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Category: Mind Matters

  1. Stretch Your Comfort Zone

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    Friends I have a challenge for you.????????????????????????????‍♂️????‍♂️????????‍♀️????️‍♂️????️‍♂️????️ 
    How many of you can do something different, stetch your comfort zone, be daring, take a chance .... once a day for 30 days?
    It could be something as simple WEARING ODD SHOES or something you've always wanted to do like PARACHUTE JUMPING (ha ha). Please let us know what you get up to.
    We will be offering some ideas and providing options for you over the period too. Sign up now for the challenge and we'll keep you posted about the things we have thought up for you to accept or not. 
    Just add your name below to show you're up for the challenge and we'll get going.

  2. Do you know what you want?

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    It's coming up to that time of the year when many people make resolution for the New Year in an attempt to improve their lives.  

    But ..... do you really know what you want?  If it involves the word 'more' then that's hard to define.  For instance if you want more money then you need to define how much more otherwiise you may never be satisified as more could never end.  What would you do with more money - pile it up in a corner? Give it away?  Spend spend spend..  Would that satisfy you?

    Really you need to know what the objective behind the wish is.  So with the above example and exta £x would allow me to not worry about payments I have to make.  I would be able to buy this and this and this that I have been wishing for etc.

    So in actual fact it was never extra money that you wanted but a desire to feel secure and happy.  That would be the focus for your resolution not the money which is only one of the means to getting it.  Let life fill in the details, you just need a clear idea about the life you want deep within.  You need to know what you need to make you happy.

    Often it is nothing material at all.  It is something within you that is unfulfilled.  You and only you have the means to make that change.  Nothing materialistic can do it for you.  It can cover it up or ease the pain but it will not provide the solution.

    For you it's just a matter of changing your perspecitve about your life..  It feels like pain now but that is only because it's the only way you have even known it to feel.  

    Changing your perspective can change your life.

    Hypnotherapy and especially hypnoanalysis can help with that.  The best Christmas present ever is freedom.  Put it on your wish list now.

    Andrea Lowe

    Senior Hypnotherapist and Hypnoanalyst, NLP Practitioner, Hypnotherapy Course Tutor

  3. Why stretch

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    A lot of the things we do at the Mind and Body Centre are about stretching.

    yoga classIt's is fairly obvious that if you stretch your muscles they become more flexible and you move more freely even when you are not stretching.  There are fantastic  health benefits associared with keeping your body and muscles stretchy and suppke.

     Going a little deeper, Yin yoga is able to reach beyond the muscles to the joints, soft and connective tissues.This is extrememly useful for joint health and care.

    Other things that can benefit from a good stretch:

    world in handsYour perspective, especially in this current climate, being able to see things from more than one perspective can be very useful and enlightening.  They say that travel broadens the mind ....and thus stretches your zone of refernce.

    Your imagination, the more you can imagine the more possibilities you can create for yourself and your world begins to open up for you.

    But most of all the one things that you can stretch, ....that is the one thing that most people shrink from ... is your comfort zone.

    Stretching your comfort zone mneans putting yourself into situatiosn that you don't feel comfortable in.  Doing things that would normally make you squirm.  The more you stretch it the looser it becomes and the more situations start to fall within it rather than on the outside of it.  In other words less things make you squirm.

    One of the things that make many people squirm is taking a look at the  restrictions that they impose upon themselves.  The fear of addressing  the cause of limitation and resiirction in ones life is almost like an invisible cage.

    A course of therapy can liberate and open the cage, but often  enbarking on therapy means stretching that comfort zone and beginning to open up.  It also means facing emotions that are lurking beneath the surface and taking them on rather than hiding from them and pretending they're not there.

    Once you decide to brave the stretch then you can fairly quickly see a liberation of your emotional restrictions and find yourself doing things that you never believed you would be able ot.

    So come on 1  2  3  streeetch

    Andrea Lowe Senior Hypnotherapy and Course Tutor



  4. Hypnotherapy can help with self-image

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    Professor Jeanette Edwards from the University of Manchester has revealed some worrying evidence about  chldren as young as nine years old being exposed to online games lsuch as "Plastic Surgery Princess", "Little Skin Doctor" and "Pimp My Face"  that could be contributing to mental health problems in young people.

    The report identifies several factors that are encouraging young people in particular to focus on body image.

    These include increasing levels of anxiety around appearance, the rise of social media where photos can receive positive or negative ratings and the popularity of celebrity culture, complete with airbrushed images and apparently perfect lifestyles.

    Prof Edwards called for cosmetic procedures to be banned for anyone under 18 unless they involve a multi-disciplinary team of specialists, GPs and psychologists.

    "Under 18s should not be able to just walk in off the street and have a cosmetic procedure.

    "There are legal age limits for having tattoos or using sun beds. Invasive cosmetic procedures should be regulated in a similar way."

    There are risks with cosmetic surgery and it shouldn't be taken lightly.

    Young people are bombarded with the need to conform and social media  acceptance is strong.  Low self-esteem is not unusual for this age group as they struggle to find themselves.  Also children who are bullied naturally try to change themselves to be more accepted.

    Unfortunately the mental effect of any surgical changes is only skin deep and the low self-esteem still lurks beneath.

    Rather than turning to surgery or injections to change their appearance they need to change their mind and develop a confidence in themselves that does not require the approval of their appearance by others.

    Hypnotherapy can help young people to change their mind and not their appearance.  It is an ideal time to look at clearing out any baggage that has been collecting, before the restricting baggage begins to influence their life choices and patterns.  Before it too becomes burried deep within..


    Andrea Lowe Senior Hypnotherapist and Trainer


  5. What IS the truth about reality?

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    You may have read a recent blog of mine - Are they lying?

    That was mostly about people who deliberately and knowingly tell lies and avoid the truth for a variety of reasons.   About how to spot them and save yourself the frustration and the questioning of your own sanity..

    Now I am going to be talking about a different kind of truth.  The truth of reality.

    This is not so easy, as everyone has their own individual reality and like a fingerprint no-one's reality is exactly the same. 

    You all know that frustrating feeling when you just don't seem to be able to get through to someone, something that is your reality.

    How do we develop our reaility?

    As with most things it usually begins to establish when we are young.  Inevitably the culture that we are brought up in will influence what we see as real.  Also the behaviour and beliefs of our parents, educators, family and friends.  Things we hear on the news - usually the perspective of others will also form an impression for is

    Yes but how does that become our reality?

    We have so much information being constantly thrown at us that we develop filters.  A  great example is - islanders, who depend on a boat bringing supplies from the mainland, can hear it long before visitors because it is important to them for their survival.

    The brain controls the amount of information in all forms that we take in.  For instance usually we are not  aware of the way our clothing moves against our body or even someone brushing against us slightly in passing. 

    If someone asked has anything touched you in the last 5 minutes you would answer no but clearly unless you were naked then your clothing would have touched you.  Your reality is different from what might be seen by some as the truth.  Yet if you answered yes, my clothes, you may be judged as facitious.

    Yet we would be very aware if  we felt that slight brushing against us on a dark lonely night.  We woudn't need to be asked if something had touched us the blood curdling screams would be enough.

    If you take two chairs apparently the same and ask the question are they the same or different?  You might answer the same because in your understanding the are identical.  Someone else night answer they are different because to them they are clearly not the same chair.  Reality also depends on circumstances of course.

    These may seem like simplistic examples but actually our lives are full of similar  reailities based on perception and learning.  Also too our reaility is often based on beliefs and unfortunately as beliefs are just that. unlike the chair or the clothes there is nothing to debate as the only evidence for those beliefs is subjective and open to other interpretations.  However, that can be someones reality that they will protect and argue for against all comers.

    Esprcially with beliefs that contribute to reality those filters are working hard so that you do not notices any alternative options.

    As you get older and have more experiences, especially if you are prepared to stretch your comfort zone a little and experience things out of your norm then  your filters get a bit stretchy too and start to loosen up giving your more options.

    Therapy is often all about questioning some of your filters that are causing you problems and allowing you to develop a wider perspecitive with more options.

    So next time you feel frustrated with  attitude, give a little thought to what the reaility behind it might be and cut them some slack

    Happy days.

    Andrea Lowe Senior Hypnotherapist and Traineranxiety3

  6. Hypnotherapy for Birth Preparation

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    You and your baby deserve the most wonderful birth you can achieve, Sharing that first beautiful moment with your new baby in a confident and relaxed way is something that you will never forget. Make it a precious experience, relax and celebrate the miracle of birth. Enjoy your pregnancy and have a confident birth with the help of hypnotherapy techniques to help you to understand your body to get the best experience, relax and enjoy.

    Tobys Mum says "The hypnotherapy really helped me prepare for and during the birth. I felt very in control and relaxed and did not require any pain relief"

    See also

     Andrea Lowe, Senior Hypnotherapist at The Mind and Body Centre offers a Hypnotherapy session for birth preparation on Mondays 6 - 7.30

    Cost is £35 for 5 weeks.  New sessions starting13th March 2017


    In the Mirror 25/3/1917

    'Hypnobirthing' mum who shunned pain relief so 'chilled out' delivering twins she almost fell ASLEEP in birthing pool

    Josie Penn claims the final hour of her delivery was merely ‘uncomfortable’, as opposed to outright ‘painful’

    Josie Penn with husband Thomas and their twin girls Margot and Devon

    A first-time mum has told how she ditched pain relief to give birth to twins naturally using ‘hypnobirthing’ techniques.

    Proud Josie Penn was so chilled-out at points during her 14 hour labour she almost fell asleep in the hospital birthing pool.

    She also claims the final hour of her delivery was merely ‘uncomfortable’, as opposed to outright ‘painful’.

    And now the 31-year-old has urged other mothers to follow in her footsteps, saying birthing twins doesn’t have to be traumatic.

    Josie Penn and husband Thomas

    Nutritional therapist Josie, who welcomed gorgeous, non-identical girls Margot and Devon into the world on January 27 this year, said: “Would I recommend hypnobirthing to other mums and dads? Definitely. Absolutely.

    “Having twins through hypnobirth, totally naturally and without any pain relief, certainly seems to be fairly unusual. The midwives definitely appeared fairly surprised!

    “And whether you’re planning a home birth or you’re having a C-section, I definitely think that it gives you so much confidence going into the labour.

    “It enables you look ahead to childbirth with real positivity, rather than feeling like it’s something scary, looming on the horizon.

    “Discomfort is unavoidable when you’re giving birth, but it doesn’t have to be excruciatingly painful.”

    Josie Penn

    Hypnotherapy for childbirth - first discussed by scientists in the 1940s but which has only recently gained real weight - is the art of allowing yourself to sink into a deep state of relaxation whilst in labour so that your body does everything it needs to do quickly, easily, comfortably and sometimes even painlessly.

    Josie’s husband, advertising director Thomas, 31, explains: “When we went for our three month scan, the sonographer said, ‘I’m glad that you’re both sitting down because I have some news - you’re having twins’.

    “Initially I had a real sense of fear and found myself thinking ‘How on earth are we going to manage? Everything is double, everything is twice as expensive, are we ever going to sleep?’

    “We went through a month or two of real anxiety. Josie was getting worried about the birth itself, and I was just blown sideways.

    “And that’s when we started thinking about hypnobirthing more and more.”

    Luckily for Josie and Thomas, Josie’s sister is Emily Street, one of the UK’s leading hypnobirth practitioners and acclaimed midwife with Cheshire’s Reproductive Health Group.

    Josie Penn and Thomas

    Emily explained the benefits to Josie and Thomas who then undertook an evening class with London based HypnoBirthing Practitioner Michelle Pearson.

    Michelle taught them how to utilise relaxing music, light touch massage and calming visualisation techniques.

    She also shared positive affirmations and scripts that Josie used leading up to the birth such as, ‘My baby’s in the safest position possible’ and, ’I was made to do this. My body is designed to do this. There’s nothing to fear’.

    Thomas - like many others in the UK - admits that he held scepticism about the controversial technique considered by some to be ‘New Age’.

    He admits: “If I’m being honest, initially I was quite sceptical about hypnobirthing. When we first started learning it, I thought, ‘Hmmm, Is this a bit of a nonsense..?’

    “But Josie and I had already found that it was often best not to talk about our birth with anyone else. Because when you tell people that you’re expecting twins, everyone says, ‘Oh, you poor things. How are you going to cope?’

    “All that negative energy builds up a sense of real anxiety, and we were desperate to get rid of it.

    Josie Penn

    “As a result I was willing to try anything to help Josie feel more confident and empowered about our situation.”

    That, however, was at odds with NHS specialists advising them.

    Due to the increased risk of complications with twins, Josie, from Hackney, east London, was told that the home birth that she'd hoped for was out of the question whilst the idea of a birthing pool for twins was frowned upon.

    Josie’s doctors also continued to raise the spectre of an emergency Caesarian section and of the potential need to have an episiotomy - a surgical cut in the area between the vagina and the anus to help the baby’s delivery.

    Josie says: “We were getting more and more nervous. It felt like we were losing control of our own birth scenario.

    “And what hypnobirthing did was give us a way of learning how to keep relaxed despite the stress that was building up around us. It empowered us.”

    Determined to maximise her relaxation levels, Josie also took part in a pregnancy yoga class and standard antenatal classes.

    And on January 26, at around 11pm, Josie’s contractions began as she cuddled hubby Thomas in bed.

    Bizarrely, Josie felt a sense of ‘bliss’ rather than blind panic

    She reveals: “It’s funny, it felt like the most blissful moment, heavenly even.

    “It’s so strange. The contractions were quite intense and close together, but all I could think was, ‘We can do this! It’s only two babies, for God’s sake. Let’s stay at home, run a nice warm bath and forget about all the doctors!’

    “There wasn’t a moment where I thought, ‘Oh crap, what happens now?’ I wasn’t scared of what was coming. I definitely attribute that to hypnobirthing.”

    Thomas eventually took Josie to Homerton University Hospital at around 2am and by 7.30am she was in a birthing pool.

    But Thomas laughs: “Josie was so relaxed, she started nodding off and her contractions stopped!”

    They eventually exited the pool in a bid to get the contractions started again and by mid afternoon Josie’s labour was in full swing - and she was still desperate not to have any pain relief.

    In the hours previously she’d had a few gulps of gas and air, but in the final few hours she went without it entirely.

    Josie, originally from Hale, Cheshire, said: “We were never going to put either myself or my babies at risk. We just wanted a chance to prove that hypnobirthing could work without drugs or intervention.

    “There were points early on where I was in pain. A handful of the contractions were horrible.

    “But I honestly didn’t have that feeling when I was pushing during labour.

    “The feeling was more… discomfort, and confusion about what my body was doing, rather than extreme pain and being stretched.

    “And what’s really important is that I didn’t feel scared. I was just completely focused. I was calm. At no point did I think my body couldn’t do what it was trying to do.

    “And that was a powerful thing, something that really surprised me.

    Margot arrived first, followed by Devon ten minutes later.

    Josie beams: “I just couldn’t believe it. I was stunned, and beyond happy to have done it without an episiotomy or a C-section, which I thought we’d been destined for.”

    Meanwhile Thomas adds: “Because of the hypnobirthing techniques, Josie had gone somewhere deep inside herself. She’d shut off her fear reflex, and was just allowing her body to progress with the birth naturally.

    “There was no screaming.

    “Despite the fact that she was exhausted, it was as if something primal had taken over and was delivering our babies for us.

    “And I’ll never, until the day I die, forget the look on Josie’s face after Margot was born.

    “It was like she was on a beach somewhere, with the biggest smile I’d ever seen in the world.”

    Reproductive Health Group Hypnobirth expert Emily says Josie can be proud of her amazing achievements.

    She adds: “Any pregnancy involving twins is higher risk than with one baby.

    “And with added complications comes added stress. That’s not good for mum or the babies.

    “We are also conditioned to believe that labour is going to be hell. ‘The worst pain you have ever imagined, times ten.’

    “Because of this, mums-to-be have a huge amount of fear about giving birth. So when we feel that first twinge of labour, our body tenses and our muscles tighten.

    “Imagine the bottom of your uterus as a clench fist - it’s gonna hurt to get a baby through that!

    “Hypnobirth teaches you skills so that instead your muscles relax, soften, open and babies are born easily and euphorically.

    “And it’s not just about the days leading up to giving birth, it’s about your entire pregnancy and beyond.

    “Giving birth to twins means you might have a lot more scans that normal. And while those scans can offer reassurance, they can also be stressful as you ride on a rollercoaster of emotions.

    “The last thing you want is for twin babies to be swimming in their mother’s adrenaline.

    “And hypnobirthing techniques can help mum to stay calm and collected throughout the process.

    “It’s about making people feel safe and with the fundamental belief that birth is normal and our bodies work.”