Ask Adrian – How does hypnotherapy work to stop smoking?

This is a great question to ask. The best way for me to answer it on Adrian Sonnex’s behalf is tell you about what happened in a stop smoking hypnotherapy session I recently attended.

Adrian received a call from a client who wanted to stop smoking. The first question asked is always ‘out of 10 how badly do you want to stop smoking?’ The client replied “a 10”. You still need willpower (your conscious mind) to stop smoking. The aim of the hypnotherapy is to get your conscious and unconscious mind working together to become a non-smoker. Otherwise, whilst your conscious mind is trying to stop smoking your unconscious mind is screaming out for every cigarette you are missing or expecting.

The client that came had been smoking consistently since the age of 17. On top of this he had been addicted to weed (cannabis) for the past 7 years. He knew it had gotten way out of control when he was spending over £800 a month on cigarettes and weed alone! So he sought out Adrian’s help.

Once the client had asked all his questions on how it works and what the outcome would be Adrian asked him to lay back, close his eyes, relax and focus on his breathing. After placing the client in a relaxed hypnotic state, the client’s eyes started rapidly moving under his eyelids. This is an indication of achieving the altered state of consciousness required for hypnotherapy.

Once in the necessary state, Adrian begun to make suggestions to the client’s unconscious mind that he is a “non-smoker and will remain so for the rest of your life”. He also made suggestions to help the client’s willpower by saying things like “If you are offered a cigarette, you simply say no thanks I don’t smoke” and “No matter who you are with, what you are doing or wherever you are you will never smoke”.

At the end when the client opened his eyes, he said he felt extremely tranquil, like he was awake but asleep at the same time, and present in the room but not at the same time. He claimed it was the calmest he had felt in a very long time.

So this is the process to stop smoking with hypnotherapy, what would happen if you gave it a go? Does this sound like a technique that would be useful for you? Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you’re still unsure of the process and if and how it truly works. Do you have any other questions about hypnotherapy or Mindfulness that you would like me to ask Adrian about?  I’d love to hear what you think!

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Mindfulness Hacks – No need to change daily routine!

One of the pros I have found most fascinating about mindfulness is how easily it can slip into my day-to-day life. It’s not like blocking out two hours of my day each day for the gym (half an hour travelling each way then an hour actually at the gym!). Instead it’s the act of going about my day-to-day ritual intentionally, rather than on auto-pilot. That’s what has made the process of being mindful so much easier for me than starting something like Yoga, Pilates or meditation of any form.

Before starting this blog work with Adrian Sonnex I had never really found the right tools. I was using an app called Headspace but that still required that I take a least 10 minutes out of my day to just sit still. Whilst I can do that now, at the time I definitely didn’t think I could. I had a million and one things going on… my dissertation, running a not-for-profit consultancy team (so work, admin and managing people!), exams to revise for, jobs to apply to, interviews to attend.. and that’s not to mention my (poor) attempt at a social life, or my three hour daily commute!

But once I started using the mindfulness tricks I’m about to reveal to you guys the whole process became a lot easier. That’s not to say I didn’t feel silly at first. I felt ridiculous.

These were tasks I performed everyday habitually or places I saw everyday. Yet, I was having to focus on them as if it were my first time doing them or seeing them. It doesn’t make any sense right? Of course I know how to tie my shoe laces, why should I have to focus on how I am doing it or how the shoe lace feels on my finger tips or the bottom of my foot on the sole of my shoe? Why should I draw my attention to how the bristles on my toothbrush feel when I brush my top teeth in comparison to my bottom teeth? It’s the same feeling every day, isn’t it?

But, I was patient. So, be patient, consistent and be kind to yourself throughout your practises. There is no right way to do it. Even when you feel you’re doing it wrong, you’re doing it right because you ARE doing it. Your mind can wonder a zillion times and that’s okay – just more opportunities of practising the art of bringing your mind back to what you are experiencing, with your five senses, at that moment in time.

 

Hack No. 1: Mindfulness in your Morning Routine

Pick an activity that constitutes part of your daily morning routine, such as brushing your teeth, shaving, or having a shower.

When you do it, totally focus on what you are doing: the body movements, the taste, the touch, the smell, the sight, the sound etc.

For example, when you’re in the shower, notice the sounds of the water as it sprays out of the nozzle, and as it hits your body as it gurgles down the plughole. Notice the temperature of the water, the feel of it in your hair, on your shoulders, running down your legs. Notice the smell of the soap and shampoo, and the feel of them against your skin. Notice the sight of the water droplets on the walls or shower screen, the water dripping down your body and the steam rising upwards. Notice the movements of your arms as you wash or scrub or shampoo.

When thoughts arise, acknowledge them, let them be, and bring your attention back to the shower.

Again and again, your attention will wander. As soon as you realise this has happened, gently acknowledge it, note what distracted you, and bring your attention back to the shower.

 

Hack No. 2: Notice 5 Things

This is a simple exercise to centre yourself and connect with your environment. Practise it throughout the day, especially any time you find yourself getting caught up in your thoughts and feelings.

  1. Pause for a moment
  1. Look around, and notice five things that you can see,
  1. Listen carefully, and notice five thing you can hear,
  1. Notice five things you can feel in contact with your body. (Your watch against your wrist, yours trousers against your legs, the air upon your face, your feet upon the floor, you’re back against the chair, etc.)

 

Hack No. 3: Mindfulness in Domestic Chores

Pick an activity such as ironing clothes, washing up, vacuuming floors, and do it mindfully.

E.g. when ironing clothes: Notice the colour and shape of the clothing, and the pattern made by the creases, and the new pattern as the creases disappear. Notice the hiss of the steam, the creak of the ironing board, the faint sound of the iron moving over the material. Notice the grip of your hand on the iron, and the movement of your arm and your shoulder.

If boredom or frustration arises, simply acknowledge it, and bring your attention back to the task at hand.

When thoughts arise, acknowledge them, let them be, and bring your attention back to what you are doing.

Again and again, your attention will wander. As soon as you realise this has happened, gently acknowledge it, note what distracted you, and bring your attention back to your current activity.

 

So there you have it guys. These have worked wonders for me and their effects have seeped into so many different areas of my life that the benefits are unquantifiable (those that know me know how much I love Maths and quantifying the unquantifiable, so this claim is a big one!). I truly hope it has just as great benefits for you and would love to hear how you get on with them.

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Catastrophe – Or just living?

Many years ago I was talking to a friend of mine regarding the somewhat traumatic break up of a long term relationship of hers. I remember telling her how sorry I was that she was going through such an awful experience. However what she told me next was something that stuck in my mind for a considerable time. She told me that she didn’t regret having to go through the emotional turmoil, because from her point of view, experiencing this pain was part of what experiencing life to the full was all about. I found this very odd, and especially coming from such a normal, down to earth sort of person. I just couldn’t understand why anyone would ever welcome pain.

So this was something that indeed stayed at the back of my mind for many years, until that is, it was recommended to me that I read Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Full Catastrophe Living. It was then that I was finally able to understand the sense of logic behind what I had hitherto found completely illogical. The idea that it could actually be healthy not just to accept, but indeed to welcome the bad along with the good, welcoming as it were all the colourful  strands that make up life’s rich tapestry.

Understanding that it’s ok to feel bad in a way takes some of the pressure off and allows one to see the path ahead with more clarity. Accepting the good and bad that life has to throw at us is a healthy way of living. Mindfulness does teach accepting good and bad feelings, thoughts, emotions and experiences – the whole catastrophe of living. A brilliant technique that can be used is keeping events calendars: A pleasant events calendar – where your mindfulness practise is to record one pleasant event each day, and an unpleasant events calendar – where you record an unpleasant event each day. I would say that for some at least it can provide a pathway to arriving at some quite logical and healthy conclusions. I’m sure there are many equally effective approaches.

To my knowledge my friend hadn’t arrived at her conclusion by studying mindfulness or via any one particular philosophy or therapeutic framework. However, it is clear that acceptance and understanding allowed her to move on with her life and feel stronger as a result – much more so, I believe, than had she wasted energy fighting the reality or running away from it, as of course so many of us tend to do.

By Joel Cantor DHP, DCH -Professional Hypnotherapist and Mindfulness-based Therapist of Wellbeing Hypnotherapy, Weybridge

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Hypnotherapy Insight 2/2

As promised, I’ll be discrediting the misconceptions around hypnotherapy today. By doing so you will also find out what the methods used for hypnotherapy are, their applications and positive outcomes.

Misconception: Somebody else is controlling you

Reality: You are always consciously aware and in control during hypnosis

Hypnosis is all about consent, thus you can never be hypnotised against your will. If you have ever seen a stage hypnosis performance you will notice that the hypnotist asks for volunteers who WANT to be hypnotised to come up on stage to be hypnotised. A Hypnotic Test is then conducted by the hypnotist to see how susceptible to hypnosis or suggestive the audience member is. This could be something like the hand-lock test where the hypnotist asks the volunteers to hold their hands out in front of them, grip their hands together and imagine they are glued and/or welded together. He will give these suggestion for a few minutes. When the hypnotist asks them to try to separate their hands those who are incapable of separating them are those who are most suggestible. So the hypnotist then selects those volunteers to hypnotise. Throughout all of this example, if a hypnotist ever made an inappropriate suggestion then the audience member(s) can refuse at any time. It is impossible for the hypnotist to make somebody do something against their will, morals, religious beliefs or good judgement.

Misconception: A ticking watch on a gold chain is held in front of you and moved back and forth until you are hypnotised

Reality: There are so many different methods used by different hypnotherapists to hypnotise a client

All the different forms of inducing hypnosis is a topic for another blog post, another day. But what I will tell you today is what happened to me when I had my first hypnotherapy session with Adrian Sonnex.

I was PETRIFIED.

This man was going to control my mind, make me do weird things that I would never usually do but then somehow I would be magically cured and become this perfect human being I had always wanted to be.

None of these things actually happened.

First, we sat down, talked about what I was there for (other than being a guinea pig for you guys I had to scan my brain to find something!). We talked about this at great length until I felt he knew everything he needed to know about me before getting up close and personal with my unconscious mind. He explained to me that I would always be in control and could wake up from my altered state of consciousness whenever I wanted to, or in the case of an emergency. Adrian Sonnex then suggested I lay back on the couch, close my eyes and focus on my breathing. He made other suggestions to increase my state of relaxation until I was in a light hypnotic state (it’s just an altered state of consciousness that feels similar to zoning out from your surroundings when exercising or being so into a book that you forget where you are).

He then made all the positive suggestions appropriate to help me. What he says depends on what you are there to see him for. Say you are there to stop smoking, he would say something along the lines of “you are a non-smoker and will remain so for the rest of your life, you will never smoke”. What this does is it releases the negative habits you had ingrained in your subconscious so it is no longer a habit you have buried in your unconscious mind. It remains a habit ingrained in your conscious mind only, therefore you have the power to get rid of it.

Once he had finished that part he slowly guided me to redirect my consciousness back to the room and wake up again.

Misconception: Hypnotherapy is a form of therapy therefore it is only useful for people with mental illnesses

Reality: The applications of hypnotherapy are much further and wider than solely mental health issues

Hypnotherapy is fantastic for identifying and treating the underlying problems which cause the conscious, noticeable side effects to mental health illnesses such as anxiety and depression. But it can be used for a wide variety of problems I had no idea about before starting this journey!

People who have a fear of anything in particular, be it animals, inanimate objects, a certain word or action can be rid of their phobia through hypnotherapy.

Those with addictions or habits they are not happy with can finally find a solution to their problem – smoking, drinking, biting nails, picking their nose – you name it, the list is endless!

Those who believe they have low self-esteem and no longer want to feel that way but cultivate within themselves an environment of self-love can benefit from hypnotherapy immeasurably. Past traumas can be un-suppressed and unrepressed in order to process them in the correct way so it no longer has a hold over the individual’s life and they are free from the conscious or subconscious effects the traumatic event had on them.

Performance enhancement is also a great application of hypnotherapy. It can be used on athletes, to improve people’s performance in their careers, to cure presentation anxiety, interview and exam anxiety. It is also exceptional for helping individuals speak up at staff meetings, deal well with confrontation in the workplace and become the best version they envision themselves to be. Adrian has worked with tennis players, golfers, triathletes, martial artists and boxers to improve their technique, confidence and performance. For career performance improvement he has worked with lawyers, people in middle management positions, CEOs, business owners and teachers, to name a few.

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Hypnotherapy Insight 1/2

me-under-hypnosis

In today’s post I wanted to provide you all with the actual facts of hypnotherapy.

There are so many misconceptions out there beginning with the ‘fact’ that it’s done by a man with a gold watch on a chain and he will make you cluck like a chicken or moo like a cow. Supposedly, it is a form of mind control and you will be forced to do things against your will. This, alongside the belief that because it is THERAPY it is only useful for people with mental health problems, are among the most common thoughts. None of these are true.

I will be posting two blogs this week! 

For today I will be giving you the difference between stage hypnosis and hypnotherapy for you to gain a better understanding of how hypnotherapy really works. Later on in the week I will also be discrediting the misconceptions around hypnotherapy.  By doing so I will provide you with some insight into what the actual methods used are and what the amazing, wide applications of hypnotherapy are. I’ll also let you in on how my guinea pig experience with Adrian Sonnex went when I trialled it for you all!

First thing’s first.

I’m sure you have a particular image that comes to mind when you think of hypnotherapy. A man, with a golden watch perhaps? In front of a live audience asking for members of the audience to volunteer to be hypnotised and perform particular tasks. This is in fact Stage Hypnosis. It is defined as hypnosis for entertainment reasons performed in the street, a television studio, theatre or a bar – all in front of a live audience. Whereas hypnotherapy is a type of therapy using hypnosis techniques to overcome problems or difficulties people have e.g. anxiety, depression, phobias, bad habits etc. It complements and in no way replaces western medical practises.

Hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness. We all have a conscious and unconscious mind, with a filter protecting our unconscious mind from suggestions. These suggestions may be against our faiths, beliefs, morals or understanding. The filter is called our Critical Factor. In a light hypnotic state you are still consciously aware and alert. Here, the Critical Factor comes down to allow positive/therapeutic suggestions to be given to and accepted by your unconscious mind. Suggestions are made such as “you are a non-smoker and will remain so for the rest of your life, you will never smoke” or ” you are feeling positive, calm and relaxed, you are feeling really good” etc. depending on what you require.

There is only a handful of people who cannot undergo hypnotherapy. This includes people who are drunk or under the influence of illegal substances. People who have a very low IQ will not be able to understand or follow the hypnotherapist’s suggestions so a hypnotherapy session would not be successful in this case. Similarly, those who do not speak the same language as the hypnotherapist will be in the same predicament, hence cannot undergo hypnotherapy successfully. Most importantly, those who are not willing to be hypnotised cannot be.

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Introducing Mindfulness: A Practical Guide Review

For my first post I have read Introducing Mindfulness: A Practical Guide by Tessa Watt. There are so many different resources out there nowadays on mindfulness, meditation and how to reduce anxiety and stress. From books to apps, to recordings, websites – the whole lot! But it’s quite difficult to know what is good and what is not.

Although nothing beats first-hand experience and one-to-one or group training I decided to provide you with a review of Introducing Mindfulness: A Practical Guide. This way you have some more insight into what a mindfulness book involves, what the results of doing the exercises of the book have been for me and what Tessa Watt did well. You will have a better idea of the type of outcomes you may (or may not – everybody is unique!) get from a mindfulness techniques book, what to expect and what to look out for in a high quality mindfulness guide.

The structure of the text begins very well with an informative introduction into the history of mindfulness. It describes where mindfulness began, how it developed, and its purpose. For somebody who didn’t know much about mindfulness beforehand it provided useful insight into what I was about to get myself into.

The clearest part of the text for me was where Tessa Watt gave the difference between mindfulness and meditation, since I had no idea there was a difference! Meditation is the act of pulling yourself away from your day to day to make room for practising the breathing exercises. Mindfulness is the act of remaining present in the activity you are doing at that moment in time.

Many chapters gave people’s experiences from practising particular mindfulness techniques. This made the process much easier and relatable especially in times when the exercises were tricky.

Meditation and mindfulness focus on not judging how you are feeling at that moment in time and treating it with good humour or lightheartedness. It is also good to not force or focus on the expected results. So it seems counter intuitive to include what to expect as an end result in the Guide. Unfortunately the book does do this. A lot of times when doing the exercises I found I would already be aware of what the intention is, therefore become frustrated if I didn’t achieve what the book had said would probably happen. I understand that this is a very difficult balance to strike, as it is human instinct to want to know what the end result will be. Less given expectations would have allowed me to concentrate better on the exercise. The book builds up the expectations we want to avoid in mindfulness for new participants.

Generally though, all other people’s experiences and thoughts on the practises are given after the exercise. This allows you to carry out the exercise without judgement and expectation – when mindfulness has the most effective results!

As the chapters become more about feelings (attitude, kindness, slowing down, reacting) and less about physical techniques (space, breath, brushing your teeth, body, feet etc.) deeper insights are revealed such as the use of mindfulness to manage emotions, sensations, and reactivity. It introduced me to various techniques for understanding and becoming curious of my emotions and sensations. As a result I am more open and less judgemental of the suggestions the text made on the outcome of meditation.

One element I found extremely interesting was that of changing the tone of voice we use for our internal dialogue. Along the process I felt my internal voice shift from harsh, criticising and angry tones to a calmer, much more understanding and gentle, accepting tone. From being present in the moment I felt a lot more grounded and ‘in my own body’. So I was less reactive. I also became much more accepting of my emotions and inquisitive of them – definitely better than being frustrated at myself for being frustrated!

My main finding was that with greater understanding of myself I have been steadily able to reduce the level of judgement I have towards my emotions (good and bad). I have become much more inquisitive, calmer and kinder of my thoughts and feelings than before. The change in my approach to myself, many times, makes the negative feelings dissolve.

I promised to tell you how I got on with the exercises in the guide… here goes!

Before starting any of the exercises I wrote down my intentions. I wanted to feel more centred, present and improve my concentration. My mind has a tendency to be on 100 things at once. This means a lot of the time I can’t express myself as well as I would hope because I interrupt one trail of thought with 7 others.

The start was SO difficult.

For the first exercise I was focusing on my breathing and the 5 different senses to be aware of my surroundings. I lost concentration many times and then when I realised I had I would get quite frustrated that I couldn’t do the exercise properly. But I pulled my focus back to my surroundings. I noticed the dusty, damp smell after it rains mixed with the musky perfume of the lady sitting next to me, the sticky mess left from removed adverts on the sides of the bus and the texture of the thin cushion padding of the bus seat under my thighs.

I felt a lot less judgemental during the meditation exercises compared to the mindfulness tasks. This was because meditation was already out of my comfort zone and the normality of my day. But with mindfulness the integration into my day to day activities made it more difficult to focus. These were tasks like brushing my teeth during which I was used to my mind wandering. So when I had to focus on the actual process rather than thinking about other things it was a struggle. It became easier once I stopped being annoyed with myself and just analysed my feelings. This was without a need to determine why my mind had strayed and solely accepted that it had, beginning anew each time I refocused.

Activities such as the body scan really let me zoom in and out to any areas of tension or stress. I have quite a bad back. So what I did was locate the precise area in pain, zoom into it with curiosity and exhale a lot of the discomfort away. Then I developed the skill of widening my focus again on the entire back. I’m really progressing with this skill. It is also starting to seep into other areas of my life, like work – I look at particular details but then need to zoom out and consider the bigger picture.

An exercise I haven’t been able to get to grips with is trying mindfulness in moments I dislike. I have noticed when I am angry I feel a tingling, vibrating sensation throughout my body, which feels like my blood is boiling, I start to feel warmer then hot until it is too much and I ‘explode’ (which can come in the form of crying, emotional outbursts, etc.). I have managed to feel the uncomfortable sensation without exploding or feeling I need to react but it is a hard task. Bringing my awareness to the reactions so I can control them, rather than have them control me, is still something I am getting to grips with.

Overall, after two months of developing my mindfulness practises I am feeling a lot more self-aware. This has led me to be more mindful and less reactive, much calmer and kinder to myself. So, the exercises have been effective for me. Refocusing is no longer so difficult and I am much more understanding of myself when my mind wanders.

Having told you what the Guide consists of, what my experience has been with the exercises and what I have developed as I have consistently practised them, I would definitely recommend the book. The level of empathy provided and simplicity of the techniques given make them very easy to follow. Since Adrian began teaching me mindfulness techniques to act as a guinea pig for all of you and give you my account, I can tell you: a book, an app or any other resource cannot compare to the benefits gained from one-on-one tuition. But besides this fact the book is definitely one I would recommend for those beginning their mindfulness journey.

 

 

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Introducing Lina G

Hello everyone.

I will be working with Adrian over the course of the next few weeks/months/years? Who knows – let’s just say indefinitely! I will be delivering you all blog posts and collaborating with Adrian on them for the foreseeable future.

We thought the best possible way to raise awareness, remove the stigma associated with mindfulness and hypnotherapy, and to inform you all on what they both mean and do was to get somebody who isn’t trained in methods for either of the wellbeing techniques to explain it to you as they go along.

That’s where I come in.

So I am just like many of you who will be reading the blog. My name is Lina G and I only came across hypnotherapy and mindfulness a few months ago when its techniques were recommended to me by a friend who was astonished by the results of having seen Adrian and done the work. I had read some of the books, downloaded a couple of meditation and mindfulness apps and listened to some recordings but nothing compares to the one-on-one learning and practising of techniques.

I will be learning as much as you as I go along so please join me on my journey to really understand the wonderful world of mindfulness and hypnotherapy.

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