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Hypnotherapy

hypnotherapy for weightloss

A hypnotherapist's guide to changing your mindset towards food and becoming healthier

Written By Alison Ralph                               June 2022

Are you a mindless eater? Maybe your trying to take back control of your eating habits but are struggling to change your mindset towards food. It might be that you have tried many diets but always seem to go back to your old ways of eating. In my hypnotherapy practice I help many people who want to get into the right mindset about food and I am going to share with you some of my strategies that you can use at home. 

Yo-yo dieting seems to have become a common thing. I’m sure you can think of a friend, family member or colleague that is constantly on and off the diets and maybe you are too. However, yo-yo dieting is unhealthy for the body and, for most, does not create lasting changes. Fad diets cause us to restrict in a big way and the brain doesn’t always respond well to these restrictions. It sets off a type of alarm for the brain, especially if you have done them before in the past and failed. We then revert back to our old ways of eating because this is what the brain knows.

In this blog I am going to be talking about changing your mindset towards food, exploring behaviours linked to food and relationships with food. 

I will provide you with free resources to use and my top tips for changing your mindset towards food and creating a healthier way of living. 

You will find the following information for changing your mindset towards food:

  1. How do behaviours affect my eating?
  2. My top tips for changing your mindset towards food
  3. A downloadable workbook for you to use to change your mindset towards food
A plate with the word weight loss

How do behaviours affect my eating?

Emotional Eating

Emotional eating is one of the most common areas I work with when people come to me to help them lose weight. It often links back to the fact that in childhood people are rewarded with food, and food as a reward or comfort is extremely common. For example, after a hard week we may have a take-away meal or a few glasses of wine. We may also do the same after a good week and we might reward a little win in life with a chocolate bar.

When we are stressed, we release higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This can trigger us to crave salty and sweet foods. When we eat food we experience a natural increase of serotonin – the feel-good hormone which reassures the brain that we are okay. The next time we are feeling stressed the brain will crave the feel-good hormone and if this is something that we feel is helpful for us then food will be the thing we turn too. 

It is therefore important to recognise what it is causing you stress and if you can do something to help relieve the stress then make that the focus, otherwise look at other ways to relieve the feelings of stress and avoid turning to food. For example, a breathing technique or self-hypnosis. Note that this should be something fairly easy and accessible just like food!

Habits

Habits play a huge role in our eating habits. People will always say to me ‘I like to start having a drink at 5pm once I get home from work’. ‘I always seem to have a 3 o’clock energy crash and need something to eat’. I always have a snack at 11am’. These statements and more are ones I here often from my clients. 

You may decide to have food at a certain time to work around your work plan and once this has happened a number of times the brain recognises it and it becomes a habit. The fact that food also releases serotonin in the brain causes the brain to reinforce the behaviour because it was something that was enjoyed. 

If you look at your habits, whether that be activities completed during the day or eating habits it will help you to cut down on your eating. For example, it might be that you decide to have fruit for one of your work snacks or you may change your routine so that at the 3pm energy crash you go for a walk. There is a section in the workbook which will help you to recognise your habits and how they are linked to food. 

Image showing all the things the mind filters

My top tips for changing your mindset towards food.

  1. My number one top tip that I like to share with everyone is ‘Thinking of a lifestyle change NOT diet. When we tell our brain we are on a diet the brain immediately links to other times we have been on diets which can bring about thoughts of failure, restriction and lack in confidence. If we think from the start that it is a lifestyle change and we can accept that it may take longer, this will give you the best possible start. 
  2. Drink more water! Yes, it’s the one that people always go on about, but it really does work. Water helps to speed up your metabolism as well as helping with other areas of health.
An image showing the benefits of drinking water

3. Get in tune with your body and notice hunger. Many people don’t every actually feel hungry because they are constantly grazing on food. When you go for a snack, ask yourself if you are hungry and notice any sensations in your stomach. There are two types if hunger to be aware of – head hunger and physical hunger. Physical hunger is the message to the stomach from the brain that we need food and the digestive system will start to prepare for the food. We feel this in the stomach when our stomach ‘grumbles’. Head hunger is when we tell ourselves that we need or want something to eat. We are not actually hungry but using food to satisfy another part of us. For example, for comfort or enjoyment.

4. Write down your typical daily eating habits from the moment you wake up to when you go to bed at night. Include drinks too. Then make healthy changes to your eating or moving habits. You may decide to replace one unhealthy snack with one healthy snack, you may decide to be more active or even change the type of milk you drink. The changes must be small and manageable to begin with to avoid failure. You can increase them once you become more confident. See the workbook at the end of this blog for a food diary.

5. Use affirmations! Have you ever been on a diet or trying to cut down and suddenly something doesn’t go to plan, and you start to eat unhealthy again and then think ‘sod it’ and go back to the old ways of eating? Affirmations can stop this from happening. They are positive or reassuring statements that you repeat regularly to yourself or out loud and they help the brain to remain positive. They also cause the brain to believe that what you are doing is what you want, and the brain will then help to steer you in that direction. To find out more about affirmations you can read my affirmation blog here.

The workbook for changing your mindset towards food

Here you can access the workbook which includes, a food diary, a focus activity which helps you to identify your goals and a food/emotions diary which helps you to recognise the behaviours that are having an impact on the ways you eat. I hope that you find each activity to be useful. If you have any questions about the workbook, please leave a comment and I will be happy to answer your questions. If you would like to find out more about the subscription package, I offer to help you stay on the right path and lose more weight then click here Hypnotherapy for weight management

Use these links to access the different activities that make up the workbook. 

My goals

A weekly food diary

Food and emotions diary

Gaining control of your eating habits and losing weight can be a huge challenge, especially if it has been a long-term habit and emotions play a part in the way you eat. However, following some of these suggestions and using the activities should help that journey to be easier. Remember that everyone’s weight loss journey is different and that it will work for you when you are ready to make the commitment and become that healthier version of yourself. 

Get in touch...

If you would like to improve your sleep and would like to find out how hypnotherapy or counselling could help you I am here to answer all of your questions. 

07719032346

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Hypnotherapy

A hypnotherapist’s guide to better sleep and battling insomnia

A hypnotherapist’s guide to better sleep and battling insomnia

Written By Alison Ralph                               May 2022

Are you one of the many people in the UK who struggle with sleep? According to the NHS website, a third of all Brits will experience insomnia at some point in their lives. Whether your poor sleep as just started or you have been experiencing it for years, this blog post and free resource will be helpful for you. If you would like to take back control of one of the most natural processes for a human being, then read on.

In this blog post I will:

  • Talk about the reasons you may be struggling to sleep
  • Provide you with a free workbook to help you get sleep back on track

Man in a deep sleep with comfortable pillow and duvet

Would you like to have better sleep and battle insomnia?

If you have been struggling with sleep and are not sure which way to turn it can be frustrating and a struggle to function in everyday life. There are somethings that can help you to get a better night’s sleep again. I firstly want you to think about not doing more but thinking what you can take away from your body and your mind. 

One area to look at is our feelings and emotions from the day. If we haven’t worked through these in the best way that we can then our subconscious mind will do this whilst sleeping, possibly keeping us in the dream stage of the sleep cycle meaning that we won’t feel we have gone into a deep sleep. 

If you are unsure about how to help yourself to work with the feelings and emotions from the day here are some ideas:

  • Talk them through with a friend or a loved one. 
  • Start writing a journal about things that have happened in your day and how you reacted, as well as how you might react differently next time. 
  • Complete some self-hypnosis. To find out how read by blog here 
  • Complete some exercise or another activity that you enjoy

Another important area to think about is whether your nervous system is wired or not. By this I mean, if it is pumping with adrenaline or sugar. If the body is experiencing any of these before bed it will be difficult to relax. You can help yourself with this by:

  • Ensuring that you stop drinking and eating a couple of hours before bed and that you eat and drink the correct things throughout the day. 
  • You don’t exercise too close to bedtime
  • You have helped yourself to relax before bed – try the deep belly breathing technique explained below

Instructions for a relaxing breathing technique

The importance of sleep routines

Do you have children and include a sleep routine for them before expecting them to go to sleep or do you remember having one when you were a child?

What people often don’t realise, because they get into a routine of watching TV or scrolling on their phone and then trying to go to sleep, that sleep routines can be very important to our quality of sleep. Our bodies can only sleep when they are relaxed. Having a sleep routine helps the body to relax and fits in with the bodies biological rhythms. This is, when the body notices that it is getting darker the chemicals for relaxation and sleep are released. If we can help the body to recognise this darkness even more then it will help the body to release these correct chemicals for sleep, thus making falling asleep much easier. 

If you are somebody who struggles especially with getting to sleep then a sleep routine may be good for you. Here’s an example of a sleep routine:

  • Stop watching TV at 9pm
  • Have a bath
  • Change into pyjamas, clean teeth and complete any other hygiene activities
  • Complete a breathing technique or some self-hypnosis

Access my free workbook to help you improve sleep and battle insomnia

I have developed this free workbook for you to print out and complete to help you focus on improving sleep and battling insomnia. The workbook will help you to identify current behaviours and areas where you can make adjustments and improvements, thus giving you a better night’s sleep. 

Improving sleep workbook 

I hope that the workbook helps you to identify patterns in your behaviour during the day and at night and this gives you a starting point for improvement. If you find that one thing doesn’t work allow yourself time to make other adjustments. These ideas may not work for each individual but the more you can get to know yourself the more likely you are to make improvements. Remember, relaxation is key!


To find out how we can work together through hypnotherapy click here

Get in touch…

If you would like to improve your sleep and would like to find out how hypnotherapy or counselling could help you I am here to answer all of your questions. 

07719032346

info@alisonralphhypnotherapy.co.uk​

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Self care ideas

Mental Health Awareness Week: How can I combat feelings of loneliness?

Mental Health Awareness Week: How can I combat feelings of loneliness?

Written By Alison Ralph                               May 2022

Everyone can feel lonely from time to time. Loneliness can be felt when there are people around or when others are not there. It can have serious effect on our mental heatlh, especially when we are not alone by choice. This year’s Mental Health Awareness week is focussed on loneliness. Mentalhealth.org claim that millions of people in the UK are affected by loneliness each year and this has been exacerbated by the COVID19 pandemic. When lockdown hit the UK, we were thrown into isolation and reduced ability to connect with others which has resulted in a higher level of distress. 

This blog post will provide you with:

  • A tool to identify if loneliness is affecting your mental health
  • Suggestions for coping with your loneliness
  • Charities you can connect with to combat your loneliness or to help others
  • How to support others who are feeling lonely
  • Why counselling could be beneficial for you or a loved one who is feeling lonely

Is loneliness effecting your mental health?

Use this tick list to find out if loneliness is having an effect on your mental health. Once you have ticked the ones that apply to you it may help you to gain an understanding of how you are feeling and the reasons why. You may also like to think about how to tackle these feelings and the rest of this blog can help you with that. 

A tool to help people identify if their loneliness is effecting their mental health

I'm lonely, what can I do to help myself?

ENJOYMENT

Complete tasks that you know you will enjoy as a way of keeping you busy. For example, a sport, knitting, reading or playing a musical instrument. Make sure these things are fun and fulfilling. 

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

Trying to do some physical activity can help with loneliness. Whether that is a walk or a dance around the house as this can help you to feel less overwhelmed. 

SPEND TIME WITH YOUR PETS

If you have a pet then it can help to spend time with them. They provide unconditional love and support as well as giving you structure to your life. They can also get you out and about where there is a chance you could meet other people.

STIMULATE THE MIND

Completing activities that stimulate the mind can help with loneliness. Taking a course in a topic you are interested in or listening to a podcast of a person whose voice you enjoy or simply listening to some comedy that will make you laugh at the same time too. 

ENGAGE

Engaging with people you meet in day to day life can really help you to feel less lonely. Whether that is smiling at somebody on your daily walk or saying ‘Hi’ to someone you pass in the street. This may not only give you a lift but the person you are engaging with as well.

GROUPS

Find a group of people or a club that do something you find fun or interesting. When you share an interest with someone else about something it can be easier to talk to them. You may also find that you meet a friend for life!

a pathway running through an autumnal forest

Charities that can help you to combat loneliness

There are many charities out there that have been designed to help people combat loneliness. So, whether you are reading this blog because you are lonely or because you would like to help others who are lonely these websites might help you in combating that loneliness. 

Home | Campaign to End Loneliness

– WaveLength

Get help with loneliness | British Red Cross

Home | Co-op Foundation (coopfoundation.org.uk)

How can you support others who are feeling lonely?

A person reaching out to help another

LISTEN AND SHOW UNDERSTANDING

Allow a person to talk about how they are feeling but don’t judge or give opinions. You  may find that if you open up that space for them to talk, they will feel more comfortable joining a group with you or venturing out into the open without the feelings still on their shoulders. 

GROUPS

If you are a member of a group or a club, try to make them welcoming for others. It can often to daunting joining a new environment and isolating the ‘new’ person will only cause them to feel more lonely. 

DON’T JUDGE

Telling a person why they might be feeling lonely is not helpful. Allowing them to speak freely and helping them to recognise that they are not alone and that it is common is more likely to be helpful.

How can counselling help with loneliness?

Talking through the way you are feeling in a non-judgemental and understanding environment can be helpful in combating the feelings of loneliness. The counsellor is there to help you come to an understanding of why you feel a certain way and to support you in the process of coming to conclusions about changes you could make. 

To show how welcoming my therapy room is

If you would like to find out more about counselling support I can offer then please get in touch. 

When you feel lonely it can have a detrimental effect on your mental well-being and can feel like it will never get better. I hope that following some of these ideas will help you in combating loneliness and finding the interaction with others that you want and need. 

If you have knowledge of any other charities or groups/clubs that may be helpful for others, please feel free to comment with your ideas!

Get in touch...

If you are struggling with your mental health and would like to find out how hypnotherapy or counselling could help you I am here to answer all of your questions. 

07719032346

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Self care ideas

What are affirmations and how can they help your mental health?

What are affirmations and how can they help your mental health?

Written By Alison Ralph                               April 2022

Ever wondered what all the hype is about affirmations, how they can help your mental health and why they are often used within hypnotherapy sessions? This blog post, written by Alison Ralph, Macclesfield based hypnotherapist, aims to teach you:

  • What an affirmation is
  • How affirmations work in the brain
  • How you should be using affirmations for the best outcome
  • How to decide which affirmations could be good for you
  • Why they are often used within hypnotherapy sessions
  • Example affirmations for anxiety
  • Example affirmations for stopping smoking
Demonstrate thinking positive

What is an affirmation?

An affirmation is a sentence or phrase that has been written with a positive or reassuring aim. They can be imprinted in the conscious and subconscious mind if used correctly and aim to challenge negative or unhelpful thoughts and give you positive changes in the way you think of yourself and the world around you. We actually create many affirmations for ourselves but these are often negative ones such as, ‘I am unattractive’. 

You might be wondering if there is evidence to suggest that affirmations do work and the answer to that question is, yes.

Image showing all the things the mind filters

How do affirmations work in the brain?

So, your wondering how affirmations work and whether they are worth the effort?

The neuroplasticity in our brains allows us to create new pathways and strengthen old ones. The brain can often become confused with imagination and reality which means we can think about things we would like to achieve and the brain can take it for reality.

When this happens, many of the areas in the brain which are activated when we actually experience these things become activated. If these things are continuously imagined, the brain begins to take them as fact. 

When you truly believe you can do something, your actions can often follow. 

a pathway running through an autumnal forest

How should I be using affirmations for the best outcome?

Using affirmations is extremely easy and if done correctly can have desirable outcomes. I believe that two or three affirmations are plenty because if we have too many to remember it can make an easy task seem hard and unachievable. It is also important to know that you can change your affirmations to a new set when you feel you have achieved them. 

Having your affirmations visible

Writing down your affirmations and sticking them on your bedroom mirror or fridge can be useful because each time you see them you will automatically read them, thus imprinting them in the mind. I like to give my clients a little glass bottle to put their affirmations in so they can keep them in their handbag or the glove box of their car. This is especially useful if you would like to overcome a habit when driving, for example nail biting or binge eating. Having the affirmations on hand can be extremely helpful in achieving your goal. 

Self Hypnosis

Saying affirmations when practising self-hypnosis can be extremely helpful as they are being said within subconscious thinking. This is where all our patterns of behaviour and past feelings are stored. Thinking of the affirmations at a subconscious level can help the brain to visualise the ways you would like to behave and therefore adding to changes in behaviour. 

If you are unsure about self-hypnosis and how to use it, have a read of my blog here 

A picture of a dandelion clock

How can you decide which affirmations will work for you?

If you would like to use affirmations but are unsure about how they could work specifically for you, it would be good to begin writing a thoughts diary; recording your negative and automatic thoughts. Once you have identified patterns in your thinking and those thoughts that are putting you down you can create new, positive sentences that flip the negative thoughts on their head. For example, if you are telling yourself that everything is your fault and that you haven’t achieved anything in your life, your affirmation could be: ‘I am worthy and important’.

Once you have identified your negative thought patterns it is time to write some affirmations. Follow these simple rules for affirmation writing. 

  • Beginning your affirmation with ‘I am  …’ gives you ownership of the sentence and a command to the subconscious mind. The mind interprets it as a directive and therefore must follow through with it. 
Lady with arms in the air showing that she is free from anxiety and stress.
  • If you keep your affirmation brief it is easier to remember and is not confusing for the mind which is already filtering many things from your day. I believe that the simpler you make them, the easier they will imprint on the mind. 
Focus on growth
  • Affirmations in the present tense are easier for the mind to understand and helps it to visualise the outcome. For example, ‘I am slimmer and healthier’ not ‘I will be slimmer and healthier’.
  • Make sure your affirmations are related to you and what you would like to achieve. If you have completed the negative thoughts diary it will help you to plan which thoughts need to be targeted and the positive sentences can then be created. 

 

Keep the affirmations positive and don’t use any negative words. For example, ‘I am not a smoker’ will be interpreted by the mind as ‘I am a smoker’ so write the affirmation as ‘I am a non-smoker’.

Statements to empower you

If you would prefer not to write your own then you can buy Your 100 days of affirmations jar from my Etsy store. This gives you 100 different affirmations so you are sure to find some that work for you! There are a number of different jars- all created for different goals so go on over and take a look. 

Why are affirmations often used in hypnotherapy sessions?

People come to hypnotherapy sessions because they would like to change a behaviour or current way of feeling or thinking and affirmations can help to do just that. In collaboration with hypnosis, affirmations can help to reinforce what is completed in sessions between the client and therapist. The more that the client can do at home, the more successful their outcome is likely to be. I always like to teach my clients self-hypnosis and I believe that affirmations are an important part of the steps to self-hypnosis. 

A list of example affirmations for anxiety
Example affirmations for stopping smoking

I have designed a jar full of 100 positive affirmations. Tried and tested positive affirmations to lift your mood. You can buy one by clicking the link below.

The aim of this blog was to help you understand more about affirmations and how they are affective in improving your mental health. I hope that you are now ready to investigate your thought processes and have the confidence to use my rules to writing affirmations to create your own. You will soon notice how fun and addictive it can become!

 

Alison Ralph

Get in touch...

If you are struggling with your mental health and would like to find out how hypnotherapy could help you I am here to answer all of your questions. 

07719032346

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Self care ideas

Which essential oils are good for anxiety?

Which essential oils are good for anxiety?

Guest Blog written by Lisa Johnson   Owner of LJ Natural             September 2021

Quite often I share natural health related articles on social media, and I can see that the most popular, by far, are those that mention how to deal with anxiety. We seem to be in an epidemic of anxiety, which is such a sad state of affairs, when really, we live in a time of such massive choice and where information on how to improve our lives is readily available at your fingertips.

So today I’m sharing a few ways to help you deal with anxiety at home.

Essential Oils

Our sense of smell is so closely linked to our emotions. It therefore makes sense that using essential oils can help improve an emotional situation and will be very effective. Here’s just a handful of oils you could pick up at your local health food shop that will help you when you are feeling very anxious:

Lavender: renowned for its ability to calm and soothe, lavender should be the first oil you try to help you relax, and as it also aids restful sleep, it’s a perfect oil for helping all aspects of anxiety.

Clary Sage: a mood-lifting oil which calms the very nervous, and creates feelings of peace.

Frankincense: helps to cam the mind, stops the mind racing, so is ideal when you are feeling overwhelmed or are over-thinking. It will gently lift the spirits and increase low energy.

Neroli: has a long history of relieving anxiety and is very helpful when dealing with shock. It’s very calming but with an uplifting, refreshing scent.

Ylang Ylang: helps to reduce rapid breathing, a racing heart and reduces blood pressure. It is very calming, eases tension, and is gently sedative.

Vetiver: helps to balance you emotionally, so if you are feeling very overwhelmed, tearful and anxious, it’s a great oil to help relieve these feelings, it also helps to dispel feelings of anger, distress and hysteria.

 

 

 

Please Note:

Make sure you dilute your oils before using them on the skin. You can mix up body or bath oils using approximately 10 drops of essential oil per 50mls of carrier oil. If you’d like more advice on mixing oils, just message me.

You can use all of these oils in a diffuser at home too. You could also place a couple of drops on a tissue and sniff when needed.

There are hundreds of essential oils and many of them are great for anxiety, and often, it’s a question of just smelling them and seeing which ones resonate with you. There’s a theory in aromatherapy that you are drawn to the oils that are most beneficial for you. If you really love the smell of an oil, that’s the oil to use that day.

Supplements

I’d like to add that whilst using aromatherapy and essential oils will help with the symptoms of anxiety, you are not really dealing with the root cause. As with virtually all health issues (mental and physical) improving your diet is absolutely central. I’ve recently come across a company called Mad Diet and they advocate a package of 4 essential supplements that make a huge difference to mental well-being. Please pop over to their website to learn more, as there is tons of information about not just supplements, but eating better, and see here what they recommend for anxiety:

Vitamin B Complex: essential for brain function, reduces fatigue, boosts the immune system, boosts mood, lowers anxiety and depression and helps to regulate hormones.

Magnesium: needed for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, and most people in this country are woefully deficient in it. It relieves anxiety, improves sleep quality, and helps to maintain normal muscle function.

Essential Fatty Acids/Omega 3: our brain is made of fat and it is absolutely vital to our brain function to consume good quality fats. Taking a good quality omega 3 will help to fight depression and anxiety as well as improving ADHD in children, fighting cognitive decline (such as Alzheimer’s), and reduces many other health issues such as asthma, heart disease and autoimmune disease.

Priobiotic: as I’ve said in so many of my other blogs and on my eczema page, all health starts in the gut, and so having a really health gut full of the right kind of bacteria is central to overall health, including brain health.

Mindfulness

Yes I couldn’t write about anxiety without mentioning mindfulness. Really all it involves in stopping your brain from doing that constant chatter and worry, and instead, tuning in to the world around you in the present moment. You can do guided mindfulness via an app such as Headspace, or you can just sit quietly for 5 minutes and look at a tree moving the in breeze, or watch a candle flame flicker – and when unwanted thoughts and emotions come into your head, just notice them but let them go.

Water

Are you hydrated? Probably not, most people aren’t. Being dehydrated makes anxiety much worse. Drink a pint of water.

Write

Grab a piece of paper and a pen and quickly write down all the things that are making you feel anxious. Getting them out of your mind and onto paper makes a massive difference. Once they are down on paper, you can either fold that paper up very small and put it to one side, or rip it up and throw it away. Or perhaps you’d find it helpful to start a journal and then you’ll see which topics frequently come up and you can do something to put solutions in place to deal with those actions.

I hope this has given you lots to think about. I make a pre-blended anxiety release oil which many customers find incredibly helpful when dealing with anxiety. It does have the most gorgeous, uplifting aroma and it’s a great product to have in, as part of your mental health toolkit. 

Showing what essential oils look like in a glass jar

If you are local to Wilmslow, Cheshire, and would like to learn more about using essential oils at home, then book on to our next Organic Beauty Workshop where you will be able to choose the oils that most appeal to you, and make some bespoke products to take home.

Oh and lastly, don’t feel alone. Anxiety is unbelievably common and you shouldn’t feel ashamed or like you are being silly or like you need to pull yourself together. Accept that are human and that things are not always perfect, and then get busy doing all the things I’ve mentioned here.

Get in touch...

If you are struggling with anxiety and would like to find out how hypnotherapy could help you I am here to answer all of your questions. 

07719032346

Categories
Self care ideas

Self help for depression

Self help for depression

Written by Alison Ralph                         Updated 24 August 2021

Do you want to know more about self help techniques for depression? Are you trying to control it before seeking medication or help yourself alongside medication? Read on to find out more about how you can help yourself when experiencing depression. 

According to the NHS, ‘depression is a low mood which can last a long time or keep returning, affecting your everyday life’.

The symptoms for depression range from mild to severe and you may experience lasting feelings of unhappiness and hopelessness, as well as feelings of anxiety. Other symptoms can be feeling constantly tired, various aches and pains, sleeping badly and no appetite or sex drive.

Considering it is a very common mental health condition, depression is misunderstood by many. Many people suffer in silence or with very little support from those around them. When depression is mild, lifestyle choices may be able to help you and it can sometimes be the small changes which make the big difference! 

Exercise

When we exercise, serotonin and endorphins are released in the brain and this triggers the growth of new brain cells and connections. Exercise also helps us to feel achievement, may get us outdoors and activates a different part of the brain to what we may have been using all day. Any form of exercise can be useful so if its just taking a stroll around the block or a spin class at the gym, it all makes a difference. 

Sleep

Sleep has a huge affect on mood and if you are not getting enough, it can worsen depression. To ensure good sleep, take a look at information about sleep hygiene using this link: 

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/10-tips-to-beat-insomnia/

You can also find information on by clicking on the insomnia page of my website Insomnia – Alison Ralph (alisonralph-therapy.co.uk)

Social support

People who are experiencing depression often cut off from social contact as they find it hard to be around others and exhausting to communicate, however it is important to have contact with others for support and company. Surround yourself with people who are understanding and supportive as this can really help to improve your condition. 

Stress reduction

Stress only makes depression worse and so it is important to look at the factors in your life which are causing you stress. Can you make changes to lessen this stress? This could be relationships, work or anything in daily life. You may not be successful in eliminating all stress but reducing it is equally useful!

If you are unsure where the feelings of stress are coming from it might be useful to write a daily diary for a week recording information such as, movement, work, relationships, sleep, food and drink. After each day decide on how stressed you felt with a scale of 1-10 and identify any issues you can resolve. 

Self-hypnosis

Self-hypnosis can help to lessen the feelings of depression because it works around relaxation. When you allow your body to go into a relaxed state it helps to reduce stress and anxiety, thus helping us to feel light a weight has been lifted. 

When in hypnosis the subconscious mind can be accessed and patterns of behaviour and thought processes can be changed. 

To find out more about learning self hypnosis,

Self-care

Good self-care can be helpful when you are feeling depressed. Often we don’t make time to focus on us or keeping our mind healthy, but good self-care can help you to do that. It can release the feel good hormones as well as prioritising you!

People often think of going to the salon for a manicure or paying for a massage but what if you are unable to afford those things? There are many different ways to practise good self-care and these include, talking a walk in nature, listening to a different radio station for a change or using an affirmation. Find a couple of things that work well for you and stick with them. If you would like some other ideas you can buy  100 days of self-care from my products page. In here you will find 100 different ways look after yourself and release those feel good hormones. Order yours today and notice the difference it makes!

Order yours here: 100 Days of self-care

 

A jar full of self-care ideas

Each of these suggestions may not help each and every person but you may find, as some of my clients have, that just one change can make a huge difference to your feelings of depression. When you are struggling with a mental health condition, whether mild or severe it is important to find out what will work for you and help you to feel better. Each idea I have given on this page are ideas that you can try to help with any feelings of long lasting low mood. 

Remember, if you are worried about yourself or somebody else, it is important to contact your doctor who can help to diagnose and advise. 

Useful Numbers

If you are reading this blog and feel you need some immediate support the below phone numbers are useful.

  • Samaritans (08457 90 90 90) operates a 24-hour service available every day of
    the year. If you prefer to write down how you are feeling, or if you are worried
    about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at
    jo@samaritans.org.
  • Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK.
    Calls are free and the number will not show up on your phone bill.
  • PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation that supports teenagers
    and young adults who are feeling suicidal.

Remember: It’s OK not to be ok and seeking help is NOT a weakness!

Get in touch...

Want to know more about hypnotherapy sessions to help with depression?

Find out how I can help you by getting in touch on:

07719032346

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Hypnotherapy

Hypnobirthing

Hypnobirthing

ALISON RALPH

All last week on my Facebook and Instagram pages I focussed on hypnobirthing; what it is and some of my favourite hypnobirthing techniques. I am a private hypnobirthing instructor and offer sessions face to face in Macclesfield and online.

So what is hypnobirthing and how could it help you or somebody you know?

Hypnobirthing is a technique taught to pregnant women and their birthing partners to help them experience a calmer pregnancy and birth. It uses breathing techniques, teaches relaxation, explains the different stages of pregnancy and birth and so much more! In this blog I will give you some of my favourite ideas and techniques for creating that calmer environment for you and baby.

A calmer space

The thought of a hospital might make you feel uncomfortable or sick but there are things you can do to make it more comfortable for you. Pack your favourite pillow or blanket into your hospital bag so you have a home comfort in the room with you. Take your favourite smell on a scarf and talk to your midwife about any other home comforts you are allowed to have in the hospital room. If you are having a home birth, make sure you have all these wonderful things around you and you can even light some of your favourite candles!

Music

Music is one of the best things to get your senses going. A certain song or piece of music can create nostalgia, sadness, calming or happy feelings and so on. Chose certain songs to have playing before you go into hospital and get creative. I had a client in the past who had calming music for most of baby’s birth and towards the end they had rock music to really spur them on!

Breathing 

Deep belly breathing is the key to your relaxation. If you can learn this then it will set you up for a more comfortable experience. Breathing deeply activates the part of our nervous system that deals with relaxation, and this breath lifts the diaphragm, creating more space for your baby to do what it needs to do!

Breathe in through the nose a long, slow breath, inflating the belly as you do. When it comes to the outward breath you breath out of your nose and allow the belly to relax down. This can be used during and in between lighter contractions.

Special Place

To help you get into a more relaxed state of mind and bring your focus to something else, you can close your eyes and imagine yourself in a very calm and special place. It may be somewhere you have visited before or somewhere you create in your imagination. You want to use each sense here to stimulate different parts of the brain. Notice what you can see in your place, the things you can hear, anything you could touch and so on. 

Using these techniques can make a huge difference to an experience which is the unknown and no matter how the birth of your baby pans out for you, these techniques can be used to help you feel more relaxed so you can enjoy your baby when he or she arrives!

Get in touch...

Want to know more about hypnobirthing sessions?

Find out how I can help you by getting in touch on:

07719032346

Categories
Hypnotherapy

Self-hypnosis- how to use it.

Self-hypnosis – how to use it.

ALISON RALPH

I teach self-hypnosis to all of my clients because there is a great benefit to using them. When you think of self-hypnosis you might think of sitting down in a quiet space for a period of time and using relaxation techniques, however not all self-hypnosis is like this. Self-hypnosis can be used at any time of the day through any experience. For example, breathing techniques can be used to calm the body. 

Self-hypnosis not only allows you to feel relaxed in times of stress or panic, but it can divert the brains attention to a different focus so the worrying thoughts are pushed away.

If you would like to try it yourself then set yourself up somewhere comfortable and quiet, where your less likely to be interrupted. The more you can repeat this process the more likely it is to work for you in everyday life. 

  1. Breathing 

Take a long, slow deep breath in through the nose and as you do, fill the belly up with air. Then release the air out through the mouth, again long and slow. Breathing activates the part of the nervous system which helps the body with relaxation. 

2. Special place

This has to be my favourite of all self-hypnosis techniques. Imagine yourself in a place which is special for you. A place where you can see yourself relaxed and comfortable. Maybe a place with lovely memories for you or a magical place you create with your imagination. When you are in this special place, engage all of your senses. Notice any relaxing sounds, see the colours or landscapes around you and notice any familiar smells. 

3. Affirmations

Affirmations work fantastically well and allow you to create new beliefs about yourself and put them into the subconscious. You may want to chose one for yourself related to a goal you are focusing on, such as ‘I will eat healthily today’ or to hep calm yourself ‘I am fully relaxed and calm’. 

Self-hypnosis may be able to help with:

  • Lessening pain and stress during childbirth
  • Promoting relaxation and better sleep quality 
  • Enhancing memory
  • Overcoming anxiety and stress
  • Building confidence and improving self esteem

You can listen to calming sounds at the same time as practising self-hypnosis. It is a skill that takes practise so it is important to be patient!

Get in touch…

Want to know more about how hypnotherapy could help you on your weight loss journey?
Find out how I can help you by getting in touch on:

07719032346

info@alisonralphhypnotherapy.co.uk​

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Self care ideas

Weight loss Top Tips!

Weight loss Top Tips!

ALISON RALPH

As a hypnotherapist I work with people on a regular basis with weight loss, whether that is privately or in groups. During this time I have learnt about those things that work and those that do not. 

When people come to me for hypnotherapy I advise them against the popular diets that can be accessed in society because these diets are very restricting and can often only be maintained in the short term. When working with weight loss using hypnotherapy, the goal is to change the mindset so that you chose to eat a healthy diet subconsciously for the rest of your life!

So what are those strategies which I have learnt along the way and have been successful for a number of my clients?

1. Alternative changes

For one week, write a food diary of everything you put into your body (try not to lie to yourself) and after that week look a 3 changes you could make. These should not be huge changes but subtle ones. For example, if you are a big tea or coffee drinker and have milk and sugar, cut the number of cups down which you drink in a day. If you are somebody who has carbs for every meal, only eat carbs for 2 meals in the day. These must be changes which are realistic for you and achievable. 

2. Hunger Scale

This is one of my favourite strategies and one that works really well. Are you somebody who never feels hunger because you are always snacking between meals? Next time you go to grab a snack, visualise (or have a physical scale in front of you). The scale should have the numbers one to ten on them and if you hunger is 9 or below, you don’t eat. You wait for your next meal so that you feel hunger and you can enjoy that next meal. 

3. Water

I’m afraid it has to be in there. Drinking more water has many benefits and if you don’t like the taste of water then you could put a piece of lemon or lime in there to give it a little flavour. 

4. Positivity

Positive thinking is a must when trying to lose weight! If you have a bad day where you eat some chocolate or a bag of crisps, don’t beat yourself up, wake up the next day with a new attitude. Tell yourself that you can and will achieve your weight loss goal. 

Remember, healthy weight loss will not happen over night, (two pound a week loss is ideal) it is a journey, so be prepared to walk the path of that journey. Give yourself achievable goals, not unrealistic ones. For example, your first goal could be a loss of 1 stone and once this has been lost you can create a new goal. 

Get in touch...

Want to know more about how hypnotherapy could help you on your weight loss journey?
Find out how I can help you by getting in touch on:

07719032346

Categories
Self care ideas

Coming out of lockdown anxiety

Do you have anxiety about coming out of lockdown?

ALISON RALPH

You may be wondering why you have all the similar feelings about coming out of lockdown as you did when it all started. 

Don’t worry, this is completely normal! What became your new normal is about to change again and so the subconscious is taking you back into that survival mode. You have so many questions about various things you might face in the world outside of your bubble. You may also be creating your own scenarios in your mind – the imagination is your best friend but can also be your enemy!  

So what can you do to help yourself?

  1. Write down each worry and deal with them separately. For example, if you are worried about going back to work, get to know what they are doing there to minimise risk to yourself and anyone else or talk to them about support. If you are worried about facing the supermarket then chose a quieter time and day to go. 
  2. What worries can you and can’t you control? Write a list of the worries you can control and those you cannot. Try to focus on the ones you can do something about and push the others to the back of your mind.
  3. Calming breaths– I think that calming breaths work for everything! Sit somewhere quietly and really focus in on your breathing. How your chest feels as it rises and falls and really allowing your body to relax. 
  4. Pick out the positives – focus on the positive elements of the lockdown easing and again, try to put any negatives to the back of your mind.
  5. Remember! You coped with change before. When the lockdown began there was a lot of change to daily routine and for many people a sense of pain and anxiety. Remember, you overcame and you can use the positives from this to cope with the new change. 
  6. Don’t be hard on yourself! It is important to remember that we are going through a world pandemic and therefore you need to look after yourself. Take time out for you and practise good self care.

If you feel that you could benefit from hypnotherapy to help with any anxiety then please contact me by calling: 07719032346 or email: info@alisonralphhypnotherapy.co.uk