Why Are Our Beliefs So Important?


Mainstream psychology and related disciplines have traditionally treated belief as if it were the simplest form of mental representation and therefore one of the building blocks of conscious thought. Philosophers have tended to be more abstract in their analysis, and much of the work examining the viability of the belief concept stems from philosophical analysis.

The concept of belief presumes a subject (a person) and an object of belief (the idea). So, like other propositional attitudes, belief implies the existence of mental states and intentionality, both of which are hotly debated topics in the philosophy of mind, whose foundations and relation to brain states are still controversial.

Beliefs are sometimes divided into core beliefs (that are actively thought about) and dispositional beliefs (that may be ascribed to someone who has not thought about the issue). For example, if I asked you “do you believe tigers wear high heels?” you might answer that you don’t, despite the fact you’ve never had to think about this situation before.

This has important implications for understanding the neuropsychology and neuroscience of belief. If the concept of belief is incoherent, then any attempt to find the underlying neural processes that support it will fail.

Philosopher Lynne Rudder baker has outlined four main contemporary approaches to belief in her controversial book Saving Belief:

Our common-sense understanding of belief is correct – Sometimes called the “mental sentence theory,” in this conception, beliefs exist as coherent entities, and the way we talk about them in everyday life is a valid basis for scientific endeavour. Jerry Fodor is one of the principal defenders of this point of view.

Our common-sense understanding of belief may not be entirely correct, but it is close enough to make some useful predictions – This view argues that we will eventually reject the idea of belief as we know it now, but that there may be a correlation between what we take to be a belief when someone says “I believe that snow is white” and how a future theory of psychology will explain this behaviour. Most notably, philosopher Stephen Stich has argued for this particular understanding of belief.

Our common-sense understanding of belief is entirely wrong and will be completely superseded by a radically different theory that will have no use for the concept of belief as we know it – Known as eliminativism, this view (most notably proposed by Paul and Patricia Churchland) argues that the concept of belief is like obsolete theories of times past such as the four humours theory of medicine, or the phlogiston theory of combustion. In these cases science hasn’t provided us with a more detailed account of these theories, but completely rejected them as valid scientific concepts to be replaced by entirely different accounts. The Churchlands argue that our common-sense concept of belief is similar in that as we discover more about neuroscience and the brain, the inevitable conclusion will be to reject the belief hypothesis in its entirety.

Our common-sense understanding of belief is entirely wrong; however, treating people, animals, and even computers as if they had beliefs is often a successful strategy – The major proponents of this view, Daniel Dennett and Lynne Rudder Baker are both eliminativists in that they hold that beliefs are not a scientifically valid concept, but they don’t go as far as rejecting the concept of belief as a predictive device. Dennett gives the example of playing a computer at chess. While few people would agree that the computer held beliefs, treating the computer as if it did (e.g. that the computer believes that taking the opposition’s queen will give it a considerable advantage) is likely to be a successful and predictive strategy. In this understanding of belief, named by Dennett the intentional stance, belief-based explanations of mind and behaviour are at a different level of explanation and are not reducible to those based on fundamental neuroscience, although both may be explanatory at their own level.

So after all that, how do we define Belief?

Definition: A belief is a Driver (usually Unconscious) we hold and deeply trust about something. They can trigger our Values, Emotions & Behaviours. Beliefs tend to be buried deep within the subconscious. We seldom question beliefs; we hold them to be truths even when there is no solid evidence to support the belief.

A Belief is aroused by an Event e.g. without being aware of it, Andy held the belief that it was ok to openly criticise people. Alienation of his friends caused him to identify, question, and change this belief about what is acceptable to others.

We each behave as though our beliefs are true. What we perceive defines what we believe and this belief or perception is what guides our behaviour. A Belief is a form of judging something to be true, sitting somewhere between opinion and knowledge. Opinion is a subjective statement or thought about an issue or topic, and is the result of emotion or interpretation of facts. Knowledge is learnt expertise, skills, facts and information.

A simple definition for a belief is: A belief is an assumed truth. We create beliefs to anchor our understanding of the world around us and thus, once we have formed a belief, we will tend to persevere with that belief, sometimes even when holding onto that belief is detrimental to us.

Change begins with awareness. Awareness begins with learning about how beliefs and emotional reaction are created by choice.

Some fundamental information about beliefs:

  • They may or may not be based on truth
  • They can also be easily formed out of emotion relating to one or many incidents
  • They may or may not be supported by irrefutable evidence
  • They usually have an emotional attachment, which strengthens belief
  • They do not update themselves automatically and therefore are stored at the initial stage (emotional state, etc.)

There are 3 Basic Types of Beliefs

1. Casual Beliefs: Everyday, practical beliefs that don‘t matter much if we get them wrong such as – I believe it will rain tomorrow

2. Conditioned Beliefs: These come from an assessment of what has happened in the past and then predicts the same results in the future. So we get beliefs such as I‘m no good at this or I can‘t do that. These beliefs, if negative, can stifle our potential and limit our lives.

3. Core Beliefs: Can be positive or negative, lead us to be an optimist or pessimist and decide the answers to such questions as Who am I?, What is life about? What we learn and experience in early life shapes beliefs about the world and ourselves. Core beliefs are like a mental framework that supports our thoughts, beliefs, values and perception. Core beliefs are the deepest of all because what we believe “deep down inside” underpins our value system and our attitudes and opinions. This is one of the reasons why core beliefs are seldom questioned even when they are causing enormous problems within the person who holds that core belief.

Last of all, there is a fourth type of belief that overlaps all three previous types and these are Limiting Beliefs. These can be hugely destructive and even lead us to the point of complete hopelessness and suicide. Now of course, this does not have to be the case and is rare in the grand scheme of things, however, these limiting beliefs that we all have from time to time can really hold us back from achieving what we want to achieve in life.

“Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone.”

Damn right it does.

The one common false belief holding you back is that you think that your past determines who you are. If that were true, no one would ever overcome adversity, benefit from a second chance, or improve themselves through education, self-discipline, or perseverance.

Your past actions, good and bad, can be judged by you and by others. You can learn from your errors as well as your successes. Others can think what they will, but neither your reflections on your past nor others’ opinions of you determine who you are now or in the future.

Believing that your past defines who you are is a toxic fallacy. Consider a circus elephant chained by one leg to a stake in the ground: Why doesn’t the elephant just pull the stake loose and wander away? Because it couldn’t do so when it was young. And so the adult elephant is still restrained—not by the chain, but by its past, or rather, the learned associations from its past (Chain around leg means “can’t walk”).

Cognitive dissonance is the culprit that motivates us to maintain the belief that what we were in the past is all that we ever will be. Leon Festinger originated the concept back in the 1950s. He also proposed the principle of cognitive consistency—that is, that we seek to maintain mental and emotional balance by thinking and acting in compliance with who we think we are. And who do we think we are? The same person we have always been. And so when we attempt to think and act differently, cognitive dissonance sets in.

Here’s the trick— metacognition. That simply means being able to observe one’s own thinking and feelings objectively and unemotionally, so that one can assess what may be “pushing our buttons.” If you want to change but experience cognitive dissonance in the process, metacognition can help you identify dissonance as a normal but unhelpful reaction. With effort you can then master the dissonance and proceed with the changes you want to make, until those changes become the new normal.

Are you chained to the past? If so, that chain exists only in your mind. You can remember and reflect on the past without being defined and limited by it.

What’s stopping you? Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Negative_thinking-limiting-beliefs

Limiting Beliefs are beliefs we have that limit the way we live, or from being, doing or having what we want. We all have limiting beliefs from time to time in our lives, particularly when we have to learn something new that is way out of our comfort zone, beyond our current skill set or just so completely different from anything we’ve done before.

If you speak to any Olympic athlete they will tell you that there have been times when they wanted to quit because at times they felt it was just too hard to achieve that small improvement in performance to throw or jump further, to swim or run faster. They constantly have help from their coaches to reframe these negative thoughts that create limiting beliefs.

I remember very clearly several occasions during my time in basic training to become a Royal Marine where I wanted to quit. There were a couple of key tests that pushed me way beyond my limits at that time and the self induced pressure from that put my mind into a negative spiral of doubt and self criticism. My training team new I could do it, it was purely that stress and pressure had sown that seed of doubt and reframed my usual positive outlook into a limiting belief about these key tests. Just as the Olympic coaches do with their athletes, my training did the same for me and reminded me of everything I had achieved so far and what I was working so hard for, that elusive and exclusive Green Beret. Something I had wanted for a long time and this stirred the fire in my belly and revved up my determination, motivation, commitment and desire to refuse to quit until I had that beret on my head. They reminded me of the Royal Marines Corps Spirit, Values and Ethos which are:

The Commando Spirit

These four elements of the Commando Spirit; courage, determination, unselfishness and cheerfulness in the face of adversity, were etched into my mind during my basic eight months training and are well known to all Royal Marine recruits by the time they complete their Commando training. But these constituents of the ‘Commando Spirit’ are what make the Royal Marines individual ‘commandos’. What shapes the way they work as a team, giving the Royal Marines its special identity, the way they carry their duties, is a second set of group values laid out below. They should seem quite familiar. It is the combination of individual Commando Spirit qualities, coupled with these group values, that together forms the Royal Marine ethos.

Royal Marine ethos = Individual Commando Sprit + Collective Group Values

  • Courage
  • Unity
  • Determination
  • Adaptability
  • Unselfishness
  • Humility
  • Cheerfulness in the Face of Adversity
  • Professional Standards
  • Fortitude
  • Commando Humour

These elements collectively are what have stood the test of time for me and all of my clients that I have worked with over the last twenty years in smashing Limiting Beliefs, these beliefs fall into five main categories:

1. Any ‘feelings’ that you can’t feel: If the description you give yourself or someone else gives you which, when you “try it on,” is something you cannot feel without hallucinating substantially. Eg ‘I feel I have to worry’. Also, where the word ‘feel’ could be replaced by ‘believe’ and the sentence still makes sense, then that could indicate a limiting belief. Eg ‘I feel (believe) people don’t like me’.

2. Negations: Anytime there is a negation describing anything, which might be an emotion eg ‘I’m not clever’, ‘I can’t have a good relationship’

3. Comparatives: Whenever there are comparisons. Eg ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘I can’t make enough money/friends’

4. Limiting Decisions: Whenever a Limiting Belief is adopted, a Limiting Decision preceded that acceptance. A Limiting Decision preceded even the beliefs that were adopted from other people. Eg ‘I should know all the answers’, ‘I should get it right every time’.

5. Modal Operators of Necessity: Words such as have to, got to, must, ought, should.

The Pygmalion effect refers to the phenomenon in which the greater the expectation placed upon people (such as children, students, or employees) the better they perform. The Pygmalion effect is a form of self-fulfilling prophecy. Within sociology, the effect is often cited with regard to education and social class. The principle works in both ways, if you have high expectations then people will generally respond positively and achieve what’s expected, equally on the other side of the coin, if we have low expectations of people then they will respond according to our attitude and behaviour towards them.

Pygmalion_Effect

Some examples of Limiting Beliefs are as follows:

I must stay the way I don’t want to be because__________________________________

I can’t get what I want because______________________________________________

I’ll never get better because_________________________________________________

My biggest problem is______________because_________________________________

I’ll always have this problem because__________________________________________

I don’t deserve_________________because____________________________________

I’m not good enough to_____________________________________________________

NB. It is important to distinguish between statements of fact/truth, and limiting beliefs, for example:

POSSIBLE TRUTH/FACT ————————— LIMITING DECISION

I don’t have any money ———————— I can’t make any money.

I am not a good athlete ———————— I cannot become a good athlete.

I don’t have any qualifications —————- I need qualifications to succeed.

I don’t trust people ——————————- People are not trustworthy

Below is a little exercise that explains how to change or reframe a limiting belief so that you change your beliefs/thinking/attitude/feelings which changes your actions/behaviours which changes the results you achieve in your life.

Beliefs-Behaviours-Results

I would really like you to  consider this exercise and take some time to think about the times in your life where you have doubted yourself and created a limiting belief or had a long held, conditioned limiting belief that held you back from achieving something you really wanted, perhaps not permanently but something that slowed you down and got in your way. Use this exercise to draw out the detail of a limiting belief/s and use this knowledge to reframe it into an empowering belief that drives your life in the direction you want it to go.

EXERCISE:

Every single one of your beliefs is important to you because what you believe determines who and how you are.

I would like you to use this cheat sheet and take some time to think about the times in your life where you have doubted yourself and created a limiting belief/s that have held you back from achieving something you really wanted. Perhaps not permanently but something that slowed you down and got in your way. I recommend writing a description of each belief in as much detail as possible so that you really understand what it is made of, this makes it much easier to identify what you can, want and need to change in order to reframe it and change it into a positive, empowering belief.

Answer the following questions and write your answers down:

  • How does it make you feel when you think about that limiting belief?
  • Can you identify what changed and when, if it did?
  • What limiting belief/s do you have right now? How does that make you feel?
  • What do you want to believe about that situation, person, people etc that would change the outcome to one that is positive for you?
  • How does changing the belief about that situation make you feel?

Part 1: What are My Limiting Beliefs

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Part 2: Now I Know My Limiting Beliefs, What Can I Reframe Them Into Empowering Beliefs

Use this section to reframe and rewrite your old limiting beliefs into new Empowering beliefs that bring a whole new spin, a new energy to them as they transform you and lead your life in a direction that you may have been striving for and now it will happen all by itself as you change your thinking, behaviour and results.

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My final thought is this.

Screenshot 2017-03-28 12.24.49

References:

Bell, V.; Halligan, P. W.; Ellis, H. D. (2006). “A Cognitive Neuroscience of Belief”. In Halligan, Peter W.; Aylward, Mansel. The Power of Belief: Psychological Influence on Illness, Disability, and Medicine. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-853010-2.
Jump up: Baker, Lynne Rudder (1989). Saving Belief: A Critique of Physicalism. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-07320-1.

Are You Designing The Life You Want?


It’s always struck me as an almost impossible decision to make when you’re a kid at school, that choice that’s thrown at you to decide your future at 16. How can you possibly know what you want to do when you’ve done bugger all at that point?

It has taken me until my 40’s to figure it out and with several attempts to find out along the way. Even though I have made my own choices as to what to do, mostly,  and I have enjoyed what I’ve done, I have never felt truly comfortable with the jobs I’ve had. It’s like there was something missing, something not quite right and it was purely a gut feeling.

As bizarre and paradoxical as this may sound, if you’re feeling the same way right now I believe that precisely because of that, you are on the right path. Because when you don’t know which direction to head in, when you feel lost, it is this simple yet powerful realisation that you are lost that enables you to actually begin to find yourself. It is only when you reach this point that you know what all those difficult questions about life are and you can then ask them of yourself and clear the fog to begin to reveal your path, your purpose.

I have been lost several times in my life and always experience the most amazing shifts in my consciousness as a result of it. It makes me feel so different in so many ways, and, these changes can feel uncomfortable at first and all I can say to that is enjoy it, embrace it and know that good things happen as a result of these kinds of shift, because you awaken to other ways of thinking and being and that you are responsible for your own life’s direction.

When you awaken to the responsibility you have for your own life, it can give you a sense of heaviness initially, it can even feel overwhelming, because you now understand that you are the only person who can be held accountable for the life you choose to lead. If you want to turn your dreams into reality, it is you who will have to take control and make that happen.

After realising your responsibility for your success in life, you may begin to experience a sense of doubt in the back of your mind; a fear that if you try to turn your dreams into reality, you put yourself at risk of failing. This fear can grow extremely fast when you reach the inevitable conclusion that you have no choice but to drive that change if you are to achieve the things you hold close to your heart. This is where your mental strength comes into it’s own and where you find out if you truly, deep down want what you thought you wanted.

When you make that decision that change is inevitable, it can be so easy to become intimidated and overwhelmed by the sheer number of things that you all of a sudden, want to change. If this happens just pause, breathe and remember everything else you’ve achieved in your life and how previously, you didn’t think you’d be able to handle so many things at once, and you did. Remember that you are capable of doing what needs to be done when you break them down into smaller bite sized pieces.

And do you know what, sometimes you can’t figure out a way to put your plans into action straight way, perhaps because you feel that time is not on your side. The weeks, months and years seem to fly by and you sense that you don’t have enough of them left to reach your ideal destination. This is just an illusion created by doubt and fear. The only reason time seems to alter is because we are either extremely busy or extremely quiet in our lives, the fact that it seems to speed up and slow down is just an illusion. You have the time you need if you plan your changes wisely. Even when your life right now seems so hectic to you and some days leave you feeling drained of energy physically and mentally. Putting in the effort to plan your changes wisely helps to set you up for success, and then you can look forward to your holidays and take a well earned break from life cycle of repetitive habit and duty.

These big shifts can leave you feeling unwilling to put up with two faced people whose words and behaviours betray their negative and hurtful actions. The best thing you can do now is put as much distance between them and you as possible, because their very presence can bring you down at times and steer you temporarily off course. Never let anyone or anything stand in the way of your dreams and just remember that the path is never straight and easy, it will throw challenges and detours at you and it is down to your strength of mind and commitment to you, that will get you where you want to be.

I don’t know about you but I can’t understand why so many people are obsessed with the way they look and the things they own. Of course it’s good to look nice, but there are so many people that I have met in my life that live for their designer clothing, fake tans, cosmetic surgery, bling, and many other traps of meaningless, materialistic bullshit. The way people look has no bearing on what they are like as individuals and more often than not, the people with the shallow, materialistic approach to life are the ones who are prepared to hurt others in order to get what they want. It’s a sad reflection of modern society and one that I’m sure most of you have no time for either. This is another reason that you can know that you’re heading in the right direction because all the crap and irrelevant bullshit has little or no meaning for you.

My perception of society is that it doesn’t appear to be heading in a positive, progressive direction. The modern world is creating more problems than it is solving, and that it is only a matter of time before things go seriously wrong, the markers are everywhere. I would love to see a fairer, more caring future where everyone has greater opportunity and wealth isn’t controlled by the richest 1%. I appreciate that this is a huge generalisation and that there are people out there and organisations that are doing some amazing things and we need more of them. I don’t recall thinking like this when I was younger and I am aware that it was part of a shift a few years ago and it has helped me refine my direction in life for the better.

Now as we all now society is changing, and among some there is a complacency and sense of entitlement. I have found that when we all try to do our bit to inject enthusiasm, positivity, a sense of responsibility and possibility and perhaps even a desire for adventure in people, that it makes a difference to some peoples lives. I hope that this injection of positivity spreads like a happy virus round the universe, because this would make our planet an amazing place to live if we can stop destroying it and ourselves in the process.

When you think about the universe it is easy to feel as though we are just a tiny, unimportant piece of an infinitely complex puzzle and that our achievements don’t really mean much in the grand scheme of things. Not true. The good things you do for others, as well as yourself, may not have any effect on Neptune or in the Andromeda Galaxy, but a small gesture of kindness can have a huge impact on the person you do that for, so keep doing it, because it does matter and it all counts and helps to keep shifting you in the right direction too.

And as rewarding as it can be to do nice things for people you don’t know, it matters just as much when it comes to friendships, because that is a genuine bond, one that isn’t necessarily founded purely on a long history of knowing each other. Even if you drift apart from those friends that you have this connection with and your circle of friends grows smaller because you’ve moved away for work etc. You will never lose those kinds of friends and you will meet new friends and create amazing friendships wherever you go. I have been fortunate to make friends with people in what are classed as some of the most dangerous countries on this planet, some who risked their lives for me. That I will never forget and I will never forget the ones who are no longer here. Respect for others is something that I think comes with age and experience, particularly in understanding who deserves it more than others.

I wonder of you’re like me and often like to take time alone, I enjoy that time to reflect on my life and sometimes those friends who have sadly lost their lives all too soon. I don’t do this to feel melancholy or depressed, I find that by spending time alone I can throw off the worries and anxieties of life and feel the freedom that this provides to reflect and take stock of things. It’s particularly useful and way more enjoyable heading out into nature and escaping the hustle and bustle of society where you can be at one with your thoughts and with yourself. When you get closer to your purpose you naturally appreciate different things, things you may not have noticed as much until now and this is a very good thing because it brings about positive changes.

Sometimes you can see yourself changing before your very eyes and this can be a little scary, perhaps because you have a sense that this change is now unstoppable and you’re afraid that the important people in your life – your family and friends – might not understand what’s happening to you. You worry that they will try to resist your change or even resent you for changing. And that’s ok because wherever you are on your journey, you can’t help but feel that there are pieces of the puzzle still missing. And you can sense that there is so much more to come, but you aren’t yet able to see what this may involve or whom. All you know is that what you have now, and what you can see of the future, isn’t all that there is.

It’s ironic that change is everywhere and so many people fear it. The thing is it almost inevitably involves some element of risk, and can give you an underlying sense of fear about what these risks are and what they mean for you and the people in your life. Whether they involve your physical security, your mental wellbeing, or your spiritual serenity, it’s natural to feel a little uneasy about the potential harm that might come your way. The funny thing is though, as inevitable the risk may be with change, the seriousness of that outcome from taking that risk is often far smaller than we imagined. We tend to err on the side of caution and make things worse in our minds as part of our self defence mechanism. It’s up to you whether you see this as a positive or negative element.

When this happens it’s important to have your say, even if you’re not sure how to say it. Stand up, be heard and make your vote and your voice count, be bold instead of hesitant and don’t worry how this might be perceived by others because this is about you finding your voice, who you are and knowing your purpose and telling people about it. And, that is hugely important in driving you and your life in the right direction and opening up new possibilities as a result of it. When you realise that laid out before you are the almost never-ending possibilities of your life, you can begin to figure out how you will choose between them. Each and every choice you make allows you to become even more aware of the endless possibilities that are yet to be realised by you, and this can either make you anxious about making the right decisions or excited at those possibilities. The choice is ultimately yours, I know what I would choose.

The thing is, knowing what you know now, you are able to look back on your past and see many things that perhaps you would do differently and that is an awesome realisation, because it means you have learnt from your mistakes and are all the wiser for them. And it’s not about feeling regret about how you acted, how you treated others or what your priorities were. You made your choices based on the information, knowledge, skills and experience you had at that time and you did the best you could with all of that. No one sets out to make a shitty decision, that’s pure madness, and as yet I have not met anyone who has told me that they got up in the morning with the intention of fucking everything up that day. Strange I know 🙂 All this means is that you appreciate your mistakes, you’ve taken the value from them and you know what to do should you ever be in a similar position, and you are definitely on the right track.

From time to time in our lives we can lose sight of the grand meaning of it all and we wonder whether there is any purpose to it whatsoever, and you know what, it’s actually ok to feel numb from time to time. In fact it’s completely natural and despite this feeling confusing, the reality is that confusion is a good thing because after the confusion has gone, we will have learned something new.

Sometimes in amongst all the frenetic hustle of life I find it such a relief to not know who I am, where I’m going, what I want to do etc, because not knowing takes the pressure off for a moment while I just allow my self wander through the curiously strange, meandering corridors of my mind and open some of the doors I haven’t opened yet. And the great thing is I know that I will walk back out of that crazy and wonderful maze with a clearer understanding of what I want and what I need to do.

My aim was to give you hope, let you take heart from my own experiences so far with losing my identity, direction and purpose because wherever you are in that process right now, know this. You will come out wiser, clearer and calmer with the knowledge that you need.

Happy trails

Simon

Physical and Mental Strength


Courage and Determination

I’m fortunate because my work involves physical and mental coaching and training, which is a lot of fun and gives me variety from day to day. I also have the huge privilege of seeing my clients lives change over time and sometimes in a very short space of time, which is amazing to see.

I had a suggestion given to me just recently about offering virtual live training via Facebook use their Live Streaming facility and this really intrigued me as to how I can make this work. So, I set up a closed FB Group to keep it completely private for everyone that subscribes and have posted videos of two circuits so far that include lots of little psychological tips.

These days I find shorter more intense physical training suits me better than long drawn out sessions. Partly because I get bored easily and can’t be bothered with spending a long time training, unless it’s out for a long walk in the hills. Also because my body can’t hack it either, I really struggle with long training sessions. So, the other day I recorded a demo session of a full body circuit that I concocted that ticks all the boxes for me. It takes about 20 minutes to complete, it involves muscular strength and stamina, it gets my heart rate up providing me with a good cardiovascular workout and it’s intense, it hurts and it forces me to push myself when it hurts to stick to the time limit I set myself for it.

I’ve tarted the video up so it’s not just the raw basic video from my phone camera and I hope you find it useful and that you test out the circuit for yourself too.

This is one of my favourite circuits at the moment, it is a real test of determination to get it finished within the time frame and it works your entire body, and I can still do it with my limited range of movement in my left shoulder.

Be prepared to sweat, a lot when you do this. It is my favourite Friday circuit because it means I empty my tank before the weekend starts and I can eat a little bit of all the things I may have craved throughout the week and eat them guilt free.

Try it out and let me know how you get on and how you adapt it with your own interesting additions.

Life Design


For a long time I thought I was happy with my job, I was doing what I’d set to do in joining the Royal Marines. I worked with like-minded people, got paid to stay exceptionally fit, got fed four times a day and was provided with a roof over my head. The trade-off was that I was expected to do what I was told do whether I liked it or not and, some of the things I was asked to do I really didn’t like. However I was still happy living my dream.

Or so I thought.

Continue reading Life Design

The Language of Success


Now I realise that this may sound a little odd to some of you, but often, “trying harder” doesn’t always make things better or solve your problems. Sometimes you need to do something radically different to in order achieve your goals.When you find yourself stuck in one spot for too long you often need to break out of your comfort zone or pattern of behaviour in order to get to where you want to go.


This is the case with many things including work, relationships and also your physical fitness.

Whats really interesting (and encouraging) is that this does NOT always mean working harder.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting you don’t need to work hard to achieve your goals, in fact, if the goal/s set yourself are enough of a stretch then you will have to work hard for sure, you will also have to work smart too. I love the quote from Gary Player, the golfer renowned for being able to get himself out of trouble with consummate ease, when he overheard a guy in the crowd say, “he is so lucky” and Gary Player replied, “It’s funny, the more I practice the luckier I get.”

It’s just that sometimes working harder is not the right answer to being successful, sometimes we just need to work smarter.

Not everything can be fixed with a hammer, no matter how hard you swing, sometimes you need a different tool.

Over the past two decades I have worked with thousands of people both online and in person and along the way I have discovered little words/phrases that can pretty much predict a persons success or failure.

In fact, whenever I hear these words I can pretty much guarantee that the person saying them will not be successful.

These words are:

  • I’ll try to get the work done.
  • I’ll try to make healthy food choices.
  • I’ll try to start exercise or exercise more often.
  • I’ll try to get to bed earlier.
  • I hope so.
  • I hope I can do it.
  • I hope I can achieve that.
  • I hope I’ll make it.

Words and phrases like this tend to lead us to presuppose that we will fail and that we don’t really believe that we can achieve, so when we don’t we aren’t too disappointed. In essence we set ourselves up for failure.

If these are your answer to ANYTHING that you know you must do in order to achieve your goal, then I suggest you revisit just how important your goal is to you and listen to the kinds of words and phrases you use and write when talking about your goals.

Small changes in how you think, speak and write can make a huge difference to your ability to succeed.

I want you to succeed and I know that you can when you set your mind on the track from the beginning.

Here’s to your success.

Hypnosis and Control of Bleeding and Haemophilia


There are numerous accounts of the human ability to affect blood flow using mind-body techniques. Stories such as Milton Erickson, MDʼs well known account of using hypnosis to control severe bleeding in his hemophiliac son after an accident, to Martin Rossman, MDʼs less well known but equally dramatic story of using hypnosis in the Emergency Room with a woman to stop her haemorrhaging. However, the widespread use of techniques such as Guided Imagery and Hypnosis for blood control will not be embraced by the medical community without hard science to back up the contentions.

Fortunately, several published studies present corroborating evidence. Biofeedback training, of course, has a long and well-documented history of being able to affect perfusion.

A recent study showed that biofeedback-assisted relaxation training was 87.5% effective in increasing peripheral perfusion (and, thereby, healing) in patients with foot ulcers. The field of hypnosis also has many studies related to pain management in surgery, and studies showing hypnosisʼ ability to affect blood flow are beginning to show up in the literature. Studies with burn patients have shown that hypnosis can significantly improve wound healing by increasing blood flow to the affected area. Subjects were able to achieve significant increases in hand warming using hypnotically-induced vasodilation. Haemo-dynamic measurements of systolic blood pressure, arterial blood flow, and resistance all changed appropriately when hypnotised subjects believed they were donating blood.

As an indication that these so-called autonomic functions can be patient controlled during surgery, one matched, controlled study of maxillofacial surgery patients receiving pre-, post- and/or peri-operative hypnotic suggestion had up to a 30% reduction in blood loss. The health benefits to the patient and savings to hospitals with these kinds of blood loss reductions are considerable. A further study showed that intra-operative and post-op capillary bleeding can be reduced using hypnosis, even in haemophiliac dental patients.

A most impressive study is one in which 121 patients used hypnosedation during endocrine surgical procedures. It has become an expectation from patients who use mind-body modalities for these patients needed significantly less pain medication. Of even greater implication, however, is the fact that all surgeons in these 121 procedures reported better operating conditions (estimated by the visual analog scale), and the researchers attributed this to reduced bleeding in the operative field. Furthermore, no patients were required to convert to general anesthesia during any of the procedures.

These and other factors — high patient satisfaction, better surgical convalescence, turn beds faster, lower use of resources, fewer demands on personnel, fewer follow-up visits by physicians — reduce the socio-economic impact of patient treatment, especially in the area of in- patient surgery.

References

Rice B, Kalker AJ, Schindler JV, Dixon RM. “Effect of biofeedback-assisted relaxation training on foot ulcer healing.” J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 2001 Mar;91(3):132-41.
Moore L and Kaplan J. Hypnotically Accelerated Burn Wound Healing. Am J Clin Hypn 1983 Jul;26(1):16-9.

Moore LE, Wiesner SL. Hypnotically-induced vasodilation in the treatment of repetitive strain injuries. Am J Clin Hypn 1996 Oct;39(2):97-104. Casiglia E, Mazza A, Ginocchio G, Onesto C, Pessina AC, Rossi A, Cavatton G, Marotti A. “Hemodynamics following real and hypnosis- simulated phlebotomy.” Am J Clin Hypn 1997 Jul;40(1):368-75.

Enqvist B, von Konow L, Bystedt H. “Pre- and perioperative suggestion in maxillofacial surgery: effects on blood loss and recovery.” Int J Clin Exp Hypn 1995 Jul;43(3):284-94.
Lucas ON. “The use of hypnosis in hemophilia dental care.” Ann N Y Acad Sci 1975 Jan 20;240:263-6.
Meurisse M. Faymonville ME, Joris J, Nguyen Dang D, Defechereux T, Hamoir E. “Service de Chirurgie des Glandes Endocrines et Transplantation, Centre

Hospitalier Universitaire de Liege, Belgique.” Ann Endocrinol (Paris) 1996;57(6):494-501.

Haemophilia

Study 1: Suggestions Reduce Blood Loss in Surgery
Preoperative Instructions for Decreased Bleeding During Spine Surgery
http://journals.lww.com/anesthesiology/Citation/1986/09001/Preoperative_Instructions_for_Decreased_Bleeding.244.aspx

Results: Those who were given preoperative suggestions for the blood to move away during surgery – so the body could conserve blood – lost significantly less blood than those in both the control and relaxation groups.

Notes: Ninety-two patients who were scheduled for spinal surgery were randomly divided into three groups. One served as the control, the second were given suggestions for relaxation, while the third were given preoperative suggestions that the blood would leave the area where the surgery was to take place at the start of the operation and then remain away until it was complete. This third group was also given suggestions about the importance of blood conservation. The authors note that generally blood loss during surgical procedures can vary wildly between different patients and is unpredictable. For certain types of surgeries, this blood loss often requires transfusions. Giving preoperative suggestions about decreased bleeding could help with these issues.

Anaesthesiology, Sept. 1986, Vol.65 A246
By: H. L. Bennett, Ph.D., D. R. Benson, D. A. Kuiken, Dept. of Anesthesiology and Orthopedic Surgery, UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento California

Study 2: Case Study – Hypnosis to Treat Gastrointestinal Bleeding
Hypnotic Control of Upper Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage: A Case Report
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00029157.1984.10402584?journalCode=ujhy20

Results: After treatment with hypnosis, the patient (who was suffering from upper gastrointestinal tract bleeding) was discharged from the hospital without the need for surgical intervention.

Notes: This paper presents the successful treatment with hypnosis of a patient with upper gastrointestinal tract bleeding. After treatment, the patient was discharged from the hospital without the need for surgical intervention.

American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, Volume 27, Issue 1, 1984
By: Emil G. Bishay M.D.a, Grant Stevensa and Chingmuh Lee, UCLA School of Medicine

Hemophilia Disorder Disease Word in Blood Stream in Red Cells

Study 3: Hypnosis Helps Hemophiliacs Avoid Transfusions, Decreases Risk of Other Health Problems, and Increases Quality of Life
The Use of Hypnosis with Hemophilia
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1289965

Results: The hemophiliacs using hypnosis realized a reduction in the need for transfusions, which results in a decrease in the development of inhibitors, less potential exposure to dangers such as the AIDS virus and a lower incidence of liver and kidney damage. A decrease in the frequency and severity of bleeding episodes results in less morbidity and better coping in the face of HIV infection. Self-hypnosis has provided many bleeders with increased feelings of control and confidence and improved the quality of their lives.

Notes: The Colorado Health Sciences Center’s program to treat hemophiliacs using hypnosis is described.

Psychiatr Med. 1992;10(4):89-98
By: W. LaBaw, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver

Study 4: Hypnosis for Hemophilia Dental Care to Decrease Bleeding
The Use of Hypnosis in Hemophilia Dental Care
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1749-6632.1975.tb53358.x/abstract

Results: This paper discusses how hypnosis can decrease bleeding during dental care and lower the anxiety of hemophiliacs about dental procedures.

Notes: The author describes the experiences of a dental clinic that uses hypnosis for hemophiliacs undergoing dental surgical procedures.

Ann N Y Acad Sci,1975 , 240;263-6, Volume 240
By: Oscar N. Lucas, University of Oregon Dental School

Hypnotic blood flow control

Study 5: Hypnosis to Reduce Blood Loss in Maxillofacial (Neck, Head, Jaw, etc.) Surgery
Pre and perioperative suggestion in maxillofacial surgery: Effects on blood loss and recovery
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7635580

Results: The patients who received hypnotic suggestions were compared to a group of matched control patients. The patients who received preoperative hypnotic suggestions exhibited a 30% reduction in blood loss. A 26% reduction in blood loss was shown in the group of patients receiving pre- and perioperative suggestions, and the group of patients receiving perioperative suggestions only showed a 9% reduction in blood loss.

Notes: The basic assumption underlying the present study was that emotional factors may influence not only recovery but also blood loss and blood pressure in maxillofacial surgery patients, where the surgery was performed under general anesthesia. Eighteen patients (group 1) were administered a hypnosis tape containing preoperative therapeutic suggestions, 18 patients (group 2) were administered hypnosis tapes containing pre- and perioperative (note “perioperative” generally means the time of hospitalization until discharge) suggestions, and 24 patients (group 3) were administered a hypnosis tape containing perioperative suggestions only. Groups 1 and 2 listened to the audiotape 1-2 times daily for the two weeks before surgery. The audiotapes provided therapeutic suggestions for improved healing, less bleeding, lower blood pressure, and faster recovery. The audiotape was 17 minutes in length. During surgery, group 2 also heard an audiotape, which contained similar positive therapeutic suggestions.

Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 1995 Jul;43(3):284-94
By: B. Enqvist, L. von Konow, H. Bystedt, Eastman Institute, Stockholm, Sweden

Hypnosis and Claustrophobia


Claustrophobia is usually defined as the irrational fear of confined spaces. It can be rational to fear being trapped when circumstances carry genuine threat. However, in claustrophobia, people experience fear even when there is no obvious or realistic danger in a particular situation.

People who experience claustrophobia generally go out of their way to avoid a long list of confined spaces, including lifts, tunnels, tube trains, revolving doors, public toilets, MRI scanners, and even don’t like to wear crash helmets. Unfortunately, avoidance may reinforce the fear.

Claustrophobia may arise from a one-off trauma at any age, developed when the person was a child (for example growing up with one or more claustrophobic parents) or emerge as someone gets older. Around 10% of the population may experience claustrophobia during their lifetime.

Simple Self Diagnosis

If you can answer YES to most of the questions it is likely that you are affected by claustrophobia.

During the past 6 months, did any of the following make you feel anxious:

  • Being in a confined space such as being in a tunnel, on the underground etc.?
  • Being in crowded places?
  • Did you avoid being in any of the above situations?

Physical Symptoms

Panic attacks are common among people with claustrophobia. They can be very frightening and distressing and symptoms often occur without warning.
As well as overwhelming feelings of anxiety, a panic attack can also cause:

  • sweating
  • trembling
  • hot flushes or chills
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • a choking sensation
  • rapid heartbeat
  • chest pain or a feeling of tightness in the chest
  • a sensation of butterflies in the stomach
  • nausea
  • headaches and dizziness
  • feeling faint
  • numbness or pins and needles
  • dry mouth
  • a need to go to the toilet
  • ringing in your ears
  • feeling confused or disorientated

Psychological Symptoms
People with severe claustrophobia may also experience psychological symptoms such as:

  • fear of losing control
  • fear of fainting
  • feelings of dread
  • fear of dying

For many people, the aspect of embarrassment over their phobia is as debilitating as the the phobic condition itself. Some sufferers recognise that their fears are overblown and irrational, but cannot seem to stay in control. The reason for this is because phobias are rooted deep within the unconscious, which no amount of conscious effort can be fully effective in controlling. This makes treating phobias particularly challenging.

Claustrophobia is usually treated with anti-anxiety drugs or counseling. Hypnotherapy is an ideal, safe and non-invasive form of therapy with no harmful side effects. It works by pinpointing the root causes of fear in the unconscious to rapidly cure a phobia. In particular, a program that utilises Ericksonian hypnotherapy techniques and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) can be used to cure a phobia. This uses numerous hypnotic techniques to help people beat their fears.

The initial step in curing a phobia is helping the sufferer feel relaxed and anxiety-free. Hypnotherapy has long been used as a form of stress-reducing therapy, to help people clear their minds and focus deeply.

Conventional hypnosis techniques have used direct, post-hypnotic suggestions to help cure phobias. The disadvantage of the direct approach is that the mind tends to reject being merely “told” how to behave. Many people put up mental blocks and ignore suggestions. In today’s society, both children and adults are especially likely to ignore direct suggestions since we are mostly independent people who question authority.

Deep relaxation is the essence of the hypnotic state. Once in the relaxed state, instead of using direct post-hypnotic suggestions, a better approach known as systematic desensitisation can help extinguish a phobia through visual imagery.

Ericksonian hypnotherapy uses a more innovative approach than conventional techniques. It utilises indirect suggestions concealed in captivating stories and metaphors to interest the unconscious and convince it to adopt a desirable, phobia-free line of thinking. Due to the fact that indirect suggestions don’t need to be adapted to a single phobia like direct suggestions do, a single good Ericksonian hypnotherapy program will work to beat any phobia or even multiple phobias.

NLP, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, is an innovative form of therapy that many well trained hypnotherapists have begun to use. The best NLP technique for overcoming a phobia is called the Visual – Kinesthetic Disassociation, also referred to as the V/K. The V/K is recognised as the single session phobia cure, and for good reason. Phobic or panic reactions (attacks) occur because traumatic experiences are attached to and aggravated by mental images. With the V/K, the traumatic experiences are disconnected from the mental images – often in one simple session, and the fear is essentially extinguished.

Those fighting with claustrophobia can find relief with hypnotherapy. The combination of Ericksonian hypnosis therapy with NLP techniques will help all people beat their phobias. Hypnosis therapy has helped countless users feel safe and secure in situations where earlier, they would’ve suffered a breakdown. Hypnosis techniques have provided phenomenal benefits for people afflicted with phobias and continue to improve lives each and every day.

Study 1: Hypnosis and Claustrophobia in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRIs)

Hypnosis for management of claustrophobia in magnetic resonance imaging (Study developed at Hospital e Maternidade São Camilo Pompeia, São Paulo, SP, Brazil)
http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0100-39842010000100007&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en

Results: Out of the sample, 18 (90%) patients were susceptible to the technique. Of the 16 hypnotizable subjects who were submitted to magnetic resonance imaging, 15 (93.8%) could complete the examination under hypnotic trance, with no sign of claustrophobia and without need of sedative drugs.

Conclusion: Hypnosis is an alternative to anesthetic sedation for claustrophobic patients who must undergo magnetic resonance imaging.

Notes: The objective was to evaluate the efficacy of hypnosis for management of claustrophobia in patients submitted to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Twenty claustrophobic patients referred for magnetic resonance imaging under sedation were submitted to hypnosis The patients susceptible to hypnosis were submitted to magnetic resonance imaging under hypnotic trance without using sedative drugs.

After hypnotic induction, the patients underwent ideosensory activities, with induction of vivid, pleasant visual and kinesthetic sensations (walk through a relaxing, safe and welcoming landscape) associated with a sensation of peace, tranquility and safety. After the establishment of the hypnogenic signal, the patients were dehypnotized for assessment of the depth and efficacy of the induced hypnotic trance. Subsequently, hypnosis was induced again, this time by means of the hypnogenic signal. In this second procedure (double induction technique), the patients were introduced to the different phases of the MRI examination which are resignified and associated with the relaxing sensation achieved in the previous ideosensory activity. On the occasion of the procedure, the patient was hypnotized with utilization of the hypnogenic signal in a preparation room, and taken on a wheelchair to the MRI equipment, being dehypnotized once the procedure was completed.

Radiologia Brasileira, Vol. 43, No. 1, São Paulo Jan./Feb. 2010
By: Luiz Guilherme Carneiro Velloso (Maternidade São Camilo Pompeia, São Paulo, SP, Brazil); Maria de Lourdes DupratII (Psychologist, Group of Medical Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy of Hospital e Maternidade São Camilo Pompeia, São Paulo, SP, Brazil); Ricardo Martins (Biomedical Scientist, Unit of Imaging Diagnosis – Hospital e Maternidade São Camilo Pompeia, São Paulo, SP, Brazil); Luiz Scoppetta (MD, Radiologist, Unit of Imaging Diagnosis – Hospital e Maternidade São Camilo Pompeia, São Paulo, SP, Brazil)

Study 2: More Hypnosis for MRI Procedures
Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Improved Patient Tolerance Utilizing Medical Hypnosis
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2270840

Results: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a medical procedure where patients are required to lie on their backs in a tight cylinder (with only a few inches of space between their face and the top of the chamber) for up to an hour. Between one and ten percent of patients experience feelings of panic and other claustrophobic reactions. Many are unable to complete the procedure. This study reports on how hypnosis was used to help ten claustrophobic patients successfully undergo this procedure.

Am J Clin Hypn. 1990 Oct;33(2):80-4
By: P. J. Friday, W. S. Kubal , Shadyside Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Study 3: More Hypnosis for MRI Procedures
Hypnosis Using a Communication Device to Increase Magnetic Resonance Imaging Tolerance with a Claustrophobic Patient.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9922650

The paper reports on the case of a woman who was unable to have an MRI because she was claustrophobic and panicked in such confined environments. She was then hypnotized twice and given post-hypnotic suggestions to increase her sense of comfort and relaxation and gain control over her body’s responses. She was then hypnotized through headphones when she entered the MRI unit where she was able to complete the procedure. This patient was successfully able to cope with this procedure and reported great satisfaction with treatment.

Mil Med. 1999 Jan;164(1):71-2
By: E. P. Simon, Clinical Psychology Department, Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, HI 96859, USA

Hypnosis and Smoking Cessation


Stop Smoking

As Stoptober has now started, the NHS Stop Smoking campaign, I am posting my research findings regarding hypnosis as a tool for Smoking Cessation. he research papers covered a variety of session types and formats and the overall consensus is that hypnosis is a highly effective treatment method for smoking cessation.

I have seen may clients for smoking cessation and it has varied from one to six sessions and although there is an element of physical addiction, the physical aspect lasts for a maximum of 72 hours, after this any cravings are purely psychological and linked to a variety of associations and beliefs about the connection to smoking in those associated environments and situations.

core beliefs

I am registered with the Complimentary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) and you can find my profile by clicking on the logo below.

92. CNHC Quality_Mark_web version

Study 1: Hypnosis for Smoking Most Effective Technique; Three Times More Effective than Nicotine Gum and Five Times More Effective than Willpower Alone
Smoking cessation A Meta-Analytic Comparison of the Effectiveness of Smoking Cessation Methods.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1387394
http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/apl/77/4/554/

Results: They found that among of all of the techniques used, hypnosis was the most effective. They found that a single session of hypnosis was three times more effective than the nicotine gum and five times more effective then willpower alone (willpower was 6%; nicotine gum was 10% and a single hypnosis session was 30%).

Notes: The Institute of Actuaries (in the US) commissioned the largest study ever done on smoking cessation. It statistically analysed the results of 633 smoking cessation studies involving 71,806 participants.

Journal of Applied Psychology. Vol 77(4), Aug 1992, 554-561
By: C. Viswesvaran, F. L. Schmidt, Department of Management and Organisations, University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242

Study 2: Hypnosis and NLP to Quit Smoking
Freedom From Smoking: Integrating Hypnotic Methods and Rapid Smoking to Facilitate Smoking Cessation.
http://bscw.rediris.es/pub/bscw.cgi/d4584046/Barber-Freedom_from_smoking.pdf

Results: The researchers combined hypnosis with with NLP smoking cessation techniques and found that 39 subjects (90%) reported that they remained smoke-free 6 months after the treatment.. The 4 subjects that resumed smoking reported doing so in response to intolerable anxiety.

Notes: This study recruited 43 subjects who wished to quit smoking. The researchers combined hypnosis with with NLP smoking cessation techniques and found that 39 subjects (90%) reported that they remained smoke-free 6 months after the treatment. The following reasons are given for using hypnosis:

  • clarify and heighten patient’s awareness of his/her motivation to stop smoking
  • ego-strengthening to inspire new behaviour
  • ease the physical and mental effects of smoking withdrawal
  • encourage a general increase in daily activity
  • helping if smoking constitutes self-medication as a distraction from some unpleasant emotions.

Hypnotic suggestions were given that encourage the patient’s freedom to determine his/her behaviour rather than be compelled by smoking addiction. Also, just some of the hypnotic suggestions that were given:

  1. If you have any ambivalence at this time about stopping smoking, we will discuss it now and take the opportunity to meet any objections you might have to stopping smoking
  2. You are someone who used to smoke; there is no reason on earth that is sufficient to justify you ever picking up a cigarette again
  3. If your child or someone else you love has for some reason a really strong craving to eat poison, you wouldn’t let your child eat that poison, would you?
  4. You may be delighted by the creativity you may show in developing really interesting rationalisations to smoke, but you won’t take them seriously
  5. You may have a very brief, very peculiar, but interesting experience over the next several hours or days or even weeks – an image of looking back over your shoulder at the walls of a kind of prison that held you for some reason – a reason perhaps now forgotten – you are no longer a prisoner there. You may be able to hear or even feel the discomfort of other prisoners who are still there and you will feel compassion for them, but you also enjoy the clear air of your freedom
  6. You may be surprised at pride you feel having chosen to take care of yourself – to stand by what you know is right – and pride at having chosen to let this experience be calmer and more comfortable than you may have once expected
  7. You can enjoy the process of learning to live freely
  8. You no longer have to do something because someone else once convinced you that you must
  9. You can discover that any time you want to feel more comfortable, all you have to do is sit back in a chair or take a deep breath
  10. You can take comfort in knowing that if any feelings were bothering you, they no longer need to
  11. If you have cravings, that is natural – to miss the old habit – the difference now is that the craving will not be responded to in the old way – new responses will be discovered that will lead to more satisfying results
  12. Increased activity levels will be noticed – parking your car a little further away than usual and walking the extra distance – a renewed dedication to your favourite sport, etc
  13. This is not a short- term change – but for the rest of your life
  14. Increased fluid intake in response to any cravings – a pleasant full glass of water – you might be surprised how satisfying that can be

Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2001 Jul;49(3):257-66
By: J. Baber, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington

Study 3: Smoking Cessation and Hypnosis: Three Sessions
Clinical Hypnosis for Smoking Cessation: Preliminary Results of a Three-Session Intervention.
http://bscw.rediris.es/pub/bscw.cgi/d4431440/Elkins-Clinical_hypnosis_smoking_cessation.pdf
http://www.belleruthnaparstek.com/smoking-cessation/clinical-hypnosis-for-smoking-cessation-preliminary-results-of-a-three-session-intervention.html

Results: At the end of the program 17 subjects (81%) reported that they had stopped smoking. A 12-month follow-up revealed that 10 of them (48%) remained smoke-free.

Notes: Twenty-one smokers who were referred to this study by their physicians for medical reasons, received three smoking cessation hypnosis sessions. All patients reported having failed in previous unassisted attempts to stop smoking. The clinical-treatment protocol included three sessions. The first session was the initial consultation and did not include a hypnotic induction. Sessions 2 and 3 involved individually adapted hypnotic suggestions and an individual therapeutic relationship with each patient. Each patient was also provided with a cassette tape recording of a hypnotic induction with direct suggestions for relaxation and a feeling of comfort. The patients were seen biweekly for treatment.

Hypnotic Suggestions: Absorption in relaxing imagery, a commitment to stop smoking, decreased craving for nicotine, posthypnotic suggestions, practice of self-hypnosis, and to visualise the positive benefits of smoking cessation. The induction was standardised, but the specific imagery for relaxation and the positive benefits for smoking cessation were individualised based upon the patient’s preference regarding such imagery. The suggestions may be summarised as follows:

1. Eye-focus induction. “Begin by focusing your attention on a spot on the wall. As you concentrate, begin to feel more relaxed. Concentrate intensely so that other things begin to fade into the background. As this occurs, noticing a relaxed and heavy feeling and allowing your eye-lids to close.”

2. Relaxation. “Noticing a ‘wave of relaxation” that begins at the top of your head and spreads across your forehead, face, neck, and shoulders. Every muscle and every fibre of your body is becoming more and more completely relaxed. More and more noticing a feeling of ‘letting go’ and becoming so deeply relaxed.”

3. Comfort. “. . . and as you become and remain more relaxed, finding a feeling of comfort. Feeling safe and secure. A peaceful feeling, calm and secure. Feeling so calm that nothing bothers or interferes with this feeling of comfort.”

4. Mental imagery for relaxation. “As you can hear my voice with a part of your mind, with another part going to a place where you feel safe and secure. A place where you become so deeply relaxed that you are able to respond to each suggestion just as you would like to, feeling everything you need to feel and to experience.” (Here individualised imagery is suggested, for example, suggestions for walking down a mountain path or along the beach, depending on the patients preference.)

5. Commitment for smoking cessation. “. . . and today becoming a nonsmoker, becoming free from nicotine and free from cigarettes. . . . You will not smoke cigarettes or use tobacco again. With each day that passes, your commitment to remain free from cigarettes will become stronger and each time you enter this relaxed state you will remember the reasons you want to stop smoking.” (Here individualised imagery is suggested consistent with the patient’s individual reasons for wanting to stop smoking, i.e., health, family, financial, etc.)

6. Dissociation from cravings. “As you enter an even deeper level of hypnosis, you may notice a floating sensation, less aware of your body, just floating in space. Your body floating in a feeling of comfort and your mind, just so aware of being in that pleasant place [individualised imagery for a pleasant place]. As your body floats, you will not be bothered by craving nicotine. Your mind blocks from conscious awareness any cravings and you can feel more detached from your body as you become more relaxed.”

7. Posthypnotic suggestions. “. . . and as you become and as you remain free from nicotine and free from cigarettes, you will find a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. You will find that, more and more, you are able to sleep very well, your sense of smell will improve, and your sense of taste will improve. You will not eat excessively and you will find an appropriate amount of food to be satisfying to you.”

8. Self-hypnosis. “Each time you practice self-hypnosis or listen to the tape recording that I will provide to you today, you will be able to enter a very deep state of relaxation, just as deep as you are today . . . and within this relaxed state, you will find a feeling of control. You will be able to become so deeply relaxed that you will become very comfortable, and you will be able to have a feeling of dissociation that keeps from conscious awareness any excessive craving for nicotine. Within this relaxed state, your commitment to remain free from cigarettes will become even stronger and you will find a kind of strength from your practice of self-hypnosis.”

9. Positive imagery for benefits of smoking cessation. “. . . now, seeing yourself in the future as a nonsmoker, free from nicotine and cigarettes. Notice all of the good things going on around you, how healthy you feel, and . . . [here, individualised imagery was introduced, depending on the patient’s perceived benefits from smoking cessation]. Seeing how well you are able to feel and you will not smoke, no matter if times become stressful or difficult. You will be able to remain calm and relaxed, both now and in the future.”

10. Alerting. “Returning to conscious alertness as a nonsmoker. Returning to conscious alertness in your own time and your own pace, in a way that just feels about right for you today. Feeling very good, normal, with good and normal sensations in every way as you return to full conscious alertness.”

Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2004 , Jan;52(1):73-81
By: G. R. Elkins, M. H. Rajab, Texas A&M University’s Health Science Center

Study 4: Hypnosis to Quit Smoking for Medical Reasons
The Use of Hypnosis in Controlling Cigarette Smoking.
http://journals.lww.com/smajournalonline/Abstract/1968/09000/The_Use_of_Hypnosis_in_Controlling_Cigarette.23.aspx

Results: This early study (1968) found that the majority of people who want to quit smoking for medical reasons, were able to do so after having four hypnosis sessions.
Southern Medical Journal, 1968 Sep;61(9):999-1002
By: Crasilneck HB, (Ph.D.) , Hall JA. (Ph.D.)

Study 5: Hypnosis to Quit Smoking – One Session (Compared to Placebo and No Treatment)
Use of Single Session Hypnosis for Smoking Cessation.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3369332

Results: When they were followed-up at 4, 12, 24 and 48 weeks, the researchers found that significantly more members of the hypnosis group had quit smoking than the other two groups. They also found that among those still smoking, those who were in the hypnosis group were smoking significantly less than those in the other two groups.

Notes: This study involved 60 participants who were randomly assigned to one of three groups: one that received a placebo, one that received a single hypnosis session and one that received no treatment.

Addictive Behaviours, 1988, Vol. 13(2):205-208
By: J. M. Williams, D. Hall, Dept. of Human Resources, University of Scranton, PA

Study 6: Hypnosis to Quit Smoking – Hospitalised Patients (Compared to Nicotine Replacement Therapy and Going “Cold Turkey”)
Hypnotherapy For Smoking Cessation Sees Strong Results
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071022124741.htm

Results: Hospitalised patients who smoke may be more likely to quit smoking through the use of hypnotherapy than patients using other smoking cessation methods. This study shows that smoking patients who participated in one hypnotherapy session were more likely to be nonsmokers at 6 months compared with patients using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) alone or patients who quit “cold turkey.”

Notes: This study compared the quit rates of 67 smoking patients hospitalised with a cardiopulmonary diagnosis. All patients were approached about smoking cessation and all included in the study were patients who expressed a desire to quit smoking. At discharge, patients were divided into four groups based on their preferred method of smoking cessation treatment: hypnotherapy (n=14), NRT (n=19), NRT and hypnotherapy (n=18), and a group of controls who preferred to quit “cold turkey” (n=16). All patients received self-help brochures. The control group received brief counselling, but other groups received intensive counselling, free supply of NRT and/or a free hypnotherapy session within 7 days of discharge, as well as follow up telephone calls at 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, and 26 weeks after discharge. Patients receiving hypnotherapy also were taught to do self-hypnosis and were given tapes to play at the end of the session.

At 26 weeks after discharge, 50 percent of patients treated with hypnotherapy alone were nonsmokers, compared with 50 percent in the NRT/hypnotherapy group, 25 percent in the control group, and 15.78 percent in the NRT group. Patients admitted with a cardiac diagnosis were more likely to quit smoking at 26 weeks (45.5 percent) than patients admitted with a pulmonary diagnosis (15.63 percent).

The researchers note that hospitalisation is an important opportunity to intervene among patients who smoke.

This study as presented at Chest 2007, the 73rd annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071022124741.htm Oct. 24, 2007
By: Faysal Hasan, MD, FCCP, North Shore Medical Centre, Salem, MADr. Hasan and colleagues from North Shore Medical Centre and Massachusetts General Hospital

Study 7: Hypnosis and Smoking Cessation in the Workplace – Hypnotherapy Accompanying a Smoke-Free Work Policy
Reducing smoking at the workplace: implementing a smoking ban and hypnotherapy.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7670901?dopt=Abstract

Results: Fifteen percent of survey respondents quit and remained continuously abstinent. A survey to assess attitudes toward the policy was conducted 1 year after policy implementation (n = 1256; response rate = 64%). Satisfaction was especially high among those reporting high compliance with the policy. These results suggest that hypnotherapy may be an attractive alternative smoking cessation method, particularly when used in conjunction with a smoke-free worksite policy that offers added incentive for smokers to think about quitting.

Notes: This study examines the impact of a smoke-free policy and the effectiveness of an accompanying hypnotherapy smoking cessation program. Participants in the 90-minute smoking cessation seminar were surveyed 12 months after the program was implemented (n = 2642; response rate = 76%). Seventy-one percent of the smokers participated in the hypnotherapy program.

J Occup Environ Med. 1995 Apr;37(4):453-60
By: G. Sorensen, B. Beder, C. R. Prible, J. Pinney, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts

Study 8: Smoking and Suggestions Given During Anaesthesia for Surgery
Reducing smoking. The effect of suggestion during general anaesthesia on postoperative smoking habits.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2044.1994.tb03368.x/abstract

Results: In a double-blind randomised trial, 122 female smokers undergoing elective surgery were allocated to receive one of two prerecorded messages while fully anaesthetised. The active message was designed to encourage them to give up smoking whilst the control message was the same voice counting numbers. No patient could recall hearing the tape. Patients were asked about their postoperative smoking behaviour one month later. Significantly more of those who had received the active tape had stopped or reduced their smoking (p < 0.01). This would suggest a level of preconscious processing of information.

Anaesthesia. 1994 Feb;49(2):126-8
Comment in: Anaesthesia. 1994 Oct;49(10):917-8
By: J. A. Hughes, L. D. Sanders, J. A. Dunne, J. Tarpey, M. D. Vickers, Department of Anaesthesia, Morriston Hospital, Swansea, West Glamorgan

Study 9: Smoking and Hypnosis: Single Session with Self-Hypnosis
Predictors of smoking abstinence following a single session restructuring intervention with self hypnosis.
http://bscw.rediris.es/pub/bscw.cgi/d4465008/Spiegel-Predictors_smoking_abstinence_self_hypnosis.pdf

Results: Fifty-two percent of the study group achieved complete smoking abstinence 1 week after the intervention; 23% maintained their abstinence for 2 years. Hypnotisability and having been previously able to quit smoking for at least a month significantly predicted the initiation of abstinence. Hypnotisability and living with a significant other person predicted 2- year maintenance of treatment response.

Notes: A consecutive series of 226 smokers referred for the smoking cessation program were treated with a single-session habit restructuring intervention involving self-hypnosis. They were then followed up for 2 years. Total abstinence from smoking after the intervention was the criterion for successful outcome.

Am J Psychiatry. 1993 Jul;150(7):1090-7
By: D. Spiegel, E. J. Frischholz, J. L. Fleiss, H. Spiegel, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA

Study 10: Smoking and Hypnosis: Factors for Success – Patient’s Own Reason to Quit, Maintaining Contact with Patient, Self-Hypnosis
Smoking and hypnosis: A systematic clinical approach
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00207147008415930#preview

Results: 2 methods of helping cigarette smokers stop smoking were compared in treating a total of 181 patients. After 6 months, 60% of those treated with an active, personalised approach were not smoking. This approach emphasised: (a) the feedback, under hypnosis, of the patient’s own reasons for quitting, (b) maintaining contact with the patient by telephone, (c) use of meditation during hypnosis to obtain individualised motives, and (d) Sell-hypnosis. Only 25% of smokers were successfully treated by an earlier hypnotic procedure that did not systematically employ these features.

International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, Volume 18, Issue 4, 1970
By: William Nulanda, Morton Prince Clinic for Hypnotherapy and Peter B. Field, Veterans Administration Hospital, Brooklyn & Morton Prince Clinic for Hypnotherapy

Study 11: Smoking and Hypnosis: Which Suggestions Work
Hypnotic Treatment of Smoking.
http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/search/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=ED240439&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=ED240439

Results: Results indicated that positive suggestions were more efficacious than negative. Treatment was most successful for subjects who did not see themselves as habitual smokers.

Notes: Prior studies of hypnotic treatment of smoking have reported abstinence rates of between 17 and 88 percent at six months, but few have investigated procedures or forms of suggestions. To compare the effectiveness of positive and negative hypnotic suggestions and self-hypnosis for cessation of smoking, 32 subjects were assigned to one of four treatment groups: (1) negative suggestions alone; (2) negative suggestions plus self-hypnosis; (3) positive suggestions alone; and (4) positive suggestions plus self-hypnosis. Subjects also completed a series of smoking history questionnaires; the Self-Efficacy for Smoking Avoidance Questionnaire, to assess expectations for smoking cessation; and the Horn-Waingrow Scale, used to delineate types of smokers. Treatment involved three 1-hour sessions, with those not abstinent at post-treatment or follow-up receiving three additional sessions. Outcome was assessed at post-treatment and 1, 2, 3, and 6 months following the final treatment session. Results indicated that positive suggestions were more efficacious than negative. Treatment was most successful for subjects who did not see themselves as habitual smokers. While ratings of self-efficacy at pre-test and following treatment were not predictive of later self-efficacy, subjects’ ratings at 1 month post-treatment were predictive of later self-efficacy ratings.

Summary of research presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (91st, Anaheim, CA, August 26-30, 1983)
By: Samuel A. Bastien, IV; Marc Kessler

Additional References:

NHS Stoptober Campaign

https://cnhcregister.org.uk/newsearch/index.cfm

Free Places in My Lifestyle Change and Weight Management Program


I’m offering 3 free places in the next group of my Lifestyle Change and Weight Management Program. This works in groups of ten which is fantastic for developing group support and motivation and also for sharing previous experiences as well as the new ones as you work through the 90 Day Program.

90 Day Programme includes the following:

1. 90 days worth of 100% natural health supplements (this is the only thing you pay for at wholesale price, everything else is completely free) and Nutritional advice based on your current BMR and identifying your Macro needs based on your personal goals

2. Food diary and individual review

3. Recipe guides with shopping ingredients based on your macros

3. Exercise and training advice (training is optional extra for 1 to 1 or small groups)

4. Private Facebook Group for constant mutual support and additional resources

5. Members only bonuses and discounts

6. Psychological support to overcome emotional issues and habit changing, belief change etc: 1-2-1 and group

7. Copy of my ebook: Brain2Body Lifestyle, Nutrition and Exercise Manual

8. Training in individual plans utilising the Goal Setting section of my book

9. Weekly planner template and training in how to use it effectively

10. 2 meetings each month to keep you focused, on track and motivated to achieving your personal best

11. 2 Group calls each month to keep you focused, on track and motivated to achieving your personal best

12. 24/7 SOS text support

13. 10 week email coaching course to help develop your mental strength and resilience

What’s the Deal With Hypnotherapy?


Lets face it, none of us are perfect and being brutally honest, no one is. Just like me, I am sure that there are things you know you could change, small tweaks that might make your life more satisfying, more rewarding and fulfilling.

Perhaps changing a bad habit for a useful new one, overcoming a long-standing phobia, or maybe finding the right motivators to change what you eat so that you can lose that excess fat and keep it off.

We all have something we’d like to change or improve, but how do you do it? How can you break what might be the habit of a lifetime, or find the strength to resist temptation?
And even more importantly, how do you make sure your new habit/behaviour sticks?

If you’ve ever tried to do it on your own, you’ll know it’s no easy feat and as difficult as it seems, it’s not impossible, especially when you get the right kind of help.

What Is Hypnotherapy?
Look at the word “hypnotherapy” and you’ll see it’s actually a combination of two words.
Hypnosis – and therapy.In a nutshell it’s a complementary therapy that utilities the power of hypnosis by instilling positive suggestions into your unconscious mind.

With the right suggestions, it’s possible to alter:
The way you think
The way you feel
The way you behave

And this is why hypnotherapy is such a potent tool for change, because when you can change your thoughts, your feelings, and your behaviours – you can move mountains, you can overcome any obstacle that blocks your way, because it enables you to tackle things that you once thought impossible. Plus, when used by a well trained, certified professional, hypnotherapy can help with every one of the following:
Addictions
Childbirth
Obsessions
Compulsions
Anger management
Depression
Eating disorders
Confidence building
Self-esteem boosting
Anxiety relief
Exam nerves
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Fears and phobias
Pain management
Sexual issues
Relaxation
Stuttering
Tinnitus
Sleep disorders
Stress reduction
Weight loss

Now that’s quite a list, so the next question is, how can it be so effective? How can it deal with ALL of those things? The answer is simple.

Hypnotherapy gets to the bottom of whatever the issue is. It bypasses your critical conscious mind and connects you with your unconscious. It changes your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours from the inside out. This means it tackles the root cause of the problem, not just the symptoms, and deals with it. And to top it off, it often does that better than almost any other form of therapy.

Hypnotherapy Comes Out On Top

Dr. Alfred A. Barrios conducted a survey of psychotherapy literature. He discovered that:
93% of clients recover after 6 sessions of hypnotherapy
72% of clients recover after 22 sessions of behavioural therapy
38% of clients recover after 600 sessions of psychoanalysis

That blew my mind when I first read that, it’s quite amazing. Not only does hypnotherapy work faster – 6 sessions compared to 22 or more – but it works for a larger percentage of people.

It’s four times faster than behavioural therapy and a massive 100 times faster than psychoanalysis.

That might explain why the practice has been certified worldwide as an alternative way to manage so many conditions:
In 1996, the Australian Hypnotherapists’ Association introduced a peer-group accreditation system for professional Australian hypnotherapists.
In the UK, the Department for Education and Skills developed National Occupational Standards for hypnotherapy in 2002.
In the USA, hypnotherapy regulation and certification is carried out by the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners (A.C.H.E.). The first state-licensed hypnotherapy center was the Hypnotism Training Institute of Los Angeles, licensed way back in 1976.

So hypnotherapy is not just useful. It’s recognised worldwide as a bona fide treatment method for tackling issues in many areas of your life, including:

Mental and emotional health
Physical well-being
Spiritual development
Creativity
Motivation
Business concerns
Goal achievement
And lots more besides.

Now I’m pretty sure you’re wondering, “wait a minute, there other ways to deal with this stuff aren’t there? What about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, psychoanalysis & NLP?
the people who provide these services need to be qualified and certified too don’t they?
So how come they aren’t as effective as hypnotherapy?

To answer this question, you need to look at how the other three work.

Hypnotherapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Psychoanalysis & NLP
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (or CBT) is used to change the way you think and behave, it helps you deal with your problems in a more positive light. It’s commonly used to treat anxiety and depression by giving you practical ways to deal with life on a daily basis. The idea is to break down larger issues into smaller parts so they’re easier to cope with.
This enables you to manage them one at a time and gradually improve the way you feel.
It doesn’t remove the problems, but it gives you valid coping mechanisms so you can learn to manage them more easily.

Psychoanalysis is also widely used to treat anxiety and depression, but with a different approach.
Psychoanalysis was developed by Sigmund Freud and the principle behind psychoanalysis is uncovering repressed emotions and experiences. So while CBT deals with problems in the present, the here and now, psychoanalysis delves into your past and in many cases, your childhood. It attempts to try to find the reasons why you feel anxious or depressed and by letting those repressed emotions come to the surface you can confront them and finally put them to rest.

NLP stands for Neuro-Linguistic Programming.
Neuro refers to your nervous system, the link between your brain and body.
Linguistic refers to the language you use.
Programming refers to learned behaviours and the way you respond to stimuli.
So NLP aims to change your behaviour (your programming) by altering the way your brain responds to what’s going on around you. It uses techniques like anchors and disassociation to achieve this. NLP is particularly useful for breaking habits and overcoming fears, which is great. What’s interesting though, is this, NLP often combines its techniques with hypnosis and self-hypnosis.

CBT has been proven more effective when used in conjunction with hypnotherapy. Even psychoanalysis works better when you’re under hypnosis, because you’re more in touch with your unconscious mind.
Your unconscious mind is where all those memories and conflicts are stored and it seems that no matter which therapy is employed, the end result is the same. When you add a bit of hypnotherapy, you hugely increase your chances of success.

So Why Choose Hypnotherapy?
Let’s be honest here, when it comes to therapy, there are so many choices available today and Hypnotherapy is just one of the options. So why should you choose Hypnotherapy above any other treatment form?

There are at least three very good reasons:
It’s faster than other forms of therapy
It addresses more issues than other forms of therapy
It gets right to the heart of the problem and deals with it directly

During a hypnotherapy session, the therapist starts by talking to you and asking you questions in order to find out what the problem is. This allows them to learn about you and your life and this helps them decide the best way to help you overcome whatever issue you’re having. Once they know that, they’ll move on to hypnosis where they will lead you into a mild trance where your critical conscious mind can just switch off. This is basically a state of heightened awareness where you can access your unconscious and make deep-seated and lasting changes.

When you can do that, the possibilities are endless.
You can:
Find solutions to long-standing problems
Wipe away old limiting beliefs
Turn negative thoughts into positive ones
Develop new and healthier habits
Set realistic and achievable goals
Take active control of your health, your career, your relationships, and your life in general

And like the other therapies mentioned above, it works for anxiety and depression too. In fact, if you can think of a problem or an issue, hypnotherapy can probably help.
It can help you make better decisions
Get increased concentration
Unleash your imagination
Feel more relaxed, and more at peace with yourself
Wipe away stress
Feel healthier in mind and body
Boost your self-belief
Sleep better and function at your peak more often
Find the stability that will allow you to truly live your life, rather than just going through the motions

Because even though nobody’s perfect, there’s nothing wrong with striving for excellence by making one small change at a time through the power of hypnosis.