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Hypnotherapy and the Cancer Journey
A blog - Hypnotherapy and the intergrative aproach whilst on a cancer journey. April 2022

HYPNOTHERAPY AND THE CANCER JOURNEY

Holistic hypnotherapy can support you to find and use the tools you need to help your mental and physical health at every step of a cancer journey …

Receiving a cancer diagnosis can spark feelings of anxiety, fear and loss of control. After that initial discussion with your doctor, it is common for patients to feel overwhelmed, shocked and / or confused, especially when medical professionals use jargon that’s difficult to understand and there is so much to read and digest. Holistic hypnotherapy can provide a mini break for your mind.

In a position of such vulnerability, it’s natural to feel like you have no control over what you’re facing, but you are the most powerful member of your cancer management team.

'We know that you need more than medicine to live well with cancer' Penny Brohn UK

Hypnotherapy is a highly effective way to overcome the overwhelming thoughts and feelings you might experience following a cancer diagnosis and give you the confidence to take a proactive approach to your care. This will help you to manage things in a way that works best for you.  

As Health Creation Consultant, Dr Rosy Daniel, says: “It has been shown there’s a big survival advantage for people who use positive coping strategies and self-help techniques.”

A partner to conventional medicine

I’ve seen first-hand the positive impact that hypnotherapy can have on clients who are on a cancer journey. As well as being a great support through the emotional aspects of the illness and treatments, it can also create a profound relief in managing any side-effects and can help with preparation for and recovery from surgery.

In this way, hypnotherapy works well hand-in-hand with conventional medicine. It can be used alongside alternative therapies and works best when used as part of a holistic approach to cancer care.

A proactive role

Our emotions can have a big impact on our physical health, including our immune response and healing ability. What we think and believe can have a powerful effect on our health and, therefore, negative thought patterns could have a detrimental impact on how we cope with illness.

By entering a deep state of relaxation, holistic hypnotherapy offers a safe, calm space which enables you to develop the tools required to build your self-esteem and the confidence to take a proactive role in your cancer journey. Building your strength emotionally and physically.

It’s about shifting from being a passive recipient of care to being proactive and working with your chosen team of professionals and finding your way forwards. Leading your own journey and being part of the solution.

 

​Are you on your own cancer journey? Find out more about how holistic hypnotherapy works here or get in touch to arrange a consultation.

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Mental Wellbeing For Men
A blog: A closer look at Mens mental wellbeing - for World Mental Health Day on10 October 2021
By Melody May

With World Mental Health Day approaching on 10th October, I thought this would be a good opportunity to take a closer look at men’s mental wellbeing...

There are all kinds of reasons why a man might be experiencing feelings such as stress, anxiety and low mood. It could be due to low self-esteem and/or a lack of confidence, a bereavement (even if it’s a loss they experienced years ago), relationship difficulties or feeling overwhelmed by their responsibilities.

The ongoing uncertainties and changes brought about by the pandemic can be a trigger for stress and anxiety, leaving many struggling to learn and adapt to new ways of working and interacting. Also, with support schemes such as the furlough initiative coming to an end, many will be feeling the added pressures this will put on their lives. A sudden change in health, for example due to an injury or long Covid, could also spark a change in emotional wellbeing..  

Taking off the mask

Men are at greater risk of suffering in silence when it comes to mental health problems. Boys are often left to 'just get on with it’ and learn to try and push their feelings away as they are not taught the emotional resources to cope and work through negative feelings, which can lead to overwhelm in adult life. Outdated stereotypes about men and boys always being strong and stoic certainly don’t help.

Instead of seeking support, men often show a brave face to the world. I liken this to wearing a mask, where they might appear to be happy and confident, but inside they’re struggling with feelings such as stress, inadequacy, fear and shame.

If this is something you recognise in yourself (or in someone you’re close to), holistic hypnotherapy is a highly effective way to empower you to take control of your life and make powerful, lasting changes. For example, clients often come to me because they’re ready to update their operating system by breaking habits such as addictions, or to promote better health by improving their diet and nutritional intake or the quality and quantity of their sleep. Sometimes they might be struggling with commitment phobia or are seeking support in preparing for parenthood.

Whatever the reason for seeking help, hypnotherapy creates a safe, warm, relaxing space where you feel ready to welcome more calm, light and positivity into your life and really start to let go of anything you no longer need. By working with the subconscious mind through such a deep sense of relaxation, the results can be felt instantaneously, and the effects can be seen early on in a treatment plan.

I regularly see clients step away from the patterns of self-destruction they were previously caught up in and quickly experience a sense of deep relief and change of focus and direction. In turn, they become more reliable in their chosen priorities, more successful in their communication skills, better partners and better parents.

Would you or someone you’re close to benefit from hypnotherapy? Find out more about how hypnotherapy works here or get in touch to arrange a consultation.

For more advice on how to look after your mental wellbeing – and how to support the men in your life who might be struggling with their mental health – read the guest blog below that I wrote on this theme for Wild Oats, which includes a range of useful resources.

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Why is Mental Health Important?
A blog on Mens mental health issues - published by Wild Oats for Mental health awareness week 2021.

Ahead of this month’s Mental Health Awareness Week (10-16 May), holistic hypnotherapist, Melody May, explores male mental health and what we can all do to look after ourselves.

Generations of men have been suffering in silence with their mental health and I’d like to take the opportunity of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week to explore this in more detail. You can use my advice for yourself or to support someone you care about and wish to help find a better space.

The bigger picture

While men may wear a mask to cover their feelings – appearing happy on the outside regardless of what they feel like inside – it’s now widely acknowledged that they’re at a greater risk of suffering in silence when it comes to mental health issues. The reasons behind their suffering can stem from or be defined by all kinds of factors, such as low self-esteem and/or a lack of confidence, or they may be feeling overwhelmed by their responsibilities. Bereavement (even if it’s from a loss they experienced years ago), relationship difficulties or the impact of circumstances relating to employment and housing can all lead to feelings such as stress, anxiety and low mood. A sudden change in their health could also spark a change in their emotional wellbeing.

A lot of men don’t want to feel like they’re a burden to others so remain quiet.

Old sayings like 'boys will be boys' and 'boys don’t cry' are unhelpful and need to be left in the past. Stereotypes such as men being ‘strong’ and unable to connect with their feelings certainly don’t help. Men and boys are often left to 'just get on with it’ and learn to try and push their feelings away as they are not taught the emotional resources to cope and work through negative feelings, which can lead to overwhelm in adult life. According to research by CALM, 64% of men under 35 think male stereotypes can do real psychological damage, while 68% of people agreed that society as a whole would be happier if people were more open minded towards less traditional men’s roles. Tackling stereotypes like these would do a lot to help us all, but what can we do to better support our mental health in our day-to-day lives?

Looking after ourselves

There are so many ways we can look after our mental wellbeing, including introducing positive new habits.

1. Prioritise good nutrition

As Wild Oats customers will appreciate, nourishing our bodies with nutritious food is an important part of looking after ourselves and this includes our mental wellbeing. People living on a western diet typically consume lots of carbohydrates, processed foods and refined sugars, leaving many with 'nutrition gap' deficiencies (we’re often eating too much food which is too low in nutrients). And if we’re lacking the nutrients we need to keep our bodies running smoothly, it can have all kinds of consequences for our wellbeing, including our mental health. As just one example, a low intake of vitamin D is associated with low mood.

2. Focus on your breathing

A great first step to overcoming stress and anxiety and to live fully is to check in with our breathing. This can also help when learning to live with breathlessness, such as that experienced with long Covid. I particularly recommend the simple method of rectangular breathing, which is something that can be done by anyone at any time – starting right now. As shown on the diagram, start by working your way around the rectangle, with the long sides representing longer out-breaths. It’s really effective at calming the mind and nervous system, enabling you to let go of stress and start to enjoy life more again.

 

3. Look at your sleeping habits

Our daily behaviours can interrupt our natural sleep patterns, whether it’s overworking, getting caught up in high drama situations or overconsumption of substances such as sugar, alcohol, caffeine and cocaine use.

To counteract this, take outdoor exercise so you feel physically tired at the end of each day. Start to wind down for bed at 9pm and try to get to bed by 10pm when our bodies are naturally tired. Ideally, aim for a healthy eight hours of sleep. Leading integrative health consultant Dr Rosy Daniel explains the key to achieving a good night’s sleep naturally here: www.weleda.co.uk/mastering-the-art-of-sleep

4. Make time for hobbies

As anyone who started a new hobby in lockdown will likely agree, embracing a new interest, or revisiting a previously loved hobby, can go a long way to boosting our wellbeing. Gardening is a particularly good option for getting into nature and focusing our minds on nurturing living things – a care and kindness that we can apply to ourselves.

Any chance to get creative, such as taking a new art class or learning an instrument, also has proven benefits to mental health. Whatever you’re interested in, making time for hobbies you can enjoy can improve your confidence and self-esteem and introduce you to new social groups.

5. Reach out to others

Open up to people who do well with their own emotions. Choose someone you can trust, who respects you and who will be happy to support your growth.

You may prefer to speak to a professional such as your GP and here in Bristol we’re very lucky to have access to lots of different therapeutic services. You might like to try art therapy, sound therapy or the calming touch of message, as just a few examples.

Talking therapies can be incredibly effective. For instance, holistic hypnotherapy is a unique and empowering type of therapy where you can address any issue, offering a safe, relaxing space in which to heal. Those who take part in this form of therapy often feel a sense of relief and growth from their first session and usually start to see results very quickly. It’s about reframing the way we look at things and learning to let go of negative thoughts and emotions – taking control of how we want to live our lives.

Start investing in yourself more. By seeking help, you can learn that by letting go of negative self-talk and becoming more kind to yourselfs life gets brighter and more enjoyable. Practice makes progress!

 

Supporting each other

It’s important to check in with our loved ones in a meaningful way. Perhaps invite them for a walk at one of the beautiful open spaces we have on our doorstep, such as the Downs or Brandon Hill, where you can talk while getting some fresh air in a natural environment.

It’s not always easy to tell if one of your male friends or family members are struggling. They may make jokes, seem happy and generally act in an upbeat fashion, but this isn’t a guarantee that they’re feeling happy inside.

Roman Kemp’s recent documentary, Our Silent Emergency, included the valuable suggestion that we ask a friend if they’re OK, then ask them again. This shows you are genuinely giving them the space to open up to you honestly.

In my experience, people need someone to listen in a safe and relaxing environment. Once a man is introduced to a few new tools to support his mental health and taught how to use them, he can be very proactive and find his way forwards to a happier place with confidence.

If this article has raised any concerns for you or a man in your life, there are some great resources listed below which have informative websites, call centres and/or resources to try at home. All therapists and charities can be contacted in confidence.

The important thing to remember is that anything can be worked through and every rainy season will pass and is followed by a fresh, gorgeous spring with cherry blossom trees and the promise of warmer days ahead.

Melody May is a Bristol-based holistic hypnotherapist and health and wellbeing mentor.

Useful links

Bristol Mind

Bristol Drugs Project

OTR Bristol (LGBTQ+ support)

CALM

Penny Brohn

CRUSE

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Parenting Yourself
by Melody May.
Published by The Practice Rooms.

 

Parenting is a full-time job – and a wonderful one, especially when we are at our best.

In both my role as a holistic hypnotherapist and as a mother, I’ve found that to be the best parent you can be, you should treat yourself with the same kindness and care that you show your family. Nurturing yourself so that you’re at your best when supporting others.

One of the biggest ways we can better look after ourselves is through boundary setting.

Setting boundaries is a skill many people struggle to learn, but it can make such a big difference to our lives as parents. So often we’re conditioned to accommodate the needs of others to the extent where we find it hard to say no to things that we could really do without in our lives – whether that’s social invitations that encroach on our precious family time or unsolicited ‘help' from older generations or others who insist they know best.

Learning how to politely yet firmly push back when others encroach on our boundaries is a valuable skill we can pass on to our children too. Helping them to simply say ‘no thank you’ to unwanted affection, to not feel compelled to try to please everyone and to recognise when they are feeling tired from partaking in too many activities, for example.

Looking after ourselves is also about learning how to give ourselves permission to be who we are. To forgive ourselves for making mistakes and to recognise that these mistakes are part of our growth, just as we would encourage our children to learn from their mistakes as they learn and grow.

For instance, while social media can be a useful way to keep in touch with our friends and keep up with issues that are important to us, these platforms can too often become hives of negativity, where others are quick to judge and condemn. In this environment, it’s natural to shy away from showing our true selves and to feel afraid of making any mistakes that can so quickly be jumped on and criticised – making it harder to feel confident in ourselves.

But we don’t have to let this kind of negativity encroach on our lives, invading our thoughts and our time. Instead, we can focus on seeing the beauty in the world and accepting ourselves and others.

Learning how to set boundaries and to have confidence in ourselves are just two examples of how we can better look after ourselves and, in turn, move towards becoming the best parents we can be.

Essentially, it’s about letting go of whatever is holding us back from living the lives we want to live. This might be adopting healthier eating habits or finding a way to increase our motivation to exercise – or healing ourselves after a relationship breakdown or recovering from childhood trauma that continues to take its toll on our lives.

These are just a few examples of the kind of issues that holistic hypnotherapy can help with. And, importantly for time-pressed parents, they can usually achieve the results they need in just a few sessions.

Holistic therapies focus on the health of the entire person.  By relaxing and integrating the mind and body, a person can make positive changes to their lives - physically, mentally, and socially.

Hypnotherapy is a gentle, relaxing way to connect with your subconscious mind, letting go of thoughts or habits that are no longer helping you in your everyday life.

An iceberg analogy is often used to describe the different parts of the mind – with the tip of the iceberg representing the conscious mind and the subconscious mind represented by the larger part that lies beneath the surface. Connecting with the subconscious mind is key in making changes in thought patterns and behaviour, which is why therapy delivered whilst in a state of hypnosis is such an effective way to drive change.

Hypnosis happens naturally whenever a person is inclined to accept outside suggestions. Hypnosis makes memories more real and ideas clearer and can act to help you heal more rapidly, be more creative and change for the better.

Many parents crave a small window of time just for them. A safe space where they can truly relax and let go of anxiety and fear – and learn to have more trust in themselves and have more confidence in their boundaries. To update their operating systems.

Holistic hypnotherapy allows you to do this and to give you the tools to continue to give yourself that space and support to be the best parent you can be.