Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Change Your Beliefs - Change Your Reality

It is often said that if you change your beliefs you change your reality.  I am not talking about a belief in Santa Clause or whether Princess Diana was assassinated or not.  I mean unconscious beliefs. 

Lessons learned in life become beliefs about our reality.  Our reality is just a representation of how we see the world.  Our world is then viewed through a set of filters, or beliefs, to create our experience.  Those beliefs are stored in our unconscious mind and affect how we live our lives.  When we make assumptions, judgements and decisions, we are filtering information through these beliefs to reach a conclusion.  That conclusion is the meaning we give to something, it can be positive or negative, safe or unsafe, true or false.  All the lessons we have ever learned create our belief system and the belief system is always running in the background like a software programme on a computer with safety as the number one priority.

The human eye can see a spectrum of colour but it doesn’t see everything – our eyes cannot see clearly in the dark.  When the eyes see shadows and shapes in the darkness, the brain will call upon previous experience to interpret this information as best it can to build up a more accurate picture.  For example, shadows in the darkness can seem threatening to some people, and unusual sounds might create anxiety.  Imagine walking home alone on a dark night hearing footsteps in the distance and seeing a shadowy figure behind you, it would be easy to get carried away by fear and anxiety as the brain searches for a meaning.  All too soon your imagination presents you with images of Jack the Ripper or a mugger who wants to attack and rob you.  In an instant your body is flooded with fight or flight chemicals preparing you to run for your life or fight off an attacker.  Your belief system kicked in and interpreted the available information as danger. 

Consider the limiting effects in adulthood of the following lessons learned in childhood:

·      You are wrong most of the time
·      You are ineffective a lot of the time
·      You should just do what you are told without question
·      “I want” doesn’t get…
·      Disagreeing with others is bad
·      Spending too much money is foolish
·      Life is hard
·      Relationships don’t last
·      People you love are taken away from you

What if we believed all or some of these things to be true?  We would live our lives in a very limited way and self-sabotaging way.  Life, as we see it, would be filtered through those automatic subconscious beliefs.    The effects might include a lack of self-esteem, feelings of unworthiness, fear of commitment, workaholic attitudes, behaving like a victim, fear of confrontation and fear of failure.  Can you imagine the effects of these beliefs on our moods, our health and our happiness? Many people hold onto limiting beliefs because they are unaware of them.

What if you believed these instead?

·      You can achieve anything you set your mind to
·      You deserve the best car you can get
·      You are as good as anyone else in the world
·      Life is what you make it
·      Everyone has equal right to express their opinions
·      You can succeed
·      Your value is priceless
·      The older you get the wiser you get

Life would be completely different and the effects of these beliefs might include feeling empowered, an ability to set and achieve realistic goals, confidence, good self worth and a balanced life.

How do we find out what unhelpful beliefs underlie areas of our life that are unsuccessful and find out what is stopping us from being happy and fulfilled? 

Case study.  John is approaching 40 and has had one failed relationship after another.  He would like to settle down and have a family but seems to attract the wrong people into his life who let him down time after time. He starts to drink heavily and gets into bad company.  Pretty soon his boss calls him in for a chat and tells him his work is not up to scratch, he is sloppy, he makes mistakes and his colleagues say he is bad tempered and snappy.  He is given a verbal warning to sort himself out or put his job at risk.  John now becomes anxious, stressed, suffers from insomnia and is heading for depression.  As time goes on he eventually decides to seek help and have hypnotherapy for stress.

During assessment it becomes clear that John is down on himself, he has low self-esteem and blames all his problems on circumstances.  The boss is an idiot; he only drinks as much as anyone else in the office; he makes mistakes because he is overworked; women can’t be trusted; he gets invited to the pub after work most evenings and feels obliged to go.  In fact, he is lonely and all he really wants is to meet someone, settle down and have a family.  My question was – what is stopping you?  He knew that it had something to do with his mother leaving when he was 13 and he had issues with trust. We explored John’s belief system and he identified 3 self-sabotaging beliefs: People you love are taken away from you; Women can’t be trusted; Relationships don’t last.

Hypnotherapy helped John to identify the filters that had been put in place when he was 13.  He was living his life since then finding ways of keeping safe but sabotaging his happiness.  Some of the things we uncovered were: his thinking was distorted, he was seeing things in all or nothing terms, he was afraid of failure, and he was holding back his affection. Once he realised that he could remove the unhelpful filters (beliefs) and change the meaning he gave to life he could create new beliefs based on facts.  He put 3 new beliefs in place: Most people are trustworthy; you get out of a relationship what you put into it; it doesn’t hurt to open up and let people see your feelings.  John’s problems at work had their roots elsewhere.  He learned to become conscious of his thinking styles and spot the distortions, he learned how to relax and sleep well, he learned how to be assertive and say no without feeling guilty, he learned how to look at things from other perspectives, he learned that there are many different shades of grey and things don’t have to be black or white.  I worked with John over a few months and he found that he could finally accept his life with all it’s ups and downs, he was able to release the trauma of his mother leaving, he began to love himself for what he was and he started going out and having fun again.  His sleep improved, his began to take pride in his work again and he started dating. 

I had a post card from John six months later thanking me for my help and telling me that he had met someone and fallen in love.  They were to be married abroad.  I was over the moon for him and all it took was for John to change his beliefs.

If you would like help with changing beliefs, or any other issues that stop you from feeling happy, get in touch for a free consultation.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Clear Emotional Blockages with Mindfulness

Inner Space Hypnotherapy 

When a drain is blocked, nothing flows through, things become stagnated and very soon the whole system backs up.  Emotional blockages are a bit like that and life can become stagnant when emotions become trapped.  All emotion is energy and if it is not flowing freely it can cause blockages which may manifest in a variety of symptoms such as stress, anxiety, pain, depression, fatigue or insomnia.  

Mindfulness can help to clear emotional blockages so you can regain a sense of balance.   It can also make you sharper and more efficient; it can ease pain and suffering; it can deeply enhance the feeling of joy and happiness.  You can be released from the grip of trapped emotions. 

The pace of life seems to get faster and faster.  For many there is too much to do and too little time.  On the other hand, people with too much time on their hands can become bored and lethargic; busses seem to come in threes – or not at all.  Life is like that sometimes, everything is happening at once or nothing at all is going on.  I often reach that stage of having too much to do but too little time to do it and I just have to tell myself to stop, take a breath and slow down. 

It can often seem that everything is a priority, work, home, family, friends, exercise – but how do we fit everything in?  We all have 24 hours in each day but for people under too much strain, it doesn’t take much to tip the balance into illness or chaos.

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of chasing your tail, always playing catch up with one thing or the other and feeling pressure to keep up.  This can become a habit and our brains are good at learning how things are meant to be, by our habits.  It makes sense to practice habits that are going to make life better.  Mindfulness is one such habit.

By slowing down and practising mindfulness every day, you actually gain more time – how does that work? Well of course we can’t change the clock but we can slow down the process of brain ageing, according to science.  

Whenever you do something over and over again, it leads to changes in the brain; this process is known as neuroplasticity.  The neurons can change how they communicate with each other, with experience (by doing it over and over again). 

It therefore makes sense to learn the habit of being mindful, looking at things in a non-judgemental way and becoming an observer of how we respond to situations, how our thoughts affect our physiology and how the environment can be a trigger for a chemical reaction in the brain.

As most people grow older, brain material known as "grey matter" decreases, however MRI scans on the brains of people who engage in meditation or mindfulness for about 40 minutes a day show a significant difference. Thousands of research studies have been conducted showing that mindfulness meditation actually increases the amount of grey matter in the brain (slowing down the ageing process).

A second benefit of mindfulness meditation is that it triggers the parasympathetic nervous system into action, releasing calming hormones that neutralise harmful stress hormones produced by the sympathetic nervous system (the fight of flight chemicals). 

And there is third benefit of practicing mindfulness meditation daily – it establishes the new habit of becoming an observer.  As I mentioned before, the neurons in the brain learn from experience, so becoming an observer of what is going on brings about a state of detachment, a natural state of being, which in turn leads to an overall feeling of calm when dealing with whatever life throws at us.  When we are calm, we are more efficient and can make decisions based on the observed facts, rather than an emotional response.

The key words to remember when becoming mindful are awareness, attention, observation, acceptance and non-judgement.  When we practice mindfulness we become more aware of all aspects of the experience of living.  We recognise how our thoughts and understanding can impact our health and quality of life. We see that we give meaning to situations and that we can just as easily give a different meaning which in turn changes our experience.

Mindful meditation can be used in programs such as stress reduction, relapse prevention, weight loss, addictions, emotional intelligence, or purely to enhance the quality of life. 

Mindfulness can be defined as a full engagement with the present moment.  We can compare this to the experience of mindlessness that occurs when awareness is scattered due to preoccupation with past memories or future plans or worries, which, in turn, leads to a limited awareness and attention to the experience of the present moment.

Enhance your life experience by practising Seven Steps to mindfulness:

Step One
Sit quietly and become aware of your surroundings in an objective, non-judgemental way, tuning into the whole experience and noticing everything you can notice.

Step Two
Focus your attention on one thing you see and describe it to yourself in detail – size, shape, colour, distance from you, the relationship you might have with it, how it is used and anything else you can think of.  When you have done that, move on and do the same with two other things in your environment.

Step Three
Become aware of a sound you can hear and describe it to yourself in detail, as above; When you have done that, move on and do the same with two other sounds in your environment.

Step Four
Become aware of something that is touching you, for example the air on your face as you breathe in or whatever your hands are resting on.  Take your time and describe your experience of touch to yourself in detail and move on to do the same with another two things.

Step Five
Tune into your physical body and become curious as to how it works.  Spend a few moments on each part and notice the beating of your heart, the rhythm of your lungs, the magnificence of your brain and all other organs in your body.  Imagine your bones, veins, muscles and millions of cells all working together in harmony. 

Step Six
Tune into your emotions and acknowledge what you are feeling in the present moment.  Ask yourself how you know that, what symptoms are signalling those feelings? For example your breath might be slow and deep signalling relaxation or it might be fast and shallow signalling tension. Whatever it is, acknowledge it and ask yourself what other situations do you feel that? Become an observer as if you are outside looking in and allow your feelings to express themselves in a way that you can understand.

Step Six
Next, tune into your thoughts.  What are the predominant thoughts going through your mind, do your thoughts have a pattern? Where does one thought end and the next thought begin? What is the quality of your thoughts? Are they mostly positive or negative? are they random or deliberate? Notice how your thoughts affect you.  Be the observer of how different thoughts create different outcomes.

Step Seven
Now become aware of your body as a whole, a complete system, each part working in harmony and balance with all the other parts.   When you are out of balance that system sends a signal telling you to do something about it, to take action.  Become aware of any imbalance you might notice, in a detached way, and ask your observing self what it is telling you.   Allow any thoughts or feelings to surface and invite your subconscious mind to send you a signal.  You may find you are presented with an idea, or a call to action, or you may just enjoy the gentle flow of your experience.  Thank your subconscious mind and take on board whatever it is you need to move forward.

When you have completed this exercise, stretch your body and acknowledge anything different you notice.

At Inner Space Hypnotherapy, I teach my clients how to apply mindfulness to a wide variety of issues.  If you would like more information or help with any other problem, please give me a call or e-mail me.  I offer a free no obligation telephone consultation. 

Visit my website for more information:

Mary Bowmer

Back to HOME                            Follow your highest excitement!

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Don't Worry!


You might agree that worrying is such a waste of time and energy and there are far better things to do than waste your valuable time and precious energy.  We only have a limited amount of both. Many of my clients have learned how to let go of worrying and focus on enjoying life to the full.  It's simple when you know how.

September is a new beginning, a new season, a new school year.  Time to let go of the last clutches of summer and prepare for the long winter ahead.  The shops are full of warm coats and boots and this indicates that summer is now truly behind us. It’s also a good time to let go of the harmful habit of worrying and choose the new habit of staying calm when faced with a challenge or a problem situation.

This unhelpful habit of worrying can steal your energy and spoil your life. We all worry occasionally but some people worry excessively and irrationally.  The good news is there are ways to stop worrying and regain a sense of calm.
The little duck glides across the water gracefully, but underneath the surface, his webbed feet are kicking at top speed.   
This metaphor can be used for keeping calm and working hard to achieve your goals, or it can be likened to someone who appears calm but is worried sick about something bad happening in the future. Which would you rather be?

Worry can cause insomnia, anxiety and physical illness.  It is bad for your health.  So, why do we worry? If you think about it, nobody wants to worry, but most people do it from time to time.  You can’t worry and feel relaxed at the same time – it is just not compatible.

Worrying can runs in families – some people are chronic worriers and worry about everything from the weather to the state of the economy. Other people don’t worry at all, they just get on with life.   Often, people worry about getting worried.

Worries come in all shapes and sizes, some are serious, most are trivial.  What if my car breaks down on the motorway?” “What if nobody likes me at the party?” “What if I make a mistake at work?”

You could literally worry about anything, money; death; betrayal; rejection; what other people think; the weather; health; what to wear; being late or saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.

“John ignored me in the office this morning – have I done something wrong? Did I offend him?”

“My partner hasn’t called me today and he always calls me around lunchtime, his phone is off – what if he has gone off me? Is he having an affair?”

“I need to return this dress to the shop because it is torn.  What if the shopkeeper thinks I did it? What if I can’t get my money back?”

Studies show that 85 per cent of all that we worry about never happens.
"If you worry – you die.  If you don’t worry – you die.  So why worry?"
Worrying is a form of anxiety.  When faced with a challenge it makes sense to focus on solving it rather than worrying about it.

There can be a number of solutions to any problem so it’s good to keep an open mind when exploring possibilities.  Sometimes things sort themselves out; other times an unexpected answer pops up that did not occur to you before.  One thing is for sure, worrying doesn't help to solve anything.

Have a strategy

Here is a strategy to deal with worry – it is a good idea to write down the answers to these questions:
  • What exactly am I worried about? Define the worry in clear language.
  • What would I like to happen? Imagine the problem was solved, what would be different?
  • What can I do about it? Explore all the realistic options available to you and write down your top three.
  • What am I going to do about it?  Choose the best option and create an action plan.
  • When am I going to do it? Decide exactly when and where to take action and follow through.
  • Has it worked? Review the situation some time later and if you are not satisfied, try Option 2, and so on, until you have found a solution that is satisfactory.
Change your approach

Another approach to overcome worrying is to become solution focussed.

1.              If you want to worry, do it properly, write down all the gory details and get it off your chest as you put your thoughts on paper.
2.              Rate the importance of this issue on a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is a very serious issue, like your house falling down and 1 might be a dent in the car if you hit the lamp post.  Everything can be given a rating on your scale of importance. 
3.              Choose your own worry time, for example, only worry at a certain time of the day for an hour (maximum), or on Mondays, etc. If you find yourself worrying at any other time, postpone it.
4.              See worrying as a bad habit and like any habit, it can be changed.
5.              Listen to your thoughts and become an observer of how you think.  Argue with self-defeating negative thoughts and change them to constructive positive thoughts instead.
6.              Never worry at bedtime – if you can’t sleep get up and do something boring for twenty minutes, then return to bed.
7.              Think about what you can actually do, and do it.
8.              There are some things you can’t control and some things you can control.  You control your thoughts.  Choose helpful, positive and constructive ones.
9.              Always take action – never sit on a worry – it festers.
10.           Learn to say “So What” about things you can’t do anything about.


How can hypnotherapy help?  When you are in a state of hypnosis the critical part of your mind is temporarily switched off and your creative imagination can flourish, reframing the situation so you can look at it differently, or from another perspective, in a relaxed and calm manner.  The subconscious mind has it’s own way of working things out and it can do this easier when the conscious mind steps back and you give yourself a bit of inner space, away from the issue. 

Choose to keep calm and focus on what it is you want to achieve, like the duck swimming across the pond – have a goal in mind. 

Mary Bowmer
4 September 2014

Follow your excitement

If you would like help to overcome anxiety and worrying, get in touch with me for a free consultation or visit my website for more details