8 ways to communicate confidently

confident meeting

 

Not many of us believe we are great speakers, nor do we necessarily find ourselves comfortable when encountering new people and situations. How often have you found yourself rehearsing your words ahead of a meeting? Even though some might feel or appear more confident, it would be fair to say that they too occasionally get cold feet. Nervousness or palpitations can indicate a lack of self confidence – but there are ways you can help yourself.

Low self confidence can affect you in numerous ways: exam nerves, fear of public speaking, job interviews, meeting new people, stage fright, fear of being laughed at – to name just a few. Some of us experience visible or physical signs of low confidence such as sweating, stammering, shaking, or blushing.

So here are a few ways you can overcome this…

1. Start with what you know. If you have a presentation coming up, rehearse what you’ll say the first minute or so, preferably keeping it focused on something you know and understand well. If you start confidently, the nerves will decrease as you gradually settle into what you’re saying.

2. Listen – both to others who speak confidently, and yourself. Listening to the sound of your own voice, and enhancing your delivery with techniques from confident speakers, can teach you to speak with conviction.

3. Be humble. We all make mistakes, so don’t be afraid to occasionally check that everyone understands you – and if you do make a mistake, just make a joke out of it. People naturally warm to those who show their human side.

4. Maintain gentle eye contact. Be sure to include everyone in the room when talking to a group.

5. Crack a joke! A little bit of humour can work wonders, helping to lift any tension. You’ll get the attention of the majority of the crowd, and they’ll see you as warm and approachable.

6. Find points in common with your listeners. Interaction helps with sharing ideas – as well as learning more about others, and how else you can potentially interest them.

7. Smile! Much like eye contact, the non-verbal elements of your communication can make all the difference. You can better express yourself when you smile – and the warmth will come across in your voice as well.

8. Prepare. If appropriate, make a note of the key points you wish to communicate, and have them in front of you to help you maintain your focus. Rehearse a few times beforehand, and even if you don’t end up needing notes, just having them to hand can be reassuring. You might even ask someone you trust to give you feedback.

What next?

If you’ve tried most or all of these and are still struggling, there may be something holding you back at the subconscious level – and this is where hypnotherapy can help you. By addressing the root of low confidence – your self image in your own eyes – hypnosis helps you get rid of unwanted beliefs about yourself, helps clear the clutter in your mind, and can help you discover a new you. By using hypnotherapy, you can take care of most problems related to anxiety.

Fear of the situation can become reinforced the more you encounter it, and hypnotherapy for confidence can help you beat it. By working on your inner confidence and focusing on all your positive skills and attributes, hypnotherapy clears your mind – and this clarity is manifested externally through a sense of self confidence and assertiveness. You can try it out right now with these downloads (with a more comprehensive programme here).

However, there may be events in your past which contributed to your present situation, which may make it more helpful to work with someone who understands your individual history and circumstances. Seeing a qualified hypnotherapist such as myself can help you make peace with these, quickly and effectively. As a performing musician also, I understand especially well such feelings of stage fright; and have helped many of my clients with these issues (see my success stories). I am based in Canterbury, Kent and Peckham, London SE15; and also offer online sessions, wherever in the world you may be. Please feel welcome to call me on 07947 475721 for a free no-obligation 15 minute phone consultation – and soon you’ll be able to look back on that old anxiety as a thing of the past.

stress

There’s no doubt about it: stress is a feature of modern life. Hypnotherapy for stress can help you find your calm and regain control. 

If left unchecked stress can result in serious health issues, including IBS and insomnia. It can also take a huge toll on mental health, relationships, and overall wellbeing. Hypnosis is a very relaxing treatment in itself, and I will help you with powerful and effective ways to manage your stress and anxiety. I also conduct stress management workshops for businesses – contact me for more details.

Find out more about hypnotherapy for stress…

Blog post:
Managing stress with hypnotherapy

Blog post:
Anger management with hypnotherapy

Blog post:
How hypnotherapy can help with anxiety and depression
Blog post:
Hypnotherapy for insomnia
Blog post:
Beating exam stress
Resources:
Quick confidence booster (audio download)

 

How hypnotherapy can help with anxiety and depression

 

Mental health issues are finally gaining wider awareness and understanding generally. But just because the conversation is expanding, there is still a long way to go – and many people still suffering in silence. Anxiety and depression are two of the most common conditions, and while the link between them might not be obvious at first, they are different sides of the same coin.

What’s the difference?

Depression tends to focus on ruminating on the past, frequently accompanied by an inability to find meaning in the present; whilst anxiety tends to manifest as worrying about the future. Both conditions can be exhausting to the extent that they impact upon the most vital elements of a healthy life – such as sleep, diet, and interpersonal relationships.

People suffering with depression need to be taught to accept and work with ambiguous circumstances, as well as to search for and focus on meaning in their life. Learning to relax with uncertainty also benefits those with anxiety; as does learning ways to dial down the hyper-vigilance that if left unchecked, can result in extreme manifestations such as panic attacks, agoraphobia, or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Unhealthy coping mechanisms such as smoking or excessive alcohol consumption can also arise as a consequence.

What do they have in common?

Both conditions have stress at their root. This is a state we experience when there is a mismatch between perceived demands and our perceived ability to cope. Stress can also be defined as an adaptive physical response to change in the environment. The stress response evolved to protect us, enabling humans to deal with life threatening dangers such as being confronted with a wild animal. Such situations required action – hence the activation of the stress response to fight, flight, or freeze.

Our brains have not evolved as swiftly as our modern lives have, therefore this stress response to demanding situations is still with us. We all experience stress in different ways depending upon our personality type and past conditioning. Exercise can help flush out stress hormones, but it is better to deal with the cause rather than the symptom, and learn better coping strategies. Likewise, learning to recognise depressive thinking styles (such as all-or-nothing thinking, and catastrophising) can empower us to challenge them when they arise.

So how does hypnotherapy help?

Hypnotherapy is different from any other form of therapy because of the way in which the therapy part happens while one is in hypnosis – itself a natural focused state of absorption. It is a very effective combination of a trance-like altered state of mind with deep relaxation, which allows the chosen therapy to be even more effective. Therapies can include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), suggestion therapy, regression, ego states therapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or hypnoanalysis to name just some examples.

Hypnosis allows you to enter a state of deep relaxation, which in itself is a very useful therapy for managing stress. It also allows one to become calm and focused, as all parts of the mind work together and concentrate on solving the problem at hand; and therefore make the most effective use of the chosen therapy as it is applied. All parts of the mind work in harmony for the good of the whole being.

Are there any other benefits?

Hypnotherapy is a proven method for overcoming both anxiety and depression; as well as being positive, rewarding, safe, and gentle. Someone who has undergone hypnosis will not only learn to manage their symptoms but will have more confidence, increased self esteem, and a clearer and more positive perspective on life. Hypnosis calms the nerves, the mind, and the whole body; while alleviating the stress and anxiety that an individual may experience. It is a fascinating process that explores the resources of the subconscious mind – and the beliefs, behaviours, and thinking patterns of the individual become more positive and empowered as a consequence.

Under hypnosis, an individual can both visualise and feel themselves free from anxiety or depression. Hypnotherapy will allow you to live a richer and more rewarding life without these conditions stopping you from reaching your goals. You can try it out right now with these downloads for anxiety or these downloads for depression. However, if you prefer therapy focused on your individual personality and circumstances, I am a fully qualified hypnotherapist who has undertaken specialist training in both anxiety and depression, and have helped many of my clients overcome these conditions (see my success stories). I am based in Canterbury, Kent and Peckham, London SE15; and also offer online sessions, wherever in the world you may be. Please feel welcome to call me on 07947 475721 for a free no-obligation 15 minute phone consultation – you don’t need to suffer in silence.

 

Image by John Hain from Pixabay

All about mental health

mental health issues

woman alone on bus with distorted reflections in windows

I’ve been focusing strongly on mental health so far this year, including starting a NCFE Level 2 Certificate in Awareness of Mental Health Problems. I also attended a couple of good events that I’d like to discuss.

Before I do, it’s such a positive sign that these discussions are even taking place. People are increasingly open about their mental health struggles. I’m no fan of celebrity culture, but I applauded Mariah Carey’s bravery in revealing her bipolar disorder recently. This – and similar revelations by those in the public eye – will give courage to many who have struggled with the same symptoms but not known what to do. Or not even realised that there was a name for them. For far too long the media has ridiculed sufferers, and ignorant attitudes have prevailed. All too often sufferers are told ‘pull yourself together’, ‘man up’ or ‘move on’. None of which helps those struggling to manage their symptoms, which often result from factors outside their control in the first place.

Mental health in the workplace

It was with interest that I ventured to the recent Minds@Work event – in their own words, ‘a community of like-minded professionals coming together to break the stigma of depression and anxiety in the working world.’ Handily they have put all the talks up on their website, including stories from two gentlemen whose mental health had impacted upon their careers – and how they had overcome this adversity. There was also an excellent demonstration of best practice from insurance firm Legal & General. They not only employ sixty Mental Health First Aiders, but have a great campaign underway called ‘Not A Red Card Offence’, engaging famous sportspeople to help shift the stigma (the power of celebrity again). Impressive!

It’s encouraging to see the business world starting to grasp the nettle. In fact, I’m increasingly seeing executives seeking treatment. People start to buckle under the strain of a culture where being a workaholic is seen as a positive attribute. In reality, it inevitably strains relationships with their families and other loved ones – especially if they resort to coping mechanisms such as drugs, alcohol, or gambling.

Mental health in the music industry

The next event was close to my heart: a Mental Health Workshop run by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA). As a professional musician myself, I have seen firsthand the impacts of a lifestyle that’s often over-romanticised. Long days composing, rehearsing, or touring, with longer nights performing, take their toll on health and relationships. The near impossibility of earning any reasonable income from one’s talents doesn’t help. (Did you know a band/artist earns only 0.001p from each play on Spotify, for example?) So this event was intended to provide a taster of skills based on neuroscience and cognitive behavioural psychology to empower musicians as they progress against such unfavourable odds, courtesy of Music for Mental Wealth. It was good to see some of the techniques I use with my own clients gaining wider traction. And I’m optimistic that these sorts of conversations are becoming more common.

Find the help you need

So if you or anyone close to you is feeling the strain of a mental health issue, remember you’re not alone. You can get help from a number of local sources and support groups. Ask your GP for advice in the first instance too. Although medication works for some people, it doesn’t really represent a long-term solution. A qualified therapist can help you get to the root of the issue and teach you coping mechanisms as appropriate. This may entail making some lifestyle and work-life balance changes. But as the old adage says, no-one on their deathbed wishes they’d spent more time at work. If you need to take action on this front immediately, I recommend this download.

Hypnotherapy or coaching might be right for you regarding these (or any other) issues. I am a qualified life coach and hypnotherapist, experienced in coaching clients to help them make the changes they want in their lives (see my success stories). And I can help you move forward too. I am based in Canterbury, Kent and Peckham, London SE15; and also offer online sessions, wherever in the world you may be. Please feel welcome to call me on 07947 475721 for a free no-obligation 15 minute phone consultation to see how I can help. And if you work for an employer who runs staff well-being events, I also undertake corporate sessions – feel free to put me in touch with your HR department.

In the meantime, thanks for reading; and let’s do our best to support anyone we know – or suspect – who may be struggling with their mental health.

Managing stress with hypnotherapy

Managing stress

peaceful woman in nature

Managing stress is arguably one of the greatest challenges facing us as a society in modern times. How can hypnotherapy help with the increasing levels of stress we all face?

It’s important first of all to put in perspective. Stress can be good as a motivating factor. It can help us overcome challenges, keeping us on our toes and ensuring that we meet our responsibilities. After all, it serves an evolutionary purpose – the fight/flight mechanism helped our ancestors survive when encountering predators. However, the human brain hasn’t evolved nearly as fast as our way of living, so the same response is triggered by a traffic jam as by a sabre-toothed tiger! And we need to learn ways of managing this.

Techniques for managing stress

Breathing techniques are the most immediate tools to learn in managing stress. These allow us to activate the body’s parasympathetic nervous system – the body’s natural calming down mechanism. And we can also practise self-hypnosis. This is important for several reasons. Firstly, it makes us make time to relax. And the more the mind and body practice relaxation, the better they get at it. Our neural networks work in much the same way as our physical bodies do in automatically taking the most familiar route. So make it a good one! You can try out self-hypnosis right now with these stress relieving downloads.

In managing stress, it’s also important to identify any fundamental human needs that may be being neglected. The obvious but often-overlooked ones are sleep, nutrition, exercise, socialising and play (yes, play!) As stress tends to come from different directions it’s not always easy to identify a single cause, but this process can still help people take a step back and look at their life in a fresh perspective.

Hypnotherapy can also help people return to the source of their stress, as it often originates from an early age. Trying to meet the expectations of parents and other significant people in a person’s childhood is a common cause – and these stress responses have magnified in later life with an increase in responsibilities. Identifying patterns formed in childhood can, however, improve abilities in managing stress in the here and now.

Hypnotherapy is deeply relaxing in itself – some people say afterwards it is the most relaxed they have ever felt in their lives (see my success stories). I am based in Canterbury, Kent and Peckham, London SE15; and also offer online sessions, wherever in the world you may be. You contact me on 07947 475721 for a free no-obligation 15 minute phone consultation, so please do get in touch if things feel overwhelming for you – I can help.

(First published on Hypnotherapy Directory, 20 October 2017)

Beating exam stress

beating exam stress

girl writing exam paper

It’s coming up to that time of year when teenagers across the country are feeling the heat… and I’m not talking about the eventual arrival of British summer. With endless revision, exam stress, and ‘A* or bust’ expectations, it’s a testing time in every way.

Staying in good mental and physical shape

While there’s a temptation to cram for exams, it has been proved that a ‘spacing’ strategy is considerably more effective for revision. A bite-sized approach works best with the brain’s natural learning capacities. And this has the added benefit of allowing other vital needs to be incorporated into a programme of study, helping reduce exam stress overall.

When students feel they have to study 24/7, regular meals, exercise, and sleep can fall by the wayside. And even more so if they are especially anxious. As students are used to leading timetabled lives, it can help to design home-based study and relaxation timetables together. It will help them remember these basic needs, and to stay mentally balanced and physically healthy throughout this time. This approach also provides a sense of control as the pressure rises and exam time approaches.

How can hypnotherapy help with exam stress?

Anxiety is complex, however. Students may still feel a sudden sense of overwhelm, resulting in ‘brain fade’ – or simply blind panic. This is where hypnotherapy can be incredibly beneficial – and you can try it right now with this download.

Students can learn self-calming techniques to use, and other practical means of coping with anxiety. They can also learn to visualise a calm and confident persona entering and leaving the exam room, which can help them face their fears. Many young people respond well to techniques that use their imaginations. Picturing themselves in new ways starts the process of overcoming limiting beliefs, and feeling more positive about their abilities. Important steps on the road to success in life, with or without A* grades!

I am a qualified hypnotherapist and life coach, experienced in helping clients – including young people – deal with anxiety and stress (see my success stories). I am based in Canterbury, Kent and Peckham, London SE15; and also offer online sessions, wherever in the world you may be. I offer a free no-obligation 15 minute phone consultation, so call me on 07947 475721 to see how I can help.

Article first appeared on the Hypnotherapy Directory  May 2017

Helping exam performance

The session led to a really calm, positive and confident state of mind at a very high-stress time, and contributed both to C overcoming her mental blocks in the sports trials, and to her success in the highly competitive Art Scholarship exam and interview. She performed better than ever – won her sprint, and was even happy with the cross country and swim which were her big worries. Her frame of mind all week has been so incredibly positive and confident (without being overexcited or hyper), and one very welcome side effect has been that she has slept extraordinarily well! She usually has terrible trouble settling and a week like this would normally mean she’d be worse than usual, but she’s been doing the visualisations at bedtime and drifting straight off – unheard of!” (SR, C’s mum)

“I found the hypnotherapy really relaxing and great – it really helped me achieve my goals and when I practised it it helped even more. I’d say it’s a mix between meditation and hypnotism which is really good and relaxing!” (C, aged 11)