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. 


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.


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.


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.


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


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. 


Self care ideas

Can nature help my mental health?

How can nature help my mental health?

Written By Alison Ralph                               May 2021

This week is mental health awareness week and after being cooped up inside for the best part of a year its not surprising that the chosen theme is nature. There has been a huge emphasis this past year on getting out in nature and the importance of having your outdoor time. So does nature really help your mental health?

In this article I will be talking about:

  • How and why nature helps with your mental health
  • My favourite things to do in nature to help with your mental health
  • The things you can do in and around Macclesfield if you are local to me that will help with your mental health
  • I will also give you some links to great websites that talk about things to do in nature

An American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, once said “Study Nature, Love Nature, Stay close to Nature. It will never fail you”.

I love this quote and think it sums up our relationship with nature. If you think about it, our link with nature is deeply rooted within us from the beginning of time. Our ancestors would live in nature, gather and catch food to each and create their own tools and resources from the natural world around them. It is no wonder therefore that nature has a positive impact both mentally and physically on us human beings.


The sun setting with birds flying through the sky

How can nature help my mental health?

Research is still on-going but it is thought that the smells of out-doors and the shapes of leaves and other visual elements from nature, as well as the parts of nature which engage our other senses trigger feel good reactions in the brain.

This is the reason that we might go for a walk when stressed or sit and listen to the sounds of nature to help us relax. 

Nature can help us to be ‘in the moment’. When we are waling and appreciating the things around us it helps us to take out mind off the every day things that may be whirling about. People often say that they are going for a walk to ‘clear there mind’ or ‘to think’ and a walk is seen as a great way to improve mood. When we see the things in nature it helps us to relax and feel calm again.

It is not surprising then that if we are stressed or anxious, some time out in nature can help us to feel grounded and less stressed. 

A beautiful beach with drift wood and grass in the forefront

How does hypnotherapy use nature?

Within the treatment of hypnotherapy references to nature are often used because of their association with calm and relaxation. 

Some hypnotherapists use calming sounds in their sessions such as the sound of the sea or the wind blowing through the trees. 

Metaphors are often used in hypnotherapy because the imagination responds well to these. This might be asking a person who wants to gain confidence to imagine themselves as a strong tree or a flying eagle. 

Another way nature is used in hypnotherapy is through guided imagery. For example, a person might be led through the ‘pathway of life’ if they are looking at past, present or future events. 

a pathway running through an autumnal forest

What can I do in nature to help my mental health?

If you are looking for ideas of what to do to get involved with nature and feel the benefits, here are some of my favourites; 

  • Grow an indoor plant from seed and nurture it – If you are struggling with your mental health and it is affecting how you look after yourself, it can be useful to grow a plant from seed. Feed and water it, move it from a small pot to a larger one and prune it. As funny as this may sound, it can help you to begin looking after yourself again. Of course, this process can be rewarding for anyone. I always feel proud of myself when I have managed to grow something from seed. It gives me a good feeling!
  • Go for a mindful walk– Go for a walk in nature but this time notice things that you haven’t seen before. A certain tree, how a neighbour’s garden on your walk has changed or the colours of a flower. If you live in the city and you are walking notice the areas that nature has survived or grown and appreciate how robust it actually is. I try and notice if someone has new flowers or hanging baskets in their garden and if they are new flowers to me. 
  • Sit by a pond or stream and listen to the water and the birds/ducks– the sound of water trickling through the rocks or the splash when a duck lands can both help us to feel relaxed. This is one of my favourite sounds and I’m sure I am not on my own!
  • Exercise outdoors – Exercising outdoors can be extremely beneficial, not only are you breathing the fresh air into your lungs but you are also experiencing all the above ideas at the same time. One thing I love to do is go for power walks or runs in the outside world. I find it much more refreshing than the gym!
  • Grow food with a group of people or just in your own outdoor space – find friends or even strangers to share a space with and grow food that you can then share. This not only improves confidence and self-esteem but helps you to have a much needed social connection with other humans. I love it when our rhubarb or strawberries are ready and we can just pick them and eat them fresh or stick them in a crumble. Yum!
  • Connect with animals – this has to be my favourite. There is something special about seeing a fox or a deer or some other wildlife when you are outdoors. It can give you something different to focus on outside of your busy life and again, it is something you can enjoy with friends or family to boost your connection with others. 
yellow spring time flowers

The best nature visits in Cheshire

If you are local to me then I thought I would share some of my favourite places for a nature visit in the Cheshire area and local to Macclesfield. 

The first one is the lovely Sutton Reservoir. This has such a great walk around the outside of the reservoir. The walk is not too long and has benches dotted about as well as grassy areas where you can sit and enjoy the abundance of wildlife swimming in the water. A great place to go for a walk, run or picnic with family. 

Another favourite of mine in Reedsmere, just outside of Macclesfield. Yet another place you can go for a short walk (although I’ve never actually done this one). We love standing by the water, feeding and listening to the ducks, geese and birds. 

I would love to hear your favourites in the area so please comment on the article to let us know and…

If you would like more ideas for places to visit around the Cheshire area visit the East Cheshire Mumbler website – they have some great ideas and they are all tried and tested!

If you have been asking the question. How can nature help my mental health? then this article should have answered some questions for you and provided ideas to use nature to help with your mental health. 

Try some of these ways suggested and start with the ones that are easier for you. Once you gain confidence you can experiment with other ideas. Find the ones that fit into your lifestyle and go with them! 

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. 


Self care ideas

Things to remember as lockdown restrictions ease

Things to remember as lockdown restrictions ease

For the past year and a bit most people have been on a roller coaster ride of emotions and had struggles of their own in different ways. Our subconscious minds have been in turmoil trying to keep up and so you may have experienced feelings of anxiety, worry, anger or other emotions. Now restrictions are easing and you might notice emotions which you hadn’t expected. We are supposed to feel happy that restrictions are easing right? But this might not be the case for some people and that is ok too. 

Things to remember

  1. You’re allowed to decline social invites – it is ok to decline a social invite if you don’t feel quite ready yet. Everyone will adapt at a different rate and I’m sure friends and family will understand if you tell them this. 
  2. It’s ok to feel a bit emotionally unsteady -the change in rules yet again will play havoc with the subconscious brain and so emotions may appear that you hadn’t quite expected. 
  3. Your body doesn’t need to look a certain way – again throughout lockdown people have struggled to exercise or eat healthily and this is a natural response to the emotions we have been through. Try not to worry – you will probably find that other people have changed too. 
  4. It’s ok if you don’t want to be as busy as you once were- I don’t know about you but I have met lots of people who have had a taste of a slower pace of life and really enjoy it. If this is you, embrace it and look at the benefits. 
  5. There is no right way to feel, think or move forward- Go at your own pace and try not to focus on what others are doing. You know what is best for you and that is where your focus should be. 
  6. It’s ok if your pre-lockdown life no longer exists – if things have changed for you in a big way during this time, see if as a new beginning, a fresh start and go for it! 

With these six points in mind remember that you are important and it doesn’t matter if you move at a different pace or experience different emotions to the next person. We are all unique!

Written by Alison Ralph

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If you find you are struggling to adapt to restrictions easing hypnotherapy could be helpful for you. 

Find out how by getting in touch on:


Guest Blogs

Morning Anxiety

Morning Anxiety

A guest blog written by jane etty: new beginnings

One of the best ways to manage anxiety is to look for patterns. Ask yourself, when does anxiety occur most for you? Many people feel their most anxious in the morning and so I have written a short case study about morning anxiety. I want to identify the factors that can make this worse and include my recommendations for starting the day on a more positive note.

What triggers morning anxiety?

In the first hour after we wake, there is a natural increase in the stress hormone within our body. This can be compounded by many factors including what we put into our body, our mindset and what we did the night before.

Starting the day with a healthy breakfast is so important in the quest to reduce morning anxiety. Caffeine, however, can increase our experiences of anxiety so be wary of drinking caffeine before any food has hit your stomach. Staying hydrated by ensuring you drink water, on the other hand, can significantly reduce anxiety first thing. Drinking alcohol the night before can also make a big difference to those that suffer from morning anxiety. The withdrawal from the effects of the alcohol can cause an overwhelming feeling of depression and anxiety.

Engaging in negative self talk in the morning is a common factor too. We can fall into traps of anticipating the events of the day and worry before anything has even happened. On top of this, following the daily news first thing in the morning can trigger anxiety and fill our brains with worry.

Finally, a poor sleep routine can often be the most important factor in increased morning anxiety. It is important to not only get enough deep sleep but, if possible, have a calming and relaxing bedtime routine to ensure our sleep is recuperative.  To promote restful sleep, we want our bedrooms to be a welcoming space, free from clutter, technology and other disruptions such as bright lights.

How to start the day positively.

A good morning starts the night before so practicing good sleep hygiene can make all the difference. Follow a guided relaxation or meditation, and engage in some bedtime stretches or yoga practice, as part of a relaxing pre-bedtime routine.

If you go to bed worried or wake up in the night with anxious thoughts, you are more likely to feel anxious and concerned the next morning. Clear your mind as the last thing you do before sleep. You should feel more refreshed and prepared to face the day the next morning.

Begin the day by waking up with a gentle alarm clock that fades in gradually so that you don’t wake with a sudden jolt. This isn’t always achievable with children, I know, but the idea is to wake up slowly, giving yourself time to gradually adjust and stretch your body out. Starting the day in a state of hurry only provokes more stress and anxiety. If you struggle to wake up, having a shower and alternating the temperature can help or using an uplifting scented citrus shower gel. 

Next, practice some affirmations. Self-compassion and acceptance are important to focus on. Be gentle to yourself, morning anxiety is common and it doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with you. Tell yourself, you are doing your best and you are exactly where you need to be.

As mentioned before, starting the day with breakfast is very important. Allow extra time if need be to make sure you get something in your stomach; this is crucial in stabilising your blood sugar. Healthy and satisfying options include wholemeal toast or porridge with cinnamon.  If possible, skip the caffeine and if decaffeinated tea or coffee doesn’t do it for you, try a milky drink with honey or revitalising herbal tea.

I hope these suggestions are useful and help you to reduce your morning anxiety!

Written by Jane Etty

shows the logo of Jane Etty New Beginnings

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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! 


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 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:

You can also find information on by clicking on the insomnia page of my website Insomnia – Alison Ralph (

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 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,


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
  • 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!

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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 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!


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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Self-hypnosis- how to use it.

Self-hypnosis – how to use it.


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!

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Weight loss Top Tips!

Weight loss Top Tips!


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. 

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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 

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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. 

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