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The Power of Visualisation

Visualisation is an extremely powerful tool that I believe everyone can use with a little practice. We can use the power of visualisation for many things, like building confidence, being more focused, less anxious and much, much, more.

Don’t believe you can visualise? Then try this simple experiment: Close your eyes and picture your front door… Which side is the door handle on? In order to answer that you had to visualise your front door. i.e. draw a picture in your mind.

There is lots of evidence and research that visualisation in sport improves performance. This is because the process of visualisation creates the same neural pathways in the brain as actually doing what is being visualised and the more it is done the stronger the pathway becomes. This means that when a golfer visualises their shot it’s like taking several practice shots – not swings – before taking the actual shot.

As Aristotle wrote: “We are what we repeatedly do”. A principle that Richard Branson has incorporated into his daily routine. Which you can read about here.

You can also use this technique to develop your confidence and self-belief. Psychologists refer to this as Self-efficacy i.e. an individual’s belief in their innate ability to achieve goals. Many things in life reduce our self-efficacy and we judge things as being too hard to attempt, but when we visualise we can grow our confidence and we can begin to see a positive outcome.

If, for example we want to develop of feelings of self worth, then we can visualise what that would like in terms of the things we would be doing. So we can use visualisation to create a picture of what the high self-worth version of ourselves would say or do in any given situation. By doing this repeated we create the person we want to be and start to act in that way naturally.

Also, if we visualise ourselves as being healthy we are more likely to exercise and make better food choices.

If you want to understand how visualisation can help you why not get in touch?

Using Mindfulness to Win at Dieting…

At this time of year lots of people try a new diet. In part this can be seen from the number of diet related TV programs being shown at the moment.

The gyms are stuffed full of people who have over indulged during the festive season and now feel a bit guilty about it.

Ultimately we all know that in order to lose weight and get fitter we need to eat less and move more and practically every flavour of diet will provide this in one form or another. The following advice comes from Mindfulness principles and could help you stay on track with your diet. Eating mindfully means you will get more taste from your food and feel fuller sooner and for longer. The ideas are simple, but highly effective.

  1. Eat without distractions! This means no TV! Or Screens of any type! Make eating a conscious exercise. Whenever possible sit at a table. You can eat with other people – you might even find yourself having a conversation! But no other distractions, especially electronic ones. The idea is to be able to focus on your food and really taste it.
  2. Put your cutlery down between mouthfuls (our whatever you are eating). This habit slows the pace of your eating and helps you to taste what you are eating and also to notice when you have had enough. All too often we polish off a huge plate of food and then 10 minutes later realise we are stuffed. This is because it takes time for the signal to go from our stomach to our brain to tell us we are full. Putting our cutlery down helps us notice we are full. And speaking of plates…
  3. Use a side plate for you main course. This allows us to see everything we are eating. Plates have become larger and larger – so it’s time to reset our perception of what a plateful is. The easy way to do that is to use a side plate – you can always have seconds if you are really full.
  4. Don’t be afraid not to clear your plate. If you are eating mindfully then you are paying attention to every mouthful and more likely to feel full sooner. I don’t want to encourage you to be wasteful – but if you are full – Stop Eating! And at your next meal make your portion slightly smaller (and see 3 above).

Hopefully these simple steps will help you stick to and get the most from your diet.

Good Luck!

If you’d like any further information please Get In Touch!

If you like to learn more about mindfulness I would start here:

4 Top Tips For Looking After Your Own Mental Health

  1. Do something pleasurable every day.
  2. Do something that gives a sense of accomplishment every day.
  3. Exercise.
  4. Socialise.

Life for many people is very busy, rushing from one crisis to another. This can allow common mental health issues like depression and anxiety to creep up on us without us noticing.

Following these tips as much as possible with help to improve general well-being leading to improved mental and physical health.

  1. Daily Pleasurable Activity. This can be something as simple as making sure to get your caramel latte and take the time to drink it or walking the dog. Anything from 10 to 30 minutes is all it takes. Don’t think of it as a chore or being selfish – it’s an investment in yourself that will make you more productive.

 

  1. Daily Mastery Task. Again, this doesn’t need to be anything huge and can be a relatively simple task. For some people it could just be making your bed, for others it could be tackling that drawer (or garage) you put things in that you don’t know where else to put.

 

  1. Exercise. The recommendation is we all get 30 minutes of exercise every day. This might mean going to the gym, but it could as easily mean going for a walk round the block at lunchtime. Parking your car as far from the door of the supermarket or just making sure you stand up and walk about for 5 minutes every hour.

 

  1. Socialise. This is, perhaps, the most important point. Often the first thing we stop doing is socialising. We feel we are too busy or just don’t feel like it. We can also start to feel that other people aren’t interested in us; that we are being a pain to them. This is not the case, just think how you would feel if one of your friends told you that? Make a point of seeing people regularly outside of work. If it helps join a club or take an evening class.  You don’t have to be the life and soul of the party. Sometimes this can be the hardest to think about and take action, but social contact will have a very positive effect on your well-being.

What is Depression?

Depression is among the most common mental health problem that people encounter and it is most common in middle age.

It is characterised by a low mood that lasts for 2 or more weeks.  A loss of interest in activates, difficultly concentrating and disturbed sleep, especially early waking and not being able to get back to sleep.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a solution-focused therapy that has been shown to be highly effective in helping people with depression.

Working with your CBT therapist you will undertake exercises to help you understand more about your thinking and develop methods together to help you overcome it as quickly as possible.

However, if you are having serious, persistent, thoughts about suicide please seek immediate medical help from your general practitioner, Accident and Emergency department of call the Samaritans on 116 123

For more information please contact me

Goal Setting

At this time of year we often review and set new goals for the year ahead. Most don’t last long.

Here are some tips on effective goal setting to maximise your chances of sticking with them and achieving the end results you are looking for.

Start with the Why – Why are you setting this goal? For yourself? For someone else? Because you think you should?

Goals that come from our values are much more likely to be achieved. What within your personal values makes you want to set this goal?

Goals should also have an emotional drive and setting goals without an emotional reason won’t work!

Goals should be moderate in difficulty. They should be challenging, but realistic.

Relative goals are good, but absolute goals are better. A clearly defined objective is more motivating than a relative goal. Compare the goal of wining the club championship, versus improving your handicap by 1 or 2 strokes. Or I will achieve X pounds in weight as opposed to I’m going to eat more healthily.

Big goals are fine, but you need to break them down into smaller goals and ultimately daily tasks that you can schedule.

Tell people what you are going to do and write it down!

SMART goals have good support in the research literature and can be very useful. SMART has a few variations but in generally they are:

Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Realistic
Timely

Find a training partner or coach! It WILL help.

Take the following example: You want to get healthy in your 40’s (or 50’s). You want to lose weight and get in shape. (too vague).

What are your values that bring you to setting the goal of Getting in Shape? Family? Missing out on activities?

Don’t do it for them – Do it for you!

What does a picture of healthy look like?
What do you see yourself doing that you aren’t doing now?

Outcome Goal (based on values) – Want to do more with family.
Performance Goal – Walk X Miles in Y minutes.
Absolute Goal – Weigh X Pounds/Kgs

How are you going to hit the performance and absolute goals? Schedule daily activities (to the minute)!

Set short term goals on the way to main goals.

Evaluate progress and modify as you progress.

Specific daily goals should link to weekly and monthly progress goals.

Set positive goals based on what you will do, not what you won’t do!

“I will make healthy eating choices” is better than “I won’t eat junk”.

Reflect on your values often!

Holiday Season Anxiety

While many people look forward to the holiday season there are a significant number of people that are filled with a sense of dread as it approaches.

All that enforced socialising. Office parties, for some, are the most daunting experience of the year. Social Anxiety can really come to a head at this time of year for many people.

Some tips for helping overcome (or least control) Social Anxiety are:

Plan Ahead. Don’t over book yourself. Limit yourself to one or two events a week. Don’t be afraid to turn down additional invitations.  Everyone knows there is a lot on at this time of year.  You don’t need to make excuses.

Don’t over do it. With food or alcohol. Pace yourself with both and you are less likely to make a social faux pas.

Be Prepared. As every Boy Scout would say.  Have a look at some current news events or sports stories and try to remember 3 things as conversation starters, though it might be best to avoid anything too controversial. Remember to ask open questions to give other people the chance to talk about their favourite subject – themselves!

Keep Calm. If you start to feel your anxiety growing, excuse yourself to the bathroom and go there or outside and spend a few moments taking some slow, deep, breaths. Allow yourself the space to cool down.  No one will notice – keep in mind that you are much more aware of your anxiety than anyone else!

Rest. Make sure you get enough sleep.  Have a nap before going back out in the evening if needed.

Mindfulness.  10 minutes a day of mindfulness practice can make a huge difference.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is extremely effective in helping you to help yourself with all types of anxiety.  It can help you understand your triggers and what the beliefs are that you hold and then helps you look at them differently to overcome your anxiety.

 

 

 

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

As the nights begin to draw in and more of us are getting up before dawn around this time of year, people begin the suffer the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

We know that SAD affects more people the further they are from the equator.

SAD is likely to be caused by changes in our internal body clock (Circadian Rhythm) caused by the darker mornings and evenings.  The disruption to your internal clock can lead to feelings of depression.

It is also associated with a change in levels of Melatonin in the brain, which plays a role in regulating sleep patterns and mood.

Light therapy can help combat SAD, which can be done with a light box, or simply going for a walk at lunchtime is likely to help as well, given the double benefit of natural light and exercise.

NICE guidelines also recommend Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), as for Depression.

Early intervention is key to a successful outcome and getting help with SAD as soon as possible will make it easier to overcome.

Please contact me today if you have any queries about SAD or Depression.

Smoking Rates Continue to Fall!

Data from the Office for National Statistics shows more people than ever are quitting and fewer are starting!

Since 2010 the smoking rate has fallen 7% to 17.7% in Scotland, though this is still above the UK average of 15.8%.

In the UK there are still approximately 7 Million Smokers.

As an ex-smoker myself I understand how difficult it is to quit.  I am a firm believer in the benefits of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), but also believe Hypnotherapy can help a great many people to get over the initial hurdle by helping to visualise themselves as a non-smoker.

To help do my part I have decided to reduce the cost of Smoking Cessation Hypnotherapy to £75 per session.  I am also offering free Smoking Cessation to ALL students for a limited time.  Please contact me for details.

Please visit gordoncharlton.com/smoking for more information.

CBT it’s as easy as ABC…

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is as easy as ABC

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Quit Smoking Today!

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