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How to Get Unstuck

unstuckFeeling Stuck in your Old Ways ?

When we are blocked in an area of our lives it often is due to the fact that we feel safer that way. We may feel unhappy but that is easier to deal with than our fear of the unknown. We begin to change when the pain we experience in staying stuck is bigger than the anticipated pain of change.

A lot of fear comes down to our negative core beliefs : deeply held beliefs acquired some time in the past due to painful experiences. Becoming conscious and challenging these beliefs is the first step in the process of change.

For a moment, think about something you would really like to do or be right now but don’t feel able to. When you’ve got that, write it down. Do that now. Maybe you have always wanted to be an artist so write down “I am a capable and talented artist”.

The Trouble with Positive Affirmations

Now, in all probability a voice in your head has just emerged to criticize this statement bringing up all sorts of reasons why this is either impossible or a bad idea. Positive affirmations can give us a sense of safety and hope if we let them but at first you will probably feel they sound fake, embarassing or not right. No surprise there.  If you have spent all your life bludgeoning yourself with negative beliefs such as “I am worthless” or “I am not good enough” or “I must be perfect to deserve success” anything else will sound unfamiliar and syrupy or cheesy . So saying to yourself ” I am lovable just as I am” or “I am capable and confident” will surely sound untrue at first.

The problem with not accepting a belief because it doesn’ t sound right though is that feelings are a result of thoughts and if you want to change a feeling you have got to change the thought first. It’s a bit like the idea of “fake it til you make it”. You can’t wait to feel it to believe it, you gotta believe it to feel it! Luckily there are some ways to get around this obstacle, but all of these do involve a certain willingness to suspend judgement and take a leap of faith, as well as engage our rational mind doubting limiting old beliefs.

Seek out the Monster in your Head

So what is that critical monster in your head saying when you tell it you already are what you want to be ?( After saying your affirmation: i.e. “I am ok just as I am” )

Listen to the objections that come your way. What s the cruel voice saying inside your head ? “so you’re ok as you are… ah ah sure you are!”, “who are you kidding?”, “You are ugly”, “You will never change”, “You can’t do anything right”, “No-one will ever love you unless you are perfect”, etc etc… You will be amazed at the rotten things you can come up with. Write them down.  These are your personal negative core beliefs.

Become a Mind Investigator

Once you have written them down you can start having a good look at where these beliefs come from: Mom and dad? Your school bully? The boy/girl you were in love with when you were ten? Teachers that pushed you too hard? Your little jealous sister ? Scan your blurts for possible sources. Time travel back into your life in five year increments and list by name who influenced you the most in each block of time.

Once you have identified these challenge their opinions. What self serving reason could they have had to have done or said what they did do or say? How did their own worldview influence them ? What did they believe about themselves ? What messages did they grow up with ? Remember this is not about blaming or condoning, just understanding and distinguishing their beliefs from what yours would be if you hadn’t accepted theirs as true. If there is still a lot of emotional energy involved in recalling these memories you might have to release it first so you can forgive them and yourself and move on.

Keep in mind that it is also possible your negative beliefs may come from subtle non direct messages received from your environment or from an experience of something that happened to you where others were not directly involved:

Maybe you felt different because of a situation you found yourself in; maybe you were abandoned by a significant other; maybe you fell ill and became isolated; maybe you were born with something that set you apart from others and you yourself came up with the negative conclusion that you were not Ok just as you were: the possibilities are endless and very personal.

Challenge the Critical Voice

Whatever your monster is, after it has been brought up to the light of day you can start working on challenging its critical voice and changing those negative beliefs that keep you stuck and unhappy. If you would like help with a practical cognitive behavioral approach to this, read this article about “how to get rid of negative core beliefs”.

Bring On the Crisis

bringitonWe all complain about having problems. But what would it be like to wake up in the morning and have absolutely no problems to solve, nothing to worry about, no vexations whatsoever? Having no problems can be a very serious problem and lead to the creation and yearning for any old dumb problem that will shake us from our slumber and generate some excitement.

It seems to me that creating problems in a real human need. It seems we define ourselves by the dilemmas we attract and struggle to solve. Usually it ‘s those who are most creative that ask the biggest and hardest questions and then put together resources to answer them.

It is often said that there is no gain without pain, and nothing of value is gained without effort. While this is mostly true and anxiety can be a valuable spur for getting things done it is also true that putting ourselves under a lot pressure to solve mediocre problems is not going to be useful or make us smarter. If we get too used to allow unimportant problems to fill us with nagging vexations we won t gain much except for a headache.

The other fact to consider is that when we are preoccupied with silly boring or demeaning annoyances we might miss out on asking the bigger questions and getting well into wilder, more interesting problems. These may be of the variety that pushes you out of your comfort zone in the direction of your personal frontier well before life forces you to do so when you are least willing to deal with it.

When we focus on the problems that matter we feel excited about our ability to deal with them because ultimately they will open the door to a better existence rather than dragging us down into the same meandering tunnels of meaninglessness.

So invite the real crisis in : it will be a time of destiny, a turning point, an opportunity to rethink what really matters to you so you take action to bring about the changes necessary to create a better present for yourself.

In other words: stop distracting yourself with minor irritations and ask yourself the question you have been avoiding.  Instead bring it on, delve in deep and get it over with : there is no time better than now !

Anxiety and Mindfulness

become observerBecome an Observer

Mindfulness is the art of being aware of your environment, your thoughts, your feelings and your sensations as they happen and  becoming their observer.

It is about training your attention to focus on the present moment, on concentrating on a task rather than thinking,  and on external rather than internal factors.

So what does all of this got to do with relieving anxiety?

Well, first of all let’s understand the role of thoughts in anxiety. I find it helpful to think of anxiety not as something we have but something we do, or even better, something we think and imagine and therefore feel. The assumption behind this is that feelings follow thought. So change the way you think and you will change the way you feel. Change the way you feel and your behavior will change. Change your behavior and your life will change.

When we have fearful (anxious ) thoughts, the problem is not necessarily to do with the thoughts themselves but with the importance and meaning we give them. Often we identify our thoughts as facts rather simply thoughts, and that is the problem. When you think ‘something terrible will happen if I get out of the house’ for example, it is the fact that you are viewing this as a fact rather than simply a thought that causes trouble.

In fact if you distanced yourself from it and treated it as simply another thought among others and refused to assign it more importance than that, you would lessen its impact.

Also, I find it useful to remember that for every negative thought there is always an opposite positive thought. Both are just thoughts, not facts. And their importance depends on how much attention you decide to give them.

You decide what to pay attention to and what to accept or reject. This you can do by challenging negative thoughts as not helpful and asking yourself what would be more helpful for you to think in order to feel better about whatever situation is causing you concern.

indexYou Are Not Your Thoughts

First though , you need to believe that you are not your thoughts. You need to believe that you are more than your thoughts, that you are an awareness aware of itself and that although you have a mind  you are not your mind. Another way of understanding this is to imagine that your thoughts are like unruly teenagers in a house where although you have always been the master you have never exercised your authority.

Of course, the first step to do so is to believe that you are the master and that you can exercise your authority successfully because if you don’t the teenagers will act as if they are the masters and they will have power over you. Once you shift your belief it may take some time and practice to learn how to take charge effectively but if you believe you are the one who makes the decisions and train your attention with patience you will succeed.

Train Your Attention

The first step in training your unruly mind is to practice redirecting your attention away from yourself and what you feel / think / are imagining , and concentrate by choice on something external : something that is happening outside of yourself or a task you are doing.

Starting with situations that you don’t find particularly scary or challenging this active practice will help you counter balance your tendency to over focus on threats and on yourself when you feel anxious.

For example:  rather than worrying about yourself and how you are coming across during a conversation with a new acquaintance focus on the other person and ask them questions about themselves, paying attention to their answers and becoming curious about them.  

Later practice in situations that are more challenging and progress gradually from the least to the most anxiety provoking situations, getting out of your comfort zone and facing your fears head on. If you cannot attend to a specific task, for example if you are sitting in a crowded waiting room, direct your attention to your surroundings, noticing people, the features of the room, sounds an smells.

presentFocus On the Present

Finally, bring your attention back to the present. Anxious thoughts are thoughts about an imagined catastrophic future that exists only in your head. It is a big castle in the sky.

It cannot exist in the now. So get back to now, and remember not to take your fearful thoughts seriously.

They might be trying to help, but they aren’t really helping are they?

So, say no to the negative fears that have only held you back til now and say yes to the voice in your head that says : no matter what I will survive !

Your anxious thoughts are as real as an imaginary friend. It is up to you to make up what that friend says. Make it say encouraging things. Make it work for you.

Relax

And most of all, observe how much easier life is when you relax into existence and trust in your abilities to deal with whatever challenge life throws at you, no matter how hard it may seem at first.

The most truly accomplished and successful people in life have a relaxed attitude. Some might have been predisposed to be like that but most of them have honed their talents by practice and dedication. Practice relaxing into existence and learning to expect the best out of situations. And when life throws you something you cannot change accept it and make the best of it.

relWorrying is a mostly a learned habit and we can do away with it by becoming aware that we are simply scaring ourselves to death by believing in our fearful thoughts; Instead we can take a deep breath, focus on the present and remind ourselves that we have all the resources we need to survive.

After all, if you always do what you always did you will always get what you always got. So do something different !

You Are What You Believe

What do you believe in ?

Your beliefs shape your life.

Are your beliefs serving your best interest ?

This is what I happen to believe. Read through if you like, and compose your own list.

I believe in giving people a fair chance.

I believe in taking responsibility for my own well being.I believe in being honest and true to myself.

I believe that the most difficult, painful and challenging experiences life throws at us can end up being
the most enlightening rewarding and meaningful.

I believe that being different although not easy is something to celebrate as a blessing.I believe in the power of laughter to help us lift us from tragedy.

I believe that an enormous amount of wealth lies in reading and learning. I believe sometimes the best thing you can do is switch off and have a good night sleep. In the morning new solutions and insight may come.

I believe in learning to let go of the need to always having to “do something”.

I believe that most problems come from tension and not giving ourselves permission to relax.

I believe that believing in myself is the best investment I could ever make.

I believe that there is no such thing as failure, only feedback. No success is ever possible without making mistakes. What’s important is to listen to the feedback.

I believe genius is not something we re born with but something we make with practice, dedication and determination.

I believe that not letting people get to me is sometimes hard but essential.

I believe in learning to let go of whatever is bothering me by first expressing my feelings and then examining my thoughts and gaining perspective.

I believe in not paying too much attention to those who do not have other people’s best interest at heart. To do so would impair my faith in humanity.

I believe in choosing to listen to the part of myself that encourages me rather than to the part of me that wants to put me down.

I believe in expecting the best and accepting the rest.

I believe there is nothing wrong with people who do not like me. The fact they don’t tells me more about them than it does about me. They might have something to teach me, or they might have something to learn. You cannot please everyone all of the time…

I believe in allowing myself to like what I like without shame. I believe in not denying myself the things I feel attracted to, no matter what others may think of me as a result.

I believe in making time for fresh air, social interaction and being creative.

I believe in self reflection as a path to self healing.

I believe that focusing on things we are grateful for is the key to happiness.

How To Be More Confident

confidentSimple Ways to Improve Confidence

When you say to yourself : “it’s easy for others to be confident but I am just not that kind of person…”  what a powerful statement are you making, telling yourself and the world who you are…. !

When you speak (saying to yourself that you are not good enough / not confident / shy or any other negative statement)  effectively you are deleting all opportunities to be anything other than those statements . So say STOP to those statements . Tell yourself this is simply how you used to be and think, not what you are choosing to be and think now.

What people often forget is that genius is made not born, and skill is the result of discipline and practice. Talents are learned and honed with determination and discipline, so make a decision to start honing yours now. Start to begin taking control of your thoughts instead of allowing your previous programming to control you.

Learn to Become Confident

Begin to imagine people who you believe are confident. Hold your body like them. Think like you imagine they would think. Talk to yourself like you imagine they would.  Most of all, pay attention to the voice in your head and get it talking in a tone and manner that you find motivating and reassuring instead of insisting using the same internal dialogue that you used to convince yourself that you are not confident.

Imagine yourself as you would like to be and step into that confident version of you. Do things differently, consciously. If you always do what you always did you will always get what you always got. So stop those old thoughts in your head. Say the word STOP to those old thoughts. Then take a deep breath, relax, feel good, play confident sounds in your mind, see confident pictures in your head.

Remember a time when you felt confident and then imagine yourself to be now like you were then. Make those images brighter, larger  and bring them nearer and wrap them around you.

Now that you believe in your ability to be more confident , how you think is how you allow yourself to be. What you believe to be truth is the truth for you. You are the most powerful influence in your life.

As you start consciously changing your thoughts grab the thoughts by scruff of the neck and think: I am going to choose how I feel and what I think from now onwards and notice how good it feels to feel so good.

Start Feeling More Confident Now

Now, do this practical exercise to start getting rid of your old conditioning:

Imagine you are standing in front of a mirror. As you look at yourself in it you can see yourself  and all your past experiences reflected back. Now imagine this mirror is magical : it has a liquid surface and when you step through it, it immediately removes the past and on the other side all you know is present and future.

Here the past view is gone and you you look forward to the future.  Infinite possibilities are contained in it. Anything is possible. Notice what you can use to start making that future come true now.  And notice what new ideas come into the present about the future.
Trust your unconscious, allow it to help give you sensations, feelings, images, ideas that inspire you and motivate you to create that future now. Feel the ideas become a fuel that propels you towards that future so you just naturally want to move closer to that compelling future.

7 Ways of Getting What you Want

February 3, 2013

goals1: Think of what you want, not what you don’t want

We all know what we don’t want: we don’t want to get fat, smoke, be unfit, be lonely, ill, stressed poor or unattractive. But when we focus our attention onto what we don’t want we create a mental image of what we are trying to get away from and actually end up attracting exactly that which we are trying to avoid.

This is because our subconscious does not understand “negative” language. The classic example is someone asking you not to think of pink elephants. What are you thinking about? Our society is based on negative language. We tell our kids not to touch this or that, we tell them not to do this or that and what do they do? exactly that very thing.  This is because our subconscious is a goal striving mechanism: tell it what to do and it will get you there somehow, so instead of telling it what you don’t want, tell it what you do!

Because we are not used to doing this, you can start with what you don’t want, then ask yourself : what do I want instead of this ?

2: Set your own goals

If your parents always wanted you to be a doctor and you are going through with your studies because you want to make them proud or you don’t want to disappoint them you are not going to be truly engaged with your goal and sooner or later you are going to become unmotivated.

In other words: if you are trying to live up to another person’s expectation or idea of you, you are going to subconsciously resist  this in some way and you will eventually sabotage yourself because you don’t really want what you think you want.

It is important therefore that you examine in detail what is truly important to you, quite apart from what others may want for you or think you should be. If you do not do this your goals will be influenced by their opinions, be that your peers’ your family’s your spouse’s the media or such things.

You need to care enough about your goal in order to have enough energy to push through the inevitable challenges along the way. Let’s face it: nothing is easy and every goal requires determination in the face of difficulties. So why waste energy ‘trying to’ be or get something you don’t truly want just when you would have much more energy putting all your efforts towards achieving something that truly gets you excited?

3: Engage your Imagination

If you want to build a house you first need to imagine what it looks like. Then you need to make a drawing of it and only later will the details come in. If you can’t  picture the house you cannot build it. The same is true for other goals.

If you are one of those who believe you have no imagination think again: everyone can daydream; you did it throughout your childhood whenever a boring teacher went on about something you didn’t care about .  Talking about what you want with a friend or writing about it will help you ‘see’ it more clearly in your ‘mind’s eye’. When you do this, use the present tense, as if the goal has already been achieved and think of how you will feel when you do, as if you already did: this will make you connect to the emotion behind it which will be the motivating motor behind your actions.

Be specific: specify what you will see, hear and feel when your goal is achieved. The more vividly you can do this the more compelling and possible your goal will be. This is because the imagination is the language of the subconscious and images speak louder than a thousand words. When you imagine the desirable things your want as if you already have them this will give you positive feelings about your goal and it will provide you with an emotional pull to achieve it. If you are vague your actions will be vague and you won’t get anywhere.

Don’t say something like “I want to be happy” . That is not a goal, it’s a feeling and you are already in charge of how you feel if you accept responsibility for how you respond to what happens to you. Instead think about a specific and measurable goal in terms of what will be in place when you achieve it because this will give you an indication of when you have achieved it and it will help you notice any aspects of the goal that need to be adjusted.

After you have done the above and you are feeling really good about it, step out of it and think about the first step you need to take to begin the process of making your goal come true.

 4: Put a date on the goal

If you don’t put a specific date on your goal you will be more likely to put if off and deal with something “more urgent”. Don’t be vague and say “next year” or you will be telling your subconscious that your goal will always be a year in the future. Instead use an actual date so that as time goes on you will be able to see yourself getting closer to it and it will motivate you to put in the effort to make it come true.

5: Think about the consequences of getting what you want

They say : be careful what you ask for in case you get it! So think about what comes with what you want. If you want to set up your own business are you aware of all the time you will need to put in, in order to make it successful ? You need to be aware of all the consequences of achieving your goal such as the effects on your health, your relationships and the wider community so you can make the changes necessary to avoid unwanted side effects.

Your unconscious is better aware  than your conscious mind about possible pitfalls that may stand in your way and since its language is emotion rather than reason ask yourself  how you feel when you think about your goal : do you feel energized and excited or discouraged and tired ?

If you don’t feel a hundred per cent about it there is probably something you have consciously overlooked or ignored so pay closer attention and be honest about what you find.

 6: Take One Step at a time

If you feel overwhelmed by how big your goal is you need to ‘break it down’ to achievable chunks otherwise you’ll get discouraged and are more likely to give up. If this has already happened you probably have lost a bit of motivation. If this is the case first shift your attention fro what you need to do to get there to how great it will be when you have achieved it. Then break down the goal into smaller steps. Each step is a mini-goal in itself and you can feel good when you complete it. Celebrate every small victory and give yourself a small reward every time you achieve a mini-goal.

If you are unsure of what the next steps need to be first imagine the goal as if you already had achieved it. Then ask yourself: what conditions need to be in place in order for this be able to happen ? Work your way back through time until you get back to the first step you need to take. Put the work in: the more you put in the more you get out of this process . Get started now.

7: Find out what you want

Most people don’t know what they really want and so they avoid setting goals altogether. But think about it: If you don’t put in the time and  effort to find out what you really want you will never get anywhere. When you don’t set any goals you’ll just drift reacting to what life throws at you. Or even worse others will set goals for you and you’ll just go along with them. This is a recipe for feeling unfulfilled, vulnerable and lost.

If you don’t know what you want you can try either one of the following approaches:

1) Ask a friend to ask you : what’s important to me in a career? what’s important to me in a relationship? continue for each area of your life. Tell your friend to keep on asking you even when you think you have discovered what you value the most, because often the most motivating values you have are the most unconscious or least obvious.

2) Experiment and try out different experiences. Pay attention to  what you enjoy and what you don’t . Ask yourself what it is about each experience that you really liked. This will give you an idea of what you really value, what excites and motivates you and who you really are.

Persist and remember: there is no failure until you give up!

Tips to help yourself overcome anxiety

November 26, 2012

What is Anxiety ?

While anxiety is a common human reaction to stressful situations, when it begins to have an impact on how we live our lives to the point where we avoid people, places and situations that seem to trigger it, it is time to do something about it.

Anxiety is when we go over things again and again in our mind in a way that does not actually help resolve the  perceived problem. This in turn affects our emotions.  Typically an anxious person will do any or all of the following:

  • worry about something that happened in the past or something that might happen in the future
  • avoid situations that trigger the anxiety
  • become over dependent on others to look after them or provide answers
  • put on a brave face for fear of being judged
  • use caffeine, drugs, cigarettes or alcohol to cope 

Common symptoms of anxiety are:

  • tense muscles causing headaches
  • a dry mouth
  • dizziness caused by shallow breathing
  • indigestion, butterflies in the stomach, constipation and diarrhea caused by the adrenaline taking blood away from the heart and muscles
  • fast heartbeat
  • panic attacks caused by the flight / fight / freeze adrenalin response
  • difficulty concentrating and remembering
  • feeling overly emotional , thinking negatively
  • difficulty sleeping

Overtime these symptoms can feed fears, phobias, hopelessness and  lead to depression.

What Causes Anxiety ?

Anxiety is caused by the way we react to stressful situations in our lives. Whether it is losing a job, moving house, having  trouble with a relationship, experiencing an illness , a bereavement, childbirth or simply having too many commitments, major upheavals are common triggers.

What is important to remember however is that it is not the event that causes the anxiety but the way you perceive and respond to it. Often we become set in a way of looking at the world that confirms our worst fears and feeds our anxieties so if we are to combat anxiety we have to be prepared to test our assumptions and have a good look at our ‘map’ of the world to see if it’s making things worse.

Caffeine and energy drinks also contribute to anxiety , as well as cocaine and amphetamines so if you are a user and you suffer form anxiety you would be better off drastically reducing the amount you take .

Tips to Overcome Anxiety

At first it may be that even tackling anxiety could make you anxious. This will decrease with time so be patient with yourself.  While there is no magic cure for anxiety there are ways you can help yourself:

  1. Concentrate on the here and now. Focus on the present. Anxiety cannot exist in the present so stay clear of ‘what ifs” and tell yourself you’ll cross that bridge when you come to it
  2. Avoid becoming too dependent on others and asking them to solve your problems for you.
  3. If  there are situations that trigger you work towards overcoming them in time: set easily achievable targets, make a step by step plan and go at your own pace (never rush!)
  4. Learn relaxation techniques such as self hypnosis and meditation  (especially mindfulness practices)
  5. Give yourself time off. Do something you enjoy that you haven’t done in a while.
  6. Take a step back and have a good look at your life:  what is more important? shed the rest
  7. If someone is making too many demands on you work out a way to talk to them without laying blame
  8. Exercise! Even if it’s just walking, exercise helps relieve tension
  9. Stop smoking, reduce caffeine and alcohol
  10. Become aware of your negative thinking patterns: identify and challenge exaggerated worries and pessimistic thoughts
  11. Talk to a trusted friend about how you feel or see a professional such as a counsellor / psychotherapist / hypnotherapist
  12. Start working on your anxiety now by asking yourself the following questions

 

Am I looking at the entire picture? Are there any more useful ways I could look at the situation?

Do I apply the same standards to myself as I do to others?

What would I say to a friend / a loved one who said the same things I say?

Would I talk to others the same way I talk to myself?

If I wasn’t feeling like this what would I say about the situation?

Am I interpreting the situation this way because of my feelings about it rather then the bare facts?

What would I say about this looking back six months from now?

Is what I am telling myself helping me feel better ? If not, what would ?

The above techniques are very effective in learning how to cope with your anxiety. The more you practice them the more results you will get. If you need extra help and support implementing these changes feel free to contact me for a no obligation consultation now. Call 075 44247800 or email me to book an appointment.

Find out more how hypnotherapy and NLP can help you overcome your anxiety.

Four easy steps to find your life’s purpose

November 26, 2012

It is all well and good when we know what we want but what if we don’t ? What then ? Are we to just accept a directionless life, hoping to find our way in the dark with no help whatsoever? The simple answer is no. There are ways to help you figure out what you want and if you put a bit of effort into it you shall be rewarded with probably surprising and exciting answers.

One way to approach this common problem is to ‘take time out’. Our inner, wiser voice is a subtle one and cannot be heard over the clamor of everyday life. An option would be to go on a four day ‘retreat’, somewhere you can be alone and away from all distractions or to simply take time off work and use this time to meditate alone.

If at this point you find yourself saying to yourself “well I couldn’t possibly do that! I’m too busy! then perhaps it is time to ask yourself how much you value your own happiness; after all, If you do not change anything , nothing will ever change.

Remember that time out doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. You could just stay home or simply not go to work or stop doing the things you normally do just as if you were physically sick. Take a few mental health days off before you really need them.  Even if you do not go anywhere you can still use this quiet time to meditate or go see an hypnotherapist who can help you with the process.

Let us then assume you have taken the time off. What now? FIrst of all, make sure you avoid all media (yes, that includes your phone!) and be as silent and relaxed as possible.

On the first day of your retreat /  meditation / session with the hypnotherapist concentrate on the story of your entire life, from the first thing you can remember to the present. Try to visualize this story as clearly as possible so you get a feel for it  and remember to enjoy the process: this is not a time to judge yourself but rather to observe.

On the second day of your retreat / meditation / hypnotherapy session tune in to the wiser part of yourself. This is the part of yourself that knows what is best for you. For some this could be God / The Goddess / a guardian angel / your Higher self / Source Energy. Whatever you identify it with , this is the highest source of wisdom and love you can gain access to. Simply ask for its assistance. The following questions should be asked:

  • “What does my heart desire more than anything else?”
  • “In what way can I realize what I came here for?”
  • “How can I serve others in the most suitable way for me?’
  • “what path will allow my inner self to learn the most ?”
  • ‘What do I need to change in my life in order to get what I want, realize my life’s mission and learn the most?”
  • “What attitude and influences do I need to get rid of in order to accomplish this?’

On the third day / meditation / session write down a statement about what you want to achieve before you die and then write down 10 steps necessary to get there. For help with this you could research people that have ‘made it’ and model their behavior and attitudes.

On the fourth day visualize being showered in a white light of love and creative energy. Imagine the life force and the entire universe conspiring to make your dream come true, helping you manifest what you need , giving you all the loving support necessary for you to accomplish your goal and while welcoming this energy be grateful for all its gifts.

Expect success and take your first step. Remember that every day you are getting closer to your goal! Get excited about it and imagine yourself already having achieved it. This will give you the emotional motivation to keep going in the face of adversity, should there be any. Remember, there is no failure until you quit!

If you rather do this with the help of a qualified professional who will support you all the way through please call me today. The process can be sped up with the help of hypnosis because while you are in a trance you are more likely to be relaxed and in touch with your inner self.

Call me today on 075 44247800 or contact me via email for a no obligation consultation.

Practical NLP – Fundamental principles

What is Neuro Linguistic Programming?

NLP could be described as ‘the owner’s manual for the brain”: it can help you understand yourself better and as you learn to manage yourself more effectively new horizons will open up for you and you’ll achieve your full potential more easily.

What results you get depend on how much you use what you learn. The more you take action and use the tools of NLP the more you will get out of it.

The more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it. No one can do it for you, but if you truly want to use these powerful tools the results may well surprise you.

Who is driving the bus ?

If one event is consistently followed by another we believe the first causes the second. This is the law of cause and effect. While this law is very effective in describing the behaviour of inanimate objects, it is not so good when it comes down to humans. If I kick a ball at a certain velocity I can predict where it will land but if I were to kick you what would happen ? It depends on what you want. This is because you have free will and a ball doesn’t.

If you put yourself at the cause end of the cause-effect equation you place the locus of control within you: you believe that you can make a difference in the world around you and that you are responsible for how you think and feel. When you are at cause  not only you have the response-ability to make thing happen but also to respond rather than react to things outside of yourself.

If on the other hand if you put yourself at the effect end of the equation you carry the belief that other people (and not you) are responsible for how you feel and act. This idea is built in the English language in expressions such as “he made me angry, she made me feel… this car is winding me up”.

This idea leads to believing that emotions are things that happen to you and it will make you act as if you have no responsibilityfor what you feel and for how you react. On the other hand people that put themselves at effect also tend to believe that even though other people are responsible for what they do, they themselves are responsible for other people’s emotions.

This way of thinking leads to giving your power away and to feeling of guilt whenever others wittingly or unwittingly manipulate us by telling us “you upset me”.

So the answer to “who is driving the bus” is you ! unless of course you want to suffer the consequences of believing otherwise.

 

Do you drive in automatic or manual mode ?

Let’s stretch the driving metaphor a little more: when you drive in automatic you allow no space between what triggers you and your emotional response. Let’s say that someone says something that you interpret in the light of your existing belief system as being offensive or upsetting. You tell yourself or label the incoming information as inappropriate insensitive etc. and then you respond accordingly by becoming upset / angry etc.

The process is unconscious and it happens very fast; so fast that it can look like the trigger is the cause and your emotional response is the effect. The truth is that there is a space in between the trigger and the response, and in that space lies the power of choice to choose your response: this power is what gives you freedom and makes growth possible ; this is what makes you drive in manual.

 

How do you deal with life’s blows ?

When you are at effect and something doesn’t go your way you are likely to ask questions such as “why ?” “why does this always happen to me?”  This question tends to lay blame on yourself or others and focuses your attention on the past. By doing this it does not help you solve the situation or feel good about it.

When you are at cause the question tends to be more something like “What’s going on here”? “How’s this come about?” “What can I do to change things?” “What do I want instead of this?” These questions focus on the now, and on solutions, rather than the details of problems. If you approach problems this way you are more likely to deal more effectively with difficulties and things won’t bring you down as much.

 

The map is NOT the territory – The world you perceive is NOT reality

To make sense of the world around us we need to filter the information we receive from our senses at all times. If we didn’t we would be overwhelmed and would not be able to function because we would be lost in an overload of sensory information.Drugs such as LSD temporarily suspend our filtering system and that is why someone on the drug can be lost in mystical contemplation of a leaf for hours on end.

Our filters make it easier for us to function effectively in the world but sometimes they can also lead us astray. What are these filters?

 

  • deletion

we don’t notice what we’re not interested in

  • generalization

we see patterns even where there aren’t any. what we expect to happen is influenced by our perception of previous events. e.g. if we win twice on roulette we believe we’re on a winning streak

  • distortion is divided in four types:

 

  1. Confirmation bias (we pay more attention to what confirms our beliefs and downplay or ignore what contradicts them)
  2. Bandwagon effect (we’re more likely to do or believe in something when we see many others do or believe in it)
  3. The illusion of control (we believe we can control or influence the outcome of something even when we can’t)
  4. The Halo effect (if we like one quality or trait of a person we tend to view their other qualities or traits more favorably)

 

How do you deceive yourself?

 

While we use these cognitive shortcuts to help us with our daily tasks so that we don’t have to think all the time about everything we do the negative effects of these shortcuts can be that

  • we jump to conclusions (generalization)
  • we miss relevant information (deletion)
  • we view people through the lens of prejudice (distortion)

and therefore we end up with an internal representation of reality that is misleading and not useful.

 

Seeing that we are constantly filtering the world through the lens of our perception the world we perceive is NOT reality but only a filtered representation of reality : a distorted, deleted, reduced and generalized reality.

The map (our filtered representation of reality) is not the territory (reality). Some people would then argue: if that is the case then how can we know reality ? The simple answer is that we can’t but that doesn’t matter.

 

What matters is not that the map is true but that it is useful.

The implications of these principle are varied:

  • what you experience is NOT reality
  • A good map is one that is useful
  • yours is not the only ‘truth”

 

How to make NLP work for you:

 

1) See other peoples’ point of view: put yourself in their shoes and see the world and yourself from their point of view

2) Remember that your intuitions are just guesses: to avoid the cognitive error of mind reading (that is, acting as if you knew exactly what the other person is feeling and thinking)  always check your intuitions against what others say they feel.

3) Start from what makes sense to others:when influencing others  build bridges to where you want them to be, rather trying to convince them that you are right.

4) Explore the boundaries of your map: Ask yourself “where are my limits?”

5) Actively look for examples where your limiting beliefs aren’t true. Limiting beliefs are beliefs that are holding you back or not serving you.

6) Ask yourself : what would happen if you did the very thing you think you can’t do but would like to do ?

7) Actively look for counter examples to your generalizations.

 

Perception is often projection.

Expectations are how you expect yourself, other people and situations to be. Our  expectations shape our reality: we project them onto our perception of the world by

  • downgrading information that contradicts our expectations and
  • playing up information that confirms our expectations

 

How you feel and act is a response to how you perceive the world to be, not the world itself, and other peoples response to you is based on their perception of their own behavior.  For example: if you are worried about calling someone because you expect to be rejected chances are you will act in a way that will get you rejected. This is what a self-fulfilling prophecy is.

 

What it takes to be successful

If you want to be successful you need to change your expectations.

Ask  yourself :

  • What are you projecting out into the world that’s getting in the way of your success (or of achieving your goals)?
  • What do you want to project instead?

 

If you believe nothing you can do can make a difference you will feel a sense of helplessness in everything you do and you will inevitably fail at everything you attempt. If you have had this limiting belief for a long time you will have collected supporting evidence to corroborate your belief and you will have filtered out the opposite. Typically you will have downplayed or discounted your inner resources. To get you thinking on a different level ask yourself:

What could you do to make things worse?If you can make things worse you can also make things better, so explore what you could do to improve things, even if just a little bit.

People who are successful believe that what they do can make a difference. They have a sense of agency.

So ask yourself what you want ( If you don’t know, set yourself the goal to find out ) and expect to achieve it!

 

Set goals for yourself !

If you set a goal for yourself you start paying attention to the environment around you differently. You notice bits of information and opportunities that help you move closer to your goal and you get a better sense of who you are and of whether you are moving in the right direction.

Whether you want better relationships, a raise at work or you’d like to shed a few extra pounds NLP can help you achieve your goals by showing you how to use your mind positively and effectively.

I integrate NLP principles with Hypnotherapy and Coaching to support you throughout the process of change necessary to be successful in your chosen goal.

If you want to learn more about NLP I would suggest you listen to Andy Smith’s Practical NLP podcasts, otherwise why not call me for a no-obligation consultation today and find out how we can work together to get you closer to what your heart desires?

Email me or call me now on 075 – 4424 7800

Most of the  information presented in this article is taken from Andy Smith’s podcasts.  You can  find and download them for free here:  PRACTICAL NLP PODCAST.

 


Positive Affirmations for Sleep

What are affirmations?

Affirmations are simply ways of putting into words thoughts and beliefs that can manifest themselves under the form of a “internal voice”. You use affirmations all the time. The problem is they often are negative. For example

“There is no point trying. I’ll never succeed. I’ll fail no matter what”

This type of affirmation negatively hypnotizes you into failing and not trying. An opposite affirmation could be something like

“I choose to let go and overcome what worries me. I choose to relax. I can do this and I will do this”

If you resist change you stay stuck in your negative affirmations and nothing changes.  It is not a matter of saying affirmations that are true. It’s a matter of using affirmations that you can believe in and that you believe that are going to be beneficial for you. Believe in what you want to feel and you’ll begin to feel the way you believe .

The placebo effect works in much the same way. For example if you believe that sleeping pills are the only way for you to sleep that will be the case, not because they actually work but because you believe they do. If on the other hand you firmly believe they will never work on you they won’t. The mind is much more powerful than you think it is.

You can use affirmations by reading them, listening to them under the form of an MP3 or by remembering and recalling them during the day while you wait or you do the dishes or such like activity. Affirmations are used under the form of suggestions under hypnosis or in subliminal audio.

The important thing is to fully internalize what you say. Make it yours. Visualize it as clearly as possible. Notice how it makes you feel. Make it real for you and practice it until it feels real.

If you choose to create your own affirmations make sure to put them in the present tense (not the future) and make them positive. Make them about what you want. The subconscious doesn’t understand negatives so don’t use “don’ts”. Instead of saying “I don’t have insomnia” say “I sleep soundly and deeply all night long”

Affirmations for sleeping well

  1. I sleep all night long
  2. I release insomnia now once and for all
  3. I wake up feeling rested and refreshed
  4. As soon as I wake up in the morning I get up and feel completely alert
  5. I look forward to a wonderful deep refreshing sleep every night
  6. My bedroom is relaxing, comfortable and soothing
  7. Every night I enjoy a deep restful perfect sleep and I wake up the next morning revitalized
  8. As I lay down on my bed my thoughts drain away from my body and dissolve from my mind. I leave the day behind and trust the night will bring me good counsel
  9. My bed is a place of deep relaxation. I know sleep is a natural process that takes place as soon as I close my eyes
  10. I feel wide awake during the day and at night my body’s natural sleep cycle lulls me gently into relaxation and sleep
  11. I choose to leave all my worries behind. I ensure my routine is filled with beneficial habits that help me  relax and sleep naturally every night
  12. I deeply and completely accept myself as I am no matter what. I choose to let go of any physical or emotional tension I may have and relax into who I am right now.