Unlearn Those Limiting Beliefs

Now most people at some point in their lives feel a little anxious about something, whether it be about how they perform, how the look or what they believe to be acceptable and most anxieties are linked to what we believe about ourselves or the world.

If you dread giving presentations or speaking up in meetings it is most likely that you feel you are going to be judged unfairly. So why do many people have a fear of being judged? Why do many people avoid those social situations which many people thrive in?

Well it all comes down to your beliefs and more likely, the beliefs you hold about yourself. If you believe that you are not good enough or that you will always fail, then it’s no surprise that you feel ‘not good enough’ and act accordingly. However if you believe you are good enough, you feel differently about yourself and you behave in a very different way.

Now beliefs are formed in many different ways, usually from past experiences, but the important thing to note here is, just as beliefs get ‘learnt’ at some point in your life, they can be unlearnt too!

A belief is something we believe to be true at our deepest level and unfortunately most humans feel they are intrinsically bad or not good enough. But s this true?

Are you really bad or not good enough or is it simply that you fail to live up to others’ expectations?

I would hazard a guess that you are good enough and that you are a good person. You may occasionally say or do ‘bad’ things but does that make you a bad person? You may be awful at singing and scared rigid of presenting in front of people, but are you really not good enough?

Telling yourself you are good enough or a good person each and every day is unlikely to change your limiting belief of yourself, however bringing doubt into the equation will. Did you believe 100% in Father Christmas? Did you believe 100% that you first love was the ‘one’

When you start to hear different stories about the existence of Father Christmas or see things differently once the ‘honeymoon’ period of the romance is over, you change the way you see things and ultimately your belief system.

It is said that every breakthrough in personal development comes from a change in belief. So how can you change a limiting belief?

By simply following the seven steps below – which are widely used by therapists and individuals alike with a high percentage of success. This works so well as it allows you to begin to doubt those limiting beliefs that have held you hostage for so long. Once you doubt a belief, you can begin to unpick it and then replace it with a new empowering one instead. And it’s important to replace any limiting belief with a new positive one as the old one could creep back into your life and we certainly don’t want that do we?

Belief Change Process

Ask yourself these questions in relation to the limiting belief. It’s more powerful if you write the answers down too – it makes for a quicker belief change process.

  1. Is this belief or statement completely true? 100% true?
  2. Can you be 100% sure that it is true? All of the time? (really???)
  3. What does you keeping hold of this belief do to you? Does it help in any way?
  4. Who will you become in ten years if you continue to hold on to this belief?
  5. What will the costs be to you (and others) if you do not change this belief now?
  6. Who would you become and how differently would you think, act and feel if you let go of this old belief?
  7. Create a new belief to replace the old one. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Daily, hourly or whenever you doubt yourself. State your new belief with feelings. Attach positive emotions to it to make it more compelling than the old belief.

Also, for step 7 make sure you use a belief that you can believe in. If ‘I am amazing’ feels too out there then simply state ‘I am good enough (though your probably are amazing!).

And make sure you have a positive belief statement i.e. I am good enough or I am enough NOT I am not a bad person.

Take time to work through this process and really think about your answers.  If you need to work through this daily until you notice a shift, then do so.  Repeat your new belief when ever you can. Write it down on a card or on your mirror to remind you daily how amazing you are!

Good luck.

Namaste!

 

The View From Up Here

I was at the doctors yesterday morning when during our consultation he asked what I did for a living. I told him I was a hypnotherapist and he asked did I do smoking and weight loss. I said I did along with anxiety too and he became intrigued with my view on the cause of anxiety.

He asked me in my opinion, what caused anxiety. I told him that stress may well bring on anxiety however the cause is more likely to be an event – traumatic or otherwise – from the person’s past, usually childhood. He seemed to agree with my view (which has been evidenced in several studies and personal experiences too) and believed that the majority of all pathological issues such as depression, anxiety and other more serious illness such as psychosis seem to be rooted in childhood and more specifically linked to relationships with parents/primary carers.

We had a great discussion about how a child’s relationship with their parents can impact on their behaviour, beliefs and relationships as an adult and of course this is true to an extent, however issues such as anxiety may well be caused by events other than relationship issues.

We moved onto an area I have been writing about a lot recently – responsibility. We both agreed that whatever relationship you have in your life, you go into it with a means to extracting something from it whether consciously or subconsciously. When we befriend someone it’s usually because we enjoy their company or they may provide us with a shoulder to cry on or a chance of a good night out – but there is a reason why we befriend that person in the first place.

Likewise in romantic relationships, we seek something from our partner and that tends to be something that we feel is missing either from our life (companionship) or from us as an individual (low self worth). When we feel unloved we depend on our partner to fill the void inside of us – which invariably they rarely do as only we can do that ourselves – so when they fail to live up to our expectations they become the ‘problem’ and not us.

Whilst I can totally appreciate how my conscious and unconscious needs impact on every area of my life including relationships it can be difficult to get my clients to understand this concept. ‘Well he was the one who cheated/hit me/never let me out’ so it’s his fault the relationship is the way it is. I have no doubt that your partner treats you disrespectfully but who is allowing him to treat you that way? Why did you ‘invite’ him into your life in the first place? 

You are responsible for every relationship you have – and if the relationship turns sour or abusive you have a choice. Stay or leave. Understandably there are relationships that you can’t walk away from – your kids for one – however the same still applies to these relationships too. What is it about the other person that upsets you? What is it in you that you see in them?

I have a friend who allows her son to smack and throw things at her. He punches and kicks his grandparents as she sits watching. She is finding him a ‘handful’ and doesn’t know what to do with him. Start by drawing some boundaries based on respect first. If she learnt to respect herself and other people her son will learn to respect others too. What is lacking in us can, due to our lack of awareness, also be lacking in our kids (‘the sins of the father’).

So next time a relationship presents a problem for you – ask yourself what is it about me that is creating this problem – it may not be pleasant (I know!) yet it gives you the chance to rectify those relationships that deserve to be saved  and break free from those that cant be. Whilst responsibility gives you the opportunity to transform relationships and your life it doesn’t mean in anyway that things are always your fault. It merely means that as part of the ‘problem’ you need to address the fact that you are involved in it – like it or not – and because you are involved you have the ideal chance to resolve the issue. 

Self awareness begins by accepting responsibility for all the problems in your life – no one can hurt you unless you allow them too – so if you are in a hurtful relationship then why are you in it and why are you putting up with it? As you begin to learn more about yourself, your limiting beliefs, values and what you want from your life you begin to take control of your own destiny – if you hand over responsibility for every problem in your life to others – then you will always be at everyone else’s beck and call!

Take responsibility today and live a more fulfilling life. Love yourself, nurture yourself and forgive yourself daily and watch as others begin to love you, nurture you and accept you for who you really are. After all only you can change your world.

Say NO and Mean It!

Reading an article yesterday I felt compelled to write on the subject of saying no. No is a simple two letter word. There is nothing complex in it’s pronunciation or interpretation. No is the opposite of yes. No is a full sentence and does not need clarification or justification. No means simply no.

So why do some of us have difficulty saying no and meaning it? Whether it’s saying no to the PTA or your kids or your boss at work who seems to have singled you out for extra work and unpaid hours. When you say no it should mean no and not ‘well I might be able to’ or ‘you know that I really don’t want to’ or even ‘I hate letting people down and they will probably not like me if I say no’.

People soon get used to the ‘weak’ no and consequently will try and force your hand based on past experience however isn’t it time you stood up for yourself, for what you want and for what you mean? Yes it is!

If you have problems saying no to people then try this simple exercise below and soon you will be saying NO in an assertive way that everyone will understand and no-one will doubt!

1. Think about a couple of past situations where you wanted to say no to someone but failed. You may have started with no but ended up with ‘okay if you want’ (what about what you want?!!)
2. Go through these scenes in your mind and find the point where your ‘no’ became a ‘yes’. Notice how you felt, what you said, what the other person said etc.
3. Now go through these situations again but this time change the end result to a positive outcome. When you get to the point where you gave in before, see yourself now saying no and meaning it. As you visualize yourself doing this notice your body posture, the tone of your voice etc and how much more assertive you look and sound. Go through this a couple of times and notice everything that is different about this new you that says no and means it!
(a few suggestions here would be seeing yourself standing tall, relaxed, possibly smiling (though not manically) whilst saying something like ‘Thanks for the opportunity but I really can’t right now, so I am going to have to say no’. And LEAVE IT AT THAT! No does not need to be justified it simply means no, however you can be polite about it which is more likely to appease the other person. Say no with a smile (creates a feeling of warmth) and simply say ‘No thank you, I am fine/I really haven’t the time right now/it’s really not something I enjoy/I do not accept what you say’ etc. When you have said no simply see yourself walking away or changing the subject.)
4. Next write down all the ways that you can say ‘no’ nicely, firmly and mean it. Read them through and practice saying them with conviction. This does not mean shouting or raising the tone of your voice, if anything lower the tone of your voice just slightly as this sends out a clear message to others that you mean what you say! (I use this technique in class with students and it’s far more effective than shouting which merely lets others know you have lost control).
5. Now practice saying no to people who take advantage of you, in front of a mirror preferably. See yourself looking calm and in control, maintaining eye contact (vital!) and smiling before saying no. And then practice defending that no – ‘As I have just mentioned I do not have the time……but thank you again for asking’. etc! Make sure the outcome is the one you want!

When you run through this exercise you will notice you begin to feel more confident about your ability to say no and mean it! If you have a situation that you know requires a no then practice saying no before hand and remember always picture a POSITIVE outcome i.e. the one you want!

Everyone has the right to say no and some say it more or less everyday whilst others fear the consequences of their no. Sometimes it is appropriate to say no – if it’s to the attention seeking child to the annoying friend or to the guy down the road who keeps you chatting for too long about his health problems!

From today make a commitment to say no and stick to it! Say no and mean it!

Take Back Control Of Your Mind

If you suffer from anxiety, panic attacks or phobias then you are probably well aware of how your mind can be ‘hijacked’ in certain situations and as someone who used to suffer from panic attacks, I know only too well how it feels to lose control!

Unfortunately for the anxiety sufferer not only does their disorder leave them feeling cursed in some way but also, add in the anxiety of worrying about whether you are going to have an anxiety or panic attack out of the blue. So not only does the sufferer dread the attack itself – which is never pleasant – but they also learn to dread the possibility of having an attack too and this usually escalates over time and with the increased frequency of the attacks.

Now anxiety is a disorder which many never talk about let alone to admit too. ‘Mental’ disorders are still a subject that leaves many feeling uncomfortable – their issue – and it does not have to be yours! If you suffer from anxiety read up about it – find out what you can and the more information you have the better you will feel. You almost certainly are not going mad! Knowledge is power and as a hypnotherapist specializing in the resolution of anxiety, I am always amazed at how little sufferers know about their anxiety.

Anxiety can most certainly ruin your life it you let it but it can not kill you. The more you ‘dread’ the attack the more anxious you will feel unfortunately. I used to dread going into busy areas and would feel anxious before the event because I had already gone through an embarrassing episode in my mind, of having a major attack and feeling embarrassed and humiliated in front of all these people. My no wonder I felt so anxious an no wonder I was more than likely to have an attack!!

Realistically even if I did have a panic attack in public – who would actually be aware? And if some people were then it’s my choice whether I wish to feel embarrassed by it or not. And if I am not going to die from having a panic attack – then bring it on! It was only as I became a therapist that I became aware that I was programming my mind for more anxiety by the way I was ‘dealing’ with my plight.

So if you suffer from anxiety or panic, then how do you  begin to take back control? How do you  begin to feel ‘normal’ again? The first thing is to read up about anxiety, what it is, the causes, how to manage it and how it affects your mentally and physically. Yes an attack feel hideous but like a naughty child, the more attention and control you give it, the worse it will be.

One of the most effective ways you can loosen the grip of anxiety on your life is to re-write what you tell yourself in your mind. I am sure you have heard the saying that ‘what you focus on in life you will get’ and that is very true. Anxiety exists because you are NOT focusing on what you want. So by simply focusing on what you want – to remain calm and in control – you can change how you respond to trigger situations.

So as soon as you become aware of those ‘what if” thoughts or anxious thoughts, acknowledge them but do not get ‘involved’ in them and then immediately visualize yourself calm, in control and feeling really relaxed and happy and what this does is start to reprogram your mind. Instead, over time (usually 3 – 4 weeks)  of ‘what if I have an attack’  followed by all the other anxious thoughts………..you will notice you will start with the ‘what if” thoughts followed by a sense of inner calm and your unconscious mind ‘sees’ the image of you calm, relaxed and at ease. So what the mind can see the mind will achieve – simple!’

This visualization technique is powerful and can change how you feel dramatically and in order for it to be effective you need to do this exercise every time you become aware of those anxious thoughts. Also if you have a specific event that you feel anxious about, by visualizing a positive outcome, you are instructing your unconscious mind on how to respond in that situation. And if you run through this several times your mind will begin to see the picture and you may be pleasantly surprised by the results you obtain!

The more you use this visualization the quicker and more noticeable the changes you experience will be. When you do this visualization exercise, really get into what you see, hear and feel when you are calm and in control. If there are other people there then perhaps see how well they respond to you, how they enjoy listening to what you have to say – create the ideal situation and outcome -do not focus on anything negative – because not only are you telling your mind to focus on the negative but you will feel worse to. So always focus on how great you look and feel and how well the situation goes for you and you will begin to feel more and more confident too and less and less anxious! Its a great feeling believe me!

If you struggle with time constraints then ask yourself why is it that you don’t want to let go of your anxiety because ‘never having the time’ is resistance, so you will need to ask yourself what your anxiety is getting for you or what is it keeping your from – i.e. is it ensuring that you don’t feel judged when you go out, is it keeping you from a higher position of responsibility at work? Understanding how your anxiety is ‘helping’ you can be key to letting it go. If you feel judged or not good enough then focus on this when doing the visualization and remember you have a right to feel in control of your life – it is your life.

If you have severe anxiety, OCD (pure) then you may benefit from a course of hypnotherapy. Analytical hypnotherapy is a potent therapy for anxiety as it enables you to understand why it exists in the first place and this gives you the ability to resolve the issues surrounding the initial cause to enable you to let go permanently of your anxiety symptoms.

If you would like any more info on anxiety hypnosis then drop me a line!