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 Agoraphobia


What is Agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia is a very complex phobia usually manifesting itself as a collection of inter-linked conditions.

For example many agoraphobics also fear being left alone (monophobia), dislike being in any situation where they feel trapped (exhibiting claustrophobia type tendencies) and fear travelling away from their ‘safe’ place, usually the home. Some agoraphobics find they can travel more easily if they have a trusted friend or family member accompanying them, however this can quickly lead to dependency on their carer.

The severity of agoraphobia varies enormously between sufferers from those who are housebound, even room-bound, to those who can travel specific distances within a defined boundary. It is not a fear of open spaces as many people think.

Agoraphobia image

See more at: AnxietyUK

As always I am very interested to hear other opinions and experiences around this subject.

Study 1: Case Study of Hypnotherapy for Agoraphobia
Agoraphobia: A case study in hypnotherapy
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00207147108407147

Results: Based on the described case study, the author advocates a psychodynamically oriented rather than technique-centered approach to hypnotherapy to successfully treat agoraphobia.

Notes: A 58-year-old woman with a 43-year history of agoraphobia was treated with ego-supportive direct suggestion and hypnoanalytic techniques. Literature pertaining to etiological factors and treatment problems is cited. Pertinent details of the patient’s recent and past history are presented. The treatment plan, course of therapy, and outcome are discussed in the context of limited therapeutic goals and anticipated successful results.

International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, Volume 19, Issue 1, 1971
By: Doris Gruenewald, Psychosomatic and Psychiatric Institute for Research and Training Michael Reese Hospital, Chicago

Study 2: Hypnotherapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome Induced Agoraphobia
Cognitive-Behavioral Hypnotherapy in the Treatment of Irritable-Bowel-Syndrome-Induced Agoraphobia
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00207140601177889?journalCode=nhyp20

Results: This research paper describes the etiology and treatment of irritable-bowel-syndrome (IBS)-induced agoraphobia. Cognitive, behavioral, and hypnotherapeutic techniques are integrated to provide an effective cognitive-behavioral hypnotherapy (CBH) treatment for IBS-induced agoraphobia. This CBH approach for treating IBS-induced agoraphobia is described and clinical data are reported.

Notes: There are a number of clinical reports and a body of research on the effectiveness of hypnotherapy in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Likewise, there exists research demonstrating the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in the treatment of IBS. However, until this research paper, little had been written about the integration of CBT and hypnotherapy in the treatment of IBS, and there had been a lack of clinical information about IBS-induced agoraphobia.

International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, Vol. 55, Issue 2, 2007
By: William L. Golden, Private Practice, New York, New York, USA

Study 3: Review of Research on Hypnosis for Agoraphobia and Social Phobia
The Place of Hypnosis in Psychiatry Part 4: Its Application to the Treatment of Agoraphobia and Social Phobia
http://www.londonhypnotherapyuk.com/agoraphobia-social-phobia.asp

Results: This review of world-wide research and literature concludes that hypnosis is a powerful adjunct to therapy for agoraphobia and social phobia. The case studies presented here demonstrate that hypnosis has been highly effective in helping patients (1) to explore feared situations in a safe environment; (2) to reduce anxiety using desensitization; (3) to gain more control using anchoring, fantasy techniques and autogenic training; (4) to enhance coping strategies using ego strengthening and breathing techniques; and (5) to reduce affect using television screen imagery. Age regression (6) was also employed effectively to help a patient to address, and come to terms with, inner conflicts and traumatic events in early childhood. Finally, carefully-designed audio tapes were employed to encourage two patients to practice self hypnosis at home, and this had the effect of enhancing treatment outcome.

Notes: This paper is based on a world-wide search of the literature, and focuses on the use of hypnosis in the treatment of social phobia and agoraphobia. Hypnosis is employed as an adjunct to therapy: it is used to help patients to reduce cognitive and physical symptoms of anxiety, and provides them with more control in every day situations. The author reviews a range of treatment procedures that have been shown to be highly effective in the treatment of both social phobia and agoraphobia. An extensive search of the literature has uncovered seven studies which have used hypnosis in the treatment of agoraphobia: the first two studies (Gruenewald, 1971; Jackson & Elton, 1985) use a hypnoanalytic approach with age regression, the third and fourth studies (Schmidt, 1985; Hobbs, 1982) both use audio tapes, the fifth study (Mellinger, 1992) employs a hypnotically-augmented multidimensional approach, while the sixth study (Roddick, 1992) uses a fantasy technique to encourage cognitive re-structuring. Finally, the seventh paper (Milne, 1988), is useful in that the therapist employs a number of approaches in treatment including group therapy, ego strengthening and the gradual introduction of hypnosis from a process similar to meditation.

The text cited here is a pre-publication version of a paper published in the Australian Journal of Clinical & Experimental Hypnosis.
By: David Kraft, Harley Street, London, UK (PhD) (trained in psychotherapy at the National College of Hypnosis and Psychotherapy, diploma in clinical psychology (Dip.Cl.Psy). In addition, he trained at the BST Foundation in London where he gained both the diploma in Clinical Hypnosis (DCHyp) and the Advanced Certificate in Clinical and Strategic Hypnosis (A.Cert.CSHyp). David is a member of the Hypnosis & Psychosomatic Medicine Section of the Royal Society of Medicine; he is also a member of the British Society of Clinical and Academic Hypnosis (BSCAH))

Study 4: Use of Hypnosis to Counteract Resistance by a Client with Agoraphobia
Counteracting Resistance In Agoraphobia Using Hypnosis
http://www.londonhypnotherapyuk.com/agoraphobia-using-hypnosis.asp

Results: This research paper focuses on the treatment of agoraphobia and, specifically, on how hypnosis is employed in order to counteract resistance, thus reducing negative transference and providing the patient with the coping skills to become independent in the outside world. The author describes one case study in 1992 in which hypnotherapy was gradually introduced and used in stages; after 8 sessions, the client was able to drive herself to sessions and continued to make further progress.

Notes: The author describes how clients are often resistant to treatment for agoraphobia. Resistance takes on many forms. One case study is discussed in detail in which successful treatment consisted of the stages as shown below (Roddick, 1992). Note that the client in this case study had a particular aversion to being driven in a car and that these principles can be adapted to suit the needs of the patient. Stages: 1. Relaxing in the presence of the therapist; case history (approx. 4 sessions); 2. (a) Hypnosis is introduced using progressive muscle relaxation induction; (b) Experiencing special place imagery like a desert island beach; (c) Addressing the unconscious mind focusing on (i) the importance of practicing relaxation, (ii) being able to travel in a car, (iii) being able to eat and drink ‘as well as ever’; 3. (a) Direct suggestions of bringing the three parts together; (b) Ideomotor signalling used to ascertain whether the strategy has worked and was acceptable; (c) Re-integration of unconscious mind and conscious mind on the desert island beach; 4 (a) ‘Throwing out’ of negative thoughts; (b) Direct suggestions that the skills that the patient has learned in the special place can be utilized at any time. After 8 sessions of using this technique, the patient was able to drive herself to sessions and continued to make further progress thereafter.
This is a pre-publication version of the original research paper.
By: David Kraft, Harley Street, London, UK (PhD) (trained in psychotherapy at the National College of Hypnosis and Psychotherapy, diploma in clinical psychology (Dip.Cl.Psy). In addition, trained at the BST Foundation in London where he gained both the diploma in Clinical Hypnosis (DCHyp) and the Advanced Certificate in Clinical and Strategic Hypnosis (A.Cert.CSHyp). Also a member of the Hypnosis & Psychosomatic Medicine Section of the Royal Society of Medicine; he is also a member of the British Society of Clinical and Academic Hypnosis (BSCAH))

Study 5: Hypnotherapy for Panic Attacks
Rational self-directed hypnotherapy: a treatment for panic attacks
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2296917

Results: Results showed an increased sense of control, improved self-concept, elimination of pathological symptoms, and cessation of panic attacks.

Notes: A single-subject research design was employed to assess the efficacy of rational self-directed hypnotherapy in the treatment of panic attacks. Presenting symptoms were acute fear, dizziness, constricted throat, upset stomach, loss of appetite, loss of weight, insomnia, fear of doctors, and fear of returning to work. Treatment lasted 13 weeks plus a 2-week baseline and posttherapy period and a 6-month follow-up. Objective measurements (MMPI, TSCS, POMS) and self-report assessments (physiological symptoms and a subjective stress inventory) were implemented. Using hypnosis and guided imagery, the subject reviewed critical incidents identifying self-defeating components within a cognitive paradigm, revising and rehearsing these incidents.

Am J Clin Hypn. 1990 Jan;32(3):160-7
By: Der DF, Lewington P, Dept. of Counseling Psychology, University of British Columbia, USA

Study 6: Direct and Awake-Alert Hypnosis for Panic Disorders
Awake-Alert Hypnosis in the Treatment of Panic Disorder: A Case Study
http://www.asch.net/portals/0/journallibrary/articles/ajch-47/iglesias2.pdf

Results: A case study about an individual with a lifestyle-limiting panic disorder is discussed. At the start of therapy, the client was having panic attacks about three times a week – especially during outings for lunch engagements and dinner parties. Direct suggestions as well as a variant of awake-alert hypnosis were used. (Presumably, awake-alert hypnosis was encouraged to make it easier for the client to self-hypnotize with eyes open in the event she felt a panic attack starting.) After four weeks of three-times-a-week hypnosis, the intensity level of the panic attacks markedly decreased. Then, the client became able to thwart the development of episodes by applying the hypnotic procedure in the early phases of the panic process.

Notes: An eye-fixation induction was used and direct suggestions under hypnosis were first provided that the client would become immediately cognizant of any panic episodes at the earliest onset; it was emphasized in hypnosis that to the degree that she employed hypnosis at the earliest level of a panic episode, she would be successful in aborting the episode. After inducing hypnosis and eye-closure, the client was gradually conditioned to open her eyes while remaining in the hypnotic state. The client was conditioned to engender a disconnected and “woodsy” feeling all over her body. Suggestions were given that the client would feel as if an anesthetic agent had been injected yet it could be active and move about as necessary. The client was instructed that she would be able to induce awake-alert hypnosis over her entire body. The client was asked to imagine she was staring at fine glassware – and that at the slightest hint of discomfort she would immerse herself in the splendor of the glassware; the richness of the glass would offer the perfect sanctuary to feel protected—like an impenetrable fortress. The greater the discomfort, the deeper within the glass the client was told she would retreat. As a result, suggestions were given that her respirations would slow down, her stomach would unwind, etc. until she felt it was acceptable to disengage from the glass.

Am. Jrnl of Clinical Hypnosis, April 2005
By: Alex Iglesias (Palm Beach Gardens, Florida) and Adam Iglesias (Florida Atlantic University)

Build Your Self Discipline and Increase your Success


2013-08-16 17.35.50

I regularly work with clients who say things to me like, “I can’t do that” or “I’ll never have/be/do that”, etc, etc. Now there are a load of things going on with these small statements that have to be addressed in order for these people to make a break through, things such as limiting beliefs, perception, mindset, attitude and a certain lack of motivation due to all of these things. This can have a hugely negative effect on a persons self discipline and motivation to actually succeed and to work towards success.

Personal success, achievement, or goal, can’t be realised without self-discipline. It is possibly the most important attribute needed to achieve any type of personal excellence, athletic excellence, virtuosity in the arts, or any form of outstanding performance, because without it, there is no consistency and continuity of effort towards achieving that goal.

What is Self-Discipline?

It is the ability to control emotions, thoughts, impulses, desires and behaviours. It is being able to say No, to immediate pleasure and instant gratification in favour of gaining the long-term satisfaction and fulfillment from achieving higher and more meaningful goals.

To possess self-discipline is to be able to make the decisions, take the actions, and execute your game plan regardless of the obstacles, discomfort, or difficulties, which may come your way.

Being disciplined does not mean living a limiting or a restrictive lifestyle, nor does it mean giving up everything you enjoy, or, to relinquish fun and relaxation. However, it does mean learning how to focus your mind and energies on your goals and persevere until they are accomplished.

It does means cultivating a mindset lead by your deliberate choices rather than by your negative emotions, bad habits, or the sway of others who do not have your necessarily have the same desires as you. Self-discipline allows you to reach your goals in a reasonable time frame and to live a more orderly and satisfying life.

How To Develop Self-Discipline
it’s best to start with small steps, because no new process takes place overnight. Just as it takes time to build muscle, so does it take time to develop self-discipline? The more you train and build it, the stronger you become. In exercise, if you try to do too much at once, you risk injuring yourself and setting yourself back. Likewise, take it one step at a time in building self-discipline, begin by making the decision to go forward and learning what it takes to get there.

Learn what motivates you and what your negative triggers are and this begins by learning about yourself! Sometimes it is very difficult to fight off urges and cravings, so identify the areas where your resistance is low and how to avoid those situations. If you know you can’t resist cake, fries, or other temptations – stay away from them, do not have them around to lure you into moments of weakness. If you also know that putting pressure on yourself does not work for you, then set yourself up in an environment that encourages the building of self-discipline rather than one that sabotages it. Remove the temptations and surround yourself with soothing and encouraging items such as motivating slogans and pictures of what you want to achieve.

Learn also what energises and motivates you. Your willpower can go up and down with your energy levels so play energetic music to perk you up, move around, and laugh. Train yourself to enjoy what you are doing by being energised as this will make it easier to implement desirable and appropriate behaviours into your daily routine – which is really what self-discipline is all about.

Make the right behaviours a routine. Once you have decided what’s important to you and which goals to strive for, establish a daily routine that will help you achieve them. For example, if you want to eat healthily or lose weight; resolve to eat several servings of lean protein and green vegetables each day and exercise for at least half an hour.

Make it part of your daily routine and part of your self-discipline building. Likewise, get rid of some of your bad, self-defeating habits, whatever they may be. They can put you in a negative frame of mind and hinder your self-discipline. A poor attitude is also a self destructive bad habit.

Practice Self-Denial

Learn to say no to some of your feelings, impulses and urges. Train yourself to do what you know to be right, even if you don’t feel like doing it. Skip dessert some evenings. Limit your TV watching. Resist the urge to yell at someone who has irritated you. Stop and think before you act. Think about the consequences. When you practice self-restraint it helps you develop the habit of keeping other things under control.

Engage in Sports or Other Physical Activities

Sports are an excellent way to enhance self- discipline. They train you to set goals, they focus your mental energy and exercises you emotional energies, enables you to become physically fit, and teaches you to get along well with others by working as part of a team. Participating in sports provides a situation where you learn to work hard and strive to do your best, which in turn, teaches you to integrate the same the thought processes and disciplines into your everyday life.

Learning to play a musical instrument can be another great way to practice self-discipline. The focus, repetition, and application required in learning to play an instrument is invaluable. Achieving self-discipline in any one area of your life re-programs your mind to choose what is right, rather than what is easy.

Create Your Mindset for Self-Discipline

Get inspiration from those you admire. There are so many inspirational people i the world today and from throughout history. read books by or about these people and draw inspiration from them. Sporting greats such as Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Gary player. Great leaders throughout history; Alexander the Great, Winston Churchill. Philosophers such as Aristotle who said:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit”.

Visualise the Rewards

There is nothing more gratifying than accomplishing your goals. Practice the technique that high achievers and top athletes do and practice projecting yourself in to the future with your imagination. Visualise your desired outcome. See how your life can be different, hear how differently you talk about your self and how others do, feel how rewarding it is and the countless benefits you will enjoy. Remind yourself what it takes to get there.

The Benefits
It helps build self-confidence.
You accomplish more, and are therefore more productive.
You are able to maintain a higher tolerance for frustration, obstacles and negative emotions.
Allows you to obtain better health, better finances and a good work ethic.
You are able to reach your most difficult goals more efficiently.
The more disciplined you become, the easier life gets.
If we are to be masters of our own destiny, we must develop self-discipline and self-control. By focusing on long-term benefits instead of short-term discomfort, we can encourage ourselves to develop of self-discipline. Ultimately our health and happiness depend on it.

If you would like to join my online goal setting workshop group then drop me an email on simon@simonmaryan.com and take advantage of a free 20 minute strategy session with me and find out how you can build your self discipline and achieve your goals.

Here’s to your increased success, health and happiness

Simon

The Effects of Cortisol On our Mind and Body


Depression

Over the last few months, I have been working more and more with stressed out people. I have been stunned at the age range to be honest as they have ranged from 10 – 80 years old.

I began to notice the increase early this year when many people started being made redundant in the Oil and Gas Industry in Aberdeen, where I am based. The downturn has created a huge amount of uncertainty which has lead to people feeling nervous, anxious, stressed and depressed and the knock on effects are quite significant. Many of my clients this year, on top of the initial stress have become insomniacs, they have either lost or gained large amounts of weight, have unexplained aches and pains, erratic mood swings, failed relationships…the list goes on.

This turns into a vicious circle, because the initial cause of the stress is still there and then the additional physical, mental and emotional symptoms add more stress into the mix and obviously compound the whole situation.

I have also recently started working with schools in Aberdeenshire running Stress Perception Workshops for both staff and pupils. It seems that the Curriculum for Excellence is creating and excellently high level of stress for all concerned and some pupils are becoming more and more stressed, depressed, suicidal and some resorting to self harming.

The self harming has also become something of a trend and there is a certain element of peer pressure to conform, and as you can imagine, this pressure is highly stressful for someone who really has no desire to self harm in the first place, yet in order to fit in they feel they have to run with the herd. This level of stress is extremely detrimental to the pupils ability to focus, concentrate, learn and absorb in formation and to remember it, this then adds more stress because they either feel they can’t pass they exams or they actually fail them. Pressure upon pressure upon pressure, until they break.

So after doing much reading, I have written this post today that I hope will help some of you to some degree or other and/or, perhaps help you help someone else.

STRESS
The stress hormone, cortisol, is a sneaky, insidious little bugger that creeps up on you. Even low levels over a long period of time can have hugely detrimental affects on your entire system of body and mind. Scientists have known for years that increased cortisol levels: interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, increase weight gain, blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease… and the list is significantly longer.

Chronic stress and elevated cortisol levels are also responsible for an increased risk for depression, mental illness, and lower life expectancy. Recently two separate studies were published in Science linking elevated cortisol levels as a potential trigger for mental illness and decreased resilience—especially in adolescence.

You can find research papers here:
http://www.sciencemag.org/search?site_area=sciencejournals&y=0&fulltext=Stress%20and%20mental%20illness&x=0&journalcode=sci&journalcode=sigtrans&journalcode=scitransmed&submit=yes

Our body releases cortisol through the adrenal glands in response to fear or stress as part of our fight-or-flight mechanism. The fight-or-flight mechanism is part of the general adaptation syndrome defined in 1936 by Canadian biochemist Hans Selye of McGill University in Montreal. He published his findings in a short seventy-four line article in Nature, in which he defined two types of “stress”: eustress (good stress) and distress (bad stress).

Both eustress and distress release cortisol as part of this general adaption syndrome. As soon as our fight or flight alarm system signals our body to release cortisol, your body becomes mobilised and ready for action, however, there has to be a physical release of fight or flight. Otherwise, cortisol levels build up in the blood which wreaks havoc on your mind and body.

Eustress creates a “seize-the-day” heightened state of arousal, which is exciting, invigorating and often linked with an achievable goal. Cortisol returns to normal when we’ve completed the task. Distress, or free floating anxiety, doesn’t provide any outlet for the cortisol and causes the fight-or-flight mechanism to backfire. Ironically, our own biology, which was designed to insure our survival as hunters and gatherers, is actually sabotaging our own bodies and minds in this sedentary, technology oriented age. So what can we do to put the pin back in this socially engineered hand grenade?

Fortunately, there are a few simple lifestyle choices you can make that will help you to reduce your stress, anxiety and lower your cortisol levels. Below are some tips to help you reduce your cortisol levels:

1. Regular Exercise: Martial arts and any martial arts based exercise classes, boxing, sparring, or a punching bag are fantastic ways to recreate the “fight” response by letting out aggression (without beating the crap out of anyone) and to reduce cortisol.
Any aerobic activity, like walking, jogging, swimming, biking etc are great ways to recreate the ‘flight’ outlet and burn-up cortisol.  A little bit of cardio goes a long way. Just 20-30 minutes of activity most days of the week pays huge dividends by lowering cortisol every day and in the long term.

I recommend a short burst of HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training. There are an abundance of training methods under this banner and you can find a host of them on Youtube. This gets your heart rate up high, gives minimal rest and puts your body and mind under pressure. The pay off is that your body also releases endorphins which make you feel good, so this is a form of Eustress (good stress) and is highly beneficial for you both physically and mentally.

Fear increases cortisol. Regular physical activity will decrease fear by increasing your self-confidence, resilience, and fortitude, which will reduce your cortisol levels. Yoga will have similar benefits with added benefits of mindfulness training.

If your schedule is too hectic to squeeze in a continuous exercise session, you can build up the same benefits by breaking daily activity into smaller doses. A simple way to guarantee regular activity is to build your normal routine activity into your daily exercise routine. Where possible start riding a bike to work, walking to the shops and walk at lunchtime, this also gets you out of the office and away from your desk and will get you thinking about other things instead of work. Use the stairs instead of the escalator or the lift.If you normally eat your lunch at your desk, maybe you could go to the gym at lunchtime and eat your lunch at your desk afterwards instead. All these things will add up and help you to reduce your cortisol levels throughout the day.

2. Mindfulness and Self Hypnosis: Any type of meditation will reduce anxiety and lower cortisol levels. Simply taking a few deep breaths engages the Vagus nerve which triggers a signal within your nervous system to slow heart rate, lower blood pressure and decreases cortisol. The next time you feel yourself in a stressful situation that activates your ‘Fight-or-Flight’ response take 10 deep breaths and feel your entire body relax, calm down and slow down.

Setting aside 5-15 minutes to practice mindfulness meditation or self hypnosis will develop a sense of calm throughout your nervous system, mind, and brain. There are many different types of meditation. “Meditating” doesn’t have to be a sacred or tree huggey experience. I’m often asked as to specifically what kind of meditation or self hypnosis do I use and how do I do it/use it. There are so many techniques/methods and to be honest it is best to explore and find what works for you and then refine it and make it your own. I suggest that you do more research, and fine-tune a daily meditation/self hypnosis routine that fits your schedule and personality.

3. Social Connectivity: Two studies have been published in the journal Science illustrate that social agression and isolation lead to increased levels of cortisol in mice that trigger a cascade of potential mental health problems—especially in adolescence.

Follow the link here to find theses papers and many more:
http://www.sciencemag.org/search?site_area=sciencejournals&y=0&fulltext=Social%20aggression%20and%20isolation&x=0&journalcode=sci&journalcode=sigtrans&journalcode=scitransmed&submit=yes

A team of researchers at Johns Hopkins established that elevated levels of cortisol in adolescence change the expression of numerous genes linked to mental illness in some people. They discovered that these changes in young adulthood, which is a crucial time for brain development, could cause severe mental illness in those predisposed to it. These findings, reported in the January 2013 journal Science, could have wide-reaching implications in both prevention and treatment of schizophrenia, severe depression and other mental illnesses.

Akira Sawa, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and his team set out to simulate social isolation associated with the difficult years of adolescence in human teens. They found that isolating mice known to have a genetic predisposition for mental illness during their adolescence triggered ‘abnormal behaviours’ that continued even when returned to the group. They found that the effects of adolescent isolation lasted into the equivalent of mouse adulthood.

https://bbrfoundation.org/scientific-council/akira-sawa

“We have discovered a mechanism for how environmental factors, such as stress hormones, can affect the brain’s physiology and bring about mental illness,” says Sawa, the study leader. “We’ve shown in mice that stress in adolescence can affect the expression of a gene that codes for a key neurotransmitter related to mental function and psychiatric illness. While many genes are believed to be involved in the development of mental illness, my gut feeling is environmental factors are critically important to the process.”

To shed light on how and why some mice got better, Sawa and his team studied the link between cortisol and the release of dopamine. Sawa says the new study suggests that we need to think about better preventative care for teenagers who have mental illness in their families, including efforts to protect them from social stressors, such as neglect. Meanwhile, by understanding the flood of events that occurs when cortisol levels are elevated, researchers may be able to develop new compounds to target tough-to-treat psychiatric disorders with fewer side effects.

In another study, published on January 18, 2013 in the journal Science researchers from France revealed that mice who were subjected to aggression, by specific mice bred to be ‘bullies’ released cortisol which triggered a response that led to social aversion to all other mice. The exact cascade of neurobiological changes was complex but also involved dopamine. The researchers found that if they blocked the cortisol receptors that the ‘bullied’ mice became more resilient and no longer avoided their fellow creatures.

Close knit human bonds, whether it be family, friendship or a romantic partner, are vital for your physical and mental health at any age.  Recent studies have shown that the Vagus nerve also responds to human connectivity and physical touch to relax your parasympathetic nervous system.

The “tend-and-befriend” response is the exact opposite to “fight-or-flight”. The “tend-and-befriend” response increases oxytocin and reduces cortisol. Make an effort to spend real face-to-face time with loved ones whenever you can, however, even phone calls and Facebook can reduce cortisol if they foster a feeling of genuine connectivity.

4. Have Fun and Laugh Often: Having fun and laughing reduces cortisol levels. Dr. William Fry is an American psychiatrist who has been studying the benefits of laughter for the past 30 years and has found links to laughter and lowered levels of stress hormones. Many studies have shown the benefits of having a sense of humor, laughter and levity. Try to find ways in your daily life to laugh and joke as much as possible and you’ll lower cortisol levels. Watch your favourite comedy movie, favourite comedian or anything on Youtube for example that makes you laugh, feel good and happy, as this will begin to reduce your cortisol levels.

5. Music: Listening to Music that you love, and fits whatever mood you’re in, has been shown to lower cortisol levels. We all know the power of music to improve mood and reduce stress. Add reducing your cortisol levels as another reason to keep the music playing as a soundtrack of health and happiness in your life.

6. Quality Nutrition: What we eat and the quality of that food is important when life is good and we’re happy and content. When life throws a curve ball at you and you’re stressed, depressed, anxious and nervous, it is even more important to eat high quality nutrition.

Society has change much in recent years and life and work is becoming faster paced, we often look for the quick, easy and convenient option for food which is not necessarily the best option. So, to combat this, it is beneficial for you to look at high quality nutritional supplements that help to keep the physical symptoms of stress and anxiety at bay. When you feel good on the inside it makes you much more capable of dealing with the stresses of the outside world and one of the downsides of eating too much wheat, soft drinks, caffeine, alcohol etc, is that it puts your body’s PH out of balance and leads you into an acidic state. When your body is too acidic it promotes the growth of unhealthy bacteria, virus, fungus etc in your gut and causes joint pain and inflammation of muscles, tendons and ligaments. Also our gut becomes unable to fully and efficiently absorb the nutrients from the food we eat, which further runs down our immune system and metabolism.

When you redress that balance and return it to a slightly alkaline state, as you can see in the image below, our bodies return to a state of equilibrium that allows our gut to absorb nutrients efficiently and effectively which means we get everything we need to stay in the optimum state of health.

PH Range

Conclusion
The ripple effect of a fearful, isolated and stressed out society increases cortisol levels across the board for all of us and this creates a public health crisis and a huge drain on the economy. So, if we all work individually, and together, to reduce cortisol our levels we will all benefit and we will reduce the amount of stress hormones flowing around in our society and in individual lives.

In short, when we feel socially connected, safe, and self-reliant it reduces our cortisol levels. I hope the top tips presented above will help you make lifestyle choices that reduce your own levels of stress hormone and help you to help your friends, family work colleagues and perhaps even some strangers to reduce theirs and feel happier and healthier.

References:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201301/cortisol-why-the-stress-hormone-is-public-enemy-no-1

http://www.sciencemag.org/search?site_area=sciencejournals&y=0&fulltext=Stress%20and%20mental%20illness&x=0&journalcode=sci&journalcode=sigtrans&journalcode=scitransmed&submit=yes

http://www.sciencemag.org/search?site_area=sciencejournals&y=0&fulltext=Social%20aggression%20and%20isolation&x=0&journalcode=sci&journalcode=sigtrans&journalcode=scitransmed&submit=yes

https://bbrfoundation.org/scientific-council/akira-sawa

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201312/why-is-the-teen-brain-so-vulnerable

Weight Loss Success with Hypnosis and Coaching


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I now have places available on my Brain2Body Lifestyle Change and Weight loss Programme as the most recent attendees have finished the programme. You can find a pdf for information in the “Free Stuff” tab that provides a summary of what is entailed in the programme for people who are interested. This programme is for people who have tried the multitude of diets, weight loss groups etc and have not succeeded in maintaining or even achieving their weight loss goals. This is because these groups do not deal with the real issues behind emotional eating, binge eating, comfort, boredom, stress eating etc.

This programme does with exactly those areas, it works from inside your mind, allowing you to make the right kinds of changes for you to achieve your goals. There are five precision hypnosis sessions that target the key areas that keep people heading down the wrong path and lead them away from their weight loss goals.

Instead of going back to the same weight loss groups or trying a different one every time you want to lose weight, have a read of the information booklet and feel free to email me any questions you may have about the programme. I can also put you in touch with others who have already gone through it and have made some amazing changes to their relationship to food, defused their emotional triggers, have become complete health magnets and are well on their way to achieving their ideal body. Speaking to people who have already done it and are achieving success in other areas of their lives as a result of what they learn and discover on this programme is invaluable for you and gives you a sneaky peak at what you could achieve for yourself.

I have seen some huge changes and some extremely happy clients and it will take you 5-10 minutes to read the pdf and it may be the most important 5-10 minutes for you this year.

Simon