Curious habits

smoking man habit

Be curious about your habits

One of my clients recently told me that smoking “smells like rancid cheese, and takes like chemicals”. She knew that smoking was bad for her. My fascination focused on when she discovered that by being a little more curious about when she smoked, she realised that it actually tastes like the contents of a toilet bowl. It was as if the spell of smoking had been broken. And subsequently become disenchanted by her behaviour.

You see, she moved from having the knowledge to having wisdom about it. Literally knowing it in her head that it’s bad, to the deep knowing of it in her bones.

So to start to understand why, we need to look at how unwelcome habits begin in the first place.

woman eating food habit We see some food that looks good, So our brain says “CALORIES SURVIVAL !”

So we end up eating the food. We’ll taste it, and it tastes good, especially the sugar. Our bodies then send a signal to our brain that says something like “REMEMBER WHAT YOU’RE EATING AND WHERE YOU FOUND IT”

What we end up doing is learning to repeat the process for next time.

See food.


Feel nice.




Simple isn’t it ?

So if we go back to our younger years say when we were teenagers, and we see those kids who rebel. They smoke and we think, “Mmmm I want to be like that – I want to be cool”. So we end up smoking.

Smoke to be cool – Feel good – Repeat

Trigger, Behaviour, Reward

Each and every time we do it, we begin to learn to repeat that process and allow it to become a habit.

Now the pre-frontal cortex, that youngest part of our brain, understands that we shouldn’t smoke and it tries its hardest to help us change our behaviour, to help us stop smoking or help us stop eating that 2nd, 3rd that 4th biscuit.

We call this cognitive control, we’re using cognition to control our behaviour. Unfortunately, this is also the first part of our brain that goes offline when we get stressed out, which isn’t that helpful. So what happens when that part of the brain goes offline? We fall back into our old habits. Seeing what we get from our habits helps us understand them in a deeper level, to know it in our bones so we don’t have to force ourselves to hold back or restrain ourselves from behaviour.

Over time as we see more clearly the results of our actions, we let go of old habits and form new ones. It’s about being really interested in getting close and personal with what’s actually happening in our bodies and minds, this willingness to turn toward our experience rather than trying to make unpleasant cravings go away as quickly as possible.

When we get curious, we step out of our old, fear-based reactive habit patterns and we step into being. If you don’t smoke or stress eat, maybe the next time you feel this urge to check your email when you’re bored or you’re trying to distract yourself from work, or maybe to compulsively respond to that text message, see if you can tap into this natural capacity, just be curiously aware of whats happening in your body and mind in that moment.

It will just be another chance to perpetuate one of our endless and exhaustive habit loops. Or step out of it.

Instead of…. see text message, compulsively text back, feel a little bit better. Notice the urge, get curious, feel the joy of letting go, and repeat.

Staying young

Photo of hand and Tissot wrist watch with focus on the time in cold blue colours ageing us

Can hypnotherapy keep you young?

According to results of the Mental Health Foundation’s 2018 study….In the past year, 74% of people have felt so stressed they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope. Many more struggle on without seeking medical help.  It is already known that chronic stress can affect our health adversely in many ways. What is not so well known is that it can also lead to premature ageing and the health problems that are associated with getting older.

Latest research suggests that age related diseases occur at different rates in different individuals. ‘Psychological distress’ appears to be an important factor in how quickly the onset of these diseases occurs.

Stress brings about imbalances in the body, such as high cortisol, glucose and insulin, and low growth hormones. These may lead to unwanted responses in our bodies, potentially impairing the normal cell ageing processes.

Premature ageing can also occur as a result of a lifestyle that includes the sort of behaviours that we associate with stress. They include smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, a sedentary lifestyle, a high fat diet and sleeplessness. These have all been linked to DNA damage due to a process called oxidation.

But the good news is that these ageing mechanisms can be reversed!

Research suggests that individuals can help themselves by reducing their perceptions of stress, along with increasing healthier behaviours, such as sleeping better, drinking less, and stopping smoking. These changes may promote subtle but important improvements in premature cell ageing.

In addition, hypnosis may contribute to stress reduction and health promotion.  After a hypnosis session, heart rates can reduce and breathing rates lower. So the state of relaxation induced by hypnosis could well be beneficial and lead to stress reduction. Thereby minimising the risk of premature ageing.

Solution focused hypnotherapy (SFH) can help people manage their stress levels, it is a modern research based combination of hypnosis and psychotherapy, which promotes relaxation and helps clients to make beneficial lifestyle changes.

Local Hypnotherapist, Neil Cox of Bude, is very enthusiastic about the efficacy of SFH in the management of stress. “We know that too much pressure can lead to stress and a range of physical and mental health problems, including, it now transpires, premature ageing. Stress affects the way you think, feel and behave, impacting every area of your life at any age. Hypnotherapy offers powerful techniques and strategies to enable you to deal with stress, helping you to think and behave in a more positive way, and that has many health benefits”.

Neil explains how it works: “We encourage clients to focus on how they want things to be. We avoid problem talk and instead help our clients to visualise their preferred future. By encouraging clients to think and express themselves positively, we can help to improve their response to life’s stress.

Find out more by booking a consultation online today 

3 Good reasons to try hypnotherapy

sea pinks

When it comes to choosing therapy there are many forms to choose from, whether it be mainstream or something of a more alternative type.

In fact the sheer volume of choice can be somewhat overwhelming. Do you need reflexology, homeopathy and what are the differences between sports & aromatherapy massage? Maybe a life coach could help, or would person-centred counselling be better? We have way more choice than we need, so why would anyone even bother thinking to try hypnotherapy?

sea pinks reasons try hypnotherapy

As a solution focused hypnotherapist, I’ve seen for myself the amazing changes that it can bring about. I recently had a client with an intense fear of flying who couldn’t so much as even think about driving past an airport without feeling a strong emotional response. But after just a few sessions she was happy to go away on her first foreign holiday. Hardly able to believe how she managed it.

Something I tend to hear is, “I’ve come to you as a last resort, I feel completely lost”. Their mood and motivation is at an all time low, and hope is all but gone.

So here are the three reasons you have been waiting for that may just work for you too:

Reason 1: It’s Effective and transforming.

We generally know exactly what we ought to be doing to sort out the situation that we’re uncomfortable with. We know we shouldn’t eat emotionally when we’re trying to lose weight. Logically, it’s unlikely we’ll be involved in a plane crashing, so we could in fact just book that long awaited foreign holiday. And of course, when we want to quit smoking, we obviously realise that we shouldn’t light up that cigarette.   But… these shoulds or shouldn’ts only go so far. When we try and figure things out on a purely conscious level, it takes the strongest of willpower. At some point we need to deal with the root.

Hypnotherapy engages with the part of our brain that holds your experiences, habits and knowledge. Even the ones you are unaware of from a conscious point of view. A phobia may well have been triggered by an early event in childhood, that had no relevance at the time. With hypnotherapy these memories can be re-processed allowing them to be emotionally discharged with.

Reason 2: The all-rounder –  versatile and relevant for so many ailments.

I find it hard to find an issue I can’t help with hypnotherapy. It’s well known for smoking and weight loss, the things that really grab headlines I suppose. But did you know, I mainly work with people suffering high levels of anxiety and issues over lack of sleep? Indeed, it doesn’t matter whether your issue is about obsessive behaviours, anxiety or lack of confidence – hypnotherapy could just be the solution you’ve been looking for.

Reason 3: Quicker and more affordable.

Quite rightly my clients ask “how long will all this take?”.  It’s the million dollar question, but everyone is different and your needs will always vary. There’s simply no answer to this, but whereas some talking therapies can take commitment of a year or even more, solution focused hypnotherapy tends to be a much quicker solution. I often find clients get better quicker than even I predict. It’s not unusual to see clients find real sustainable changes happening between 6 and 9 sessions. These results however come from deep commitment not only from my clients, but me too.

In summary, it shouldn’t take up too much time, and as a bonus won’t cost as much.