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:

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 If you have comments, experiences or thoughts which could help others, please add them to the comments below.

If you would like more information about hypnotherapy, well-being and personal development, please subscribe to my newsletter in the top right.