RSS Feed

Category: Mind Matters

  1. How does Chanting help with anxiety?

    Posted on

    We are drawn to things that give us something we need.  These mainly fall into two parts.  Relaxation and distraction.  Relaxation to let go of a probem overtaking your mind - distraction to hide from the problem.


    Meditation, I suppose, could be the ultimate form of relaxation for some.  Yet for many people meditation is elusive and almost a frustrating experience to even attempt.

    People who suffer from anxiety can find meditation especially out of their reach.   One of the reasons that this occurs is a person with anxiety has a fear that they live with all the time.  I can be an unknown fear, feeling just like vulnerability or it could be an unreasonable fear that makes no sense to the rest of us.  Often a bit of both.

    Ask any cat, when you are aware that something (unknown) is threatening you, then staying alert is no. 1 consideration.  Therefore lying back and asking your brain to get out of gear is a non starter.

    Better to use distraction?  Go and give your body a good work out, hell raise or occupy yourself in some other way.  That way you can still think  alert but chatter chatter or whatever at the same time.

    I forgot the other option which is chemicals to knock you out!

    So how does chanting help?

    Well chanting is repetitive, once you've done a few rounds then it becomes something you don't have to think about. The difference is that this hapens automatically rather than having to expect yourself t relax.  Apart from all the benefits that singing together brings the distraction of the chant occupies your mind.  You might say it become a little mesmerising and takes over your thoughts but not your mind. 

    So it amost like cracking the shelll.  Once you find one way to relax then you will find it easier to find others.  You have just establlished a transferable skill.

    It becomes slightly mesmerising

  2. Kirtan - What's it a about

    Posted on



    If you've seen us offering a Kirtan evening you may have done a quick google to find out what the heck it is.  Now you know that we do offer some seriously whacky things occasionally (Yoga laughter workshop) so it might not be a surprise when google guides you to a page full  of pictures of lots (and lots)  of people all dressed in white or sometimes orange in what appears to be a religious ceremony.  Don't worry!!!

    As with many practises that have been around for a while the benefits can turn out to be additional and independant of the original devotional intent.  People, and as it happens science too has discovered that kIRTAN Offers serious health benefits to those who practise it. The meaning of Kirtan has changed as it's roots have passed through different cultures and beliefs.  You could visit a different Kirtan group every night and may not have the same exerience twice.  It's a kind of meditation idea for those who struggle meditate - the Kirtan  seems to do it for you!

    Taking a look at some of the beneiftis here which also offers a more Westernised picture of a Kirtan group - see what I mean no two groups are the same!

    Now for the science bit:

    Psychology Today magazine recently published scientific evidence that showed Kirtan helped with:

    Improved Blood plasma helping,  cognitive function, sleep, mood, and quality of life.

    Increased cerebral blood flow  helping with many aspects of memory. reducing symptoms of depression and improving chronic pain.

    So it's got to be worth a go.  Plus the fantastic benefits of sharing the whole experience with a group of like-minded people really does  give you that feel good buzz that can last for a few days.  So you see that's why we sometimes offer whacky off-the-wall stuff like Laughter workshops.  It's just to keep the Mind, Body and Spirit  tip top and bushy tailed.

    We currently offer Kirtan on sunday evening monthly.

  3. Emerging from your Egg

    Posted on

    This is an appropriate time to look at one symbolic meaning of Easter.


    As you crack open your Easter eggs, think about the chicks emerging and tapping their way out of those shells, consider how much effort and discomfort they must feel; how much fear maybe they feel at being trapped; they may have an awareness that they won't be able to continue breathing for long.  Yet they put all their effort into that escape whilst we look on and marvel. Those that can't put in the effort fail to survive. 

    The reason I believe it is a good time to reflect on the symbolism of this is that we can often relate to some of those uncomfortable emotions.

    Many people are in an egg shell of their own.  They have an invisible protective shield around them that keeps them safe from harm but also restricts them from moving forward freely through their life.  They stop and examine every little thing that might effect them, consider every conversation and whether they should have said 'that'; suppress their anger and harbour it;try to please other people above themselves. They feel vulnerable.

    Their behaviour is  influenced by this shell making them appear to be defensive, submissive, manipulative, cohersive, agressive and more.  Yet they just feel that they are staying safe.  Like an egg they feel that if someone gets to close to them and gives a tap in the right place then the inner substance flows out, flows away leaving them empty and destroyed emotionally.  

    Yet if you were able to hard boil the egg and emerge from the shell you would have taken away your vulnerability.  You are now able to stay together even if people tap you in the right place.  You may suffer a little but like the hard boiled egg you would quickly bounce back.

    Sounds simple enough. 

    Yet breaking your shell is the hardest thing you will ever have to do in your life.  Emerging from your protected invisible behaviour 'shields' with freedom shining ahead is profound. It's a never ending journey as the sheilds are removed one by one over time.

    It's worth the effort it really is.

    Andrea Lowe

    Senior Hypnotherapist, 

  4. What's This Madness. Can you be hypnotised?

    Posted on


    Hello again.  I have just seen an online article by the Daily Mirror with the Headline 'Can you be hypnotised' and a brief explanation that only some people can be.  I thought I needed to examine this potentially fake news or at least check that it was a headline aimed at grabbing attention,  expecting a bit of an anti-climax. I couldn't even open the quiz so I am still wondering what that says about me.

    You might be asking "What's the problem Andrea, why are you getting so uppity."

    Here's the problem.  In my formative years as a hypnotherapist back in 1995, I spent most of my time doing everything I could to explain what hypnosis and hypnotherapy is.  I actually thought that over this period of time my efforts along with those of my fraternity gradually took the mystic and magic away from hypnosis and established it as a bonafide option for healing and breaking free from self imposed limitations.

    Of course, it's always great to have  a bit of magic around. I won't deny that sometimes when people who have been suffering all their lives with unnecessary restrictions suddenly turn it around and experience a great sense of freedom, it can feel magical.  Truly it is just the proccess.

    So let's start at the beginning.  Don't believe anyone who starts by talking about trances, that's all part of the mystical control they like to promote.  Hypnosis is simply a deep relaxation, the type that you experience when you're about to drop off to sleep or just after you have woken.  You're less alert than when fully awake and even feel as though you are in a bubble of tranquility but still in full control.  The aim is that this state quietens the thinking mind and gives more access to the stored limiting beliefs and fears that are harboured to the rear.  This part of your mind is often active when  you are fully asleep and you sometimes remember those dreams that are lurking there.

    Whether or not people are suggestable is a different matter.  It is true that some people are very open to suggestions and some totally closed.
    Hypnosis doesn't come into it, this is an every day phenomenon.  You can tell a suggestable person that they are looking ill and they will start to feel ill, whereas there are those who would shrug it off and never think about it again.  That means that the highly suggestable people are open to suggestion while hypnotised.

    Suggestion therapy as it's very basic and raw is just that a suggestion that you will stop or will feel something desireable.  It is a bit hit and miss and has the potential to wear off in most cases.  It is also what the stage hypnotists depend upon.

    Hypnotherapy is able to identify the sources of limiting beliefs in oneself, of fears and anxieties that influence our reactions to events in our lives.  Whether that is a phobia or a compulsion in contrast to a habit, in fact anything that prevents one from being who they would prefer to be.

    So, if they want to be, everyone is able to be hypnotised, don't believe anything else.

  5. What exactly does Face the Fear mean?

    Posted on


    Face the Fear   ... and do it anyway ..... face your fears  .....

    Okay good advice maybe but what the hell does it mean?

    Anyone who has been watching 'Breaking Dad' on TV will know that  Bradley Walsh has been subjected to facing many of his fears and doing them sometimes with pride, sometimes regret.

    But generally we can each take or leave those kinds of fears which may be seen by some as dare-devil stuff.

    We all need fear to survive.  Not saying that anything is impossible and with some belief you could probably walk through fire or on broken glass but in everyday life as we know it we programme our fear to stop us from taking unecessary risks .... and heres the crunch.

    Our programming during our life has decided what kind of level our fear barometer is set at and we tend to live within that level. The fear is not of the things you need to face but is an emotional fear of becoming unsafe.  In other words a zone in which you feel safe - also known as your comfort zone.  So facing the fear probably means stretching your comfort zone.  You could do this gently and slowly or like Bradley Walsh you could get thrown in the deep end.  This could have one or more  of several effects: make you fearless (unlikely); build up your confidence to do more (possible); establish the fear even deeper (possibe); make you physically or emotionally ill (possible).

    Deciding what course of action to take to conquer your fears needs careful consideration as any over stretching could cause you to further withdraw into your zone of comfort.

    Lets take a break for a moment and consider those who have been brought up doing things we would need to summon up some courage to do.  Like circus performers for instance introduced to the high wires or trapeze.  To them it is simply a part of their life but they may have other fears that we cope with easily.

    This example may offer us some insight into the base of our fears.  The emotions that influence the fears are more generalised often allowing you to go about your daily life in trepidation and anticipating a disaster.  

    We only have the past. the present and what we imagine for the future, to live up to and influence our perceptions and choices. 

    So in some ways  our fears that we live with are like self-fulfilling prophecies in that we choose the option most like what we fear to take as our reality.  This is one of the areas that we can work on to improve our safe space.  Once we feel the anxiety of fear or the result of a perceived negative experience we can take the time to look at the situation and do our best to introduce new perspective to view it through.

    One perspective could be to imagine you are someone else who you admire and who you believe would be able to handle this situation more confidently than you did.  Allow yourself to experience their perspective with your body and your mind.

    Another way would be to imagine yourself distanced from the  situation in some way.  Up in the air like a  bird looking down on it;  behind the situation and far away; from yesterday; from tomorrow; from next year.

    All these things are increasing your experiences and options for future fears and even those fears that are with you all the time known as anxiety.

    Anything that you imagine well becomes within your experience range as a memory.  That's why sports people spend great lengths of time practising in their mind achieving their sporting ambitions.

    So if you suffer from fear or anxiety then give this a go and please let me now how you get on.

    Thanks for reading.

    Andrea Lowe, Senior Hypno/psychotherapist
    at Mind and Body


  6. Do you what the average cost of beauty spend is per person?

    Posted on

    Could you guess that the average spend on beautification per person in the UK is between £5K and £7K every year.  Compare that to the average income of around £30K.


    So when we're talking about the average don't forget that includes all the people who spend next to nothing on beauty enhancing goods and services like children for instance.

    I am not judging, just wondering why we need to focus all our attention on covering up our natural beauty often in extreme ways.   Who are we doing it for?
    The answer to that question is often 'for myself'.

    Not to mention the length of time spent in front of that  piece of disney inspired furniture fixed to the wall.  Eagerly working  to get the right response from said prophetic artifect.

    It's almost like we need to prepare our inferior self with layers of beauty armour in order to face the day.

    Why do we do this if not to impress others?  To give ourselves confidence, to feel superior, to fit in, to hide the shame and on and on! Hiding our vulnerable selves in a coating of  glamour armour.

    So where is all this self doubt, shame, lack of confidence coming from?

    Well it's certainly not coming from out there.  Notwithstanding that outer stimuli might trigger troubling responses the actual negative self-worth certainly comes from within.  

    As a nation we are so used to expecting the doctor to deal with all our ills, whether that is emotional ills or physical ills.  Generally, although things are improving, we  eat what we want, drink what we want take what we want without a thought and expect a magical pill to repair the long term damage once it becomes apparent.  Unfortunately there is a price to pay for that attitude and it's not a financial one, it is an array of side effects that whether slowly or quickly  emerge as a reaction to the coverted and  convenient pills.

    Most people are hiding from themselves througout their lives.  Trying to build up armour to avoid getting to know who they really are.  When transfering a little of the time and finances committed to the outer self for a realtively short period of time could release much of the need for the that commitment as we begin to understand and accept  oursleves for the wonderful people we are.  Understanding our reactions to others and the vulnerability and dependance we feel towards others can remove much of our armour and set us free.

    That takes a different kind of commitment, courage and a belief in yourself.

    Andrea Lowe Hypnotherapist and Trainer

    Andrea has been working on releasing emotional blocks since 1995