If you are a carer there is a good chance your daily experiences may involve a cocktail of stressful feelings such as anger, resentment, guilt, fear etc and we all know what that does to us long term.
I’ve witnessed many ‘support’ groups where people get together and share their problems, but then get stuck in that negative energy. I’ve known people who have said they have walked out of support groups feeling worse than when they walked in. A problem shared is not always a problem halved.
So this group will be different, because we will be using techniques in a group setting so that everyone can relax and let go of any unhelpful emotions. Techniques such as Emotional Freedom Technique, that can be really effective in a group setting. My aim will be for people to leave feeling empowered, feeling more able to cope than when they walked in.
The group will be restricted to around five people per meeting at first, so that we can bond and make a connection. It will also be easier to teach EFT in a small group. Ultimately I’m looking to create a group of around 10 people who can come to meetings as they need. You will need to ‘book’ a place, but this will be possible via the private Facebook page as well as phone etc.
This is a new idea and will be up and running once I know who wants to attend.
You can let me know if you are interested by leaving a message on 01579 308232 (Because of the nature of my one-to-one work I rarely pick up, but always return calls and answer messages etc), sending an email, or contacting my via FaceBook
There can be few things scarier than being diagnosed with Cancer, I still remember when my mum was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer and given a few years at best to live. As a family we functioned, but in shock and with an almost paralysing sense of fear dragging me down everytime I awoke in the morning. I have regrets over that time because I did wrong, but it was a long a time ago and I lacked the knowledge I have now.
So if I could turn back time what would I do differently? In truth I believe there are many things that contribute towards self healing and being healthy, but I would start with these:
Firstly I believe hope is the most important thing to foster. So watch this now.
Doctors seem paranoid about this and and scared of giving false hope, personally I would be more scared of living without hope because studies have shown that when it comes to beating cancer even ‘denial’ is better than the stoic acceptance that some people think you should have. Hope is crucial because without hope what is the point of doing anything?
I would recommend reading books like: Radical Remission, How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body, You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter etc to read about stories of how other people have survived against the odds and the theories behind how it maybe possible. Once you become open to the possibility that you can survive and thrive in spite of a prognosis to the contrary, you may be surprised at how many others have done so too and maybe you can be one of them. Here is the story on Youtube of one chap who did not consciously do anything, but still survived against the odds.
When you open your mind there is so much out there, and some it from forward thinking Doctors, like that talk from Doctor Lissa Rankin which I find amazingly inspirational.
Secondly it is vital to get into the right state of mind to heal by acknowledging and reducing any fears, stresses or negative beliefs, while promoting positive thoughts and emotions. This is an area that I now specialise in because I know how important it is to regaining health. In simple terms every thought you have, conscious or subconscious starts as an electrical impulse, then creates chemical messengers that flood every cell in your body. Telling your cells which genes to switch on and off, which immune cells to create etc. There are now plenty of studies linking emotions like anger, and fear with various illness and it is well understood that stress or the fight or flight response drastically changes our biological systems which long term have a negative effect on our bodies. So it is vital that you get help to let these go. Find someone with a good reputation, who resonates with you, that can offer techniques such as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) that really do help you let to go of unhelpful thoughts.
As every thought you have does result in chemical messengers that flood every cell in your body, so replacing your fears with more positive thoughts is also important. Starting a gratitude diary may seem tough after a diagnosis of cancer, but blogger Gabi MacEwan credits the practice to her survival and it is a good way to foster positive emotions. Read more in my post: Three Strategies for Gratitude If Your Life is Tough.
Practising a daily meditation/self hypnosis to encourage your body to heal is also vital and there are many such tracks available commercially. Email me if you would like one of mine to listen to.
Thirdly, start eating the right foods! This will probably involve you forgetting everything you have previously been told from ‘authority’ figures, but the evidence is there for doing so. Many people attribute changes to nutrition, often drastic changes, as being responsible for beating cancer. One of those I stumbled across recently is Fred Hatfield, who was given three months to live when he came across the idea that adopting a ‘ketogenic’ (high fat) diet would help him. The story I came across was written a year after he adopted that way of eating and he was still free of cancer. Others like Kriss Carr have found a diet of plant based nutrition has helped them. So here is the dilemma, how should you eat to beat cancer?
Now although initially these may look like drastically different approaches, which they are, if you look at the detail there are many similarities. So while one approach predominately involves starving the cancer sells of their primary energy source and the other predominately involves increasing anti-cancer vegetables, they both have similarities in what is avoided (and I have posted about that before).
In 1931, the Nobel Prize was awarded to Dr. Otto Warburg, who discovered that cancer cells and malignant tumours tend to feed on sugar (glucose and fructose). This theory has been expanded upon by others such as Dr Seyfried and Dr. Dominic D’Agostino and is the basis of using a diet that is high in fat, causing the body to use fat derived ketones for energy. As cancer cells cannot use ketones they die, while the rest of the body functions well, if not better on ketones than glucose.
So while diets like Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet do not aim at ketone generation, many of the meals involve only sugar derived from carbohydrates, which when combined with increasing the intake of vegetables known to be beneficial in fighting cancer, may be enough for you to beat the cancer.
However, after doing a lot of research into healthy eating I would say that the ketogenic approach seems to make more sense and that is what I now recommend. Here are lots of resources you may find useful.
To Round Up:
Other people have survived and thrived and you could be one of them. Nurture your hope and do what ever it takes to believe that you can survive and thrive too. Your thoughts and emotions are vital to your bodies ability to heal and fight cancer, get the help you need to let go of fears and develop a rock solid vision of a healthy happy you. Ditch the standard western diet and follow a ketogenic diet.
If you would like to know more please see my website.
Are you struggling to get pregnant? We live in an age where more and more couples struggle to conceive a baby; so, although it may offer you little consolation, you are not alone.
When I first started my practice, the first person to contact me was a lady who was struggling to get pregnant. She asked for my help because she blamed the negative emotions she was experiencing for her inability to conceive. Her belief, and mine, was that moving past her negative emotions would help her conceive and have the baby she so wanted so desperately.
After three sessions she was much happier, more relaxed and positive. Several months later, I heard from her to say she was pregnant, and over a year later I bumped into her with her new little girl at a post-natal baby weigh-in (where I was taking my daughter, I hasten to add)!
What is this About?
Since the 1980s the link between negative mental and emotional states of mind and infertility has become more understood. Our states of mind can have a real impact on our ability to conceive. This is something that believe so strongly that I was rather surprised and taken aback today when a gentleman questioned “how on earth could I help with fertility and pregnancy?”
Research supports the fact that your state of mind affects your ability to conceive
How indeed? Well although when one normally thinks about fertility, test tubes and medical interventions spring to mind, we need to also take a real consideration for how our state of mind and emotions can have an affect on our body. An eminent researcher in the field or fertility, Dr. Alice Domar has proven the benefits of improving your state of mind in regards to improving your chances of conception. An assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and the author of numerous books, Dr Domar has been involved in various research projects proving the benefits of mind/body practices for overcoming infertility and helping couples conceive. In 2000 she published the results of one study in The Journal of Fertility and Sterility. The study involved 184 women who had been trying to conceive for between one and two years. Her article explained that the women who underwent her mind/body programme were almost three times more likely to conceive and get pregnant than those who didn’t. Her programme involved the women learning emotional release, nutrition advice and relaxation training. After her programme 55% of the women conceived, as opposed to 20% of the control group.
I often work with people to change their limiting beliefs, because they can sabotage you at a subconscious level. Limiting beliefs are negative thoughts, such as ‘I am not good enough’, ‘That will never happen’ etc. It was inspiring to see Dr Domar also working to change limiting beliefs such as “I will never have a baby” into more positive ones such as “I’m doing everything I can to get pregnant”.
For those of us interested in the mind/body connection Dr Domar’s reserach should not come as any big surprise. But if you are just starting to understand the amazing link between our bodies and our mind, it may come as a revelation. The mind/ body link enables us to see how our mindset may be affecting our body’s ability to conceive. In order to have the best chance of conceiving your hormones need to be in balance. Hormones are chemical messengers often created as a result of our thoughts. So, if our conscious or subconscious thoughts are negative, these chemical messengers will adversely affect the body’s hormone balance.
Stress causes a decrease in your progesterone levels
An example of this mind/body hormonal link can be seen in the realm of stress. Constant stress causes a decrease in your progesterone levels. The hormone progesterone is needed if you want be become pregnant and stay pregnant because it nourishes the lining of the uterus in preparation of the implanted fertilized egg and feeds and nourishes the uterus during pregnancy. So if you are stressed, this may be having an adverse affect on your progesterone levels which may be reducing your chances of conception.
Why is this Important?
Assuming you have seen your GP and ruled out all the physical reasons that might be preventing you from becoming pregnant, you may be confused and lost for a reason as to why this seemingly natural process is eluding you. If you can identify with that description, this post is important for you because it may be your state of mind that is causing the struggle.
Ironically, unless you understand the importance of this knowledge, the delayed ability to conceive can often lead to a downward spiral of unhelpful emotions and thoughts such as failure, guilt, jealousy, anger, etc that all add up to more stress, which impacts on your ability to conceive.
How do I use This?
Now you know how stress and negative thoughts and emotions may be impacting on your ability to conceive, you have the choice to act on that knowledge. You have the ability to change your thinking patterns and trigger your relaxation response. It can be difficult to change on your own, but help is available and I will give you a link to some free downloads to help you in a minute.
Often the stresses of daily life simply rob us of the motivation and energy to change. I wonder if I asked you to scale your motivation between 1 and 10 where you would honestly say it was? Once you have decided on a figure ask yourself why it is not less? You may be surprised at just how motivated you are to change once you think about it in this way.
Often all that you really need is the motivation to change because once you have that motivation then things like the belief you can change and the knowledge of how to begin that change begin to slot into place.
Free Help for a Better Mind, a Better Body and a Better life!
Sign up for a Newsletter and get news later this month of a Deep Relaxation download to help you relax.
Other pages you might find useful:
Is your mind busy when it’s time to rest and sleep? Do you have problems switching off at bedtime? Mind active and won’t slow down? Do you toss and turn because your thoughts won’t let you rest?
If that image of being too restless to sleep sounds like you, you have a lot in common with many of the people I help and there is a good chance your flight or fight response is active.
So lets talk about one way to switch off the fight or flight response and quieten the mind down at bedtime. There are many ways to achieve this, and one I really like is to keep a gratitude journal.
Spending a few minutes each night to think about things you are really grateful for is a great way to calm the mind and body and trigger the relaxation response. Focusing on the things you have been grateful for during the day will help you to let go of the things that were worrying you and help you get a good nights sleep.
But you do need to do it properly; robotically going through things you think you should be grateful for is not the same! If you are aware of the work of Candace Pert, you will know that your thoughts trigger the release of chemicals that flood the body, but that does not really happen if you think the thoughts in a detached fashion. You need to think the thoughts with your heart too.
Why is this Important?
It is really important that the fight or flight response is turned off and the relaxation response is triggered for sleep. Normally during sleep our bodies and minds should go through cycles of healing and repair, but these cycles are associated with being in a relaxed state. When we are stressed they are put on hold and your body does not heal and repair as it should.
So if you want to be healthy and happy triggering the relaxation response just before sleep will help.
It seems odd to think we can be stressed while sleeping, but studies have shown that some people, like those with CFS/ME, do actually stay stressed during their sleep. So spending a few minutes contemplating what you are grateful for or what has gone well during the day is one way to switch off the fight or flight response.
Gratitude is great because it focuses you on what you have, not what you want or what you would like. I buy a nice little note pad for those that take part in my workshops, so they can use it as a journal and I urge you to buy something special too. Having a nice book to write in and maybe a nice pen will make the activity special and keep you motivated.
How do I Use This?
Personally I would prefer a paper based journal as modern technology like phones tend to keep us stimulated, alert and possibly stressed. Much better to create your own paper based journal which can become a treasure trove of positivity for you, as it fills with things that you have been grateful for. Something like this is ideal.
Spend a little bit of time composing your thoughts and then write down what you have been grateful for today. Feel the feelings as deeply as possible with your heart.
One lady I was talking too, said how truly grateful she felt for the home she lived in, even though it was nowhere near as nice as she would like. This was something she had moaned about and criticised until hearing of a tragedy the other side of the world where people had lost their homes and were spending night outside. Another lady spent ages trying to think of something only to realise she was grateful for the comfortable warm bed she was laying in.
Another chap said he thought of a different person he knew each night, spending time remembering how they have or had positively contributed to his life. It’s a good thing to vary what you write to keep it fresh and relevant.
Sometimes when times are tough, or we are busy and tired it is easy to answer with our head only. You know what I mean, when you say something but it does not have that emotional resonance, that physical sensation that lets you know you have felt something with your heart. Notice the difference between thinking what you are grateful for and feeling it with your heart. It can help to place your hand on your heart and allow the thoughts of gratitude to flow from there.
I wonder if you maybe surprised at what you have been grateful for today?
The power of gratitude
My journey back to full health from the misery of ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome was unfortunately longer than it could and should have been. If we (my husband, Pete, and myself) had known back then what we did now, the trial and error we went through could have been avoided and we could have honed in on those things which not only really helped me but also have since been scientifically proven to help.
One of the therapies I tried back when I was ill was Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) otherwise known as Tapping. I will be blogging more about this technique in upcoming blogs but, in a nutshell, EFT is a simple yet highly effective self-help tool based on energy psychology. It is based on the Eastern philosophy of gently tapping on energy meridian points throughout the body, the same meridian points used in acupuncture and acupressure. When I was ill, exactly how or why EFT worked was irrelevant to me; what I simply recognised was that I felt better after using it. EFT is simply amazing at helping with emotional, physical and behavioural problems, as well as helping to overcome negative thoughts.
I was taught EFT by an experienced practitioner who showed me where the tapping points were and how to tap effectively, for maximum benefits and health gains. Once I was taught it I could then use it myself at home whenever I needed to. There were times when it did not seem to be as effective as it could have been and it was then that I knew it was time to see the practitioner again as she seemed able to ask the right questions to bring up emotions that might have been hiding under the surface and which I was too reluctant to tackle myself. However, in general, tapping at home several times a day seemed to really help me feel more relaxed, which ultimately helped me feel physically better as well.
As I said, at the time, I did not really care how EFT was helping me, only that I knew that it was. However it is really interesting now with hindsight to read emerging research on EFT which scientifically demonstrates the physical effects EFT can have and why it was so helpful to my recovery.
A randomized, controlled trial study(1) has recently shown how EFT can have a physical effect on the body by affecting the biochemical marker of stress called cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone, often referred to as the ‘stress hormone’ as it is often elevated when we are suffering from stress, anxiety and depression. In this study, 83 participants were divided into three groups. Group 1 were given one hour of traditional psychotherapy, ‘talk therapy’, group 2 were given one hour of EFT and group 3 were the control group and given no interventions. The cortisol levels of each group were measured before and after treatments.
The results were staggering. There were no changes in the cortisol levels for participants in group 1 and 3, but in group 2, the EFT group, the cortisol levels decreased by 24%. The researchers were so amazed by this response they thought that there must be an error in the readings and they recalibrated their equipment and retested. After a lot of retesting which showed the same results, they finally accepted that there was nothing wrong with their equipment: EFT worked!
If one single session of EFT can have such a dramatic reduction in cortisol levels, imagine what regular tapping could do for your health?
As we have seen in our webinars, the stress response which is responsible for elevated cortisol levels has wide-ranging, debilitating physical affects on our body. Something which starts life as an emotion or a negative thought can actually impact in a very real, physical way on how we are feeling, exacerbating our symptoms and hindering the body’s natural healing response. In my case, the insidious impact of cumulative stressors which had crept up on me and which not only meant then when I got ME/CFS my body was already in a compromised, weakened state but which also kept me ill for so long, was a key factor in my illness. Working with our clients, we know that I was not alone. So many sufferers are hindered by the effects of stressors which are keeping them stuck in ill-health, it is really tragic and frustrating that not more is being done to make sufferers aware of what can be done to help them.
Looking back with the knowledge we now have from the researchers, I am convinced that learning and using EFT was a key factor in my recovery. (In fact, it is now a key factor in my life, as when I recovered I went onto qualify as an Advanced Practitioner of EFT!) We now know how important this simple tool is for our clients and teach it to them so that we are really putting control of their health back into their hands, or rather at the tip of their fingers. If you would like to know more about this amazing tool which can revolutionise your health see Pete’s YouTube video and join us for one of our workshops and tap yourself back to health 🙂
1. Garret Yount, Audrey Brooks and Dawson Church,The Effect of Emotional Freedom Technique on Stress Biochemistry; A Randomized Controlled Trial, Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease,2012
If you are a woman who has lost hope of regaining or even improving your health my next webinar is for you. It’s so easy to lose hope, a careless word from a Doctor, an unhelpful chat with another patient, a program on the TV. Sometimes it’s the little things that erode your hope over time, sometimes your hope is discarded ignorantly during a consultation. Maybe your diagnosis was a crushing experience, taking your breath away, leaving you numb, scarred, unable to think.
Studies have shown that if you want a chance of being healthy again, the worst state of mind is a stoic acceptance of fate, to become hopeless. One of the things I will show you on this webinar is that hope is vitally important.
In the face of ‘expert’ opinions and a system that seems most proficient of stealing control from you, it is understandable why you can end up feeling hopeless and like a mythical phoenix from the flames you can regain your hope of being healthy.
To help we will be discussing three reasons why your body has the potential for ‘self induced healing’ and looking at some real life stories. Most importantly we will be giving you practical steps to get started with. Choosing to register now is the first step of taking back control, deciding how you want to live you life.
So I really do hope you will choose to join us and just register now.
Looking forward to talking to you again.
Like many ME/CFS sufferers, I experienced debilitating brain fog for most of the time when I was ill. For those of you that haven’t experienced this symptom, brain fog is the term used to describe impaired mental and cognitive functioning. Years ago when I used to attend an aerobics class, I remember the teacher telling the class to imagine we were moving through mud (although the reasoning behind this is totally irrelevant to the issue in hand, I think the idea behind this is to imagine resistance so that the muscles of the body have to work harder!). Well, for me, brain fog is the cognitive equivalent of trying to move through mud. My thought processes seemed to go in slow motion and no matter how hard I tried to formulate a coherent thought, it was like trying to access information from some very slow, archaic computer, which clunked along seemingly operating but either not retrieving the correct information, or doing so so slowly that I had forgotten why I wanted it or garbling the information causing me confusion and frustration. Holding a sensible conversation was totally impossible; I could not follow logical trains of argument on even the simplest of topics let alone formulate responses. Following a short television programme or reading a few pages of a book, likewise ended up in a garbled and addled brain, confused, befuddled and exhausted by the sheer effort of trying to follow a linear trail of information.
Brain fog is an extremely common symptom for ME/CFS sufferers and I think I can safely say that all of our clients with ME or CFS have experienced this for at least some of the time before their recovery. But what exactly is brain fog? Well one hypothesis is that any stress impacting on the sufferer can exacerbate this symptom, the reason being is down to how our brain physiology changes when under stress.
Our brains have evolved significantly from the time 6 million years ago when we began to stand up and walk. Scientists believe that back then our brains were not so different from reptiles today. They could handle the essential functions of survival and little else. Eating, temperature control, running away or fighting, reproduction just think of what the average lizard does and you get the picture. As we evolved we developed new parts of brains with new functions. The first of these new areas is often referred to as the mammalian or limbic part as it has characteristics you associate with mammals. Emotions, feelings and basic communication are things you would normally associate with a dog or a horse. Look into a reptile’s eyes and you don’t see much emotion, but look into your dog’s eyes and we can often detect the emotion. The final new part of the brain is the cortex or neocortex; this is the clever part of brain that is involved with creativity, complex thought and language.
So how does this relate to stress? When stressed it is that old reptilian brain that takes over, and the rest of the brain goes on hold for a bit. If you think about it, this makes sense. When faced with a tiger, prehistoric man had few options. ‘Thinking’ would be likely to slow us down and result in a painful death! The part of the reptilian brain responsible for this prioritising of functions is known as the Amygdala. Daniel Goleman in his 1996 book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, uses the phrase ‘Amygdala hijack’ to explain what happens, which I think sums it up very well. When the amygdala interprets a situation as a threatening it hijacks the brain, beginning the cascade of reactions involved in the fight or flight response.
Along with creating problems with our thought process, the amygdala also affects our memories. How many people remember of the details of a life threatening situation? How often does it all appear a “bit of a blur”? This is because stress affects our ability to store and retrieve memories[i]. Chronic stress in particular can negatively affect memory and learning[ii] Even now, when I try to remember fine details of my illness before I recovered, it still seems a blur, because I don’t think my brain really focused on storing this information at the time; it was too busy counteracting the stress I was under and the stress associated with the condition itself.
Stress effectively robs us of the ability to think of anything more complex than running away or fighting and chronic stress hampers our ability to remember and learn. I don’t know about you but this certainly does sound like Brain Fog to me.
Thankfully, once I had started on my holistic journey back to health the fog did gradually clear, as I took control of stress and my limbic brain took over again and thinking through mud became a thing of the past 🙂
Sky Blue River
[i]Kuhlmann, S., Piel, M., Wolf, O.T. (2005). Imparied Memory Retrieval after Psychosocial Stress in Healthy Young Men. Journal of Neuroscience, 25(11), 2977-2982.
[ii]Pasquali, R. (2006). The Biological Balance between Psychological Well-Being and Distress: A Clinician’s Point of View. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 75, 69-71.