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Hypnotherapy

5 ways hypnotherapy can help your menopause symptoms

5 ways hypnotherapy can help your menopause symptoms

Written by Alison Ralph                     Date 15 January 2024

Menopause! It can be a really difficult time in a woman’s life so here are 5 ways hypnotherapy can help your menopause symptoms. Unfortunately during the menopause, some women feel lonely, some do not know which way to turn and some even feeling like they are going mad! Luckily, there has been a lot more noise about the menopause over the last few years and more ways to help women cope are being talked about. One of those ways is hypnotherapy and I am going to explain how in this blog post. 

I will talk about these things and how they can help different symptoms and your overall well-bring:

  • Relaxation
  • Visualisation
  • Talking
  • The subconscious mind 
  • Tools that work!

Relaxation

A lady feeling relaxed. Showing relaxation after hypnotherapy.

Often, the menopause can cause a person to feel more stressed and have anxiety symptoms. When a person is in a hypnotic state they are generally in a state of relaxation too. This means that the body can slow down and the mind can have some time out. These relaxation techniques can also be practised at home, meaning that you can be more relaxed on a regular basis. This can help those feelings of anxiety and stress. 

Visualisation

In hypnotherapy we use a lot of visualisation because the brain responds well to it. We can visualise a cool place to help with hot flushes, a calm place to help with stress or the ways we would like to behave so the brain has a different path to follow. This can be a very successful way to achieve the outcome we would like. 

In a relaxing place on a hammock

Talking

Alison talking to a client

The first session of hypnotherapy with me involves talking and finding out what is going on for you. Talking is a powerful tool! It allows you to get all the thoughts and feelings out into the air, in a non-judgemental and understanding environment. People always feel better after this session and often say that a weight has lifted from their shoulders!

The Subconscious mind

Did you know that the subconscious mind controls everything that happens in your body? So even your hot flushes, anxiety and ways you feel about yourself. In hypnotherapy we work with the subconscious to help change the thought processes, helping you to feel in control and more positive! 

Image showing all the things the mind filters
Tools that work!

Cool place visualisation

When you are struggling with hot flushes during the day or night it can be extremely difficult. People become stressed by them, embarrassed and just want them to go away. They might start fanning themselves or striping off their clothes. When people react in this way, it causes the brain to send out the stress signals which makes the issue worse. Have a go at the cool place visualisation and notice how it helps!

Deep belly breathing

You may have found that anxiety and stress have increased as you transition through the menopause and you are not really sure where to start to reduce this. Deep belly breathing can help because it activates the parasympathetic nervous system which is the part of the body that deals with relaxation. When this is relaxed it sends a signal to the brain to say that we are relaxed and the brain then can send out the relaxing hormones. 

Instructions for a relaxing breathing technique
A lady writing in her journal
Journaling

Journaling is a very affective tool and can help you to raise self-esteem and confidence, create positive thinking and help you to understand patterns in behaviour and feelings. 

The above tools are just some that I introduce to my clients when they come to me for hypnotherapy. Unfortunately, hypnotherapy is not just a magic wand that makes changes and takes your issues away. It does require work from the client and these tools can help you to manage the symptoms of menopause that you are experiencing. 

As you can see, hypnotherapy can help with many symptoms of the menopause and it is a natural way to overcome these issues. It can help you to feel more positive and to help the transition feel easier. If you are unsure of the symptoms you have, take a look at this symptom tracker. It can help you ahead of any appointments you have and can be useful once you have started any treatment to recognise any progress made. 

If you would like to find out more about how therapy could help you, please get in touch – Alison Ralph Hypnotherapy And Counselling | 07719032346 | www.alisonralph-therapy.co.uk 

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Hypnotherapy

Stoptober – what is it and how can you prepare for it?

Stoptober - what is it and how can you prepare for it?

Written by Alison Ralph                     Date 05 September 2023

Are you wondering what Stoptober is all about and how you can prepare for it if you would like to stop smoking or vaping? In this blog post I will explain what Stoptober is and give you some ideas for how you can prepare for the month and stop smoking or vaping for good!

Putting a cigarette out on a calendar

What is Stoptober?

October was chosen by Public Health England as the National stop smoking campaign to help people to stop smoking for good. It started in 2012, meaning that it is entering its 11th year this year. It has helped many people to stop smoking over the years. October was chosen as the month because previous studies had shown that those who stop smoking for 28 days are FIVE times more likely to stop forever. Giving you some time to adjust and 28 days to not have any cigarettes.

If you wanted to, you can sign up for Stoptober through the NHS website to receive all the resources available. Smokefree Registration

How can you prepare for Stoptober?

If you have already tried to stop smoking or vaping on your own you may have noticed that it can be extremely difficult. You might miss smoking, feel that it helps you in some way or you may not be able to cope with the cravings it causes. Here are some tips for beginning a mindset change and lessening the nicotine percentage in your body. Giving you the best possible chance of stopping smoking.

A picture of a number one

Change your brand of cigarette – it may sound bonkers but smoking is a sub-conscious activity. This means that you don’t have to think about it when doing it. It always tastes the same too. Changing your brand of cigarette can help you to bring it into the conscious thinking. 

Smoke with the opposite hand. I know, another one that sounds a little strange. If you normally smoke with your left hand change to the right and visa versa. Again, this will help you to bring smoking into the conscious thinking and allow you to think about it a little differently about smoking. When it is in the conscious thinking you can make choices about how much you smoke or whether you are enjoying it or not.

An image of the number two
An image of number 3
A person snapping a cigarette in half

Cut down the number of cigarettes you smoke. You can do this by setting yourself a number of cigarettes for the day. To help you with this you may only take certain number of cigarettes out with you during the day or leave them in the car when you are in the house. You might smoke half of the cigarette and then put it out, every time you smoke. You might ban smoking in the car or house. There are many ways you can do this, get creative and decide exactly what you will do. Don’t be wishy washy!

Find new ways to release those feel good hormones. When the chemicals in the brain react with the nicotine you inhale, it releases the feel good hormones. Telling the subconscious mind that you are okay. If you can find new and healthier ways to do this, it can really help. For example, playing with a pet, going for a walk or playing a game. Find what works for you!

Image of the number 4
An image of number 5

Decide on your reasons for stopping and how you see yourself benefiting once you have. This is extremely important. Why would we force ourselves through something difficult if we couldn’t see how it would benefit us? Sit down and write all your reasons for stopping and how it will benefit you in the future. One example could be, having more disposable income. 

Have faith in yourself and tell yourself that you can do it. Being your own cheerleader is actually more beneficial than receiving praise from someone else. The more you tell yourself you can do it, the more motivated you will feel. In turn, releasing those all important feel good hormones. 

The number 6 inside a circle

What if I am a vaper?

A person holding a vape

I hear you saying, but what if I am a vaper, can these things also work for me? Vaping follows the same principle as smoking when trying to stop as the same chemical reactions happen in the brain. So if you would like to stop vaping, all of the above apply. If you vape with nicotine, it might be a good idea to start reducing the amount in the vape and if you can, take yourself down to 0% nicotine. 

Vapes can also become a comfort blanket, something that you always have with you or even hold in your hand. Start to reduce the time that you do this during the day so you can separate yourself from it. 

Benefits of stopping smoking

I have worked with many people over the years to help them stop smoking and everyone has their own reason for wanting to stop smoking. Once they have stopped I have received feedback from people saying:

‘I can’t believe how much more time I have in my day!’

‘I was able to save the money and treat myself and my partner to a holiday instead!’

‘I spent more time sitting on the floor playing with my children.’

‘I felt less stressed.’

‘I can breathe easier when training.’

 

There are so many benefits and some of these can be noticed quite quickly, whilst others take time. 

Have a read of this article. It explains how the body repairs itself once the nicotine has left.

What happens after you quit smoking? A timeline (medicalnewstoday.com)

If you would like to know how hypnotherapy could help you during the month of October, you can send an email here 

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Hypnotherapy

Can hypnotherapy help me to stop vaping?

Can hypnotherapy help me to stop vaping?

Written by Alison Ralph                                                             Date: 4th May 2023

You may be wondering if hypnotherapy can help you to stop vaping. You have heard about all those people who have stopped smoking through the use of hypnotherapy. It must be the same surely? Yes! Hypnotherapy can help you to stop vaping. Just like smoking, vaping is a habit, it’s a part of your life, something that you cannot imagine living without. 

The good news is, hypnotherapy can help you to stop vaping by changing your mindset and interrupting the habit. 

In this article I will explain:

  • The reason you are addicted to vaping
  • How the nicotine in your vape influences the brain
  • The harmful side of vaping
  • The reasons people decide to stop vaping
  • How hypnotherapy can help you to stop vaping
  • The benefits of stopping vaping
  • How we can work together to help you stop vaping
A person smoking

Why are you addicted to vaping?

‘A habit; a routine or behaviour that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously.’

Once you make the decision to vape, you tend to chose when to do it. Whether that is at work, out with friends or randomly throughout the day. The more that you smoke the vape, the more that the brain notices the routine of it and then it becomes a habit. The more that you use it, the more the brain expects it and so the habit becomes more prevalent in your life. 

It may be that you started vaping to stop smoking and so the vape will have replaced that habit. Vaping only at the times when you would have had a cigarette, or more often because vapes are more socially acceptable. 

The vape is more accessible, designed to fit nicely in your pocket and so the habit can feel as though it completely takes over. You see people walking around town vaping, on the school run vaping, in their car vaping or outside a restaurant. It can feel as though it is all around. 

If you have nicotine in your vape then this is causing more reason for the brain to become addicted.

When you bring nicotine into the brain through the act of breathing in, it reacts with the chemicals in the brain. It creates nicotine receptors in the brain which cause the brain to think that everything is okay and that the receptors are now are part of you. If you don’t satisfy that part of the brain, it wonders why and asks you for it. The more you satisfy this part of the brain, the more the brain wants that feeling and therefore causes the act to be completed over and over again.  

When nicotine reacts with the other chemicals in the brain it causes the release of dopamine. This is our feel good hormone. So you begin to feel that smoking your vape is helping you because that is the message you are sending to the brain each time you inhale. 

A person holding a vape
The harmful side of vaping

Vapes have not been around long enough for scientists to find out what the long term affects are, however we have all heard on the news when things have gone wrong. And at the end of the day, inhaling something into the lungs surely is never going to be good!

Recent supermarket research found that in some vapes there has been a higher level of nicotine than is legally allowed and they have taken the decision to ban them from stores. So, do you really know what you are breathing into your body?

It was found that the particular brand of vape had at least 50% more than the legal limit for nicotine e-liquid. You can read more about the issue here 

Nicotine inside a vape is the most harmful substance which can cause increase in blood pressure, heart rate, flow of blood to the heart and a narrowing of the arteries. Nicotine may also lead to hardening of the artery walls which may lead to heart attack (heart.org).

According to the CDC inside a vape there are; ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs, possibly affecting the health of the lungs. They also contain flavourings such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious lung disease. There is evidence of volatile organic compounds and Cancer-causing chemicals. And could also include heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead.

As you can see, even though the long term affects of vaping are not yet known, they contain many harmful ingredients which can have an affect on the health of your body and brain so maybe it’s time to think about your reasons for stopping vaping. 

The reasons that people decide to stop vaping

I have worked with many people in recent years who have wanted to stop vaping and people have different reasons for stopping. 

Some of the most common reasons for stopping vaping are:

  1. Health – people are aware that vaping could be bad for their health and want to give themselves more chance of a longer life. 
  2. Children – people want to set good examples to their children in the hope that their children will not think it is okay to vape. 
  3. Money – with the rise in cost of living at the moment, people are looking at ways to save money. Vaping can be costly and cutting this out helps them with their finances. 
  4. Control – I have many clients who comment that they feel like the vape controls them and they don’t want to be controlled any longer. They would like to take back the control and feel stronger.

When using hypnotherapy to stop vaping, the reasons somebody wants to stop are really important and are used to help change the mindset. 

Spiral image to demonstrate hypnosis

How hypnotherapy can help you to stop vaping

Hypnotherapy is extremely helpful when you want to overcome a habit. The reason for this is the subconscious mind. This is where we store all of our habits, past experiences and feelings towards anything that has ever happened to us in life. 

In hypnosis, we access the subconscious thinking and then the hypnotherapist can make suggestions to the subconscious mind to make the changes you are hoping for. 

So how does hypnosis work? The hypnotherapist will guide you into an altered state of consciousness. A little bit like a really relaxed state, and they will then ask you to focus only on their voice. This focus on the voice and nothing else allows the altered state. 

The suggestions that the hypnotherapist makes to the subconscious will help you to feel like you don’t want or need the vape or that you never were a person who vaped.

It is a calm, natural and affective way to stop you from vaping!

If it is smoking you would like to stop, click here

The benefits of stopping vaping

As you can imagine, there are many benefits to stopping vaping. Here are just some of the benefits I have heard from past clients:

  1. Health – People feel healthier, fitter and more able to breathe.
  2. Freedom!- People always comment on the freedom. They no longer need to carry the vape, worry if they are going to run out or plan breaks around the vape. 
  3. Nicotine free – those who smoked a vape with nicotine can enjoy the fact that the nicotine will leave their body. Their lungs will eventually clean themselves, their teeth and skin will be cleaner and their blood pressure can have a chance of coming down. 
Alison talking to a client

How can we work together to stop you vaping?

I am Alison, a hypnotherapist based in Macclesfield, Cheshire. I also work remotely to help stop people vaping. I have a lot of experience helping to stop people vaping and smoking and pride myself in giving you the best support and possible outcome for you. 

If you have landed on this page and you would like to stop smoking, have a read of this blog which is more directed towards smoking. 

If you would like to stop vaping, we can work together. I offer a course of 3 sessions to help you stop vaping and always begin with a FREE phone consultation.

The first session is an information collecting session. I will find out as much information as I can about you and your vaping history. I will then teach you what you need to know about the chemicals in the brain. Together we will come up with conscious strategies you can use to cut down on the vaping. 

You will then go away for a week and start cutting down your vaping. 

At the next session we will review progress and go through the positives of stopping vaping. You will then have a 40 minutes hypnosis session to change the mindset. At the end of this session you go home as a someone who doesn’t vape.

The third session is always geared towards the future. We use hypnosis to ensure that vaping doesn’t come back into your thinking in the future. 

If you feel that this is something you would like to explore then please get in touch.

‘The efficacy of Alison’s technique speaks for itself. It’s been nearly two months now and I haven’t used nicotine in any form and don’t intend to, ever again.’

It may feel like you have tried everything and anything to give up that vape and as though it will control you for the rest of your life. 

Hypnotherapy can help you to get rid of it once and for all. I am here to empower you and help you to feel confident that you can live without it. Hypnotherapy is a safe and natural way to stop vaping and is highly successful. 

Get in touch...

If you 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 Hypnotherapists guide to reducing stress

A hypnotherapists guide to reducing stress

Written By Alison Ralph                                                                        Date: 02.11.22

Today is Stress Awareness Day in the UK so I thought I would create a guide to help you reduce stress. The aim of the guide is to help you to notice what you might be doing in your life that can create more stress and hopefully enable you to put new things into place to prevent the feelings of stress or overwhelm. Within my therapy practice I work with many clients who are experiencing anxiety or low mood from the overwhelm and stress they have in their day-to-day life and the guide I have created here are tried and tested strategies I have suggested to my clients. 

Say No more often

This is one that many people struggle with. Always trying to make other people happy or a belief that the more you do for others, the better their opinion of you. This can lead you to take on more than you can physically and mentally handle. Remember that it is okay to say NO. It doesn’t mean that you are being unreasonable, it just means that you are looking after you and that you can give more quality time and attention to the things you have said yes too. This may mean learning to be more assertive and when I say assertive, I don’t mean to be mean to people but setting boundaries in place to make sure that you protect yourself. You might find that this is something that you could improve within the workplace or with family or friends. 

Alison demonstrating deep breathing

And breathe...

If you have read any of my other blog posts or you follow my social media posts you will know that I am a big believer in deep breathing. When you take a long deep breath in through the nose and out of the mouth it not only activates the parasympathetic nervous system (that’s the part of our body that deals with relaxation) it also enables us to take time out, close our eyes if we chose and release the muscles in our body. It also allows us to interrupt a faster pace of breathing that is often experienced with stress and bring the breathing back to normal. The benefits of long breaths really are plentiful when it comes to releasing stress. Deep belly breathing is my favourite and the one I teach to most of my clients. See the instructions below!

Instructions for a relaxing breathing technique

Get plenty of sleep

Sleeping really does have an effect on the way we think and feel, and the decisions that we decide to make during the day. If you are someone who struggles to sleep, then create an environment that promotes sleep. To find out more you can have a read of my blog all about insomnia. 

A hypnotherapist’s guide to better sleep and battling insomnia – Alison Ralph (alisonralph-therapy.co.uk)

Get exercising

Alison in her running gear tying her shoe lace

Yes, it’s the one that is talked about an awful lot but for good reason! It really does help the body to release stress. Think about the time when we were cave men. We were faced with an animal that may want to kill us. We had to run away or fight it. The adrenalin rushed around our body and we either ran or we fought. As we were doing either of these, the adrenalin would discharge from the body, and everything would go back to its normal way of working. It is important to know that our body experiences this same reaction with our everyday stress, but we don’t run or fight. When we exercise, it can help to get rid of these chemicals as well as producing the feel-good hormones, endorphins. Make sure you find the exercise that works for you. My most favourite exercise is netball – I love it and it fits in with my lifestyle and so it is easy to go and do it!

Ask for help!

Yes, it’s another one that people always go on about. I am not necessarily talking about going to see a GP or a therapist. I am talking about acknowledging that you are taking on too much as a mum, dad, partner, employee, daughter, son… you get the jist! I often work with people, and they are doing EVERYTHING! And, not feeling as though they can ask for help. This might be because they are embarrassed to or because they feel they SHOULD because of some deep-seated belief. I am here to tell you that you are only HUMAN. You cannot do everything and if you are, it is likely that you will be suffering from some sort of stress. Ask for help from friends and family members, either help with physical activities or a listening ear. If you feel that you can’t talk to them, seek out a therapist who you can talk to.

Alison talking to a client

Remember that you are only human, and humans were not designed for such a fast paced and ever-changing world and life. It is okay to say no, and you will notice that when you start to say no, things will feel much easier and less overwhelming. Make time for things that are good for you, and you will feel the benefits, and if you are struggling, please ask for help, whether that is physical help or just someone to talk to. You will notice that once you have given yourself permission to do this, you will feel a weight lifted off your shoulders!

If you feel you would like to know more about how counselling could help you then please get in touch. You may find that you only need a couple of sessions. 

Get in touch...

If you 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

Hypnotherapy for Parosmia and Phantosmia

Hypnotherapy for Parosmia and Phantosmia

Written By Alison Ralph                                                                    July 2022

Alison Ralph head shot

For many, COVID19 seems like a distant memory and there is almost a feeling that it never existed. However, this is not the case for others who struggled through the pandemic for whatever reason or are still suffering with long COVID symptoms. You may be reading this post because you or somebody you know are suffering with the symptoms of long COVID. In this blog post I will explain how hypnotherapy could help you to overcome parosmia, phantosmia, or both and help you to get your taste and smell back and I will be providing you with the chance to access a hypnotherapy recording that you can use to access the subconscious part of your brain and get everything working again.

 

Long COVID affects around 10% of 18-49 year olds who became unwell with COVID19, rising to 22% of over 70’s. If you are one of those people or if you live with one of those people you will know how difficult and deliberating it can be, no matter what the symptoms are. In this blog post I aim to:

  • Explain what parosmia and phantosmia are
  • Explain what hypnotherapy is 
  • Explain how and why hypnotherapy can work for long COVID
  • Offer you a hypnotherapy recording at an affordable price that you can download and listen to and which aims to help get your smell and taste back

What are parosmia and phantosmia?

Parosmia

Let’s first look at parosmia. Now I am sure that most of you reading this are very aware of what it is and what it feels like to have it but for those who don’t; parosmia is an abnormality in the sense of smell. It is the inability of the brain to properly identify an odour’s natural smell; the odour is transcribed into an unpleasant smell. It may be that their favourite air freshener or perfume has a different smell – how annoying! We all know how long it can take to find the right perfume!

A woman smelling flowers

Phantosmia

This is when people are detecting smells in their environment which are not actually there. After COVID19 people have reported a fishy smell and a smell like rotten food. Not nice, when your food or house smells like this or when you have that constantly lingering in your nose. It isn’t always foul smells that people are reporting, it can be pleasant ones too. 

What is hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy or hypnosis works with the subconscious part of our thinking. This is where everything we have ever done; any feelings, emotions or behaviours are stored. It is also the part of us that instructs the body to work. It is the part of us that knows when and how to digest food, the part of us that remembers how to walk and the part of us that is responsible for our sense of smell and taste. When we learn to do new things, even from a tiny baby, these things are stored in our subconscious and we can then continue to do them whenever we need to. The best way to describe this is when we think about learning to drive. If you are a driver, you will know that you can drive whilst thinking about something else or talking to a passenger and that is because the part that is driving is the subconscious part of us. When you access hypnotherapy, the hypnotherapist will guide you into a state of hypnosis. When you are in this state, which is just a state of relaxation, your brain waves are working at a slower level. This level is ideal for subconscious activity and it is when the hypnotherapist can start working on making those changes. It can be extremely effective in changing the way your brain thinks and people often see fantastic results.

Spiral image to demonstrate hypnosis

How and why can hypnotherapy work for long COVID?

When we break a bone in our body we are unable to use that limb for a while. Once the cast is off and we are able to use that limb again, we have to relearn how to move it correctly again and we have to gain confidence in using it. If you are experiencing parosmia or phantosmia due to long COVID, it is likely that the virus has affected the function of supporting cells in the upper nasal cavity. The good news is that it is thought that they are not permanently damaged and therefore you can learn to bring back the correct smells and taste again. This is where hypnosis comes in. Accessing the subconscious part of the brain, which works everything, we can help you and the brain to believe that things can go back to normal again. The mind is a powerful place and we can use it to our advantage.

Hypnotherapy recording

If you think hypnotherapy could help you and would like to give it a go. You can access this recording for only £5. The recording is made to listen to frequently and after each time, I will ask you to go and smell something or eat something. The aim of this recording is to let go of any negative emotions attached to long COVID and then looking at making all the parts of the nose, throat and mouth working correctly again and allowing normal smells to come through. It aims to rid you of parosmia or phantosmia and live a happier, fulfilling life! 

Please note, I am not a medical professional. If you are unsure why you have the symptoms, you do I would recommend booking an appointment with your doctor. 

 

Here’s the link: Parosmia and phantosmia recording

Get in touch...

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

07719032346

Categories
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. 

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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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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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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!

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Want to know more about hypnobirthing sessions?

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

07719032346

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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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How investing in hypnotherapy sessions can improve your overall health and well being.

How investing in hypnotherapy sessions can improve your overall health and wellbeing.

Written by ALISON RALPH                                            Date: 04.10.21               

 

Hypnotherapy can be an extremely affective treatment for improving your overall health and well being however, it is not widely known or understood. Many people immediately think about stage hypnosis or hypnosis they may have seen on TV. 

My name is Alison Ralph and I am a hypnotherapist based in Macclesfield, Cheshire. I work with clients in my Macclesfield hypnotherapy practice; helping to improve their health and well being using a holistic approach to give them the best possible outcome. 

In this blog post I will give you a clearer understanding of what hypnotherapy is and how it can help to improve your overall health and well being. All of this will be explained in these steps:

  • The history of hypnosis; showing that it is not a new idea for improving health and well being
  • I will break down the word and explain the two parts 
  • Explain what hypnotherapy is often used for and the people I see in my practice 
  • Explain who can and cannot use hypnotherapy 
  • The reasons why you should use it if you are having doubts

The history of hypnosis

So where did it all begin? 

People often think that hypnotherapy for improving health and well being is a new thing however, I am going to tell you today that it’s not!

We cannot of course be 100% sure of where it begin but evidence suggests that it was used by ancient cultures in Greece and Egypt. They used a form of it in their healing ceremonies and even built ‘sleep temples’ to perform the practice. 

In the 1700’s it was developed and researching by Franz Anton Mesmer and it was called mesmerism. Many people received treatment from him. 

Since this time it has been developed and used for many other reasons and has become more recognised as a treatment from the NHS and other medical institutions. 

In the early days, a pocket watch was used to help induce hypnosis so that the client could focus on something. They were then brought into movies to help people learnt about hypnosis. and have become the object that people think of when hypnotherapy is mentioned. However, hypnosis is induced through the voice mostly in todays practice. 

If you would like to know more, I really like this info graphic as it explains hypnosis through time 

Timeline.png (678×1600) (bp.blogspot.com)

An old clock showing the history of hypnosis

A closer look at Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy can be broken into two works – ‘Hypno’ and ‘Therapy’.

Let’s deal with the word ‘Therapy’ first. People come to hypnotherapy because they want to improve their health and well being. For example, they might want help overcoming anxiety or for pain management. The hypnotherapist will therefore allow the client time to talk about their problem and will guide the client to talk about how it is affecting them in day to day life, the first time they experienced their problem and triggers for their problem. This is completed in a private and highly confidential manner. The therapist and client then work together to devise a for sessions. Within the sessions, the aim is to allow the client to achieve goals and overcome obstacles with a change of mindset. 

That leads us to the second word -‘Hypnosis’. Hypnosis is simply, a deep relaxed state of body and mind. You will be guided into relaxation using different techniques, including the calm voice of the therapist. I have had clients explain the feeling as ‘a massage but without the physical touch’. Once you are in the deep level of hypnosis, the subconscious mind is receptive to change and the therapist can talk about the goals and changes you want. 

Hypnotherapy is a partnership between the therapist and client and by working together, changes can be made!

Client and therapist

How can hypnotherapy improve my health and well being?

Hypnotherapy can be used for many issues within life and each issue that a client presents with is often affecting their health and well being. 

I often work with clients who would like to stop smoking. Hypnotherapy is a powerful treatment for this because smoking is a subconscious activity (a habit) which is often deeply engrained from a child. Hypnotherapy to stop smoking can help to change the mindset towards smoking and give a person the motivation and courage to stop.

I also work with people to help manage their anxiety or stress. Hypnotherapy is helpful for this because as well as teaching them strategies to overcome the feelings anxiety or stress gives, I help to change the through processes in the subconscious mind. This allows them to think more positive and kind to themselves. 

People often come to me because they would like to lose weight. Hypnotherapy can help with weight management because again, the mindset can be changed around foods they eat and the amount of foods they eat. We can also look at behaviour patterns that have been instilled since childhood and visit these in the subconscious mind allowing the client to make the changes at a deeper level. 

Hypnotherapy can also be used for increasing confidence, overcoming phobias, insomnia, transitioning through the menopause and more.

As you can see, all of these issues will be affecting a person’s health and well being in some way and if they can be improved using hypnosis the person can live a happier quality of life. 

Can everyone be hypnotised?

When I talk to people during an initial phone consultation they are often worried that they cannot be hypnotised because they struggle to relax in daily life or even to fall asleep at night. However, it is thought that 99.9% of people can be hypnotised. When we daydream  in our daily lives we are in a hypnotic state and therefore it is not a difficult state to be guided into my a professional. 

It is important to say though that those who cannot be hypnotised are those who maybe don’t believe in the process and have come along because a friend or family member have persuaded them to or they may be putting a barrier up for some reason. If this is the case, it can be worked through by talking to the hypnotherapist. 

It is thought that hypnotherapy could be harmful to those who have psychosis or other personality disorders due to the fact that we enter the mind during the treatment. I would recommend that you seek out a hypnotherapist who is highly trained in this area. 

The reasons why you should try hypnotherapy is you are having doubts .

I would recommend hypnotherapy to anyone who is trying to make improvements to their health and well being and I know that many of my clients past and present would too. 

Here are my top 5 reasons to try hypnotherapy: 

  1. It is a relaxing process and allows you to take time out from your busy daily life.
  2. It teaches you strategies for your issue which you can use and put into your ‘health and wellbeing toolbox’
  3. It allows that time to talk in an environment which is non-judgement and understanding. This can also help you to feel better and more relaxed. 
  4. It can help you to overcome many different problems, improving your health and well being
  5. It can access your subconscious thinking and so can be quicker than other forms of therapy

I hope that this blog has helped you to gain a better understanding of how hypnotherapy can help you to improve your health and well being. My aim was to help you recognise that hypnotherapy is not a new treatment but has been working for people for many years like other forms of therapy and to also help you gain a clearer understanding of how hypnotherapy could help you to improve your health and well being. 

If you would like to book a free phone consultation or would like any more information about coming for hypnotherapy sessions please get in touch by using the contact details below. 

Get in touch...

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

07719032346