Priority Reshuffle

If you or your partner are pregnant with your first child, your priorities in life may have subtlety shifted. Perhaps you’re thinking about saving more money and this has become a higher priority than buying clothes, or maybe you are trying to eat more healthily and are starting to spend more time cooking. Has your home become a nest that you’re furiously trying to organise and clean instead of relaxing on the sofa?

For many couples, this is a journey they are skipping along, excitedly preparing for the birth of their precious bump. However, with the impact of the baby’s arrival, which has been likened to ‘throwing a hand grenade into a relationship’, your priority reshuffle may be more like a big shake up.

Somewhere in the top three priorities, will be sleep. That seems to be universal. Other than this I don’t want to make too many generalisations. Perhaps personal hygiene slips to number nine on your list, sleep moves to number two, and baby takes first place. Or maybe you will be eagerly working extra hours to give your family a better future, moving work to your priority hotspot and sliding everything else down. Will sex even make it in the top ten anymore? And will caring about your appearance be demoted after your baby vomits on you for the second time in a morning.

For many women this reshuffle can be bigger than a man’s. The physical changes on your body alone can have a huge impact. It’s really important to communicate how you’re feeling and it’s vital you both have patience with each other as you go through this. If you’re feeling particularly exhausted and sleep is all you want to do, it’s understandable and it’s ok to ask for that support. Likewise, if sex has drifted way down on your list and your partner is feeling unloved it’s ok to acknowledge this. Being open about stuff has got to be better than pretending everything is fine.

In the first months and years of your baby’s life it’s easy to feel like you’ve lost your identity. However, maybe it’s not as serious as that, perhaps it’s just a priority reshuffle that needs to happen. The change can take a while to settle, to organise itself, and as sleep goes back to its original place, so other things will move around. You’ll have become a person with more responsibility, a busier schedule, you will have grown, and you’ll have so much more love in your life. The reshuffle can be tough, however it is worth it.

Hypnobirthing prepares you for the birth of your baby and some of these stress management skills will stick with you throughout parenthood. Many hypnobirthers continue to use the visualisation and relaxation techniques they’ve learnt through hypnobirthing.

If you’d like some help to prepare for your baby’s birth, or help coping with stress now that your baby has arrived, please get in touch via my contact page.

Are You Hypnotisable?

About 10 - 15% of the population is highly hypnotisable and about the same is not, with the rest falling somewhere on the spectrum in between. But what makes one person more hypnotisable than the next?

The origins of hypnosis go back millennia but in our more recent history it has garnered a dodgy reputation. The entertainment industry has fuelled this macabre unreality with horror films and stage shows, depicting people acting against their will coerced by a tyrannical hypnotist or humiliated for a cheap joke.

The reality couldn’t be more different. A hypnotherapist cannot make you do something against your will. Firstly, to be hypnotised you have to want to do it, no one can hypnotise you against your will and no hypnotherapist can make you do anything you don’t want to do. Besides from consent and a willingness to attempt hypnosis the science behind it is still contested. However, studies show that there is something going on in the brain when people are hypnotised, and that people who are highly hypnotisable have different stuff going on with their brain to those who are less hypnotisable.

A theory by psychologist Auke Tellegen proposed that people who have a High Absorption Personality trait are more susceptible to hypnosis and he developed a test called the Tellegen Absorption Scale. People with this trait are able to go deep into their imagination where they can fantasise and relive memories. They get sucked into watching films and forget about their surrounds. People with this trait are more likely to be open minded. If you want to find out where you are on the Tellegen Absorption Scale you can take the simple questionnaire here.

However hypnosis can not be explained simply by personality, there may be other behavioural phenomenon, biological, cognitive and social components. Back to the science tests then…

Data from MRI scans showed how areas of the brain associated with executive control and attention tend to have less activity in people who cannot be put into a hypnotic trance, whereas highly hypnotisable participants showed greater co-activation between components of the executive-control network and the salience network.

In my own opinion the most important starting point is to consider that hypnosis can work… and it really can. If you’d like to find out more about how it could help you then please click on the contact button.

What are you afraid of?

The dark? Needles? Clowns? People are afraid of a wide and astonishing variety of things. First time parents often develop new phobias as they become aware of their own mortality, such as the fear of flying. Grown men, all of a sudden and for no apparent reason known to them, can no longer get on a tube, and people spend their whole lives avoiding outside spaces because of a phobia of birds. When fears become obstacles and prevent you living your life to its fullest, you can get help.

We’ve all heard the theory of ‘facing our fears’ and there is definitely some truth to this, but it can be a hard thing to do: support can make all the difference. Say, for example, you are afraid of spiders, some zoos will allow you to go and hold the spiders to help you get over your fear. This should desensitise you, as the more you interact with the spiders without getting hurt, the less afraid you will be. Although maybe just standing next to the reptile house is as far as you can get in your first trip, so that you can gradually build yourself up to actually touching a spider. However instead of multiple trips to the zoo, you can do all this in hypnosis, like a form of virtual reality. You can be relaxing on a comfy sofa, with a caring therapist guiding you through a vivid experience in your own imagination. At all times the therapist will be aware of your comfort levels, and seeking to keep you as relaxed and calm as possible. If you’re getting too anxious you will be taken further away from what you fear and helped to relax until you are ready to move forward.

Imagination is a powerful thing, we can summon emotion just picturing something in our minds. Most people have woken up from a dream that was terrifyingly real, we were actually scared: the images were imagined but the emotions were real.

Hypnosis can use your imagination to desensitise you to the cause of your fear. However that’s not the only tool in the box, there are many other techniques that a good hypnotherapist can use to help you.

Have a look at this article which explains how hypnosis helped to overcome a fear of driving, and if you want to get rid of an obstacle in your life please get in touch via my contact page.

Hypnobirthing and Changing Perspectives

Have you had the pleasure of being regaled with stomach churning horror birth stories? Has the bad press increased on the announcement of your pregnancy? One theory to explain why these these negative stories stick in our minds is that our brains are hard wired to remember danger. Our ancestors needed to know about the monstrous creature living in the cave that might eat them in order to survive.

We as human beings are more interested in the bad news, we’ve all heard the phrase referring to the newspapers “If it bleeds, it leads,” and that’s because our brains react more strongly to negative stories.

Not only do we more easily recall the grim stories, we are also bombarded with negative messages about birth. Have a think about the messages you have received since you were a child… How does TV and film picture childbirth? What do you think is realistic? A screaming woman on her back? Have you heard a man being told “try shi**ing a bowling ball?” Have you seen a baby with a head the size of a bowling ball? There is a lot of misinformation out there which slowly filters into our brain and forms a perception about birth.

Hypnobirthing by no means suggests birth is easy, but going into it with fear is not going to help you have the best birth you can. Fear causes panic, tension and stress, tightening your muscles and releasing unhelpful hormones. Ideally you want to go into birth feeling empowered not terrified, be informed by the reality not the fear and to know you have choices.

Hypnobirthing can help you change your perspectives on birth, helping you to become calm, confident and in control. You can have a positive birth experience. 

Have a look at what Deliciously Ella recently posted about her pregnancy and hypnobirthing.

What are you good at?

Thinking about your personality strengths is a great way to recognise some positives and congratulate yourself for being a wonderful person, but how have you interpreted your character strengths in the past? Have you viewed them as personality flaws? For example, if one of your top strengths is the love of learning have you seen this in the past as a negative, a jack of all trades, master of nothing? Or have you always considered yourself a push-over because you have a forgiving nature? Instead try to think of how you can change the narrative, having a love of learning makes you interesting, curious and worldly and being forgiving is a wonderfully generous aspect of your nature.

Learn to incorporate your strengths in all aspects of your life, really utilising these traits is a great way to get more fulfillment and satisfaction. Doing the things you do well, and the things that you love to do, feels great.

Have a look at this online survey to discover your character strengths and if you’re struggling with negative thoughts about yourself, need help to break a cycle of low self esteem, want to boost your confidence and happiness then hypnotherapy could be the thing that works for you.

Would you have a home birth like Megan Markle?

I didn’t consider a home birth because my new army quarter didn’t really feel like home, although I would have been an excellent candidate as I was healthy and had an uncomplicated pregnancy. 

Being in a comfortable, relaxing environment for birth is beneficial to women and their babies, helping to produce oxytocin and lowering stress hormones, in turn reducing the risk of intervention. For some women giving birth at home may be the environment they need to provide comfort and familiarity. Women who have a fear of hospitals due to previous bad experiences, with the possibility of bringing back painful memories, having a home birth may be the best option. 

For others, who have had pregnancy complications or past birth trauma, a hospital with the fancy equipment and doctors is the right choice… of course, there will be others for whom just the thought of giving birth at home incorporates nightmares of freestyle carpet upholstery and Fenton the dog trying to act the midwife.

Ultimately women should have a choice where to give birth, it is an individual and a personal decision so here are some stats released from NICE (click here) to help you make an informed choice.

Changing negative habits

People are anxious… sometimes we’re not even aware that we are anxious. Without consciously thinking about it we put in place coping mechanisms; sometimes they’re okay, they kind of work but a lot of the time they become negative habits. Who knows someone who comfort eats, someone who procrastinates, or someone who obsesses over details? Maybe we’ve seen that in ourselves, felt it in ourselves. 

Hypnosis can help you to acknowledge the anxiety by accessing these often subconscious negative thoughts. Becoming aware and dealing with the underlying anxiety can set you on the path to replacing negative habits with positive behaviour.

To find out more about how hypnosis could help you or someone you love please get in touch by clicking on the button.