Tag Archives: Hypnotherapy Manchester

Hitting a concrete wall: overcoming mental blocks

Do you ever find yourself saying “I’ve hit a mental block”? I think we all do sometimes, whether it’s a task at work, a college assignment, cooking an old favourite dish..

Usually, we can unlock that block ourselves. All it takes is a change of scene, a few deep breaths, or reading something (for example a recipe to refresh our memory about that troublesome dish). However, occasionally a mental block can take a bit more work to overcome.

Recently, a new client came to see me. He was trying to find a job in his chosen field, but had developed a mental block about job searching, and he couldn’t see a way forward. He told me that he felt he’d “hit a concrete block, or wall”.

Where did that wall come from?

After talking with him, I started to feel that he’d built this wall from negative forecasting. As we’ve discussed before, negative forecasting happens when you assume there’s no possible positive outcome. In this case, my client felt that he’d never find the right job, so his brain started to tell him that there was no point searching any more. So, a job hunting barrier started to develop.

He began catastrophising, which means he was always being self-presented with worst-case scenarios. In this situation, negative thoughts included never finding a job and becoming long-term unemployed, or finding a job then not being very good at it, or not getting on with colleagues, or finding the right job, applying for it, then blowing the interview…

This constant negative forecasting creates anxiety, and our primitive brain starts to take over. We enter that hyper-vigilant state where we’re always on the alert for more problems, and these overcome any positive thoughts. When we become overwhelmed by negative feelings, our anxiety increases and that draining vicious cycle begins. As we all know, job hunting requires energy, positivity, and a good dose of optimism. My client simply had to break this problem-focused cycle to break his mental block.

The best tool to break down the wall

We would have to work together to replace these negative thoughts with positive ones. I felt the best way to do this would be through CBT, cognitive behavioural therapy, combined with solution focused hypnotherapy.

CBT is a popular and effective talking therapy that looks at how a person’s thoughts affect their behaviour. In this case, negative forecasting about his career was preventing my client from searching and applying for jobs – his thoughts had a direct impact on his actions. As his therapist, my role was to work with him to challenge these negative feelings: if you can change the thought processes, you can change the behaviour and thus the outcome.

We started to work together on how his thoughts were affecting his feelings and actions. He’s now been coming to me for a month, and we’re already starting to find a door through that concrete wall. My client says he’s already feeling more hopeful and optimistic about his future – and I’m really confident that he’ll find that ideal job.

Let’s open that door

Do you have a mental block that makes you feel like there’s a concrete wall between you and where you want to be? We can find a way to overcome this, working together to replace those negative thoughts with affirmative forecasting.

I’m Debbie Daltrey, the founder of Great Minds Clinic and an Anxiety UK-approved therapist. My clinics are in Timperley, Altrincham, and Manchester City Centre. Take the first step towards unlocking that block, and contact me for a confidential chat.

The main signs of stress to look out for

Stress is a normal part of our lives. Work deadlines, study deadlines, the school run, preparing for a holiday, juggling lots of pans on the hob, traffic jams when you’re in a rush… Most days have some element of stress in them. At it’s most basic level, stress is simply the body’s reaction to anything that needs you to respond to it.

Stress can be positive: remember those sabre-toothed tigers we’ve mentioned before? The stress response kept our ancestors alert and able to avoid being mauled by large and aggressive cats. These days, the stress response still helps us in potentially harmful situations, such as when we’re driving or chasing toddlers around the park.

So, if it’s a normal everyday occurrence, and it’s designed to keep us safe, why do we speak of stress as a bad thing? Stress can start to have a negative effect, both physically and mentally, when it becomes relentless. When it feels like there’s no let-up between stressful situations, our “stress bucket” starts to fill up and even overflow. Feeling stressed can be caused by a series of minor stressors or one great big worry: we’re all different, and so different things press our stress overload buttons.

However, there are some pretty universal factors that impact on most of us. It’s often easy to identify the causes of stress: problems at work, family issues, health worries, finances – all those things that we can deal with in moderation but not in excess.

How do we know when stress stops being a normal part of life and becomes something we need to address? Here are the signs of stress that we all need to be aware of.

Physical symptoms of stress

Our bodies are designed to cope with stress. However if there is too much relentless stress, we can experience physical symptoms due to the extra hormones (such as adrenaline) that our bodies start producing. Common symptoms can include headaches, upset tummies, feeling faint, chest pains, panic attacks or raised blood pressure. There are also other physical effects such as sweating more, feeling tired, having bad dreams, or grinding your teeth.

Emotional responses to stress

If you’re experiencing too much stress, you may be feeling overwhelmed, weepy, or even depressed. There could be a feeling of life spiralling out of control or of losing self-esteem. It’s hard to relax or switch off from your thoughts. Sometimes, stressed people avoid their friends or dong things that usually make them happy, a bit like having depression. Some people say that when they lose their sense of humour, that’s a sign that things “aren’t right”. If you already experience depression or anxiety, stress can make you feel much worse.

Stress affects your relationships

Stressed people often find their sex drive is affected, and they stop turning to their partners for comfort. Because there’s so much spinning around in their heads, they may be snappier at the kids or their colleagues, and avoid friends altogether. This can be one of the most conflicting symptoms, as you feel simultaneously irritated by people, but also lonely.

Problems sleeping

You may not be sleeping well, either because your thoughts won’t switch off, or because you’re having disturbing dreams. The knock-on effect of poor sleep, as I’ve discussed before, is that we need quality REM sleep to process the day’s events. This naturally empties our stress buckets overnight. If you can’t sleep, this doesn’t happen, allowing the stress to build up. When we were children, our mums used to say “you’ll feel better after a good night’s sleep.” It’s true: it’s much harder to deal with life when you’re tired.

Changes in behaviour

There can be small indicators that all is not well: starting to bite your nails for the first time in years, not bothering with your hair or make-up or ironing your work clothes. Your appetite can change, eating more or less than you typically would. Usually-decisive people can find it hard to make decisions.

Turning to unhelpful stress relievers

A large glass of wine, a deep drag on a cigarette, or a slab of chocolate cake may make your feelings of stress feel better. They do – but on a very, very short term basis. For example, turning to alcohol to relieve stress can lead to greater problems. So, if you find yourself reaching for the fags or a bottle of wine when you’re feeling stressed, stop and think.

How can solution focused hypnotherapy help you with stress?

It can help you take that essential step back and regain control. You can’t be relaxed and stressed at the same time, so I work with my clients to help them find ways to remain calm and manage their feelings when things begin to overwhelm them. You will learn how our brain works to create anxiety and stress, and what we can do about it.

I’m Debbie Daltrey, the founder of Great Minds Clinic. My clinics are in Timperley, Altrincham, and Manchester City Centre. If you feel that everything is getting too much, please get in touch for a confidential chat. We can work together to help you feel in control again, and replace feelings of excessive stress with ones of calm, in-control and confidence.

Fear of flying: how hypnotherapy can help your holiday

It’s the time of year when many of us plan our summer holidays. However, for some travellers, the fear of flying outweighs the pleasure and excitement of booking a holiday abroad.

With over 70m passengers  passing through Heathrow alone in 2015, many of us choose flight as our preferred transport method. But surprisingly, it’s thought that at least one in ten of us  have a fear of flying.

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We all experience that adrenalin-raising moment when the taxiing aeroplane picks up speed. This soon passes, and most passengers relax and enjoy the flight. However, for those who experience a fear of flying, the adrenalin levels remain at an unpleasantly high level.

A phobia of air travel can become a debilitating anxiety that prevents us from enjoying holidays abroad, visiting far-flung family, or making overseas business trips. An aviophobe may be completely fearless in other aspects of their lives, with sporty hobbies and careers that are high-flying – in every other way. Happily, a fear of flying can be managed using hypnotherapy techniques.

Why are we afraid to fly?

There isn’t one easy answer to this. Some people can’t get beyond the idea that flying simply isn’t natural. Their fears come from tangible factors such as turbulence, or news reports about air disasters. Perhaps they’ve needed to change planes or been delayed on the runway due to a fault. If someone is prone to anxious feelings, events like these can easily add up to a mortal fear that feels all-too-rational. However, reading statistics about the relative safety of air travel doesn’t help resolve these fears…

It can be due to a fear of loss of control, similar to other anxiety disorders. This could be feelings of claustrophobia due to the confined space or fear of a panic attack. Someone who is acrophobic (has a fear of heights) clearly will find the thought of flying extremely unpleasant. It could be fear of feeling nauseous due to motion or even the smell of airline food. Some people find the idea of aeroplane toilets extremely worrying, especially on long-haul flights. The lack of privacy on a plane, the fear of germs, a worry about ears popping, the sheer logistics of passport control and baggage retrieval – those prone to overthinking can find all sorts of anxieties about flying which combine and build up into a real phobia.

It’s also possible for people who’ve always been happy flyers to suddenly develop a fear of air travel. This could be because something in their lives, not necessarily related to flying, resulted in a panic attack on the plane. Therefore, an association starts to develop, and the plane becomes identified as a place where panic attacks happen.

How can solution focused hypnotherapy help manage a fear of flying?

A fear or phobia develops when your primitive mind thinks you’re in danger. It doesn’t matter that the intellectual side of the brain knows that the pilot is highly trained and that the plane has passed all sorts of stringent safety checks – the primitive part of our brain, the amygdala, tells us that we’re not safe in the air, and that’s it. It releases stress hormones, triggering our fight or (forgive the expression) flight response.

As we looked at above, there are various phobias associated with air travel; and reprogramming our primitive brain is the key to managing these fears. We can do this using solution focused hypnotherapy.

Hypnosis is simply a contrived trance state which brings the primitive and rational sides of the brain together, allowing them to work together. This allows you to replace irrational anxieties with positive calming thoughts. When you change how your subconscious mind perceives flying, it helps to control those limiting stress hormones.

Let me help you take flight…

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We all need a holiday sometimes! Don’t let a fear of flying come between you and that tropical beach or exciting city break. A fear of flying can be limiting if you need to fly with your job; but it can be helped using solution focused hypnotherapy.

I’m Debbie Daltrey, the founder of Great Minds Clinic and an Anxiety UK Approved Therapist. My clinics are in Timperley, Altrincham, and Manchester City Centre. Please call me for a confidential chat – and don’t let a fear of flying ground you this summer.

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Empty the stress bucket: how hypnotherapy helps with anxiety

There’s a big difference between feeling anxious and having an anxiety disorder. Everybody feels anxious occasionally: it’s a perfectly normal emotion. Exams, interviews, new work challenges are examples of things that make us all anxious. However, for someone with an anxiety disorder, regular everyday life feels overwhelming.

If you think you have an anxiety disorder, you’re not alone. The Mental Health Foundation reports that in 2013, there were 8.2 million cases of anxiety in the UK. It’s reassuring to know that you’re not unusual and that there are tried-and-tested means to help you manage anxiety.

One of the ways that solution focused hypnotherapy can help you is by emptying out your “stress bucket”.

What is a stress bucket?

The stress bucket is a helpful analogy that describes the effects of anxiety. Imagine you have a bucket, and every time something causes you to feel anxious or stressed, a beaker of water is poured in. Tiredness, family issues, work problems, money worries…all the negative thoughts, over-thinking, and fearing the worst will happen… in they all go. And of course, as the stressors build up, the bucket starts to get very full.

We’re all individuals, so we all have our own different buckets. Your stress bucket can take days, months or years to fill up, and it can easily overflow…!

What happens as our stress buckets begin to fill?

To understand more about the stress bucket, let’s put it down for just a moment and look at our brains.

In some ways, we are closer to our primitive ancestors than we think. Our minds have an intellectual, rational evolved part, and the primitive original part. The latter is what we can refer to as the “emotional, primitive’ part of our brain which we share with our ancestors, and this controls our fight-or-flight response. This developed to keep us alert to potential dangers and when our flight or fight response has become too sensitised, we can feel as if we are on hyper-vigilant mode, where we are expecting something to go wrong at any moment and fearing the worst. The primitive/emotional mind is the source of anxiety, anger and depression. If the rational side is temporarily unable to take over and make sense of any fears or worries we have, anxiety builds – and our stress bucket builds up.

A filled bucket needs to be emptied. Good sleep can be very helpful for this. At night, when we enter the REM (rapid eye movement) phase of sleep, our brain is attempting to use up any unspent adrenalin in the body by completing events, emotions and suppressed emotions in our dreams. In this way events get filed away as a narrative which we then have more control over. This overnight process helps to empty the stress bucket.

However, REM sleep is only limited to about 20% of our sleep. If the brain tries to overdo this, we are woken up in the middle of the night, this can explain why some people have disturbed sleep patterns. Therefore, when we have a full stress bucket, the brain isn’t able to empty it with REM sleep alone. Sleep difficulties are a common anxiety symptom.

But – buckets can always be emptied! Just because it’s not emptying automatically at the moment, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be done…

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How can I empty my stress bucket?

We’ve talked about REM sleep as an essential bucket emptying tool – nature’s siphon, if you like. However, if you have anxiety, it’s likely that sleep doesn’t come as easily to you as it could. It’s always worth trying some simple sleep routines that help improve your sleeping habits.

Unwind before you try to sleep: no social media, work, or frenetic films. The old fashioned remedies of a relaxing bath, a warm drink, and a good book can all help you feel calm before bedtime. Caffeine, alcohol and rich food late at night prevent deep sleep, so avoid all these (and smokers find it harder to fall asleep than non-smokers). Make sure your bedroom is a sleepy haven: no kids, no pets, no bright lights, no telly, and kept at a comfortable temperature.

Make time for you, and doing the things you love to do. Sometimes we get so busy with our hectic lives these pastimes take a back seat, but self-care is important. Sometimes, it can be helpful to peer into your stress bucket to find coping strategies. Can you identify the stress factors and come up with some solutions?

Solution focused hypnotherapy can help empty the stress bucket

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy reduces the levels in the stress bucket through mixed methods, we combine hypnosis with psychotherapy to produce a less anxious mindset. Solution focused hypnotherapy concentrates on the future, helping you to come up with creative solutions to help yourself. Hypnosis creates a contrived trance state, in this state, we can start to replace those anxious feelings with positive thoughts.

I’m Debbie Daltrey, the founder of Great Minds Clinic and an Anxiety UK Approved Therapist . My clinics are in Timperley, Altrincham, and Manchester City Centre. If you need some help to empty your stress bucket, please call me for a confidential chat.

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Be Positive – The Benefits of Solution Focused Hypnotherapy

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If you’re experiencing stress and anxiety, people telling you to “be positive” can feel as insensitive as being told to “cheer up”. But to be honest, replacing those anxious feelings with more positive thoughts sounds like the most wonderful outcome imaginable. And it’s achievable.

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is a natural technique that reduces anxiety, allowing you to become open to the positive again. By focusing on the positive together, we can make some real and lasting changes.

So how can Solution Focused therapy help? Let’s have a look at the positives…

Start Thinking Positively

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The key of this approach is to change your focus from anxieties to positives. A useful way to start is with a popular NLP technique. If I say to you, “Don’t think of a giraffe!” what do you immediately picture? Exactly. Your brain is like the internet – type in “don’t think of a giraffe”, and what do you get? Giraffes, thousands of them. Basically, this illustrates that you can’t change through negativity. Saying “don’t worry” instantly causes you to think about worries, the same way as you’re still thinking about giraffes.

What Solution Focused Hypnotherapy does is to focus on the positive. If you want to stop thinking about giraffes, instead of suggesting that you stop, I’ll help guide you another way, and this is where we start to find real positive progress. We replace those anxious feelings with positive thoughts, resulting in you feeling calm, centred, and back in-control again.

A major part of this approach is that we focus on what you want to change for now and the future. We acknowledge that of course, your anxiety has a history, however rather than dwelling on the past, we help you to find positive coping ways to move forward, because what we really want to do is to focus on a positive future.

Taking Positive Action Through Solution Focused Hypnotherapy

How do we make these changes? Well, we use a modern efficient mix of psychotherapy and hypnosis. Hypnosis can shift your perspective into a more positive focus. Hypnosis is simply a contrived trance state. It’s a natural state that we’re surprisingly accustomed to. We all go into trances many times during our normal day. It just lasts a few seconds, and it’s when we’re watching telly, or driving, or in the shower. A contrived trance lasts much longer, actually giving your brain time to do its stuff.

What does the brain need to do? In a nutshell, we have two minds, a conscious ‘intellectual’ part of our brain and a primitive ’emotional’ part of our brain. When the former is in control, so are we. It’s our solution-finding side, our rational and thinking aspect. However, evolution-wise we’re not that far from our cave-dwelling ancestors, and we still share their primitive brain. This controls our ‘fight-or-flight’ response – handy if you think you may suddenly have to fight a sabre-toothed tiger. Not so handy when we feel the same way if we’ve had an argument, or we are facing redundancy. This primitive emotional part of the brain is the source of anxiety, anger and depression.

In a trance state, both sides of the brain work together and focus on the same thing. In this state, we can move towards replacing the anxieties with positive plans for a happy future. Giraffes with something else. Sabre-toothed tigers with everyday work and play.

The Benefits of Positive Interaction

If a person is anxious, it can be hard to communicate with others. To return to our ancestors in their caves, they learned pretty quickly that they did better as a tribe than as lone hunters. When they interacted with others, they got rewarded (more food, companionship, help with those pesky sabre-toothed tigers…). The tribespeople coped better with daily life.

And that’s what positive interaction still does for present-day humans. We all cope far better with the rewards gained through positive thoughts, actions, and interactions. When we do this our brains produce various neurotransmitters including serotonin and endorphins – these are our natural ‘feel-good’ chemicals. So, as we start to replace those anxieties, we start to feel better, and we feel ready to appreciate the benefits of positive interaction again; and a virtuous cycle of being positive to others, reaping the emotional rewards of this, getting our confidence and happiness back, and thus being positive to others, begins.

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Find Out More about Solution Focused therapy

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is collaborative – you’re not fighting those tigers alone! We’ll work together to unlock those hopes for the future, and to take positive steps towards getting there.

I’m Debbie Daltrey, founder of Great Minds Clinic. Please contact me at www.greatmindsclinic.co.uk to find out more.

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