How Cognitive Hypnotherapy and yoga can share the same space.
A very special guest post from Sally Heady. Lawyer, Cognitive Hypnotherapist and Yogi...
A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending Mick’s expertly led workshop ‘Be the architect of your own world’. Three hours sped by as we were guided through the expected (gentle yoga postures, deep relaxation, breathing exercises) to the slightly less-travelled terrain of conscious introspection where we were taught key principles to leading a happier, fulfilled life.
As a lawyer and Cognitive Hypnotherapist I am a pragmatist at heart which is why this workshop appealed to me. I am always on the lookout for practical tools for change, as simply telling myself not to worry doesn’t tend to get me, or my clients, very far.
On leaving the workshop I was struck by the similarities between Mick’s work and the messages I try to convey to clients as a Cognitive Hypnotherapist:
We make up our own reality
This is an idea that is sometimes met with a raised eyebrow. But it is absolutely true. We only experience reality through information that is filtered in through our five senses. Interpretation of our reality is constructed by our brain, based on experiences and memories that are created over our lifetime and are stored unconsciously.
Why is it that some people can just stand up in front of a room of people and confidently deliver a presentation, cracking jokes without even breaking a sweat? And for others the mere thought of standing up in front people leaves them feeling sick, pale, shaking and sprint in the opposite direction?
The difference lies in the perceiver, normally as a result of the unconscious patterns the brain has created based on past events. If you were routinely humiliated by an evil Mrs Trunchbull-esque character when you stood up in front of class, you are more likely to develop a fear of public speaking. Either way, both presenters will experience an identical situation in completely different ways which will feel equally ‘real’ to them.
Tools for change
The good news is that there is such a thing as ‘neuroplasticity’; the structure of our brains can be changed and unhelpful memories or emotions don’t have to hold us back the way they used to. Whilst I use a range of techniques to resolve specific problems or achieve certain goals, I utilise some key principles shared with yoga that can enhance anyone’s general well-being. Here are just a couple of examples of how we can shift our perception:
- Utilising the power of the mind/body connection– many negative emotions are accompanied by physical sensations. Common examples are feeling sick, fatigued, increased heart rate, sweating or blushing. As emotions can create a physical response in the body, we can use the body to calm the mind. In yoga deep, mindful breathing is used to gently and easily calm the body and slow the mind down. I am a huge advocate of the 7/11 breath (in for 7 seconds, out for 10), which has brought great results for clients in interviews and driving tests.
- The power of kindness – studies in positive psychology have shown that kindness makes us feel good. When we give to others and look outside of ourselves our stress levels decrease, we tend to feel more optimistic and we gain an increased sense of gratitude even when we are doing the giving. Thousands of years before these studies were conceived, Yoga tradition has promoted the power of love, kindness and compassion for a greater sense of well-being.
If you want to learn more about how Cognitive Hypnotherapy can empower you in relation to specific issues or goals in your life then feel free to visit my website.
About Sally: I love working with clients to help them achieve their goal, in a way that works for them. If you are interested in working with me then please contact me for a free initial consultation and we can talk about how Cognitive Hypnotherapy could benefit you.
My sessions take place in Deansgate, Manchester.
Click here to see Mick’s next workshop. Happy Spontaneous Me. A special creative flow workshop as part of the the Chorlton Arts Festival.