Confident Children And Imagination

My son was a very anxious boy this morning. He is playing in the school team this evening in a deciding match for the league title and he is scared!

As a mum it’s all to easy to say ‘don’t be ridiculous, you’re a great player’ and leave it at that, but if your child is really worried about something or lacking confidence then surely there is a better way to help them that just offering reassurance?

Well thankfully there is! Confidence is based on perception i.e. your child’s own idea of whether they feel they can do something well or not and like us all, confidence can be diminished through ‘bad’ experiences. And when I say ‘bad’ the experiences themselves may not necessarily be bad but the meanings we take from them may be.

So your son is anxious about a match or your daughter feels scared about doing her Show and Tell – how can you help them?

Two ways really and both very simple and incredibly powerful.

The first one is to get them to ‘rehearse’ what they are going to do in their mind and talk them through it with as much positivity as possible. Make them feel incredible and make sure that every detail is positive and that the outcome is a success.

Not only will this boost their confidence as you are doing the exercise but it also programs their mind to do what they have been ‘rehearsing’ too! So when they stand up in front of the class or get in front of that goal, their mind goes ‘ah right, I know what I need to know now’ and more often than not, they will get the results the practiced.

However be realistic. Don’ set them up for failure! You son will probably not score 10 goals even if he is up front and not in defence! The idea is to get them to focus on the skills needed to get the results they want and to program their minds for success and remember what the mind can see you will achieve – so if your child focuses on failure (which is probable if they are worried) they are more likely to fail. So get them to always focus on what they want from this moment on (and you too!)

To help them feel more positive towards doing this and the following exercise, mention how all the top sports personalities carry out this exercise and how it improves their game/race etc.

Another great way of boosting your kids confidence (which can be incorporated with the exercise above too) is know as the confidence switch. This is quite simply setting up a physical anchor which when ‘fired’ produces feelings of well being and confidence in your child. 

So how do you literally turn on a confidence switch? Well the first thing you need to do is decide what the switch will be (a good place is a knuckle on one hand, the back of the hand or even their nose) and ensure you keep this ‘switch’ and that the pressure used is the same too i.e. press the same place all the time and with enough pressure to register the touch but not too much that it’s obvious. Also once this is set up the switch needs to be something that you child themselves can access themselves if and when they need it. So discretion might be key.

Once you have decided where the ‘switch’ will be then you need to set it. So get your child to remember a time when they felt really great, perhaps when they scored a goal previously or when they were doing something they loved doing such as dancing, singing or simply a time when they felt really great – perhaps playing with friends or on the rollercoaster! 

Get them to close their eyes if they want to (it’s ok if they don’t want to) and get them (with a little help from you) to talk through the positive experience as if they were actually reliving it again. Ask them what they see, what they hear and ask them to really focus on how great they were feeling and as you know yourself, when you focus on happy memories those old feelings flood back don’t they? 

So when you see that your child has associated into those feel good feelings (it will be very obvious with a child when they are!) simply touch their ‘switch’ for roughly 10 seconds. Then stop.

Get them to go through the memory again maybe this time bring in more details or try another memory. Again get your child to really focus on all that they remember and when you see them accessing those happy feel good feelings again, anchor them by touching their knuckle again.

Do this a couple of times at any one go – don’t overdo it as your child will get fed up! Do it again with them the next day or the next to ensure that their confidence switch becomes more powerful.

However one of the best things about the confidence switch is that your child doesn’t even have to know what you are doing! You can get them to focus on happy memories whilst you anchor these feelings by touching their hand (in the same place and the same hand!)/knuckle/nose in such a way that they are unaware of what you are doing. 

Also every time they are feeling happy, confident or at ease with themselves you can simply top us this switch by touching their knuckle for a few seconds. 

You need to go this exercise around 4 – 8 times and then try out the switch. Get you child to focus and then flip the switch and ask (and watch out for signs) them what they noticed? Keep topping up this confidence switch – whenever you child is doing something they are enjoying, when they tell you about a fab goal they scored at school or how they did this incredible dance move – just switch that switch. The more you do this the better the result.

They will be delighted with their new weapon of  mass construction! So give this a go – it’s easy to do and will make your child feel so much more confident and in control. Furthermore, the more they use this switch the more likely the behaviour is to become a natural part of who they are. 

I will keep you posted on the result tonight!

Take care and speak soon!!!

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Seeing Is Believing

Many clients come to me in the hope that they can feel more confident in certain situations whether that be driving, singing, dancing, public speaking or to simply feel better about themselves.

I usually see these clients for a couple of sessions however there is an incredibly easy and effective tool that anyone can use which will build confidence over time and as they say, the more you do it the more you will benefit!

Visualization is (and I can not stipulate strongly enough!!!) one of the most simple yet powerful self help tools available to one and all and is completely free! The majority if not all of top athletes use visualization to enhance performance and it has been proven that visualization is more effective than just training alone. Top business men, professionals, actors, singers and even doctors use this simple tool.

Why? Well first and foremost because visualization  reprogrammes our mind for success. Your mind does respond to the thoughts you have and the images you create in your mind too. So if you see yourself confident you mind will respond accordingly. Also the part of the brain that responds to what we actually see is the same part of the mind that responds to what we visualize too, so your mind will just assume that you are the confident individual you see in your mind and will accordingly produce the behaviour appropriate. And the more you see yourself confident the stronger the new neural pathways become to that new more positive behaviour.

Secondly, when you visualize yourself feeling good and acting in a way that you wish to behave, you will automatically begin to feel better in yourself too so visualization stimulates these wonderful feel good feeling more and more in response to the positive images we create.

Thirdly. The part of your mind that is responsible for your behaviours in the unconscious mind and this part of our mind has many duties, one being to move you towards pleasure and away from pain. So whilst you visualize yourself acting more confidently, you begin to feel better too, so your unconscious mind will begin to associate this feel good feeling with acting confidently  and as it wants you to feel happy it will produce more confident behaviour to ensure you keep feeling great!

Visualization may not be easy to begin with as you may not be used to creating images in your mind but believe you me, you do produce images daily in your mind whether you are aware of it or not! Think of something you love and you may be surprised to notice an image pop to mind straight away! If you do struggle with visualizing then daydream – most people can daydream and quite often do about winning the lottery!

When you see yourself confident in your mind you may notice your physiology adapts accordingly too, however really get a sense of, or an image of just how you would look, how you would behave, especially in those situations that perhaps you would avoid. How do you sound when you speak? How do you walk? How do you feel in yourself? So really get into how you would look, feel, think, behave when confident and most importantly is FEEL how great you feel when you see yourself confident because the better you feel while visualizing the more confident you the quicker the transformation!

Get into a routine too – visualize first thing in the morning to set you up for the day and several times during the day – it only needs to be for a couple of minutes to make a difference each day. If you are preparing for something that you need to feel more confident about then see yourself doing what ever it is, whether it’s presenting or chatting up that guy at work that you’ve had your eye on for ages, but see yourself doing what you want to do in the way that you want to do it and make sure that you focus only on a positive performance because remember – what the mind can see the mind will achieve!!

So get seeing you in a more positive light and see how quickly you begin to feel differently. Confidence is based on perception and by changing how you see yourself in your mind you are changing how you perceive yourself in everyday life too.

Good luck!

The Power Of Words Can Heal or Wound – Your Choice.

I can remember as a child my dad reciting that popular phrase that ‘words will never hurt me’ and thinking it strange then. As a child I only ever thought of the pain inflicted physically by the ‘sticks and stones’ and never quite understood (although at some level I obviously did!) that words could hurt.

Read any good self help book out there today and most will touch on the element of choice in our lives. We can chose what we want to eat, we can chose where we want to live and we can even chose our moods too. The same goes for the words that we speak and the words that we utter.

It is said that successful people think carefully about the words that they use by ensuring they create a positive impact on those they are intended for. Hypnotists weave an incredibly intricate web of words to create positive change in their clients and lovers use sensuous words to captivate their lovers.

So when was the last time you actually thought about what you say or think? Perhaps it’s about time you took a serious look inside your mind and recreate a new language of love, positivity, gratitude and humility – you may be surprised at the changes you experience.

We all know that angry, hurtful words such as ‘hate’. ‘fear’, ‘ugly’ and ‘stupid’ can have a very negative impact on an individual – who wants to hear someone call them ugly or tell them they hate them? But did you know these words have an impact on you another level too, other than the emotional?

Words can actually hurt on a physical level too – on a psychological level. Imagine a child being told daily by their parents that they are stupid and useless – they grow up wrongly believing that they are stupid and useless. Now if you believe that you are useless and stupid you are far more likely to worry about your performance in any area of life – so you may well suffer from increased anxiety and stress.

Stress as we know does affect our physical welfare and can be a killer – so you can see how words can impact on our physical welfare too. Furthermore, you may also punish yourself, albeit, on an unconscious level, which can impact both emotionally and physically too.

There is also a well-respected research article on the effects of words on water by Dr. Emoto. He concluded that negative words negatively impact on the structure of water whereas positive words had the opposite effect and bearing in mind that the human body is made up of between 60 – 80% water, then you can start to see how words can impact on how we feel!

So if you want to feel better and make those you love feel a whole lot better too then consider how you use your words. They can either make or break a person and the world would be a better place if we treated each other with the respect we wish to be treated with and the words we would love to hear.

I Need A Little Time…….

Society today, especially in the UK, is all about speed and keeping up with the proverbial ‘Jones’. We are constantly bombarded with images of beautiful and slim women, sleek cars and holidays in paradise and for most of us, we fall into the trap of wanting what we are led to believe is ‘normal’.

But what is normal? And what is normal for me almost certainly is not normal for you – so why do we feel pressured into being like everyone else? Why are we too scared to stand out from the crowd and be ‘different’?

Self esteem or lack of it means we are forever doubting ourselves, doubting whether we are pretty enough, thin enough, clever enough or drive the right car and it can be never ending and incredibly exhausting! If we really felt good enough would we feel it necessary to follow the masses, reassuring ourselves that we really do prefer this wine/book/car/film/department store or would we simply do what honestly suits us?

Knowing what you want in life is a good place to start in building self esteem. Ask yourself – What makes you happy? What do you enjoy doing? What makes you smile? When you know what you actually want in life as opposed to what everyone else believes is right for you, then you can work your way towards reaching your goals.

A simple method to help boost self esteem is to visualize yourself as you want to be – how you are going to be in the future. However when you do this exercise, you must focus on the ‘new you’ as if it’s you now. See everything about that new you – how you look, how you stand even how you dress and notice how you sound and how you feel. Really get into how great it feels to feel good about yourself   and see yourself doing the things that you would love to do.

When you visualize yourself – really get into the feelings associated with the ‘new you’ and this will really help you to become more confident and feel better about yourself. When you see yourself talking to others, perhaps you can see yourself sticking up for yourself and mentally go through the words that you would use as this helps to reprogram your mind and get your subconscious mind on board with this project. I am sure you have heard the saying ‘what the mind can conceive the mind will achieve’ so if you visualize this ‘new you’ often during the day your subconscious mind is picking up these messages on how you really want to behave and it will help you bring into action what you desire!

Also you will begin to feel better after visualizing yourself and feel more confident and better about who you are too but one very important thing to realize is, no-one has the power to make you feel bad apart from yourself. I can already hear people denying this, but think about it for a moment. If someone is rude to you – it is only their opinion of you and more often than not – not a fact. So you have the power whether you wish to accept what that person says or reject it. Which one would make you feel better?

So next time someone is rude to you you can either ignore it or get upset about it, the choice is yours but by ignoring it you are taking control and remember that what a person says, says more about that person than it will ever do about you i.e. if they are rude to you it is them that has the problem – it is them that is rude!

So if you want to feel better about yourself and boost your self esteem remember you have a right to feel good about yourself – you can decide what you wish to believe about yourself and no-one else can make you feel bad unless you let them. Also continually practice visualization and see that ‘new you’ – confident, self assured and feeling great – not only will you feel great afterwards but you will also be reprogramming your mind for success in the future!

Good luck and speak soon!

Relax……….and take a deep breath…

Hypnosis, relaxation, mediation, daydreaming all allow us to go into a deeper level of our mind where we benefit, not only from being ‘relaxed’ and ‘switched off’ from the outside world, but also from a state of mind that is open to positive suggestion!

When we meditate or relax or enter ‘trance’ we go into the alpha brain state – which is the most beneficial state to be in for learning, for retrieving lost information (how many times have you tried to remember a name only to remember it just before you drift off at night whilst relaxed?) and also to make changes to habits and behaviors. Even if we just relaxed – we would still benefit over time as our mind became calmer and more focused.

So how can you enter this  alpha state of mind and make use of it? Simple, by taking time to relax! 5 or 10 minutes a day is sufficient to make great changes and any changes made at the alpha level automatically become a permanent part of your life as they are accepted into your unconscious mind – that part of your mind where your habits and behaviors lie.

So how do we get to alpha? Well with a little patience and a little time you will easily be able to reach this rejuvenating level of mind and here’s how.

Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down and make this place your ‘relaxation’ place. Your mind builds up associations quickly so it will associate this place with relaxation so will automatically expect to relax so you will find that you relax so much more quickly too! When you are comfortable, close your eyes and take 3 diaphragmatic breaths, i.e. breath in slowly through your nose, hold the breath and then release slowly through the mouth, and then begin to count down from 10 to 0 and tell yourself that with each descending number you will become more and more relaxed.

Whilst you count down slowly from 10 to 0, imagine every part of your body from the very top of your head to the very tips of your toes, relaxing. Start with the top of your head on 10 and imagine the relaxation flowing down into your eyelids, perhaps you can feel them becoming very heavy, and with each descending number imagine this relaxation flowing down through your body until you reach your toes and the number zero. Pay attention to every part of your body as you relax – notice how your shoulders feel as you begin to relax them, how every part of your body feels as you let go of any tensions and relax. And when you are at zero tell yourself that you are fully relaxed from the very top of your head to the very tips of your toes.

You may notice that you do feel relaxed after your first attempt which is brilliant, however remember the more you do this exercise the more your mind will associate relaxation with this process, so the more quickly relaxed you will become. If you suffer from anxiety it may take you a while longer to relax and that’s ok, so if you find this the case then count down from 20 or even 50 (you can always shorted the count down as you become more relaxed) . Any form of relaxation is excellent for relieving anxiety, however by using self hypnosis whilst relaxed you can further improve your results.

Like anything – if you want this process to work then you need to do this exercise every day and possibly twice a day. The best times are morning and just before you go to sleep at night, as you are usually more relaxed then. It will take you a good few weeks to get to a relaxed state of mind but remember the more you do the more relaxed you will become and the quicker you will achieve results!

When you are fully relaxed, you can then give yourself positive suggestions for change. Remember these must be stated in the positive i.e. I will be slim and healthy or I will remain calm and in control in any and every situation. Do not state these suggestions negatively as your unconscious mind will not hear the ‘not’ but will respond the the rest of the suggestion! So if you say ‘I will not be anxious anymore’ all your unconscious minds hears is ‘ I will be anxious’!  Try not to think about a pink elephant – in order to ‘not’ think about it you have to imagine it first to not think about it!

Using visualization is also very effective – so instead of telling yourself what you want – you visualize yourself with what you want. So of you want to be slim then see yourself slim and healthy. If you want to feel more confident talking in public, then see yourself talking  confidently. The more positive emotion you can attach to your visualizations the more readily accepted they will be, as your unconscious mind responds well to pleasure. When you visualize, really get into the picture – see yourself clearly with the outcome you want and feel how fabulous you will feel – see how differently people are responding to you – make the image as compelling as you could possibly make it and notice how much more motivated you feel!

Visualization is perhaps more powerful than suggestions but both are effective at bringing about change if done over a period of time. So keep practicing  and you will reap your rewards.

Take care and speak soon!

 

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!

 

 

Your Future Is Bright……With Visualization

Visualization is an incredibly powerful, yet simple technique which anyone can use to help change an area of their life.

So what is visualization?

Visualization is a process where by you visualize yourself performing at your optimum. When you visualize your optimum performance you literally imagine yourself performing what ever it is that you want to do better, whether that be excellent presentation skills or ensuring that you get your dance moves spot on!

During visualization you see yourself doing what ever it is that you wish to achieve – and doing it perfectly. So you hear what you would be hearing, see what you would be seeing and feeling how you would be feeling when you visualize the future event.

How Does Visualization Work?

Visualization works on a number of different levels and that’s what makes it so powerful.

Firstly it helps you to maintain a positive focus i.e. focusing on the positive outcome.

Secondly it helps you to feel more motivated to achieve your outcome by ensuring that you feel so much more positive and certain that you can achieve the result you want.

Thirdly, you are visually practising the event before hand so you can make any adjustments that you need to make to your performance BEFORE the event itself.

And lastly and most importantly you are programming your unconscious mind for success. As you are focusing on the positive outcome you are ‘telling’ your mind what you want to happen, as opposed to what you don’t want to happen. It’s no surprise that if you keep telling yourself and imagining yourself failing that you actually fail. So it should come as no surprise either that if you focus on the positive outcome, the actual outcome will be positive.

Your unconscious mind likes to know what it has to do so by visualizing your positive outcome it has clear instructions on how to perform. Your unconscious mind also wants to make you feel good so it will be more likely to implement an action if it knows that you feel good doing it. That is why it is very important that when you visualize your outcome you add as much positive emotion to it as possible.

And of course the more you visualize the more likely the outcome will be reached, especially as mentioned before, when you attach strong positive emotions to the outcome.

So if you want to quit smoking then see you as a non smoker feeling absolutely fantastic that you have succeeded, perhaps you can see how healthy you look and smell how much better you smell! If you want to be slimmer then focus on the slimmer sensational new you – visualize how great you will look, how well clothes fit you, hear all those compliments, and really feel how fabulous you feel when you are slim and healthy and notice how much better you begin to feel and how much more motivated you become to reach your ideal weight and shape!

Give visualization a go and see how much brighter your future looks!