Posted tagged ‘anxiety’

Mindful or Mind Full?

February 12, 2014


The everyday stress, the challenges at work and the problems we are going through can all cause burnout, which in turn affects our mental health. And as you may well know, in times like this, it is very hard to concentrate and perform at your best.

Instead of being mindful, you tend to be “mind full”.

Whenever your head feels so heavy because a lot of ideas and thoughts go in and out, consider following these steps. They will not only help to clear your mind but also give you relief from stress, and help you regain some focus.

Write it down.

The best approach is not to get away from the problem, but face it courageously. Writing is a proven way to organise our thoughts. Adopt the habit of clearing your mind through writing. The more you try to ignore them, the more these thoughts will bug you. First off, get a pen and paper and go to a quiet place. Write down the thoughts that are bugging you – good or bad.

Don’t restrict yourself and don’t feel ashamed. Sometimes, we just can’t tell our brain what it should or should not think about. Create three columns and label them: “to be done”, “not now”, and “delete”. Sort your thoughts. Be honest and try to place each thought to the right column. You will realise that most of your thoughts can be deleted or can be put aside for now.

Sketch it.

Can’t write? Why not draw a picture? You probably have thoughts that can’t be described by words. You need not be an artist to draw. After all, your output is something you just have to keep for yourself. Just let your emotions and thoughts flow. You can create images, graphs or charts – whatever that best describes your thoughts. You don’t need to ask permission. Draw simple pictures of what’s on your mind.

Take deep breaths.

Deep breathing is a relaxation technique that is a great strategy for regaining your mental clarity. Deep breathing increases the oxygen levels in your body, which in turn benefits your brain.

Find someone to talk to.

Sometimes, we simply need a friend to clear our mind. You are probably confused of what decision to make, or unsure about a certain project or task you’re doing. That’s where a good friend comes in.

He or she can help you organise your thoughts effectively, and clear those unwanted thoughts. Sometimes, to clear our mind, we just need someone who will listen – someone who will listen to your hopes, fears, and questions without judgement.

Hang out with your furry friend.

There’s no scientific evidence showing that having a pet can help clear your mind. But there’s vast evidence suggesting that it can make your life better in many ways.

It eases your depression, lowers your blood pressure, boosts your mood, and helps you deal with stress better. If you are happier and healthier, you are in a better position to organise your thoughts easier.

Remind yourself of what’s more important to you.

Sometimes, our minds become flooded with lots of thoughts that are not really important. In times when your mind is full, it’s really helpful to try looking back on things that matter more to you. They may be your children, family, friends or loved ones, perhaps your job or even your goals in life.

Self Hypnosis / Meditation.

Mental clarity can be one simple step away. Consider making this mental practice a part of your daily routine. Afford yourself just 15 minutes or so, close your eyes and begin to focus on the following. Firstly pay attention to your breathing – try to slow it down. Now in your mind, visit a place you enjoy going to and make it all as real as possible.

Try to imagine the sights, the sounds, the smells, any tastes or sensations of touch. Give yourself a few moments to let all of these fantastic sensations soak into you. Take a few extra deep, slow breaths to lock in all of these sensations.

Now it’s time to return back to real-time and bring with you all of those good feelings ans sensations. Simply count yourself back to being fully awake by counting up the numbers from 1 to 5 and opening your eyes on number 5.

This exercise might be challenging at first but it gets easier and easier the more you do it. Go on, give it a try. Let me know how you get on.

Richard Scott
Clinical Hypnotherapist



12 steps to a great, stress-free Christmas

December 11, 2013


Christmas is, according to whichever survey you read, always somewhere in the top 20 most stressful events of life – it’s often ranked as highly as sixth. 

Most of the other events are infrequent for most of us (deaths, marriage, divorce, house moves etc), but Christmas comes around with great regularity!

According to one survey, 86% of people say they find buying presents hard work and 65% find Christmas shopping stressful. 

The same survey said that 60% of people felt stressed when finding that a gift they bought for someone proved to be a disappointment. 

However much fun it is, there is no doubt that Christmas is stressful – even for the kids!

So, here are 12 tips for making your Christmas less stressful:

1)      Don’t Take Too  Much On
You are not superwoman (or man) – so if you’ve already agreed to host a party and go to a further 2, do you need to accept extra invitations? 

Think of the stress and not just the potential fun.  In this busy period, there has to be some rest as well as fun. 

Build in plenty of down-time and time to flop.  If you are reading this and thinking, “No chance!” then that merely emphasises just how much you do need to build it in. so insist upon it – everyone will benefit if you have more energy at the key moments.

2)      Plan Ahead with Presents

Buying presents over a few months takes away the stress of having to find them all at once and also spreads the financial burden. 
It’s can be atmospheric to shop when the lights are in the shops and it can be fun, to buy a last special present on Christmas Eve – but you don’t have to do all of your present buying in December.

It’s also not wise to wait too long for something that’s likely to sell out. 

This year, tablets and iPads are expected to be in short supply nearer the day. 

It can be extremely stressful to find that an important present is out of stock everywhere.

3)      Buy Some Things Online

Shop checkout queues can be a really stressful, and some people even suffer trolley rage. 

It is possible to order some food and drink for delivery to your house if you get in quickly enough. 

The few pounds you have to pay for this is worth it for the loss of stress!  Do it early or you’ll worry about whether it will arrive in time or not.

4)      Remember that You Can’t Make Everything Perfect

You are not responsible for everyone’s happiness. 

It might be your job to cook the dinner and pick the presents, but if Aunt Flo is in an awful mood, or Grandma insists on watching 3 hours of continuous soaps and upsets everyone else, it’s not your fault. 

Although, you can help to set the atmosphere, essentially people will make up their own minds whether they’re going to be in the festive spirit or not.  Which brings us nicely onto…

5)      Be Responsible with Alcohol/Going to Parties

Alcohol is either a friend or an enemy at Christmas depending how you treat it. 

Christmas is so stressful that many people (including myself) like to have a small drink just as it’s about to swing into action.

This can be relaxing and can help you to feel jolly – helping to create a festive atmosphere. 

Of course, this does mean just a tipple, as a drunken host or hostess is not a good idea!

If you’re cooking, why not get someone else to be responsible for drinks? 

They should make sure everyone has what they want but doesn’t overdo it.

Since tensions can be high, it’s not a good idea to get so sozzled that you tell your sister exactly what you really think of her and her children! 

That will greatly increase your stress for a long time to come!  This is less likely if you stick to an amount of alcohol you know you can handle well.

Parties are a great time to let your hair down, but it’s a good idea to drink soft drinks interspersed with the booze during the night and some water before bed. 

Overdoing it will often ruin what was otherwise a great night, so one way of dealing with that is to say, “I am going to drink only 4 pints tonight” (or whatever you know you can handle and not suffer the consequences).

If you plan it that way, then you will find you can stick to a sensible limit more easily.

6)      Coping with The In-Laws

Or, as a friend of mine calls them, “the Outlaws.”  If you have wonderful ones then this is no problem at all – move on to the next item.

If yours are hard work, then, you may just have to steal yourself and accept that it’s going to be a strain. 

Knowing what has made it easier in the past can help, as can the notion that you can take 10 minutes out from time to time – agree this with your partner beforehand and work together as a team.

7)      Observe Simplicity

Sometimes, less is more.  Although there are certain things you cannot avoid putting extra effort into at Christmas there may be others that are so stressful that they are not worth the payback.

Is it necessary to prepare every meal as a gourmet feast or to put up so many decorations that your house can be seen from space? 

Even the kids will appreciate doing something more low key for some of the holiday.  If they don’t chill out at some point, there will be tantrums.

8)      Give What You Feel is Reasonable for You

One way we can feel we have done something really useful as opposed to simply having over-indulged is to give something to a charity at this time of year – whether it is with money or with time. 

Don’t get stressed about giving. Just give what you feel is reasonable for you. 

Helping others to enjoy their Christmas can greatly help us to enjoy our own and make us feel connected to the wider world. 

9)      Be Prepared with Christmas Cards

I have got into the habit of starting mine in the last week of November. 

I don’t send them out at that point, but I do have them stamped up and ready to go. 

I find if I do 5 or 6 cards a night for a couple of weeks, it makes life a whole lot easier.  You can do this in front of the tv, so it’s really not much effort this way.

It’s also useful to have a Christmas card list (which you can amend every year). 

Christmas can be a good time to accept that some people go out of your life as well as come into it. I keep a note of who I send to and who sends to me every year. 

Except for very special reasons, if someone doesn’t send me a card three years in a row, I don’t send them one next time. 

Why feel obliged to people who aren’t bothered?  It may be sad, but it’s a part of everyone’s life, and can be stress reducing to realise that you don’t have to hold on to people you met five years ago on holiday or you lived next door to twenty years ago.

10)   Give Time for Relaxation and Time-Out

It is important to have something planned that is stress free around Christmas. 

Many people book a massage or spa session either just before or just after (or both if you have the time and money). 

Perhaps a round of golf or playing some other sport can also do this –if it’s not too cold! 

And of course, there is the Boxing Day football schedule.

Counsellors often have very busy January’s when new clients want to unload the stresses they underwent over the Christmas period.  It can be good to unburden this to an empathic ear.

11)   Go For a Walk

It can be a relief to go for a walk on Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year’s Day.  It can be a blessed relief from TV, relatives, broken toys and over-indulged stomachs!

Getting out in nature, especially if there is festive weather can really help to lower stress levels.

12)   Having a Spiritual Moment or Keeping the Faith

If you are a religious person it can be the highlight of Christmas to go a Carol Service.

If you’re not it can be lovely just to stop and listen to the Salvation Army play some carols – don’t walk past, however busy you are!

Try to enjoy this non-material aspect of the Festive Season and perhaps stop to throw some money in the box whilst enjoying a bit of the more spiritual side of Christmas.

It can be a relief to take ten minutes out from the manic pace of shopping and lower your pulse rate. 

Christmas is a happy occasion of celebration. Thinking peaceful thoughts towards others helps put the stressful parts into some perspective and keeps our emotions balanced.

If you do find Christmas stressful then remember keep this list handy and it might ease the burden just a little.

Here’s wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Richard Scott
Clinical hypnotherapist

Core Health Centre

15 tips to a succesful marriage.

October 18, 2013
happy marriage

happy marriage

In her book “Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up”, relationship expert Harriet Lerner, Ph.D., talks about the simple rules for a remarkable couple relationship:

Be appreciative.

Make at least two positive comments each day. Tell your partner what you admire most about him or her. It could be the delicious barbecue your wife prepared last night or the stunning appearance of your husband in his new shirt.

Lie low on criticism.

Criticisms appear to be more helpful in the beginning of a romantic relationship. But it gets annoying over time. Lie low on giving criticisms, especially those you have already pointed out in the past. Also let go of the unimportant negative remarks that can make your partner feel embarrassed or could reduce his or her confidence.

Give a little more time for yourself. Connect with your friends and family. Pursue your passion. Do things you enjoy. Being married doesn’t mean you have to let go of your individuality.  When your energy is directed to living your life in the best way you can, you don’t get to “over-focus” on your partner in a negative way.


Sometimes, the most powerful way to connect and comfort a person is to say nothing but listen.

Take time to listen to them without interrupting, or giving judgements. Listen with an open mind and an open heart. It’s where understanding, empathy and communication starts.

Do it when you say you would.

Never think that your contributions to the relationship compensates for the things you have failed to do or the promises you have broken.

Don’t hesitate to say “I am sorry”.

Even if you know your fault constitutes only 20 per cent of the entire problem. Remember the fact remains that you also did something wrong (no matter how small or insignificant it is) so it is just proper to apologise. This will also encourage your partner to do the same.

Don’t demand an apology.

Just because he or she doesn’t say the magic words “I’m sorry” doesn’t mean your partner doesn’t want to reconcile with you. Some people say “sorry” through deeds rather than words. Be more sensitive towards your spouse’s way of communicating his or her feelings.

Say it short.

A distant partner may avoid conversations because it may feel ‘awful’ to him or her. So slow down your speech, lower your tone, and speak gently.

Stop the emotional pursuit.

The more you chase a distant partner, the farther he or she gets away. So focus more on living your life in the best way you can. A distant partner is more likely to move towards you when he or she sees you are taking good care of yourself.

Exit a conversation when you start to feel you are being hit “below the belt”. During a heated argument, it’s easy to get flown away by emotions and say words we don’t really mean. If your partner starts to become rude, tell your partner that you are going to stop the conversation until he or she is ready to talk to you calmly and with respect. Be firm.

Cultivate good family values.

Take time to assess your dysfunctional family patterns and make effort to change them for the better.

Turn your partner “on”.

If it’s your partner who always initiates sex, be the one to do it sometimes. This will make your spouse feel more appreciated and loved.

Pursue your own hobbies, wants and goals.

Take a dance or a baking class, travel with friends – cherish life outside your relationship. Keeping the balance between your married and personal life can reduce your stress levels and boost your well-being.

Set boundaries with technology use.

Technology is essential to our daily life but too much of it can affect the quality of our personal relationships. Agree on “time-out rules” where each one of you is prohibited from using mobile phone, computer or any gadget. These rules are best during mealtimes, at least an hour before bedtime, during intimate moments, vacation trips, and the like.

Be willing to compromise for your partner.

But not to the extent that your core values, beliefs, goals and priorities are compromised. Set limits and let your partner know about them.

There you go, sounds quite simple. Do let me know how you get on.

Richard Scott

Clinical Hypnotherapist / Psychotherapist


Core Health Centre, 55 Beverley Road, Hull HU3 1XL

Hull Office:          01482 22 71 25
Or Mobile:           07843 012 712


How to train your BRAIN to perform Under Pressure

September 17, 2013

3, 2 and 1 – your name has just been called and it’s time to perform.

There you are – standing on the stage, facing a crowd of people. Everyone’s looking at you, from head to foot. As you gaze at those strangers, you felt tension in your arms, neck, hands and all over your body. Everything moves like a slow motion movie. Yes, you are nervous. But the show must has to go on – you’re here to perform. So, what do you do…?

The Science behind ‘Grace under Pressure’

Everybody has the power to create a calm state of mind in order to deal with stress and pressure in an effective way. Studies on the human mind continue to prove that ‘grace under pressure’ is a skill that can be learned and applied in everyday life. And one way to elicit this special skill is to stimulate the vagus nerve.

The vagus never is known as the ‘wandering nerve’ because it has multiple branches that diverge from two thick stems rooted in the cerebellum and brainstem that travel or wander to the lowest viscera of your abdomen, touching your heart and most major organs along the way. When people say “trust your gut”, they are actually saying “trust your vagus nerve”.

The vagus nerve also plays an important role in your body’s ‘flight’ or ‘fight’ system. Signals from your conscious mind travel through the vagus nerve to tell your organs to create an inner-calm state so you can “rest-and-digest” during times of safety or prepare your body for action during dangerous situations.

The vagus nerve has the ability to slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure and the activity in your other organs. But sometimes, the vagus nerve’s reflexive responses can backfire. Instead of keeping you calm and ‘in control’, it can intensify your body’s negative responses, making you feel overwhelmed, agitated, stressed and uneasy. You are also likely to experience undesirable physiological symptoms like racing heart, sweaty palms, dry mouth, upset stomach and shakiness.

But here’s the good news – you can actually stimulate your vagus nerve to elicit ‘grace under pressure’ and here’s how to do it:

Breathe, breathe and breathe.

You will be surprised of how a simple breathing technique, which involves repeatedly inhaling and exhaling deeply, can set your mind and body to succeed in a task. Deep diaphragmatic breathing is the key to stimulating the vagus nerve. This results to the slowing down of your heart rate and blood pressure, keeping you calm in times of performance anxiety.

Keep practising.

Your brain, particularly your cerebellum, has the power to store muscle memory, which gives you confidence to perform gracefully under pressure. Without prior preparation, we are forced to rely extensively on our pre-frontal cortex, which could get disengaged and hamper our performance.  So whatever it is – a posing routine, a song, a speech, a music recital, or a corporate presentation, don’t forget to rehearse. It really is helpful.

Match your skills with the challenge.

Creating a state of ‘flow’ involves matching your skill level with the challenge at hand. One good strategy to achieve this is to keep pushing yourself to the limits. Engage in activities that keep you nestled between anxiety and boredom and slowly move on to more challenging activities. This will keep your vagus nerve active but at the same time, not too exhausted.

Get moving.

Cardio-respiratory activities, including strength training and even yoga, stimulate your vagus nerve and harmonise hormones and neurotransmitters linked to ‘grace under pressure’. Exercising also helps steer your mind away from discouraging thoughts. At the same time, it boosts your mood which has a significant effect on your entire performance level.

Be careful who you stay with.

Prior a performance or presentation, stay away from anxious people. Like a cold, anxiety is contagious. The vagus nerve picks up on people’s vibe so if you’re with pessimistic individuals, you’re likely to think the way they do. If the situation doesn’t permit you to stay away from anxious people, engage in calming activities that distract your mind, like listening to music, practising those breathing techniques or even try a positive visualisation technique.

Practise compassion.

This may come as a surprise to you but compassion does have a good deal of benefits to helping you achieve grace under pressure. In a 2010 study published in the journal Psychological Science, researchers discovered a link between high vagal tone index and positive emotions, physical health and positive social connections. They also found that reflecting on positive social connections and working to improve them also caused improvements in vagal tone.

Cultivate optimism.

During stressful situations, you may hear your critical self, saying ‘you can’t do it’, ‘you’re going to fail’, and all other words of discouragement. That’s a normal mental response that is part of your brain’s survival instinct. But by generating positive emotions, you can direct your vagus nerve to work harmoniously with your mind and body to keep you calm and focused in the middle of any challenging task.

I often teach positive visualisation techniques to performers and sports people in order to enhance their abilities and reduce their stress levels. Please feel free to ask me further questions or advice.

Also, if YOU have any techniques which keep you motivated and focussed prior to a performance, please feel free to share them and help others.

I look forward to your thoughts.

Richard Scott
Clinical Hypnotherapist & Psychotherapist

Part of the Core Health Centre

Why Stress = Weight gain.

September 6, 2013


Every day, stress is there to make things complicated and difficult and embarrassing and exasperating. It makes us incapable of being productive.

Worse, it makes us engage in unhealthy lifestyle that could lead to weight gain. For instance, some people find comfort from calorie-dense, nutritionally empty foods when they are stressed.

Stress and Weight Gain

Stress signals your body to consume and store fats.

When we are under stress, our body’s ‘flight or fight’ system is activated. During this period, your body releases a cascade of chemicals, including adrenaline, CHR and cortisol.

These are hormones that make you feel alert, ready for action, and able to withstand injury.  In a short term, adrenaline would make you feel less hungry because your blood flows away from your organs to your muscles and make them ready to face the ‘threat’.

But as your adrenaline levels wane, your cortisol levels remain high, signalling your body to replenish your food supply. So your tendency is to eat, eat and eat, with more preference on sugary foods.

Stress gives you ‘belly fat’.

In this modern world – where most people spend hours sitting and working on the computer, it has become a challenge to stay lean and fit. If you are chronically stressed with the demands of work and life, you become more likely to develop ‘visceral fat’ deep in your belly.

Unfortunately, your belly has plenty of supply of blood vessels and cortisol receptors, making the production of visceral fats so easy and quick. What’s more, belly fat is unhealthy and is linked to increased risk of stroke and heart disease.

It is also difficult to eliminate. Unless you exercise more often and eat low-calorie foods, the fats accumulated in your belly are likely to grow and ‘bulge’ even more.

Stress fuels emotional eating.

Eating to feed your emotions, not your stomach, can jumpstart obesity. Anxiety and stress are so energy-draining that too often; we end up looking for something to eat. Unfortunately, stress makes us choose cookies and cakes over fruits, crisps and pizza over vegetables, and fizzy drinks and beer over water.

Another thing, when we are stressed, we tend to eat ‘mindlessly’, resulting to overeating. No need to further explain why this in turn causes weight gain.

Stress affects your sleep.

So what does sleep have to do with weight gain? For years, scientists have suspected that sleep and obesity are linked. Research has found that stressed people who stay up late at night are more likely to reach for plain carbohydrates like cookies, doughnuts and pastries.

“It’s not like they’re going for whole-wheat pasta,” according to Taub-Dix, the spokesperson of the American Diabetic Association.  Also, when you lack sleep, your willpower to resist food cravings also decreases, so you tend to eat more.

Quick and East Anti-Stress Strategies

Whether you’re undergoing a weight loss programme or considering one, here are some stress-busting techniques that you may find useful.

Eat or Drink more Vitamin C

A study by the University of Alabama found that vitamin C stopped the secretion of stress hormones. So have a look into food and drinks that are rich in vitamin C.

‘Pet’ your pet.

Give yourself time to take a break from your stressful work and pamper your pets. Researchers at State University of New York found that pets give more stress relief than our two-legged companions.

Shake it out.

When you’re highly stressed, pause for a moment and shake your arms, hands and the rest of your body. It relieves tension, boosts blood flow and clams your mind.

Bring your music player to work.

Research by Pennsylvania’s Wilkes University suggests that listening to music lowers your stress levels at work and at the same time, reduces your risk of common cold.


Even if you don’t feel like doing it, just smile. Just the act makes you relaxed and in control.  


This doesn’t just help you lose weight but also boosts the release of feel-good chemicals in your brain that relieves stress and boosts your mood.

A study by the University of Missouri at Columbia found that 33 minutes of high-intensity exercise helps lower stress levels more than working out at a moderate pace.

Can you suggest more ways to fight stress?

Feel free to post your comment below.

Wishing you a stress-free weekend.

Richard Scott
Clinical Hypnotherapist & Psychotherapist

Part of the Core Health Centre

10 things you might not know about STRESS and ANXIETY

May 31, 2013


Stress and anxiety are among the most common issues confronted by the society today. Knowing their causes and how they impact your life is a great way to protect your mental and emotional health.

Below are ten interesting facts about stress and anxiety that will increase your understanding of these two potentially debilitating issues.

Stress and anxiety are not the same.

You may often come across with articles using the words ‘stress’ and ‘anxiety’ almost interchangeably. However, they are not the same. Stress is your body’s response to a change in the environment, whether positive or negative. You can experience stress even in situations that you are happy about, just like starting a new job. Anxiety, on the other hand, refers to an emotion that is characterised by a feeling of fear, apprehension or nervousness.

Anxiety has an essential role to play.

Feeling anxious may not feel enjoyable. However, it is a natural response critical to human survival. Anxiety can give you the level of alertness and focus you need during difficult situations.

Chronic stress may lead to depression.

Chronic stress increases the risk of major depressive disorder – an intense form of depression that lasts for a long period of time and often prevents a person from living a normal life. So if you think you are chronically stressed, speak to me or any other professional therapist right away.

Causes of stress are NOT the same for everyone.

People deal with different stressors. But a situation or event that may be stressful for someone else may not necessarily be stressful for another. For example, the thought of getting on stage and speaking in front of hundreds of people may be a source of stress for other people but not for you, or vice versa.

Weight loss could be a sign of stress.

Whilst eating problems could be a symptom of chronic stress, it is not limited to the loss of appetite. In some cases, individuals who are too stressed tend to overeat which leads to weight gain. Other indicators of too much stress are lack of energy, use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs, and conflict in relationships.

Irritability is a sign of too much stress.

Stress can affect your overall well-being. Aside from being easily annoyed and irritable, other warning signs for too much stress are having short temper, being moody, and having problems concentrating.

Mixed anxiety is very common in Britain.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, mixed anxiety and depression are the most common mental disorders in Britain, with almost 9 per cent of people meeting the criteria for diagnosis. In the Office for National Statistics Psychiatric Morbidity 2012 report, it was reported that between 8 to 12 per cent of the population experience depression in any year.

Anxiety disorder is more common in women.

Women are twice more likely to experience generalised anxiety disorder than men. This mental illness is characterised by persistent excessive, unrealistic worry over everyday problems that goes on for six months or more.

Chronic stress and anxiety disorder are treatable.

Anxiety disorder can be treated using medication or psychotherapy. The latter is usually chosen by many sufferers because it targets the root cause of the problem, and does not only mask the symptoms. Medications may provide temporary relief but it does not break the cycle of anxiety or stress. These drugs may also come with side effects.

Undergoing therapy is necessary.

About 70 to 90 per cent of people with mental illness experience significant improvement in their quality of life after receiving appropriate treatment and support. Hypnotherapy in my own experience has proven to be an extremely effective form of treatment for stress, anxiety and depressive disorders.

Some of my clients who have suffered from depression for decades or more have used the powerful hypnotic techniques that I have shown them in order to break the negative thought patterns and have seen life-changing transformations from as few as 3 sessions.

The relief for chronic stress and anxiety disorder is not the same for everyone. However, making positive lifestyle changes is the key to protecting your health from the debilitating effects of these two mental illnesses.

You can start by creating a healthy eating plan, giving more emphasis on nutritious foods, and making some form of exercise a daily habit. Then, incorporate fun activities into your life to refresh your mind and keep you going amidst all the stressors around you!

As always, I welcome your comments.

Richard Scott
Clinical Hypnotherapist & Psychotherapist
Part of the Core Health Centre

Is your child suffering from Stress & Anxiety?

February 27, 2013


Children experience various forms of anxiety and stress from the moment they are born?

Sometimes, it is easy to spot whether a child is anxious by their crying and clinging behaviour. But as they advance in age, children may start hiding their anxiety. Nevertheless, it will still reflect in their actions.

You can help your child effectively deal with anxiety and stress through the following:

Schedule a ‘fun’ time.

Piles of homework can certainly drain your child energy and make them prone to anxiety and stress. Even sports activities can be physically and mentally stressful too. So make sure they have time to have some ‘pure fun’. You can organise fun yet relaxing activities, such as drawing, painting, a tea party, build a secret ‘Den’ or even play some games that don’t require too much competition.

Teach your child to become his own superhero.

It is very common for children to have fears, just as adults do. But the problem with many parents is that they tend to encourage their kids to avoid their fears, instead of facing them. But the more they hide from their fears, the more they will be hunted by it. So slowly, help your child become used to the things they fear the most. Normally, anxiety is reduced in 20-45 minutes of staying in the fear-provoking situation. If your child is suffering from intense fear or phobia, it is advisable to seek therapy as soon as possible.

Emphasise their good side.

Children with severe anxiety tend to focus on their negative side – their flaws, things they cannot do, etc. Negative thinking makes your child hate herself and other people. You can help your child become more positive by giving attention to their good side – talents, skills and strengths. Congratulate your child for scoring high in their test, maybe teach them some new skills, and surround them with positive people.

Make sure your child sleeps on time.

Lack of sleep has been found to make children more irritable and stressed. It is important that they get at least 8 to 10 hours of sleep every night. To promote quality sleep, set a bedtime schedule that must be strictly followed even during weekends.

Enhance their problem-solving skills.

Critical thinking must be developed at the earliest age possible. If you keep on solving even the little problems your child encounters, they will just learn to become dependent on you. Now, what if she faces a problem at school and you aren’t there? It will make your child more anxious and exhausted. Allowing your child to solve their own problems (with your guidance of course) will greatly benefit them, especially as they grow older.

Organise relaxation exercises.

Perhaps one of the best relaxation techniques can be taught to your child at night in the form of a bedtime story. At night as your child closes their eyes to sleep, you may ask your child to think or imagine a very relaxing place, such as a garden or a magical place, and have them imagine what that place looks like. Ask them to listen to the sounds in this place, to describe any smells or tastes. Ask them if it’s a hot, cold or warm place or is it just right.

Have them create their own story about this place and encourage them to go exploring this safe and magical place.

This technique engages with the child’s imagination and these techniques are very commonly used in hypnotherapy, a discipline which has been scientifically proven to reduce anxiety symptoms and relieve stress.

Be the role model.

You don’t expect your child to become free from stress and anxiety if you yourself are having similar issues! Children follow what their parents do. For them, anything you say or do is right. So be the role model of your own child. Positivity is contagious. If you are always positive, your child can easily acquire your personality through ‘transference’ without you having to do so much effort!

Never lose hope.

No matter how hard it is, never stop trying. Anxiety and stress can be very hard to overcome but it doesn’t mean your child wouldn’t be able to deal with them anymore. Just keep following these tips and discover a great difference.

Also, you may want to see a therapist to guide your child. A professional practitioner is equipped with the skills and knowledge to reduce anxiety and stress in children, just as they can effectively deal with adult issues.

I hope these tips help you to help your child back into a positively stress-free lifestyle. But remember, if you have any questions or would like to seek further help you can contact me through the methods below.

All the best,


Richard Scott
Clinical Hypnotherapist at Grey Matterz
Part of the Core Health Centre.