Is workplace stress affecting your health?

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 526,000 workers in the UK suffered from work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/17, and 12.5m working days were lost as a result over that period.  A survey of 3,000 workers conducted by an employee benefits platform found that work was the biggest cause of stress, followed by family pressures (45%) and money worries (45%).

The number of fit notes issued for mental health conditions, including workplace induced stress and anxiety, have been on the rise for a number of years. They accounted for a third of all fit notes written by GPs in England between December 2014 and March 2017.  Chronic workplace stress can lead to a wide range of negative health outcomes, from physical health issues to signs of anxiety, depression and low mood.

Overwork was given as the biggest reason for workplace strain, and a significant percentage of respondents turned to stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol to help them manage.

Supporting the call for better mental health care, the National Council for Hypnotherapy says that about one in seven people are suffering from stress or anxiety at any one time in the UK currently. And while some people manage, more and more people are struggling with significant impacts on the quality of life and well-being.

There are many practical steps you can take to help you cope better with workplace stress including seeking out and building supportive relationships both inside and out of work, making sure you are eating and sleeping well and exercising regularly. If these steps are not enough to alleviate your stress, the NCH is well-placed to assist with over 1,800 registered hypnotherapists who can teach you tools and help you work through your problem.

A hypnotherapist can help assess your anxiety, identifying the root of stress or anxiety and helping you to set goals for how you would like to feel and the things you would choose to do in your life if you were free of the stress and anxiety. They will then work with you to reach your goals using a range of different techniques. Every therapist may use slightly different techniques, but working towards the same goal.

Stress is one of the major reasons people take time off work and, by investing in stress reduction schemes, companies can increase productivity, happiness and subsequently loyalty in their employees, comments the NCH.

Many hypnotherapists offer special offers to businesses for stress reduction schemes at work. It is worth talking to your employer or to a local hypnotherapist to see if that this is a possibility.


Is losing weight a struggle?

A lot of us are overweight to some degree, or simply unhappy with our bodies.

Social media is the place where we compare our lives and bodies to those of strangers, and cashing in on this dissatisfaction, the diet industry is an ever growing mega-billion pound industry.  We all know the basic equation for weight loss goes a little something like this: eating less food + more exercise = lose weight but it’s difficult to keep the weight off and it’s now been documented now that diets often don’t work in the long term. In Weight Watchers’ own studies, the average person will reduce their body weight by around 5% after six months, but within two years a third of that will return. And while the exercise part still stands, a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests weight loss actually has a lot less to do with smaller portion sizes and reduced calorie intake than we first thought.

The study, published this week in the academic journal JAMA, showed that dieting individuals who reduced their consumption of added sugars, highly processed foods and refined grains while focusing on increasing their vegetables and whole foods, lost significant amounts of weight over the course of a year without counting calories or limiting the size of portions.

The National Council for Hypnotherapy says hypnotherapy has a proven track record in helping people manage weight through creating healthy self-management techniques by changing negative habits.  Rather than just reducing calories with a diet plan that you are unlikely to stick to long term, hypnosis gets you in touch with the reasons why you unconsciously eat. If you are the type of person that struggles to stop after a small piece of chocolate and feels compelled to finish the packet then working with a hypnotherapist can help you understand why, and help you create new healthy self-management techniques.

Healthy and sustainable weight loss takes time and sustained habit changes.  By sticking to their eating plans for a year both groups from the study demonstrated significant weight loss even though they didn’t worry about their calorie intake. Those in the low-fat group lost about 11.7 pounds on average, while the members of the low-carb group lost a little more than 13 pounds. Individuals in both groups also showed improvements in other important health markers such as reduced body fat, lower blood sugar, improved blood pressure levels and decreased waist size.

Hypnotherapy for weight loss is about changing your habit with food for the rest of your life, so unlike crash diets it changes the root of your compulsive eating or lack of interest in exercise so you are free to enjoy the rest of your life – eating and exercising sensibly without having to think about it,” adds the NCH.

“After a session you may feel uplifted, lighter and very relaxed. Often change is very subtle, as your hypnotherapist will be working with you subconscious mind, and you may just notice a very positive shift in how you are feeling,” says the NCH.

Search for a qualified hypnotherapist near you now and take control of your eating habits.



Is health anxiety harming you?

Do you worry that you have a serious, undiagnosed medical condition?  The number of people in the UK suffering from health anxiety is rising.  Many of us are guilty of Googling a symptom when we have a cold or worrying that a sore throat may be something worse; but health anxiety is more than that. People affected by health anxiety have repeated, obsessive thoughts that they have (or will have) a physical illness.  The most common health anxieties tend to centre on conditions such as cancer, HIV, AIDs, etc. However, the person experiencing health anxiety may fixate on any type of illness.

According to the NHS, people with health anxiety have obsessively anxious thoughts about their health. They frequently check their body for signs of illness and are always asking people for reassurance that they’re not ill.  Often the physical symptoms of anxiety become signs of an impending and life-threatening health problem.

The distress and negative impact upon lives that health anxiety can cause is real, with sufferer’s worrying that their GP may have misdiagnosed them.  This preoccupation impacts negatively upon their lives, affecting work, study and relationships because of the constant need to seek reassurance about their health.

The National Council for Hypnotherapy notes that our society is one where great demands and responsibilities are placed on us and while some people manage, more and more people are showing signs of stress and anxiety which can make a significant impact on the quality of life and wellbeing.  Last year a report was released which found that mental health issues were the most common reason for people to take time off workAnxiety can also manifest itself in different worries, explains the NCH. “It may be fear of being around other people; it may be anxiety in specific social situations, anxiety in your relationships with particular people at home, at school or at work.

Working with a hypnotherapist may help you feel more confident and more at ease about things which have previously been challenging for you says the NCH.

“Hypnotherapy unlocks the potential you have to break free of negative thought patterns, and to react more positively and more confidently to situations in your life that may have previously made you anxious.”

To contact your nearest NCH-registered therapist and start the process of shedding your anxieties, simply click here.

Sticking to your resolve…

How are you progressing with your New Year’s resolutions?

According to a survey conducted by health insurance company Bupa in 2015, 66% of you will have thrown in the towel already.  Making changes towards a healthier lifestyle is the most common resolution but it really doesn’t matter what your resolutions were, it’s not too late to get yourself back on track and achieve your goals in 2018.

According to the BBC, research indicates that we are more likely to be successful at achieving our resolutions if they are aimed at recovering something (a skill, activity or level of fitness for example) that we used to have, rather than looking to add something new to our repertoire.  Here are some tips to help you get back (and stay) on track:

  • Make sure your goal is something that’s really important to you. This may sound obvious, but sometimes we make resolutions to change things to make other people happy.  Connect with the essence of your goal; how will achieving it improve your life, what impact will it make?
  • Enlist the support of your family and friends. This helps you stay accountable and it also means that you’ve got someone else to offer you a different perspective or give encouragement when your motivation starts to flag.
  • Expect that your motivation levels will fluctuate throughout the process. It’s unlikely that you’ll wake up every day with the energy and motivation to pursue your goals.  Sometimes the motivation comes after you start doing the work.  Connect back to why your goal is important to you to help get through those times.
  • Break your resolution down into smaller, measurable goals. As the NHS explain here, having small sub-goals linked to motivating rewards can make you more likely to stay on track.
  • Keep track of your progress. It doesn’t matter how you do it, it could be a journal or a computer spreadsheet or a series of pictures. Make yourself a record of your progress for those days when you just don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere.

If you still feel like you’re struggling to achieve your goals, hypnotherapy can help.  It has been clinically researched and found to be effective for a wide range of lifestyle and habit changes from quitting smoking to weight loss and boosting self-esteem.

The reason why hypnotherapy works so rapidly with bad habits and behaviours is because it works directly with your subconscious, bypassing the critical mind and getting to the root of the issue so that changes can be made that support your goals quickly and efficiently.

Depending on what you are seeing the therapist for, they will assess your habit and work with you using a range of techniques to help you achieve your resolutions.

Have a look at the National Council for Hypnotherapy’s directory to find a hypnotherapist near you and take a step towards achieving this year’s resolutions today!

Anxiety and depression: Are you getting effective help?

Hypnotherapy can help with anxiety and depression

Effective treatment for anxiety and depression can give you your life back

A new international study published in the journal Depression and Anxiety suggests that 90% of people who suffer from anxiety or depression don’t receive proper treatment.  Commissioned by the World Mental Health, the research described the treatment gap in anxiety disorders at an international level for the first time. Researchers examined the effectiveness of anxiety disorder treatment around the world from a sample of 51,500 individuals from 21 different countries.

According to this research, in the UK around 20% of the population is experiencing anxiety or depression at any one time and of those people only 1-in-10 is receiving an appropriate treatment.

This study has been published at the same time that Government ministers have ordered a landmark review of prescription drug addiction, amid concern over the rising number of prescriptions being dispensed for anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications.  According to the NHS, prescriptions for anti-depressants have almost tripled since 2000, with 64 million NHS prescriptions now doled out annually – compared with 22 million in 2000. UK levels of antidepressant use are now fourth highest among Western countries.

Talking therapies have been proven to help treat anxieties, stress and depression and the National Council for Hypnotherapy has around 1,800 qualified therapists across the UK who can provide effective treatment.  Clinical hypnotherapy particularly can be of benefit when working with mental health conditions and helping to assess the issues and identifying their root – whether it is a situation, a physical issue, a past experience or a relationship.

Working collaboratively, the therapist and client will set goals and challenge unhelpful thinking patterns, helping create a happy and positive frame of mind. Every therapist may use slightly different techniques, but will work towards the same goal – being free of anxiety and depression.

“After sessions with a hypnotherapist you may feel more confident; more relaxed in situations that have previously challenged you. Many people say that they are calmer and that they have more clarity of thought – able to make decisions more easily,” states the NCH.

Click here to access the NCH directory, with over 1,800 therapists all around the UK there’s sure to be someone to help close to you.

Is your acid reflux medicine damaging your health?

Hypnotherapy can help

You might have noticed after the excesses of Christmas that you developed a bad case of heartburn.  Left unchecked heartburn can progress and become acid reflux or GERD, illnesses which cause stomach acid to move up into your esophageus. Acid reflux raises the risk of cancer of the throat, tonsils and sinuses in older people, a study has found.  Worryingly, taking remedies for acid reflux may further increase your risk of cancer. Research published last month revealed regularly taking heartburn pills could double your chances of getting stomach tumours.

GERD is thought to affect 10 to 30 percent of the population, more frequently in patients who are obese and elderly. And cancers of the respiratory and upper digestive tracts account for more than 360,000 deaths worldwide each year.  The scientists, from the University College of London and the University of Hong Kong found that using proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) which are freely available over the counter in the UK significantly increases the risk of contracting stomach cancer.

Often, physical conditions are exacerbated by underlying stress or anxiety.  By taking action to relieve the root causes of stress and anxiety in your life you may find that you experience a significant reduction in your acid reflux or GERD symptoms.  Hypnotherapy can be an effective treatment for heartburn and other stomach conditions.  A recent article in Medscape suggests that GERD is form of brain-gut dysregulation and that by working with the mind, researchers were able to reduce abnormal acid secretion under hypnosis.

Also, when you’re in the hypnotic state, a lot of defenses come down, and the brain does open up to the possibility of controlling symptoms better. That’s why we use hypnosis—because it gives that subconscious messaging.

The National Council for Hypnotherapy has a register of qualified practitioners from around the UK who can help.  Find a therapist near you and start to feel better.


Experience a royal childbirth


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Back in 2013, it was widely reported that the Kate Middleton delivered Prince George using hypnobirthing techniques and the media has gone into overdrive speculating that she will again use hypnobirthing to help deliver the third royal baby due in … Continue reading

Not feeling the Christmas spirit?


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It’s known as ‘The Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ but for many it’s filled with anxiety and depression. The festive period can intensify feelings of loneliness, increase financial worries and put pressure on people to have the “perfect” Christmas. … Continue reading

Live phobia free with hypnotherapy

Most of us are frightened of something.

Around 2.4% of adults in the United Kingdom have a medically diagnosable phobia, according to a recent NHS survey, that’s around 1.3 million people.

The NHS says: “A phobia is an overwhelming and debilitating fear of an object, place, situation, feeling or animal. Phobias are more pronounced than fears. They develop when a person has an exaggerated or unrealistic sense of danger about a situation or object. If a phobia becomes very severe, a person may organise their life around avoiding the thing that’s causing them anxiety. As well as restricting their day-to-day life, it can also cause a lot of distress.”

Phobias occur when your brain links a specific trigger event to danger.

This could be having a turbulent flight, watching a giant spider on TV, or having a large dog knock you over when you were a child. You might know about many common phobias, such as fear of spiders, heights or flying, but have you come across these phobias before?

According to the National Council for Hypnotherapy, “A phobia is an irrational fear, literally a fear without good reason, or a fear of something that may not happen”. These phobias develop as coping mechanisms to serve a purpose, to keep us safe from a perceived danger, but they become dysfunctional. The mind is designed to generalise, it’s designed to keep you safe, and so whenever you see that thing in future, it says “look out, avoid this”, even if it’s not logical or rational.

Because phobias are rooted in emotional memories, talking therapies which try to rationalise the thought pattern can fall short.  Hypnotherapy can help.  In hypnosis the unconscious is able to process information more effectively without the interference of the conscious critical mind. There are different types of hypnotherapy and skilled hypnotherapists may combine different forms or use hypnosis in conjunction with other treatments depending on the needs of their client.

Often phobias can be treated in just one session, depending on the willingness of the client to embrace the change, says the NCH.  If you have a phobia or a fear which is affecting your life, why not try a session with an NCH hypnotherapist? You can use the NCH directory by clicking here to find a therapist near you.

Hypnotherapy provides effective pain relief

Around 30% of the UK live with daily, chronic pain, that’s around 28 million people according to research carried out in 2016.

For most of these sufferers, opiates are offered as the main treatment for their pain.) In America opiod prescriptions have quadrupled since the turn of the century, but the research shows that the relief offered by opiate medications actually isn’t so great.

The National Council for Hypnotherapy says: “Hypnotherapy is often highly effective in dealing with pain management.

In a study at Stanford University School of Medicine in 2016 scientists scanned the brains of 57 people during guided hypnosis sessions.  They found several changes that occur while the subjects were in hypnosis.  These changes included a greater connectivity between the brain’s executive-control network and the insula, a grape-sized region deeper in the brain that helps us control what’s going on in the body, including processing pain.

Further to this, it is becoming more widely recognised that the mind plays a role in the experience of pain.  Learning skills to change habitual thought patterns around chronic pain can significantly reduce a person’s distress and improve their quality of life.  Negative emotions can amplify the experience of pain, and a positive outlook can ease it.

Self hypnosis can help.  Hypnosis techniques can be taught to clients by an NCH therapist to help them manage chronic pain.  Patients suffering from a range of conditions including fibromyalgia, back disorders and pain from trauma such as car accidents or workplace injuries can learn to control their pain through practicing self-hypnosis.

 “Sleep was totally key,” says Deborah Gray, 53, whose chronic neck pain has disappeared since she began using guided imagery and hypnotherapy to fall asleep. 

When seeing a therapist for chronic pain, it is essential that the pain is checked out by a GP first for a formal diagnosis.  After you’ve had an assessment contact a hypnotherapist near you by using the NCH directory.