My Blog

All the blogs I post are just my opinions, take them or leave them, use them or don't. It's your choice.

Why I'm writing a blog

January 21st 2018

As a hypnotherapist I come across all sorts of people with all kinds of issues and problems, none of which I can write about directly on here. However, because I meet all these differing people with differing personalities and differing issues I can’t help but start to see patterns in the bigger picture of what we seem to term “Modern life”.

I can honestly say that I have never met anyone that didn’t have some kind of problem in their lives at some point and more often than not it’s something that they have not consciously pursued. That is to say events have unfolded in their lives that in a nutshell bother them and make their lives troublesome in some way.

Troublesome may be a bit of an understatement as in some cases lives can be totally ruled by the thoughts and feelings that now race around in their heads and stop them from living a life that they want to live. Without pointing out the obvious, life can indeed be very tough not just for some but for everyone at some point, so the question is, how do we start to work out what to do to make things better again?

I will start by saying that I do not have all the answers, who does? No one does. I have however realized that life is short, very short and people in general have choices but get so caught up in their problems that they don’t ever take the time to stop, step back, think about what is going on and them come up with some sort of plan to make themselves feel better and more contented. Imagine that you had a car and one day whilst driving you got a puncture, but instead of getting it fixed you just decided that you would drive it anyway. It would be uncomfortable, unstable, mostly out of control and eventually start slowing down till the point it just wouldn’t work anymore. No one does this. They stop when they realise something isn’t right, look at the problem and put in place a plan of action to fix it.

You as a being on this planet are the most precious item that you have, so why would you keep driving around broken or damaged. I think sometimes it just doesn’t occur to people to stop and take a look at what’s going on in order to fix the problem. Maybe we just think that time is infinite for us and we have plenty of time to eventually get round to sorting things out or maybe we just can’t deal with it on our own and hope that one day it will all be better. The truth is that none of us have a great deal of time, imagine now that you knew when your time would be up, what would that do to your view on how to live your life then?

I bet you would immediately want to ring the neck of life and get the most out of it as you could, while you could and you know what, that is probably the best way to live it. I’m not saying go out and be irrational or dangerous or take ridiculous risks, but instead don’t wait for your life to just fix itself, it won’t, you have to do something about it, it is after all your life and you will never get this time again.

My father has just recently been diagnosed with motor neurone disease. He is an old man, 81 years old in fact but up until his diagnosis he was one of the most active, engaging and life loving people I have ever met. He isn’t perfect and no one is by the way, but he lived his life like he was a twenty year old and firmly believed that age was just a number and that he could do anything he set his mind to doing. His great love in life was cycling and until last year he was out on his bike doing some serious mileage that would put many young guns to shame. I think he has always looked at life like a giant opportunity, which is why he ended up living in The South of France some years ago where he has lived, loved, laughed, lost & cried. But the one thing that has always seen him through is his zest for life which was totally infectious to all he met. I can honestly say I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love him to bits.

This is basically why I have decided to write a blog because I can see my father’s life coming to an end but it has made me think about how so many people get to the end and have regrets about the things that they could have at least tried to fix but by then was too late. So why wait till the end of your life to realise that things can be different. Take control, it doesn’t have to happen overnight, in fact I would say it’s better to take your time to really plan a change for a better future. You could start just by spending a bit of time in a quiet place with no distractions for say 30 minutes and start listening to what your head is trying to say to you, you might be amazed. You may say that you can’t possibly fit 30 minutes into the routine of your day to which I would say rubbish, make the time, if you want to make the change.

I will try and post one blog a week, because I too will commit to make the time. These will consist of my ramblings on how we might just help ourselves to achieve a more contented life or at the very least have an interesting exercise to do during the week. They are not designed to be fixes but they will give you the chance to see the possibilities of change in life if you decide to entertain them. So until next week it’s goodbye from me.

Jeremy x

Does mindfulness really work?

January 28th 2018

Some ideas come along that really take hold in people’s minds and spread like wildfire throughout the country. One such idea that I hear a lot about is mindfulness. Now I’m no expert as I have pointed out in my last blog but from what I understand about it seems to be all about enjoying the present moment that you’re existing in.

As a clinical hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner this does appear to go against the grain with me somewhat. I think the idea with mindfulness is that you are supposed to consciously start thinking about the moment you’re in and to really start to enjoy that moment and become fully aware of how much you are enjoying it. I say that it goes against the grain with me (a bit) because I help people overcome their issues by tapping into the subconscious in order to let the client understand and make changes that they need to ultimately have a better life.

The subconscious mind is in fact far more powerful than the conscious mind. Just to put this as an example I often use the scenario of driving a car. You get in your car to drive to work across town. You spend your time in the car, looking around, thinking about what the day may hold or some meeting that you have or what you want for dinner that evening. What you don’t do is drive along using you’re conscious mind to actively think about putting your foot on the brakes, making every gear change and even actively looking at all the street signs and traffic lights so that you know where you are going. You don’t do this because once you’ve learned something like driving and a regular route that you take, all these functions and a whole bunch more become automatic and are carried out subconsciously.

There are thousands and thousands of subconscious actions that we carry out every day. You may be thinking at this point, what’s this got to do with mindfulness? Well, I might be well wide of the mark here but I’m not sure that mindfulness is all that it’s cracked up to be. Sure it’s great to live in the moment and enjoy that moment but is this a long term fix for someone that is having difficulties or is it just a very short term fix like having a drink to forget about your real problems for a while. Is it possible for someone to spend their life using mindfulness as a life plan to solve their issues? Or does it lead to further problems later on when you suddenly realize that you’ve basically ignored the things that needed to be addressed and that now it’s become apparent that your options for helping yourself are very limited.

If you live in the theory of the here and now, are you going to become completely directionless? I think we all need something to aim for in life, it doesn’t have to be materialistic although for some it may be. I think we need to find out what our aims are and I suppose most people when it comes down to it just want to be contented. I say contented rather than happy because happiness is a state of mind and I’m pretty sure that we can’t remain happy all of our lives because life just isn’t like that, so overall contentment would be a good thing to get to in the end.

I don’t want to spoil people’s enjoyment of mindfulness and I would say that now and then it’s good to have that realisation of happiness in the here and now, which by the way can be achieved short term with mindfulness. All I’m saying is look at the bigger picture to get a real sense of what life can offer you. By doing this you will give yourself far more options than you ever dreamed of and who knows you may have just as much fun along the way than you did with that one single moment.

Until next week, its goodbye from me,

Jeremy x.

Stop trying to work out what you want, start by working out what you don't want.

February 6th 2018

I don’t know many people in life that can really say what they want from it. Yet we are constantly bombarded by varying forms of media, telling us what they think we need. It’s a wonder that anyone can make any decisions about anything. Sometimes I sit down to try and relax in front of the telly of an evening and as I scroll through the hundreds of channels I find it almost shocking just how many different lifestyle programmes there are. Everything from losing weight, how to eat well, what we should and shouldn’t be doing with our own money to transforming our houses to make us feel good about ourselves or creating hideaways down the bottom of the garden to retreat from life and shut it out for a while.

These are all well and good but are they just relaxing telly that we can take or leave or do we after a while get kind of brainwashed by them. This can have the effect that we all rush around trying to create perfect lives for ourselves without having to think too much about it. All we have to do is be a bit like all these shows and everything will be tickety-boo.

But will it? I have said in a previous blog that I believe that it’s good to have a bit of direction in life and I wonder how many people get confused by all the different choices there are? And is it just too difficult to think about what you want from life with all that going on around you?

As we get older it slowly dawns on a lot of people that time is slipping by and we won’t get another go at it, so many of us desperately try and find ways to achieve contentment in one form or another. It’s not easy trying to decide what to get out of life in the long term, or at least it’s not easy trying to find the best way to get the end result i.e. happiness or contentment, if that is what you do want?

I have thought about this for some time and I think if you are struggling with this dilemma, maybe you are coming at the problem from the wrong direction. Instead of thinking about what you want, why not start by thinking about what you don’t want. We can all name things in life that we don’t want so this seems to me to be a far more logical approach. By knowing what you don’t want from life you have created something definite to avoid and can therefore create a kind of life path that ensures that it takes you away from the things that you don’t want. For example if I said I don’t want to be unfit by the time I reach my 50th birthday I will start to think of ways to avoid this, i.e. start exercising and maybe eating a bit better. I could name half a dozen different scenarios but you get my drift and this is just a simple example. My point is that by having that vision of what to avoid we may well end up in a good place that we didn’t even know existed. This may not be perfect but if you start to eliminate the things that you don’t like or want then you are more likely to be left with things that you do. It’s at this point that you may well have a much clearer vision of what you actually want because you have steered around all the negative stuff which leaves a more positive outlook.

Having written all this, I do however realise that I have fallen into the same category as all those programmes telling you how to improve your life so should anyone listen to me? As usual it’s all about choice, you may think this is a daft idea or you may just think looking at something from a different perspective is the way to go. I will leave it with you, until next time, its good bye from me,

Jeremy x

Write yourself a letter of advice 

February 17th 2018

How many times have you spoken to a friend about an issue that you currently have? Imagine the scene which may come easily to you. You are meeting a friend in a coffee shop for a bit of a catch up. As you settle down into your chosen seats you begin with the usual pleasantries of life before the conversation turns to a problem that either you or they have.

Friends are a great sounding board for problems and you know that saying “a problem shared is a problem halved” or as I like to think of it “a problem shared is actually a problem two people now have”. Anyway getting back to the point, sometimes we do actually get great advice from our friends, but sometimes we don’t. During these conversations have you ever started to ask advice and then start to answer your own problem by saying things like “what I need to do is……” and so on. Well maybe we do have the answers within us already; after all we are the ones with the full facts about the issue. We know the most about us more than anybody else.

If you are having trouble getting over an issue or just can’t decide what to do in a certain situation why not write to yourself from a third person perspective. Pretend that you are that third person offering that great insight and advice. By writing the letter to yourself, firstly you are taking some direct action to the issue you have, allowing yourself to bring it to the forefront of your mind, which allows it to become conscious thought rather than subconscious thoughts or feelings. Secondly, we generally believe in what we can see in front of us, so by being able to see the words on the page in front of you can make a huge difference.

I would start by writing down the question down first as if you were a third person asking the help of an expert e.g. Dear ( make up a name for the expert), I am writing to you today concerning a friend of my named ( your name) He/she is having some issues with ………………………………. And I was wondering if you could help by offering some of your great advice?

Next, start writing to “the friend” i.e. you; as if you are the expert, with the advice on what they think they should do in order to help them overcome their issue. You could write it in a series of simple to follow steps so that the friend (you) can easily understand and ask them to follow the steps in order to get where they want to be. At the bottom of the letter ask the friend (you) to keep the letter somewhere safe so that they can refer to it at any time in order to see how they are doing. The expert could also ask the receiver of the letter to keep a score on their issue from zero (being issue solved) to ten (massive issue). This give the receiver of the letter (you) a simple guide to know exactly how they are doing with their issue and also gives them some control by knowing where they are on the scale. By scoring it every couple of days it allows them to take further action in order to achieve the goal required.

Next step is simple, post the letter to yourself, and I do mean actually putting the letter in an envelope, putting a stamp on it and send it in the post. By doing this you allow some separation from the act of writing the letter so that when you receive it in the post, although familiar to you, the physical act of opening and reading it will give the reader of the letter (you) some disassociation from the fact that it was from yourself to yourself.

Now read the letter to see what advice the expert gave you personally to help you overcome your issue. You will probably be very surprised at how they know what to do in order to help you. Read it again a couple of times over to fully comprehend the advice and then score the issue you have immediately out of ten. Once you have done this it is really up to you if you act on the advice given by the expert, but I think having gone to the effort of doing this in the first place you are much more likely to go ahead and follow the advice that you’ve been given. As I said earlier, score the issue every couple of days, maybe even at the same time of day to get a bit of a routine going with the thought process and see how you do with your issue after a month.

This may all seem like a wild idea to you, but if you do have an issue that is really bothering you, you might as well try it, what have you got to lose.

Until next time, its goodbye from me, Jeremy x

Should I hug a tree?

March 11th 2018

Should I hug a tree?

This may seem like an odd question but I think it’s one that should be asked. The next question is, if I doo hug a tree what will it do for me? I wouldn’t say I was a hippy by any stretch of the imagination but there is definitely a hippy gene within my soul and that is the reason why I have personally been hugging trees for years. What do I get out of it? Well for a start it gives me a great sense of proportion in the world, I feel like a child hugging their parent’s leg in a way. I like the fact these giants we are surrounded by are there, just standing quietly and wisely watching everything around them. I appreciate their age and solidness and the almost metaphoric way that they are rooted and in touch directly to the earth in a way that we as modern human beings seem to be drifting away from.

Turn the clock back several thousand years and we as a race were way more in tune with our environment than we claim to be now. We took what we needed and without having the need to consciously think about it managed to live sustainable lives. This must be true otherwise we would not still be here.

Don’t get me wrong I’m all for a bit of advancement through technology but I wonder sometimes if we are starting to drift just a little too far from who we are meant to be. I think we are all generally nostalgic for our immediate past and this becomes obvious when you look at all the merchandise that is available that evokes childhood memories. You can buy almost everything in retro form these days, so if we are yearning for the past maybe we should go a lot further back and really get in touch with our basic selves.

I have no evidence that stone age man went round hugging trees either but the tree amongst us now are the trees that were amongst them. So we can connect tangibly with the past in a way. Lots of us live high speed lives and are used to instant gratification which has become normal to us, quick fixes and disposable consumer living. However there is an awful lot of pressure that seems to build up with this kind of lifestyle and it usually ends up manifesting itself as stress and anxiety.

This is why I hug trees, in short it’s a stress reliever, I can go for a walk find a suitable tree, I can spot them from quite some distance away and instantly I feel drawn to giving them a big hug. They appeal to my senses in a way that nothing electronic could ever do. I like to feel the roughness or smoothness of the bark, I like that when you hug a tree on a windy day you can feel the whole thing moving in the ground. I like the smell of the trees and at this time of year when you put your ear to a tree, if you are lucky you can hear the sap rising, literally gallons of water being drawn up through the trunk in order to give new life to the buds, ready for the start of another spectacular growing season.

I can’t say for sure but I like to think the tree appreciates the hugs too, after all how many humans stop by them and want a hug? Not that many. We all feel better when we get a hug so why should the trees be any different; they are living just the same as we are. There is something fantastic about being back in touch with all those senses, without the need for instructions, passwords, or batteries.

So next time you pass a likely candidate, why not give it a try. Really hug it and see how it makes you feel. I don’t know anybody who stopped hugging trees once they started so they all must get something from it too. You will know after a while the right type of tree that suits you and sooner or later you won’t care if someone spots you doing it. Well that’s my rambling over for another week so until next time, its good bye from me,

Jeremy x