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 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


Beat Chronic Stress and Live Longer

Stress is a killer. There is no question about that. But stress is like a cigarette. The damage it does is slow and cumulative. You probably don’t realise the harm it’s doing until there is a health crisis and you find yourself asking “Why me?”

Don’t live with regret about the things you could have changed.

Stress, and the body’s response to it, is a natural and helpful process. It is a survival strategy. The problem is that it only evolved to deal with short-term stress, like escaping from a dangerous situation. Unfortunately, our bodies respond to our imaginary worlds as if they were real and so you can create a stress response just by thinking about something that scares you.

Most of us are incredibly skilled at imagining the worst outcomes for things that haven’t happened yet. We are also incredibly good at creating a whole host of troubling scenarios as we try to control a future problem. We have this crazy idea that if we worry about something enough then that will enable us to cope. It’s not true. We cope better when our reaction is spontaneous.

Because the body was never designed to deal with long-term stress, and because the body’s stress response was only ever for dealing with real, rather than imagined, threats, the body has no way of dealing with chronic stress.

Chronic stress creates negative health consequences. It has a negative impact on your immune system, it can indirectly affect your cardiovascular health, and there is now direct evidence that stress can shorten your life by around 8 years.

Stress & Immune System Responses

Stress wears away at your immune system. Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, PhD, and Ronald Glaser, PhD, noticed that the immunity of medical students was lowered during their three day exam period each year. They had fewer natural killer cells, and produced less gamma-interferon – which boosts immunity. So if you suffer from frequent minor illnesses – like colds – then that’s a good sign that you are not dealing effectively with the stresses in your life.

Another study by Richard Davidson (University of Wisconsin) clearly linked negative thoughts to lowered antibody levels and positive thoughts to increased immune system activity. This is clear evidence that your mind, and what you think, has a direct impact on your health.

Stress & Heart Health

There is no direct link between stress and hypertension, or stress and heart health generally, but there is an indirect link. When we are stressed, we tend to overeat; we fail to exercise sufficiently – simply because there’s so much to do and so little time to do it; and we can find ourselves drinking more alcohol than we know is sensible. All of these things do push blood pressure up and they also have a negative impact on heart health.

If heart disease is already present, then sudden severe stress can trigger a heart attack. The associated sudden rise in blood pressure can also cause a stroke.

Stress & DNA

Another study by Janice Kiecolt-Glaser et al looked at the impact of stress on the ends of DNA strands. Chromosome ends are protected by telomeres. As we get older these protective covers wear and get shorter. The length of an individual’s telomeres are linked to how long they live. In this study it was discovered that chronic stress causes wear and tear on the telomeres – thus shortening life. Those who participated in the study were caregivers for parents with Alzheimer’s. An earlier study reported a similar life-shortening impact on mothers of chronically ill children.

It seems that chronic stress will knock 4-8 years off your life.

How to live longer

Stress is really about your mind and what you do with it. It might seem, at times, that it’s all about the pressures of earning a living and paying bills; or about the pressure that other people – like managers and family members – place on you. It might even seem to be about you never being quite good enough and spending your life trying to prove that you are. So you push yourself constantly to do better, all the while repeating that mantra It’s not good enough – a mantra that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The solution is simple, just not easy. But then nothing worthwhile is ever easy. Without at least a little challenge we tend to undervalue the results. When we put a little effort in to learn a new skill we feel good about ourselves and value our accomplishment.

What you have to do is learn how to take control of your mind and learn to let go of those things that do not serve you.

If you are willing to put the effort in to learn that new, life-enhancing, skill, then first of all download my free book Freedom by filling in your details on the right – just underneath the book cover. If you like my style, then invest in a copy of Change Your Life with Self Hypnosis. This is available in Kindle or paperback from Amazon, or from iBooks if you like to read on your iDevice.

Change Your Life with Self Hypnosis is filled with tips, strategies and techniques to deal with the stresses in your life. It takes you, step by step, through the process of retraining your thought patterns and how to use your mind to ease the stresses in your life that are caused by anything from a relationship that isn’t working to dealing with challenges in the work place.

If you prefer to listen than to read then check out the guided visualisations on my download page. The chakra meditation is highly recommended.


If you have any questions about dealing with stress then leave a comment below.


How to Find Out if You Are Likely to be Susceptible to Stress

I’ve just been reading an interesting article about some research that was looking to see if heart rate variability might be an indicator of susceptibility to stress. Participants (undergraduate students) had their heart rate measured during a low-stress period of the academic year. Then, still attached to the monitor, they were led to imagine worrying scenarios in their future lives. As well as this they were given some questionnaires.

The participating students returned a few months later just before their final exams, and went through the whole thing again.

It seems there was a correlation between heart rate variability and the level of psychological distress being experienced about the finals.

The suggestion is that doctors could measure the interval between heartbeats (apparently easy to measure) to screen people for susceptibility to stress. It also suggests that breathing techniques might be useful in reducing stress levels because breathing practises can be used to lower heart rate.

All this is very interesting – and I mean that most sincerely, folks – but I know when I’m anxious, or stressed. I don’t need someone to measure my heart-rate variability in order to tell me what I already know. I’ve known it since I was old enough to realise that I found some things more difficult to cope with than most other people. Most of the people I treat for anxiety don’t need to be wired up to a machine in order to be told what they already know.

This, for me at least, highlights a serious problem with the medical profession. They seem to be moving further and further away from talking to, and listening to, patients. They seem to be totally dependent on a machine to tell them what’s wrong with someone when that person already knows what the problem is and just wants some help.

I guess my heart-rate variability is well in the band of easily stressed – but so what? All I ever wanted from the medics was help. All I ever got was pills.

And it seems to me that this bit of research will, most likely, lead to the development of an expensive stress-evaluating bit of fancy electronics that will sit in a clinic somewhere and generate income for the manufacturer and the tranquilliser peddlers .

I know I’m easily stressed but I got more value from Elaine Aron’s The Highly Sensitive Person, than I ever did from all the pills I swallowed over the years.

Some people are more sensitive than others. Some people find it difficult to cope with the problems and challenges of life. Some people find it difficult to function in a world full of rules that don’t make any sense to them. But they don’t need to be connected to a machine in order to discover that – they already know.


Stress in Bed

I remember, back in the days when life was a constant struggle, how going to bed was a blessed release from the worries and concerns of the day; and also how it brought with it the promise of a few hours of oblivion and peace. Then, without the least concern about how I was feeling, or how much I wanted to stay just where I was, morning would turn up and bring with it that burden of fear, anxiety, worry, and stress and another day that I would somehow have to get through.

Thankfully, for me, those days are long gone.

But it seems that, for many, this nightmare is still present.

A report commissioned by IKEA suggests that 1 in 4 people are experiencing anxiety before 8:00am, with many in the grip of stress even before 6:00 in the morning.

One of the many reasons for this is mobile technology.

In the good old days the bedroom was a haven. Nothing bad happened there. For many sufferers from anxiety it was a safe place to sleep and feel safe curled up, warm and cosy. A place to rekindle those good feelings from childhood where other people sorted out all the problems for you – maybe even a place to have a gentle read and enjoy escape into a fictional world for a while.

Now, with Smartphones, tablets and wi-fi the outside world is with us 24 hours a day. We can be called and messaged at any time of the day or night. Respect for our personal downtime has gone. Many employers expect their employees to be contactable at any time of day or night. Many of our friends also have the same expectation. I see facebook posts from friends in the same time zone as me at two or three or even five o’clock in the morning.

Because of this constant buzz of information there is also a drive to keep checking on all this stuff – to find out if there is something else that needs to be worried about.

All of this just adds to the stress and the worry.

We need a quiet time each day that is just for us.

A quiet time for a little true relaxation is rejuvenating. It gives the mind a break and allows it to access the resources that you actually have, but never get to realise because of the overwhelm that you constantly experience.

So if each day dawns with a pile of worries and a sense of being overwhelmed because there is just too much to do or scary stuff you just don’t know how to handle then make a decision now to do something about it.

Doing something means making changes and unfortunately change is one of the scariest and most anxiety producing activities we can engage in. But know this.

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you have always got.

To create different outcomes you need to do something different. The easiest way to do this is to make a small change, get used to it, then make another small change and so on.

The changes I would like you to consider are about re-instating the sacred space of your bedroom. Make it a place for sleep, and if you have a partner, for intimacy. Leave your phone, or your tablet downstairs when you go to bed. Have a nice relaxing bath or shower before you turn in and then go to sleep. The world will not end if you fail to notice a facebook photograph of what your best friend had for supper. Don’t carry your phone with you wherever you go. Don’t sit in front of the computer all evening.

Nothing bad will happen if you are off the grid for eight hours. In fact you might even make turning the phone on the last thing you do before heading off to work. Try it for a week, and see how you feel. If nothing bad happens then carry on with the experiment for a little longer.

It doesn’t really matter what you do, but if you want to be free of worry, stress, or anxiety, then you need to reclaim you and establish some boundaries. You need to create for you a sacred space where you can feel safe and enjoy some peace.

And if switching off the world is just too scary for you then have a read of my book The Ten Commitments: For When the World Overwhelms You. This tells you how you can give yourself a one day holiday from anxiety and stress while still functioning in the world and doing what you need to do. It’s just for one day, but if you follow my suggestions it will open the door to a whole new way of living and being.











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Worry – What Is It Good For?

Absolutely nothing.

I know, I used to be a first class worrier. All it ever achieved for me was to make my life miserable when everyone else seemed to be having fun. Then there would be that sage advice – don’t worry everything’s gonna be ok. I always used to think, in response to that particularly useless bit of wisdom, how do you know everything is gonna be ok. Are you psychic or something. That was in the days before I started reading tarot cards and didn’t know any psychics though. My overriding thought was if I knew how to not worry, don’t you think I’d be doing that? Does this look like I’m enjoying it or something? I never had the courage to say those things back in those days, but those thoughts were prominent in response to unasked for advice from well-meaning friends.

I still worry from time to time. The world, thoughtless people and greed occasionally break through my barriers to worry, but most of the time now my mind is peaceful and when something crops up that needs me to do a little worrying – the worrying lasts a couple of hours rather than a couple of weeks. In fact sometimes I worry that I don’t do enough worrying nowadays and just totally ignore stuff that used to get me into a panic state. So I find myself pretty much doing what I want to do and ignoring the world as best I can.

So how did I shift from this place of anxiety-ridden existence to a place of peace and wisdom?

I worked really hard at it.

I looked at my world and my thoughts about that world and I changed the thoughts because they weren’t helping.

Whenever I experienced an emotional reaction I would treat it as though the cause was my believing something about the world that simply wasn’t true. I would seek out the truth.

I observed just how much of my worry was sourced not in real life events but in what I thought others were thinking about me. So I stopped mind-reading.

I became aware of how much worry was being caused by the events going on in the world. That led to a realisation that news reporting was totally focused on negative events. I stopped watching the news. I’ve never read newspapers, but if I had done I would have stopped reading those too.

I learned to meditate because that gave my mind a rest.

Then one, day the breakthrough came. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced – but it was over in a moment.

I was sitting in my favourite worry chair, worrying about something or other that wasn’t going right in my life. I was really working hard at it. This wasn’t an idle worry, it was a full-blown, explore every nuance of every possible aspect of the situation kind of worry. Then, in a moment of clarity, I thought ‘I’m fed up with this, I don’t want to do it any more’ and then I got up and went over to my computer and did something much more interesting instead. The worry was gone.

In that moment I realised a most amazing thing. Worry is a choice.

Worry is also a habit.

Habits are not easy to break but all the work I’d been doing had been interfering with the habit aspect of worrying. I’d loosened the habit enough to be able to choose not to do it.

At the very deepest level what drives worrying is a distorted view of life and your world. The distorted view is not your fault, it’s simply your reaction to your world as you were growing up. Your view is highly coloured by the distorted views of the significant adults who were around you in your young life. Everyone’s view is distorted –this is not a condemnation or a blaming of anyone. We are all always doing the best we can given what we believe to be true.

The more distorted your world view, the greater your levels of anxiety are likely to be.

Change that view and you change your world.


10 Quick Tips To De-Stress At The Office

Life is stressful. Sometimes work can be even more stressful. You can not only encounter difficult colleagues, but also have to work with supervisors or managers who shouldn’t be left in charge of a tea trolley. Your problems nag, and interfere with productivity, which then causes more problems. So here are 10 tips for things that you can do at your desk to ease the strain and free you up a little from all those troubling thoughts.

They won’t make your problems go away, but they will give your mind a break from thinking about them. If you practice them regularly you will find that life gets better and the problems will be dealt with, without you needing to do quite so much worrying. The trick is to spend just a minute or two, maybe once or twice an hour in order to gain the maximum benefit from these tips.

Close your eyes, and if that isn’t possible because the boss will think you’re sleeping on the job then just de-focus. Place your attention on the inside of your nostrils just below the bridge of your nose. Now take a slow breath with all of your attention on the sensation of the air moving inside your nose. When you breathe in breathe in fully and ensure that the air fills both your abdomen and your chest. Then breathe out a little more slowly than you breathed in. Do this three times.

  1. Focus all of your attention on your left big toe for as long as you can keep it there.
  2. Say to yourself “What am I most aware of now?” and answer that question. Give preference to physical sensations and sensory input rather than the worrying thoughts that are plaguing you. So you might respond:  the noise in the office; the pressure of the chair on my thighs; the noise of the fan; the ache in my back… As soon as you have responded, then ask yourself the same question again, and answer it. It does not matter whether you are most aware of the same thing or something different. Keep asking and answering until you feel some small relief from the stress build up.
  3. If possible, get up and just walk to the end of the room, if you need an excuse use the photocopier, get some water, find a paperclip.
  4. If you have a height adjustable chair, move it to the top of its range or the bottom. This will give you a slight change in perspective that is frequently all you need to see the world differently. You only need to leave it there for a few minutes before returning to normal.
  5. Eat an orange. The smell is pleasurable and the vitamin C will help to de-stress you. It also gives you a good excuse to stretch your legs because you’ll need to wash your hands afterwards. The peel in your waste bin will make your desk smell nice.
  6. Grab a pencil and piece of paper. Write down the numbers 1 to 10 in a column and next to each number write down one word to represent whatever it is that is stressing you right now. You don’t have to do 10, but don’t do more. Then go down the list, one item at a time, and cross out the word you have written and replace it with a word that represents your most desired outcome to the problem. When you have finished, tear it up and drop it in the waste bin.
  7. Spend just a minute or two drifting back in time to a happy or pleasurable memory. Allow yourself to feel all the good feelings you felt back then as you relive that moment in time. Then come back to the present but do your best to keep hold of the good feelings.
  8. Imagine yourself floating out of your body and up to the ceiling looking down at yourself. Then imagine floating up ever higher, always with an awareness of you at work, up through the building (you’ll have to pretend you can see through walls for this) and into the sky, ever higher. Drift up out of the atmosphere and be aware of how tiny you are as the curve of the planet becomes apparent to you. Drift up into space and see the Earth getting smaller and smaller, while still retaining that awareness of you at work. Drift up until you finally arrive at the moon. Sit on the moon for a moment or two, looking towards Earth and you at work, then reverse the process and drift slowly back.
  9. Pretend that you have just won £100,000 or maybe $100,000 or whatever your local currency is. Then think about what you would treat yourself to. Not the whole amount, just something very special that you wouldn’t normally be able to justify. Spend a few moments imagining going out to buy it, or ordering it on-line and getting home with the package awaiting you. Think about opening it up and enjoying that pleasure of having something new and special just for you. Again this should take only a few minutes.

Have fun with them, but don’t forget to remember to come back to work after a couple of minutes.


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Are You One Of The 1 In 5?

A recent report from the Mental Health Foundation suggests that 1 in 5 of us feels anxious a lot or all of the time. The majority of this group (60%) are experiencing anxiety on a daily basis. Understandably, young people (exams and school work pressure perhaps) and the unemployed (bills, lack of prospects, and a bleak future, maybe) feature in the most anxious groups of people.

Today there also seems to be much more pressure from employers to get more and more work from their employees without commensurate compensation. I’ve not investigated so I don’t know how true it is but I see regular comments on the internet about Wal-Mart staff in the US working full time and having to claim welfare in order to feed themselves adequately. In the UK the minimum wage is £6.31 per hour, so working 7 hours, five days a week gets you around £200 a week in your pocket. A half decent terraced house runs to £150 week in rent so that leaves £50/week for food, clothes, utility bills etc… It seems ridiculous to me that you can have a full time job and not be able to afford a decent home that you can also afford to heat – as well as feed yourself a reasonably healthy diet.

Hardly surprising that anxiety is endemic is it?

…and that’s just the financial side.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs suggests that until we have our body’s physical needs satisfied we can think of nothing else – so our primary need as human beings is for things like food, water and warmth. Once this requirement is met then safety – in the form of security and a roof over our heads – is our next requirement, until these two basic needs are met we have little time for socialising, doing fun stuff and actually living the life we want to live, growing within ourselves and developing our natural talents and abilities.

So while we are worried about survival, we can’t think about being happy and contented.

But money, or rather a lack of it, isn’t the only reason for anxiety.

Many of us were never taught healthy coping skills for dealing with the things that caused us to worry. This report suggests that 1 in 4 of us eat in order to comfort ourselves (I go into the reasons for this in my book How to Lose Weight Easily); and another 1 in 5 attempt to solve their problems by simply hiding away from the world. Of course social media makes this so easy to do nowadays. With Facebook you can stay physically isolated and yet still fool yourself that you are socially connected.

But there is still that mental health stigma that causes around a quarter of sufferers to believe that feeling anxious equates to not being able to cope. This sense of inadequacy prevents them from seeking help. Another third are simply too embarrassed to admit to anyone that they are experiencing anxiety.

Perhaps the saddest part of all of this is that half of the people surveyed said that anxiety has prevented them from doing something they really wanted to do.

Anxiety is no fun at all. Anxiety can be crippling when you appear to be powerless to change your circumstances and you are up to your eyes in debt – not from reckless spending, but from just trying to keep going with the basics that everyone takes for granted.

Unfortunately the only solution available to most people, should they admit they actually need help, is to go to their doctor and be given some drugs. In extreme cases drugs can help, but by and large they just prolong the agony, because drugs only interfere with brain function on a chemical level. Most anxiety is about real physical circumstances, or an inability to cope with what most other people take in their stride. Drugs can’t change external circumstances. Drugs don’t change the way you handle problems and difficulties. When the drugs stop the world is still out there. What needs to change is the style of thinking about the world. Thinking about the world differently allows you to access solutions – yes even solutions to financial difficulties.

The anxiety clouds your ability to think clearly and you get bogged down. Your lack of self-belief, or maybe even seeing yourself as a failure, clouds your judgment with regard to your true talents and abilities.

There is a way out.

My book Change Your Life with Self-Hypnosis shows you several techniques that will help you to move towards freedom and happiness. It’s not the only solution, but it’s certainly a good place to start. Best of all you can do it all on your own, and if you feel in need of a little guidance from time to time you can always email me and I’ll do what I can to help.


Inspired by:


The report:


Some great free downloads on Coping with Anxiety and mental Health Awarenesss

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.


Inspired by:

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.