Feelings of being nervous, stressed or frustrated can pop up at any time and this quick and simple excercise is a great way to reconnect to your breathing, refocus you mind and re-establish a level of calm within yourself. . . .
Visualise your breathing as a circle.
Imagine each individual breath following the line of this shape as it flows around your body.
As you do this allow your mind to focus on the process of your breathing. Inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Thoughts and feelings will enter your mind, acknowledge these emotions and notions and then return your attention to your body as you breathe in and out.
As you inhale, visualise the circle. Breathe in through your nose for the count of 4 for the first half of the circle and breathe out through your mouth for the count of four for the second half.
Repeat the process of inhaling and exhaling around your circle.
Breathing in for four...1...2...3...4
and out for four...1...2...3...4.
With the completion of each circle your feelings of nerves and frustration should begin to clear. Allow this practice to re-establish a sense of calm within your mind and body, before returning to your day.
If feelings of anxiety, stress or frustration are negatively impacting your day to day life on a regular basis please contact Nicole, reach out to friends, family or a mental health professional in your local area.
#hypnotherapy #calming #meditation #breathing #emotionalwellness
While many of us may be under the impression that once we close our eyes and drift off to sleep we remain quietly still in our beds… for others night can in fact be a very active time!
When something unexpected happens in the middle of the night while you are asleep but the activity makes those around you think you are actually awake, it is likely due to a category of sleep disorders called Parasomnias.
Parasomnia is defined by involuntary physical activity while you are asleep, possibly the result of an active automatic nervous system. Although you will be unaware of what you are doing, those who share your bed with you will most definitely have awareness. It is not uncommon to find out about your nocturnal activity through a loved one who may be struggling to sleep due to your unconscious disturbance.
Symptoms of parasomnia can include:
Reduced Cognitive Function
Sleep disorders within this group include sleepwalking, sleep related eating, sleep talking, headbanging/bodyrocking and teeth grinding (Bruxism) which is what I’m going to be talking about today in this blog.
Bruxism is a common parasomnia in which people unconsciously grind their teeth and clench their jaws all night during sleep. Unlike some of the other sleep disorders this cannot be ignored, if left untreated it can ruin your teeth and result in tooth loosening. In addition it can affect your jaw muscles, cause jaw popping, headaches and earaches.
Causes of Bruxism can be physical, psychological and genetic, including:
Stress and Anxiety
Poor lifestyle choices
Abnormal Bite / Missing crooked teeth
Bruxism affects woman more than men and those who are affected by it are commonly more tense and suffer from chronic stress when awake. They also tend to bite items such as pens, fingernails and ends of their hair.
Signs and Symptoms of Bruxism:
Teeth worn down for no obvious reason
Facial, Jaw and Neck Pain
Sleep disruption (you and partner)
Popping or clicking noise in the temporomandibular (TMJ)
Surface teeth are flat
*We advise you always consult your doctor and dentist to establish the cause of your symptoms
It’s important that you seek advice initially from your dentist before considering psychological therapies such as Hypnotherapy or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). They will be able to make an accurate diagnosis and determine if the source of your facial pain is resulting from Bruxism. Once they have established the damage they may recommend you wear a mouth guard/mouth splint to protect your teeth from grinding.
SO HOW CAN HYPNOTHERAPY HELP?
Hypnotherapy provides intervention at a subconscious level and can help identify and address the underlying cause of Bruxism. Like sweating and blushing the grinding is automatic but with the use of hypnosis the habit can be altered by changing the thought pattern.
This can be achieved by:
Identifying unresolved emotions that may be creating and increasing anxiety. It is important to reduce stress and anxiety as both aggravate grinding.
Unresolved anger can also increase Bruxism and such underlying issues can surface at night while asleep in a subconscious state and manifest as teeth grinding.
Self-hypnosis to increase relaxation and deal more effectively with stress.
Reducing habitual clenching and grinding.
Help you make lifestyle changes such as reducing alcohol consumption, caffeine and quit smoking.
If you would like help dealing with Bruxism or any other parasomnias you can contact us here.
Written by Nicole McKendry
#bruxism #hypnosis #sleep #dental
This week has been a particularly busy one for me and I confess to having a few late night finishes with early starts to get my workload completed and deadlines met. Burning the candle at both ends is something I try to avoid but on the rare occasion that it does happen, my sleep unfortunately is the casualty in this somewhat chaotic battlefield.
I don’t know about you but whether it’s demanding schedules or workloads, if I spend a few days out of sync with my usual sleep pattern… I need a little time to adjust.
So this weekend, I’m making us this simple but soothing plant based bedtime drink to help us drift off to sleep. It uses lavender which has a calming and relaxing effect on the mind and can induce a deep sleep. In addition, milk contains amino acid known as Tryptophan and a hormone called melatonin and together they also help to induce sleep. Coconut and Almond milk have similar qualities and can be used as a dairy free option. So why not elicit those memories of home and childhood and try this hot bedtime drink to snuggle under the duvet with and encourage those Zzzzzzzzzzz!
Ingredients - Makes 2 cups
2 Cups of Milk or Almond/Coconut Milk (dairy free option)
2 Teaspoons of Dried Lavender
Honey (Organic and local if possible)
In a small saucepan, gently heat your milk and lavender
Stir frequently and do not let boil – medium heat
Simmer for around 15 minutes
Remove from heat and strain the lavender
Pour into cups, stir in honey (to taste) and enjoy!
Written by Nicole McKendry
#herbalist #insomnia #recipe #lavendertea
While we often praise and openly recognise the benefits of reading children to sleep, up to 48% of adults struggle to find time to pick up a book. So here are our top five reasons why it might be time to reintroduce the bedtime story to your life...
#sleepissues #insomnia #reading #sleep
When you head to bed at night you have all the best intentions in the world of jumping up when your alarm goes off the next morning and springing into a new day but fast forward a few hours and as the first beep of your wake up call sounds your hand is instantly heading for the snooze button. An extra five or ten minutes in bed seems harmless enough but are there actually consequences to indulging in a little snooze time?
It turns out that as much as some of us may try to resist it, we humans work best when sticking to regular routines and habits. One of the most effective ways to manage your sleep and therefore your energy, productivity and focus is to get control of your snoozing habits. When we wake up and go to bed at the same time everyday our bodies can begin to establish patterns. With sleep these patterns can help to regulate our internal clocks and encourage us to wake up at a set time each day and start to feel sleepy at a set point each night. By doing this it can become easier to fall asleep and wake up in the morning but the snooze button is the destroyer of routine. By letting yourself drift back to sleep for even just half an hour your internal clock is completely thrown off and your body is left feeling confused and out of sync. Extra time in bed on a Sunday morning may feel amazing in the moment but when your body doesn't know when to get sleepy on Sunday night and you are still lying awake into the wee hours of Monday morning its not going to seem such a great idea.
You may not always be feeling super refreshed and ready to go when that alarm hits but an extra five minutes is not going to solve your problems as snoozing actually increases these feelings of lethargy. It turns out that if you are already tired an extra few minutes of snooze grabbed sleep could be the worst thing for you. By allowing ourselves to roll over and try to sneak an extra forty winks we may unknowingly be falling back into the beginning of our sleep cycle. This is the part of the cycle where our body releases hormones that encourage levels of deep sleep, which is great if you have the whole night ahead of you but disastrous if you only have five minutes. Being woken up from this sleep state will leave your body feeling unrested and can completely undo all the hours of sleep you have had as your brain now feels overly tired and as if it has slept badly all night.
Fortunately, there could be a snooze button compromise. There will always be those that advocate jumping from your bed as soon as the alarm rings but thats not always the best idea. Sometimes when our alarms go off our bodies really aren't at the ideal state for a short sharp wake up call. If you are jolted awake during a deep phase of sleep your brain can be left feeling disorientated and in need of a few minutes to gently compose itself. There is also evidence to show that if we are woken too early (thanks to late bedtimes) our core body temperature has not yet begun to rise for the day and it can leave us desperately craving the cosy warmth of our beds.
However, this is still no reason to head back to sleep, instead give our Snooze Stopper Challenge a go and give your morning the best start possible.
Instead of allowing your ten minute snooze to disrupt your day take the time to set your morning off in a positive way. So hit snooze and let's get started...
Lie on your back, eyes closed and with your arms resting by your sides
Take controlled breaths, inhaling through your nose and out through you mouth
Focus your mind on visualising your day ahead - what you will achieve, what are you looking forward to, what can you learn?
Start to stretch your body, pointing from the tips of your toes to the ends of your fingers as you raise your arms above your head
Slowly stretch and release in time to the rhythm of your breathing as you focus on your body's inhaling and exhaling
As the alarm marks the end of your snooze time gently open you eyes and choose a positive affirmation and repeat it to yourself as you climb out of bed and start your day...
I am in charge of how I feel and today I am choosing happiness
#sleepissues #snooze #riseandshine #morningroutines
We all know there is nothing better than that feeling you have when you wake up after a good nights sleep. The only problem is, how often does the alarm go and instead of feeling refreshed, recharged and raring to go you find yourself feeling sluggish,sleepy and reaching for the snooze button?
Struggling with the inability to sleep restfully is now one of the top reasons people are visiting their doctor and The Great British Bedtime Report has found that a massive 74% of us are sleeping for less than the recommended 7 hours a night and 12% of us are not even managing to get our heads down for at least 5 hours out of 24. Its no wonder that so many of us are struggling with a lack of energy, negative effects to mood and health and suffering with the detrimental impact this is causing on work and life relationships.
It has been well documented that we should leave our emails, midnight snacks and social media at the door to our bedrooms along with any of our bad blue light emitting devices and that we can improve our chances of catching some z's by blocking out the light, smelling the lavender and relaxing our minds.
But have you tried the power of pink noise?
You may have heard of white noise which is also known for its ability to send its listeners to sleep and for a long time white noise was the go to sound for insomnia relief. It has proved itself useful over the years by acting as a very effective noise blocker for all the little sounds that can often act as distractions when trying to drift off. However, it looks as if pink noise is about to steal the sleep crown. Unlike the monotonous, usually synthetic sound of white noise that is created by combining multiple frequencies at an equal level, pink noise is a use of high and low frequencies that mean it is often quieter, more natural sounding and a lot of us seem to find the noise just that bit more relaxing.
Not only does it sound more relaxing but scientifically it is not just sending us to sleep but actually improving the quality of the sleep we are having.
The steady sound that pink noise produces has been linked in multiple scientific studies to the regulation of our sleep. This happens as our brains activity including the patterns that control levels of sleeping are all influenced by sound. Pink noise slows the waves of our brains down and as they fall into steady patterns it allows our brain to settle itself down for a good nights rest and actually increases our levels of stable sleep, which is the most restful kind there is.
Amazingly lots of examples of pink noise can be found in nature and may in fact be part of the reason that many of us feel more rested while on holiday, as we are exposed to pink noise sounds that we may not usually find at home such as:
waves lapping on the beach
leaves rustling in the trees
the steady trickle of running water
Fortunately there is no need to pack our bags and leave in order to find a good nights sleep. There are multiple apps available right now that offer pink noise options and can be played directly into the room (although still leave any devices at a distance and resist the urge to bring them into the bed). Alternatively one of our personal favourites for at home pink noise is the humble house fan which not only gives off those relaxed sleep inducing frequencies but also acts as a temperature regulator and helps to keep the bedroom at a steady 16-18°C (60-65°F) which is thought to be the ideal sleep temp.
Please be aware that if stress or anxiety are keeping your eyes open late into the night it may be time to talk to someone that can help and if you are dealing with a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea or have underlying medical conditions that effect your ability to achieve a full nights rest the best way to help your sleep situation is to contact a medical professional.
“I’m so protective of me now I’ll cut someone off for simply having the wrong energy”
Did you breathe a sigh of relief when the red roses and love heart haze of Valentine’s Day cleared? No, this isn’t another blog on the trials and tribulations of being single, let’s face it plenty of us chose to remain on our own… relishing in the solitude, after all sole control of the TV remote controller can have its benefits! So who am I talking to? Well… the simple answer is YOU… the person that’s afraid of being in a relationship, even though you may well be in one right now as you’re reading this.
I was listening to Spotify while writing this article and Sam Smith started to play with his haunting song Too Good At Goodbyes. It’s a fantastic song and as I lost my concentration to the music and lyrics, I found myself deleting what I had been writing and absorbing instead his reflective lyrics…
“I’m never gonna let you close to me, Even though you mean the most to me…”
I realised what had started as a blog on Toxic Love had now morphed into a post about our own toxic behaviour in relationships.
Being in a committed relationship involves risks… it’s almost impossible for love to grow without authenticity of self which can be daunting. Failed relationships can make us question who we are and being in love can force us to self-reflect and even worry about how future partners will view us… how many of you have asked the question “is there something wrong with me?” Yet, it is through trust and vulnerability that we create intimacy but that in itself requires us to open our hearts and with that may come the fear of abandonment. When you open yourself fully to the potential of love, you are also opening yourself to being left, hurt, and afraid of being hurt again like you have been in the past. It’s these fears that can mean some of us find it easier to keep people at a distance, not letting them get too close so they can’t hurt us again.
The toxic view we hold over our own relationships can mean we never truly allow ourselves to love fully. The fear of abandonment can actually result in some people thinking it is better to not love at all than to be hurt again and left. Yes it hurts when a relationship ends but carrying pains and insecurities from past relationships keeps you just there... in the past! We all carry wounds but for those that have not allowed their wounds to completely heal from previous relationships, you are only prolonging the pain and stopping yourself moving forward in finding a lasting and healthy relationship.
The fear of abandonment can be toxic and without realising it you could be unintentionally sabotaging your relationship. If you answer yes to any of the below, then it might be time to step back and be honest about your feelings and fears:
I’ve been hurt before, so I never allow myself to open up fully to people
It’s better to protect yourself, so I keep those I date at a distance
I don’t really need anyone to be there for me I’m fine on my own
I don’t see the point of loving anyone when they just leave anyway
I get out first before they leave me
I’m not suited to relationships
I can’t trust anyone
People always cheat and can’t be trusted
You can move beyond the fear of abandonment and instead of being too good at goodbyes, let those old love wounds heal, learn to invite real intimacy and trust into your life and more importantly be open to a genuine and lasting love. Consider this… everything that you want from a relationship could be on the other side of that fear of abandonment.
Only when you let go of that fear can you attract a lasting love into your life. When you’re in the right relationship you will feel safe and the fear of being left will go, so “Love like you’ve never had your heart broken.”
Written by Nicole McKendry
#love #relationships #fear #trust
Whether it's a case of you left, they left, or you both left, a break up is never easy. Give yourself time immediately afterwards to try and process the changes in your life. Regardless of the current circumstances this person was a major part of your world and the human shaped hole they have left in your reality is going to take some time to heal.
Tears and missing the relationship you once shared is perfectly normal. Allow yourself to cry, to feel hurt and apprehensive. You need to express and let go of these feelings to begin to heal and fully move on from this break up.
Sometimes finding the words to express how you are really feeling (especially during the early stages) can feel almost impossible. It can become easy to feel overwhelmed by the constantly shifting emotions that you are experiencing. If this is the case now could be the time to start writing it out in a break up journal.
Studies have proven that expressive writing can improve physical and psychological health and help to make sense of confusing emotions. Take a moment and allow yourself the time to work through your inner thoughts. Resist the urge to monitor your words and instead let your mind run freely. We know this can be easier said than done so we have put together a list of break up journal prompts to get you going.
This activity is not intended to be used as a means to dwell on what you no longer have but instead it is a chance to look consciously at yourself, the qualities you hold, what you have learned from your experiences and where you see your life moving forward to in the future.
If you are seriously struggling with your emotions and are unable to cope with life post break up we would suggest having a chat with someone experienced in these issues.
#relationships #breakup #journalling #writingtherapy
There's always room for one more on our Therapy couch... so whether you join us daily, weekly or just when you have time to stop by we hope that our therapy chatter allows you to take time out in your busy life, to unplug from your everyday stressors and simply breathe, listen and change!