How Hypnotherapy Can Save Your Life

The unconscious is hard to observe, measure, or test, therefore is an inconvenient concept for modern medicine. “Just take the antidepressant,” they say, or “just think positive”.  But when the pills make people sick, or when people slip back into negative thinking or self-destructive behaviour, they show up at my practice, saying they’ve tried everything and nothing works. What hypnotherapists do that nobody else does is acknowledge that there’s a force that gets in the way of recovery, a mysterious power that wrecks our attempts to escape self-destructive behaviour just when we start to see improvements.

The thought of spending the rest of our lives without our self-destructive habits, without conflict, can become scary. We become self-conscious about what was beginning to feel natural and start to slip up. Sadly, the research shows that most of our efforts at self-reform -dieting, escaping depression, stopping drinking – fail within two years. And when you slip up, you often go back to yourself at the worst: You put the weight right back on; you drink even more; you feel more depressed than ever. If you’re caught by the power of the subconscious mind, the normal ways we solve problems and make decisions will get you nowhere; you’ll just be fighting yourself.

The subconscious is most powerful when you’ve gained control of the symptom but haven’t fixed the underlying problem. You can abstain from your addiction yet remain very vulnerable to relapse if you haven’t figured out and taken care of the loneliness or anger or hopelessness that led you to abuse drugs in the first place. You can find relief from stress using many different techniques, but if you haven’t changed your values and done some rewiring in the brain, you’re still just as vulnerable to new stressors. You can control your procrastinating, but if you haven’t addressed the part of yourself that is afraid of success, you won’t control it for long. You can lose forty pounds on a diet but if you haven’t fixed the hole in your heart that you were trying to fill with food, you’ll gain it all back again. The power of the subconscious is the result of that inner conflict. The subconscious self isn’t wired to listen to the voice of reason, the conscious self.

What we haven’t said is that the only real solution is to face the thoughts that hold us back and that are buried in our subconscious. It may be a sad truth: I’m getting old; I’ve done things I’m ashamed of; my life lacks meaning. Or it may be a product of our distorted assumptions: I can’t do anything right; I’m not beautiful enough; I’m better than everyone else. If it’s true, we need to do something about it. If it’s false, we need to drag it out into the light of day; chances are, like a vampire, it will melt away.

The subconscious gets much of its power from the paths etched in our brains by bad habits. One slip and we are back on the old road that was abandoned. The mind builds physical connections between cells that become stronger as we practice our habits.

Solution Focused Brief Therapy can help us learn new habits to replace our old self-destructive patterns, and as we learn them, new channels in our brain become stronger and deeper.

But the problem is that the old channels are still there, and we can easily slip back into them. We therefore must us hypnosis to make old self-destructive patterns just as scary and aversive as possible. To some, this might seem like a desperate measure, but the power of the subconscious requires such desperate measures or it won’t leave you alone. Our old bad habits become the brain’s default circuits when we are faced with temptation, fatigue, or stress. Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can help people rewiring the brain to develop and reinforce healthier circuitry.

In most life situations it’s not all that hard to see the right choice; we just are very good at finding ways to reject it. So, you have to train your nervous system to make the right choice without thinking too much. Every time you do something, your brain makes a path between nerve cells. Every time you repeat that thing, you widen the path and make it a little easier next time.

The subconscious gets its power from all the guilt, self-hate, and hopelessness that accompany the self-destructive behaviour; so, when we slip we must get back on the horse, even if difficult our work is never wasted. After a lifetime of taking the easy way out or shooting ourselves in the foot, our confidence and self-esteem are wounded. We may be able to stop our self-destructive patterns and present ourselves to the world as a confident and content person, but that doesn’t necessarily change our self-image. We may still secretly believe we’re only faking it. A good case of self-hate doesn’t get cured only by doing the right thing for a while. So instead of becoming more comfortable with our new behaviour as time goes on, we may feel more likely to fail. Failing, then – smoking or drinking again, starting binge eating or gambling again – can be a tremendous relief of tension.

We must therefore be sure our identity, our paradigm about ourselves, changes along with our changes in behaviour.

When you’ve conquered your own self-destructive scenarios, it might seem there is no further obstacle between you and happiness. But if you haven’t come to terms with the feelings that led to your self-destructive behaviour in the first place, you’re still vulnerable to relapse. So you may have to face some unacceptable feelings that you’ve kept under wraps for a long time—anger at your partner; feelings of being let down by your parents; resentment about discrimination. It’s important to note that you don’t necessarily have to act on these feelings; instead, you allow yourself to experience them, without denying them and feeling guilty about it. This is painful but cathartic; it starts to change your assumptive world. Besides, that kind of guilt can lead you to sabotage yourself just when your goals are insight—because you secretly believe you don’t deserve a better life.

Start by facing the problem. Admitting that you’re powerless over your self-destructive behaviour. Accept that you have to make big changes in how your mind works in order to stop your self-destructive behaviour. Set your goals carefully. Before you begin a recovery campaign, be very realistic about what you can do. For most active self-destructive habits (drinking, smoking, gambling), you’ll probably have to stop altogether. For most passive habits (procrastination, disorganization, unassertiveness), you’ll have to go on an improvement campaign. Set very clear and measurable goals, yet goals that you are almost certain to achieve. Ask for help. Let people know you’re trying to do something difficult and tell them how they can help you. Think carefully about the hidden meanings of your pattern.

Think about that conflict. If you’re after something you want that is ultimately bad for you, focus on giving up that wish. If you’re after something that you legitimately need or want, but you sabotage yourself on the way to getting it, focus on the guilt, shame, or fear that’s motivating the sabotage. Spend a few days studying your bad habit. Take notes on it so you can see any hidden triggers, such as the time of day, your mood, your state of hunger, caffeine level, something someone says to you, certain distractions. After days of focusing on your bad self like this, you should be more than ready to start making a change. Pick a start date within the next two weeks. Make a commitment for three months. Keep that goal in mind. Even if you slip up on the second day, start again on the third. Remember that every day of doing well builds new brain circuits. When you’ve gained better control over whatever self-destructive habit this is, take the time to savour the experience. Permit yourself to feel proud because you’ve done something extremely difficult…controlling your subconscious.

Breaking Free From Compulsive Eating


We are not born to make ourselves miserable. When it feels that that’s what we are doing when we eat, or don’t eat or diet, it’s time to look deeper.

Compulsive eating is ALWAYS an attempt to care for yourself. I know it’s hard to believe when we want to lose weight so badly, but we should never judge ourselves for overeating.

Our binge-eating serves a purpose in our life. To stop eating compulsively we must find out what that purpose is and find a new healthier way to serve that purpose. You cannot take away an addiction unless you replace it with something else, an interest, a hobby, an action.

We cannot stop eating compulsively unless we acknowledge the needs it is serving and find new and more satisfying ways of filling those needs.


The foundation of compulsive eating is almost always emotional.

The first thing to do is to listen to your hunger. It is important to be aware when we are really hungry and when we are not and only eat when we ARE hungry, stop when we have eaten enough, and deal with all the emotional conflicts we experience when we are not hungry, and we want to eat.

The most important elements of change are self-awareness, mindfulness, and self-trust.

As by being completely present in the moment and aware of our physical needs we can also learn to listen to the voice that wants to care for us, not destroy us or punish us.

Eating Guidelines

To break free from compulsive eating, the author of “Why Weight?”, Geneen Roth, suggests some basic, yet effective eating guidelines:

1) Eat when you are hungry
2) Eat sitting down in a calm environment
3) Eat without distractions (including TV, radio, reading, loud music, intense conversations)
4) Eat only what you want
5) Eat until you are satisfied
6) Eat in full view of others wherever possible
7) Eat with enjoyment

The Four Stages

Every person will also have to go through for stages before they can finally break free from compulsive eating. There are no rigid timelines to go through these stages. Everyone must go at their own pace. The stages can be summarised as follows:

STAGE IAcknowledge that there is a problem – that the problem is much more complex than simply being overweight and that dieting alone will not solve the problem.

STAGE IIRebelling against the years of dieting and deprivation – eating what you feel like, including what you might have considered before “forbidden food” but learning to eat only when you are hungry and to stop when you feel satisfied. This is the “hard work” stage as all the emotions that led you to compulsive eat will surface. You will have to work with yourself for example through

• Hypnotherapy
• Journalling
• Counselling
• Expressing your feelings as they arise through music and art
• Talking about your feelings with family and friends

You learn to find other way of nourishing yourself such as walking, talking a nap or a bath, meeting with friends, going to movies, dancing, getting massages, reading, or doing something you always wanted to do…

STAGE IIILearning to trust yourself – learning to eat without guilt, to stop bingeing, to distinguish the food your body really wants from that which was “forbidden”, ability to eat only a small piece of chocolate and stop, you begin to have faith in your body-wisdom, food other than sweets starts to taste good, you learn what nourishes you and keeps you healthy.

STAGE IVExperiencing the joy of breaking free – you start losing weight slowly and healthy, still eating what you want and stopping when you are satisfied. What you want now are usually nourishing foods, with very small amounts of sweets. You accept and enjoy your body even if not perfect. Food becomes delightful rather than a source of pain. When you are not hungry you don’t think about eating. You can go anywhere or be anywhere and have any type of food in front of you without going on a binge. You feel confident and trust yourself and this confidence extends to many other aspects of your life as your work and your relationships. Since your life doesn’t not revolve around food anymore you have more energy to enjoy life and cope better with problems. Sometimes – like everyone else – you will overeat but you won’t take this as the sign that you are a failure, that is ok! Sometimes your body needs more food, for example with seasonal changes.

Enjoy the journey not just the destination.



Learning to listen to the silence in between the sounds

According to the Ekchart Tolle, author of The Power of Now, all our problems come from living in the future or living in the past.
The only thing that can defeat us is our mind – if we let her that is!

So many of us suffer from addiction, anger, anxiety, depression, and obsessions. This is because we’re too busy worrying about the future or past. We think about what you could have done better or differently, about what we don’t have or what we have lost, and we spiral out of control that way. The only way to gain back control is to focus on the now.

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle is a guide to spiritual enlightenment and a perfect book for this fast-paced world. The mind is a powerful tool, but you give it too much power, it takes over the show. We have been given the tools, power, and resources inside ourselves to combat all the externalities – if these tools and resources don’t end up controlling our life.

Focusing on the now is about forgiving yourself for decisions that you’ve made in the past and understanding that now you can make different decisions. No matter what is going on, no matter what types of challenges you have, life is always evolving. Panta Rei the ancient Greeks used to say – everything flows.

So, you never have to worry about what has already happened and how that’s affecting this moment or about what will happen and how that will affect your life. The present is the only time existing, the only life really happening for you. The author also talks about understanding in each present moment where you can make a better choice by listening to and following your heart. Everything might as well happen for a reason. But you also must take ownership of your actions. A big part of that means understanding that you have the power. You make the decision. Things will start working for you when you stand up and trust yourself.

Tolle writes that there are two things in our lives that cause pain – the pain body and the thinking body. In the pain body, you experience pain in your life. It can be emotional pain or physical pain. But experiencing pain doesn’t mean you need to identify yourself with it and let it become who you are. The same thing with the thinking body, you don’t need to identify yourself with your thoughts and let your thoughts controlling you.

You don’t need to identify with your mind if it keeps spiralling out of control. You can separate yourself from it by focusing on the now.
It’s tough to do this in today’s society because our whole lives are built up that way: planning, achieving, being measured on goals etc. When you’re young, you’re worried about getting to college, getting a good job, what family you’ll live in and so goes on in adulthood with mortgages, debts, children, sickness…

As Tolle puts it:

“We’re not human becoming. We’re human beings”

You don’t have to worry about the fruits of your actions. You must worry about the action. If you put your effort and attention into the action, everything that comes after it will be what you want it to be and if not, you’ll know you have done your best and have no regrets.

“The source of abundance is intention. What you put out is what you will receive”

So instead of worrying about what you cannot do and not be fully present now, give your attention to what you can do. The power of now is about doing what you can, being aware of what you have and understand your inner strength and resources.

The underlying principle is the ability to disconnect from the mind. By freeing yourself from the mind and its tendency to relive the painful past and worry about the future you can achieve this. Tolle suggests practicing present listening, observing, and listening to the mind itself. The more you listen to your mind, the easier it shall be to recognize when she is the one in control rather than you.

Most human pain is self-created and therefore unnecessary. The past has no power over the present moment, but our mind keeps going back to it. Studying your mind in the present will give you an immense sense of awareness.
Once you start becoming aware of the mind as it creates the ego, the false self it uses to replace your true being, you become free. Being free from the ego is essential to experiencing the now and being happy. The ego has a ceaseless string of needs which he creates out of fear. It lives in a constant state of need, material and psychological.

Further, to end the delusion of time, we must stop identifying ourselves with our mind and the compulsion to experience our lives through memory. The now is the only point that can take you beyond the limited confines of the mind. Your only point of access to the timeless and formless realm of being – according to Tolle, the key to spirituality.

So, the key here, is you are not your mind. You are the observer of your thoughts.

So how can we benefit from the thinking mind? The most obvious one is meditation. You can become present by focusing on all the minor details of the mundane things around you such as your breathing, sensations, and sounds you hear, things you normally wouldn’t pick up on. If you give those your full attention, you stop using your mind because it’s impossible to be thinking about something when you’re focused on something else.

When your body is here in the present moment, which is always, and your mind is not in the present moment but projected in some future moment that doesn’t truly exist, you create a gap between your body being here and now and your mind being elsewhere. Tolle calls this the anxiety gap.

Another key point in this book is what Tolle calls the pain body – the accumulation of the pain and mental suffering that we’ve built up in our lives. The problem comes when you identify with this pain, which becomes a part of your identity because subconsciously, you don’t want to let go of that pain. It is because it would mean ruining your entire identity, letting go of who you are.

Along those same lines, the author also warns not to identify with a mental position in an argument. If you do this, your mind-based sense of self will be destroyed if you lose the argument. As long as you don’t tie your self-worth into opinions, you can be OK with being wrong.

“The past and future are like the moon. They have no true light but only reflect the light of the sun”
The now is all we have. It is the source of everything. Then the past and the future are simply a reflection, as the moon is only a reflection of the sun’s light. If you’re experiencing unease, anxiety, tension, stress, or worry, you’re thinking too much about the future.

If you’re experiencing guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, or non-forgiveness, you’re overthinking in the past. If you depend on the future for fulfilment and satisfaction, you are overthinking in the future.
Neither failure nor success can change your inner state of being. You have found the life underneath your life situation as there is a big difference between life and life situations.

You live in a family have a car, have a job, but that’s not your life – just your life situation. Whenever you’re tapped into presence, whenever you are here and now, feeling the aliveness in your body, that is your life.

“When your deeper sense of self is derived from being exactly where you are, neither your happiness nor your sense of self depends on the outcome and there is freedom from fear”.

Learning to be more present will help you eliminate the perpetual discontent that characterizes ordinary unconsciousness. First realize your inner purpose, and then the outer purpose becomes a game you play because you enjoy it. Every outer purpose is bound to fail somehow due to the law of impermanence. Don’t try to find fulfilment from your outer purpose such as getting the job you want or buying a bigger car.
Presence isn’t something that you can mentally understand. It’s something you have to feel and experience. The opposite of being present would be to identify yourself with your ego-mind. incidentally the collective ego-mind is the most dangerously insane and destructive entity ever to inhabit this planet, think of genocides, terrorism, and war. If we were truly present and truly rooted in the now and loving each other the way we should be, none of that stuff would happen.

So here he’s reemphasizing the fact that being present is very important. It is because if you’re not, you’re going to be ruled by your primitive mind (also called emotional or unconscious mind), and you’re going to act in inappropriate ways.

Being in the present is finding stillness. To find stillness, a good way is to listen to the silence underneath and in between the sounds. When meditating, many people listen to the sounds, not the silence between the sounds.

“Learning to listen to the silence in between the sounds”

Normally, you think that if you have a thought, you are that thought. But if instead, you see yourself as this blank canvas through which that thought came, you can observe it without judging it and let it go. That will make your life so much easier.

He also says that too many people identify themselves solely with their physical and psychological images, which are unstable and temporary – causing them to live in fear. For example, we have this false sense of self based on what job we have. Those things are all forms and in one way or another, impermanent. Something could happen to them. We could lose that job or crash that car… The world of form and material things is all a distraction out there, enlightenment is to transcend it.

Physical and emotional violence is common in many romantic relationships and that’s because deriving your sense of self from others is dangerous. It can be hard for a normal person to live with a fully present person because the ego feeds on problems, meaning that the peaceful person is a threat.

The ego-driven person will debate trivial issues to disrupt the peace or continually refer to past incidents to pull them out of the present. However, it’s OK even if one person becomes more enlightened than the other in a relationship. At least that enlightened person learns to stop judging, criticizing, and trying to change the other person. They also end up disrupting otherwise endless cycles like debates that never conclude.

Beyond happiness and unhappiness, there is peace and that’s what we should seek. You can’t be happy when a loved one dies, but you can be at peace by not resisting it and accepting it. Everything on Earth is impermanent and comes in cycles, which is another reason not to attach your self-worth or happiness to external forms. Here’s another great analogy.

“Be like a deep lake. The lake’s surface is your life situation, sometimes calm, sometimes rough, and affected by the environment. However, the lake is always undisturbed”

Being enlightened changes the world. You become the light of the world and give off good vibes. If there’s one more enlightened person out of a group, a fight isn’t going to go anywhere because the enlightened person will diffuse that situation.

You must see mind identification as an illness that most people have with varying degrees. That way, you’ll never resent them. The only appropriate response is compassion. So the lesson here is pretty much that we are all unenlightened to some extent. We all make our mistakes, and we need to be aware of that and treat each other with compassion and not judge each other.

Eckhart Tolle: born Ulrich Leonard Tölle, is a German-born spiritual teacher and self-help author of The Power of Now and A New Earth. After being recommended by Oprah Winfrey, his first book, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, reached The New York Times Best Seller list in 2000, which was followed eight years later by the book A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose.

Rewire Your Brain to Overcome Addiction and Self-Destructive Behaviour

Do you wonder why you keep engaging in addictive and self-destructive behaviour? Why you know very well what the right choice is, but you keep making the wrong one?

The book “Rewire” by Richard O’Connor explains where you can get started on breaking your bad habits by becoming more mindful and disciplined. Have a bad habit you want to kick? Let’s do it!

Here are 3 great lessons from the book:

• You have two selves that influence your actions – a conscious one and a subconscious/ automatic one.
• Repressing your emotions can cause you to become self-destructive.
• You can start breaking your bad habits by training mindfulness.



Lesson 1: You have two selves that influence your actions – a conscious one and an automatic one.

Which one is it going to be after work – gym or TV?
The moment I ask you that question you know which answer is the right one.
Yet, we’ve all faced this or similar decision countless times, but still ended up on the couch with a bag of chips.

Dr. O’Connor says it’s because we have two selves, a conscious one and an automatic one. The conscious self relies a lot on rational arguments, it’s when you reason yourself into doing things, for example going to the library early to get a good spot, because it’ll be crowded later on.

The automatic self is in charge when you eat your entire popcorn before the movie starts. Your conscious self isn’t there to think about the consequences and only when it reactivates again later do you regret your actions.

Whenever you perform a bad habit, your automatic self is running the show, after all you’d never choose to do a bad habit consciously.
There are two ways then, to break bad habits:

  • Strengthening your conscious self, so it becomes the dominant force.
  • Training your automatic self to just stop slipping up.

Both works, but in the long run, training your automatic self is a lot less effort, because once the neural pathways have been established, they work on autopilot. Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is very effective in helping to recreate these new, healthier neural pathways.

Lesson 2: Repressing your emotions can cause you to become self-destructive.

Have you ever wished to yell at someone at the top of your lungs, because they really upset you?
Chances are often, when you wanted to, you didn’t.

Dr. O’Connor says you should have.

Emotions are chemical reactions in your body. They build up over time and eventually break, which is when we must let them out.

“Like water in an overflowing bathtub, they’ll find a way”.

You not yelling when someone harasses you in the morning might lead you to eat a whole pie by yourself in the afternoon, just because you bottled up those feelings.
Emotions are never right or wrong, it’s not for you to judge, they’re feelings and therefore not even meant to be based on reason and common sense.
When you’re trying to rationally pick your feelings, you’ll create a communication gap between your conscious and your automatic self.
Your automatic self really tells you to yell at your co-worker for deleting all that data, but your rational you steps in and says you shouldn’t cause a scene in the office.
Eventually, this conflicting advice might lead you to engage in self-destructive behaviour, like drinking way too much coffee, so listen to your gut (of course without yelling to your co-worker! but still finding a polite way of expressing your feelings and disappointment so it doesn’t bottle up).

Lesson 3: You can start breaking your bad habits by forgiving yourself and training mindfulness.

Rewiring your brain is never easy, but it’s easy to get started.
Alcoholics Anonymous use the saying “Fake it till you make it” a lot, and it helps a lot of recovering addicts get started.
It focuses on being dedicated to getting better, and giving it your best, even when you end up caving and having a drink after a week or two.
If you constantly beat yourself up every time you have a relapse, you’ll keep sabotaging yourself, because you’re repressing those emotions, remember?

Instead, focus on continuing your efforts until you eventually make not drinking a habit – it’ll get easier to control yourself over time.Another great starting point is training your mindfulness through meditation.Just by sitting down for 30 minutes every day and focusing and re-focusing your attention on your breath, you can substantially increase your awareness for when you’re about to do a bad habit.
Don’t worry about being perfect, it’s normal to have other thoughts as you meditate. Gently push them aside and re-focus your attention.
That’s what meditation is all about…..


Richard O’Connor, PhD, is the author of Undoing Depression, Undoing Perpetual Stress, and Happy at Last. For fourteen years he was executive director of the Northwest Center for Family Service and Mental Health, a nonprofit mental health clinic, where he oversaw the work of twenty mental health professionals in treating almost a thousand patients per year. He is a practicing psychotherapist with offices in Connecticut and New York, and lives in Lakeville, Connecticut.



Relieving Digestive Complaints: The Ayurveda’s Take on Tackling IBS

During my holiday in Italy I had the pleasure to read the Deepak Chopra’s book ‘Perfect Digestion’.
In this blog I’m sharing some of the instructions covered in the book on how to strengthen digestion, when experiencing digestive issues such as IBS:

• Eat in a settled and quiet atmosphere
• Take a few minutes to rest quietly after your meal
• Always sit down to eat
• Don’t eat when you are upset
• Don’t eat when you are not hungry
• Avoid overeating – One should eat 3/4 of his stomach’s capacity, which gives feeling of satisfaction without any sensation of having overeaten
• Avoid cold foods and cold drinks
• Don’t talk while chewing food
• Eat at a moderate pace
• Do not eat until the preceding meal has been digested
• Favour meals with freshly cooked foods – Although many people believe that raw foods are a good source of dietary fibre, the Ayurveda tradition points out that raw foods are harder to digest and are more likely to irritate the colon. A certain amount of raw food, such as salad, are fine to include with diet

• Avoid eating milk, cream and butter until the IBS symptoms are in control – that said Ghee is soothing to digestion, if taken in small quantities.
• Ayurveda recommends avoiding cucumbers, green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, sprouts of any sort, and grapes as they can trigger IBS
• Coffee, tea, chocolates should be avoided
• Carbonates beverages of any sort should also be avoided
• Pomegranate and Lassi can be good for diarrhoea associated with IBS

• During meals, heavier food should be eaten earlier than lighter foods
• The following aromas can be good in the treatment of IBS: basil, orange, clove, sandalwood, rose, mint, and cinnamon
• Lunch should be the heaviest meal of the day and should be consumed around 12:00- 12:30pm
• Breakfast is not necessary according to the Ayurveda tradition. If you cannot do without it, it should be light like milk and cereal
• Dinnertime has fewer digestive powers than lunch time, therefore dinner should be a lighter meal . Examples of foods to consume are hot soup and bread, hot cereals and assorted vegetables.

The book also recommends to follow the Ayurvedic daily routine:

5.30am – 12 noon

□ Wake up anytime between 5.30am and 6am
□ Take warm water
□ Urinate and bowel movement
□ Brush teeth
□ Breathing meditation (15-20mn)
□ Exercise
□ Shower using warm water, neither hot or cold
□ Light breakfast (if needed)
□ 30-minute morning walk

12 noon – 6pm

□ Lunch at 12 noon
□ Few minutes rest after lunch
□ 5-15 mins walk in the afternoon
□ Breathing meditation in late afternoon or early evening (15-20mn)

6pm – 10pm

□ Moderate dinner by 6pm
□ Few minutes rest after dinner
□ 5-15 mins of walk after dinner
□ Bedtime between 9.30 and 10pm.

Other tips to relieve IBS:

  • One day each week try to be on a liquid diet
  • Sip hot water every 30 minutes (The water should be hot, that one has to blow air to sip it in) – The quantity of water is not important, the frequency is
  • During meals dessert should be taken first as well as any other sweet foods
  • Heavier dishes should be consumed first and lighter dishes such as salad should be taken last

  • Emotions have a significant impact on the outset of IBS and other digestive complaints. When you feel upset, pause for a moment and allow your attention to settle on the sensations occurring in your body. If you close your eyes for a few seconds, your mind will immediately be attracted to some specific physiological manifestations, perhaps your stomach or heart. Just allow for those sensations to be there for few minutes. Gradually you will discover that the physical sensation begins to vanish. When you open your eyes, you will find that the emotional component has also diminished
  • Perform exercise before 10am and moderately for 7 days a week. Do not overexercise· The Ayurvedic principal is not “no pain, no gain” but “no strain produces maximum gain”. Find a type of exercise that you enjoy and do not strain or exhaust yourself.

Deepak Chopra is an Indian-American author and alternative medicine advocate. A prominent figure in the New Age movement, his books and videos have made him one of the best-known and wealthiest figures in alternative medicine.

Trauma and Regaining Control

Trauma is considered today one of the world’s most urgent public health issues. As a hypnotherapist I often come across victims of trauma, who are coming to me to regain control over their feelings, emotions and behaviors. Trauma has the power to reshape both the body and the brain, confining us to the past despite any effort of the mind to leave it behind.
“The Body Keeps the Score: Mind, Brain, and Body in the Transformation of Trauma”  is an essential read for anyone interested in comprehending and treating traumatic stress.

In The Body Keeps the Score, the author – Van der Kolk – explores innovative treatments that offer new pathways to recovery by utilizing the brain’s natural ability to heal, which is why I am a big fan of this book.
Trauma is universal and occurs more frequently than we tend to think. One doesn’t have to be a war veteran to experience it, trauma happens to our family members, friends, neighbours, it happens to us…

Trauma not only affects those directly exposed to it but those around them. Healthy relationships become extremely challenging to maintain, as people who have experienced trauma have to deal with all sorts of issues in life, ranging from substance abuse to emotional absence.

Van der Kolk asserts that:

The safest way to help traumatized children and people victim of trauma is to provide them with a safe environment, allowing them to connect with others, learn to self-regulate, and develop autonomy around their own lives.

Survivors are often triggered or forced (sometime through therapy!) to endure the powerful memories of the trauma. These flashbacks cause people to relive the trauma’s mental and physical experience.
According to Van der Kolk victims of trauma can learn to regulate their own physiology through movement and breath. Solution Focused Hypnotherapy, Mindfulness meditation, yoga, dance, kinesiology, martial arts such as Thai Chi and Qi Gong, and new therapeutic interventions such as neurofeedback are vital tools for survivors as they discover how to accept, cope with and recover from their life-changing experiences.

Trauma says van der Kolk:

Drives us to the edge of comprehension, cutting us off from language based on common experience. Its effects are profound and lasting when it occurs before we have language to describe it or even hope to get the help we need. Like a splinter that causes an infection, it is the body’s response to the foreign object that becomes the problem more than the object itself.

One of the reactions to trauma is the so-called Numbing State. Numbing may keep us from suffering in the short-term, but long-term is another matter. Though the mind may learn to ignore the messages from the emotional brain, the alarm signals don’t stop. The emotional brain keeps working, and stress hormones keep sending signals to the muscles to tense for action or immobilize in collapse. The physical effects on the organs go on unabated until they demand notice when they are expressed as illness. Medications, drugs, and alcohol can also temporarily dull or obliterate unbearable sensations and feelings. But the body continues to “keep the score.” Through numbing, the survivor’s energy now becomes focused on suppressing inner chaos, at the expense of spontaneous involvement in their life.

Another reaction to trauma is that of being a Stimulus Seeker. Often survivors of trauma don’t feel quite alive if they aren’t in the middle of chaos. Somehow the very event that caused the victim so much pain had also become their sole source of meaning. They felt fully alive only when they were revisiting their traumatic past. That is why so many abused and traumatized people feel fully alive in the face of actual danger, while they go numb in situations that are more complex but objectively safe, like birthday parties or family dinners.
If an organism is stuck in survival mode, its energies are focused on fighting off unseen enemies, which leaves no room for nurture, care, and love. For us humans, it means that if the mind is defending itself against invisible assaults, our closest bonds are threatened, along with our ability to imagine, plan, play, learn, and pay attention to other people’s needs.

Treatment needs to reactivate the capacity to safely mirror, and be mirrored, by others, but also to resist being hijacked by others’ negative emotions.
The great challenge is finding ways to reset the victim’s physiology, so that their survival mechanisms stop working against them. This means helping them to respond appropriately to danger but, even more, to recover the capacity to experience safety, relaxation, and true reciprocity.

Mindfulness, or the ability to hover calmly and objectively over our thoughts, feelings, and emotions, is one of the primary tools. This ability allows the intellectual brain to inhibit, organize, and modulate the hardwired automatic reactions programmed into the emotional brain after the trauma. This capacity is crucial for preserving their relationships with fellow human beings.


Increasing self-awareness, is another important feature of recovery, because traumatized people often have trouble sensing what is going on in their bodies. They either react to stress by becoming ‘spaced out’ or with excessive anger. Whatever their response, they often can’t tell what is upsetting them. This failure to be in touch with their bodies contributes to their well-documented lack of self-protection and high rates of revictimization. And, to their remarkable difficulties feeling pleasure, sensuality, and having a sense of meaning. Noticing and then describing what they are feeling is a process van der Kolk helps his patients learn. He begins the process by helping them talk about what is happening in their bodies, not emotions such as anger or anxiety or fear but the physical sensations beneath the emotions: pressure, heat, muscular tension, tingling, caving in, feeling hollow, and so on. He also works on identifying the sensations associated with relaxation or pleasure…their breath, their gestures and movements. He asks them to pay attention to subtle shifts in their bodies, such as tightness in their chests or gnawing in their bellies, when they talk about negative events that they claim did not bother them.

Victims of trauma need to engage the safety system of the brain before trying to promote new ways of thinking. Ways to engage this part of the brain are:

  • Yoga
  • Solution Focused Hypnotherapy
  • Theatre Programs
  • Breath Exercises (Pranayama)
  • Chanting
  • Martial Arts
  • Qigong
  • Drumming
  • Group Singing
  • Dancing
    If people are either hyper aroused or shut down, they cannot learn from experience. Even if they manage to stay in control, they become so uptight that they are inflexible, stubborn, and depressed. Recovery from trauma involves the restoration of executive functioning and, with it, self-confidence and the capacity for playfulness and creativity.

In order to recover, mind, body, and brain need to be convinced that it is safe to let go. That happens only when you feel safe at a visceral level and allow yourself to connect that sense of safety with memories of past helplessness. Being traumatized is not just an issue of being stuck in the past; it is just as much a problem of not being fully alive in the present.

If we keep secrets and suppress information, you are fundamentally at war with yourself. Hiding core feelings takes an enormous amount of energy, it saps your motivation to pursue worthwhile goals, and it leaves you feeling bored and shut down.

What is great about the book is that in my experience one of the difficulties people have when trying to get over trauma is questioning their response to the trauma or their role within it. Gaining insight from this book in relation to the commonalities of how people respond to trauma helps the reader feel normal.

Van der Kolk, himself a survivor of early relational trauma is the Medical Director of the Trauma Centre in Boston, he is also a Professor of Psychiatry at Boston University Medical School and serves as the Co-Director of the National Centre for Child Traumatic Stress Complex Trauma Network.

Are Your Human Needs Being Met? A Reflexion on The Human Givens (HG) Approach in Solution Focused Hypnotherapy.

Human Givens (HG) Therapy, a scientifically based approach to mental health treatment, asserts that all people share certain innate emotional and physical needs. When these needs go unmet, individuals may be more likely to experience stress and other emotional and mental health concerns.

The Human Givens approach is very much aligned with my Solution Focused Hypnotherapy practice, in that I offer support to people seeking help by teaching them ways to think and behave that may be more effective for getting their core needs met.

A bit of history

The Human Givens approach was developed by Ivan Tyrrell and Joe Griffin, who founded the European Therapy Studies Institute (ETSI) in 1992 to explore what effective approaches to psychotherapy had in common, with the goal of an integrated and effective model of emotional therapy.
Their research led to the creation of a journal called The Therapist and in 1996, Tyrrell founded MindFields College, offering presentations in emerging data about effective strategies in psychotherapy. By 1997 the name of the journal was changed to Human Givens.
In 2001, the Human Givens Institute (HGI) was established. A number of books have been published under the HG Publishing Imprint, such as Griffin and Tyrrell’s 2003 book, Human Givens: The New Approach to Emotional Health and Clear Thinking and a number of self-help guides for handling depression, anxiety, anger, addiction, and pain.
The Human Givens Foundation, a UK charity founded in 2004, further promotes education and research on psychotherapy and human nature. Human Givens College was established in 2010.

The Human Givens Principles

The Human Givens approach believes in continuous learning, which is something which I very much embed in my daily hypnotherapy practice by recommending clients books, podcasts and articles and by teaching them new techniques to address their emotional challenges. Learning is vital to human development and wellness, and this is very much embraced in my therapeutic method.

The theory behind the human givens approach holds that physical and emotional needs are inextricably linked, as emotions encourage people to connect with the external world and fulfil both their physical and psychological needs. In my personal experience it is impossible to isolate the body from the mind as emotions have a very powerful influence on the functioning of our immune system and vice versa, when our body is not well, our mental state is also suffering. For example, I notice in my practice how chronic disease often (and quickly) leads to anxiety and depression.

Mens Sana in Corpore Sano – a healthy mind in a healthy body

Some of the human necessities the Human Givens approach considers to be paramount are:

• Food, water, shelter and a safe environment.
• Emotional needs such as attention (both given and received).
• Feelings of efficacy and achievement.
• Privacy.
• The sense that one has control over one’s own life.
• Connection to a broader community and a sense of importance within one’s social group.
• An overall sense of life purpose and meaning.

When a person is having trouble in one of more of these aspects, it’s very important that the subject reaches out for help. In my Solution Focused Hypnotherapy practice I help my clients to identify challenges based on one or more of these givens and then develop solutions uniquely suited to the individual’s situation.

According to human givens theory, psychological distress occurs in three contexts:

Context 1 – When people live in a toxic environment that prevents them from meeting their basic needs, for example when people remain in an abusive relationship or living in poverty.

Context 2 – When a person’s conditioning or instincts inhibit their ability to meet their needs. For example, someone who grew up in an abusive home might end up in abusive relationships or if a child is never taught how to control her/his impulses, he/she may struggle to maintain good healthy relationships.

• Context 3 – When a person lacks knowledge about what they need or how to meet those needs.

A handful of studies suggest that Human Givens techniques can reduce emotional distress and improve coping skills. According to findings from PTSD Resolution, a UK-based charity, Human Givens is also effective as a form of treatment for trauma.

Therapists using the Human Givens method begin by identifying any neglected needs of a person seeking treatment. They then collaborate with the individual to get those needs met. For example, a person in therapy might, with the help of the therapist, determine a pattern of domestic abuse is the product of social isolation, ineffective stress management, or financial distress. The therapist’s goal, then, is to explore each of these issues and agree with the client proactive strategies that address each issue by working on the thoughts and behaviours that might have a negative impact.

No system of therapy is complete on its own, thus, Human Givens therapists – exactly as Solutions Focused Hypnotherapists do, blend several methods to create an individualised approach for each person they treat. In my practice I draw techniques from Human Givens, CBT, NLP, reflective listening, motivational interviewing, and of course Hypnotherapy.

If you are currently experiencing emotional and/or physical challenges and feel that you would benefit from Solutions Focused Hypnotherapy, you can email me on to book an initial consultation or visit the contact page on my website:

Coping With Loss and Grief

Our natural response to loss is grief and grief is the emotional suffering you feel when something or someone you love is taken away from you.

The pain of loss can feel overwhelming, and clients often come to me to find healthy ways to cope with the emotional roller coaster they are experiencing.

That’s right – when you lose someone or something you love, you may experience all kinds of difficult and unexpected emotions: shock, anger, guilt, profound sadness, panic, anxiety…The pain of grief can also disrupt your physical health, making it difficult to sleep, eat, or even think straight or causing physical symptoms such as nausea, chronic pain, palpitations and so on.


Coping with loss is one of life’s biggest challenges

The death of a loved one is often the cause of the most intense type of grief, but any loss can cause grief:
• Relationship breakup/divorce
• Losing custody of your child (even part of it!)
• Loss of health
• Loss of a cherished dream
• Loss of a friendship
• Losing a job
• Loss of financial stability
• A miscarriage
• Retirement
• Death of a pet
• A loved one’s serious illness
• Selling the family home

Whatever your loss, it’s personal to you, so never feel ashamed about how you feel, or believe that it’s only appropriate to grieve for certain things.

How you grieve depends on many factors, including your personality, your life experience and current situation, your environment, your faith, and how significant the loss was to you.

No matter the cause of your grief, there are healthy ways to cope with the pain that, in time, can ease your sadness and help you find new meaning, and eventually come to terms with your loss and start to look to the future.

Expect the grieving process to take time – Healing happens gradually; it can’t be forced or hurried…Some people start to feel better in weeks or months; others, in years. Be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold.

Deal with the pain – The pain will not go away faster if you ignore it – Trying to ignore your pain will only make it worse in the long run.

Showing your true feelings can help you heal faster – Crying doesn’t mean you are weak. Feeling sad, frightened, or lonely is a normal reaction to loss.

Moving on with your life does not mean forgetting about your loss – Moving on means you’ve accepted your loss—but that’s not the same as forgetting. You can move on with your life and keep the memory of someone or something you lost as an important part of you.

In 1969, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross introduced what became known as the “five stages of grief:
1. Denial: “This can’t be happening to me.”
2. Anger: “Why is this happening? Who is to blame?”
3. Bargaining: “Make this not happen, and in return I will ____.”
4. Depression: “I’m too sad to do anything.”
5. Acceptance: “I’m at peace with what happened.”

If you are experiencing any of these emotions following a loss, it may help to know that your reaction is natural and that you’ll heal in time. That said, not everyone who grieves goes through all these stages and not necessarily in that order!

Based on my personal experience and the interactions with my clients, I prefer to think of the grieving process as a roller coaster, full of ups and downs, highs and lows.

The difficult periods should become less intense and shorter as time goes by, but it takes time to work through a loss. Even years after a loss, especially at special events such as a family wedding or the birth of a child, we may still experience a strong sense of grief.

The pain of grief can often cause you to want to retreat into your shell. But having the face-to-face support of other people is vital to healing from loss. Turn to friends and family members. Now is the time to lean on the people who care about you. Accept that many people feel awkward when trying to comfort someone who’s grieving. Grief can be a confusing, sometimes frightening emotion for many people, especially if they haven’t experienced it themselves.

However, grief can feel very lonely, even when you have loved ones around. Sharing your sorrow with others who have experienced similar losses can help. To find a bereavement support group in your area, contact:


When you’re grieving, it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself. The stress of a major loss can quickly deplete your energy and emotional reserves. Looking after your physical and emotional needs will help you get through this difficult time. Try therefore to maintain your hobbies and interests.

Finally, plan for grief “triggers.” Anniversaries, holidays, and important milestones can reawaken painful memories and feelings. Be prepared for an emotional meltdown and know that it’s completely normal. You can plan by making sure that you’re not alone, for example.

Here is a summary of the key things that can help you cope with loss in a healthier way:

• Acknowledge your pain.
• Accept that grief can trigger many different and unexpected emotions.
• Understand that your grieving process will be unique to you.
• Seek out support from people who care about you.
• Support yourself emotionally by taking care of yourself physically.
• Recognize the difference between grief and depression.
• See a therapist.

I’d personally suggest you get professional help from a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist. Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is all about moving towards a more positive future and can be of great support to people experiencing loss and grief. A recent book I have read on grief and how Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can support the healing process was “Good Grief” by Dipti Tait. A good read I thought.

How To Create a Life on Your Own Terms

Do you want to conquer obstacles, make effective decisions, and create a life on your own terms?

“The Power of Agency”, by Paul Napper and Anthony Rao summarizes the essentials for managing your life by referencing and recapping the best ideas that have been written on the subject over the past few decades.

Many of us spend our lives seeking Agency. Agency is about being active rather than passive and planning effectively for your future. Call it empowerment or taking charge, agency sums up the traits and life skills we often don’t even know we lack.

Many of us feel stressed, overwhelmed, frustrated, exhausted, and powerless. But rather than identify and build the skills we need to get and stay on track, we latch onto quick-fix strategies for change, such as binge eating, substance misuse and negative self-destructive behavior.

We wish to succeed, feel good, and enjoy our families, friends, and work but too often, we keep ourselves stuck by repeating the same mistakes we’ve made before while hoping for a different outcome or giving up entirely.

The authors of the Power of Agency make the point that, due to the pull of 24/7 technology, our obsession with comparing and competing, sedentary lifestyles, and work overtaking personal time, there are an increasing number of people who have lost their ability to respond to stress.

The result is overwhelming anxiety, eroding our ability to effectively chart our own course.

The book proceeds with laying out seven agency-promoting principles to guide our lives:

Control Stimuli — this is how you can ignore distractions such as constant cell phone scrolling, Netflix or fake news which clouds your judgement.

Associate Selectivity — This is around associating with people who will help you be your best self.

Move — Staying active with exercise and other stimulating social activities can help you be less depressed and lower anxiety and stress. Sometimes doing something simple as just taking a 30 second walk every 30 minutes can make all the difference in the world.

Position Yourself as A Learner —When you can take in multiple opinions and factual sources around a topic, then you will be able to store these opinions in your memory for use on future decisions you need to make.

Manage Your Emotions and Beliefs — Since we were kids, we have been subconsciously taught our core beliefs. This comes from our parents, schooling, political affiliations, religions, and other external groups that we have been surrounded by our entire lives. Even though we may have been brought up to think one way about a certain topic, we need to be able to take a step back, learn all the facts about the situation, and not jump to a conclusion just based off what we may have learned for the first 10–15 years of our lives.

Check Your Intuition —Our intuition allows us to be able to make quick decisions based on the information that is right in front of our eyes. This is great for decisions that don’t have large impacts; however, we need to be able to control our intuition when larger decisions arise and make a more informed decision.

Deliberate, then Act — This is a simple principle. Once you have decided, carry that through.

But what really resonated with me as a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist was the following advice from this book:

  • employ patience and persistence to make small changes
  • de-clutter your surroundings and minds
  • practice mindfulness
  • say no more frequently to take care of yourself,
  • choose mentally healthy people to be around and learn how to deal effectively with those who aren’t
  • recognize and curb your emotional triggers
  • pay attention to positive and negative shifts in focus or mood
  • stay open to new learning
  • and be wary of group think and culture

The authors’ advice is best summed up as encouraging the reader to

Think carefully about where your brain is at all times

Agency is having the feeling that you’re in control of the situation at hand, and of yourself always. The book offers 7 steps for you to regain this sense of control

  1. Keep a clear head and control the number of stimuli you get
  2. Associate selectively with people
  3. Exercise and move
  4. Always position yourself as a learner no matter where you are
  5. Keep your emotions in check
  6. Learn how to read your intuition
  7. Deliberate before acting


  • Practice meditation
  • Don’t multitask
  • Filter your sources of information
  • Reduce junk information (social media)
  • Put away your phone.
  • Embrace boredom, and use it as a moment for self-reflection


  • Mix around with positive people, and you will mirror them
  • Act positively and others will follow suit
  • Don’t fall into the herd mentality
  • Learn to say No
  • Being unpopular is okay
  • Break unhealthy relationships


  • Walk more
  • Stand more
  • Learn to understand the signals your body is giving you (Hungry? Tired?)
  • Go and experience new places
  • Make sleep a priority


  • Learn to embrace failure with grace
  • Get feedback from others
  • Bounce and voice out your thoughts
  • Look from other peoples’ perspective


  • Watch beliefs from the past. They may not be valid
  • Identify emotions with names and words
  • Channel your emotions somewhere


Ask yourself 2 questions for each decision:

  • How did I arrive to that decision?
  • What other alternatives are there?

Go find your agency and enjoy your life you are living!

How to Get Rid of Bad Habits and Build New Ones

Are there things you wish you could do but don’t know how to begin? Do you struggle to understand how to break bad habits and start good ones? Do you wonder why you behave in certain ways even when you know you shouldn’t? Are you the person you want to be?

Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don’t want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change. Here are some tips on how to get rid of bad habits and build good ones.

1. Take the first smallest step and don’t get disheartened if you cannot see results straight away. Changes that seem small and unimportant will bring remarkable results if you are consistent and keep applying them to your life so

“You should be far more concerned with your current trajectory than with your current results.”

2. The most effective way to change your habits is to focus not on what you want to achieve, but on who you wish to become. What habits the person you wish to become would have?

3. To build better habits: a) make it obvious…for example if you want to drink more water in the morning leave a jug and a glass on your bedside table (b) make it attractive…you know that after drinking your morning water you can listen to your favourite audio book for 10 minutes as a reward (c) make it easy….fill the water jug the night before so you don’t have to walk to the kitchen when you wake (d) make it satisfying….add a bit of cucumber or lemon to that water to make it more interesting

4. Environment is the invisible hand that shapes human behaviour, if you want to make changes in your life, change your environment! If you want to stop eating sugar, remove the cookie jar from the kitchen top and lock it in a cupboard which is hard to reach…

5. Your outcomes are a lagging measure of your habits. Your weight is a lagging measure of your eating habits. Your knowledge is a lagging measure of your learning habits. Your clutter is a lagging measure of your cleaning habits. You get what you repeat…so repeat, repeat, and repeat!

6. Time magnifies the margin between success and failure. It will multiply whatever you feed it.

“Good habits make time your ally. Bad habits make time your enemy…Breakthrough moments are often the result of many previous actions, which build up the potential required to unleash a major change.

Habits are a double-edged sword. They can work for you or against you, which is why understanding the details is essential.”

7. There are three layers of behaviour change: a change in your outcomes, or a change in your identity. Outcomes are about what you get. Identity is about what you believe. With outcome-based habits, the focus is on what you want to achieve. With identity-based habits, the focus is on who you wish to become. It is a simple two-step process: Decide the type of person you want to be. Prove it to yourself with small wins. Ask yourself, who is the type of person that could get the outcome I want?

“The ultimate form of intrinsic motivation is when a habit becomes part of your identity…The real reason habits matter is not because they can get you better results (although they can do that), but because they can change your beliefs about yourself.”

8. A habit is a behaviour that has been repeated enough times to become automatic. The ultimate purpose of habits is to solve the problems of life with as little energy and effort as possible.

9.  The process of behaviour change always starts with awareness. You need to be aware of your habits before you can change them. Writing a list of habits, you have from the time you wake up in the morning to the time you go to sleep is a good idea…you can then label them as positive or negative depending on whether they will help you become the person you want to be. The Habits Scorecard is a simple exercise you can use to become more aware of your behaviour.

10. One of the best ways to build a new habit is to identify a current habit you already do each day and then stack your new behaviour on top. This is called habit stacking.


“The habit stacking formula is: ‘After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT].’”

11. Creating an implementation intention is a strategy you can use to pair a new habit with a specific time and location. Gradually, your habits become associated not with a single trigger but with the entire context surrounding the behaviour. The context becomes the cue.

“The implementation intention formula is I will [BEHAVIOR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION].”

12. It is easier to build new habits in a new environment because you are not fighting against old cues. Changing environment (or routine) to build a new habit or get rid of a bad one is generally a good idea.

13. People with high self-control tend to spend less time in tempting situations. It’s easier to avoid temptation than resist it. One of the most practical ways to eliminate a bad habit is to reduce exposure to the cue that causes it.

14. The more attractive an opportunity is, the more likely it is to become habit-forming. It is the anticipation of a reward—not the fulfilment of it—that gets us to act. The greater the anticipation, the greater the dopamine spike. Temptation bundling is one way to make your habits more attractive. The strategy is to pair an action you want to do with an action you need to do.

“Habits are a dopamine-driven feedback loop. When dopamine rises, so does our motivation to act.”

15. We tend to adopt habits that are praised and approved of by our culture because we have a strong desire to fit in and belong to the tribe. We tend to imitate the habits of three social groups: the close (family and friends), the many (the tribe), and the powerful (those with status and prestige). One of the most effective things you can do to build better habits is to join a culture where (1) your desired behaviour is the normal behaviour and (2) you already have something in common with the group.

16. Habits are attractive when we associate them with positive feelings and unattractive when we associate them with negative feelings. Create a motivation ritual by doing something you enjoy immediately before a difficult habit.

17. The most effective form of learning is practice, not planning. Focus on acting as habit formation is the process by which a behaviour becomes progressively more automatic through repetition.

“The amount of time you have been performing a habit is not as important as the number of times you have performed it.”

18. We will naturally gravitate toward the option that requires the least amount of work. Create an environment where doing the right thing is as easy as possible. For example, if you want to go to the gym after work, keep your gym bag in the car so you don’t have to pass through home.

19. The more you ritualize the beginning of a process, the more likely it becomes that you can slip into the state of deep focus that is required to do great things.

20. We are more likely to repeat a behaviour when the experience is satisfying. The human brain evolved to prioritize immediate rewards over delayed rewards. To get a habit to stick you need to feel immediately successful—even if it’s in a small way. One of the most satisfying feelings is the feeling of making progress. A habit tracker is a simple way to measure whether you did a habit—like marking an X on a calendar.

“Habit trackers and other visual forms of measurement can make your habits satisfying by providing clear evidence of your progress.”

21. Never miss twice. If you miss one day, try to get back on track as quickly as possible.

22. We are less likely to repeat a bad habit if it is painful or unsatisfying. An accountability partner can create an immediate cost to inaction. We care deeply about what others think of us, and we do not want others to have a lesser opinion of us.

23. Habits are easier when they align with your natural abilities. Choose the habits that best suit you. If you want to become fitter and you like socialising join a Rowing Team as opposed as spending hours jogging on your own.

“The greatest threat to success is not failure but boredom.”

According to James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, the holy grail of habit change is not a single 1 percent improvement, but a thousand of them. It is a bunch of atomic habits stacking up, each one a fundamental unit of the overall system. Each improvement is like adding a grain of sand to the positive side of the scale slowly tilting things in your favour. Success is not a goal to reach or a finish life to cross. It is a system to improve, an endless process to refine. The secret to getting results that last is to never stop making improvements. It is remarkable what you can build if you just don’t stop….

James Clear is an American author, entrepreneur, and photographer whose work on habits and human potential focuses on how we can live better. He writes about habits and human potential and the art and science of how to live better. James believes the best way to change the world is in concentric circles: starting with yourself and working your way out from there. His newest book, Atomic Habits, was released in October 2018.