Kate recommends hypnotherapy for hyperemesis gravidarum

hyperemesis gravidarum The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton recently appeared on a podcast discussing her experiences with pregnancy and childbirth.  During this interview she opened up about struggling with hyperemesis gravidarum or extreme morning sickness during her pregnancies.  Morning sickness is a common in pregnant women, caused by an imbalance of hormones due to the pregnancy, it usually occurs within the first trimester of pregnancy. Anyone who is pregnant can experience morning sickness to some degree and there is little that can be done to predict who will have it or ways of alleviating it.

In Kate Middleton’s case her morning sickness was so severe in each of her pregnancies that she ran the risk of becoming seriously dehydrated and needed saline drips to rehydrate.

 

As effective treatments are limited due to the developing foetus, the Duchess turned to hypnotherapy to help her manage her symptoms saying that she recognised that her morning sickness was not just an issue for herself but also for her loved ones as she struggled to eat the foods that she knew were most suitable for her to eat during her pregnancy. Once she realised how effective hypnotherapy was for helping her combat her morning sickness she realised that it was also incredibly effective for childbirth.

“It was just something I wanted to do for myself. I saw the power of it, the meditation and the deep breathing and things like that, that they teach you in hypnobirthing, when I was really sick, and actually I realised that this was something I could take control of during labour.”

Hypnobirthing is recommended by both the NCT (the UK’s largest charity for parents) and the NHS. Several health trusts now offer hypnobirthing as standard to expectant mothers and more are training their midwives to use the techniques in the delivery suites. The NCT conducted a review of studies into hypnobirthing and found that the use of hypnosis during childbirth lead to shorter labour, less intervention including fewer epidurals and lower pain relief and that it was strongly associated with higher levels of maternal wellbeing and satisfaction.

With 1800 therapists around the UK, the NCH has many hypnobirthing specialists on its therapist register. Hypnosis has been used as a technique to support labour for many years, with the written records dating back to the mid 1800s. The expectation of a painful birth creates tension the pregnant mother and this, in turn, creates pain, often happens at a subconscious, primal level. During hypnobirthing classes you can learn to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, signalling to your body that everything is safe, thereby allowing your body to relax and allow the birthing process to happen without a struggle.

If you’d like more information about hypnotherapy can help you reduce morning sickness or experience a better birth, please get in touch with one of our many qualified and insured hypnobirthing experts by using the therapist finder.

Seasonal Affective Disorder – Do you have the winter blues?

As we head into March, for some people it’s feeling as though winter is never going to end.  It’s cold and dark and it’s been that way in months.  Experiencing another day leaving for work in the dark and getting home in the dark starts to feel like it’s too much bear.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) typically peaks in January and February, the coldest months, but it’s effects are still being felt through March.  SAD is characterised by feelings of depression, guilt, irritability, low energy and apathy.  You may also experience changes in appetite such as intense carbohydrate cravings and sleep changes. The NHS says that, like other types of depression, the two main symptoms of SAD are a low mood and a lack of interest in life. This lack of interest can affect their jobs, relationships and social activities. SAD is more common than many people think; most estimates put the prevalence around 6 – 15%. However in 2014 YouGov commissioned a study that found this depression affects as many as 1 in 3 people in the UK.

When you’re sunk deep into feelings of depression it can seem impossible to get up off the couch and go outside, but with SAD this is one of the most effective treatments.  While the lower angle of the sun makes it more difficult than usual to get enough sunlight to affect our bodies Vitamin D production, you will still get a boost even if it’s psychological.

Hypnotherapy can help ease the symptoms of SAD in a number of ways.  There are various biological processes that are involved in the onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder which can be affected by hypnotherapy. Not only is hypnotherapy very effective for depression, guided visualisations can help you experience warm and sunny days even when it’s cold, raining and dark outside. Your mind doesn’t know the difference between visualisation and real experiences so your body may start to manufacture the chemicals that diminish over the course of winter.

If you think that you’re depressed it’s important to seek help.  The National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) has nearly 2000 qualified therapists across the UK on its register.

Clinical hypnotherapy takes a holistic approach, rather than just treating symptoms. The underlying emotions that feed the anxiety or depression are addressed and effective hypnotherapy can bring fast relief compared to other forms of therapy.  Use the NCH directory to find a therapist near you.

 

 

Caroline Flack’s shock suicide highlights need for mental health focus

Credit: Rex Images

The suicide of Caroline Flack, TV presenter and media personality has created shockwaves throughout the UK.  The former Love Island presenter took her life after a concerned friend who had been staying with her went to the shops. She was one of the many celebrities in the UK that openly discussed her struggles with her mental health, opening up repeatedly over the years both to clarify her own position as well as to provide a message of hope to others. She said that her battles with depression and anxiety started shortly after she won Strictly Come Dancing in 2014.

However, her attempts to have conversations about her mental health were not always well received.  In an Instagram post dated 14th Oct 2019, Caroline wrote that she had been told she was ‘draining’ after trying to discuss her feelings of ‘being in a really weird place’ and anxious.

 

 

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I wanted to write something about mental health day last week but I was knee deep in work. And some days it’s hard to write your feelings of your not in the right place. The last few weeks I’ve been in a really weird place… I find it hard to talk about it .. I guess it’s anxiety and pressure of life … and when I actually reached out to someone they said I was draining. I feel like this is why some people keep their emotions to themselves. I certainly hate talking about my feelings. And being a burden is my biggest fear…. I’m lucky to be able to pick myself up when things feel shit. But what happens if someone can’t . Be nice to people. You never know what’s going on . Ever

A post shared by Caroline (@carolineflack) on Oct 14, 2019 at 11:50am PDT

 

Caroline had clearly reached a point of crisis.  Many people are pointing blame at the tabloids who have hounded her incessantly after an argument in her flat last year with her partner ended with her being arrested for domestic violence. Others have criticised the producers of the hit TV show Love Island, citing the suicides of several former contestants as proof that their care of their staff is lacking. It has also  been suggested that she was let down by crisis services and that she should have received urgent psychiatric care after paramedics attended her flat on Valentine’s Day.  There are many people in the UK who are currently struggling with feelings of anxiety and depression; the National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) writes that roughly 1 in 7 people are affected at any one time.

If you are one of these people, before things reach a crisis point you may find it beneficial to access private mental health services. Working with a hypnotherapist can provide compassionate, fast and effective help for your situation. You’ll work together with your chosen therapist to learn skills and new ways of thinking about the situations in your life that have been negatively affecting you.

Hypnotherapy is considered a ‘brief therapy’, unlike traditional forms of therapy which can take months or years to feel the benefits, you might start to notice a positive shift in your mood and mindset from the first session.

You can find a fully-trained, accredited and insured hypnotherapist near you by using the NCH directory, with nearly 2,000 trained and accredited therapists around the UK help is near to hand.

If you are struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts or have been affected by this story, you can call the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org to speak to someone at any time. 

It’s not always hearts and flowers on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us.  For some February 14th is ‘the most romantic day of the year’, filled with roses and hearts and dinners-for-two.  For others it can highlight and increase their feelings of loneliness and isolation. These feelings may lead you into making some bad decisions.  Some people self-isolate, heightening their feelings of loneliness and disconnection. Others may be tempted to reinitiate contact with an ex, even though they know that the relationship was toxic or they might say yes to a date with someone that they don’t have any romantic feelings towards, just to make themselves feel better about being alone.

While it’s tempting to try and do your best to avoid the day, it isn’t going to go anywhere in the foreseeable future.  This year roughly 37% of people in the UK are thought to be participating in the holiday, spending roughly £855 million. What can make a difference is working to acknowledge, accept and ultimately change the feelings that Valentine’s Day sparks in you.

It may be helpful to take a moment to acknowledge that your feelings are real and valid.  Too often we spend our time dismissing and invalidating our feelings because they seem out of step with societal norms. Recognise that the feelings you’re having are possibly being heightened by seeing all the hearts and flowers marketing, but that this will pass.  In just a couple of days all the hoopla will be over and flowers and heart-shaped chocolate boxes will be discounted everywhere.

It might be helpful to apply the 10-10-10 rule to whatever it is that you’re feeling.  Will this still bother you in 10 minutes, 10 hours or 10 days? If the answer to this is yes, then perhaps there’s something more going on that you can investigate and actively do something about, rather than just blaming Valentine’s Day.

If you really think about what’s bothering you, it may not be the lack of a romantic relationship at all.  Perhaps you’re feeling disconnected from your friendship group or you feel like you’re missing out on taking part in activities because you don’t want to go alone? Maybe your self-esteem has been holding you back from taking part in the activities that you enjoy, instead of it being about needing a partner?

Sometimes having an impartial listener can help you sort through the feelings you’re experiencing, helping you to understand what the real issues are underneath the emotions. Working with a hypnotherapist can help you learn skills to help you understand your emotions and thoughts better, enabling you to think about the events that occur in your life in more productive ways.  You may also learn techniques that help you examine your short and long term goals, cultivate your purpose in life, and understand feedback from key people in your life.

You can find a fully-trained, accredited and insured hypnotherapist near you by using the NCH directory.

Do you have time to talk about mental health?

mental health talkTime to Talk Day – a campaign run by the charity Time to Change has the goal of normalising conversations about mental health.  Too often people feel like they need to have first hand experience to offer a comment or feel as though their experiences of dealing with mental health issues are somehow ‘less valid’ than other peoples because they have not been hospitalised or chosen to seek a different route of treatment.  Time to Talk encourages all of us to talk about mental health.  Let’s make these conversations a normal part of society.

“Then I realized that secrecy is actually to the detriment of my own peace of mind and self, and that I could still sustain my belief in privacy and be authentic and transparent at the same time. It was a pretty revelatory moment, and there’s been a liberating force that’s come from it.”

Alanis Morissette

When it comes to mental health, silence and secrecy breeds suffering.  If we don’t hear that other people struggle, we start to believe that it’s just us. Often we’ve grown up without any role models when it comes to speaking about our emotions and experiences.  We struggle with emotional literacy. While we recognise some of our emotions, many of them feel slippery and elusive; frightening even.

A report by the Samaritans published in 2012 examined various causes of suicide concluding that emotional illiteracy is a key factor for men dying by suicide. Emotional literacy is the ability to understand and recognise one feelings and knowing how to manage them, such as the ability to keep calm when angry or frustrated or to self-sooth when sad or frightened.

When we start to open up about our mental health and discuss our feelings we improve our emotional literacy.

Having sessions with a caring professional, like a hypnotherapist, can help men learn the tools of emotional literacy.  Working with a hypnotherapist can provide fast and effective relief from stress and anxiety. Al Levin, a US based blogger and men’s mental health activist regularly encourages men to avail themselves of mental health services.

The National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) says that while some people can manage with the stresses their work and modern society put on them, ‘more and more people are showing signs of over-anxiety, which leads to stress, which can make a significant impact on the quality of life and well-being’. Working with a hypnotherapist is often very different from working with a conventional psychologist or counsellor; often men notice that they feel better and more able to cope after just a few sessions.

The benefits of sessions with a hypnotherapist include feeling more confident. You’ll work together with your chosen hypnotherapist to find and change triggers and reactions to situations that you found stressful or unmanageable in the past.  “Hypnotherapy unlocks the potential you have to break free of negative thought patterns, [so you can] react more positively and more confidently to situations in your life that may have previously made you anxious,” says the NCH.

The National Council for Hypnotherapy has close to 2000 fully trained and insured therapists on their register, many of whom specialise in working with men and men’s issues.

To find out more, or to find a therapist who is a good fit for you, visit the NCH therapist finder.

Time to Talk Day is February 6th.

If you’re feeling suicidal or completely unable to cope, the Samaritans are always available to speak to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 116 123.

 

Blue Monday: How are you today?

Since 2004 the third Monday of January has been known as ‘Blue Monday’. Psychologist Cliff Arnall selected the date after constructing a complex mathematical equation which takes into account the weather, debt levels, the time since we’ve failed our New Year’s resolutions and other variables that he deemed likely to be depressing. This is thought to be the day that winter looms more forbiddingly than ever, the joy and festivity of Christmas and the New Year has worn off and the drudgery of being back at work really takes its toll.  This year, that day will fall on the 20th January.

While it’s now been proven to not be true, there’s no specific day that makes you more or less likely to struggle with mental health issues, the concept of Blue Monday remains.  For many of us January in generally often feels just a bit glum. Marketers of all kinds of products have leveraged the bedrock of truth that underpins this day and have offerings such as massages, package holidays, aromatherapy and take away ‘comfort food’, because they’ll tell you, spending money is the easiest way to get through this slump.

The National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH), the largest not-for-profit professional association for hypnotherapists in the UK, says around one in seven people are suffering from stress or anxiety at any one time in the UK. In January this figure may be higher than an average month; January is a particularly busy time for mental health services. If you’re one of the people affected, waiting for the return of the sun or feeling depressed about your finances and the lack of bank holidays in your immediate future there are things that you can do to help yourself feel better.

The NHS advises that keeping to a structured routine which includes gentle exercise, regular sleep ad nutritious food can be helpful when you’re feeling anxious or depressed. Take some time out to do something that you enjoy that you find absorbing.  Listen to your favourite music, download a meditation app or spend some time digging in the garden.  Whenever you notice yourself feeling anxious or depressed focus on taking 10 deep cleansing breaths, making sure that you’re fully expanding your rib cage and pushing your diaphragm down to get as much oxygen in as possible. Connect with friends and family, rather than isolating yourself or trying to ‘go it alone’.

If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression and feeling as though things are unmanageable a few sessions with a hypnotherapist may help you achieve a different perspective. When you attend sessions with a hypnotherapist you’ll receive targeted and compassionate help with the issues that you’re struggling with as well as be taught skills that will help you in the future.

You may find that the change is subtle, but pervasive. By working with your subconscious mind you’ll notice positive sifts in the way you think and feel about situations that you previously found stressful or avoided. You can expect to feel calmer, more confident and less stressed.

You can find a fully-trained, accredited and insured hypnotherapist near you by using the NCH directory, with nearly 2,000 trained and accredited therapists around the UK there’s sure to be someone near you.

Do you have Eco Anxiety?

Eco Anxiety is becoming more common

Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com from Pexels

Over the last few months many of us have been glued to the news of a string of natural disasters that have gripped the globe.  Some parts of the world are on fire, Australia, South Korea, part of America and Africa continue to burn with a startling ferocity. In other areas floods have decimated the countryside including Indonesia and more locally in Yorkshire last year.  The UK Government declared a climate emergency in May 2019.

The trauma and stress experienced post-disaster is understandable to most people, but even those whose lives and livelihoods don’t depend directly upon the climate are feeling the strain. For some people, the world is starting to feel like a deeply unsafe place.  This anxiety is being termed ‘eco anxiety’  or solastalgia and is defined as “the distress that is produced by environmental change impacting on people while they are directly connected to their home environment.”

The anxiety can manifest in many ways, from hesitating over decisions to start families or to move country because of a work opportunity to feeling paralysed by the smaller decisions that form daily life.  When these anxieties become a problem they affect the day-to-day functioning of your life.  School, work and interpersonal relationships can become strained as the person suffering feels overwhelmed by the scope of what is happening and unable to cope.

So what are the practical steps we can all take to better manage our anxiety about the state of the world?

Firstly, we can remind ourselves that everyone experiences anxiety and that it’s a natural response to stress. We can switch our focus from international catastrophes to areas where we can make an impact.  If you’re feeling hopeless about what others are (or aren’t) doing to address climate change, doing something yourself can feel empowering.

An effective technique to reduce anxiety is to focus on the things that you can control.  There are many changes that you can make at an individual level that will not only be beneficial for the environment, but may also instigate change in others:

  • Use your reusable coffee cup, bags and containers while shopping
  • Buy local produce when it’s in season and be mindful about food miles
  • Learn more about recycling
  • Lobby your local government to invest more in sustainable initiatives

If it all feels overwhelming, then know that it is okay to switch off.  Give yourself the time and space that you need, by taking a deliberate break from the news stories.  Many people find that reducing or eliminating television coverage of these disasters is helpful for them in maintaining a sense of perspective about what is happening in the world and helping them to keep their focus on the things that they can do to affect positive change.

Talking therapies have been proven to help treat anxieties, stress and depression. Working with a therapist you’ll learn how to change your focus and put your worries into a wider perspective you you’re able to carry on with daily life.

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.

“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 National Council for Hypnotherapy. In these challenging times it’s calmness and clarity of thought that we need as we face our future.

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.

Exploring hypnotherapy on World Hypnotism Day

Today is World Hypnotism Day. The day was founded to clear up some of the misconceptions and myths that surround therapeutic hypnosis and promote the benefits of hypnotherapy to the world.  If you’re a regular reader of these articles written by the National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) you’ll know that hypnosis is an effective way to manage conditions such as stress, anxiety, migraines, and low self-esteem.  We’ve also written recently about the emerging medical applications.

While many people are aware of the fantastic benefits of hypnotherapy, including that it is a ‘quick therapy’, it has no side effects and that you don’t need to spend a lot of time dwelling on the past, it’s still a type of therapy that many people are a bit cautious of. Perhaps this is because when people think of hypnosis they have visions of stage hypnotists entertaining crowds by having people come up on stage and act in a silly manner. While these displays speak to the power of hypnosis, they are very far removed from the purpose and application of hypnosis in a therapeutic setting.

Hypnosis is a totally natural state for humans, and one that we go into and out of many times a day without being aware of says the NCH.  When our mind wanders, like when we daydream or become completely absorbed in reading a book we are actually in a light trance. In a therapeutic context, this trance or dream-like state is elicited in order to treat a wide array of emotional, mental and physical disorders.

Brain scans of people who are in a hypnotic state show that brain wave activity changes to one similar to that found when a person meditates.  Brain scans conducted while people were in a state of hypnosis found that the parts of the brain that are responsible for a person’s self-awareness become less active.  This means that the person becomes calmer and more relaxed, there’s less ability to worry. While that part becomes less active, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and insula become more communicative with each other, helping the person to become more aware of what is happening within their body. Finally, the ‘default mode network’ becomes less active, meaning that the person spends more time in the present moment.  When these changes happen together, scientists theorise that the person is more able to be fully present and to make changes within their thoughts and feelings which lead to positive changes in their daily life.

It’s important that you choose a fully trained and qualified hypnotherapist to work with.  As you experience hypnosis the therapist will guide you with suggestions, ideas and stories to ways of thinking and feeling that are more helpful to you.  However, like in meditation or when you’re absorbed watching a book, if the suggestions don’t fit with your world view you are easily able to dismiss them.

When selecting a therapist to work with it’s important to find someone who you think is the right fit for you.  Each therapist will have their own approach and by having a conversation with them you’ll be able to assess if you feel comfortable and confident working with them.

To find an accredited NCH hypnotherapist near you, visit our hypnotherapist finder.

Medical applications for hypnotherapy

There’s been several articles in the news recently, all excitedly talking about the ‘breakthrough’ that is harnessing the power of hypnosis for surgical procedures and other medical applications for hypnotherapy. Hypnosis has a long history of use in both pain management and anaesthesia.  In the 1800’s hypnosis was used extensively during surgery, but fell out of favour when modern anaesthetics were developed as these were quicker. In America, hypnosis was used during several wars including WWI and WWII to treat soldiers on the battlefield, creating interest from the fields of psychiatry and dentistry for civilians. In 1955, the British Medical Association approved the use of hypnosis in the areas of psychoneuroses and hypnoanesthesia in pain management in childbirth and surgery recommending that all physicians and medical students to receive fundamental training in hypnosis.

Since the 70’s hypnosis has been the subject of many scientific studies. Peer reviewed studies have shown that it is capable of reducing inflammation, altering blood flow and changing the perception of pain. The National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) agrees, stating that hypnotherapy is often extremely effective for pain management.  Studies have shown that there are documented changes that occur while a person is in a state of hypnosis including 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.

There are many different medical conditions that hypnotherapy can be helpful for.  In recent months we have written about how effective it can be as an adjunctive support to people living with breast cancer, lupus and other autoimmune conditions.

During sessions of hypnotherapy you will discuss with your therapist what you want to achieve.  You’ll work together, using a range of different techniques to help you find a way to either manage your symptoms or to transform how you feel about the challenges that you are facing.

When seeing a therapist for medical support, it is essential that you are is accessed by a GP first and receive a formal diagnosis.  After you’ve had this diagnosis, contact a hypnotherapist near you by using the NCH directory.

Bullying doesn’t stop in the playground.

Bullying doesn’t stop once we leave school.  Up to 1 in 3 people reported being bullied at work in the UK a couple of years ago.  Women are more likely to be affected than men and the age that bullying peaks is amongst 40 – 59 year-olds.  We can see echoes of this in the way that people treat each other online.

When we think of online bullying we think immediately about tragedies involving teenagers but it affects adults just as much as it does children. In some ways the bullying faced by adults online can be more malicious and sinister as people often find themselves targeted because of a political ideology or their race. A poll conducted by YouGov in April found that nearly 25% of Brits have been targeted online.

The advice given to people experiencing bullying is often unhelpful.  Being told to ignore it, avoid the bully or to “stand up for yourself” can make someone who is being targeted by bullies feel as though the situation is somehow something they are responsible for.  When you recognise that you or someone else is being bullied it is important to take action quickly.  Left unchecked, the effects of bullying can last a lifetime.

The National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) says that building self-confidence can help ameliorate some of the effects of bullying. Mind UK, the mental health charity writes that bullying can cause low self-esteem which leads to a person having negative and overly critical beliefs about themselves and their worth as a person.

Unfortunately, removing ourselves from places where we might be bullied is not a realistic option.  We can’t just stop going to school, work or accessing the internet. By building a healthy self-esteem we can empower people to stand up for themselves and to be able to accurately assess the truth in the hurtful comments.

All members of the National Council for Hypnotherapy  – of which there are almost 2,000 across the UK – can help someone who has experienced bullying understand that the bullying is not their fault and help them identify thought patterns and beliefs which may have been created as a result of the bullying, helping them to think in more helpful ways.

If you’ve been impacted by bullying, use the NCH directory, to find a qualified and insured therapist near you.