National Stress Awareness Day

Mindfulness for Stress

When we are stressed, we are often judging ourselves and others, worrying about the past, or rehearsing the future, what meditators call the ‘monkey brain’. We are anything but present! Research shows that mindfulness is an effective technique to bust out of stress and tame the monkey brain.

Stress is part of our natural fight or flight response. Its impact is not only psychological but physical too, as it engages the part of our nervous system that heightens our senses and makes us alert, releasing hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol into the body. While occasional short bursts of stress can make us perform better, if stress continues over long periods it can affect our general health and sense of wellbeing. Scientists have found chronic stress is linked to high blood pressure, anxiety and depression, headaches, obesity and heart disease.

Mindfulness is a simple technique that helps to:

  • relax the body
  • calm the brain, and
  • rebalance the nervous system

By bringing our awareness into the present moment we break the cycle of negative thoughts and shift the body back into balance. Research suggests that over time daily mindful meditation can have benefits for immune and brain function, and reduce anxiety and depression.

Here is a simple mindfulness technique you can use anywhere to tame the monkey brain.

When you notice yourself getting stressed, take a breath (expanding your stomach as you do so) and very slowly release the breath (try to make the outbreath longer than the in breath). Now just check in with your body, noticing any areas of tension or tightening. You don’t need to do anything else. If you want to continue then scan your body in more detail, starting with your toes and working your way up, just noticing what sensations you find there, without judging.

Sometimes stress and anxiety are harder to shift and a course of therapy can help to move you out of the stress paradigm and promote resilience. I am a qualified Cognitive Hypnotherapist offering sessions for stress, anxiety and depression at the WOW clinic in Westbourne (nr Emsworth), Nutrivital in Petersfield and the Cowdray Hall Therapy Rooms near Midhurst. If you would like to see how therapy can help you call me for a no obligation chat on 07949 736 553. You can also try out one of my audio downloads for mindful walking, relaxation and finding contentment available at www.fauzknight.com/free-audios.

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World Mental Health Day

No Shame!

Today is World Mental Health Day! Its a day we can openly talk about (and shout about) mental health awareness. When I speak to people about their mental health the word 'shame' comes up a lot. Not that people feel shame because of their mental health, but because others find it difficult when they mention their mental health experiences.

So today I want to talk about how to overcome the debilitating effects of shame and why it is so important for all of us to be open about it. If we are to create a healthy environment where everyone can talk about their vulnerabilities and overcome their fears, we need to bust out of the shame mindset.

When Brene Brown, author of the Power of Vulnerability, was invited to speak about her early research, she was asked not to talk about shame because it would put people off their dinner! What is it about shame that resonates so deeply, and uncomfortably with all of us? During our childhood many of us will have experienced occasions when we did something and were made to feel embarrassment or guilt, but shame isn’t about just those moments, it is about the moments when we unknowingly integrate those feelings into our very sense of self.

What is shame?

Shame is a belief not just that we have done something wrong, but that we ourselves are fundamentally wrong in some way. When we feel shame, we want to disappear and it can be very difficult to find peace with ourselves.

How does shame affect our lives?

While guilt is a passing emotion and can be part of a healthy process of dealing with our feelings (admitting ‘I made a mistake’ and moving on), shame often feels stuck, immoveable. Because it attaches to our sense of who we are and makes us feel bad about ourselves, it can be deeply damaging for our self-esteem and confidence. In the worst cases shame can lead us to respond to situations with severe anger, withdrawal, anxiety or depression.

This is because shame leaves us feeling exposed. This can be frightening, and fear triggers our fight or flight response. If this escalates into a fearful mindset, we may find ourselves constantly worrying what others will think of us, afraid we will say or do something that will lead to rejection or social isolation.

How can you manage shame?

We often learn shame during our childhood. As children we are told, sometimes on a regular basis, that we have done something wrong, or need to do better and it can feel like we have let others, and ourselves, down. These feelings can be confusing, frustrating and challenging and as children we don’t have the experience to put them into context.

By accessing the origins of a shame belief and making peace with it, we can release it, and its affect on our lives. Hypnotherapy techniques, such as regression, can help to discover the original memory or memories that boosted the shame response and change it. It can also help to change the negativity bias of the brain so that instead of looking for proof that reinforces a negative self-image, the brain begins to find evidence to support new beliefs that we are liked, loved and valued for who we are.

I am a Cognitive Hypnotherapist at the WOW clinic in Westbourne, West Sussex. If you would like to talk to a professional hypnotherapist, call me or message me on the contact details below.
 
Tel: 07949 736 553
e-mail: contact@fauzknight.com
Message me through Facebook: fauzknightCH
 
With thanks to Jo Pearse, WOW clinic

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Hypnosis for stopping smoking

 
This month is Stoptober and if you are reading this, you may be one of the thousands of people in the UK who have made the decision to stop smoking.

There are some immediate benefits to stopping smoking. Whatever your motivation, the day you stop smoking:

  • you feel and are healthier;
  • you’re spending less money, which means more cash for the things you love;
  • you’re creating a healthier environment for close friends and family who usually inhale second hand smoke.
There are lots of aids out there to help with the psychological aspects of stopping smoking, from apps that help you count the money you’re saving, or give you daily support and encouragement, to social groups where you can share your journey with others.
But ultimately it is down to you and when the craving hits it can feel like an uphill battle.

So how can hypnosis help with stopping smoking?

Hypnosis can help you break the habit of smoking  - Did you know that if you can stop smoking for just 28 days you are five times more likely to never smoke again? The reason for this is it takes 28 days for the mind to get out of a habitual behaviour, and smoking is often just that. Background craving for nicotine also subsides within the first few weeks.

Hypnosis can re-train the brain - For many people there is a strong compulsion to smoke that isn’t just a matter of habit. Subconsciously the cigarette is attached to some belief about themselves or the world around them. This can be something the person is aware of (e.g. ‘if I smoke cigarettes then I am being social and cool’) or it can be deeply rooted in the subconscious and less obvious.

Hypnosis can help overcome fears and worries – Sometimes people worry that stopping smoking will have negative side effects, like putting on weight, or they believe that smoking helps them cope, and worry how they’ll manage without.

Over the course of several sessions, hypnosis can help you to:

  • beat the craving and ritual of ‘having a cig’ at certain times;

  • unlock and change the subconscious belief that makes you pick up a cigarette;

  • reduce worries and anxieties, and improve motivation by focusing your mind on the future smoke-free you!

I am a qualified hypnotherapist and I run a 4 week program to help with stopping smoking. I work from clinics in Hampshire and West Sussex and can run sessions over skype also.
 
If you would like to get some help with stopping smoking from a professional hypnotherapist, call me or message me today to find out more about my stopping smoking program.
 
Tel: 07949 736 553
e-mail: contact@fauzknight.com
Message me through Facebook: fauzknightCH

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Phobias – from fear to fascination!

The summer months are often a time when seasonal phobias come to the fore, whether it is fear of flights, fear of closed spaces, fear of heights, fear of water, or of those ubiquitous flying and crawling insects. Fears and phobias can seem out of our control, as if our unconscious mind is taking over our actions.

But imagine what it would be like not to have to face those fears.

When I was young, wasps and bees seemed to find extraordinary ways to torment me. At the age of six I was sitting in my mother’s car when I felt something moving in my hand. A wasp - it had crawled up my dress and into my hand. I later found it had left a trail of stings up my body! During the course of my childhood I’ve had a queen bee land and doze on my eyelid, a wasp fall out of a tree into the gap between my glasses and my eye, sting me in my bed, fall down my top, and I could go on. Not surprisingly I grew up dreading the summer months. I was constantly listening out, and if a wasp or bee came near, I would go into fight or flight mode. Nothing terrified me more than that simple buzzing sound.

When fear becomes fascination

But this all changed. When I began training as a cognitive hypnotherapist we were encouraged to practice as much as possible and a colleague and I worked together on my bee and wasp phobia. During the sessions we altered just one of my childhood memories. At first I noticed subtle changes, I was still alert whenever a wasp or bee was near, but my response was different, less fear and more curiosity. But I wasn’t sure if it had worked…until one warm summer’s day. I was sitting in my in law’s garden when I heard a familiar buzzing sound, then a thump. A bumblebee had lazily flown onto my arm. I looked down and there it was, a little dazed, sitting just inches from my face below my right shoulder. Had this happened a few months earlier I would have jumped out of my seat, swatted it off, and run into the house! Instead I found myself staring with fascination at this tiny creature, its fur glistening in the sunlight. As I watched, it began to preen itself and I could see its soft fur spring back as it did so. It was honestly one of the most extraordinary things I’ve experienced and when it eventually flew off I felt very grateful, as if something amazing had happened. My gratitude wasn’t because it had flown off, but because I knew then that I was over my phobia.

How can Cognitive Hypnotherapy help with fears and Phobias?

When we respond to a fear or phobia our unconscious mind is trying to protect us from something it sees as dangerous. It is acting out 'rules' (‘this is safe, that is not’) that it has created based on past experiences. But it doesn't always get things right and fears or phobias can develop and worsen over time. Cognitive Hypnotherapy uses simple and gentle techniques to identify the original memory that is at the root of the fear or phobia and change it. The memory is stored in a different part of the brain as non-threatening, and the unconscious response changes.

If you have a fear or phobia you would like to change why not call for a no obligation chat to find out more about how cognitive hypnotherapy can help.

Tel: 07949 736 553

e-mail: contact@fauzknight.com

Message me through Facebook: fauzknightCH

I am a qualified cognitive hypnotherapy working in Hampshire and West Sussex at WOW clinic in Westbourne (nr Emsworth), Nutrivital Health in Petersfield and the Cowdray Hall Therapy Rooms in Easebourne (nr Midhurst).

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Exam stress – 3 simple, super quick, stress busting tips!

exam nerves and stress

Hypnotherapy can be a powerful tool to help you beat exams stress.

Stress is a common experience during exam time:

  • It’s part of the body’s natural response to the challenges of exam pressure.
  • When you feel stressed, your body is producing hormones (adrenaline, cortisol and others), which are designed to help you to function in difficult circumstances.
  • They heighten your senses, increase alertness and, in short bursts, can improve brain function making you perform better.

However, if stress continues for long periods or if there are multiple sources of stress, it can have the opposite effect, triggering an imbalance in your nervous system and sabotaging your best efforts to perform at your peak.

Having a healthy attitude towards stress and wellbeing is vital around exam time.

Actively reducing stress and anxiety on a regular basis can help you to break the pattern of long term stress, and even make short term stress work for you.

Here are 3 quick techniques to help you keep the stress positive and reduce anxiety before and during exams.

✪ Panic buster: 7/11 breathing

This is a quick, simple technique that works with the body to bring about a change in your nervous system. When you breathe in and out you are activating two aspects of your nervous system.

  • the in-breath activates the sympathetic nervous system that perks you up (that’s why we take a sharp breath in when we panic) and
  • the out-breath activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which brings your heart rate down, restoring balance.

In this technique you extend the out breath to calm your nervous system and bring your body back into a relaxed state. Do this one, two or three times, then return to normal breathing.

Exam stress busting technique 1

Take a few normal breaths before you begin and relax your body. Breathe out to a count of 11…then in to a count of 7. Or make each one a bit shorter if you like (out for 5 and in for 3 is ok too). The key thing is to make the out breath longer than the in breath.

That’s it! You’ve busted out of panic and realigned your body’s system.

✪ Rest to be your best: concentration maximiser

Making sure you are getting good quality rest is vital to keep your brain alert and on peak performance. As well as getting a good night’s sleep, it’s important to take little breaks for your brain during the day.

  • Our brain’s concentration span is limited to 20-30 minutes. So by taking a pause every half hour to just stretch, walk about, drink some water, or just close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, you are maximising your concentration.

Below is a link to a quick 6 minute self-hypnosis track you can use to relax.

Exam stress busting technique 2

Listen to a self-hypnosis track every day. You will find one on my website or follow the link on my Facebook page.

 Mindful moments: accept, it is what it is…

Sometimes we all have negative thoughts, and these can take up vital energy. Simply noticing those thoughts without judging them, and then letting them go can be a powerful way to turn things around. As Eckhart Tolle said ‘Whatever you accept completely, you go beyond…if you fight it, you’re stuck with it’.

  • What we resist persists…what we accept we move beyond

Try this simple technique inspired by mindful meditation practices and Emotional Freedom Technique.

Exam stress busting technique 3

The next time you have a negative thought (e.g. ‘I can’t do this’, ‘I’m going to fail’) just sit and notice it. Be curious…but not judgemental. Notice any tensions you are holding in your body as you have that thought and let them go. Allow the original thought to float away as easily as it came.

Say this affirmation: “Even though I have this feeling…I completely accept myself”.

So I hope you have found these helpful.

Sometimes stress and anxiety are harder to shift and a course of therapy can help you to move out of the stress paradigm. There are free resources online through charities (such as Young Minds, Mind, Childline, and Samaritans) that you may find helpful.

I offer cognitive hypnotherapy sessions in Hampshire and West Sussex (Emsworth, Petersfield and Midhurst) and over Skype. Contact me at contact@fauzknight.com; Mobile: 07949 736 553 or Facebook messenger for a no obligation chat. You can read more about Cognitive Hypnotherapy and how it can help with improving performance and many other things, on my website: www.fauzknight.com

And remember the F.E.W rule….

Just a F.E.W little things can make a big difference during exam time.

Food* Eat well and regularly. Think about nourishing your body and mind as you eat.

Exercise* Raise your heart rate every day to boost your energy, clear your mind and relax your body.

Water* Just 10 minutes of concentration can dehydrate you, so drink water throughout the day.

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Detox the mind with Cognitive Hypnotherapy

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Photo by Dawid Zawila on unsplash

Spring is a great time for change and time when most of us naturally turn to de-cluttering our lives. It’s a great time for making space for the new and re-assessing what’s important.

While we often focus on clearing out things in the physical environment around us, it’s also the ideal time for detoxing the mind.

Cognitive hypnotherapy is a simple and relaxing therapy that can help you to release yourself from stress and anxiety, manage anger, panic and fear, cope better with pain, improve self-confidence and performance, and leave behind those unwanted behaviours and habits that no longer serve you (such as smoking, unhealthy eating and weight gain).

In a typical session Fauz will guide you through a gentle process that helps to transform the unique unconscious level processes and beliefs that are at play when you experience stress or anxiety, or find yourself turning to old habits and behaviours.

So whether your aim for spring is getting motivate and energised, learning to manage stress better or reduce anxiety, improving your performance at work or study, losing those winter pounds, or simply finding better ways to relax, why not give Fauz a no obligations call to see how cognitive hypnotherapy could help you.

For your no obligations telephone consultation call Fauz on

07949 736 553

Fauz Knight (PhD, HPD, NLP Prac, DipCHyp)

Cognitive Hypnotherapist

Petersfield – Emsworth – Midhurst

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Available for Skype sessions.

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Research shows Cognitive hypnotherapy effective for treating anxiety and depression

A journal article published in the Mental Health Review Journal has shown that Quest Institute Cognitive Hypnotherapy is an effective treatment for anxiety and depression. The study looked at how people’s levels of anxiety and depression, measured through the national standard measures (GAD-7 and PHQ-9 forms), changed after attending one-to-one therapy sessions with a Quest Institute Cognitive Hypnotherapist. Out of the 118 people who took part 73% showed improvements after an average of 4 sessions of Cognitive Hypnotherapy.

Pie chart QCH v IAPT res 1200

Many of the people who took part had high levels of anxiety and/or depression before treatment (e.g. anxiety disrupting their lives), and felt significant improvements or even recovery, after treatment. This response to treatment for anxiety and depression is significant. The research suggests that Quest Institute Cognitive Hypnotherapy compares favourable against other types of talking therapies. For example, talking therapies used by IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies project), such as CBT, on average have a success rate of 42%. This makes one-to-one Cognitive Hypnotherapy an important treatment option for people with high levels of anxiety and depression.

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