- The Winner of the Tablet AND How Much Did We Raise For The ROYAL MARINES CHARITABLE TRUST?
- How hypnotherapy can help with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Duncan’s weight loss and mud run challenge
- Duncan’s Weight Loss Challenge – Part 7 How did I do after 90 days? The results are in
- How to improve the appearance of your skin, what ever your age or skin type
The Happiness Revolution
Recent news has held a number of articles showing an increase of people, mainly servicemen, suffering from, and seeking help for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). But what is PTSD? How would you know if you’re suffering from it? How can you help yourself? And how can you get help?
Before becoming a therapist I served in both the military and the police, so I’ve seen my fair share of traumatic events. I’ve suffered from a form of PTSD following a life-changing accident, and seen a number of others suffer from the symptoms of PTSD. I’ve helped a number of people suffering from this, often hidden, disease.
What is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and how can you help?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop following any traumatic event that makes a person feel helpless or threatens their safety. In the main PTSD is associated with battle-scarred soldiers (combat is the most common cause in men) but any life experience that overwhelms you can trigger PTSD, especially when a person feels out of control. Some examples would include: War, Natural disasters, Car or plane crashes, Terrorist attacks, Sudden death of a loved one, Rape, Kidnapping, Assault, Sexual or physical abuse, Childhood neglect or any other event that leaves a person feeling trapped or helpless.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can affect those who personally experience the catastrophe, those who witness it, and those who pick up the pieces afterwards, including emergency workers and police officers. It can even occur in the friends or family members of those who went through the actual trauma.
Main types of PTSD symptoms:
- Re-experiencing the traumatic event
- Intrusive, upsetting memories of the event
- Flashbacks (acting or feeling like the event is happening again)
- Nightmares (either of the event or of other frightening things)
- Feelings of intense distress when reminded of the trauma
- Intense physical reactions to reminders of the event (e.g. pounding heart, rapid breathing, nausea, muscle tension, sweating)
- Avoiding reminders of the trauma
- Avoiding activities, places, thoughts, or feelings that remind you of the trauma
- Inability to remember important aspects of the trauma
- Loss of interest in activities and life in general
- Feeling detached from others and emotionally numb
- Sense of a limited future (you don’t expect to live a normal life span, get married, have a career)
- Increased anxiety and emotional arousal
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Irritability or outbursts of anger
- Difficulty concentrating
- Hyper vigilance (constant “red alert”)
- Feeling jumpy and easily startled
- Other common symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Anger and irritability
- Guilt, shame, or self-blame
- Substance abuse
- Feelings of mistrust and betrayal
- Depression and hopelessness
- Suicidal thoughts and feelings
- Feeling alienated and alone
- Physical aches and pains
PTSD shows differently from person to person and while the symptoms of PTSD most commonly develop in the hours or days following the traumatic event, it can sometimes take weeks, months, or even years before they appear.
How PTSD differs from a normal trauma response
Following any traumatic event almost everyone would show some symptoms of PTSD. It’s quite normal to feel stress, or numb, in, and following, a stressful situation. It’s very common to have bad dreams, feel fearful, and find it difficult to stop thinking about what happened. These are normal reactions to abnormal events. In the majority of people these feelings are short-lived. They may last for several days or even weeks, but over time they ease. With PTSD the symptoms don’t improve, things don’t get better and they may even get worse. When a person gets stuck in a past event stress becomes PTSD and the sufferer remains in psychological shock. Their memory of what happened and feelings about it are disconnected.
How can I help myself if I’m suffering from PTSD?
Reach out to others for support
You may be tempted to withdraw from your loved ones or from society in general. But it’s important to stay connected to life and the people who care about you. Support from other people is vital to your recovery from PTSD, so ask your close friends and family members for their help.
Consider a support group, where you can share and help each other through this time. Support groups for PTSD can help you feel less isolated and alone. No local support group? Look for an online group.
Avoid alcohol and drugs
You may be tempted to turn to alcohol or drugs. But while they may temporarily make you feel better, they actually make things worse in the long run. Drug use worsens many symptoms of PTSD, such as emotional numbing, social isolation, anger, and depression. It also interferes with treatment and can add to problems at home and in your relationships.
Challenge your sense of helplessness
Overcoming your sense of helplessness is key to overcoming PTSD. Trauma leaves you feeling powerless and vulnerable so it’s important to remind yourself that you have strengths and coping skills that can get you through tough times. You could try volunteering your time, giving blood, reaching out to a friend in need, or donating to your favourite charity. Direct positive action empowers you and challenges any sense of helplessness.
Practice relaxation or meditation techniques
Find someone who can help with learning to meditate or can help you achieve a deeply relaxed state. There are many meditation teachers, and groups to help with this. Ananda Healing offers such services with Amanda Lund-Batchelor.
Spend time in nature
Fresh air and nature helps to bring about a sense of peace in many people. Studies have shown that an aimless walk in a quiet place can help to change the chemical balance of the brain and body, easing symptoms of PTSD and providing positive health benefits too. Focusing on strenuous outdoor activities can also help challenge your sense of helplessness and move on from the traumatic event. Evidence suggests that servicemen pursuing outdoor activities like hiking, camping, mountain biking, rock climbing etc may help with PTSD symptoms and ease transition back into civilian life.
What help and treatment can I get with PTSD?
There are many different treatments that you can seek to help with PTSD. Being a master hypnotherapist and Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner I will focus on those. Especially when you take into account the following facts and figures. In “Psychotherapy” magazine (Volume 7, Number 1), different types of techniques were reviewed, the techniques that proved to generate the greatest success in providing lasting change were the following (listed in order of success rate)*:
- Hypnosis : 93% recovery after 6 sessions (approx. 1 1/2 months @ 1 session per week).
- Behaviour Therapy : 72% after 22 sessions (approx. 6 months @ 1 session per week).
- Psychotherapy : 38% recovery after 600 sessions (approx. 11 1/2 yrs @ 1 session per week).
Early treatment is always going to be preferable, so if you, or a loved one, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, contact Duncan from Ananda Healing to find out how he can help. As an additional benefit of the therapy at Ananda Healing, Duncan will donate 25% of all treatment fees to the Help for Heroes charity.
* Figures taken from healmyptsd.com
During the last few months, I have been doing a lot of reading of the recent studies of research into baby/child brain development. Research now suggests that a baby’s brain will not develop correctly without the correct stimulus. Makes sense I hear to say. So what is the most important stimuli? Well hugging, holding, making eye contact, allowing your child to know it is loved, which in turn will allow your child to develop attachment to you and to others, seems to be the biggest and most important. Again, makes sense.
Now I am not a child psychologist, but what I see here on many occasions, are people needing that same stimulus; the need to be held, listened to (with eye contact) and to feel they are cared for, even if they have only popped in for a manicure!
So, what is my point?
Simply, that we are born with the desire/need to be loved and that lasts our lifetime.
Today, as you go about your day, make sure you make at least one person feel loved. Now I am not sure if that will change anyone’s brain development but it will make a difference – I promise!
As a Neuro Linguistic Programming Master Practitioner I like to think that I’m an architect of my life, in fact I know that am, but what are you? Are you a victim of circumstances in your life or do you create a life that’s worth living?
The thing I love about the therapies I use at Ananda Healing to help people, is that pretty much everyone walks in as a victim and leaves as an architect, at least in respect of their old problem. The important difference between the victim and the architect is that the victim sees no choice, whereas the architect sees nothing but choice.
I read a simple equation by a wonderful man called Jack Canfield – E + R = O, Event + Reaction = Outcome. The majority of victims will focus entirely on the events of their lives, blaming their problem(s) on things they cannot change, for example, I’m not clever because I’m dyslexic, or I’m late because of the weather. We can all find excuses for the way we are, and we can all believe them too! How about accepting that the weather may be terrible and then plan so you can deal with it. It is the same with any problem. “Easy for Him to say” I can hear you utter, I mean what has he had to cope with? What challenges has he had to face? For one a broken back and a load of titanium screws stuck in my spine! So what do I focus on? Well not the problem, that I cannot change, instead I focus on what I can do in spite of it and create my life! The common theme you will see for ALL people that have overcome great adversity is that they accept they cannot change what has happened, and focus on what they can do!
Having said all that, we all have our moments when we cross from architect to victim and back again. For example, this very morning I had a phone call I didn’t want to get. I started to say to myself “why does this have to happen to me?”. Then I stopped, reminded myself that I can’t change the event, and brought myself to a peaceful acceptance. I don’t get angry with myself for having done that, because again I can’t change what has happened, just learn from it.
So here’s a challenge for you. Just for today, when things happen and you find yourself stepping over to the become a victim, take a breath, STOP, just for a few moments, and breathe. Accept that you cannot change the event and let it go. NOW, NOTICE HOW YOU FEEL. Do you feel better? I’d be willing to bet that you do. Now isn’t that better than raging against things you can’t change? Imagine having that feeling throughout the day, week, month or year.
I love to help people to learn these simple lessons of life, take responsibility for their lives, and create a better life for themselves. That was why we started Ananda Healing, why we are so passionate about it, and a source of great pleasure for us.
We have always know that long-term stress is bad for you – the constant and prolonged release of the stress hormone cortisol is associated with a number of serious effects including high blood pressure, suppressed immunity, decreased bone density, impaired cognitive performance and many others. However, have you noticed the amount of recent research on exactly how bad it is for you there has been lately?
A recent study for the Lancet by Prof Andrew Steptoe indicates work related stress causes a 23% increase in the risk of heart attacks
Researchers in the US have now analysed the brain tissue from depressed & stressed individuals and discovered a brain shrinkage. It is believed the stress blocks the formation of new nerve connections disrupting the circuits associated with mental and emotional function, how stress and depression shrink the brain
More recently, Professor Sarah Berga of Emory University of Atlanta has released her research on the link between stress and infertility
SO – WHAT CAN YOU DO?
You have got to work. You can’t give your teenagers away (nice thought maybe) and the house/garden etc is not going to do itself. (Roll on the invention of the self-cleaning house we say!)
It is all about finding something you can do , for yourself, to reduce your personal stress levels and increase your levels of relaxation. What you do is going to be down to personal choice, but you have to find it, schedule it in and commit to it. After all, how hard would it really be to schedule in a weekly massage take a 20min walk in the park/ practice meditation? ANSWER – Not very hard, unless your stress levels are already becoming chronic and impacting on your mental well-being – then what? We would always recommend you visit your GP to get a correct diagnosis and then, any good GP will recommend a talking/counselling therapy. Again, who you choose should be a personal choice but we would recommend an ‘off the record’ chat with any potental therapist before committing. We always provide a free consultation either in person or by telephone before we would even allow a client to make an appointment for our hypnotherapy or NLP. You really need to feel you could trust and feel comfortable with your therapist to ge the best results.
We believe prolonged and/or chronic stress is a silent killer of our age. Do not ignore it. Have a look at some of the symptoms listed below:
- Difficulty with sleeping
- Constant tiredness
- Aching/tense muscles
- Deminished Libido
- Weight gain or loss (not due to dieting)
- Increased alcohol or drug intake
Do more than one of these apply to you?
Yes? GET SOME HELP
I’d like to share with you a tale of courage, grace and wonderful peace. It’s still difficult to write these words as they are incredibly personal to me, but they need to be shared and celebrated. As some of you may know a few weeks ago we found out that my mother was terminally ill. I have to admit my world was thrown into one of panic and pain. I was devastated! The woman who had given birth to me and raised me was soon to be gone. We madly dashed to the hospital, a surreal journey followed by a more surreal experience. We were told that the medical staff had done all they could for her, she was terminal and they didn’t think she would have long! Speaking to my mum though she was totally calm, totally at peace and she explained that we all have a certain amount of time and when it’s our time to go, we should accept it and quietly, gently move on. I’ve heard these sayings before, generally from people who haven’t faced real adversity. This was a display of actions versus just words. Mum’s sense of peace with the World, and her belief in God, gave her such grace and courage to face the end of her life with a smile.
During the next couple of weeks she initially stayed in hospital and started to even rally a bit, determined to get herself well enough to come home, to the house she had built with my dad and lived in for 35 years. She knew she was coming home to die, to pass from this World to the next and that held no fear for her! Mum never asked, “Why me?” She never showed any anger about her fate.
During that time I was blessed to have the support of a wonderful wife and my family who came together to deal with the inevitable. We spoke about what she wanted; she wrote the order of service and detailed what she wanted for her cremation and thanks giving service. She even wrote her own goodbye message to be read out.
I came to the conclusion that if mum could deal with her imminent death with grace, courage and peace then so must I. I determined that I would practice what I preach and use the techniques we teach in the Happiness Revolution to deal with the grief and help me through the tough times. Now don’t get me wrong I still feel grief at the loss of my mum, how could I not. But by focusing on the great memories, the peace she displayed and her beautiful grace, has given me so much more peace than I would otherwise be feeling right now.
Now I’m not saying that we shouldn’t fight for life, or fight for what’s right. But, we have to realise that when there are things we cannot change, raging against them will not do any good. Fighting against what we cannot change is futile, so we need accept what we cannot change to find our true happiness. And true happiness can give us such peace and grace throughout the most difficult of times.
I’ve managed to find the peace within, thanks to the guidance and grace of my mum, practicing regular meditation, and focusing on the great things we have shared and still share. I would love the chance to help you to find your inner peace, and happiness. That is why I ran the first Happiness Revolution recently and why I’m extending it soon to incorporate videos.
Contact us to:
- Learn to meditate
- Purchase guided meditations (a brilliant introduction to deep relaxation and meditation)
- Find your inner peace through the Happiness Revolution
- Share your stories of courage and peace in the face of adversity
We would also love to hear stories of others who have found peace and courage in times of adversity, and share these with our readers.
Amanda and I often will always recommend that people learn to meditate, and you always have that option at Ananda Healing. But, what if you don’t want to learn to meditate? What if you don’t have the time right now? How can you quickly and easily gain the benefits of meditation (more about those in a bit) without having to go through the process of learning the skills? Guided meditations are an easy way to gain some of the benefits of meditation, the easy path if you like. You get the deep relaxation and the health benefits that brings whilst listening to a Cd (or even an mp3 on your phone, or mp3 player). Now, I’m not suggesting that this is instead of learning to meditate with Amanda (which is a brilliant course, and worth every single penny), but simply that you can get some benefits immediately.
What are the benefits of meditation?
The benefits of meditation are many-fold, such as:
- Reduced Stress and anxiety by an opportunity to spend time by ourselves, without feeling at the beck and call of others.
- Reduced probability of heart disease. There is a growing awareness of the link between our state of mind and physical health. Quite often physical ailments are symptoms of inner turmoil.
- Happiness and Peace of Mind. Is there anybody who does not, in some way, seek after happiness? Meditation takes us to the source of happiness, which is to be found in our own peace of mind.
- Reduced pain for existing injuries and illnesses (I know a great deal about this one, and can definitely vouch for the power of meditation to ease pain).
- Control of your own thoughts. Increased positivity. Have a look at the Happiness Revolution for example.
- Detachment. It’s easy to get caught up by the rush of today’s world and it’s demands on us, detachment helps us to gain perspective.
- Concentration which is essential to fulfill our potential. When we have concentration we can do more in less time.
- Spontaneity and Creativity. Your creativity comes from your unconscious mind, and meditation helps us to access this part of the mind, allowing our creative side to come to the fore.
- Discovering the Purpose of your life. If you feel perfect contentment and happiness then, at the moment, meditation is not necessary, if not then meditation can be of great help. In meditation we gain a new perspective of life, uncoloured by our own egoistic perspective.
Why Guided Meditation rather than a Meditation Course?
Meditation takes time and perseverance, which is where a course comes in. You can’t expect to gain all the above benefits in the first few attempts and without some form of guidance. It takes time and effort to tame the mind. This is where a guided meditation comes in. During guided meditation you will be directed on a journey to deep relaxation, a place of wonderful peace. So you can gain a number of the above benefits without the need for meditation courses or tuition.
Also guided meditation helps to remove external distractions. The use of background music and noise help to block out external noises that otherwise may distract your meditation. In addition it provides a “story” to follow which will engage the mind and draw it gently to the meditative state.
Above all guided meditation allows you to start meditating immediately and helps to remove distractions.
So what’s so special about the Guided Meditations from Ananda Healing?
Each of our meditation tracks:
- is written and recorded by experienced professionals, mainly Amanda, so you receive the benefits of targeted language.
- uses soothing soft background noise to mask external and internal interferences.
- utilises bilateral sounds across all soundtracks to facilitate brain hemisphere synchronisation.
- adds Brainwave Entrainment techniques. Binaural/monaural beats and isochronic tones.
What we have done is to combine ancient meditation techniques with the modern science and the best technology available to deeply relax the mind which will help you to relax easily and effortlessly, and get the most out of your meditation time!
Amanda and I will be organising meditation groups soon, and we hope to see you there!
I have to say, our clients are really very generous in their appreciation. We are never short of testimonials for our website and everyone is more than willing to say how well we did, how much better they feel etc. So this got me thinking – when was the last time I said THANK YOU to someone for what they had done for me? In fact, just how much do I take people for granted in my day to day life? You have a think about it now? Did you say thanks to your spouse today? I am pretty sure they did at least one thing today that deserved a THANK YOU! What about your Mum? Mums are always doing things for us but when was the last time you acknowledged this? We all lead increasingly fast paced, pressured lives but just for a few moments STOP! Stop and just think about all the people that deserve a nice big fat THANK YOU! Now all you need to do is make sure you deliver it 🙂
And THANK YOU to you for taking the time to read this. Let me know if it made a difference to your day
When asked what surprised him most about humanity, he answered –
Man, because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices his money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he doesn’t enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die and then dies having never really lived
Maybe we should take a few moments today to really think about what is being said here. Can you apply any of this to your own life? Does it resonate with you? And if it does, what can you do about it?
When I saw these words today, I was so grateful to my dad for insisting on our family all learning to meditate. Meditation is the greatest gift and the best way to avoid the trap the Dalai Lama is describing. It allows you to be in the present, and not to be the slave to your thoughts. It gives you peace in an increasingly stressful world. It gives you clarity from all the confusion.
So take those few moments today. Close your eyes, feel your feet on the ground, take a deep breath in and then slowly exhale as if you are pushing the breath down to your feet and into the ground. Do this a few times, whilst concentrating of the breath and nothing else. If thoughts arise, just let them pass and bring the attention back to the breath. Open your eyes and look around you, really see the colours, hear the sounds, feel the air. Then you can say, just for a few moments, you lived in the present today. Feels good doesnt it?
Did you know, according to recent research from Sweden, couples where one partner commutes are 40% more likely to divorce?
Other research has shown commuters have increased risk of obesity, insomnia, stress and muscle aches.
What exactly does this research tell you then? Well no more that we already suspected and that is –
COMMUTING REALLY IS NOT GOOD FOR YOU AND IT CERTAINLY ISNT ANY FUN
So what can you do to improve your lot as a commuter?
The first and most obvious thing is to move house or change your job but if that were possible you would have done it already right? So could there be answers elsewhere?
Well, as a therapist I would say “Yes”
The immediate issue to address is the stress. Long term stress has an impact on the mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. In fact, it is argued that the obesity, insomnia and muscle discomfort and even the divorce rate, are all the effects of the stress.
How do we relieve this stress?
This is down to personal choice – it may be joing the gym, jogging, taking up a new hobby. As long as it is healthy it will help – The key word here is healthy. Many a stressed individual has sought relaxation in the form of drugs or alcohol but the answer is not found here, only more problems.
I would certainly recommend regular relaxation treats such as massage to improve your wellbeing. However, by far, the single most significant and achievable change you can make for the benefit of your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing is LEARN TO MEDITATE
It is simple, easy to learn and may well change your life – it will certainly change your health
Simply it is a collage you make using photos, magazine cutouts, anything you like that gives you a clear image of what you want from your life, whatever you desire. In other words, it should depict a clear visual focus for where you want your life to be. Once done it should be placed somewhere prominent so that it gives you a constant prompt of the direction you want to travel.
Without focus, it is the human condition, for most of us anyway, to meander though life reacting to what ever happens to us on a daily basis. We may have a vague idea of the job or business we want, the partner we would like, the children, the holiday, the house etc. but without any real, clear vision. A vision board is a fun way to give you that clarity to discover exactly what you want! Brilliant!
What you need and how?
Materials – a board, glue or pins, magazines, photos etc
It is a good idea to set time aside and come to settle before you start. Just sit quietly and focus on your breath for a few moments and then just ask yourself “What do I really want?” and then go for it! Start looking through the magazines and photos to find the ones that best depict your goals and dreams.
If you are getting stuck with how to Vision Board we have recommended a couple of products available at Amazon
We are also currently putting together a Vision Boarding and Goal Setting workshop which will be held soon in our brand new treatment and training room. This will be a great, hands on workshop and you’ll get plenty of chance and guidance on exactly how to discover what you really want, create your vision of the future on the board and how to maintain the focus to actually achieve your goals. As we do at Ananda Healing we’re merging traditional meditation and relaxation techniques with the science and art of neuro linguistic programming, NLP, to give you the very best tools to get to where you want, and deserve, to be! It will be fantastic fun, whilst being a great challenge.
Drop us an email or call us on, 01342 842 098 / 07917 730 944, if you would like to pre-register your interest.
Can I do this with friends?
Yes! Why not through a vision boarding party! Invite some friends, get the cakes out and spend a few hours together. The more enjoyable you make it, the more effective it will be for you. Also simply by sharing your vision of your own future with your friends you’ll make it more real and achievable.
Once you have collect the works and pictures you feel best capture the image of your future you can start arranging them on your board. You may want to discard some at this point. REMEMBER – they need to capture your dream in one. Just keep your intent and focus and ask yourself with each cutting “Is this really what I want?”