Are YOU afraid of the dark?

  Mariella Frostrup confessed to a fear of the dark in The Observer newspaper.  When responding to a reader, the Agony Aunt mentioned in passing, that she has “an irrational fear of the dark”. One of the biggest mailbags she’s ever received followed.  She explained that “the letters weren’t just from those sensibly nervous when wandering the empty streets after midnight, but full-on phobics like myself paralysed with fear and virtually unable to sleep alone”. Fear of the dark is a common but relatively unspoken fear which almost always originates in childhood. It is a fear that we are expected …

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Yet ANOTHER reason to STOP

Amongst the published research linking smoking to health problems is a very interesting  study carried out by scientists at Staffordshire University. The scientists researched the effects of using computer aging technology to show how young women between the ages of 18 and 34, would look at the age of 72 if they continued to smoke. The women in the study were also shown an image of what they would look like at the same age if they stopped smoking. It has been long established that smoking ages the skin prematurely. A research study in 2000 found that smoke caused a …

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The Importance of 10 – 20 seconds

A standard therapeutic technique to improve feelings of well-being and one that is to be found in many self-help books, is to focus on our happy and successful experiences to re-train the brain. Clients are asked to do this regularly so that over time the practice changes the balance of their thoughts. It has been known for a long time that brain structure constantly changes as a result of the information flowing through it. Neuropsychologist, Rick Hanson explains that, “underlying neural activity is present in every single mental activity…….. the brain takes its shape from whatever your mind rests upon.” …

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The Greatest Gift

Focusing on what makes us happy, not what makes us unhappy, positive psychology has become part of most people’s thinking. A foundational assertion is that happiness is not the result of luck or your genes but a state that can be cultivated by practising certain thought patterns. So, here are three techniques from the field that we have found to be most useful ourselves and with many of our clients. Savour pleasurable experiences (We have written about this before and it is worth repeating again and again) by going over them in your imagination, enhancing them and re-creating the feelings. …

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The Nocebo Effect

You’ve all heard of the placebo effect which is, in essence, the healing power of positive belief.  Less well-known, however, is the nocebo effect, the opposite side of the coin.  As the name suggests the nocebo effect describes any case where a negative frame of mind has an adverse effect on our health and well-being. Research has shown that the nocebo effect can reverse the body’s response to medical treatment from positive to negative.  There are many such stories in the medical literature and some doctors think that more attention should be paid to it. Thirty four college students developed …

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People Pleasing

The behavioural pattern known as “people pleasing” or compliance is one we see in the the therapy room frequently. Almost everybody enjoys pleasing others as part of our social interaction, but when we defer to the wishes of others and bend over backwards to accommodate them whilst denying our own wants and needs, our lives can become unmanageable and we are left feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Some of us allow the need to please to compromise our relationships, health and well-being. If you often say “yes” when you want to say “no”; worry excessively about hurting others’ feelings; have an …

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The Power of Words

We’ve been enjoying the books of neuro-scientist Andrew Newberg and business and personal development coach, Mark Robert Wladman, in particular, “Words Can Change your Brain”. An astonishing discovery is that even a single negative statement increases brain activity by releasing dozens of stress producing hormones and neurotransmitters. The functioning of the brain is consequently interrupted especially with regard to logic, reason and language. Conversely, positive words and thought drive the motivational centres of the brain into action and they help us to have greater control over our emotions.  Research shows that if you practise staying relaxed and repetitively focus on …

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Why Tap?

Although Energy psychology and particularly the techniques of EFT and TFT, are gaining more and more media attention, meridian tapping seems like an odd, suspect, “out there” therapy to most people who come across it for the first time.  Let’s face it, it is still considered strange by many converts who have benefited hugely from using the techniques. After all, it makes no sense to tap on your body in particular places to bring about changes in states of mind and symptoms! Before the maturing of neuroscience there was no acceptable hypothesis of how acupoint tapping works, even though the …

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Be Kind to yourself

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. Dalai Lama You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. Buddha Jay Rayner has been on TV and radio recently promoting The Claire Rayner Scholarship for the study of Compassion in Nursing and Midwifery Care at Huddersfield University.  In her role as Chief Executive of the Patients Association, Claire Rayner campaigned for care and compassion in all health matters.  She was disturbed by what she saw as routine neglect in some hospital geriatric units. It may …

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Stress Relief

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” William James STRESSED? PHONE HOME! Stress is part of all our daily lives and it is estimated that six million days of sick leave in the UK are related to stress  each year.  Recently researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison looked at the effects that contact with mothers can have on the stress levels of their daughters.  The sample was fairly small and the age of the daughters between 7 and 12 but the study showed that in all cases contact with mum before and after …

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