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.

hypnosis Personal Development self-help

Jennifer Saunders Uses Hypnosis To Help With Procrastination and Win £100,000


According to the New Zealand Herald Jennifer Saunders is experiencing a common problem – procrastination. You know, that thing where every trivial task is more important than the most important job you have to finish. It seems that Jennifer Saunders is working on a script for the screen version of Absolutely Fabulous and finding it difficult to complete – even though there is a £100,000 bet to win from her friend Dawn French if she completes before the end of the year.

Jennifer is getting help from her hypnotherapist.

So how exactly might hypnosis help you to do what you don’t really want to do?

Well, in my experience, the problem is never about doing the thing that is causing the procrastination. The problem is about things like fear of success, ‘what will I do when I’ve finished that?’, expecting to fail, fear of what will happen after the task is completed…

Obviously I have no idea what the problem is that Jennifer Saunders is experiencing and I have no intention of speculating. What I like is the idea that she is using hypnotherapy to help her to write a successful script that will turn into a film that I will almost certainly enjoy.

There are several routes that you can take with hypnosis to solve this particular type of problem. You can journey into the past to find out where the problem may have originated; you can move forward in time and see what problems and difficulties show up that you might be subconsciously avoiding; or you could treat it symbolically.

My first choice would be the symbolic one – because when it works it is very quick and very simple.

You can even do it yourself if you know how to use self-hypnosis.

All you have to do is to take yourself into trance, and when you are deeply relaxed, allow an image to form of a barrier that blocks your route to the successful completion of the task. You can imagine the barrier as anything you like: a shark-infested moat, a big stone wall; a minefield; razor wire; or maybe even a pride of lions. Use your imagination, the sillier the better.

Then you have to use your imagination to find a way to get over, through, or destroy the barrier. Because it is your imagination you can create anything you want to help you.

This imagery activates right-brain symbolic processing and, after you do this, you may find yourself effortlessly completing what you were putting off.

Obviously it can be a lot more complicated than this, but all the solution really requires is a willingness to explore your own resistance to completion and allow your subconscious mind to reveal its secrets.

If you want to try this out and need some help with the self-hypnosis part then check out my book Change Your Life with Self Hypnosis where I go into this technique, and others, in much more detail.

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health self-help

Is ADHD Really Just A Problem With Food?


When my oldest daughter was around 5, we noticed that every now and again she would go totally crazy. I think the current term is hyper, I suspect that schizo is now politically incorrect. It was distressing to watch because she was totally out of control, over-excited, tons of energy, reason went out of the window, and it was impossible to control her. It would last an hour or two, then she would calm down and be perfectly normal.

Our first thought wasn’t “oh she’s sick better get her to the doctor”, it was more like “what can be causing this.”

I suspect, nowadays, a trip to the doctor’s would have resulted in a Ritalin prescription and the diagnosis of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyper-Activity Disorder) without a great deal of investigation.

Still we cared about what was happening to our daughter and so we watched and made connections and eventually realised that it was the green food colouring found in sweets and cakes that was causing the problem. No green food colouring, no problem. Eat something green and out-of-control.

I treated one 14 year old young man who had been diagnosed with ADHD and was taking medication – but it wasn’t enough. He was a very intelligent young man and I suspect this is quite often a factor in ADHD – boredom in school. His home life meant his parents had little time to give him the attention and love he craved, so he acted out because that brought him the attention and excitement he needed in his young life.

Peter Breggin MD writes about abandoning responsibility for our children in his book Toxic Psychiatry where he suggests that medication for ADHD is simply a substitute for the love and attention our children need.

A recent New York Times article suggests that around 1 in 10 school age children suffers from ADHD, and that 1 in 5 of 14-18 year old boys will also receive that diagnosis.

Just looking at the numbers, anyone with any sense would realise that this is not a mental health problem – it’s affecting just too many people. It must either be an environmental problem or misdiagnosis.

A Netherlands study reports that around 2 out of every 3 diagnosed cases of ADHD is actually food hypersensitivity – as it was in my daughter’s case.

The three main problem food areas are Dairy, Wheat, and Colourings/Additives.

So if your child is going a little crazy from time to time, do a little investigation yourself by eliminating food types from their diet and see if that makes any difference. If it doesn’t then spend a little more fun time with them and enjoy their presence in your life, rather than treat them as a nuisance getting in the way of what you would rather be doing. Once you get them started on medication they will probably be hooked for life. The side effects of these drugs long-term are an unknown and I suspect we will have a major epidemic of mental illness – because of drugs like Ritalin – in 20 or 30 years time.

Dangers associated with food dyes

Alternative health self-help

If the Mind Creates Illness, How Can We Use It To Create Wellness?

Let us assume, just for now, that the Body is the expression of the Mind. What I mean by this is that you need to pretend that your body reflects back to you what is going on in your mind. So, if there is an ache in your body then we must assume there is an ache in your mind. If there is a pain in your body then there is a pain in your mind. If there is irritation on your skin then there is irritation in your mind.

You get the idea.

Of course, you will be way ahead of me by now, looking within your own BodyMInd for those connections past and present to discover if what I say is true – but remember I said to pretend, just for now.

Naturally in your thoughts about this it will be obvious that serious disease processes in the body cannot escape from this allusion. So you would also have to pretend that problems like cancer, diabetes, asthma… all fall into this category. And then we step into that minefield of babies who are born sick, or develop life-threatening or debilitating diseases while they are very young. Then what about genetic problems like cystic fibrosis?

It gets very complicated very quickly.

Then there is another aspect too.

If your body’s ill-health is a reflection of your state of mind, then surely that means that all disease is self-inflicted?

Well that would be a yes too.

But there is a world of difference between deliberately causing something to be, with full awareness of the consequences, and innocently causing something to happen because you had no awareness of  the negative consequences 20 years later. No one in the process of dying from lung cancer would ever have lit up a cigarette 40 years earlier had they been fully aware of the anguish and agony they and their loved ones would eventually have to endure.

So yes, there are problems with this assumption, but let’s just keep it simple for now and pretend the assumption is true for minor illnesses and that it isn’t true for children at all.

Give yourself a quick body scan.

Is there any discomfort, irritation, ache, pain, anywhere in your body? If there isn’t then do this when there is.

Get a good sense of that area of your body. Feel into the discomfort fully. Move your mind, as best you can, into the space the discomfort occupies. Feel its boundaries and limitations. Then allow your mind to wander and feel your way to what these sensations remind you of. Say, for example, you have an itch – a skin irritation – who or what in your world causes you to prickle inside? Who do you want to scratch when you interact with them? Who makes you see red.

If you have a painful knee, then think about what it prevents you from doing that you don’t like.

Look for the connections between your discomfort and your world. See the similarities.

Remember we are pretending. This is just a game of the imagination to see if you can see connections and similarities. Don’t forget also to let your mind drift back into the past. Sometimes these things take a while to germinate. Have fun with this and don’t take it too seriously.

See what you come up with, maybe keep a notebook on you. One of the interesting things that happens with this game is that you may not be aware of a connection while you are deliberately looking for one, but that connection can pop into your mind at any time. A notebook is a handy way to make sure you don’t forget those fleeting connections.

Just collect the connections – no matter how crazy they may seem. Once you have a dozen or so, ponder on your records and see if you think this was just an interesting game or a new reality you have just entered.

If you would like to get a little deeper into this exploration and learn some techniques to actually change your body’s responses then check out my book Change Your Life with Self Hypnosis. In these pages I go into much more detail on this subject. In fact a large section of this book is dedicated to exploring the possibilities for using the Mind to Heal the Body.

Happiness self-help training

The Art of Listening

In truth, we don’t really listen at all. Our minds are so full of thoughts about what to say next and how we can interrupt before the moment has passed. Consequently, instead of listening to their words, we listen for the space between the words that allows us to enter.

Many years ago, when I first became interested in helping others to find their road to happiness, I used to visit the coffee bar at my local library. I would take a book, and sit with a cup of coffee for half an hour or so at lunchtime. Most of the time the place was fairly quiet and I would enjoy my book, but every now and again a conversation would intrude.

I would listen.

I was truly able to listen because I was not officially a party to the conversation.

I discovered several things in my listening.

The first was that my belief that I lived in a different world from most people was confirmed.

Most of these overheard conversations were about dreary, humdrum stuff that ordinarily would be of no interest to me. Two subjects dominated: ill-health and TV.

What surprised me about the conversations regarding TV programmes (usually soaps) was that the conversationists spoke as if the characters were real people rather than good actors. Now, I can get into a programme while I’m watching it and feel excitement and sadness, fear and relief, but when it’s finished all of that goes. If the director was particularly skilful that may stay with me for a little while, but I never move to a state where I think any of it is real.

Why these overheard conversations surprised me was that it seemed there was real hatred felt towards the characters that were treating others unkindly. I heard opinions about what this or that character should/shouldn’t have done – as if the actor had a choice! I found it all very strange. They were behaving as if these were real events happening to real people.

Are they confused about reality?

Do they shift into an alternate universe in order to gain maximum pleasure from what they watch?

I have no idea, but it is quite fascinating.

The health thing was even more interesting. I heard many of these conversations and they were always the same – a tennis match.

One party would toss a ball over the net, an in-growing toenail say; while this was being described in glorious Technicolor the other would be searching their memory for someone they knew who also had an in-growing toenail that was worse. Maybe, if there were no in-growing toenails, they knew someone who had had their toe amputated. The response had to relate to the original ball that was tossed over the net, but the ball that was returned had to be bigger and faster. This would go on rapidly escalating to someone with cancer, a major operation, or the death of some distant acquaintance.

This is a frequently observed pattern of conversation. Someone offers a gem of something and, while they continue speaking, the listener is searching for some kind of related response that will keep them in the game.  To stay in the game you have to produce something related but bigger and better. If it’s a firsthand experience you might just win, but something related to you by a friend of a friend will keep you playing.

There is a deeply felt need to come out on top.

Imagine what would happen if you just listened in silence with no intention of replying.

I have done this. Some people just continue to fill the space. If the topic runs out of steam, the silence is intolerable and the other party will usually find something to fill it.

As I learned how to spend more time listening with a quiet mind that was uninterested in responding, I found I began to hear what wasn’t being said. The topics that were avoided; the things the speaker identified with; and sometimes even whether or not the speaker was being truthful.

When you truly listen, you connect at a deep level with the speaker – no matter what the topic of conversation is.

So listen with your heart rather than your head. Let the words flow without feeling any need to respond, look into the speaker’s eyes and connect with them at a soul level. When you learn how to do this, your conversations will be the best you’ve ever had.

Happiness health self-help

Are We Killing Our Kids?

I was watching the TV news last night. I think it must be at least 3 years since the last time I watched a news programme. I was interested in learning about the flooding that is taking place in the southern parts of the UK. That in itself was quite fascinating, but even more fascinating was the political response. Unsurprisingly it seemed to be let’s find someone to point the finger at. It would have been nice if the attitude had been a bit more what help do you need?

At some point I also found myself watching a reporter talking to a barista working for Pret a Manger. He was a graduate who left University with a £20,000 debt and was living at home. His sister was at the same University doing the same degree. She was anticipating finishing the course with a £40,000 debt, still living with their parents, and no job prospects.

This morning I came across an article about some research that suggests more than a quarter of US students experience extreme stress during the school year. A few weeks ago I was reading about the introduction of tests for 4 and 5 year olds before they even start school. This immediately puts pressure on parents to teach children the stuff the schools are designed to teach children. I mean how can you pass a test unless you already have some skills?

It’s like we hate our kids.

Now, I know not every child has a happy home life and some parents do have a tough time and some children have a tough time too. Do we really need to add to it?

But, given that that’s the way it is, what can we do about it?

What we can do is to teach children healthy ways to deal with stress.

Play is an amazing stress reliever. By play, I don’t mean sitting in front of a TV with a video game controller. By play, I mean physical play. Getting up, kicking a ball, running around, playing imaginatively with friends. Leaving the mobile phones at home so there are no distractions from the wonderful fantasy world that children find so easy to create and live in.

Teenagers of course don’t want to play imaginatively. They want to be grown up already. But grown up these days means living with chronic stress and anxiety. Mind you society is crumbling now as the politicians have finally lost their grip on reality, so it’s probably a good idea to teach yourself and your children about simple techniques that can reduce stress levels and allow you to enjoy your life in whatever way feels right for you, despite what’s going on around you. This is one of the reasons it’s been 3 years or more since I watched any news. News is always bad. I protect my mind from exposure to bad, consequently I live more peacefully. Am I out of touch? Yes. Does it matter? Not even a little.

If you are interested in taking back some control over your own life, your world, and the destiny of you and your children then I outline some simple techniques to achieve this – using nothing more than your imagination – in my book Change Your Life with Self Hypnosis. While it’s not aimed at teenagers, the techniques for stress reduction are easy to learn and youngsters will benefit greatly because their imaginative abilities have not yet been stifled. The better your imagination, the quicker you will achieve powerful results.


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Happiness health self-help weight control

Biggest Loser Wins, Or Do They Really Lose After All

Biggest Loser, is a TV show where you need to be obese to get on the show. The winner is the person who loses the biggest percentage of weight relative to their initial weight. The premise behind the show is that you will be entertained by watching people who are seriously overweight struggling with their emotions, serious food rationing, and an exercise regime that belongs in a barracks.

The latest US series winner, Rachel Frederickson, lost 155lbs, around 60% of her starting body weight. The last 45lbs disappeared in just 2 months. That’s around 5lbs a week.

Interestingly she says that her weight gain was the result of a relationship break up.

The big question is did she lose too much too fast?

I’m also curious about whether or not it will stay off.

You see the prize for this feat of body sculpting is $250,000. Money is a powerful motivator. One quarter of a million dollars is a lot of money, clearly Rachel was more motivated than the other contestants.

I wonder, now that the money is in the bank, whether she has the will to maintain her current pattern of eating and exercise. I suspect that, if she plays her cards right, she can monetise her momentary celebrity and prolong her moment in the sun. There is a rich world out there for celebrity exercise videos, telling her story, endless chat shows while the star still shines, and so on.

My issue is not with Rachel, she worked very hard and received a well-deserved reward. My issue lies with the encouraging and lauding of rapid weight loss. Rapid weight loss is bad for your health. Rachel’s BMI is now significantly below normal – in other words she is under-weight. Still, that’s just Hollywood isn’t it? Every female working in CelebrityLand pretty much has to be underweight. Normal body weight just looks, well, fat compared to the majority of female celebrities.  It seems to be a lifestyle choice. Still the financial rewards provide the motivation to maintain the situation.

But take away the money and what is left to drive the starving yourself every single day for the rest of your life?

My work with weight loss focuses on easy and sustainable lifestyle changes; changes that are small shifts in eating behaviour over a long period of time. This works. Weight is lost gently. There is no fight with food. There is no battle with denial. Eat what you like; just eat what you need and no more. It works. There is no gruelling regime to follow. Of course my recommended rate of 2lbs a week is far too slow for most people, despite the fact that those 2lbs stay off for ever rather than creep back on, and Rachel would not look much different now if she followed my weight loss plan. She would also be considerably poorer.

However, because the change is assimilated slowly it is effortless to maintain. It is based around changing attitudes to food. There is no reason to treat your body as an enemy that must be brutally punished for having the audacity to look fat and unattractive.

Good luck to you Rachel, I sincerely hope it all works out for you.


…and if you want to know about a gentler, permanent way to reduce your weight then check out my book How to Lose Weight Easily and Free Yourself from Diets Forever.

hypnosis Personal Development self-help

Why is Change so Difficult?

Change is difficult because we are the way we are for good reason. Some people seem to find life easy, yet for others it’s a constant struggle. You may find it difficult or impossible to assert yourself, or even ask for legitimate needs. When you have this problem with an intimate partner then you will have a difficult relationship; when you have it with a manager then you will have an unsatisfying job; when you have it with a store assistant, then your shopping trips will be fearful experiences.

You may find that almost every aspect of life and living fills you with anxious moments. Meeting new people may be fraught because of your internal dialogue and self-monitoring. Whatever it is, you will want it to be different from the way it is. You may have sought help and ended up medicated or counselled. You may have gone it alone and sought help from your local library, bookshop, or Amazon. You may have found moments of relief only to discover that it was short-lived and life soon returned to the normality of suffering. So you start again, more help, better medication, more books. You enjoy a few more moments of brightness filled with courage and confidence – only to find them dissipating like tendrils of mist as the sun rises. Then you find yourself back in the bright light of a reality you don’t fully understand, and definitely don’t seem to fit in.

One of the things I encounter in my work is that people have generally tried everything else before they come to see me. This highlights the seemingly endless searching of so many desiring change. It suggests strongly that deep down there is a knowing that peace and joy exist and are available.

We are tenacious in our search for peace and a joyful experience of living.

But it is difficult and the reason it is so difficult is because it’s the very same reason that makes humans such a successful species. We learn from experience and never, ever, ever, forget – at a cellular level – those things in our lives that frightened, threatened, terrified, or just made us jump. The bee sting as a young child that becomes a panic stricken phobia whenever a bzzz is heard 50 years later; the being punished in school for something you were innocent of that leaves you with a lifelong fear of authority; the being told you are useless and will never amount to anything over and over again that leaves you incapable of success at anything; whatever it was that happened it stung and left its mark.

Our survival success is based around this. We have evolved to favour false positives. This is reacting to signs of danger even when there is no real danger present. This is a much safer stance than ignoring potential threats. This is why our early life experiences have such a powerful effect on our ease and confidence as adults. We may not consciously remember the activating experience, but it is buried deep in our subconscious. We can react to almost anything that has even the vaguest connection with a past source of pain.

So a behaviour, like perfectionism, becomes normal and, despite the difficulties it causes, is maintained – not from a desire to be perfect – but to avoid the emotional pain that not being good enough drew forth. This is even though the critic is no longer in their lives, or may even have passed away.

I have found so many patients live their lives to please parents who are no longer alive.

If you are seeking a more permanent change then know that because it works with your subconscious, which is where the problem lies, hypnosis and self-hypnosis are valuable tools. I would encourage you to explore them.


Of course you could always just check out my book Change Your Life with Self Hypnosis on Amazon.

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Happiness Personal Development self-help

You Don’t Have To Be Shot At To Be Stressed At Work

Are you stressed at work? Is it your job or the people you work with? I came across an article recently where a job search site was looking into stress in the workplace.

Military personnel and fire fighters came out top, while audiologists and hair stylists came out as having the least stressful jobs. However, even when no one is shooting at you, they recognised that “public relations executive, newspaper reporter and event coordinator are among the most stressful because of tight deadlines and scrutiny in the public eye”.

So if somebody is shooting at you; your job has the potential to kill you; or you are expected to meet demanding deadlines then you might consider your job stressful. But, according to this study, if you are a hair stylist, jeweller, university professor, tailor, or dietician, then you have no business getting stressed at work.

A significant part of my work is helping people to cope with stress. The stress generally comes from either the workplace, or an unsupportive partner. In my distant past there were times when I could barely function because of the stress of having to go to work. No one was shooting at me, nor did I have tight deadlines. I just wasn’t emotionally able to cope with the demands imposed upon me. That seems to be true of most of my clients. It isn’t so much what’s happening outside of them, it’s the way they process those events on the inside.

The particular style of processing is down to beliefs about life, the universe, and everything. Those beliefs are largely formed by childhood experiences and the attitudes, beliefs, and insecurities of the significant adults who care for us.

If you are a sensitive soul who appears to experience stress more readily than most, then, yes, it’s a good idea to have a job that doesn’t add to your burden. But, in my experience, it can take just one over-bearing individual in a position of power to make working life hell. It can take a company that has about as much interest in the welfare of its employees as an anteater has about the ants on which it is about to lunch. It can take having so little spare cash that life is just a struggle from dawn to dusk.

A stressful job is one that is stressful for you. It really doesn’t matter whereabouts it fits in someone else’s top ten. But that stress is down to your view of your world – even if that looks like an over-bearing manager. It is possible to change your view of your world. As you do so your stress levels reduce and life becomes easier. It takes a little time, but if you put in the work to retrain your thinking style then you will produce miraculous results and your world will change before your very eyes.


If you want to find out how then check out my book Change your Life with Self Hypnosis.

Happiness Personal Development self-help

Reducing Stress At Work


Thinking back to those times in my life when I had what I considered to be a proper job, those times were always filled with stress, anxiety and worry. People placed demands upon me that I was not at all comfortable with. They attempted to pressure me into doing what I was told rather than what I believed was right. They even tried to develop skills I didn’t have rather than those that I excelled at. Every one of those jobs, bar the first, I left because of the level of stress I was experiencing. It was generally bad enough that my doctor medicated me in an attempt to help.

The medication helped me function; it never removed or dealt with the source of the problem. It damped down my emotional responses so that my affect was rather zombieified.

Working for myself is much more fun. There are no fewer stresses, worries, or anxieties, but because I am in charge, I can do whatever I want to in order to deal with them.

I have become powerful, rather than powerless.

I am in control rather than out of control.

There lies the biggest part of the problem – other people with their demands and expectations. However, we are social creatures and we need to interact with others. So how can we achieve that while retaining our cool?

Mindfulness is something that is growing and being recognised as a way to remain in control in the workplace even while there are pressures upon you. You see the only problem is your thinking. You can’t help doing that. I’ve been working towards stopping doing it for years and am no closer. What I am much closer to though is a state of peacefulness, even when things are not working as I would wish. It takes decades of dedication to achieve an empty mind. Most of us have better things to do. But what you can do is rein in your wild beast and train it to do your bidding rather than its own.

Mindfulness is a way to do that.

There are books and websites devoted to this, but I like to simplify things first and then get complicated later. All mindfulness is, is being aware of whatever you are aware of right now. Not tomorrow, not yesterday, not in that meeting in an hour’s time, not those hurtful words that were spoken to you moments ago – right now.

Let’s say you’ve got a supervisor at work who is a bit of a bully, has no social skills, and lacks the ability to motivate using positive reinforcement. This is on your mind a lot of the time. You hate going in to work, maybe even throw up before you leave, you wish she would leave or die or get a sideways promotion or something… …anything.

So you find your thoughts returning, time and again, to this subject in whatever way is your mind’s way of reminding you that you are weak and powerless. What you do now is, whenever you notice that your thoughts have drifted into this territory again, take a deep breath, let it out slowly and become aware of all the sensations in your body associated with that movement of air. You might choose to focus on the sensations of the air in your nostrils, or the falling of your chest. Do that once or twice and then, if you are still present (and you may not be) move your awareness to those sensations where your body is in contact with something. Maybe your fingers on a keyboard, your hands on a desk, the pressure of your thighs against your chair, or your feet against the floor – even your clothing against your skin.

Throughout the day whenever you notice your mind is on your supervisor’s behaviour, return to this mindful activity.

Ok! You think. That’s great (sarcasm). How exactly does that destroy my supervisor?

Well it doesn’t. Yes, your supervisor may be out of order, but that isn’t the first order of business. The first order of business is for you to take control of your thinking. If you never gave what your supervisor did a moment’s thought – she would not be a problem. If you never gave your supervisor a moment’s thought, then when she made an unreasonable request, you would be able to respond spontaneously, without fear, and do or say whatever was appropriate.

Yes, some people are unsuited to the positions they hold. And, yes, sometimes they get to be in charge of more intelligent, kind and sensitive people that they really don’t know how to handle. But that’s not your problem. Your problem is your mind and where it takes you. You can leave it wild so that you live in fear – or you can start on the journey to train it so that you can live in peace.

The choice is yours.

Mindfulness is the first step.

Check out my book Change Your Life with Self Hypnosis if you would like to explore this further.

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