Blog | Clinical hypnotherapist David Samson in London

10 Harley Street  |  London  |  W1G 9PF

 Mill Hill  |  North London  |  NW7 3AA


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Ten Top Tips to Help You Sleep Better

1). I know it is obvious but the most important thing is that your bedroom should be set up to give you the best possible environment for a peaceful and quality night's sleep. Neither hot nor cold, minimal light and noise etc. A quality mattress that is suitable for you is very important.

2). Try and set yourself regular sleep times; go to bed and get up at approximately the same time every day, including weekends...sorry about that! This will programme your body to adopt a good sleeping pattern

3). Regular exercise will really help you to sleep better...but only moderate exercise please...running a marathon before you go to bed will have the opposite effect!

4). So now the standard, Red Bull and Coca Cola. You have heard it a million times but please avoid! These are heavily laden with caffeine and will keep you wired and unable to sleep. How about a good old fashioned warm drink with milk at bedtime?

5). Alcohol...yes alcohol...a few glasses will probably help you to get to sleep initially but after a few hours you will be wide awake and probably won't be able to get back to sleep

6). Quit the we all know, nicotine contains a stimulant which means that if you smoke it will take you longer to fall asleep and your sleep is more likely to be disrupted. Click here for Stop Smoking info.

7). Relaxing before bedtime will really help...listening to some chilled out music but not Metallica!...maybe listen to a relaxation download (click here for a free 16 minute mp3)

8). Daytime naps can be very pleasant but they don't make up for lack of night time sleep and can interfere with the development of good sleeping patterns

9). A glass of water just before bedtime will help keep you hydrated throughout the night. Early waking is sometimes caused by dehydration rather than something else...and no, it doesn't mean that you will have to get up more in the night for a pee!

10). ...and finally...the Golden Rule...bed is for the two 'S's...that's Sleep and Sex...not iPads / phones / video games etc!

Sleep well!

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By David Samson -  Hypnotherapy London

How Is The New Year Diet Going?

So here we are...a week into the New Year...back at work and now the long wait until pay day. How is the diet going? Any slip ups or are you sticking to your new healthy regime or have you fallen off the wagon completely? Here are some tips to help you keep on track.

1). Start to think of hunger in two ways...firstly TRUE hunger...that is when you PHYSICALLY need food and secondly EMOTIONAL hunger...for example needing to eat something because of an emotional feeling rather than a physical need.

2). Every time you feel hunger, stop for ten seconds and think why you really need what it is you are craving. For example...being desperate for a bar of chocolate at 10:00am has nothing to do with physical is an emotion that is triggering this. It may not be obvious but will probably fall into one of these categories...a fear of loneliness, a fear of abandonment or a fear of rejection. I know these words seem pretty heavy but deep within the subconscious, these fears are more often than not the cause of emotional overeating. 

3). If it is a person who is triggering your emotional hunger, for example being in an unhappy you really want that person to decide what you eat and ultimately what your body shape is? Get angry...become even more determined that you will make your own eating choices...not them!

4). Don't try to reach a seemingly unattainable target...use a technique I call 'Little Victories'...small, easy to attain targets that will encourage you to go further.

5). Don't beat yourself up if you have a blip. Most diets fail because a bad day then causes the wheels to come off! Have a blip...then start afresh the next day. Work on the 80 / 20 principle, that is 80% of your eating will be healthy and 20% not so.

6). This might sound selfish but it isn't...always put yourself first. I repeat... always put yourself first. Why? Simple...when you feel better about yourself, everybody wins...but especially YOU!

Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year.

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By David Samson - London Clinical Hypnotherapist

Christmas Isn't Happy For Everyone

Christmas and New Year are rapidly approaching and there is much excitement about the forthcoming festivities. However, this time of year is not a happy one for many people.

The loss of a member of the family or a close friend during the year is magnified during the holiday season. The thought that a particular person was with you at this time last year is a stark reminder of the loss you are feeling.

Think back to when you were a child...the innocence...the excitement of Father Christmas' visit with a sack full of toys... all the family together for fun and laughter. As we grow older however, the responsibilities and reality can hit home and quite hard.

Instead of attaching negative thoughts to those memories, why not embrace them and do things this Christmas to keep your departed loved ones fresh in your mind?

Here are some tips that may help you this Christmas...

1). Whatever you feel...just accept it. It may sadness or laughter or a combination of the two. Don't try and fight is perfectly natural!

2). Your love for a person doesn't stop when they about them, especially positive memories and don't be afraid to laugh.

3). Don't be afraid to excuse yourself if it all begins to get too much...just take yourself off for a while and have a quiet moment until you are ready to rejoin the festivities.

4). Perhaps make some changes to traditions...acknowledge that things will be different from now on and plan something new.

5). Be honest with your with family and friends...don't be afraid to tell them what you're feeling and explain what you may need during the festivities to help you cope.

6). Finally, do what is best for you...don't place yourself under pressure or set unrealistic goals.

Wishing you all a safe and peaceful Christmas.

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(London Hypnotherapist David Samson has Hypnotherapy clinics in Harley Street W1G 9PF and North London)

Hypnotherapy For Pain Relief

Since the 1800's, hypnosis has been used to help reduce pain. Scottish surgeon James Esdaile developed techniques that allowed him to perform hypnosis-assisted painless surgery using mental anaesthesia which considerably reduced post-operative mortality rates.

Pain can split into two types...chronic and acute. Chronic pain persists from a few months to, in extreme cases, a lifetime. The effects of chronic pain are quite debilitating and include irritability, frustration, anger, depression and in some cases suicide.

Acute pain can be as intense but is caused by a specific disease or injury. It has a sudden onset but disappears after a short period of time with no lasting after effects.

Whether chronic or acute, mental anaesthesia (or hypno-analgesia) has been successfully used in surgical procedures to reduce or remove pain.

So how is hypnosis able to reduce pain? The brain produces its own painkillers...these are called endorphins. When we are in a relaxed and positive frame of mind, the prefrontal cortex of the brain decreases blood flow down into the parts of the spinal cord that let pain signals through and endorphins subsequently stop the pain signals from reaching the brain.

Anxiety about the pain or the subsequent effects of the pain or just anxiety in general can block the body's natural pain relief mechanism.

Hypnosis can reduce the stress and anxiety which then allows the endorphins to do their work and in addition can help develop a more positive outlook leading to faster recovery.

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Hypnotherapy in London with David Samson

Fear of commitment is a fear of rejection...

A common cry from my clients in my Hypnotherapy clinic in London is 'I have finally found the partner of my dreams...why am I feeling so anxious and want to end the relationship?'

This issue is more common than you may think and has resulted in huge numbers of relationships foundering.

In order to explain what is happening here we need to look at the mechanism of the human brain. The brain is divided into two sections...the conscious (i.e. the logical, analytical, intelligent part) which takes up approximately 10% of the brain and the subconscious which takes up the remaining 90% and is the bit 'behind the locked door.'

Everything we have ever seen, felt, heard or smelt is recorded permanently somewhere in the brain...nothing ever gets deleted. Until the age of approximately six years, the majority of this data is deposited in the subconscious...and this is the part that is very relevant to fear.

Early childhood events shape us...they mould us into the adults we will become. Negative experiences when young create files in our subconscious that are still referred to many years later...some of our behaviour as adults is actually the young child within us dictating our attitudes and responses.

A recent client described at our first meeting how he just wanted to meet a lovely lady, get married and have children. He explained that as soon as a relationship became serious he felt compelled to end it.

Whilst in hypnosis, he remembered a situation where he was around 3 years old and his father came in drunk and began physically and verbally abusing his mother. Their marriage failed, and he subsequently witnessed his mother constantly repeating the unhappy, abortive process with other partners.

As an adult he consciously wanted nothing more than to settle down and have a family. His subconscious had other ideas and actually felt it was 'protecting' him when he ended a relationship that had been moving in the right direction. His childhood observation of his mother's disastrous relationships had caused him to be wary and mistrustful of commitment.

A person suffering with commitment phobia needs to identify the root cause of their issue before they can successfully move on. Regression Hypnotherapy enables hidden early childhood memories and emotions to be revealed and then subsequently processed as an adult, rather than the young child that originally experienced them.

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(London Hypnotherapist David Samson has Hypnotherapy clinics in Harley Street W1G 9PF and North London)

Loneliness, Abandonment and Rejection

I have been practising as a Clinical Hypnotherapist for nearly fifteen years from my clinic in Harley Street. I am often asked 'what is the most common issue you treat?' The answer is simple...the overwhelming majority of clients I treat are suffering with a fear of loneliness, abandonment or rejection (or a combination of these).

Loneliness is a serious is regarded alongside smoking as a high risk factor for mortality. The continuous secretion of stress hormones damages organs and over a period of time can lead to death.

There are many causes of loneliness but without doubt the major factors are early childhood neglect, perceived rejection and abandonment. 'Leave a baby crying alone in their room for seven minutes before you go and cuddle them'...great idea...and leave my business card under their pillow for when they get older and need therapy!

For those who have never experienced loneliness it is hard to understand that someone could be in a room full of people and still feel lonely. The next time you are in a social situation look at the person surrounded by 'friends'. Perhaps they feel insecure and unloved irrespective of how many friends they have. Maybe they feel they have to be seen as the person everybody wants to be friends with?

This isn't the secret to combating loneliness; in fact it can make it worse. Poor self esteem and inability to love and respect oneself needs to be addressed in order to begin to heal the deep psychological issues carried forward from when very young.

More often than not these deep psychological wounds are hidden deep within the subconscious and can only be identified and subsequently addressed using Regression Hypnotherapy techniques.

The problem is getting worse; society is changing rapidly...a recent survey in the South of France amongst hoteliers revealed the most common enquiry is now 'do you have WiFi?' which has rapidly overtaken 'how far away is the beach?'

Take a look around any family restaurant at mealtimes...what are all the kids doing?...Yes...phones and iPads! This is a great short-term fix for the adults...they get to enjoy the meal. This attitude however is storing up isolation problems for the future. Temporary distraction allows a person to put the loneliness on the back burner but long-term the emptiness is growing deeper.

The true extent of the problem may never be realised. There is shame associated with asking for attention. There are some adults who pretend that they have got over this primitive emotion and relentlessly post 'selfies' to falsely display how good they feel about themselves.

Loneliness is a serious business; you don't need 1000 'friends' on Facebook...just a handful of people that you love, trust and respect.

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(London Hypnotherapy expert David Samson treats stress and anxiety in his hypnotherapy clinic in Harley Street central London)

What is Stress?

Stress can be defined as a threat to the body's normal equilibrium resulting in extreme emotional pressure.

Symptoms of stress manifest in many ways such as anxiety, insomnia, emotional eating, anger and physical aches and pains.

How does the body deal with stress? The body has a mechanism to fight stress; at the very first hint of a threat, the body takes steps to protect itself. The hypothalamus part of the brain sends a signal to the adrenal glands and puts the nervous system into 'fight or flight' mode.

Adrenaline is pumped into the bloodstream, increasing heart rate, speeding up breathing and increasing awareness and sensitivity. Some people experience a feeling of light-headedness or euphoria whilst others become aware of face reddening or blushing.

Whilst this extra energy is being sent to vital functions in order to protect the body from danger, others go into standby mode for example the digestive system. A good example of this is if you are doing 40mph in a 30mph look in your mirror and see a police car...two seconds later you get 'that feeling' in your stomach.

Short term stress versus long term stress - Short term stress isn't something that you need to be unduly concerned about however the effects of long term stress can be most damaging. Continuous raised heart rate can eventually cause damage to the cardiovascular system. Rapid, uncontrolled breathing can lead to hyperventilation or panic attacks. Long term stress causes cortisol to be released into the bloodstream and this can damage hormones and the immune system. Stress can have a major impact on the digestive system. As mentioned above, when resources are diverted to the essential body functions, the digestive system slows down. Continual changes to the digestive process cause irregularities in the processing of food and can affect normal bowel function.

Can stress be good?
The endocrinologist Hans Selye, after 40 years of research, came to the conclusion that not all stress was bad for you. Feeling under pressure to achieve at work can be positive until it gets to the point where the individual feels overwhelmed, at which point it has a negative effect on performance.

Perception of Stress - stress is a 'bad' word and our reaction to it is relevant to the outcome. Research in the US has shown that people who are fearful of the damage that stress can do to them have an increased chance of dying prematurely than others who were not concerned about it.

Dealing with stress - there are many stress coping strategies. Exercise is a very important weapon in the war against stress and regularly exercising reduces stress by using up nervous energy and also acting as a distraction. Talking about your concerns to friends, family or trained professionals can help greatly. Undergoing therapy, such as hypnotherapy for stress can be very beneficial also.

Remember...Stress doesn't have to be a bad helps us to raise our game to meet life's challenges.

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(London based Hypnotherapist David Samson treats phobias in his hypnotherapy clinic in Harley Street central London)

Scary's no joke!

Clowns running around scaring and attacking people might sound like a prank but it isn't.

Five years ago this week I took a call from Alton Towers saying they had a problem. Every year they ran an attraction called Scarefest where they built a haunted house and filled it with gimmicks that would scare people.

They thought it would be a good idea to have clowns inside this house jumping up to scare visitors. It certainly did that but they got much more than they intended. Children and adults became traumatised by this attraction...really traumatised. The clowns objected, stating that their role was to entertain by making people laugh rather than scare them. The clowns decided to demonstrate outside the Alton Towers gates to express their displeasure.

I was called by Alton Towers PR department to see what I could do to help the situation.

Upon arrival, I met with the clowns and they were eager to tell me that they only wanted to make people happy. I explained to them that fear of clowns (Coulrophobia) was extremely common and was triggered by early childhood experiences.

As an experiment, I asked a group of clowns to walk around the theme park with me to assess reactions of the public. The range of reactions was huge, from laughter to outright panic.

'Why are we so scary?' asked a clown. I explained that phobias are developed in young children from birth until around the age of six. Young children are highly sensitive and impressionable. The very first comforting memories a baby has is of people looking at them in the eyes and smiling.

'We do the same!' exclaimed the clown. Unfortunately that isn't the case I explained. A clown has a red semi circle painted on their face where the lips go...this is not a smile to a young child. A child cannot see the subtle 'smile lines' that appear on a friendly face as they are covered by heavy makeup. Similarly, a child cannot identify the soft creases around a clowns eyes that are produced when a person smiles because of their makeup. So a clown to a young child doesn't represent a friendly human, merely a scary object with a white face and a red semi circle instead of a smile.

As we were walking around the park, one incident stuck in my mind. A lady was walking her three year old; as we approached, one of the clowns walked towards the little girl. The clown 'smiled' and said 'Hi'. The little girl began to cry so what did the mother do?...she pushed the little girl towards the clown and told her not to be stupid. The clown then began to jump up and down and wave his arms around...result...a traumatised little girl.

My chat with the clowns helped them to understand why some people get scared and hopefully enabled them to modify their behaviour to make others feel more comfortable around them.

So let's end this Scary Clowns isn't a joke and can leave a person traumatised.

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(London Hypnotherapist David Samson has Hypnotherapy clinics in Harley Street and North London)

Anxiety and the use of social media...Is there a link?

The National Study of Health and Wellbeing has recently released a report revealing the increase in common mental disorders amongst females.

Since the last survey in 2007, mental disorder rates have steadily increased in women with one in five now reporting a CMD. This compares with one in eight men, a figure that has remained relatively stable.

Young women are now the highest risk group for mental health issues. The report found that 26% of women aged between 16-24 were diagnosed with symptoms of mental health problems.

This report is carried out every seven years and this, the most recent, includes young people being brought up in the social media age.

What impact does the use of social media have upon young people? The authors of the report are calling for more research to be carried out.

On the positive side, social media helps people communicate with others leaving them feeling involved and fending off feelings of loneliness.

On the other hand, inappropriate comments and images can have a negative effect upon people's mental health.

Is it a coincidence that the number of self harm and suicidal cases have tripled in the last ten years?

More research needs to be done to investigate the true cost of social media.

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(London Hypnotherapist David Samson has Fear of Flying Hypnotherapy clinics in Harley Street and North London)

Fear of Flying - why is the pilot's tone of voice so crucial?

'Good morning everybody, my name is James and I have the pleasure of flying you down to Nice today'. This was the sound that greeted me as I buckled my seat belt in readiness for my flight this morning. I looked around the cabin and felt an air of easiness suddenly descend on the passengers.

This was in sharp contrast to a flight to Nice last year when the captain announced in a loud Australian accent 'my name's Ted and I am flying this thing down to Nice today!'. The look of concern on my fellow passenger's faces was plain to see.

Why should a posh English voice cause passengers to assume that he is a better pilot than the Australian? It shouldn't...but it is a matter of perception. The tone of a pilot's voice is so crucial in dissipating any fears that his passengers may have.

Many years ago, I was on a flight to Miami from London. About two hours before landing, the pilot calmly announced that there was a thunderstorm over Miami and he would be landing in Nassau to wait for the storm to pass.

We waited in Nassau for a while and then the pilot announced that we were going to take off for Miami but there were still some thunder clouds around in the area. He explained that there would not only be some turbulence during the 30 minute flight but also that he would be steering the plane from left to right to weave around the storm clouds to make the flight as smooth as possible for us. His manner was so cool and professional that the short flight was actually fun!

So a message to all you pilots out there...communicate how good a pilot you are through your tone of voice!

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Fear of flying - the problem worsens...

My London hypnotherapy clinic has been besieged with calls this morning following the disappearance and suspected crash of EgyptAir flight MS804

It isn't just to do with the fear of a plane crashing is far more complicated that that.

Think back to those passengers on that plane in September 11th.2001. None of them had it in their minds that the plane would be taken over by a terrorist who had trained as a pilot and then he would deliberately slam the plane into the World Trade Centre.

Then on March 8th.2014, a Malaysian aircraft disappeared from the radar screen and then nothing was ever heard again.

Not long after on July 17th.2014, a Malaysian aircraft en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down by a missile over Ukraine.

Think back to 24th.March 2015...none of those passengers on the Germanwings plane would have thought that the pilot was depressed and would deliberately crash into the Alps

...and then we have this morning's news that an Egyptair plane has disappeared off the radar

If any one these tragedies had happened solely then there would have been a temporary increase in the level of fear of flying and then after a period of time, people would have forgotten about it and happily returned to the air. This is not the case however as the combination of these events have changed the perception of safety when flying.

A typical Fear of Flying course will involve a few hours in a classroom with an ex-pilot telling you how safe flying is, how the engines work, the safety precautions and how turbulence isn't as scary as people think. You would then go up in a plane for a short flight and then you aren't scared of flying anymore? Historically this could have been true...but not anymore. The dynamics of the fear have changed and there are so many uncertainties that confront a passenger before they board their flight.

The combination of these aviation events has changed the rules...  

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Mobile Phones...Addiction!

Not so long ago I was asked by a client if I could visit him in Paris for hypnotherapy treatment as he didn't have the time to come to my clinic in London.

After the session I had time before my train back to London, so I decided to pop into a restaurant for lunch. I sat down at a table and began checking my phone for messages and suddenly felt quite awkward but not sure why. It then dawned on me...there was not a mobile phone in sight! This was a busy restaurant in the heart of Paris, full of business people but no phones were visible.

I was intrigued by this and what amazed me even more was that upon closer inspection I noticed that as everybody entered the restaurant they made a point of turning off their phones and putting them in their pockets or bags.

At this point I very discreetly slid my phone off the table and popped it into my pocket.

This is not my first experience of this kind; many years ago I was trying to call a French estate agent around lunchtime and his voicemail said that he was always unavailable between 12:30pm and 2:00pm each day. When I eventually got through to him he said that it was his lunch break and he never did business during this time.

I read in the news today that it is about to become law in France that employees will be given the 'right to disconnect'. Companies with more than 50 staff will have to establish a charter setting out the hours when staff are not supposed to send or answer emails.

It is widely accepted that there is far more work-related stress today than there ever was, and the problem of 'permanent connection' is universal and growing.

In the past, you would go home and be able to switch off and dedicate your time to family and home life but in the present day you are always contactable...a situation made even worse by having a phone or a tablet close at hand. This has a serious impact on relationships and family life.

Modern day businesses are increasingly aware of the dangers to staff caused by permanent connection. Work related stress in its most extreme form it can lead to burnout with an individual unable to rest.

Whilst it is widely accepted that not being able to switch off is extremely damaging to an individual, should 'time out' be dictated by government? In an ever changing competitive global market with many time zones, is it commercial suicide to restrict communication?

There has to be a balance...

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(David Samson is a London based Hypnotherapist with Hypnotherapy clinics in Harley Street and North London)

Are you a Perfectionist who Procrastinates?

Perfectionism and Procrastination go hand in hand - someone who seeks perfection often procrastinates before making a decision for fear of failing. Subconsciously, a person will always look for the safest route and avoidance can be a pretty safe option.

Let me give you an example...I regularly treat clients who are about to take exams and they complain of an inability to motivate themselves to prepare for the exam. They say they are too easily distracted and the harder they try to sit down and open their books the worse it becomes.

They may be historically high achievers and there is pressure, both direct and indirect being placed upon them to do well. This pressure doesn't help; in fact it makes the situation worse.

So the subconscious looks for the easy route and that is NOT to study and to make it clear to everybody that they aren't. This lowers the expectations of others; what happens if they take the exam and fail...not much as they prepared everybody and no surprises there...but what if they don't revise and do pass? Then they have come through unscathed and have lived up to others' expectations. So this confirms to the subconscious that it was correct in keeping that person 'safe'.

The truth is that perfection doesn't exist. Even when you think somebody has achieved it, they probably haven't. Perfectionism isn't excellence, it is fear in disguise.

So what can you do to conquer perfectionism? Here are five tips:

1). Take Action - just do something to break that stalled cycle...take it nice and easy but do something.

2). Set More Realistic Goals - you don't necessarily have to lower standards...just reassess the targets you have set for yourself.

3). Take Advice From Others - speak to people you know and trust and ask them for their opinions on the targets you set for may be surprised what you learn!

4). Look At The Big Picture...but break it down into manageable pieces.

5). Weigh Up Your Efficiency With Your Effectiveness - you may be very accurate in your work but half as slow as colleagues.

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(David Samson has London Hypnotherapy clinics in Harley Street and North London)

How to Stop the Afternoon Sugar Rush

Do you have a craving for something sweet around 3:30pm every day at work? The healthy option just doesn't appeal? It nearly always is childlike sweets, chocolates, biscuits or cakes? Do you label it your 'afternoon sugar rush?'

There are many theories out there as to why we have this sudden urge for something sweet at around the same time each day. The most common excuse for hitting the cookie jar is to combat stress at work combined with the post lunch slump.

Based upon hundreds of hours of research whilst treating clients with emotional eating issues, I would now like to explain my findings...

Think back to your childhood and specifically running out of the school gates into the arms of a parent / grandparent. Perhaps there was a little bag of sweets or maybe a bar of your favourite chocolate? You were taken home and greeted with the ever so familiar smells and feelings of safety and love. You sat down at the table and were given your tea...maybe some cake or biscuits to have with your glass of milk?

Are you getting the idea here?

As adults we sometimes revert to childlike behaviour as a short term fix to address stress and pressure. Those carefree days of our childhood are permanently etched in our subconscious minds, even if the conscious has forgotten it. Just the sweet taste of a bar of chocolate or perhaps the smell of a freshly home made cake can trigger those pleasant feelings and give us temporary respite to the pressures of today.

Once we have performed this afternoon ritual a few times and felt the rush, we assume it is the boost in our blood sugar that is causing these feelings. It isn' is the wonderful emotions that are brought to the surface just by eating these childlike foods.

So how can you combat these afternoon chocolate binges?

Try this...when you next feel the '3:30pm sugar rush' approaching sit down at your desk and do the following exercise:

Close your eyes and imagine that you are five years old and running out of the school gates. See the person who is picking you and imagine they have something sweet for you. Unwrap it and pretend you are taking a bite. Really taste the sweetness, the texture, the flavour. Then take another bite and feel the emotions that are being generated within you? Try and identify the emotions...they may be happiness, love, safety, security etc. Are those emotions lacking in the present day? Does it really help by eating chocolate every day? Does that really fix it? By now you should find that the urge is disappearing and you can quite easily remind yourself that you are grown up now and a cup of tea or coffee is quite sufficient.

Try may surprise yourself!

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(David Samson is based in London and is a qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist)

How to Beat Chocolate Cravings

Are you giving up chocolate for the month of March? If so, how can you beat those cravings for chocolate?

What is a chocolate craving? It is quite literally a sudden intense desire to eat chocolate. It is not to be confused with hunger...this is purely an emotional trigger that causes you to want chocolate so badly.

Why is this craving so hard to resist? The answer lies in the first six years of our lives. During this period, everything that we hear, feel, see, smell or touch is recorded deep within our subconscious minds. This time of our lives is usually filled with many new and exciting experiences...going out with Grandma and getting some chocolate from the shop or maybe having ice cream on the beach. These positive experiences are stored in the subconscious and lay dormant until triggered by a present day event.

Examples of this could be needing comfort because of an emotional upset e.g. an argument with a loved one or perhaps a negative comment from your boss. Events such as these cause the subconscious to looks for ways to comfort and so it searches through its folders to find actions in the past that have given pleasure. One of these (and a very powerful trigger) is that of eating chocolate as a child surrounded by love.

So you suddenly find yourself with a bar of chocolate in your hand and have this uncontrollable urge to eat it! What can be done to address this craving for chocolate?
Believe it or not, the worse thing you can do is try to put it to the back of your mind...this actually makes the craving worse!

Here is the best way (which may surprise you but is based on scientific evidence)...close your eyes and imagine walking into a sweet shop...look along the shelves until you find your favourite bar of for it and then picture yourself slowly opening the wrapper...smelling the chocolate...looking at the bar in your hand...imagine breaking off one square and placing it in your mouth...savour this moment...the texture...the flavour etc. Keep it in your mouth for as long as you can and then swallow it. Then imagine that you are going to repeat the process with the next square...after a few minutes you will find that far from wanting the chocolate, you are feeling quite satisfied from just doing this imaginary exercise.

How does this work? It has been proved that the desire for chocolate reduces rapidly as we munch through a bar...the first square is a truly emotional event but by the time you get to the last square you are really just going through the motions of finishing the bar.

Try it...I think you will be surprised!



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(Posted by David Samson, Clinical Hypnotherapist, based in North London and Harley Street, Central London)

Fear of Public Speaking - 10 top tips to help you conquer your fear:

1). Try to work out what you are fearful of...

There are many reasons why you may be scared. It could be that you are a perfectionist and hate not getting everything spot-on. It could be that you have a fear of failure, a fear of being judged, an anxiety of letting people down, a fear of what people may think of you or perhaps a fear of embarrassment. It may be a combination of some or all of the above.

2). Think of the worst case scenario...

Consider all the fears outlined above and think of the worst thing that could happen to forget your dry up...your voice begins to quiver etc. Think of what you would do if the worst happens and then work backwards from that and you will find that this will take some of the pressure off.

3). Are the people in your audience known to you or strangers?

If they are strangers and you will never see them what if you mess up? If they are people you know then perhaps they are on your side and they want you to perform well but you didn't realise it?

4). Chat...don't present!

Think back to speakers who have impressed you in the past. Perhaps a best man at a friend's wedding or maybe an old boss? What was it that impressed you about the way they 'held' an audience? Did they read from note cards...NO! Did they drone on and on about a particular subject...NO! Did they use 200 Power Point slides?...NO!...they just chatted!

5). Use people's names

When giving your talk, use people's names from the audience and involve them. If they are people you know then you could say something like 'Let me give an example of how we can make changes...John do you remember when we worked on XYZ project?' If you don't know the audience but they are wearing name badges then address them by name. e.g. 'Richard, have you ever been in a situation where...'

6). Use 'fillers'

What are fillers? If I am in a radio studio being asked questions by live callers, I have a set of fillers in my head that can give me 'thinking time' before I answer a question. For example...a caller asks a question...whilst I am composing the answer, I say the following 'Thank you for asking that would be surprised how often I am asked that etc'...You have just given yourself two seconds of thinking time and then the answer will flow out of your mouth without hesitation.

7). Preparation, Preparation, Preparation...

Make sure you know your 'stuff'...if you don't then don't bother attempting to give your speech. You will mess up and make a fool of yourself. Prepare carefully and put bullet points and prompts on a small piece of card e.g. facts and figures. Don't try to remember every is quite acceptable to refer to a note to quote figures that need to be accurate.

8). Have a plan in case you dry up

It probably won't happen but if the worst case scenario is that you dry up then have a plan. Perhaps arrange beforehand with someone you trust to be a crutch in case you need them. E.g. 'At this point I would just like to introduce you all to Peter who will tell you a little about how we are working together on this project etc'

9). Keep Power Point to a minimum

You want them listening to you...not copying down notes from a screen. If you do use Power point them tell them that you will give them handouts at the end with all the slides printed out...that way they will concentrate on what you have to say and make you feel more comfortable.

10). Learn to love adrenaline!

When I stand up in front of an audience I get a fluttery feeling in my stomach and so do you! I call mine excitement and I love it...what do you call yours?...Anxiety? It isn' is the body's natural response to help you perform...learn to love that feeling!


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