How Hypnotherapy and Emotional Freedom Technique can help stimulate the vagus nerve

Hypnotherapy and EFT

Vagus in Latin means wandering and the vagus nerve is the body’s 10th cranial nerve. It runs from the brain down the body connecting with virtually all the organs from the larynx to the digestive tract. It helps regulate our breathing, our heart rate, blood pressure and digestive system. Even our voice and hearing.

The vagus nerve has a profound effect on the body helping calm us by engaging the parasympathetic (relaxation) part of our nervous system. It is interesting that until the research by Stephen Porges the vagus was almost like the forgotten nerve in the body which seems quite remarkable since it has such an effect on our everyday life.

In a medical environment the vagus nerve can be stimulated with mild pulses of electricity to help with epilepsy and major depression. However we can all stimulate the vagus in a healthy way using very simple everyday exercises without any medical intervention.

Modalities such as Hypnotherapy, Emotional Freedom Technique and Yoga all help activate the relaxation ability of the vagus. When we are in relaxation with hypnosis we are helping to engage the part of the vagus nerve which can switch off the “Fight and Flight” response. This helps return mind and body to a state of safety. We then feel ready and comfortable to re-engage fully and naturally in our lives and with the people around us.

This is why Porges calls it the “social engagement” nerve. We don’t want to be stuck in our primal brain all day looking out for danger. Healthy communication engages our ”happy” body chemicals such as endorphins and oxytocin rather than adrenaline and cortisol.

Interestingly our voice can also change and develop a more relaxed and resonant frequency in this state. Working with clients in a therapy session I often hear the change and so can they. This change is important for our confidence and when our voice is resonating and relaxed this extra resonance will feed back to us and give us more confidence. Extremely valuable if we are giving a wedding speech or a work presentation.
Many people look for hypnosis for help giving a speech which is not surprising since it ranks as the number one phobia)

A toned vagus nerve will adjust our hearing to relax and filter out the “danger” frequencies so that we can “leave the jungle” response where we would need to be on constant alert. (No need to worry though, your “fight and flight” system will always switch on instantly if required) We just don’t want it switched on all the time.

We can easily tone or engage the vagus nerve by using such simple exercises as humming or singing, diaphragm breathing, yoga and dancing. Healthy and rewarding social relationships also contribute to our everyday life satisfaction and that is the vagus nerve at work.

If you would like to find out how you can use a few of these simple techniques there are short videos below.

Do you struggle with imposter syndrome?

Imposter Syndrome

How Hypnotherapy can help imposter syndrome

Although the term imposter syndrome sounds like the title of a Netflix movie it certainly does not bring anything like that to mind if you are someone that suffers with it.

Imposter syndrome is a state of mind where people don’t believe that the talents and abilities they have are real, that they are a fraud and will get caught out sooner or later. However skilled they are at their job, however high their celebrity status they feel that they are an imposter who will soon be exposed for the inadequacy of their knowledge and abilities. This is a psychological phenomenon that has no grounding in the reality. In fact we all know of people who may be totally unaware of the inadequacy of their skills yet have no idea that this is the case.

High profile personalities such as Kate Winslett, Lady Gaga and Michelle Obama have all admitted to suffering from imposter syndrome and I have worked with very successful business people who, however far up the ladder they may climb always have the feeling that they will be “found out”.

Low self esteem and high anxiety are just two of the symptoms and we all know how uncomfortable it must be to live with those feelings following one around all day.

However it is not necessarily a difficult issue to release with the right treatment. As I often say telling ourselves to “feel good”, “snap out of it” really doesn’t work since our cognitive mind won’t readily accept the message. Using the unconscious creative mind is much simpler and very effective.

What are the best ways to engage the unconscious mind? Hypnotherapy and Emotional Freedom Technique are two of the best tools I know to help release messages that have been lodged in our psyche and seem to be immune to whatever we throw at them. Since these thoughts were seeded in the mind unconsciously it makes sense to use the unconscious to “unseed” them.

Hypnosis helps quieten the conscious allowing it to step aside and let the mind create the new scenarios and feelings that we would like to experience and deserve. EFT can rapidly put us into “free association” where we can channel and get in touch with the true feelings of self esteem and worth that we deserve. No need for 5 years on the psychiatrist’s couch when this can successfully be turned around in two or three sessions.

The problem with pain and how hypnosis can help

Hypnosis Pain Relief

Pain is a very important message that lets us know if our body is in danger. The pain message helps prevent us from doing something that may make an injury worse than it already is. However these messages are processed not at the place that is hurting but relayed back from the brain to the injury.

The problem with this system is that these signals can become switched on even when the body has physically healed. The brain is actually controlling the amount of pain that we are experiencing and in effect, opening and closing “gates” that govern how much of the signal from the injury to let through. The brain can also choose to close these gates by releasing endorphins that will block that signal.

Now when a client comes to see me with pain issues it is important for them and myself that they are in touch with their GP or surgeon since we want to be sure that the sensations they are experiencing are not part of an underlying ongoing issue. Once that is clear then it really is possible to look for other ways to quieten down the constant messages that the brain has not yet switched off.

Hypnotherapy and Emotional Freedom Technique can be exceptionally effective in helping the mind safely bypass the “switched on” pain channel. By accessing deep relaxation, engaging the creative mind and releasing unconscious negative thinking around the issue I have actually witnessed clients who struggled to reach my office on the first floor actually walk out with hardly a limp in their step.

As with most of the work I do there are so many factors controlling our unconscious behaviour that it is virtually impossible to access and deal with them all using conscious thinking. Telling myself it doesn’t hurt just won’t cut it. The unconscious creative is the part that will help us access much deeper levels of safety and healing. Hypnosis and trance are the pathways I use to access the part that knows how to help us make important unconscious change.

Working in this we way we can begin to “rewire” the old connections and replace them with newer, healthier and more appropriate connections. Scientists call this process of rewiring neuroplasticity.

Working in hypnosis with Trauma and Abuse

Hypnosis Truama

I have long held the view that most of us who are wanting to resolve past traumatic experiences would probably rather not talk about and revisit the experiences again in their lives, in their minds or in their therapy sessions. Most of my clients suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) may well have had many sessions of counseling, psychotherapy and retold their story over and over again revisiting each of those traumatic experiences in detail.

Now many people may prefer to talk through their issues and that is fine but in my view at the end of the day we are using therapy to let go of the past so that we can fully engage with our present and future. I am of of the opinion that continuing to visit those old traumatic experiences will only trigger more anxiety and stress.

This is why I use a mix of Hypnosis, EFT, and EMDR. (Emotional Freedom Technique/Eye Movement Reprocessing and Desensitisation. The real value of using these three together is that they can guide the client into a state of altered awareness or trance, both of which I would class as a form of hypnosis. However that is an argument for another day and has been going on for decades!

Once we engage the creative part of the brain on a deep hypnotic level we no longer need the conscious mind to do the work. This means that the client is free to let the unconscious mind do the work instead. Then the changes and release of past sensitive material can be processed unconsciously beneath the conscious awareness which is far less distressing.

Also, a lot of traumatic material is not, and never could be available to the conscious mind. I can’t remember being born and neither can you but that would have been a major traumatic experience at a time when we were at our most vulnerable.

I regularly work with clients with these issues and many times at the end of a few sessions they will have turned this issue around and I still know very little about the events they have been through because they would rather not talk about it. If a client wishes to talk through the past it is important to do so but certainly not necessary.

Can Hypnotherapy, EFT and EMDR help the yips?

Hypnotherapy EFT

In 2016, winner of 4 Majors and 300 top ten finishes,world famous golfer Ernie Els took six putts to get the ball in the hole at the Masters.

What was his problem? He had a bout of the Yips.

The yips is a golfing term that is usually but not always part of a putting problem whereby any golfer, pro or amateur can have the profoundly disturbing experience of finding the putter being “unconsciously wrenched from it’s intended path” and colliding with the ball in a completely different direction to the one intended.

However it’s not just golfers who can suffer from this experience but snooker players, musicians, darts and bowls players are just a few of the professionals and amateurs who can suddenly find all the delicately honed practice they have done becoming completely unstuck when they attempt to execute that important movement they have been practicing for a lifetime.

Scottish golfer Tommy Armour described the yips as “a brain spasm that impairs the short game” although once a player starts to experience this it is not unusual for it to take root in other parts of their game as well. Even Tiger Woods went through a rough patch with what appeared to be this issue with his short game chipping at one time.So what is going on? Well there are various theories and all I think, have some truth in them.

1/ The brain in effect sends a contradictory message to the body like a “short” across an electrical connection.

2/ That it is caused by anxiety.

3/ It is a form of “Focal Dystonia” a neurological condition that causes involuntary muscular contractions.

As a hypnotherapist it is important for me to look at all the possible reasons and circumstances that are causing the issue but at the end of the day everyone is different. Working on the yips with golfers, bowlers, rifle competitors and snooker players etc. my aim is to find each individual’s unique problem whether a misfire in the “electrical system”, a lack of confidence and/or the remnants of some past experience that has lodged itself in the nervous system. And even all three.

Using a powerful range of trance based tools such as Hypnosis, Emotional Freedom Technique, NLP and EMDR, has given me marvelous and empowering tools that have helped so many clients find the way forward with this issue while still fine tuning this work to an individual’s internal thinking and experience of themselves. And that’s when the changes take place. If you would like to know more please visit my website rogerfoxwell.co.uk Sessions are available online, by phone, and at my office in Glasgow, Scotland

Why it’s hard to lose weight only using will power and what you can do about it

Weight Loss

Hypnosis – Emotional Freedom Technique – NLP

It takes a lot of energy and continued vigilance to use the conscious mind to help with weight loss, and the chances for long term success are, as we all know, not good. Dieting is notorious for being able to achieve short term results but not necessarily so good for the long term. Counting calories is difficult and it is hard work to keep the momentum going.

Although making any worthwhile change is likely to need some will power finding the most efficient and successful option is especially important for weight control.

Hypnosis is a favourite way to change old habits and replace them with new healthy ones. However we have to know how to engage the brain chemicals we want and disengage the ones we don’t want.

Sounds complicated but with the right information it can be done. Serotonin, Dopamine, Endorphins and Oxytocin are all “feel good chemicals” being constantly triggered in the body. We just aren’t always consciously aware when they are operating and how to make them work to our advantage.

Dopamine gives us a “feel good” hit. But what we don’t always have is a buffer to first check if this is a healthy dopamine fix or just a short term gain? The question we must ask is am I going to enjoy that hit in a healthy way or am I just fuelling an addiction? Our brains are wired to look for dopamine hits but our brains are not always listening to our cognitive thinking process. We need to be able to weigh up whether something is healthy for us or not and be able to act on that information.

By eating that chocolate or doughnut when we feel sad, disappointed or bored we have been getting our shot of dopamine. But that is a fake hit that literally will continually need feeding. And unfortunately it will be followed by regret and an unpleasant shot of cortisol that tells us we have failed again.

The key is knowing how to recognise these “feel good chemicals” (feelings) and be able to respond appropriately by using them to our advantage. If we can do this then we will start to have some control over our unconscious thinking processes and achieve much better results.

Hypnosis, EFT and NLP are great tools to help us engage in this sort of work. They help our mind and body coordinate and connect so we can make powerful unconscious changes. This does not mean that we just close our eyes and it all happens. An important part of exploring these good feelings is our own engagement in the process.

So knowing how to engage your happy chemicals you will be able to engage your will power. This will really help you achieve the results you have been looking for. Knowing how to use these brain chemicals in the best way for your personal health and satisfaction will help you make more of the healthy choices you deserve.

Addiction – Is there a hypnotic loop that drives us?

Addction

Addiction and Dopamine

Addiction can be one of the hardest things in our lives to turn round. We may be able to rapidly “switch off” a phobia using hypnosis. And we may be surprised how quickly and effectively it is possible to release ourselves from anxiety and stress once we have the right tools to do so.

So why do addictions often take more time to resolve?

One reason is the complex neural and mental programmes working beneath our awareness and continuing to drive us however hard we try to resist.

We all live with addiction of some sort. Food, TV, Facebook, Video games, Alcohol etc. These are not bad habits as long they are under a certain amount of control. But when they are accompanied by negative changes in our daily life then it really is time to address them.

Do you recognise a warm relaxing feeling of pleasure and reward that your addiction gives you?

That feeling is the brain chemical dopamine and it plays a large part in the reason we get addicted. Addiction will follow the easy way to get dopamine hits. A dopamine hit that we have to earn is not as attractive as a dopamine hit we can get instantly. And soon we are locked into a cycle that takes over the brain and literally starts rewiring it!

Think this dopamine model doesn’t apply to you?

To change an addictive behaviour it is important to recognise what is happening on an unconscious level and bring it to a conscious level. For instance I just walked away from my computer to take some washing out of the machine. Nothing abnormal about that but…I then realised that emptying the machine gave me a little more dopamine reward than writing this post. When I have finished this post I will get a feeling of satisfaction and reward. But I will have to wait for that reward until I have finished.

Emptying the washing machine gives me feeling of satisfaction and reward that I can get NOW! And the point is that it is fractionally more than I get from relentlessly typing on the computer keyboard!

Just start to notice these subtle triggers in your daily life

Now is the time to start controlling any destructive habits. Hypnosis, NLP, EFT and EMDR are powerful tools to help you kick the old habits.  As you start to recognise these subtle triggers you may be very surprised at what is happening.

Knowledge is the first key to achieving change. The second is having the tools to make the change. A good professional therapist will have the tools and knowledge to help guide and support you all the way.

Roger Foxwell MBSCH Dhyp DHP

Hypnotherapy, Emotional Freedom Technique, NLP, EMDR

Building Confidence and Self Esteem with Hypnosis

Self Esteem

Hypnosis can really help you regain confidence

There are many books and YouTube videos out there showing different ways and strategies to help build your confidence and self esteem with many useful tips to help deal with issues such as these. A book or video can only take us so far since making changes without releasing past experiences and causes that got us into that position are likely to block us from the next step. We will know all about how we want to feel but very likely find that there is a “road block” keeping us from putting all the changes into action.

We have different therapies and modalities available to us to help us make the changes we are looking for but in my point of view we don’t necessarily need to spend five years on the psychotherapist’s couch trying to resolve past experiences and issues.

Now this is not to say that this type of therapy is not valuable and many people find it useful to talk about their past to help clear the present. However even if we do spend that amount of time working on our past we would have no hope of discovering every little issue, disappointment and trauma that occurred along the way in our lives. We may have clear recollection of certain incidents from our past that could have been significant but some of our issues will have been passed down through our parents DNA, their parents DNA and all the experiences we had when young.

Having said that, there is a part of us that knows all about every one of these experiences and that is our unconscious mind. Often called the creative unconscious the creative unconscious is the part of us that knows how to let go of any unconscious material that may be restricting how to create the confident and comfortable self that we know we could be.

Hypnosis, in the form of hypnotherapy is one of the quickest, safest and most effective ways to make empowering and deep change safely and rapidly. (This is not to be confused with stage hypnosis which uses the hypnotic part of the mind but obviously not the therapy work)

The changes we are looking for are in our imagination as are the blocks that have been keeping us disconnected from them. If I want to go to the shop I need to make a picture in my mind of what the shop looks, I need to roughly imagine the route I will take otherwise I would never get past the front door!

With hypnosis you have the opportunity to open up that route and replace the “road blocks” with more of the feelings and experiences that you know you deserve to bring into your life.

And this is why Hypnotherapy and working with a qualified and expert practitioner is a safe, powerful and rapid therapy that helps many, many people achieve so much more in their lives every day.

And if you would like to sample the experience of relaxation and trance you can try my –

Now Simply Relax – Deep Relaxation Video on YouTube

I hope you enjoy it

Life Coaching and Hypnotherapy

 

Is a Therapist a Life Coach and is a Life Coach a Therapist?

Well yes and no.

A Therapist will need therapy credentials to be able to set up their practice and a Life Coach will presumably have been through certain training before setting up their practice.

 

The more I have developed my Hypnotherapy practice and brought in various other trance based modalities the more I realise how much EVERYTHING COUNTS. For instance if I am working with a business client who feels nervous giving a presentation then one of the many things I need to offer that client are tools to manage their anxiety otherwise all their valuable work could be overwhelmed by their fear of public speaking. On the other hand if I am a Life Coach helping a business client feel comfortable in these situations they also will require to offer, for example voice projection and presentation tools. And so here we begin to see that success for the client is supported by both the coaching aspect and the therapy aspect of their treatment.

When I continued to bring in more techniques and tools that covered more eventualities the results began to speak for themselves.

So I found myself joining tools for life coaching and tools for therapy together. As they say, “you only get one chance to make a good impression” whether it is interviewing for a job or speaking to a few hundred people in a packed auditorium. To grasp that opportunity how much better to have a powerful selection of tools, coaching and therapy, that cover as many eventualities as possible.

Some people are looking for coaching to help them and some are looking for therapy to help them. Yet Hypnosis, Life Coaching and Therapy can begin to easily and fluidly become one and the same thing. Trance is a state of Hypnosis and Life Coaching is a form of therapy. Hypnosis is a state of trance and therapy is a form of Life Coaching.

Everything overlaps and extending one’s skills in overlapping areas will help give clients more information and power to develop the changes they are looking for.

Some people will be looking for a Life Coach and some for a Hypnotherapist but where does one end and the other begin. The titles may be different but the real differences are more likely to be in the personalities and specialities of each practitioner.

So the best advice is first look for recommendations you can trust. Engage your intuition to help you get the best match for you and your issue whether a Therapist, Hypnotherapist or Life Coach.

Or perhaps you would like all three?

HYPNOSIS and what really happens in a hypnotherapy session

So you’ve been watching videos and television clips of hypnotists at work and with a command to “SLEEP” or a tug of the arm the person in front of them flops down on the couch, becomes totally rooted to the spot or they completely forget their name.

Amazing, you think to yourself. If I go see a hypnotherapist I could have my smoking habit, my anxiety and my phobia sorted by lunchtime and I will be a new person!

Does it really happen like this?

Well yes and no.

Yes, I have clients who after we have been working in a session for a while who, for a few moments, can’t remember what their issue was. However this means the issue is now not in the forefront of their mind so we are making good progress. Or some who are already drifting into a trance as we continue talking. I may at that part of the session have to reorient them “back into the room” since that may not be the best moment for that particular state to engage. Or later, after doing a deep body relax they quite probably feel so comfortable that they might not want to open their eyes. I will then suggest they take their time “as they come back into the room.”

What is happening? We will be engaging certain states of mind that will have been appropriately introduced depending on what we are working on. Sometimes a client may only be in “eyes closed” for few moments during a full session. But we will be choosing the trance just as you unconsciously are choosing your own trance as you read this post or when you drive your car.

I remember a client telling me he didn’t think he had been hypnotised so I asked him “and what did I say?” Looking a bit perplexed he said “I don’t know”.

Hypnosis or trance is happening all the time within us. Even the organising of the words in this post are designed to attract the attention in a way that helps draw you and your imagination into the story. To facilitate change we must harness the creative and cognitive parts of our mind to work together. This skill will help us achieve the changes and goals in life we are looking for.

The job of the hypnotherapist is to give clients the tools that they can use to enable them to engage their own inner knowledge and “arrange their own story” in the very best way they can for the future.

And, by the way, enjoy the process at the same time.