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Category: Mind Matters

  1. 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



  2. 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


  3. 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

  4. 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.”

  5. Are they lying?

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    Having someone who is a pathological liar is to say the least difficult to live or work  with. 

    The effect of being on the recieving end of an onslaught of lies can eventually leave you vulnerable (is it me or was that actually a lie) suspicious, not just of your liar companion but of others too and very, very frustrated.  You can either argue and if you are arguing with an accomplished liar then they are the ones who can talk their way out of a paper bag and leave you dizzy and even more frustrated, or you can swallow it and carry on building  up your frustration within.

    Being able to spot the lie with reasonable accuracy must be like the answer to a million prayers..... but is it.  If you were pretty certain that someone was lying to you how would that change what you did about it.  Of course, it depends on who it is who is doing the lying and if the lying is damaging to you.

    Types of Liars

    Some people lie for effect - shall we call these the fishermen telling about the one that got away.  They are fairly harmless and often entertaining too.  If you live with them it may irritate after a while but no real damage or gain.

    There is absolutely no point in 'tackling' this type of liar as they don't even realsie they are doing it.  They are just entertaining.

    I used to work with someone like this.  He was always telling tall stories about what he had bought - on one occasional a massive colour tv bigger than big - or tales of accomplishments etc.  Underneath he was pretty insecure but his tall stories bigged him up in the office and were harmless and often entertaining once it was acknowledged that almost everything he said was a lie.

    Then are those who lie because they want to avoid conflict - we could call these the chickens as they would rather cluck cluck in agreement with you than say what they actually feel.  They are the ones who are likely to come across as cooperative and in agreement with you yet do what they want behind your back.  They are not malicious and wouldn't hurt you but want to do their own thing without discussion and want to protect themselves from criticism.  Children fall into this group and those who have not got much condifence or self-esteem. Nagging rarely works long term.

    "Yes. Of course I remembered to post the letter." whilst surrupticiously shuffling it deeper into their pocket to forget again and then denying culpability when the red bill comes.

    Following on from this group are the -garden fencers - these are the people that have to be calling seemingly everyone that they come into contact with.  They have nothing much to talk about of their own so they critise others.  Beware of trusting these people and be sure that if they are calling someone to you they will be calling you to others.  You are not special to them.  They exaggerate and try to cause  conflict for you as you take their apparent side in the dispute and enact their dissatisfaction.   They are looking to enhance their support and put others down.  Again people with low self-worth.  Only dangerous if they are able to rally support turning the while situation into a bullying excercise only to step in ans rescue their victim  leaving you seeming to be the bad guy.

    We all know people like this who call their best friend or relative  with venom only to be cosy and close the next time you see them together.

    Stretching the latter group a little further we get what we shall call  - the cheaters.  These are the ones who take that cooperative superficial veneer and cover up doing exactly what they want and as much as they can get away with.  So they would be unfaithful if you were their partner, they would gain at your expense if you worked with them or were their friend.  These are a very difficult group to deal with as they just don't seem to care whether you are aware or not.  The more you care about this group the more you get hurt.  The harder you try to understand them the harder you fall.  These liars are the ones who never appreciate what they have - occasionally and very occasionally at that until they loose it.  It is no use trying to reason with these people and unless you want to attempt  to rule them with an iron rod providing  you have something to threaten them with, like their job, then you may as well walk away earlier rather than later. 

    How to spot the liar.

    As with most things it 's easy when you know how!

    Preparing for your test

    In order to spot a lie with reasonable accuracy you have to first develop a habit of watching very closely and paying attention to everything about the person that you are observing.

    So you need to be aware of the body movement and subtle changes.  Don't go reading books about body language and what it tells you because everyone is an individual and  what might work for the majority may be very different for someone else. 

    Notice their facial expressions as they are talking, where they look, if their colouring changes subtly - again don't go reading books about eye accessing or assume that a blush means guilt as everyone is different although the person in front of you will be the same each time they communicate.

    Notice the tone of their voice, the speed of their talk, the rythmn of their speech and how these things change depending on the subject they are talking about.

    Do this until you feel you are becoming competent  and it is second nature.

    Now for the test.  .

    In order to carry out this test successfully you will need to prepare your subject.

    First develop a good understanding of all of the above in normal communication with them. 

    Now this may be a little harder but put them in a situation where you are certain that they are lying - if they are willing it could be a game (see below for suggestion).

    Notice the changes that take place when they are lying (and there absolutely will be definite subtle things that happen  - it is almost impossible for there not to be.

    Now make a note of these changes mentally and next time you suspect them of lying then just relax and look out for the subtlties of the lie. Voila spotted.

    I know someone who gets angry and defensive when clallenged and lie in response.  i.e. !How could you say that to me.  Don't you know me better than that?"  Given a similar situattion if they were being truthful they would be calmer and more reasonable.

    Another person I know changes the tone of her voice and it becomes like a story telling voice and sounds rehearsed when she is telling me a load of baloney.That of course is amplified when on the phone as the only clues I have are the voice and so it becomes more relevant.

    What you do with your knowledge is another matter. 

    You can see that in most cases reasoning or opening up a discussion does not solve the problem of the lies.

    There is no point arguing either as they wiull contniue to lie.

    Maybe a double bind is a good way to go such as "Now I know you will deny this and I know you are lying.  But just as long as you realise I know." "I don't need to discuss it."

    It will give you some satisfaction just informing them of this and eventually who knows they may decide for themselves that is't time to stop.

    A game could be let me see if you can fool me.  Hide a penny under one of three cups and by questioning you I will tell you which cup the penny is under. Tell them that the object of the games is to lie so that you don't know which cup the penny is under or they may choose to tell the truth.  For instance "is the penny under that cup?"  "Is it not under that cup?"  "Is it next to two empty cups?" etc  You won't know whether they are lying or telling the truth .... or will you. Proceed to question them and notice how the answer differently.  If you want to be super smooth and lull them into a flase sense of security then get the answer wrong but know yourself what the correct answer is.

    Andrea Lowe DHP NLP

    Andrea is a senior hypnotherapist with the General Hypnotherapy Register.She is also course tutor on the Mind and Body Hypnotherapy Practitioner Training course and Hypnotherapy  Foundation course.




  6. Just a Thought

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    To say JUST a thought is probably the biggest undersell going.  Your thoughts are the most powerful influence you will ever encounter and most of your random thoughts tend to be negative and repetitive.

    A thought is the only thing separating you from who you want to be!

    And that's ambiguous because you can change the limitations that are holding you back or you can change the thoughts about who you want to be or in fact who are currently are.

    Your thoughts come in layers.  At the deepest level it is estimated that up to 80% are negative.  These are mainly thoughts that you are not really that aware of, the mental chatter that is constant  and of a subtle drip, drip nature so that you do not consciously listen.  Even at this level where the thoughts do not necessarily intrude into your consciousness you can begin to understand how very powerful your thoughts are. 

    One level up or therabouts and your thoughts are a little more accessible but still pretty subtle and random.  These are the thoughts you use to' big you' up.  Even if you are lacking in self confidence these thoughts bring you some superiority.  My hair is better than hers (even though shes more confident than me), my kids would never do that (even though that family seems more together than mine), I'm more likeable than them(even though they're more popular) etc etc  This type of thought is your defence talk like the corner man in the boxing ring, championing you on as you get pushed back out there to face your world. 

    You're not terribly aware of these thoughts either but when you do catch yourself thinking that way it reinforces any negative feelings you have about yourself and you feel a subtle shame or guilt - but also safe in the knowledge that only you know.

    Other thoughts you are more aware of:-  Making plans for the day, I must do's included.  Frustrating thoughts about being unresourceful and unmotivated.  Pleasant thoughts about a planned day/meeting/event.  Thoughts about what you could wear and the impression you want to make.  These kind of thoughts are  much more in your consciousness and you have more conscious control over them.

    For those who are working on themselves there may also be another layer.  This is the positive thinking, self-affirmation, self talk in the mirror thinking.  It's the  force feeding of thoughts, stuffing in what you think is good for you.  You need to be sure you are giving yourself the correct message and you have to do it regularly.

    Guess which of your thoughts are the most powerful?  And remember we are talking about the most powerful things you will ever encounter.

    You might think it would be the positive thinking affirmations that would be the most powerful would be very convenient and empowering if it were that way.  How fantastic would that be - to be in control of your own thoughts.

    But no, think again.  It is the drip drip 80% negative thought that are the most powerful and influencial.  So to compete with them you would need to  invest 80% of your waken time consciously thinking positive thoughts.

    Positive thinking can't do anything other than help providing you are thinking the right thoughts.  Your unconscious thought have a way of masking what you could be thinking and setting you up with a less ideal alternative.  So t's a good idea to spend a little time relaxing and being aware of your thoughts and your reactions to them. 

    If a thought makes you fell a bit wobbly then sit with it for a while and examine what  the wobbly feeling is about.  There may be something else you need to address first.  Allow your deeper thought room at the surface and see what messages you are getting.  Don't be afraid of your thoughts.

    Determine also to stretch your comfort zone every day by doing something a liitle challenging physically at first if you need to take it slowly then psychologically like smiling at a stranger or saying boo to a goose..  It helps to also influence and expand the comfort zone in your thoughts.

    Next time you think it's JUST a thought, think again.