Black and white or shades of grey?

Bude sea pool rock strata black and white

With solution focused hypnotherapy, we regularly see clients with high states of emotional arousal.

We can quickly treat these conditions, such as anxiety, using a combination of therapeutic techniques including hypnotic trance. First we help our clients regain control. Secondly, we get them to operate from what we call the more positive and intellectual side of the brain. This naturally allows for behaviour of a more positive nature, and thus begins the journey of recovery. In essence we help create less of a black and white outlook and more of a shades of grey scene.

Quite significant consequences have come about from our emotions operating in a black or white perspective. In particular within our human evolution and history.

The two extremes.

As emotions rise, the original primitive part of the brain ‘hijacks’ the higher, more recently evolved intellectual brain. This very quickly begins to blank out the more subtle distinctions in life.  For example, in a life or death situation, the ability to make fine discriminations must be shut off, so that we can act quickly to take the decisive action needed to save ourselves.  A black or white, right or wrong, all-or-nothing result arises once there is a significant issue of emotional arousal.  Everything thereafter operates out of these two extremes.

Thankfully, the intellectual brain partly evolved as a means to discriminate the shades that exist between black and white.  Quite simply, it was nature’s solution to our need for adaptable responses to the ever-changing environment.  This of course can only happen if the original primitive part of the brain isn’t too highly aroused.   Interestingly you’ll find it near impossible to communicate with someone who is too highly aroused, they cannot have anything other than a black or white opinion, and unable to see another viewpoint.

Bude sea pool rock strata black and white

Black and white thinking.

If the black and white thinking continues it will eventually generate more emotion by repeatedly turning on the fight or flight response that makes us angry (fight) or anxious (flight).  That individual will then find the intellectual part of their brain unable to use its ability to take a wider perspective on life.  They will be unable to see the infinite shades of grey, and find that they catastrophize the ‘bad’ things that happen by magnifying them.

So, are you a black or white thinker, or do you see the shades of grey between?

Valentines snowdrops in February

February is here and with it Saint Valentines Day. Embracing a time of year that is historically associated with love and fertility. It encompasses the sacred marriage of Zeus and Hera in Ancient Athens. And also the Ancient Roman festival of Lupercus, the god of fertility.  You may be spending it with your loved one or dreaming of a loved one you’ve not met yet. Maybe you’re simply dreading this time of the year where everyone else seems to be so “in love”.

Snowdrops in February valentines day
Snowdrops in February

Now, there are several things that we need in order to develop a healthy emotional life. One of which is that we must have the ability to love and receive love.  To care and be cared for by at least one other person is key.  That’s not to say everyone has to find a ‘significant other’. Or even that fulfilment can only be achieved with that one person.  No it’s simply the experience of being cared for or loved that has a beneficial effect on our self-development or sense of worth.

Effects on our health

Our resilience increases when we are loved.  Take for example loneliness, it can be as dangerous as high blood pressure, obesity, smoking or a lack of exercise.  When we take it down to the fine detail of the cells of chronically lonely people, they are less sensitive to signalling from the stress system as a result of the stress hormone cortisol.  This is where immune responses then become inadequate.  And when people become chronically lonely they are far more likely to become depressed.

Networks & Community

But if people have a strong network of family, friends or community they are happier and emotionally and physically healthier people than those who feel isolated or unable to make connections with others.   Interestingly elderly people who rely on two or more people in their lives for support have been found to survive longer after a heart attack than others without that support.  Increasingly common is the situation where people flounder when they live apart.  Following their job or wherever their careers take them, may cause them to be far away from any established social support networks they previously held.  And so they lose contact with the very people who care for them through the unpredictable heartbreaks and uncertainties of life.

So…what are you waiting for?  Yes it may well be February and valentines day looming but just reach out. Reach out to those who matter too – those friends and relatives.  If we all reached out and made contact with those we have lost contact with, the world would be that little bit happier and feel less isolated.

Festive Stress? Time for Change

Photo of man sat in leather armchair at Christmas struggling with festive stress reading a book next to a Christmas tree

Who’s dreading the next few weeks? As the festive season goes into full swing not all of us will be relishing it.  Struggling to cope with the pressures associated with managing expectations and family arrangements not to mention just having a great time are all too common.  When you see couples arguing at the local supermarket over normally insignificant purchases you can see how festive stress and anxiety at this time of year becomes quite common.  Everything feels like it’s falling apart and you stop doing those things that you used to enjoy.  Ultimately we end up suffering with sleep problems, anger, tearfulness, irritability, digestive upsets, worrying and the list goes on and on….

Thankfully we can watch movies like that all-time favourite.. National Lampoons Christmas Vacation and laugh at Clark’s mishaps during the festive season.  I think we can all relate to at least one aspect from the film!

Of course the Pagan festival known as Yuletide was celebrated at the mid-winter solstice, the magical time of transition into a new year with its new beginnings.  At the very shortest of days and the longest of nights, evergreen trees were treasured as the frosts of winter prevailed.  Celebrating together helped banish isolation amongst communities and helped keep them vibrant. Being an avid bonsai collector and tree lover, I always find this time of year so important to walk into the woods and reconnect with these towering giants.  I think there must be some sort of primal instinct and need to be close to the dark greens of the evergreen woods.

Remaining on this winter theme, I just have to share this gem of a clip from the infamous Bob Ross painting series….The Splendour of Winter.  He makes it look so easy but what I really love is the comment he makes at 2.29min  “The secret to doing anything is believing you can do it” .

So where does hypnotherapy fit in with this?

Put simply when life throws everything at us, and it can build up over time, our tolerance levels drop and we become less and less capable of thinking in a constructive and positive way. That box of festive stress weighing you down can become unbearable and that’s where Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can really play a role in reversing the situation.  As we help you empty that box, so the ability to cope increases and we begin concentrating on the positive aspects of life.  Bringing a new sense of freedom and the lessening of unwelcome symptoms.

So if you feel you need that helping hand this festive season, drop me a line.  I’m offering FREE initial consultations.  Give yourself the gift of creating a better future.