Four quick ways to boost your motivation

As January approaches many of us are starting to think about what we would like to change, and begin making New Years Resolutions.

January starts strong, and gym car parks are full, and we feel good about the changes we are making. As January moves on though, we can find that the motivation to lose weight, stop smoking, or change our lives in some other way, which was so strong just a month ago, has gone out of the window.

So what is the key to keeping that motivation going as the memory of New Year fades?  What really drives us to successfully make these positive changes?

Some theories suggest that motivation is a positive reward for achieving something such being able to fit back into that pair of jeans, others suggest the opposite, that motivation comes from a fear of a negative effect: such as stopping smoking to avoid lung cancer.

Positive outcomes tend to motivate us more than negative ones, but often, despite a clear benefit , we fail to maintain the motivation required to achieve our goal.

Often the key to staying motivated is creating the right kind of goals in the first place.

1. Create specific goals:

Motivation is fed by success.  It is no coincidence that longer term goals such as losing weight can be the hardest to stick with, because the change in eating habits has to be maintained for a long time before you reach your final goal.  Instead of just saying “I want to lose weight”, write down the steps which are going to lead you to that weight loss, such as walking to work 3 times a week, or changing your full fat milk for semi.

2. Make your goals achievable:

Setting a goal of running 15 miles each day, when you haven’t run in years, is probably not realistic. Even small achievements are a great motivator, conversely, goals which are too big can lead to you feeling disheartened .  Better to start with small and achievable goals at first and when you have achieved them, create new, slightly bigger goals

3. Notice what you have achieved already

Have you noticed how much easier it is to be motivated when you are in a positive mood, or having a good day?  When we feel good, we tend to want to move towards our goals, and create change, but when we feel negative we tend towards familiarity and that motivation can wane.  Celebrate the achievements along the way, because that sense of achievement will keep the motivation alive!

 4. Find Support

One of the most important aspects of my job as a solution focused hypnotherapist is to support the client in whatever change they wish to make.  That might mean helping them to visualise the steps needed to reach their goal, helping them get through the times that don’t seem to be going so well, or focusing on the positives.  Of course that doesn’t mean you have to book in to see me (though I will be glad to help if you want me too), but seeking out other sources of support such as friends, family, online forums, facebook groups, twitter or groups such as Slimming World, can really make the difference to your chances of succeeding.

Make your New Year’s Resolution this year to follow these 4 rules, and see your motivation to achieve your goals soar!

Good luck and I would love to hear all about it!

How Hypnotherapy Can Help You to Ride Your Elephant!

Ok, so your first question is probably “Has Leah gone nuts?  Why is she talking about riding elephants?”

And I can understand that, but I haven’t gone crazy (or at least this isn’t evidence of it!).

Trying to make changes can at times feel like riding an elephant.  The rider (you) seems to be in charge, but that control is precarious, because in comparison to the might of the elephant (your subconscious mind) you are tiny.  If the rider and elephant disagree on which way to go, then the rider is powerless!

We have all experienced this at times: when you have lost your temper and regretted it later, tried to stop smoking and it has felt like a battle, got stage fright, eaten a tub of ice cream when you are on a diet, or left the dishes when you knew it would be better to do them today.

This is why when we want to make changes, we (the rider) might want to take a different path, but in comparison to the elephant you are riding (your subconscious mind) you are tiny, and your influence is small if the elephant is determined to stay on that same path.  That internal resistance we feel when making changes is the battle between the rider and the elephant.

This is where hypnotherapy comes in, during the process of hypnotherapy what we are doing is allowing the rider to gently persuade the elephant that the new path is a much better choice, and once the rider and the elephant are both willing to move along that same path then change is easy!

Of course another point of view would be to relax as a rider and allow the elephant to take the lead - who knows what might happen!

*The idea of an elephant and rider metaphor was first put forward in relation to change in the book:  Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard , Dan Heath and Chip Heath

Read my article in the Depression Alliance magazine.

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Well the title says it all really! Back in 2013 was asked to write an article for the Depression Alliance magazine. I was sorting through some old paperwork this weekend and found it!

It’s still really relevant (trends may change but the way our mind works doesn’t!), and so I thought it might be nice to add it here!

Spring 2013 issue of the Depression Alliance's magazine, Single Step. The Depression Alliance is a leading charity supporting and campaigning for people suffering with depression. The magazine is a really interesting read, and is available free to it's members.

You can find out more about Depression Alliance at www.depressionalliance.org.

By building on our strengths we can create a positive future where we are back in control!

Solution focused therapy is a modern therapeutic technique which, when combined with hypnosis, creates effective and lasting change. Solution Focused Hypnotherapy (SFH) can be particularly effective in relieving the many symptoms that have their roots in anxiety and stress.  It can help by changing how we react to situations and enable us to cope better with whatever life brings our way.

As SFH focuses on solutions, we do not dwell on the problems of the past.  Instead we assess where we are currently, identify where we wish to be, and then we use hypnotherapy to achieve our goals.

 A vicious cycle…

Each time our brain responds to real or perceived threat, the level of the stress hormone cortisol rises.  When cortisol levels are raised over a long period of time, our levels of serotonin are reduced.  A good flow of serotonin makes us feel happy, motivated, positive and able to cope.  Without it, we become less interested in things we once enjoyed, become less social, take less exercise and in general think more negatively.  The vicious cycle that is created is hard to break, since positive thought, interaction and exercise are the very things which keep serotonin flowing.

 Hypnosis can help to get your serotonin flowing again…

Hypnosis is a natural state of trance which we all experience many times each day.  Have you ever been driving and suddenly realised you have missed your turning? Or reading a book, and had to re-read the page as you had not taken any of the words in? In both of these situations you may well have been in a natural trance state. Scientists tell us that during this state, despite feeling like we have switched off; our brains are working hard, using more energy than when taking a maths exam! 

During this time the brain is processing information and finding solutions to problems. It is important to understand that the hypnosis used in hypnotherapy isn't something which is "done to you" to make you do something you don't want to. You don’t explain your issue to the therapist who then simply hypnotises the problem away, as if by magic. On the contrary, it is used as a collaborative process, and will only work when it is used to make changes which you wish to make.

Many people are often surprised at how "ordinary" hypnosis feels, but during this state, the skilled hypnotherapist has access to the subconscious mind, and it is therefore incredibly powerful for changing seemingly "unchangeable" behaviours and habits. It is important to understand that change happens because you want it to and because you are prepared to take the necessary steps to allow it to happen.

Many people have heard that hypnotherapy is useful when you want to lose weight or stop smoking, or want to deal with a fear or phobia.  However Solution focused hypnotherapy can also help with stress and anxiety, depression (including post-natal), insomnia, panic attacks, and OCD.  It offers a safe and natural way to work on your issues and claim back your life.

Sessions will involve much more than hypnosis. Using specially designed questioning techniques, the therapist will help you to focus on the achievements you have already made, as well as visualise the changes you wish to make. You will then be guided into a relaxed state of hypnosis, which will consolidate those changes, and allow the subconscious mind to accept them and use its natural learning and solution capabilities to figure out how to make the imagined alternative future a reality.  This means that each session is uniquely tailored to you and your needs.

A good hypnotherapist will offer a consultation free of charge in order to assess what you want to achieve, how hypnotherapy can help you and how many sessions you are likely to need.

You can find a reputable Solution Focused Hypnotherapist in your area by visiting: www.afsfh.co.uk

Leah Bevan (HPD) is a qualified hypnotherapist and psychotherapist, and is a member of the Association for Solution Focused Hypnotherapy and the National Council of Hypnotherapy.  She runs her busy private clinic in Plymouth, Devon.  You can find out more at: www.hypnotherapyplymouth.com

I have a long history of depression.  I cannot describe how helpful hypnotherapy has been. I am finally starting to really enjoy LIVING again.  I am excited about the future and actually feel happy!
— Lesley K, Plymouth.

Links: National Council of Hypnotherapy www.hypnotherapists.org.uk

Recommended reading: How to lift depression…Fast, Joe Griffin and Mark Tyrell