be that is exactly where you’ll end up.

  • Next you need to have a plan. How are you going to achieve what you want? Once you have made up your mind focus on a different achievable goal per week. Do not try to change everything all at once. You will only get overwhelmed. Once you have achieved your goal,  move on to the next achievable one. Take it one day and one week at a time. Keep track of your progress and celebrate your successes no matter how small they seem to be. They will give you motivation to keep going.

  • Stay positive. It takes time and effort to be successful.  You need to remember that nothing of value in life is easy to achieve. However, if you hold on to the belief that despite the challenge and the difficulty you will keep moving forward, you will eventually get there. Needless to say, you will not see overnight results so don’t test yourself by constantly checking the scales and comparing your weight to when you started. What you need to remember is that while you giving yourself due credit for your efforts it is important to focus on how much you want to lose rather than what you’ve lost so far
  • Finally, you need to strengthen your will power so you learn to make informed choices and not just go on auto-pilot. Self control is something that can be learned and improved. It is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. Take your time though. You don’t want to ‘overdo it” either. For example, instead of depriving yourself of your favourite chips you could cut down the amount you consume gradually until you are ready to give them up. At the same time you can replace them with healthier snacks such as fruit or salads.

However, if you think you’d benefit from the support of someone who can guide you through the challenges, keep you motivated and strong or you find that while you consciously want to lose weight your subconscious seems to be sabotaging you by keeping you within your old familiar habits, don’t get discouraged! if you think you may be using food to deal with uncomfortable emotions or stress or you find yourself stuck in compulsive behavior there is help at hand.

Hypnotherapy deals exactly with these kinds of subconscious blockages and with the help of a hypnotherapist you can easily and safely overcome these obstacles in just a few sessions.  

There are a few different weight-loss programmesto choose from:

Individual Hypnotherapy and coaching sessions

Online Weightloss Course

If you are unsure about which one would suit you best do not hesitate to contact me 

Using hypnotherapy to cure addictions

It has often been said that one of the hardest things to tackle is drug addiction. However there are ways to help people who are addicted to drugs. One of these is to use hypnosis. There are several centers that use group hypnosis to tackle this problem.

First of all, just as it would happen in an individual session, the sufferers will be prepared, by being given a through explanation of the process. Then trance will be induced, deepened and used by giving detailed suggestions geared towards cessation of the destructive habit.

Suggestions to this effect will probably make willing subjects give up their addiction for the foreseeable future, provided their motivation to change was strong.

The only problem with this is its generalized approach. Because the therapy is not individualized and since people get addicted to drugs for all kinds of personal reasons and might be at different stages in their process of healing,  it might be that this way of working is only suited to some and not to all.

It is well known that hypnotherapy can be highly effective in treating people with an addiction to cigarettes. In the same way other addictions can be treated very effectively because the same principle is at work : hypnosis bypasses the critical conscious mind and deals directly with the subconscious.

Clinical trials have showed that out of ten individuals that tried group hypnosis to treat their drug addiction , all of them stayed drug free for six months after their sessions came to an end. However, after two years had passed, seven out of ten stayed drug free while the other three went back to taking drugs.

Obviously these results are very positive, and while results may not show up immediately , after a few sessions it has been proven that people stay clean for an average of two years or more.

There are some factors that are going to influence whether an addict is going to respond positively to this “group” approach. First of all, as already mentioned, there must be a strong motivation to stay free of drugs and a willingness to try hypnotherapy.

One of the first things you should ask yourself , if you have a drug problem, is whether you are willing to admit that you do have a problem and if you would be comfortable to join a centre for rehabilitation. Once there you could try many of the different techniques that will be on offer and if you don’t succeed with the others, try group hypnosis.

If on the other hand you feel you’d rather seek individual treatment you could see a hypnotherapist as well as a counsellor / psychotherapist and tackle the problem with their joined support. It is very important when you do this that you are truthful and you collaborate fully with them. They are bound by confidentiality and they will be able to help you more if you answer their questions with honesty.

Hypnotherapy, whether used in a group or not is very helpful in the treatment of addictions and it has been found to be highly effective in treating people with all sorts of issues. The only prerequisite is to be open to it working.

Whether you decide to go for the group sessions or the individual therapy, one session is not going to enough. A few sessions will be necessary (probably more when group hypnosis is concerned), but you will be able to feel the results fairly quickly, within the fist few days or weeks after you have started seeing a hypnotherapist.

The key to Happiness

Believe that you are worthy of love and connection 

Dr. Brené Brown is a researcher professor at the University of Houston, Graduate College of Social Work, where she has spent the past ten years studying a concept that she calls Wholeheartedness, posing the questions: How do we engage in our lives from a place of authenticity and worthiness? How do we cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection that we need to embrace our imperfections and to recognize that we are enough — that we are worthy of love, belonging and joy? Brené is the author of I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t): Telling the Truth About Perfectionism, Inadequacy, and Power (2007) and the forthcoming books, The Gifts of Imperfection (2010) and Wholehearted: Spiritual Adventures in Falling Apart, Growing Up, and Finding Joy ( 2011).

 

Tips for a Healthy Relationship

Healthy Relationships: The Responsibility Trap

Do you worry a lot about hurting other people?

Or do you often get scared you might get trapped into being someone other than yourself?

Do you feel responsible for other people’s feelings or do you cherish your independence to the point that other people have deemed you to be insensitive?

If you have said yes to the any of the above you may have to re-adjust your understanding of what the healthy amount of responsibility is to be taken when it comes to our loved ones.

“You always hurt the one you love” goes the saying. But why is that?

Of course nobody wants to willingly hurt the ones they love. By the same token nobody wants to hurt themselves by losing themselves into a relationship to the point that they don’t know who they are anymore. The good news is there is no need to swing from one extreme to the other, and the trick is to find a balance between taking too much and too little responsibility for other people’s feelings. But how do we find this balance?

Before we even start thinking about others and how they respond to us we first need to be honest with ourselves and the way we feel about them.

In order to do this we need to be self aware, which means that we need to pay attention  to the way we truly feel about other people . Once we pay attention we will start to notice how we feel and once we do that we need to accept it. There is no point in denying the truth to ourselves because whether we like it or not the truth will always come to the fore, sooner or later.

But where do our emotions come from? Are we to believe that we should be victims of our emotions, and let them have tyranny over us? Luckily it is now understood that most of our feelings are a by-product of our thoughts, whether we are conscious of them or not. Thoughts are responsible for the way we feel, and since thoughts can be positive or negative, if we feel positively about something it is because of what we are thinking about it. By the same token if we tell ourselves something negative about something the resulting emotion will be negative too.

But then where do thoughts come from? Why do we have a specific thought and not another about something or someone?  The answer is simpler than we think: our thoughts are a direct result of our deepest beliefs about who we are, which in turn are formed mainly during childhood and to a lesser extent during our teenage years. Sometimes these beliefs are based in hard fact, and sometimes they are a result of misconceptions which came into being as a result of past unpleasant situations out of our control. These beliefs are stored in our subconscious mind and whether we like it or not they shape our identity, the way we perceive the world around us and the way we relate to it.

Now, if we are to be honest with ourselves about our feelings, we need to be as aware as possible of our thoughts and beliefs too so that we can be truthful with ourselves and so in turn be truthful in our communication with others. Of course this is not always easy, as most of our thoughts are habitual and unconscious but still, we can only do our best, and our best is all that is required of us at all times.

Let us assume we have a working knowledge about our feelings in relation to our partner. We are open to change our opinion, if we get more information about it, but for the time being we are pretty sure about where we stand.

The next step is to be honest with them about the way we feel about them and to act coherently   in accordance to that. That is, we need our actions to be in line with our feelings.  This might sound scary and might make some people anxious, especially when we have negative emotions and we are afraid that communicating these emotions to our partner might result in them not liking us anymore.

If we feel this way chances are we are taking too much responsibility for our partners feelings and we will end up losing ourselves in relationships. This in turn will make us feel resentful to others and cause us to want to break away from them.

Why do we act this way?  Because to us being approved of is more important than being truthful to who we really are. This is a dangerous game to play. In fact, nobody wants to be with someone that seems to shift their shape according to the where the wind blows. In the end our partner is likely to lose faith and respect in us because we have lost our sense of identity and they do not know how to relate to us anymore. If this weren’t enough, a relationship based on dishonesty is never going to stand the test of time.

If we belong to this category of people, what we need to realise is that our only responsibility is in being truthful first to ourselves and then to others. Once we have communicated our feelings honestly our responsibility ends there. Of course communication should be carried out with gentleness, tact, love, and without laying blame and our actions need to reflect our words, but provided all of the above is done, the matter is then out of our hands.

If, notwithstanding all of the above our partner still chooses to react negatively to what we have communicated we need to realise that’s what they choose to do and it becomes solely their issue. It is essential that the “it’s my fault” trap be avoided, because that only leads to emotional manipulation.

If , on the other hand, we are to have a healthy relationship the other person has to learn to accept us for who we are and to appreciate our honesty. If they cannot do that, we need to acknowledge that the relationship is unbalanced. In fact, when the other person is ready for it, the truth will create a strong bond between two people without anyone losing their sense of self , because healthy boundaries are put into place. After all, if done with love, truthful communication is ultimately positive and will only build bridges between people.

The opposite of the approval seeking behaviour just described is the one taken by those of us who are so scared of losing their sense of self that they over-compensate by  refusing to take any responsibility for other people’s feelings. If we belong to this category chances are we will appear selfish and insensitive to others, while we may harbour deep, sometimes secret feelings of guilt. We may even believe ourselves to be “bad” because that is what others have told us countless times.

In reality we are just trying to protect ourselves from being smothered and suffocated in relationships. Perhaps, during our own infancy we experienced a primary caregiver who was too fearful and that reacted to their fear by smothering us with too much “love”. As a result of these early imprints we have come to equate closeness with danger and therefore we will end up again and again acting in ways that sabotage closeness and that make other people feel rejected. Of course this behaviour does not do us any favours because it makes it impossible for us to maintain a relationship for very long. In order to correct this error we need to understand that acknowledging and caring about someone else’s feelings need not mean we have to deny our own. In fact we have to realise that being assertive does not mean doing whatever we want regardless of how our partner feels about it. On the other hand we need be able to clarify to each other what each deems to be acceptable behaviour so that we do not fall prey to emotional manipulation.

As an aside, it is interesting to notice that often these two types of people attract each other and end up in relationships that recreate familiar negative patterns. Each partner acts in ways that alienates the other by “pushing their buttons” and a drama is created where each person’s negative beliefs are confirmed by the other’s behaviour. This kind of relationships is often very painful but it also offers great insight and as such an invaluable opportunity for growth for all parties involved, because it exposes the fallacy of both partners habitual thinking patterns.

To summarise, if we want to avoid the pitfalls of caring too much or too little for other peoples feelings, first we need to pay attention and become aware of  our habitual patterns of behaviour: whether we try to fit into the idea of who we imagine the other person wants us to be  or whether we ignore our partner’s needs and feelings we have one problem in common:  we are following an erroneous habitual pattern of behaviour which needs to be changed.

Once we consciously recognize our need to change we can tackle the causes for such behaviour and explore the erroneous beliefs which caused it to emerge in the first place.

Since beliefs and habits have their seat into the Subconscious Mind and Hypnosis grants us access to the latter, Hypnotherapy can be highly effective in isolating such erroneous beliefs so we can confront them and correct them.

Once we do this we are free to be ourselves and to relate to others in healthy ways because we learn to respect ourselves and others; we accept and love ourselves and others for who they are; we stop demanding from others that they be what we want them to be and we stop demanding that we ourselves fit into other people’s idea of who we are. We become conscious of our choices of partners and we only relate to those that can relate to us in healthy ways. We take into consideration other people ‘s feelings but we do not let them overwhelm us to the point of losing ourselves in them.  We learn to love without expectations and projections, and our relationships cease to be battlegrounds for our unconscious conflicts because we understand that our duty to each other is one of honesty and support. And so we grant others the same rights we have and grant ourselves the same rights we give others.

This kind of relationship is bound to create a deep sense of trust between two people and is therefore healthy. A healthy relationship may take many forms in its constant development but nonetheless it will always grow into something beautiful and positive which will benefit all parties involved.

There are ways in which hypnotherapy can help you and your partner understand each other better. Please get in contact with me today to find out how.  Email us or call us now on 075 44247800 .

Tips for a stress-free life

With how busy we keep ourselves on a day to day basis, it ís no wonder that so many of us suffer from stress. Stress is something that is almost impossible to avoid, because of the way that we are wired. Having said that, stress can be easily dealt with in many ways.

Exercise – We all know how important exercise is.  Exercise has the ability to relax both your mind and your body. One of the big advantages that exercise has is that it forces you to get out, and to maintain some balance. If your working a lot, and are having a hard time getting other things done in life, you can easily make a deal with yourself to get out for a walk everyday at lunch time. This will allow you to clear your head and be more focused in your work, and also it will allow you time to relax, spend some time with nature, and remember that a physical wellness has a huge impact on mental wellness

Reward – It is important to reward yourself on a regular basis. Too often we get into patterns where we work too much, sleep to little, and run our body into the ground. To avoid this get into the habit of taking breaks daily, weekly and monthly. Get up during the day from your work, and go for a walk. Take a weekend get away to freshen up your mind from your work. Take a yearly trip to experience something different from the 9-5 grind back home.

Balance – Living a balanced life is very important to maintain limited stress. Balance doesn’t mean trying to do too many things at once. Balance means that you work to live, not live to work.  Having fun is just as important as paying attention to your family, friends and hobbies.

Values – Take a moment to think about the things that are the most important for you in your life. Often times when we are living according to other people’s standards and not by our values there is an increase of stress in our days.

Planning – There is also an element of stress in unplanned situations. Unknowns cause us to worry, and to get stressed out about situations that we could have taken a little time to plan ahead for. So plan ahead if you can, unless the idea of the unknown is exciting to you of course!

Most of all remember: whatever happens you have the tools to deal with it.  Being relaxed is the key. Nothing is worth stressing out about. In fact, the more you believe that there is nothing you can’t deal with the more you will be effective in resolving life’s challenges. It might be helpful to remember that no matter what may happen the sun will always rise tomorrow and you will be still alive.

Sometimes you may need extra help in reshaping negative thinking patterns around stressful situations. With the help of a hypnotherapist you can learn how to shift your thinking so your mind can work for you rather than against you.