Mind-Matters Series Video #10: Refresh Your Mind & Body


This is a short video about refreshing your mind by moving your body. It’s based on the simple principle off doing something positive for yourself when you feel good and making it a habit, because when it becomes a habit, it makes it much easier and more natural do something positive for yourself when you feel negative or unwell.

Get started today no matter how you feel and begin to make your new habit.

 

Mind-Matters Series Video#9: Why Do We Limit Ourselves?


It’s a strange thing about human beings, we are often our own worst enemy because of how and what we think. We deny ourselves the opportunity to improve and grow purely because we limit ourselves through a lack of self-belief, lack of confidence and all because we think we can’t do it, can’t have it, can’t be it, don’t deserve it. These thoughts come about through conditioning from other people as well as our own homegrown rhetoric and are often developed through a lack of focus and understanding of what it is we actually want for ourselves.

This lack of awareness and focus can be hugely detrimental to our lives in terms of achieving what we want, yet it can take just a few minutes a day of learning to focus our minds, clearing the crap (thoughts and behaviours) and setting it on the right path at the beginning of each day enables you to become aware of what does make you happy, what really flicks your switch and then you can start to take action and make changes in your life and design the one YOU want and not one that others want for you.

I hope this video gives you food for thought and is a starting point and/or a catalyst for you to start from.

As always I’m here for guidance.

Simon

Creative Reframing


A wise old gentleman had retired and bought himself a modest home near a school. He spent the first few weeks of his retirement in peace and contentment. However, when the new school year began, the very next afternoon three young boys, full of youthful exuberance and post school enthusiasm, came down his street, banging merrily on every dustbin they encountered. The crashing percussion continued day after day, until finally the wise old man decided it was time to take some action.

The next afternoon, he walked out to meet the young percussionists as they banged their way down the street. He stopped them and said, “You boys are a lot of fun. I like to see you express your exuberance like that. In fact, I used to do the same thing when I was your age. Will you do me a favour? I’ll give you each a dollar if you’ll promise to come around every day and do your thing.” The kids were elated and continued to do a bang-up job on the dustbins.

After a few days, the old-timer greeted the kids again, but this time he had a sad smile on his face. “This recessions really putting a big dent in my income,” he told them. “From now on, I’ll only be able to pay you 50 cents to beat on the cans.” The noisemakers were obviously displeased, but they accepted his offer and continued their afternoon ruckus. A few days later, the wily retiree approached them again as they drummed their way down the street.

“Look,” he said, “I haven’t received my Social Security check yet, so I’m not going to be able to give you more than 25 cents. Will that be okay?” “A quarter?” the drum leader exclaimed. “If you think were going to waste our time, beating these cans around for a quarter, you’re mad! No way, we quit!” And the old man enjoyed peace and serenity for the rest of his days.

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

Why We Are The Way We Are. The good and the bad of conditioned response.


It’s 4am and I’m awake again at the sound of the car door closing outside the window. My instincts are kicking in with my body and mind ready to respond in the blink of an eye and as I look around the room I realise I’m not in Baghdad or Kabul, Portharcourt or Baiji or anywhere else that is a threat, I’m on my own sofa in the living room of my own house.
My heart is racing as I struggle between two realities not completely sure which one to chose and not always knowing which one I prefer. It’s hard to step away from the chaos, fear and excitement that comes with combat, as crazy as it sounds it can feel more reassuring for a while than the quiet of a so called normal life with a host of new uncertainties that are alien and in their own way just as scary at times.

We were trained for years to respond to threats with a highly calculated, swift and utterly devastating level of aggression and violence on the battlefield, and to be able to turn that aggression down like a dimmer switch. It’s a hard skill to learn and one of many that never leaves you, and like so many it gets confused in the civilian life that we all end up in at some point.

When your brain is so used to high speed threat assessment it is easy for mistakes to be made in the civvy world because we feel constantly under threat as we navigate our new environment and unsure of the new rules of engagement. Sometimes we’re not sure who the enemy is and ironically, particularly in the early days, we are our own enemy. Our mind is struggling to cope, half knowing we can’t respond the way we do but not knowing any other way yet, until we learn what’s acceptable in this new world. And this takes time. Not something given up lightly in a frantically fast and ruthless world that we live in because time is a commodity, it’s precious and people and business hold onto it like it was a newborn child at times, protecting it with every ounce of strength they have.

Being conditioned into who we are has many advantages in both worlds. We are fiercely loyal, we have a work ethic that is second to none, we are extremely adaptable, learn fast and want to learn, we are highly disciplined, fantastic team players and very capable of getting the job done on our own when need be. We make great leaders because we have been trained and led by great men and when the shit hits the fan, there is no one else you would rather have by your side.

So when you meet or know someone who is struggling with their own mind as they work to come to terms with physical and/or psychological injuries from their time in the military, please share some of that precious time, allow them a little more of it and some space to come to terms with their new world.

And for you my brothers, when there is no need to brace yourself as the tailgate lowers and there are no more doors to kick in, no more need to try and squeeze yourself into the tiniest rut in the ground as the dirt kicks up all around you, when there are no more explosions that vibrate every organ in your body leaving you deaf, nauseous and disoriented and there is nothing left but deafening silence.

Remember that when the faces come rushing at you in those quiet moments, when you least expect them, with your heart racing as you check your exits and for people who are a threat, it is just your mind and the way you’ve been conditioned to be. Remember the simple things, remember to breathe, and as you breathe in clench your fists and as you breathe out open your hands and flex your fingers till they strain and imaging that you push those faces further away with every breath out. Keep doing this until those faces drift and fade into the distance and when they’re gone relax your hands at your sides and let that complete relaxation in your hands and forearms to flow all the way up to your shoulders, up your neck and into your head and face, then let that relaxation flow all the way down your upper body, through your hips, down your legs into your feet and all the way down to the ends of your toes. Remembering to breathe slowly as you do this.

You may well find this takes a bit of practice, as crazy as this sounds, but we all do it from time to time, we forget to breathe when we are stressed, under pressure and we tense up. So when you catch yourself tensing up like this, even if there are no faces to push away, just practice it like any other skill you’ve learned and create a new conditioned response when you feel stressed and threatened on any way.

Just as in the military and on operations we have each others back, well I have your back now. If you need to speak to clear your mind and get things off your chest then get in touch with me either on Facebook or my email, simon@simonmaryan.com and we can arrange a time to chat. We need to look out for each other just as much in this civvy world as we did in the military and sometimes more so. Despite retiring from that old world we will always be that band of brothers and that loyalty does not need to fade because we are not side by side physically anymore, technology has seen to that and made the world a much smaller place. So let’s take advantage of that and keep each other safe.

On that note ladies and gentlemen spoofers, I believe I am done.
Simon Maryan

Per Mare Per Terram

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

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

There’s More to Maintaining Your Ideal Body than Just Input and Output


For some reason, even with all the science and information available out there, diet and exercise are still the main focus of attention when it comes to fat loss. The thing is as important a part as they do play in the process, it’s just not as simple as “burn more calories than you consume.” I still meet people on a regular basis who live by this misguided rule, now I’m not saying it doesn’t work, however, it generally only works in the short to medium term, not indefinitely. It’s an outdated model because there’s so much more to fat loss than just diet and exercise.

During my research and development for my book I discovered a number of things that, when factored into your fat loss and maintenance programme, make a huge difference in your ability to achieve and hold onto your desired outcome. So here I want to share with you four key elements that I drill into all my clients from day one to ensure that they continue to make progress.

Sleeping Baby

1. Quality Deep Restorative sleep. Sleep Like a Baby.
Now I know some of you may be thinking, what is he on about, sleep is sleep. Well there is a big difference and there is a common misunderstanding about sleep, and that is how much do we need and also that it should be constant sleep throughout the night. When we sleep we go through different depths during a 90 minute cycle called the ‘Ultradian Rhythm’. What this means is that we drift off into a light sleep, drop down into REM or Dream Sleep and then into Deep Restorative Sleep and this is where your brain and body recharge, repair and restore themselves. Without this quality deep restorative sleep we can wake up more tired than when we went to bed because we have been dreaming too much and never getting into that deep sleep. When we remain in that light sleep and REM sleep states we can be interrupted by our dreams and by outside noises that bring us up into conscious awareness and break that natural sleep pattern. I want you to understand that this is a normal part of the cycle and it is why we don’t have 7-8 hours of completely uninterrupted sleep, we wake up and go back to sleep a few times throughout the night. What is really important is that we go into the Deep Restorative Sleep state and recharge, repair and restore. This is why sleep is one of the first things I discuss with a new client, because it really is that important.

If you’re really serious about optimising your health and/or losing fat, then you really need to pay more attention to your sleep patterns and habits and make changes here first before doing anything else in order to get maximum benefit from your training and nutrition.

If my client’s fat loss stalls and/or they’re losing momentum and energy, I don’t start analysing their nutrition plan or increasing their exercise frequency or intensity. I look at their sleep quality and quantity, and their chronic stress level to see where we can make some changes.

As a society we are chronically sleep-deprived and over-stressed. Individually these elements can cause severe health problems and hinder fat loss. When you combine them they are disastrous for your overall health and your fat loss goals

Have you noticed that when you are exhausted you feel hungrier than usual? This is not your imagination. Not getting enough sleep affects leptin and ghrelin, which are  your hunger hormones.

A consistent lack of sleep will make you hungrier and much more impulsive, and you will have an almost insatiable craving for high-carbohydrate foods. This makes avoiding the muffins and cakes at the coffee shop or turning down the bacon rolls at the office a nearly impossible feat. Being chronically sleep-deprived also significantly elevates your cortisol levels  and insulin resistance and this affects your fat loss and your overall physical and mental health.

If this doesn’t make you want to go to bed a bit earlier, another reason is that adequate sleep is also crucial for cognitive function, maintaining a positive outlook, and having a steady supply of energy so that you can keep up with your kids, run around with your dog, lift heavier weights, run faster/longer and all the other active things you love to do.

Reflective Questions:
• Am I getting quality deep restorative sleep each night within an average of 7 hours sleep?
• If not, what am I prepared to change to ensure I get that quality sleep? (For example: Stop watching TV in bed. No phones, kindles, iPads etc in the bedroom at night to avoid the temptation to stay up interacting with social media)

Train Smart

2. Don’t Train Harder, Train Smarter. That Includes Variety.
When I was serving in the Royal Marines, particularly during basic training, I couldn’t eat enough because the amount of physical exercise was phenomenal. It was almost impossible to consume enough calories in a day to match my output. The same thing happened when I was racing in Triathlons, the problem was that it increased my appetite so much that all wanted I to do was eat and sometimes I simply didn’t have the time.

I finally understood a few years ago that high-intensity, steady-state exercise is not the best model for me, it turns me into a black hole for food. It was potentially far too easy for me to “out-eat” my training, which meant I was breaking even at best and running myself into the ground.

I recommend to my clients applying the Minimum Effective Dose Model to their training. Meaning, I totally understand that you love exercise and it’s important that you do just enough to elicit the desired results while keeping your hormones happy and your appetite in check.

For most people (who train regularly), this typically means two or three heavy strength-training days, one or two short-duration HIIT (high-intensity interval training) sessions, and no more than a couple of moderate-intensity, steady-state cardio sessions per week.
Getting too aggressive with exercise and doing an obscene amount of cardio, spending hours in the weight room each day, or doing two-a-day training sessions can lead to a voracious appetite, run down your immune system and lead to overtraining, which I’m guessing is probably not in line with your goals.

Reflective Questions:

  •  Is any type of exercise that I’m doing increasing my appetite to the point that it may be sabotaging, instead of supporting, my goals?
  •  What kind of exercise can I do instead to see how that makes me feel? (Example: Instead of running for 45 minutes, how about trying 15 minutes of intervals? Instead of that 60-minute Spin class, how about breaking it up into two 30-minute moderate-intensity cardio sessions throughout the week?)

Healthy eating

3. Eat Food That You Enjoy, Is Nutritious and Fills you Up.
When you think of fat loss, do you think it means eating the same boring foods, every day? Chicken breast, sweet potato, broccoli, egg whites, oats, and protein powder, day in and day out?

This absolutely can work because there’s nothing nutritionally wrong with it, in fact it’s full of great nutrients. What I can promise you is this. It won’t work for long, unless you actually love to eat like this and truly feel satisfied. Generally we can only tolerate so much bland, boring food that we don’t necessarily enjoy before we frantically wave the white flag and dive into a pile of junk food, never to return to it again…until the next time we want to lose fat!!

The key to making  your nutrition a sustainable part of your lifestyle is to ensure that you love what you’re eating. You have to enjoy your food in order to be satisfied and for me food is meant to be enjoyed. If you force down a meal that you hate because someone told you or you read somewhere that this is the way to lose fat, there is a high probability that you’ll be raiding your cupboards and fridge afterward for something to satisfy your palate.

Emjoy your meal

Fortunately on the Internet, there are millions of recipes right at your fingertips. While it may take you 20 minutes to bake a week’s worth of bland chicken breasts, it would only take you an additional few minutes to whip up a tasty sauce for them, try a new seasoning blend, or another way of cooking them. You can bake, broil, roast, slow cook, grill, steam, or sauté your food into an explosion of flavour with just a tiny bit more thought and effort. Trust me, it’s worth it.

Reflective Questions:

  • Am I currently eating foods I can’t stand but eat them anyway because I feel like I’m “supposed” to?
  • What can I do to those foods, or what can I substitute, to make eating an enjoyable experience again?
  • Can I spare an extra 20 minutes per day to improve the taste of my food? ( The answer is yes by the way.)

4. Choose the Right Form of and Amount of Cardio.
Cardio is a funny thing. For a while, it’s all many people wanted to do. Thankfully, times have changed and in particular, women have embraced the empowering feeling and advantages of strength training. The only downside to that is that cardio has started to get kicked to the curb to a degree. Cardio, like most forms of exercise, can be a wonderful tool when used correctly.
Is cardio necessary for everyone who wants to get leaner? Not really. But if you find that you’re a bit stuck, incorporating a couple of sessions per week could help.

Moderate-intensity, steady-state cardio is a way to burn calories, sure. More importantly, it improves work capacity, which can mean improved training. It can also aid in recovery from your strength workouts.

This is not a pass for a cardio free-for-all. Whatever form of cardio you choose, please make sure you’re doing the type that keeps stress low and your hunger under control.

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Reflective Questions:

  • What kind of cardio do I enjoy most? Walking, biking, cycling, swimming, rowing, running?
    Can I spare 20 minutes 2-3 times a week to incorporate some moderate-intensity cardio?
  • Am I prepared to do fasted cardio (train before eating to boost your fat burning capabilities) in the morning?
  • How did that cardio make me feel? Do I feel in control of my appetite? Do I feel energised? If the answer to those questions is yes, stick with it for a few weeks and see what changes you notice.

As you can see, when it comes to fat loss, there is more to the equation than simply restricting food intake and doing more exercise. If you find yourself stuck and not making any progress, take a look at these four things and see if making a few changes can help push you forwards and out of your rut.

As always, making changes in  your body begins with making changes in your brain in terms of how you think about and perceive all the different elements required to achieve your aim. Without starting with your brain and mind, you are almost certainly going to fail backwards at some point and have to start again and fall foul of the Yo-Yo process that millions of us get trapped in year after year.

One last but important note: Once you make a change, stick with it for at least four weeks, and then evaluate your progress before making any more changes.

For more advice and to find out about my Lifestyle Coaching Program that works your from the top down so that you make the changes in your brain/mind first setting you on the right path, with the right mindset right from the beginning, you can email me directly  at simon@simonmaryan.com

Have a fantastic weekend

Simon

Hypnosis and Blood Pressure


Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) kills over 160,000 individuals every year in the UK and is still the greatest cause of mortality in women. Furthermore, over 40,000 premature deaths, those in individuals under 75 years of age, are caused by CVD, with more than two thirds of these occurring in men.

Source: British Heart Foundation – Cardiovascular Disease Statistics 2014

CVDs are the number 1 cause of death globally: more people die annually from CVDs than from any other cause with an estimated 17.5 million people died from CVDs in 2012, representing 31% of all global deaths. Of these deaths, an estimated 7.4 million were due to coronary heart disease and 6.7 million were due to stroke .

Source: World Health Organisation – Cardiovascular Disease

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Study 1: Hypnosis Reduces Blood Pressure Short-Term and Long-Term
Effectiveness of Hypnosis in Reducing Mild Essential Hypertension: A One-Year Follow-Up
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00207140600995893

Results: The present study investigates the effectiveness of hypnosis in reducing mild essential hypertension. Results show that hypnosis is effective in reducing blood pressure in the short term but also in the middle and long terms.

Notes: Thirty participants who were suffering from mild essential hypertension were randomly assigned to either a control group (which did not receive any treatment) or a hypnosis group (where each person received 8 individually tailored hypnosis sessions).

International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, Vol. 55, Issue 1, 2007
By: M. C. Gay, Univ. of Paris, France

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Study 2: Hypnosis Helps Lower Blood Pressure and Reduces Need for Blood Pressure Medicine Following Hospitalization
Pilot study of the effect of self-hypnosis on the medical management of essential hypertension.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/(SICI)1099-1700(199910)15:4%3C243::AID-SMI820%3E3.0.CO;2-O/abstract

Results: On follow-up, the hypnosis group showed greater downward change in diastolic blood pressure than the monitored group, with the attention-only group in between. Additionally, no subjects in the hypnosis group required upward titration of medications. The results suggest the value of adding self-hypnosis to the standard medical treatment for hypertension.

Notes: Medical patients diagnosed as hypertensive whose blood pressures were normalized while they were hospitalized were often found to require upward titration of medication upon follow-up as outpatients. Self-hypnosis was taught to one group of hospitalized patients; a second group received equal attention and time to relax without the specified procedure; and a third group was monitored with no intervention.

Stress Medicine, Volume 15, Issue 4, Pages 243-247, October 1999
By: Richard Raskin Ph.D., Charles Raps Ph.D., Frederic Luskin Ph.D., Pace University, New York, USA, Veteran’s Hospital, Northport, USA, Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention, Stanford, USA, Private Practice, Roslyn, New York, USA

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Study 3: Hypnosis and Biofeedback for Hypertension
The use of hypnosis and biofeedback procedures for essential hypertension.
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00207147708415989?journalCode=nhyp20#preview

Results: Hypnosis only and biofeedback only procedures were both capable of providing significant lowering of diastolic pressure. However, in intergroup comparisons, the hypnosis only procedure showed the most impressive effect. Unexpectedly, the procedure of combining hypnosis and biofeedback into one technique was as ineffective as the measurement only procedure.

Notes: In an attempt to evaluate a procedure combining 2 techniques, hypnosis and biofeedback, which might effect significant changes in diastolic blood pressure in essential hypertensives, subjects were placed in 1 of 4 groups: hypnosis only, biofeedback only, hypnosis and biofeedback combined, or measurement only. The first phase-training sessions and brief follow-ups (1 week and 1 month) of the long-term study with 6 monthly followup periods, was evaluated.

International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, Vol. 25, Issue 4, 1977
By: Howard Friedman and Harvey A. Taub, Syracuse Veterans Administration Hospital and State University of New York Upstate Medical Center, Syracuse, New York, USA

Hypnosis and Anti-Aging


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This is an interesting topic not just from a hypnosis perspective but also from a nutritional stand point also. My business is about mind-body health and I regularly work with clients to whom I teach the importance of good nutrition and positive mindset. The combination of what goes into and out of our minds is as important as the food we put into our bodies on a daily basis, and these two key areas can have a hugely negative or positive effect on our ability to cope with stress and the effects that stress hormones can have on our skin and our internal systems.

As always I will leave you to read and make your own conclusion based on the findings below.

Study 1: Self-Hypnosis Can Lower Stress-Related Hormones and Increase Anti-Aging Hormone
Stress Reducing Regulative Effects of Integrated Mental Training With Self-Hypnosis on the Secretion of Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate (DHEA-S) and Cortisol in Plasma: A Pilot Study
http://www.foundationforpositivementalhealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/contemporary-hypnosis-stress-reducing-DHEA-2006.pdf

Results: At the end of the study it was shown that the hypnosis group had increased their DHEA-S levels by 16% and reduced their cortisol levels by 12.3% when compared to the control group. It was also noted that those in the hypnosis group now had DHEA-S levels equivalent to someone who was 5 to 10 years younger. The authors conclude that frequent application of a self-hypnosis program several days a week was successful in changing the adrenal secretion of DHEA-S and cortisol – and can have a beneficial effect on stress reduction, emotional stability, performance and health outcomes.

Notes: This study looked at whether or not self-hypnosis could be used to lower the stress-related hormone cortisol and raise the anti-aging hormone dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S). Twelve healthy subjects were recruited and randomly assigned to a control and a self-hypnosis group. Those in the self-hypnosis group were brought together and taught self-hypnosis and mental training to reduce cortisol levels and increase DHEA-S. They were then asked to integrate these techniques into their daily life for the next six-months. The study authors note that: (a) the most important and quantitative dominating stress hormone in the body is the adrenal hormone cortisol; (b) DHEA-S has been considered as a marker for biological aging; (c) falling concentrations of DHEA-S have been observed in both mental and psychological stress and physical illness; (d) low concentrations of DHEA-S in blood have been correlated with many age-related diseases; (e) increased plasma DHEA-S has been connected with a reduction in age-related diseases and alleviated chronic stress-load. Participants in the self-hypnosis group were taught basic relaxation and self-hypnosis techniques.

Contemporary Hypnosis, May 2006, Vol. 23(3):101-11024
By: Johansson B, Uneståhl LE. 1 Scandinavian International University, Sweden, 2 Örebro University, Sweden