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Do You Really Have To ‘Cope’ With Anxiety And Panic Attacks?

Many years ago Petra came to see me to learn to ‘cope’ with her fear of flying and  panic attacks. When I asked why now, she told me she’d recently been on a plane journey back to England where she thought she was dying!

panicSo certain were cabin crew that she’d suffered a heart attack, that an ambulance was waiting at the airport to take her to hospital.

Petra told me she was discharged later that day and the Dr’s were extremely angry that it was just a panic attack and not a heart-attack!  They felt their time had been wasted.  She said she felt embarrassed and knew that it was time to do something about the anxiety that had been steadily getting worse.

That’s an example of how powerful anxiety can be. Anyone can suffer from anxiety for all kinds of reasons and at any stage of life.

In my experience there is no, one underlying reason and therefore no, one specific cure that fits all.

What I will say with total confidence is that panic and anxiety tend to be feelings, emotions, rather than thoughts and those feelings invariably live in the body not the mind.

Talking therapies are great for helping people to understand why they feel the way they do, but more often than not, the feelings remain to be ‘managed’ or ‘coped’ with.

It is my belief and professional experience that you do not have to live with such feelings. Feeling panic and anxiety is not a ‘natural’ way to be.

In treatment Petra discovered the root of her flying anxiety, stemmed from a childhood experience. Caught up on the top of a ‘Big Wheel’ at the funfair, her older brother thought it was great fun to rock the chair, which terrified 5 year old Petra, who thought she was going to die!

Obviously they got off of the ride and time moved on…

Thirty years later Petra, sitting in my therapy room, had consciously forgotten this one-off memory, her body hadn’t though. The paralysing fear was stored in some of the systems in her body: her nervous system, digestive, cardio-vascular and respiratory systems had registered these feelings. This somatic memory was also in Petra’s organ body, her heart, lungs and stomach had recorded the emotional memory. Much like a scratched record that keeps jumping and replaying the same bit over and over, Petra’s body was effectively doing the same at an emotional level.

On the flight home, her inner child was terrified. Her ‘tummy’ in fight or flight mode was clenched and she was holding her breath.

Allowing 5 year old Petra to release the pent up emotions of fear, anger and tears via her Adult-self left her free from anxiety, free of her past and free to travel by plane anywhere in the world!  Oh and boy did she! I received post cards from her flying in a single engine aircraft, a helicopter and over Niagara Falls!

Emotions work in conjunction with thought patterns.

Whilst we grow up intellectually and chronologically, we do not grow up emotionally. Emotions from something that happened 2 weeks ago or 20 years ago can stand still in time (in the back of the mind) and be correspondingly logged in a physiological holding pattern within the body.

The short cut is to change the way you feel, when you release the negative feelings from old memories, very quickly the negative thoughts that belonged to that memory, become redundant, because they have no purpose.

So there you are, you know what needs to be done to free up more energy in the here and now!

Enjoy!

Sue x

 

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Why The Hell Are You So Angry?

family

Following on from the theme of Parent Adult Child in last week’s blog, you might consider the above question and wonder, ‘where does your anger come from’?

I’m not talking about the every day irritability that people might feel with the small things in life, more the red mist, and uncontrollable rage that so many people report in therapy rooms across the globe.

When you go from zero to a hundred in a split second, or snap without warning at your child, where are you coming from?

Is it your parent part or your child part, or maybe both!

familyAs I’ve stated before, these parts are like automatons. They hold the codes –the early messages from your childhood – in your mind and more importantly your body.

In my experience people feel anger and then react to that feeling. As a loose guideline, your inner child may hold the feelings in the stomach, chest, throat, jaw and fists. The feelings generate thought patterns and thoughts generate behaviours.

It goes without saying that this doesn’t apply to every one and depends very much on your own personal history and upbringing. Explore your own programing to determine where the messages in the back of your mind come from.

I’m not suggesting that the ‘adult’ doesn’t get a little angry from time to time, but we might like to think that the ‘adult’ is the part of us that feels in control, balanced, relaxed, calm and confident – this is way that most clients say they want to feel.

As I said in the last blog, if the programs of the parent and child are pretty much set in stone, then the adult is the only place where we can set goals and make changes. That’s because your subconscious mind is willing to store all information regardless of whether it’s true or false.

thinking and feeling

If our aspiration is to be relaxed, confident and in control then our adult will learn to be assertive, because that assertiveness is that balance between passive and aggressive.

It is less likely that the ‘adult’ part has uncontrollable out-bursts, a seething rage, or smouldering, inverted anger. These little joys are more likely to belong to our inner child or the parent part and often this anger can be attributed to both child and parent.

By way of example, picture the scene. Sophia has not learned assertive skills so instead of communicating well with her husband Bob, she keeps it all bottled up inside. She often shoots dirty looks at Bob and stamps about banging doors and sighing loudly. All the while their daughter Sally, witnesses this non-verbal communication.

Bob also lacking assertive skills picks finally snaps and explodes in rage that is terrifying for all.

This becomes the map for Sally to follow, she begins to sigh loudly, to bang and thump around, she may shoot filthy looks at her mother when she can’t get her own way.

Sally will also draw on her father’s map and may react passively around her parents’ anger, fearfully withdrawn until finally exploding in a tantrum.

Later as an adult this is the baggage Sally eventually unpacks in her own relationships. That’s just her half! His map bringing his own baggage will guide her partner.

Naturally there are many variations on this scene.

Wherever you’re coming from maybe it’s time to bring more peace into your world by developing your adult part learning some assertive skills to improve your communication within yourself and with others.

Enjoy!

Suex xx

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Does your inner child rule the roost?

the subconscious mind believes whatever It's told so be kind to you

Is your inner parent part too strict and demanding? Then it might be time to ‘big up’ your adult part!

Transactional Analysis is a model of psychotherapy loosely based around the idea that we have three parts within the psyche, Parent, Adult and Child.

For the purpose of this blog, we’re not going to look at all the wonderful aspects of the parent and child parts, just the negatives (‘cos if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it).

Because the long-term memory hasn’t fully formed in childhood, we need constant training and reminding to clean our teeth, remember our football kit, pick up our clothes from the bedroom floor etc. This means that our inner parent recordings might translate as a nagging and demanding part of us that has expectations, or criticises our efforts.

This can have varying effects on the inner child that in response, may rebel, sulk, whine, or even give up trying altogether.

Obviously you need to examine your own upbringing to determine what sort of messages are running in the background of your mind.

If you have an inner dialogue that goes something like this….

“You’ll never amount to anything” (parent)
“ Why bother, I may as well not even try, and whatever I do is never good enough anyway.” (child).
No you can’t have another biscuit you’re just being greedy” (parent)
“ I’ll just eat more when you’re not looking then”
(child)

…then you’ll know that you’re being dominated by old programming from the past.

The good news is that you can upgrade and integrate new positive programs!

By observing your inner dialogue you can learn to identify what isn’t working and incorporate new ‘adult’ dialogue. So the above might change to something like…“Come on, give it another go, even scientists fail over and over, you know it’s part of the process of learning.” or “You can have the whole packet of biscuits if you like, but how will you feel after you’ve eaten them? You know it will make your workout harder as well, why not just have one now and maybe one later’ (adult).

the subconscious mind believes whatever It's told so be kind to you

This works simply because the subconscious mind believes whatever it’s told. I can’t say this often enough. This part of the mind can be easily re-programmed because it believes whatever it’s told! Its main job is to store information regardless of whether it’s true or false. So affirmations work!

By developing the adult part, it gives us somewhere else to go to get away from the negative thoughts and bad feelings that can arise from this internal battle. We change our state; by stepping into the ‘adult’ it’s a place of power and control. We begin to have more rational, kinder thoughts that start to bring out the best in ourselves.

So observe your inner dialogue and write down a more adult approach to that particular issue or problem that you’re having and stop giving yourself such a hard time.

Enjoy.

Sue xx

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JUST DO IT!

PROCRASTINATION

Are you sick of putting things off! Do you go to ridiculous lengths to avoid doing things? Yes, me too. I’ve given myself a pedicure and cleaned a bit of brickwork in the garden before now, rather than just get on with it!

Why do we procrastinate?

Putting things off, delaying tactics and avoidance could of course be pure laziness but in my experience it usually goes much deeper than that.  Procrastination is hesitation and at a fundamental level, that hesitation equals fear. Mostly fear of failure. If we fail then we’re not good enough and if we’re not good enough… what does that mean? Not good enough for who though?

PROCRASTINATION

Who is the person judging you so harshly?

That inner critic could be a recording of a parent trying to get you to do your homework, a teacher nudging you to try harder, or a younger you, trying to live up to a self-imposed, unrealistic, expectation.  These recordings whirring away in the background of the mind, convert to ‘drivers’ of our everyday thoughts and actions.

So what to do? How do we stop the self-sabotage?

If it’s something REALLY big deal that you’re constantly putting off, try answering the following questions. Don’t think about them too hard just write the first few answers that come to mind … oh and you know my rule, pen to paper! Don’t just think them, or type them, write them down.

1. What will happen if I do …….?

2. What will happen if I don’t do …….?

See what emerges, can you live with those outcomes?  If not you’d better take some action now! Try the following ideas.

I found a way around my own avoidance by setting the alarm on my phone for 25 minutes (I set it to bark!) then I have a race with myself to see how much I can get done in this time.  When the phone barks,  I either change the activity (to avoid boredom) or continue if I’m on a roll and doing really well.  I’ve completed some really big tasks such as writing several books and launching a jazz album by approaching things in this way.

If it’s a small task you’re avoiding try the “I have 5 whole minutes” approach. Can you do it in 5 minutes? Can you make a start on it in 5 minutes? Have a go, because I know once you’re up and doing,  the chances are, you’ll probably keep going.

 The final tip might surprise you. If you’re really struggling with something, go to a mirror, look into your eyes and say (out loud if possible) I LOVE YOU (your name) YOU ARE LOVED. Then try  the, “I have 5 whole minutes” approach. This helps overcome the bottomline fear,  which is fear of not being good enough, fear of not being loved!

Once again, don’t take my word for this, try it yourself and see the results.

Thanks for taking the time to read and please pass onto your friends.

Enjoy

Sue xx

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Are you still being bullied?

it is possible to reframe painful, past memories and to change your emotional and psychological state, in order to feel in control once again.

“You wait, I’ll get you at break time.”

Bullying

Words that resonate with anyone who was bullied at school.

If you were, it’s possible that you’re still being bullied, perhaps in your place of work, at home, on social media, or even as a mum at the school gates. You won’t believe how common that is.

Some years ago I co-founded a company www.wsm-wellbeing.co.uk that delivers Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) to Corporates. Thanks to the expertise of the Managing Director Steven Stanbury, we quickly had some major companies on our books. As the Clinical Services Manager I was responsible for setting up telephone counselling services. I dealt with many calls over time and can honestly say, that every caller who felt they were being bullied, had been the victim of bullying sometime earlier in their lives, sometimes at school and sometimes in their family.

It’s not for me to judge as a therapist, whether someone is being bullied or not. I’m far more interested in helping to empower that person and enable them to develop a more confident sense of self.

Thankfully with positive psychology and approaches such as NLP and hypnotherapy we have tools and techniques to change the way we think and feel.

It’s often said in psychology that there’s no such thing as reality, just our perception of reality. For example, you and I could witness a car accident and later sit down and write a report, with differing details, even down to the colour of the car!

So if you’re still being bullied, that’s enough now! No more. It’s time to do something about it. Get empowered! Seek help. Find someone to work with who will help you change your perception of the past and give you the tools to feel more empowered in the here and now.

Please know, that it is possible to reframe painful, past memories and to change your emotional and psychological state, in order to feel in control once again.

 it is possible to reframe painful, past memories and to change your emotional and psychological state, in order to feel in control once again.

Watch out in the next week or so, for the new Assertive Empowerment Now download which will be available from the shop. This could form part of your strategy for making positive change.

Thanks for reading and please pass this on to anyone who you think might benefit.

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Who is bringing you down?

I just want to be happy

This weekend I bought a bigger bookcase and vowed not to buy any more books… for the time being anyway! Whilst stacking the books, my own co-authored book ‘I Just Want To Be Happy’ fell open at page 123 and at the risk of sounding conceited I thought it was rather interesting, so I thought I’d share it with you. I hope you enjoy it.

I just want to be happy

People conducting The Framingham Heart Study have been amassing a wealth of social and medical data on the inhabitants of Framingham, Massachusetts since 1948.

While this project wasn’t set up specifically to study emotions, it came up with fascinating findings in 2010 that suggest emotions are as infectious as diseases and more importantly, that sadness is more infectious than happiness. They found that having a happy friend increased your chances of personal happiness by 11% while just one sad friend was needed to double an individual’s chance of becoming unhappy.

This means that negative influences can be a lot more powerful than positive ones and lends substance to the ‘joke’ about the depressed person about to jump off a bridge to end it all. Someone goes to talk them out of it and after a few minutes they both decide to jump!

The Power Of Positive Friendships

This significant finding means it’s crucial that the positive people around you heavily outnumber the negative ones, in order to support your own positive outlook and therefore your ability to change.

Exercise: Take an inventory now and make a note of 10 people you have the most contact with. Rank each of them on a scale of 0 – 10 (0 being Negative and 10 being Positive). This is a subjective assessment but it will be good enough for your purposes. Add up the scores and divide by 10. This average score should be well over 6. If it isn’t, it means you need to do some serious rebalancing and introduce more positive friends. It doesn’t mean abandoning those around you who are unhappy, but for the sake of your emotional and mental wellbeing, enlist a few more upbeat pals, to create the balance in your life. If you can’t do that ‘act as if’ and try on being happier, smile more and think of all the things you have to be grateful for.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, please share with your friends.

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Forgiveness = Freedom

we carry our past within us

Oooh this is a touchy subject and it’s easy to understand why. Suggesting to someone that they forgive a person who has hurt them beyond belief is a very risky thing to do. It can feel insulting too. Why on earth would you forgive someone who’s hurt you badly?

we carry our past within us

We carry our past within us.

Every, thought, incident and event is stored in the back of the mind, or the long-term memory to be more specific. More importantly, if Eastern approaches to healing are to be believed, emotional memory is also held in the body, in our organs and our physiology.

An example of this might be an acupuncturist treating the gall bladder and liver for anger or the heart and lungs for grief. Even a masseur working tirelessly on hunched up shoulders that have become tight and hard, is aiming to release some of the client’s past. Or more simply, we might hold the memory of a tough work-out in the muscles we used at the gym yesterday, ouch!

Certainly in my work, I see daily evidence of how the body holds onto old hurts such as anger, guilt and shame. Clients might present with unexplained pain that has defied every medical investigation, only to find that a couple of sessions of hypnotherapy or other intervention leaves them free from pain and discomfort.

When given space to release deeply held negative emotions, people often emerge looking serene and peaceful, with a soft, open younger counternance. Something no face cream invented, could ever achieve!

Let me explain why I said earlier that it could be insulting to suggest someone forgive. In my personal and professional experience, it is difficult to move to a place of forgiveness until the anger and rage has been expressed, until you’ve vented your spleen so to speak.

It’s one thing to talk about it but unless the feeling of forgiveness reaches deep down into your bones and you really, genuinely can forgive, it’s likely that anger will keep rearing its head.

Symptoms of the on-going presence of anger, guilt and shame in the body are, feeling excessively tired, constantly aching, fuzzy brain fog, sleeplessness and physical pain. This is the underlying emotional content of an old memory, expressed somatically.

So I guess I’m saying there’s no ‘right’ way, only your way. Forgive if and when it feels right for you and do it authentically. Allow yourself to experience your true feelings rather than bury them. Give yourself time and space to be you.

Look after yourself.

Sue x

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Lost Your Creativity? A Full Moon Will Get It Back!

Full Moon

The feminine energy is said to be most creative and intuitive during a full moon.

Full MoonIn days of yore, women were invited out of the tribe to spend their menstruation in a moon lodge. Here they were able to take time out, rest, have their food prepared for them and generally be nurtured during this special time. The need for space and time to ‘be’ were highly respected by both men and women.

After the cycle the women would come back into the tribe and share their insights and wisdom. This might range from something like moving the livestock from one area to another, to exploring the meaning of a powerful dream.

There was a glorious full moon, as I recently boarded a long haul flight home to England. I expected to settle down and enjoy a film. The moon energy had other ideas however. My pen took up like something in a scene from a Harry Potter film and I wrote non-stop for a couple of hours. At the end of this frantic, dare I say channelled writing, I had a brand new hypnosis script for empowering women with assertive skills!

After testing the script out I realised it was just sexist to make this available for women only.

As I know only too well, many men need assertive skills just as much women.

I finished the script by inviting Facebook friends to contribute any phrases they felt would be helpful in being assertive and then incorporated those.

I recorded the program last week and I am excited to say that it will be available very soon.  It’s now available!

So next time there’s a full moon, sit quietly and allow  insight and inspiration to flow for something you want to create. I’d love to hear your experiences.

Sue xx

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Here we go again! Ever wondered why you’re back in the same situation?

Take steps to care for yourself as if you were something special to cherish, something valuable.

Whether consciously or subconsciously, we recreate scenarios around us that are familiar. We do this in an effort to feel safe and comfortable.

In the extreme, we may be driven to consistently select undesirable partners who are unkind and abusive. You might hear people say things like “she/he was so nice in the beginning and couldn’t do enough for me. I had no idea she was violent!”

On a more superficial level we may always go to the same café for coffee each morning, taking comfort in seeing the same people and repeating that pattern. It’s warm and cosy, safe and familiar.

Have you noticed that we are subject to recurring themes and patterns in our lives?

These patterns continue to generate the same thoughts, emotions and behaviours that bear out our personal stories, our themes.

For example people who are insecure and have a deep-rooted sense of rejection, will often find themselves in situations that seem to confirm the very thing they most fear. Rejection. At a subconscious level they constantly recreate dramas that ‘prove’ their beliefs.

There’s a bizarre comfort for them in this. A sort of ‘there we are I knew it. No-body loves me’ story, which allows them to be right!

Unaware of the subconscious patterns, they allow their inner chatter to dictate to them, building stories based on negative thoughts. The negative thoughts subsequently stimulate unpleasant emotions. The emotions act as drivers that impact their behaviour. This in turn often provokes the very thing they are afraid of, rejection and the whole cycle starts again.

These recurring themes are often reinforced year after year. Even when there’s clear evidence of the behaviour that is hurting them, such as a string of failed relationships with a similar vein (like choosing that type of partner again,) they continue to act out in the same way because it’s familiar. Like a pair of comfy old slippers!

So how can we change?

Even when we are conscious of our patterns and behaviours and want to change, it takes a fair bit of mental and emotional discipline to avoid the same mistakes.

Let’s take someone who is feeling insecure, it’s likely they will have a program running in the subconscious mind that says ‘you are not loveable, worthy of being cared for, or deserving’. The good news is, that it is possible for thoughts and feelings like these to diminish in the face healthier ways of thinking.

Counselling and psychotherapy can help to explore the recurring themes and the subconscious desire to revisit them (repetition compulsion). There are other things you can do to help yourself and here’s a couple of suggestions.

Take steps to care for yourself as if you were something special to cherish, something valuable.

Exercise

Self-nurturing is imperative. Write down seven ways you can nurture yourself,

It may range from a fundamental:

1.) Cook proper warm meals for myself.

to a more intense

2.) Dump the abusive partner.

It will have taken years for the maladaptive behaviours and patterns to emerge so there’ll be a fair bit to combat. The quickest, and most painless approach I know to changing how we think and feel, is with hypnotherapy and hypnosis programs.

Stress Free with Confidence or Supercharge Your Confidence is one of the easiest and ways to reprogram your subconscious mind.

Discipline yourself to listen a minimum of once a day. An ideal time is last thing at night as you settle down to sleep and requires minimal effort. Within a month of listening you will notice a huge shift in how you think and feel. As you retrain the brain you’ll notice new patterns that will lead to a more relaxed, positive productive way of being. This then impacts your behaviour and finally your patterns begin to change.

Because the subconscious mind believes whatever it’s told your self-esteem has to grow stronger at the very least this prepares you to look more deeply at your modus operandi with a view to making change.

Let me know how you get on

Sue xx

oh and by the way, if my example of the unsuitable partner has a resonance for you, go over and have a look at Natalie Lue’s ‘Baggage Reclaim’ site which is brimming with good advice.

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Growing up emotionally. Why childlike behaviour in adults can be a sign of emotional immaturity.

Have you ever been around someone seemingly bright and knowledgeable only to notice them behave badly in a childish manner? Chances are something has stopped them growing up emotionally…

heal your inner child - adults behaving like children - Growing up emotionally. Why childlike behaviour in adults can be a sign of emotional immaturity.

Emotional Growth

Collectively we still fail to understand the difference between intellectual intelligence and emotional intelligence. While we grow up intellectually and chronologically, we do not always grow up emotionally. We can have gaps in our development for all kinds of reasons, but it’s often due to something that happened in childhood. For example, a child — let’s call him John — has has five blissful years on the planet when his father suddenly dies. His mother, in her grief, plummets into a depression that she never really recovers from.

John is effectively orphaned at that point. With neither parent there to attend to his emotional needs. This trauma and loss will likely effect John’s ability to learn. Unless that’s picked up at school, he could remain in that ‘state’ for the rest of his life. His development stunted, much like a scratch on a record, or a rogue program that keeps replaying. Years later, John is unresponsive and unemotional toward his partner, going through the motions but never fully connecting.

Continue reading Growing up emotionally. Why childlike behaviour in adults can be a sign of emotional immaturity.