Thursday, 16 July 2015

It’s not hard but it’s hard to talk about!

So, erectile dysfunction. Of course you don’t suffer from it, but maybe you have a ‘friend’ who does?  It’s very common but rarely discussed openly. Losing an erection or failing to get an erection is a very common problem which affects most men at some point in their lives. Sex is an important part of life and this problem can often cause you to lose confidence, your relationships might suffer and it can make you feel anxious or down. Although it’s a very common problem, the good news is that there is a lot that can be done to help the situation.

Common causes of erectile dysfunction include stress, tiredness, worry, as well as physical problems such as impaired blood flow down there.

Let’s talk a little biology now.
Our autonomic nervous system is the part of our body which looks after things like our breathing, digestion, immune system, reproductive systems etc. Basically all the systems in your body which work without you being consciously aware, are controlled by your autonomic nervous system.
This system can be in one of two states:
A Fight or Flight State
A Rest and Reproduction State

When we are anxious or stressed our Fight or Flight Response is stimulated. This causes blood flow to be diverted to our arms and legs. It causes our heart rate and breathing to quicken and adrenaline to be released. All these reactions get us ready to run or fight. When the Fight or Flight response kicks in, sex and erections are suppressed. After all, if you had to run from danger the last thing you would want would be an erection!

This system worked brilliantly when we evolved and were subjected to short term stress, such as running from a predator. Unfortunately, in modern life, we can be stressed about work, difficult relationships or social pressures. This means we are often stressed chronically.

When this happens, the Rest and Reproduction System is suppressed over a long period of time, often leading to erectile dysfunction. Of course, once erectile dysfunction becomes an issue you get anxious about it happening and this exacerbates the issue.

Erectile dysfunction can be caused by physical or psychological factors.

The most common physical cause of erectile dysfunction is restricted blood flow to the penis, causing by narrowing of the blood vessels. If you are suffering then do go and see your GP. If you are suffering with erectile dysfunction you should speak to your GP first to identify any underlying physical issues.

As a hypnotherapist I help men to overcome erectile dysfunction which has been caused by psychological factors. The key is to remove any anxiety related to sex. This turns off the Fight or Flight Response and turns on the Rest and Reproduction Response.

There is a great technique you can use to do this.

1) Get yourself into a lovely relaxed state, either by focussing on your breathing or imagining various parts of your body relaxing in turn.
2) When you feel very relaxed, double that level of relaxation, perhaps by imagining going down levels or walking down a flight of stairs, relaxing more with each step.
3) When you are really relaxed imagine yourself in bed with your partner. Really imagine it as vividly as possible, as if you're actually there. Notice what you see, hear and feel.
4) All the time concentrate on relaxation and hold on to that level of relaxation.
5) Imagine the whole scenario all the way through to the end and see yourself successfully getting and maintaining an erection and having good sex.
6) Repeat as often as possible.
Hypnotherapy is very effective for helping to overcome erectile dysfunction. If you would like a hypnosis MP3 to help you with this problem you can download one from:

http://www.cs-hypnotherapy.co.uk/Mp3download.aspx

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

How to combat low self-esteem

“I spend ages deciding what to wear before I go out because I don’t want people to judge me negatively,” said one of my clients, in her first consultation.
She went on to say that she was worried about getting found out that she wasn’t really good enough for her job. She was also avoiding taking a course at work because she was convinced she would fail.


These types of worries, assuming people are judging you negatively, assuming you will fail or get found out, or telling yourself you are not good enough, are all typical symptoms of low self-esteem.
As a hypnotherapist low self-esteem is probably the most common issue I treat.

Although it is an incredibly common issue, people tend not to talk about it. My clients often worry that they are strange or different. However, feeling like this is very common. People also often assume that it is just the way they are and that they have to continue through life feeling this way.

However, you do not. There are lots of wonderful ways to boost self-esteem. Our self-esteem underpins everything else. As our self-esteem improves we feel less anxious, happier, more confident, more capable and generally a lot better.

So, how can you boost your self-esteem?

First of all notice the way you talk to yourself in your own mind. Do you say things like;
“I look fat.”
“I have nothing interesting to say. Everyone will think I’m boring.”
“I’m not smart enough to get a promotion.”
“I always mess things up.”

Now, think about your best friend or sibling, someone you care about very much.
Imagine saying these things to them. You wouldn’t, would you? If you wouldn’t say these things to a best friend, you should not be saying them to yourself. Treat yourself as your own best friend. Talk to yourself in your own mind in a positive way.

When we have low self-esteem we often put the needs of other people above our own needs. Low self-esteem is putting a low value on ourselves. A great way to put our own needs first, to increase the value we place on ourselves, and in turn to boost self-esteem, is to do something everyday just for you. This isn’t something you need to do or have to do. It is something you want to do. I know for me this would be to have some time to myself, reading a travel magazine while enjoying a coffee in a cafĂ© with a gorgeous view.

When we suffer with low self-esteem we often focus on the negative things about ourselves. We discount the positive. For example, if you receive a compliment do you instantly deflect it? Do you dwell excessively on a small criticism? If so, then this will contribute to low self-esteem.
A great way to combat this is to write down three good things about yourself every day. These could be physical features of yourself you like, skills and talents you have, or things you have done well that day. Feel free to write more than three. At first this can be very challenging but it gets easier with practice and you will notice a huge difference immediately.

Now that you are recognising the good things about yourself, you can start accepting the good things other people say about you. If you used to deflect compliments, start accepting compliments with a simple “thank you.” As well as boosting your self-esteem it is kinder to the person giving you the compliment.


Low-self esteem is very common, although many of us are not aware of how common it is. It can be very debilitating but the good news is that there are lots of simple, practical steps you can take to boost it. If you would like further information simply email cs@cs-hypnotherapy.co.uk. If you have comments, experiences or thoughts which could help others, please add them to the comments below. 

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Improve Your Golf Game While Sitting On the Couch. The Golf Mind Set Series – Issue 2

We all know that practice makes perfect. This is great in theory. However, a game of golf takes a big chunk of time out of your week. With an already busy life, it can be hard to get out on the course as much as you would like. In this blog, I’ll be showing you how you can improve your game of golf from the comfort of your own home. Sound good? Then read on.



This is the second blog in the Golf Mind Set Series. You will learn the power of mental rehearsal, the science behind the theory and how you can apply it to your game and see instant results.

If you have not yet read issue 1 you can do so here.

There is a huge amount of mind body interaction in golf and in sport in general. You’ve probably experienced this plenty of times, when your mind set is not right, your game is all over the place. Several interesting studies, including Kerkev. F. et al (2012), have tested groups of sports people. In most of the studies the subjects are split into three groups. One group practices every day. One group only imagines hitting the perfect shot or kicking the ball perfectly every day. The third group does nothing.

As you would expect, the first group (the ones who physically practice the sport every day) usually makes a significant improvement and the third group makes no improvement. However, interestingly, the second group, who had only imagined taking the throws or hitting the ball (depending on the sport) generally also makes a very significant improvement.

Isn’t that amazing? Just by visualising practising, the subjects in the study improved almost as much as those subjects who practiced every day.

So, how does this work? How did the second group show so much improvement without actually physically practicing? There are a few theories, but the leading theory is that, by practicing you are establishing set neural pathways in the brain related that specific task (e.g. throwing the ball into the hoop). When we imagine things, the same neural pathways become established, meaning we can repeat that action more easily and naturally in the future.

This strategy is known as visualisation or mental imagery. The golfer Jack Nicklaus regularly uses this strategy.


Here’s how you can do this:

1)      Get yourself into a nice relaxed state. You can do this by closing your eyes and taking several deep relaxing breaths. Alternatively, download a free copy of my Enter Hypnosis MP3 here. https://cs-hypnotherapy.leadpages.net/enter-hypnosis/
2)      Imagine yourself on the golf course. Really imagine the scenery, who is with you, what you’re wearing etc.
3)      Engage all of your senses, notice what you see, hear and feel on the course. Take your time to make this as real and vivid as possible.
4)       Imagine yourself taking the perfect shot. Feel how you use your muscles when you swing. See the ball flying through the air on the perfect trajectory.
5)      Visualise the ball landing exactly where you wanted it to.
6)      Repeat as often as possible.

As well as reinforcing neural pathways, this also creates an expectation in your mind of being successful. If you are expecting to play well, it is far more likely that you will do so.

This is the second in a series of blogs about golf and mind set. Please leave comments and check out the other blog entries in this series.

For more about the power of visualization in sports performance check out the podcast with professional power lifter and gold medal winning Laura Shea here.
http://cshypnotherapypodcast.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/feb-2016-laura-shea-gold-medal-winning.html


Friday, 5 June 2015

How To Use Your Mind To Overcome The Yips. The Golf Mind Set Series – Issue 1


Admittedly golf is never a life or death situation. However, if golf is your way of relaxing after a busy week at work, or if golf is your opportunity to socialize or network, then you want it to be as enjoyable as possible don’t you?
If you are a keen golfer, then you will already be aware of how much mind-body interaction there is in the game.


  • Have intrusive thoughts ever messed up a shot for you?
  • Do you overthink your swing?
  • If you make one mistake, does that affect the rest of your game?
  • Are you a better player when there is less pressure?
If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then you can use the simple techniques discussed in this series of blogs, to improve your game.

Imagine how good that will be. You winning the game, sauntering to the club house with an air of importance usually only seen in young pop stars, casually shoehorning your score into every conversation, walking in slow motion as if you are in a TV advert for golf clubs. I know nobody likes a smug winner…..but who cares? Not you, you’re the winner!
OK, so maybe the above is a little over the top. But it certainly feels better to win your game than to lose right?

So what are the secrets? How do you use your mind to help you rather than hinder you on the golf course?

Let’s talk about the yips first. I’ve treated many experienced golfers who inexplicably start twitching or shaking when playing. Often this can start suddenly and is very frustrating. An almost universal trend seen in golfers suffering with the yips, is that it only happens when they are under pressure. It only happens when an important game is being played, not if they are practicing on their own.
What does this tell you?

Well, it tells you there is no physical issue. This issue is purely in the mind. Therefore, it is relatively easy to resolve. The problem happens when you are under pressure, about to take that big shot in an important game. That game when you definitely don’t want to look stupid in front of everyone. All this pressure activates your fight or flight response. Your fight or flight response (also called the sympathetic nervous response) is triggered when your mind perceives you are in danger. Your body then gets ready to run or fight. Clearly this is not the correct response when you want your fine motor skills to be at their best and to be cool and calm taking a shot.
So how can we fix this?


There is a wonderfully simply technique you can use. This technique (called Systematic Desensitization, to give it its fancy name) makes a new association in your mind, between taking the shot and feeling calm.
You can’t be very calm and very anxious at the same time. If you make a new, strong association in your mind between taking an important shot in an important game, and feeling calm, then you are removing the anxiety.

Here’s how to do this:

1) Get yourself into a lovely relaxed state, by downloading and listening to my free Enter Hypnosis MP3 here

2) When you are really relaxed, imagine you are playing an important game. Really imagine it as vividly as possible, as if you're actually there. Notice what you see, hear and feel.

3) All the time concentrate on relaxation and hold on to that level of relaxation.

4) Imagine the whole scenario all the way through to the end and see yourself hitting the perfect shot, over and over again.

5) Repeat as often as possible.

This technique works by pairing the feeling of calm relaxation with the scenario in your mind. It's impossible to feel relaxed and anxious at the same time so the association of relaxation replaces that of anxiety or pressure.

This is the first in a series of blogs about golf and mind set. Please leave comments and check out the other blog entries in this series.

For more about the power of visualization in sports performance check out the podcast with professional power lifter and gold medal winning Laura Shea here.
http://cshypnotherapypodcast.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/feb-2016-laura-shea-gold-medal-winning.html

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Walk to Calm

I have always enjoyed exercise, particularly aerobic classes. However, recently, I have discovered the wonderful benefits of walking and running outside.

There are numerous physical benefits to walking. It is great exercise, a fantastic to lose weight, it is free, it is low impact and an exercise you can do with friends. Exercise releases endorphins, which are your feel good hormones. If you do not do much exercise, walking is a great way to build up your fitness.

In addition to the physical benefits of walking, there are numerous psychological benefits. It alleviates stress. When we feel stressed our body releases adrenaline, preparing us to run or fight. Walking works your muscles, using the stress response in the way it was designed, thus alleviating stress.

Walking also allows you time to think. I find that going for a long walk is a very meditative experience. I think and resolve problems while I walk. The result being I feel calmer and more accomplished by the end. While you are walking your mind can drift and wander, often finding solutions to issues you had been struggling with.  It also feels good to see how gorgeous the world is. I appreciate that I am very fortunate to live in an incredibly beautiful part of the world, but almost anyone can find somewhere pretty to walk, reasonably close to where they live.

So how do you motivate yourself to get outside and go for walks?
1)      Start small. If you are very new to exercise then plan a half hour walk
2)      Make it beautiful. Walk somewhere with varied and interesting scenery.


3)      Make it social. Arrange to go walking with a friend. That way you’ll enjoy it more and by making a commitment to someone else, you are far more likely to stick to your plan.

So far we have talked exclusively about walking. However, running is also a wonderful form of exercise. It has all the physical and psychological benefits of walking. In addition, it also raises your heart rate so you are improving your cardio-vascular system.

Why not challenge yourself? Register for a fun run such as Race for Life. It will motivate you to train and you will feel an amazing sense of accomplishment when you are finished. I know I do after a race.


In September, I am taking part in a 25 mile walk, near Stonehenge, to raise money for Alzheimer’s sufferers. This is a wonderful cause. If you would like to sponsor me, please donate via the following link.
https://www.justgiving.com/Cat-Swatridge1

Are you struggling to lose weight? Or to manage stress? You can download great hypnosis MP3s for free (usually £10) to help with these issues simply by clicking the word "weight" or "stress" above. For more information about hypnotherapy get in touch on www.cs-hypnotherapy.co.uk



Thursday, 23 April 2015

Your Wealthy Mind




Your Wealthy Mind

Money is a big issue in many people’s lives. It is one of the areas of life, where many of us feel unfulfilled. It is not just about fancy cars, big houses and status symbols. Money also brings freedom. 
It brings freedom from worry, freedom to choose whether or not to work, freedom to travel, freedom to do what you want on your terms and freedom to make the best choices for your children.
Money is not the key to happiness and it does not solve all our problems. However, it does help to give more choice, alleviate worry and solves a lot of problems.

However, many people struggle with this area of their lives, often because they have distorted thinking patterns and behaviours when it comes to wealth.
These are very interesting, as they are often in conflict with each other.


We develop a lot of our thinking patterns as children. Did you ever hear any of the following phrases when you were growing up?
·         Money doesn’t make you happy
·         You can’t always have what you want
·         Rich people are greedy and arrogant
·         There is a finite amount of money in the world, so if one person gets more money, it means that another person loses it.

If we grow up with these sorts of beliefs ingrained in our subconscious mind, it is no wonder we struggle when it comes to money. We are constantly in conflict with ourselves. One part of us wants financial freedom and choices. Another part believes all the negative statements we have heard, and actively avoids wealth.

To become wealthy you must challenge and overcome these negative beliefs. Notice any negative beliefs you have about money and challenge them. Think of examples which prove those beliefs to be incorrect. Examine how logical some of those beliefs actually are.

However, it takes more than thoughts to make changes to our finances. We must also take action. Sometimes it can be difficult to motivate ourselves to step outside of our comfort zone and make the necessary changes. To order to make those changes, you need to associate pleasure with making those changes and becoming wealthy. You also need to associate pain with staying where you are financially.

A good way to do this is a technique called the Dicken’s Pattern.
Get yourself into a wonderful relaxed state and close your eyes. Now imagine how your life will be if you do not make changes to your financial life.
·         Which problems will be worse a few years down the line?
·         What will you miss out on in life?
·         How will you feel about missing out on these things?
·         What will you worry about?
·         What effects will worrying have on your physical and mental well being?
·         How will your time be limited?
·         What effect will this have on your relationships?

Really elaborate on this. Consider all the negative consequences of not having the wealth you desire. Feel the pain associated with this. Feel all the emotions and allow them to get stronger.

This allows you to really experience the pain associated with staying where you are in life.

As I said above, we are motivated away from pain and towards pleasure in life. Now you have experienced the pain associated with staying where you are, let’s experience the pleasure.

In the same way as you did before, get yourself into a nice relaxed state with your eyes closed. Now imagine how your life will be different when you are very wealthy. Experience;
·         what you will be doing
·         what you are wearing
·         where you are
·         the things you own
·         if and where you work
·         what you do in your spare time
·         where you live
·         what  you eat
·         how you can help those you love
·         how you can learn new things and work on your own personal development

Take a lot of time to do this. Make it as real and vivid as possible. Enjoy this exercise, it is a lot of fun. This exercise, The Dicken’s Pattern, allows you to really connect with the pain and the pleasure, which motivates you to make changes in your life.

It is wonderful to increase your motivation to make changes in your life. However, all the motivation in the world won’t make a difference unless you take action. The next step is goal setting. Having defined goals, is crucial to your success, in any area of your life. A vague goal such as “I want to be rich,” is simply not good enough. It doesn’t focus your attention enough. Design a goal which is specific and has defined time frame.
For example,
“I will have $1,000,000.00 in the bank before my 40th birthday.”
 This goal, with a specific amount and time, increases your focus. Make your goal big. You’ll be a lot more motivated to make a million dollars than you would be to earn an extra $20,000 per year.
In addition to having a specific time orientated goal, attach an emotion to the goal.
 For example,
“I am very excited to have $1,000,000.00 in the bank before my 40th birthday.”

Once you have your goal, write it down and read it aloud every day. I know this sounds a little weird! However, a high proportion of very successful people attribute their success to goal setting in this way. It’s important that you see your goal written down and also hear yourself saying it aloud. This allows you to experience the goal through two of your senses.

Now take at least one action every day which brings you closer to your goal. 

This is an incredibly broad subject and there is so much more to be discussed about the psychology of wealth. To find out more, I thoroughly recommend the following resources:

·         The Success Principles by Jack Canfield
·         Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
·         Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
·         YouTube videos of Tony Robbins and wealth

Would you like a free hypnosis MP3, worth £10, to help you to achieve the wealth you want in life? If so, click here.

If you have found this article helpful please share it and comment below.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Hypnotherapy – a proven treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome



Hypnotherapy is generally associated with helping with issues of the mind, such as phobias, depression and habits.
However, hypnotherapy is also fantastic for helping with many physical issues, particularly Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). The evidence to support the beneficial effects of hypnotherapy for IBS has been proven. It is one of the most successful ways of treating chronic IBS.

IBS is very common, affecting 10-15% of the U.S population.[1]  IBS is characterised by bouts of diarrhoea, constipation, abdominal cramps and swelling. It can be very painful. As well as the unpleasant physical sensations, people with IBS often worry about being close to a toilet. This can lead to increased anxiety and also limit where you can go and what you feel comfortable doing. Many people often feel down due to the effects of IBS.

It is unknown what causes IBS. There seems to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. IBS tends to start in adult life and can, in some cases, start after a gut infection. IBS can run in families, with relatives of an individual with IBS being 2-3 times more likely to have IBS than the general population.[2] 

Unfortunately there is no cure for IBS and it is typically managed using a combination of diet and medication.

Hypnotherapy, as a treatment for IBS has been shown to be effective for about 70% of sufferers.[3]    
Hypnotherapy produces dramatic improvement of all the features associated with IBS (abdominal pain, abdominal distension, general wellbeing and bowel habits). In addition to producing dramatic effects, patients who receive hypnotherapy treatment for IBS do not relapse in the first 3 months.[4]


The evidence for the effectiveness of hypnotherapy for treating IBS is so strong that the National Health Service, in the U.K. prescribes hypnotherapy as a treatment for IBS in certain areas of the country.

Hypnotherapy can also be used in conjunction with traditional treatments such as medication. The advantages of hypnotherapy as a treatment are:
·         Hypnosis is pleasant
·         Many people prefer not to take medication and hypnotherapy provides a viable alternative
·         Hypnotherapy helps with the psychological aspects of IBS, such as anxiety about going out
·         The effects of hypnotherapy last well after treatment is complete.
·         There are no side effects

Hypnotherapy is wonderful for treating IBS, both the physical symptoms and the emotional effects. If you would like to try this wonderful treatment, get in touch on cs@cs-hypnotherapy.co.uk and I will send you a free MP3, usually only available for my one to one clients.

Here are a couple of additional techniques you can use at home to alleviate the symptoms of IBS.


The warm hand technique
This technique is designed to alleviate the pain and discomfort of IBS. You may be familiar with using a hot water bottle to relieve pain. This technique works on the same principle.

1.       Enter a state of hypnosis using the Enter Hypnosis MP3 available here.
2.       Imagine that you are in the most comfortable room with a fireplace, lying on a luxurious couch or bed.
3.       Imagine a fire burning in the fireplace, reasonably close you to.
4.       Imagine putting your hand near to the fire, so that your hand gradually warms up. Take some time to really feel your hand getting warmer and warmer. 
5.       When your hand feels really warm, move your hand to rest of your abdomen. Really do this, don’t just imagine it.
6.       Allow that warmth to spread from your hand deep into your abdomen.
7.       As the warmth spreads, any pain just melts away.

The River Technique
IBS is characterised by a bad flow through the digestive system. Either, the flow is too slow, causing constipation or it is too fast, leading to diarrhoea. Our minds have a lot more control over our bodies than we may realize. Even parts of our body that seem to work without any conscious thought, such as our blood flow, heart rate and digestive system are all affected by our minds. When we remember an embarrassing event we can blush again. This is an example of a single though affecting the dilation of the capillaries in our face. When people are anxious about something they often experience this anxiety in their stomachs.
The following exercise uses the mind body connection to help you with your IBS.

1.       Enter a state of hypnosis using the Enter Hypnosis MP3 available here.
2.       Imagine, sense or feel your gut, your entire digestive tract.
3.       Using your wonderful imagination, imagine your digestive system is a river.
4.       Imagine the beginning of your digestive system, where your food enters your stomach. See the river as flowing easily and smoothly. Take the time to really visualise this as clearly as possible.
5.       Now leave that part of the river and become aware of another part of the river, further down, which is not flowing well. Perhaps it is blocked, or the river is very choppy.
6.       Imagine you can modify the banks of the river. You can change the shape of the river to widen the river and let it flow more easily. You could add some meanders so the river flows more slowly. You can widen the river so it flows more slowly. Take your time to modify as much as is right for you.

I hope you find this information useful if you do suffer with IBS. If you would like a free hypnosis MP3, specifically for alleviating the symptoms of IBS then please get in touch on cs@cs-hypnotherapy.co.uk.






[1] http://www.aboutibs.org/site/what-is-ibs/facts/
[3] (Hypnotherapy for irritable bowel syndrome: The response of colonic and noncolonic symptoms,
Peter J. Whorwell, Journal of Psychosomatic Research 64 (2008) 621–623).

[4] (Whorwell PJ, Prior A, Faragher EB. Controlled trial of hypnotherapy in the treatment of severe refractory irritable-bowel syndrome. Lancet 1984;2:1232–4.)