Stress, Sleep, & Losing Weight


Stress is endemic. It fills our world. It comes at us from every direction. In the home, there are relationship problems, children problems, money problems, neighbour problems, family & friend problems, and almost certainly a load more that you have to deal with on a daily basis. At work, there are colleagues, bosses, boredom, expectations, demands, and again probably a load more things that are there in your mind every morning when you set off, and are still on your mind when you get home. Then you have to deal with all of that home stuff as well.

Is there a solution?

Well there is and there isn’t.

There isn’t anything you can do about other people and the way they relate to you or treat you. If you want to be warm, eat hot, nourishing food, and have somewhere safe to sleep then you are going to have to pay people money for fuel, food, and rent – which means you have to find a way to obtain that money. In this society that generally means becoming a slave to someone else’s whims and desires for a certain number of hours a day. In some occupations they even demand your slavery for 24 hours a day by forcing you to remain contactable via your smartphone. So you’re pretty much stuck with all of that – at least for now.

So how do you change it?

You can’t change them, and you can’t change the system. But there is something you can do about your personal response to all of that. When you change your personal response your world changes.

But the first thing I’m going to mention is eating.

Stress and overeating are linked. Food is an excellent love substitute, and sweet, fatty, and/or salty foods are particularly satisfying. So when you get home from work, after a rough day, you don’t feel like cooking something healthy. So quick and easy is the solution – maybe something out of a tin, a packet, or the freezer. Pop it in the microwave and you can ease away the stresses of the day with each glorious mouthful of unhealthy food. A study by several US universities (Illinois,Michigan et al), published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, discovered an interesting connection between stress at work and eating.

“We found that employees who have a stressful workday tend to bring their negative feelings from the workplace to the dinner table, as manifested in eating more than usual and opting for more junk food instead of healthy food,” said Chu-Hsiang “Daisy” Chang, MSU associate professor of psychology and co-author. However she added that with a good night’s sleep behind them workers had a tendency to eat better when they experienced stress the following day.

So the best thing you can do to help yourself to cope with stress is to sleep well.

“A good night’s sleep can make workers replenished and feel vigorous again, which may make them better able to deal with stress at work the next day and less vulnerable to unhealthy eating,” (Chang)

There’s nothing really surprising here. If you sleep well you can cope better with what the day throws at you, and if you can cope better you have a much lower need to compensate with fatty, greasy, sugary foods. If you sleep badly and go to work tired and with stresses from the previous day still on your mind then you are going to become even more stressed and seek comforting foods to compensate.

So, it seems that the key to maintaining a healthy weight, and cope better with stress, is a good night’s sleep. But if the stress is what’s causing the poor night’s sleep then it’s a bit of a Catch-22 situation.

So what’s the way out?

You need a two-pronged attack.

Find ways of dealing with the stress, and find ways to get a better night’s sleep despite the stress.

When you deal with both at the same time you will ease both at the same time, and as the stress eases, and you sleep better then you will find yourself needing to eat less and so you’ll start to lose weight too and that will reinforce the better sleeping, better eating and much improved ability to cope with stress.

Now, I experienced chronic anxiety for many, many years, so I’m not being glib when I say find ways of dealing with the stress. I know you can because I’ve done it. But you need to be serious about it and you need to change the way you view the world.

I’ve written about this, and how to achieve it, in my book Change Your Life with Self Hypnosis (also available from the Apple Bookstore)

And hypnosis is brilliant for improving sleep quality too, so check out my Insomnia MP3 instant download too.

But if all that drew you to this article was the Losing Weight bit of the title then treat yourself to this


Alternative health hypnosis self-help

Insomnia and How to Beat It

Difficulty getting a restful, rejuvenating, night’s sleep – or insomnia, is  a surprisingly common problem. It affects over 60 million Americans, and almost one-third of the UK adult population. We all suffer the odd night when we have difficulty sleeping because of a worry, or excitement, or a minor illness. That’s not insomnia. Insomnia is when it happens night after night after night and you wake feeling almost as tired as you when you went to bed and often feel as if you haven’t slept at all.

Some people feel they aren’t getting any sleep night after night, but the good news is that you do actually get some sleep, simply because after several days without any sleep, you start to experience micro-sleeps (lasting half a second to half a minute) outside of your awareness, and you may also begin to experience hallucinations. Physical health also starts to suffer with prolonged sleep deprivation eventually leading to death. What tends to be experienced is long periods of being awake and getting frustrated at the lack of ability to fall asleep – interspersed with short periods of sleep, which tend to be forgotten.

Others have difficulty falling asleep, but when they eventually do, they have a decent sleep.

Yet others have no problem falling asleep, but awaken after a couple of hours and then can’t get back to sleep.

The patterns are quite varied so here’s a little help:

If you

  • have difficulty drifting off to sleep
  • experience patchy sleep, waking frequently
  • Go to bed and can’t drift off
  • Have a short sleep but awaken too early
  • Don’t feel refreshed after sleep
  • Have trouble concentrating because of tiredness

Then you have insomnia.

The amount of sleep each person needs is different, but generally speaking an adult requires around 7-9 hours. If you think you’re sleeping but feel permanently tired then you probably have insomnia.

It doesn’t matter how long it’s been going on for you, insomnia isn’t normal, and, unless there is some underlying physical problem, you can be helped.

There are some easy fixes and some less easy fixes. Sort out the comfort of the room if it’s too hot or too cold. It may be that your bed is not as comfortable as it could be. Stop taking non-prescription drugs. Use earplugs if noise is a problem, and eye-shades if the room is too light – this can be a particular problem in higher latitudes. Where I live (UK) in summer it starts getting light at about 3:30am and on a clear morning is almost fully daylight by 4:00am.

Less easy to fix is sleep deprivation caused by stress, anxiety, or even depression. If you suffer from any of these problems I highly recommend that you have a read of my book Change Your Life with Self Hypnosis. It is full of tips and helpful techniques to use to reduce stress and anxiety as well as helping you to move toward lifting your depression.

Most insomnia, whether or not you realise it, is down to the establishment of poor sleeping habits, and one thing hypnosis is very good at is breaking bad habits. With that end I have created this Insomnia recording available for instant download. It is not designed for listening at bed time, so listen at least a couple of hours before you go to sleep. Listen daily until you have established better sleeping patterns.

As well as this you can help by introducing a regular bedtime routine. Stop doing anything mentally stimulating about an hour before you sleep. If there is anything on your mind write it down and pick it up again in the morning. Have a warm milky drink – chocolate is good. Get into a warm bath with lots of bubbles and just soak and maybe listen to some soft music. Read rather than watch TV and most definitely turn off the computer/phone/tablet at least an hour beforehand. Relaxing music is good even if you’re not in the bath.

Once you are in bed do not read, do not watch TV, do not listen to music, just settle down as comfortably as you can and give yourself permission to have a good and restful nights sleep. If you download the recording you will discover that there is just one more thing that you can do that will assist you in drifting off for a deep and satisfying sleep until the alarm goes off in the morning.


How to Increase Self Confidence Easily

Confidence is Key. Without confidence life is a struggle. Without confidence easy things become difficult or impossible. Without confidence life seems to pass you by while you sit on the sidelines and watch. If that was all, life would at least be tolerable and you could get by. The real problem comes when others make demands of you.

Bosses are very good at this. “I need you to do a presentation.” You can’t get out of it because your livelihood depends on it. But the very idea terrifies you, and so life becomes a waking nightmare until you have finally crashed and burned and it is not only in the past but you hope you made such a terrible job of it that you will never be asked again.

I had a patient who had a two-year old daughter and such was his terror of public speaking that he came to see me for help about the fear he was experiencing at the thought that in 18, or 20, or 30 years’ time he would have to stand up and give a speech at her wedding.

Another was the boss of his own company who dreaded management meetings because he found it difficult to stand up to the stronger wills of his subordinates. So this problem affects people at all levels on the success ladder.

Lack of confidence is not just about public speaking though. Other forms of public performance – like being watched while performing a task, interviews, tests and the like, all cause problems for you if your confidence is low.

But where this lack of belief in Self hurts the most is in your social interactions. Always the listener. Always the quiet one – at least until you get to know people and feel that you are safe with them. This sense of personal safety is important, because those who experience any sense of inadequacy are frequently sensitive souls who feel slights and digs much more deeply than those around them. They are usually much better at tuning in to the feelings of others and pick up very quickly, almost telepathically, on the genuineness, or otherwise, of those they encounter in their journey through life.

But at the heart of all this is the idea, the belief, that you are unworthy, or undeserving, or not good enough – and everyone else knows it, and talks about it. This is not a truth – it just feels like one. So at the heart of the problem is an idea about Self. This an idea that has been imposed, or learned simply from the way you have been treated in your younger years. Our school system is very good at making sure that everyone knows that only the most academically capable are worth anything. It is also very good at instilling a sense of failure in our hearts. What it fails, most spectacularly, to do is to teach us that we are wonderful, warm, deserving people who need to believe in, and follow, our dreams until our dreams change or we achieve our desires.

All of us are worthy. There are none who are better, or worse. Yes, of course, intelligence and ability have not been handed out equally, and some tasks are undoubtedly easier for some than they are for you. But skill and talent are not measures of worthiness. Understand this and you go a long way to undoing the subconscious programming that is holding you back behind the prison of your fears. A great way to begin to undo this subconscious programming is to use hypnosis.

I have created two tools to help you with this. The first is my book Change Your Life with Self Hypnosis. This devotes more space than this article to helping you understand the reasons for lack of self confidence and how to help change that. The other is my latest hypnosis recording Self Confidence that is available for immediate download either directly from my website or from Amazon. So grab your copy now – it even comes with a 30 day money-back guarantee if for any reason you aren’t happy with it. So there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain. It could change your life, so take action now.


Five Steps To Combat Stress

Of course the easiest way to reduce stress in your life is to change your life in a way that removes the stressful elements. However, the practicalities of earning a living, feeding a family, and keeping warm might mean that walking out on a stressful job and chilling out on a tropical beach for the rest of your life, seems a little unrealistic.

A lot of stress comes from social demands. The expectations of others cause a great deal internal turmoil – after all, you want to do what you want to do with your time, not what someone else wants you to do. You might want to sit and read, or watch TV, when your other half may prefer you to be doing the dishes, cleaning the house, or painting the fence.

Wider than the immediate home are the expectations of society – you need a job, you need to pay taxes, you need to pay bills on time, you need to attend this wedding or that party, and most of all, you need to not spend your life living it the way you want to.

Now I would suggest that, long-term, you decide what you truly want to do with your life and how you want to live it, but short-term there are things you can do to reduce the burden that stress places on your BodyMind.

Following are the five steps. They will have a significant impact on your stress levels and help you to deal with your difficulties from a much more resilient position. They are not alternatives. You need to take all five steps in order to gain the maximum benefit and you need to engage with them in the order I’ve placed them. Each one prepares you for the next and cumulatively they will have a powerful impact on your stress levels.


Yoga is interesting. At a superficial level it is exercise, at a much deeper level it is life-changing, it is a way of living. Yoga requires nothing more than a mat to exercise on, some comfortable unrestrictive clothing, and a class to attend.

In a yoga class you will be guided through a series of body postures which stretch, and compress, various parts of your body. You don’t have to put your feet behind your neck – though you can if you want to. Yoga is non-competitive. Every class will have people who are not at all bendy and people who are extremely bendy. But yoga is an internal process. It is not about watching others and competing with them. It is about you feeling your way into your body, getting to know your body, and being comfortable with what it can do.

As you continue with yoga, you will notice that you can stretch a little more than you used to be able to. After a year or so you will notice a huge improvement in the flexibility of your body. But the real benefit is for the mind. A good teacher will direct you to pay attention to your body, while you are exercising. The idea is not to stand in, say, the Warrior Pose, while thinking about what you need to buy for tea tonight. It is about standing in that pose and focusing all your attention on the feedback that your body is giving you. This gives your mind a break. With regular practice you will notice stress levels reducing.

Find a class and get into the habit of attending it once a week.


Once the yoga is up and running you need to move on to the next step and that is meditation. The beauty of meditation is that you can do it anywhere you can safely close your eyes for ten minutes. Yoga is a good introduction to the practice of meditation. It gets you used to stillness.

There are many methods you can use to meditate and if you want to attend a class then do so, but I want you to think in terms of meditation for ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes every evening. The usual excuse is I don’t have time. Well just get up ten minutes earlier and go to bed ten minutes later and you have just found the time. The meditation is far more restful than sleep so you actually gain rather than lose.

If you want to explore different techniques then get some books on the subject, but I’ll share with you a simple technique that I use.

Sit comfortably, where you won’t be disturbed. Close your eyes. Focus all of your attention on the sensation of air moving in and out of your nostrils. Then just breathe. You will find your attention wanders. You will not notice it drifting off, but at some point you will realise that you have wandered away from the focus on your breathing to think about more important things. At this moment of realisation, allow whatever thoughts are present to drift away and return your focus to your breath.

The drifting away and coming back will happen many times in a session. It is not a problem. Meditation, at least in the early stages, is all about learning that you can control where you place your attention and that you can always choose to place it on the breath. When you place it here, your BodyMind relaxes.

You will not notice huge benefits immediately. Meditation needs to become a part of the daily routine. Over time it will induce in you a greater sense of calm and tranquillity – but, like any skill, it needs dedication and practice.

Aerobic Exercise

Exercise is good for you. If you don’t get any, then get some. If you do get some then get more. Aerobic exercise generates endorphins. Endorphins make you feel good. Stress makes you feel bad. Exercise counters the effects of stress.

Aerobic exercise is exercise that gets your heart rate up a bit. If you have heart problems, or are unfit then be sensible and have a word with your doctor to find out what is ok for you. Otherwise a light sweat is a good indicator that you are pushing yourself just enough without overdoing it. A heart rate monitor that you wear on your wrist is a handy device to help keep your heart rate in the aerobic zone. The more sophisticated ones bleep at you if you are not putting enough effort in and also when you are overdoing it.

Aerobic doesn’t mean hard work. It means pushing yourself a little. Walking at as fast a pace as you can manage is aerobic exercise. In fact my aerobic exercise involves walking two miles or so three or four days a week with a longer walk at weekends. I also get on my bicycle now and then for a little variety.

Don’t make it so tough you give up. Make it easy and enjoyable so you want to do it on a daily basis.

Spend Time In Nature

If you can, do this at least once a week. Go for a walk where there are trees, or grass, or a clean river or lake. Go where you can see wild birds, and occasionally disturb small mammals. Find a spot, sit down, maybe take a picnic if the weather is suitable, and just rest in the tranquillity. Don’t use the time to plan, or fill your mind with busy-ness. Just sit and be, or walk and be. As you look around notice how nature handles everything. Notice how it changes from season to season.

Allow the peace to reach you.

Take Up a Creative Hobby

In all the years that I’ve been helping people to reduce the stress and anxiety in their lives, I’ve noticed one common factor in the people who struggle most with life. They have no creative outlet. They have no passion for anything. They get up, go to work, come home, go to bed and repeat.

It can be difficult to find time for yourself with the demands of family and smartphones that make bosses, and friends, believe you are available for 24 hours a day to do their bidding.

Nevertheless, find something that interests you and do it. If you don’t know what interests you then pick something at random and try it. If you like it, do more. If you don’t, take another random stab in the dark.

Around 12 years ago I went to a week long series of evening talks at my local library. The subject was the paranormal. It was purely out of curiosity. I ended up joining the group that was running the event and have spent many happy hours on paranormal investigations in some fascinating places.

Two years ago I was staying at a holiday park and had a go at archery – again just out of interest. Subsequently I joined a club and have spent the last 18 months shooting arrows anything from once to three times a week. It’s a great stress reducer because you have to focus on you and your body in order to hit the target.

Follow the clues that your mind provides. If you are curious about something then explore it further and see what happens. It doesn’t matter what it is – gardening, writing, photography, a sport, crochet, cookery…

Just try something out and get your mind onto something other than those that are making your life hell.

Life doesn’t have to be hell. However bad it is, you can do something to make it just a little bit better.


If you’d like to explore in more detail how to reduce the stress in your life then check out my book Change Your Life with Self Hypnosis for a detailed, step by step training course on how to use your mind to help you to live a better life.


How to Feel Good When You Want to Feel Bad

It’s funny isn’t it? I mean how we can drift off into our memories and relive events as if they were real. A scent, a sight, a question – can all send us off on an unintentional journey into a place of pleasure or pain. We can be bumbling along in our own little world, quite ok with everything, and then Bam! Our thoughts take us to a place of heaven or hell and we begin to relive a memory.

That memory brings with it either pleasurable or painful emotions – sensations that we experience in our bodies. Sensations that tell us we are happy or sad.


Do it now. Go back into the past and find a sad memory – perhaps the breakup of what you once dreamed was the perfect relationship; the death of someone close; even a moment of total embarrassment as you made a complete idiot of yourself in the eyes of people who were important in your life. Pull back the pictures in your mind, relive it, and remember the scents, the sounds, the feelings. Spend a few moments reliving it before continuing to read.

How do you feel?

Has your mood changed?

Do a quick body scan and notice any areas of discomfort.

Allow all thoughts of that memory to drift away back into the past where they belong.


Now repeat the exercise, but this time with the best memory you can find. Perhaps it was that first kiss; getting your dream job; a wonderful holiday; holding your son or daughter in your arms for the first time and looking into their beautiful scrunched up face; maybe even a moment when you were overflowing with love for something or someone. Pull back the pictures in your mind, relive it, remember the scents, the sounds, the feelings. Spend a few moments reliving it before continuing to read.

How do you feel?

Has your mood changed?

Do a quick body scan and notice any areas of discomfort.

Allow all thoughts of that memory to drift away back into the past where they belong.

Which exercise did you like the best?

Did either of them bring tears to your eyes?

Is it Really Real?

Now I want you to think carefully about this next sentence.

None of it was real.

They were memories.

Memories aren’t real. They are just sensations that we interpret as pictures, sensations, sounds, and thoughts in our minds. We behave as if they are real. We behave as if they make us who we are. We behave as if they are important.

But they are just illusions.

I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t have them. I like my memories – especially the happy ones. But that doesn’t make them real. That doesn’t mean we should base what we do right now on something that is nothing more than an illusion.

Here’s a little thought experiment for you to do right now. Just imagine, for a moment or two, what would be different if you, and the planet, and everything on it, were created one second ago, and all  those memories that you think are real were already programmed into your brain cells?

They Control You – If You Let Them

Yet you let them control your life.

As I mentioned at the beginning – something happens, a sight, sounds, sensation, scent – and it triggers a memory. That memory shifts your mood. Your mood affects your decision making process and consequently how you experience your life. Let’s say, when you were a baby, a doctor with a big beard stuck a needle in you and handled you roughly. Let’s say, because you were a baby, he didn’t treat you as a person, more as a thing.

So back to today, and you find yourself always a little suspicious and wary of men with beards. You call it intuition and you know that wariness is keeping you safe – you’ve just never realised it’s about beards and never noticed that your intuition never flags up clean-shaven men.

Subliminal Programmes

What happens at a subliminal level is that your natural, programmed, survival instincts – operating outside of your awareness – get triggered whenever a beard is in sight. Those same emotional chemicals, the ones that were released when you did the unpleasant memory exercise earlier, are set free. You notice emotional discomfort and feel a little uncomfortable. It’s just the echo of a memory, but because you can feel it, because you can feel the uncomfortable changes in your mood state, you think it is real.

It Must Be True

If it’s real, it must be true and so you act out a fantasy created by an ancient survival system that works on the basis of if it hurt once, avoid it forever because it might kill you next time.

What you feel, that slide into a negative mood state, is nothing more than chemicals floating around in your blood stream. Chemicals triggered by your primitive survival instincts that were not designed for 21st Century living on a planet with billions of people that you can never avoid.

The exercise you did earlier shifted you first into a negative mood and then into a positive mood in a matter of moments. You can always do this. You can consciously choose what to think about. So next time you feel low, find as good a memory as you can get hold of and use it to lift your mood a little – unless, of course, you enjoy the misery. Use your ability to make conscious choices to focus on thoughts that make you feel good, rather than thoughts that make you feel bad.

And whenever you feel bad, remind yourself, it’s just sensations.

More Help

If you’d like more help on how to shift your thoughts into the positive. My book Change Your Life with Self Hypnosis is a training course that helps you to take control of your mind, your thoughts, and how you feel so that you can consciously shift into a permanently more positive mind set where setbacks are nothing more than temporary glitches in the smooth running of your life.


Are You Overweight and Addicted to Food?

Is food more powerful than your desire to lose weight?

Does food control your life?

Is it almost impossible for you to stop eating once you are full?

Being addicted to food is a strange idea. After all we can’t do without it, can we? So food addiction must be something different from just eating, or just eating a bit too much because that’s, well, that’s just normal.


If you:

  • Eat faster than normal
  • Eat well past the point of fullness
  • Eat frequently when not physically hungry
  • Eat alone or in secret
  • Feel bad or guilty after overeating
  • Feel that you must be different somehow

Then you may have a problem with food that is beyond what most people experience.

If this is you then recognise that losing weight is going to be much tougher for you than it is for others. However, you may like to know that you are not alone in this. There are 12 million people in the UK that suffer from a compulsive eating problem to some extent. Some scientists would like to point to the problem being a genetic disorder, but to my mind if one fifth of the population have the same thing then it’s not really a disorder – it’s normal.

So if it’s not genetic, what else could be causing it?

Genetic? Well sort of

Well it sort of is genetic, but not in a bad way. When you think about it these bodies we appear to inhabit were designed for a very different world from the one they live in now. They were designed as survival machines for life around 100,000 years ago when, if you wanted to eat, you had to go catch an antelope or dig up some roots, or spend all day picking tiny berries. Just finding something to eat used up a huge amount of calories and sometimes food was scarce.

That occasional scarcity of food was what allowed us to develop the ability to carry a surplus around with us in the form of fat deposits. Apart from anything else these helped to keep our bodies warm, and as I mentioned in my book How to Lose Weight Easily, fat burns less energy than muscle so the metabolic cost of carrying it is minimal.

The Sweet Stuff

Survival, back then, was all about the balance between calorie output and calorie input. Sugar is just dense calories; calories are energy; and energy is survival. So we developed a taste for sweet stuff. So much so that we would risk stings and death by climbing trees to raid hives for their honey.

Sweet also came in the form of fully ripened fruit.

There wasn’t a lot of sweet around in the world back then, so what there was, was highly prized and savoured when it was available. Because it was not readily available and life was very physical, a taste for sweet was never detrimental to our health and well-being.

Nowadays everything is sweet. Go to your kitchen cupboard and pick out half a dozen packaged foods. Check the nutrition label, or the ingredients list and I bet most of them will have sugar in some form. If it ends in ose it’s probably sugar e.g. Sucrose, Maltose, Dextrose, Fructose, Glucose, Galactose, Lactose, High fructose corn syrup (HFCS), Glucose solids. There’s a whole load of other stuff that’s also sugar but you probably got bored reading that list, so I’m not going to inflict an even longer one on you.

Fat too

Fats are another problem. Fats are compact calories just like sugar. When you mix fat and sugar together it’s heaven to a body that is, basically, an energy seeking device. The problem is the body has only one way of really letting you know that your calorie intake is less than your calorie expenditure and that’s hunger.

When you pay attention to your body’s messages and eat when you are hungry and stop when you feel full, then everything stays nicely balanced. But the body was never designed to work with sugar or fat in everything. The craving for sweet comes from sweet being in short supply – not available in your kitchen cupboard 24 hours a day. Consequently sweet bypasses the hunger control. Usually the warning for eating too much sugar is nausea or vomiting.

They deliberately trigger an addictive response

This sugar-fat thing is taken advantage of by food manufacturers and they carefully balance sugars, fats and chemical flavours to trigger the same brain receptors that are activated by substances like heroin or cocaine. And they do it quite deliberately to get you hooked and to trigger binge eating.

They do it so successfully that 12 million in the UK now have a serious problem and once they get a taste of sweetness, often mixed with fat, it bypasses conscious control and they just keep on eating.

What can you do?

There’s been a lot of research done around this problem, looking at ways to help people, so here are a few tips.

The first thing you need to do, assuming you’d really like things to change, is to stop beating yourself up when you fail to stick to limits you set yourself. 12 million others, in this country alone, are having the same problem. Manufacturers are working hard to ensure that you fail. So if you do fail, just acknowledge that you did your best, and that there is always next time. Failure is not the end of the world. It’s just a temporary setback on the road to being slimmer.

The next is the easiest, and this works with smokers too. Just don’t buy the unhealthy stuff. I know supermarkets are open 24 hours a day but quite often the effort of going out to buy something sweet and fatty is enough to let you off the hook. You may feel uncomfortable for a while but if you have a glass of water or cup of tea or coffee without sugar, then the urge will pass. Pretend that you have a bad habit that you want to get rid of. The way to remove habits is to engage in alternative behaviours and make it difficult to engage in the habit. Eat an apple, or a banana. I know it’s not what the craving is for, but part of the habit is wanting something sweet in your mouth. But fruit, although containing sugars, does not have them as freely available as in, say, a chocolate bar or biscuit. The body has to work harder to extract them and so fruit satisfies you for longer. Once you start to do that regularly you will find that the sweet things you used to enjoy are starting to taste a little too sweet and you don’t enjoy them as much.

One last tip for you. One of the triggers for compulsive eating is the taste in your mouth. You will find it is actually much easier not to start eating than to stop. This is a case where you can’t get away with just one. If you eat one you’ll eat the packet. It’s much easier to say no to the first than to the second, so don’t eat the first.

This is a complex problem and I’m not suggesting this article will solve it for you. But it will help you to make a start and enjoy a little success. If you would like some more help then check out my book How to Lose Weight Easily which has hints and tips on how to go about losing weight without dieting. Or for a more in depth look at how to take control of your mind-body check out Change Your Life with Self Hypnosis which includes a chapter on using self hypnosis to help you lose weight.


How to Reduce Anxiety in Just Five Minutes

Yes it’s a trick – but it’s a good one. It’s a trick that fools our body into thinking that the danger has passed and so it can stop producing adrenaline and reacting as if life-threatening danger is present.

Not as advanced as we think we are

The problem is not the anxiety; it’s that we’re under-evolved. Our bodies were designed for life around 100,000 years ago when our only mode of transport was our legs and we could only communicate with others by speaking directly to them. There were no employers. There was no money. No bills to pay. And if someone threatened us it was perfectly acceptable to club them over the head.

Danger was always immediate and dealt with when it arose. You didn’t have to go away and worry about the whether the lion was going to eat you in three weeks time. You worried about the lion when it was in front of you and you stopped worrying as soon as the danger had passed. If you were hungry you went out and found some food – you didn’t sit in your mud hut for three days wondering what you were going to do because you were starving.

The adrenaline boost, otherwise known as the fight or flight response, was designed to give you more energy in emergency situations. It was always followed by physical action – running away, climbing a tree, or sticking your spear into something. That physical action cleared it out of your system and after a rest you were good to go.

That was fine and perfect for the life humans once lived.

But then they started thinking.

Too much thinking

One of the things about the body-mind is that it has a tough time telling the difference between imagination and reality. Your body responds to your imagination as if what you were imagining was real. If you don’t believe this just spend a few moments thinking about a lemon. Imagine holding it in your hand, feeling the texture, squeezing it just a little. Then hold it under your nose and inhale that deliciously fresh lemon scent. Then place the lemon on your kitchen counter, pick up a knife and cut it in two. Notice the juice oozing out onto your counter. Can you smell it? Pick up one of the pieces, stick out your tongue and squeeze a few drops of juice onto your tongue.

Now notice the increased salivary activity in your mouth.

There was no lemon.

Imagination is more powerful than reality

Your imagination is so powerful that when you think fearful thoughts – thoughts about something you don’t like or don’t want in your life – your body responds as if you were in real danger. It releases adrenaline, pushes the heart rate up, increases blood pressure, increases respiration rate and a whole bunch of other stuff that you won’t like.

When your life is such that you are worried most of the time, then this situation becomes chronic and your body never gets the break it needs.

So start to notice those times when something happens that causes you to worry. Then notice that your thoughts are focusing on an imagined future. You are predicting all the things that could go wrong, all the worst case scenarios. This is true even if something bad has already happened. You will be imagining life now in the presence of the bad thing having happened – imagining how difficult life will be now, for instance.

Very, very rarely is anything bad happening right now. If something bad is happening right now then do what you can to protect yourself or escape from the situation. If nothing bad is happening right now then that means it either has happened or you imagine it will happen. So recognise this and then notice your breathing.

I mentioned earlier that part of the fight/flight response is increased respiration rate. So notice your breathing and start to slow it down. Slow it down by slowly, a little at a time, deepening your breath.

Slow it down

Most of us, most of the time, breathe quite shallowly into the middle part of our lungs. So place your hand on your abdomen, about the area of your navel, and take the breath into the lower part of your lungs so that you push your hand out. When you breathe out, really pull in your abdominal muscles so that you expel all of the breath – this will pull your hand in towards your spine. It may take a few breaths to get used to this, but once you’ve got it then start to slow down the rate at which you breathe in and out. Really slow down the breath. Breathe as slowly as you can. If you feel any sense of discomfort or breathlessness then just take a few normal breaths before returning to abdominal breathing. Do this for around five minutes.

Good trick

This is the trick I mentioned at the beginning. Slow, relaxed breathing is associated with peace and tranquillity, not danger. So as you establish this easy, relaxed breathing pattern, your body-mind gets the message that everything is ok and we don’t need to do the fight/flight thing any more. This breathing technique breaks the cycle that maintains the anxiety state. It also distracts you from whatever your worry thoughts were because rather than breathing automatically, as we do most of the time, you have taken breathing under conscious control and that takes mind effort and re-directs your thoughts.

Try it and see what happens.

If you want to find out more about how to reduce anxiety check out my video The ABC of Anxiety Relief which goes into a little more detail. It’s only a little over ten minutes long.

If you prefer to read than watch then have a look at my book Change Your Life with Self Hypnosis which is bursting with simple solutions to anxiety and other problems that cause life to be less than we would wish it to be. But it’s a little more than that. It is a training course in discovering how to be Master of your Mind, rather than allowing your mind to be the master of you.



How to Cope When You Can’t

Bills – but no money to pay them?

Worried sick because your Mum is seriously ill?

Bullied at work?

Too much to do, not enough time?


Overwhelming problems come in all shapes and sizes. It’s almost as if we were born worrying. We’ve had help; been to the doctor; we even recognise that worrying doesn’t help – but we can’t seem to stop doing it. It’s as if it’s a part of who we are – a very unfair part – but nevertheless an integral part of our personality. So if it’s me, surely it’s impossible to change? If it’s me, surely I’m just stuck with it, even though it’s so unfair?

Why does it seem to be the good, kind, gentle people, who suffer so? Those who don’t care about the feelings of others seem to live a blessed existence as they sail through life, not caring who they hurt, as long as they come out on top.

Most of the time we just muddle through doing the best we can, surviving one storm and hoping for a brief spell of good weather before the next one turns up.

The trouble is that the next one can sometimes be a hurricane. Not just one problem, but everything going wrong all at once. This is when your world overwhelms you and you just want someone to wave their wand and make it all go away.

All you want to do is curl up and cry. Or maybe have someone give you a magic hug. Or perhaps you just want to go to sleep and never wake up. Life is too hard and you have done nothing to deserve this. You are a good person, but appeals to your God seem to fall on deaf ears.

And when you’re all cried out – the problems remain and you still have no solutions.

Life is Unfair

Life is unfair. Bad people win, and good people lose. You can recognise that and then you can dismiss it as irrelevant to you right now. By right now I actually mean right in this very moment. Not two minutes in the future, or ten minutes in the past.  Not yesterday, and not tomorrow. Right now is an instant in time and it’s the instant you are reading this word, and now this word… Right now is a fleeting thing and trying to catch it is as easy as trying to hold water in a net.

So be aware, reading these words, that as you seek help, as you seek a way out, that the solution will involve you. There is no way out that does not involve you. But your involvement is not coming up with solutions – you will either find those or you won’t. Your involvement is to learn how to use your mind differently from the way you have been trained to use it.

You have been trained to worry.

The Solution

You need to discover a different approach to your problems. I don’t mean ignore them, or pretend they aren’t there. The different approach is to reduce the worry and then open yourself up to solutions. Worry blocks your intuitive sense. Worry blocks your access to the knowingness that holds all the answers you ever need.

So how does that pay the bills?

Paying the bills isn’t the immediate problem. The immediate right now problem is your sense of overwhelm that prevents you from accessing any solutions. Free yourself from that and you may begin to see a way out that you couldn’t see because your anxiety was in the way.

How does that heal my Mum?

Magic? Not Exactly.

I’m not talking about magic, though I can’t deny that when you adopt this approach that magic happens. What you do is to free yourself from the worry so that when you spend time with your Mum you can be fully present with her, and allow yourself to trust that she is being cared for when you aren’t there.

I’m not talking here about solving the problems or pretending they don’t exist or that they don’t need dealing with. I’m talking about freeing up your mind from the anxiety that holds you in its fierce grip and immobilises you.

Become present whenever you notice that your mind has drifted away onto your problems. Do this frequently and your life will change.

More Help

If you’d like to explore in greater detail how to do this then check out my book The Ten Commitments: For When the World Overwhelms You The book is deliberately brief because in a state of overwhelm concentration is difficult, so these are ten very easy steps that you will be able to engage with and which will ease your burden and allow you to get through today. Getting through today can seem a tough prospect when you awaken to face another interminable day. This short book is designed to help you through and to give you the peace that invites in solutions. So check it out now


Do What You can, Not What You Can’t

The following is an extract from my book The Ten Commitments.

The Ten Commitments is a set of ten steps that you can take to restore order to your life when your world overwhelms you. Each commitment is a simple step you can take – even when you feel totally unable to cope. Each Chapter is very brief so you don’t even have to worry about having to concentrate.

Here’s Commitment 2…

In part, overwhelm comes from having more to deal with, physically, emotionally, and mentally than we can handle. Because of the way we are taught we grow up with this crazy idea that we are gods and should be able to do stuff – even if that means fitting into a 24 hour period more than is actually possible.

What I’m asking you to do here is to take a deep breath, let it out slowly and then take a realistic look at your expectations of you for today, and other’s expectations of you for today. I highly encourage you to make a list of all of these demands on your time and your mind.

Go down the list and for each item ask yourself the question “can I do this today?” If the answer is yes, put a tick next to it. If the answer is no put a line through it and give it no further thought. There is no going back later and thinking well maybe if I did this, or changed that I could fit it in, I don’t really like to say no…

Once it is crossed out it no longer exists for you today. You must commit to this.

When you have finished this go through the list again and give each item a priority from 1 to whatever. 1 is the most important. If you can’t decide then toss a coin or roll a dice and be bound by the result. You must end up with a prioritised list. If you have more than 10 items on your list then cross out 11 to the end of the list. If you have 10 or fewer items on your list then cross out just the last one.

You might be the person who has a to-do list with 57 items on it every day. No wonder you are overwhelmed. You are not superwoman or superman. Stop kidding yourself. Do the most important ones today and forget the rest.

I know this is really difficult to get your head round, but you will find that when you have 57 things to do and feel totally overwhelmed you are probably lucky if you manage to complete 7 or 8 of them. So get real. Commit to doing what you can do. What you can’t do isn’t going to get done anyway so commit to not doing that and turn it into a positive decision.

I’m not here to help you do the impossible. I’m here to guide you to a place where you can function normally. Functioning normally is doing what you can, not doing what you can’t, recognising the difference and being okay with all of it – just for today. Tomorrow you can do what you like. Today stick with the plan. You’ll get away with it for just one day. No one will even notice.

Check out the Ten Commitments on Amazon now.



Is Reality Just a Magic Trick?

Have you ever been fooled by a magician? Did a magician ever have you thinking that magic was really happening because there was no way to do what he was doing? Maybe, as you grew wiser, you saw how some illusions were achieved using misdirection and a great deal of skill. David Blaine is one brilliant illusionist that springs to mind. Derren Brown is another, but his illusions are illusions of the mind. Watch him at work and you’ll start to get a feel for how things can seem one way and actually be something quite different. He also demonstrates the ease with which one who understands minds can cause another, in ignorance, to dance to his tune. But he does it with care and sensitivity and no one is harmed.

If this resonates with you then you have to accept that you can be fooled into thinking something is real when it isn’t. You can even be fooled by the illusion while at the same time knowing that it can’t possibly be true – or can it?

The Invisible Holds Great Power

Have you ever seen a streak of lightning? Magical isn’t it? That same power, that same energy, when controlled, lights your home, makes your TV work and connects you to that other unreal world – the Internet. You can’t see the controlled form of electricity. It is invisible.

Have you ever used a compass? The needle moves yet nothing moves it. Ever played with a magnet and pins or paper clips? They move magically. Yet we all know that there is something called magnetism that is invisible. Magnetism is a force that has the power to move objects. Magnetism, at its weakest, is barely detectable, but at the other end of the scale it is so powerful that a maglev (MAGnetic LEVitation) train has carried 100 passengers at over 300mph for almost 30 miles.

But you still can’t see it. Magnetism is only detectable by its effects. At some point in the past somebody noticed it, researched it, and gave it its name – magnetism.

Radioactivity is similar. It is naturally present in rocks – invisible but deadly. Ultra violet light, is also invisible and good in small doses bad in large ones.

So, for the moment, recognise that you can be fooled, and that you are aware of invisible forces and powers.

How Much Do You Know?

Do you know how much you don’t know?

Do you know how much all of the people of the Earth don’t know?

If we knew everything then no new research would take place. So given that you don’t know how much you don’t know, you would have to accept that there might be things going on of which you are unaware. Life and the world may function in a way that is unlike anything you’ve ever imagined, or just like everything you’ve ever imagined in your wildest dreams.

Mind Force

What if, just like a magnetic force field, there was a Mind Force Field or a Personal Power Field that connected everything and everyone. The earth’s magnetic field flows right through your body and you are unaware of it. Mobile phone microwaves go through you as easily as they do through the walls of your house or the windows of your car. X-rays don’t experience much resistance either and you can’t feel them while they pass through you.

Just because we know about magnetic fields and microwaves and x-rays and radiation and don’t know about a Personal or Planetary or Life Power field doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. There was a time in history when mankind knew nothing of magnetism, or microwaves, or x-rays, or radiation, or electricity.

So you can be fooled, you are aware of invisible forces and powers, you don’t know how much you don’t know, and you don’t know that there isn’t some as yet undetected Power field connecting you to everything and everyone else.

Back to Reality

Everything you experience is the result of your mind-brain’s interpretation of sensory input. You see, you feel, you hear, you smell, you taste, you sense. Everything you know about your world is based on your interpretation of the input your mind-brain receives from those six senses. Bio-chemical messages travelling along nerve pathways and hitting a bunch of neurons in your brain and then triggering off cascades of bio-chemical messages within your head are what your world and your Reality consist of. This isn’t speculation, it’s fact. Your world, for you, exists within your Mind-Brain. But the clever bit is that what your Mind-Brain does is to create a representation, within your awareness, of an external physical world. That external physical world may or may not exist. You simply can’t tell because you don’t have anything external to you to test its validity. If I gave you a Virtual Reality headset and gloves to put on you would very quickly be fooled into behaving as if what you were seeing was real. You only know it isn’t real because you can take the headset off and your senses can feel the headset and keep you aware that this is a game. What if you were given a headset the minute you were born? You’d never ever know what was real and what wasn’t. And if this sounds a little like the Matrix, then just allow your mind to wander into that wonderful piece of fiction for a moment or two.

Nothing Matters But Your Experience

In actual fact none of it matters. None of it matters because your experience is the only thing you have to relate to. It seems real. It seems external. It seems solid. That makes more sense than the virtual reality idea, so why not just put that to one side for the moment.

If your world is separate and independent from you, then nothing you do in your mind or with your mind can possibly influence it or affect it in any way because there is nothing connecting the two. The only thing that will bring about change for you is action. Yet action has so far eluded you as a way to solve your sense of Powerlessness. Whatever you do leaves you feeling as if you are stuck and nothing you do or can do ever makes any difference.

If your world is somehow connected to you in a way that you don’t know, like magnetism or gravity or some other invisible energy, then your mind, and what you do with it, could be the key to changing your life and your world. And since you always have your mind with you, you will never be without the thing you need to bring about the change you desire. You can never be resource-less.

How do you Control that Power?

What you don’t know at the moment is how to activate those resources in a way that will find you feeling Powerful and in control of your destiny.

If you’d like to open the door to an exploration of that forgotten power then check out my book Change Your Life with Self Hypnosis and start to take control of your mind and your world.