How digitally dependent are you?

15/05/18 12:32 Filed in:
Where are you on the DDI - the digital dependency index?


Five questions to work out just how dependent on your devices you have become. You might be surprised by what you discover!

a) In case of a fire in which order do you reach for the following? (choose one)

1. Child, partner, pet, phone.
2. Child, partner, phone, pet.
3. Child, phone, partner, pet.
4. Phone, child, partner, pet.

b) If you are or were to become single how would you meet other single people?

1. By striking up a conversations in shops or at parties.
2. By responding to ads in the dating section of newspapers.
3. By using an online dating service.
4. By using a location based dating and social discovery app on your smartphone.

c) How do you find your way around an unfamiliar place?

1. By relying on your partners infallible sense of direction.
2. By consulting a paper map.
3. By using GPS in your car.
4. By using the map app on your phone.

d) What is your preferred method of communicating some personal news with friends and relatives?

1. In person over a cup of tea or gin and tonic.
2. By letter writing.
3. By telephone.
4. By limiting yourself to 140 characters or posting to your Instagram.

e) How do you maintain or keep track of your fitness levels?

1. By noticing the size of the clothes you buy.
2. By checking the bathroom scales.
3. By monitoring the number of steps you've taken on your device of choice.
4. By obeying your smartwatch's command to stand up every hour.

Now add up the numbers you have chosen to arrive at your DDS (Digital Dependence Score)

1 to 5: Digitally Independent (DI): You have somehow managed to steer clear of the trappings of the digital age. This impressive feat must have been achieved through diligent conscious effort but might have come at the price of puzzled friends and family, they may even refer to you as The Luddite behind your back.

6 to 10: Mild Digital Dependency (MDD): You are not in total denial of the modern world. You have probably found a comfortable place for tech in your life, although you might sometimes be (inadvertently) excluded from social events...and are probably often confused by everyday conversation and social behaviours.

11 to 15: Borderline Digital Dependency (BDD): Digital technology has assumed an important role in your life. You might find however that you're glancing too often at your screen in company, and that a lengthy power cut might cause unexpected distress. From this position the slide into TTD is shorter than you think.

16 to 20: Total Digital Dependency: You are a digital junkie. The digital world (from your perspective) might already have supplanted the physical one. You might want to check if you still have a partner or that your friends actually exist. A long, disconnected walk in the park is advisable!

Ref: Taken from Derek Linzeys thoughts in Psychobook published by Redstone.


Arguing & memory and who got it wrong?

09/05/17 13:38 Filed in:
So who's right and who's wrong?

goats butting heads to argue

Me and hubby had words yesterday. Nothing major really, just about what groceries we needed, the usual been married for donkeys years run of the mill tetchiness.

A bit later on he asked me why I'd reacted as I did. 'Hmph.' I snorted, rolling my eyes 'what do you expect when you say something like that?'

'Like what?' So I told him what he'd said and he just shook his head and bemused replied 'I never said that at all or anything like it!'

Now I don't take bemusement well, and as far as an apology went it was lacking greatly in the 'yes you're completely right as usual' words of appeasement.

But to be honest by this time I couldn't actually remember him saying what I'd thought he'd said at all, so I backed off from fully demanding a retraction and just let it lie. I'm a great peacemaker like that Winking

But this post is all about memory and the way you can recall exactly your very own and unique perception of something that happened. And the reality of remembering is that it is not, nor ever can be an unbiased brain recording of past events.

Near enough a hundred years ago in his book 'Remembering' Sir Frederick Bartlett describes a study in which he asked a group of people to read and then retell a story, a north American Indian folktale called 'The War of the Ghosts.'

He found that the people retelling, distorted the story to fit in with their pre-existing experiences, omitted the parts they deemed irrelevant and changed the emphasis and structure of the story to match their own view of how the world worked.

Which is exactly what hubby accuses me of doing....or is it me that accuses him
....well, we probably take turns to be fair, riding that particular horse into town.

What seems to be true is that...

"You don't remember what happened. What you remember becomes what happened."
(John Green from An Abundance of Katherines)

When something is happening what we really do is view that thing differently depending on our mood at the time, what we already know and what we expect to happen next.

Its an evolutionary thing. To be able to simultaneously process whats happening right at the minute, its similarity to what's happened in the past and to get creative with what that means is going to happen next, i.e. to prepare ourselves by considering more than one possible future stemming from whatever we are experiencing right at that point.

The fact is that memory evolved to be forward looking. A crucial function of the brain to be able to predict and plan for possible eventualities.

So that's it. Our memories are an amalgamation of feelings, fact, past experience and imagination. oh and motivation at the time. And that's okay....unless it's not that is.

With hypnotherapy its hardly ever essential to go raking over old hurts or painful memories but sometimes if they are colouring your experience right now, or you feel stuck in a moment unable to move on then it seems eminently reasonable to take another fly by that old memory. To see it from the air if you like or from another viewpoint, most definitely with a fresh frame of mind and more than likely a more beneficial motivation. To step back and reframe that recollection, untangling emotion and freeing yourself from its restriction.

Then what you remember really does become what happened.



Is it really worth it?

28/04/17 19:02 Filed in:

girl on a lilo relaxing

So, I was 18 and on a budget coach holiday to Rimini in Italy with my best friend Amanda. And it being budget, the lira were in very short supply. As a treat we bought ourselves a lilo, just one between us, and took turns floating on the gloriously warm Adriatic Sea.

It's my turn, I'm lying on my back, the waves lulling a deep and sensuous dream of all being well with the world, the summer sun deliciously warming and playing dreams in shades of tangerine on the backs of my eyelids.

A rather large wave engulfs the airbed and the spluttering shock causes me to jump or rather inelegantly fall off the lilo. Feeling a bit daft I glance back to the shore to see if Amandas laughing at me and realise that I've floated way beyond what feels a comfortable distance. The tiny figures on the beach, the stretch of sea between me and them, a heavy burgeoning fear slickly sloshed into the pit of my stomach...what should I do?

The lilo is floating further out.

I should swim back to shore.

I don't .

The lilo is important to us, isn't it?

I choose to get the lilo and swim even further out. The current however is against me and it continues to float further and further from reach.

Have you ever experienced that feeling? The OMG this is really happening, how did everything get so bad so quick.

I was so tired of reaching and failing, I started to take time outs by floating on my back while the airbed needing no such breather floated its own path.

I am way out at sea, it feels like miles, it won't be but perception a few inches above sea level is deceptive. I am thinking that reaching the lilo is going to be my only way of surviving.

I cannot reach it and I cannot breathe.

Ok, I'm here and writing this, so you know I must have done.

I was rescued by a lifeguard on a raft that he was rowing like a venetian gondola. He took me back to shore.

I was 18 and obviously stupid and to be honest got over the whole thing pretty quick, relief is a wonderful relaxant.

I believe in people, I really do, that you can pursue your goals, that its all in the mindset, that with planning, hard work and a healthy dose of reality you can make things happen or be happy or successful or any way you wish to be.

However make sure what you are chasing is important to you and that whatever it's costing you is worth it.

Don't let it be a lilo.

Oh by the way the prompt for this little trip down memory lane is a Cosmopolitan article: Hypnotherapy Helped Me End a Toxic Relationship

Pasted Graphic 2


Scandal-just what you need

09/05/16 20:35 Filed in:

photo of Olivia Pope

So I make no qualms about it....I am literally hooked on box sets.
I would say figuratively if I didn't think this was actually becoming an obsession.
I am in a wholly American phase at the moment having devoured The Good Wife, Suits, the wonderful House of Cards, Making A Murderer, Jessica Jones....and I could go on...
But this is all about Miss Olivia Pope, the sassy, ultra loyal, indubitable, emotionally flawed fixer in Scandal.
Her gladiator staff somehow and very fantastically manage to survive each episode amongst a growing body count that easily rivals The Walking Dead, but no matter the impossible to see a way through situation Olivia handles high heels....fabulously.
But my favourite thing about Olivia is her catchphrase...because it's mine too.
With unambiguous intensity she demands of her clients "What Do You Need?" And for variety she may command with equal insistence "What Do You Want?"
Now I admit not one for the dramatic my own two variations on this theme are a little more therapeutically inquisitive when working with my clients...but the goal is just as life changing.

So tell me..."What Do You Need?


What do you expect? Hypnotherapy and the mind body connection.

10/11/14 23:28 Filed in:

picture of skeptical emoji
Still not sure if believing in something can have a real effect? Where's your faith man !!!!

So I explain to my clients how changing how they think and what they believe about themselves can have a major beneficial effect on how they feel and behave. 

And in the beginning it's all just words as they listen attentively whilst nursing a whole heap of natural scepticism and reserve. Sure they engage in an 'I'm happy to go along with you for the moment' kind of half smile, and thats the best most creative starting point for this kind of work, because when things do start to change for the better it can seem like they've hurdled the highest, tallest most incredibly designed skyscraper in one giant leap.

I know I can bang on about the mind body connection, how science every day is proving all the way down to cellular level that thinking something affects the way those self same cells behave……….but hey!! this is a hypnotherapy blog, what do you think I want to talk about??

Sorry, do I seem a little tense? Well the builder just drilled into a water pipe, water has engulfed the downstairs loo, the water now turned off, the new tiles have had to be removed and the plumber said he'd be here in a jiffy…….2 hours ago! And not having the gift of precognition the kettle is empty. Now I can 'que sera, que sera' the antics of builders and plumbers but an empty kettle with no prospect of tea too soon is flicking on one very frayed nerve end.

Diatribe aside I just read a compact totally simple and straightforward study which illustrates this mind body connection beautifully. It's all about a group of moderate asthmatics.

Moderate referring to their asthma not their politics lol!

So everyone knows asthma is a chronic lung disease characterised by inflammation and the narrowing of the airways and lots of people who suffer with it find that air pollutants can bring on an attack.

The researchers exposed the asthmatics to a rose smelling odourant for 15 minutes. The odourant was completely safe with no irritant elements at all.

Before exposure, half the group were told that the odour may have therapeutic properties, while the other half were told that the odour could cause mild respiratory issues.

The team found that the participants who were told that exposure could be harmful rated the odour as being more irritating, compared with those who were told it could be therapeutic.

Furthermore, participants who believed the odour could cause harm experienced immediate airway inflammation, and to the team's surprise, this inflammation remained 24 hours later. No such inflammation was found among participants who believed the odour may be therapeutic.

The report concluded that

"It's not just what you smell, but also what you think you smell. Asthmatics often are anxious about scents and fragrances. When we expect that an odour is harmful, our bodies react as if that odour is indeed harmful."

So real symptoms caused by belief….. 
                                                                   …..Which basically means you get what you expect.


Cells, strokes & stress

18/09/14 23:15 Filed in:
We used to be worlds apart……medical science and hypnotherapy. 

The placebo effect while well documented was unexplainable…..How could just believing something would work actually affect a physiological change. And not just for the little stuff either, the placebo effect has been seen in cancer remission, fertility, heart and lung disease recovery rates to name but a few.
Research in this area is now managing to bring our worlds a lot closer. Changing how you think affects the cellular environment, which affects the development of genetic markers in your DNA.

So research published this week has shown that when Mum and Dad got together and created a little single celled you, not only did you get a unique blend of their DNA you also got a map of instructions overlaid onto that DNA that manipulates how much those genes get to affect you. They can be silenced or boosted but most importantly the map is termed 'epigenetic.' Which means that ultimately environment is the deciding factor in how those cells develop. 

So……no longer single celled obviously, that epigenetic map is inside of every single cell in your body, all the new ones being created daily to replace the worn out ones and all with the ability to develop a little differently to whats gone before as the environment in which they flourish is changed by you.

So with that bit of background what's to be done.

Well in another paper an 11 year multiethnic study has too been published this week. It has studied the effects of negative emotions, particularly stress on the incidence of strokes and cardiovascular disease in a sample of 6700 people. 

Higher levels of stress, hostility and depressive symptoms are associated with significantly increased risk of stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) in middle-age and older adults, according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

A TIA is a stroke caused by a temporary blockage of blood flow to the brain.

Researchers measured chronic stress in five domains: personal health problems, health problems of others close to the participant, job or ability to work, relationships and finances.

In follow-up for an additional 8.5 to 11 years, 147 strokes and 48 TIAs occurred.
Compared to people with the lowest psychological scores, those with highest scores were

• 86 percent more likely to have a stroke or TIA for high depressive symptoms.
• 59 percent more likely to have a stroke or TIA for the highest chronic stress scores.
• More than twice as likely to have a stroke or TIA for the highest hostility scores.
• No significant increased risk was linked to anger.

"There's such a focus on traditional risk factors - cholesterol levels, blood pressure, smoking and so forth - and those are all very important, but studies like this one show that psychological characteristics are equally important," said Susan Everson-Rose, Ph.D., M.P.H., study lead author and associate professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

These associations noted in the study were significant even when researchers accounted for age, race, sex, health behaviors and other known risk factors of stroke.
APA American Heart Association. (2014, July 15). "Increased stroke risk linked to high stress, hostility, depression." Medical News Today. Retrieved from

The FAST recognise stroke picture

Just maybe you can act even faster and change your psychological environment now.


Does my bum look big in this?

13/08/14 15:41 Filed in:
photo of Jennifer Lopez

Getting ready to go out tonight….don't ask your partner this question, if he loves you he'll lie!

And I love this new study looking into the relationship between love and lying. The 'love' hormone, oxytocin, has been demonstrated in research as promoting bonding in couples and between mothers and babies, and is also thought to drive people's impulse to be sociable, important in group bonding. Also in general, the higher levels of oxytocin a person has, the more empathy and trust they will have, as well as lower social anxiety and fear response.

The lying done in this case IS however all about its effect on the people around you and not about the self-centred deceitful type. 

So these intrigued scientists one rainy afternoon split a load of people into small groups and told them to individually within their groupls  toss a coin, guessing before the coin landed what the result would be; heads or tails. Now no one was checking on them so they had to self report. The more correct predictions an individual reported the more money would be won by their group.

Before the commencement of the tossing, some groups were injected with oxytocin and other groups with a placebo.

Of course there was going to be some fibbing going on, stands to reason. And as the participants were all MEN, well need I say more. (Just joking!)

However the probability of  guessing correctly 9 or 10 times out of 10 is highly unlikely, less than 1%. 

The placebo group reported 23% of their members guessing correctly at 90% or even 100%

The oxytocin group were however 'really feeling the lurrve in the room' and reported a 53% success rate at guessing 9 or 10 times correctly out of 10. i.e. twice as likely to bend the truth as the placebo guys.

The satisfied scientists concluded that;

"These findings fit a functional perspective on morality revealing dishonesty to be plastic and rooted in evolved neurobiological circuitries, and align with work showing that oxytocin shifts the decision-maker's focus from self to group interests.
Our results suggest people are willing to bend ethical rules to help the people close to us, like our team or family," says Dr. Shalvi. "This raises an interesting, although perhaps more philosophical, question: are all lies immoral?"

So guys my advice in answering the question "Does my bum look big in this?" is something along the lines of "Darling you look beautiful!"

Because, and here's the secret, we already know the answer…..and if we really want the honest truth we'll ask another woman!

Hypnosis, sleeping, Spain & the stupid stag!

28/07/14 15:52 Filed in:
This time last week I was sleeping on a beach….on purpose you realise, not just homeless or hungover or anything!
It was in Spain, snoozing under a wonderfully hot, china blue sky, occasionally waking to dip into the clear cool diamondly freckled sea.
From our balcony we'd scouted the regimentally placed sun beds, a platoon of blue and white uniformed plastic beneath the matching caps of fringed parasols. Closer to, the choice was to be made…

Would it be a bed on the shoreline, to be buffeted by the cooling sea fret and an unrivalled view of a limitless horizon….the pro's already mentioned….the con's, well… You had to tiptoe between an almost unbroken barrage of sandcastles constantly being repaired and fortified by deceptively deepening moats, as well as snooze with one eye open as the bat and ballers took to the shallows and 'kthunk', kthunked' with amazingly sustained levels of patience….

photo of kindle

Or would it be further back, where the breeze had had time to be warmed by the sun, the sand was soft, the beach towels fluffy, unsandy and draped to perfection and the community more like minded in their pursuit of tans and time out….the region of the beach I shall forever rename KindleLand……Ahhhh Bliss! 

The cons were outweighed, in fact the con's were unseen or unfelt until midmorning, heading to noon time as the post full English nap time demanded a dip before weighing up the prospect of a light lunch.
The sand soft and yielding, now, bit the tenderest of pedicures with a ferociousness born of Hell, flip flops a flimsy defence, the lava like heat melting skin and a willingness to move…..the sea stretched painfully too far from reach, the cool firm sand a distant sanctuary….all of which heralded the start of the middle-aged dash. You must have seen them, even participated as I did…the top half jigging at twice the rate of the bottom half, skittering from one patch of shade to the next as, in-between, poise and composure evaporates into screechy little embarrassing sounds as you grimace apologetically under your KindleLand neighbours brolly.

One of the highlights for us all holidaying in KindleLand last week was the unfortunate tale of the Stupid Stag.

Way to the back of the beach was a bar, cool and inviting, the stags and hens had pegged the place as a fantabulous place to stake out day and night. The beer was obviously good, the shots vividly coloured and sweet and the music pumping….rousing choruses of clubbers belting out "Sweet Caroline, da, da, daaaaaah….good times never felt so gooooood!!!" brought a smirk to the face whenever they played it 10 times a day.

So it was mid afternoon, and I can only imagine the conversation that had taken place before the event we witnessed, must have gone down something like….

"Haha, go on then Gazza, you're the best man, your turn for a dare and we dare you to put that lasses pink sombrero on your head and run naked down the beach and jump into the sea, ha ha ha ha" Or something along those lines.

And Gazza into his umpteenth pint of the day squished against the shady bar in amongst the relative safety of his peers all egging him on was probably thinking something like… "Yeah yeah leave it up to me lads, you can count on me, the joker of the pack, I'll give you a story to tell all the poor saps back home who had to work this week, yeah ha ha I'll be dining out on this escapade for weeks to come ha ha!"

So stripped and with his sombrero on his head, out he dashes, full pelt down the wooden walkway that stretches halfway down the sand….now, theres a queer moment when you emerge from the shadows into bright sunlight, you cannot see a thing till your eyes adjust and that little pink man was to enjoy that short moment of sun blindness as he heehawed his way towards the sea…..

…..a great roar of "Go on Gazza!!!" erupted from the bar interrupting us KindleLanders mauray into the latest Stephen Kings and Martina Coles and as one we turned to see the galloping white body with a pink sombrero on his head, looking like a pimple, first skips onto the white hot melting glass sand…..we, like a flock of meercats raised ourselves to seating position as his feet and eyes smacked him right back into daytime reality…."Ha ha" turned to "AAAAAHHHH, AAAAHHHH!" and his mates laughed even louder….

Photo of some meerkats

Now its amazing how much body language you can read from a person uncovered, as theres so much more to read, and his wistful look back at his gurning mates and the realisation that a beachful of gleeful meercats were enraptured by his burgeouning pain gave him pause for 'about blinkin' time' thought. 

To go back was wussy, to plough on now an almost medical emergency as his little tootsies were burning bright and torturous. He lowered his sombrero to cover his nether regions and dashed on, falling sombrero first into the sea. He emerged sober…..Ive never seen such a painful expression as that sobriety as the lifeguard rushed from his highchair shouting and whistling at the 'eejit' clutching that drippy pink sombrero.

Us meercats were all on our feet watching the spectacle as befits people of our age with no kids to protect from the lewd goings on. Pulling some shorts from his backpack the lifeguard made him dress then hustled him red faced off the beach.

Mother opened an eye on hearing the collective creak as the meercats settled back down to e-read, "Whats happened, Trace, what you looking at?" "Oh, nothing really Mam, just admiring the sandcastles" She'd have been gutted to have missed that.

Looking back I realised I strayed far from the point I was going to make……well I'll just make it a link instead.

Insomnia study published 7th June 2014
Slow-wave sleep improved with hypnosis, study suggests


Hypnotherapy | Overweight & overwhelmed

08/07/14 17:46 Filed in:

As a specialist in weight management hypnotherapy I see lots of people wanting to change their shape and size. So we sit and talk awhile. 

Now I'm no kind of dietician or personal fitness instructor so what I bring to the table is an understanding of a persons own emotional and psychological issues surrounding food and eating and feelings and so on……….which in a hypnosis setting really means that what I bring to the table is a way for you to understand your own feelings and behaviour. Seriously I don't know why you do the things that you do, but you do……and no amount of words can help you explain to me the complexity that is the you inside.

And the fact is that even just thinking about why you do the stuff you do and trying to be logical about it is pretty much impossible. Overeating or undereating doesn't make sense to your conscious mind. Nobody sets out with a plan to feel uncomfortable, ashamed, guilty or ill, or unconfident or misunderstood, to feel unsexy or in pain or stressed and depressed or under pressure from society to be different and conform or any of a myriad of other negative emotions that clients have expressed.

As an aside I do not under any circumstances believe that being overweight for example should make anyone feel like this, but if you are coming to see me then its not because you are truly happy about how you feel.

And so at some point the grand old daddy of all phrases makes its appearance 'Emotional Eater'

To which nearly everyone will say "Naah not me, I don't think so, I just enjoy eating the stuff I do, I get a craving….I'm just always hungry, I've always been a big eater. Honestly I've got a pretty good life, nothing to get sad or mad about. I don't use food at all to mask or soothe my emotions." Or something along those lines.
Terming something 'emotional eating' doesn't mean you're cuckoo or not able to cope with things…..not in the slightest

Heres a little Emotional Overeating Fact Box……does anything tick with you?

1. Emotional eating is often thought to be caused by an inability to distinguish physical hunger from unpleasant emotional states.
2. There are a number of recognised differences between emotional and physical hunger. Emotional hunger comes on suddenly rather than  gradually, is experienced as an inescapable craving rather than a hunger pang in the stomach, and feels like it needs to be satisfied instantly. It causes cravings of foods high in fat and sugar and is not satisfied once the person is full, leading to overeating to the point of discomfort. 
3.  Emotional eating triggers feelings of guilt and shame which do not normally follow eating to satisfy physical hunger.
4.  Emotional overeating is a way of coping with or silencing a range of negative emotions. However, the feelings of guilt and shame which follow an episode of emotional overeating usually leave the person feeling worse rather than better.
5.  As overeating can cause weight gain, over time emotional overeating can lead to further difficulties such as greater dissatisfaction with body image and diminished self-esteem. Recent research suggests around 45% of people who are obese use food as a means of managing their emotions. (Buckroyd, J. & Rother, S. (2008) 'Psychological Group Treatment for Obese Women' in Buckroyd J. & Rother S. (Eds) Psychological Responses to Eating Disorders and Obesity: Recent and Innovative Work, Chichester, Wiley & Sons, 103-119.)

You have learned to do the stuff you do and continue to do it because at some point it has achieved the desired results. Feeding someone, treating them with little sweet titbits is love. Physiologically we desire high calorie foods, evolution wise eating high calories was a successful survival strategy and thats why that stuff tastes good, the way we're built means that anything promoting survival of the individual or the species is a pleasant thing to do. We know food like chocolate affects the brain chemicals in a completely different way to sprouts.

a meme describing you are what you eat

So when you feel like you are struggling with weighty issues, and the whys and the how to stop it are proving elusive perhaps a talking therapy can improve your success most importantly in the long term.

Stress in all its shapes and forms whilst sometimes appropriate can have a major physical and mental health impact. Being overweight is stress on top of stress and has a direct influence on slowing down digestion and therefore the ability to lose weight.

When it feels like you are fighting a losing battle and every day you have to summon the motivation to continually deny yourself the stuff you really want. Or you yoyo yearly strugglingly determined to reach a target weight then temporarily feeling euphoric before slowly gaining back each valiantly lost pound. And as the old habits reemerge to take you down deeper than before it is horribly stressful.

A study published 2 days ago concludes that: 

Stress can be dramatically reduced from just 25 minutes of mindfulness meditation
Stress reduction from just 25 minutes of mindfulness meditation - Medical News Today

Mindfulness is one of the elements of my approach to weight management. Simple, Elegant & Successful


Happiness is viral!

09/06/14 15:23 Filed in:
a picture of facebook like flags

Well considering that a recent post was picking up on a negative aspect of social media…Facebook in particular, here is a study published last week that has a happier outcome.

We already know that in the brain there are these 'mirror neurons' that pick up on and replicate the emotional status of the people we spend time with. So if your friend is happy, happy, happy you cant help but pick up approx 40% of their happiness and become that yourself. It makes sense in so many situations. We all talk about the 'atmosphere' at a party or concert and the feeling in the crowd. 

I saw a comedian in a club a while ago and everyone at the gig laughed like loons at his set, then he was on tv and excited I told hubby 'Oh this guys brilliant!' Well, honestly not a titter ensued from either of us, 'You must have been drunk when you watched this 'eejit'' was his withering critique.

Our brains' mirror neurons underlie our intensely social nature and the effect is known as 'emotional contagion.'
So we are all social animals and this mirroring strengthens these bonds of shared experience. A well known phenomena of face to face interaction. But what about tapping away at a keyboard, usually alone, no face to face, no real time social interaction….can this create the same emotional impact?

Well, these researchers analysed over a billion status updates on Facebook and then used a piece of software called the Linguistic Enquiry Word Count that assessed the emotional content of each one.

Sure enough they found that an unhappy status updates inspired an increase in negative posts. However happy status updates had a far more powerful impact on friends own status updates. They inspired a far greater number of happy posts.

"Our study suggests that people are not just choosing other people like themselves to associate with but actually causing their friends' emotional expressions to change," said lead author James Fowler, professor of political science in the Division of Social Sciences and of medical genetics in the School of Medicine at UC San Diego.

"We have enough power in this data set to show that emotional expressions spread online and also that positive expressions spread more than negative," he adds.

And the happy conclusion is that 'Happy status updates are more 'contagious' than unhappy updates'

A picture with the text, I'm feeling what you're feeling


Smoking & mental health

06/05/14 11:30 Filed in:

a picture of someone smoking
So we all know smoking is physically damaging. All of us smokers and ex-smokers know that and the kids taking up smoking know that and the non-smokers know that….and I really don't know anybody who doesn't know that.

Smoking isn't just about the physical though. And putting aside the establishment of a physical addiction and the consequential emerging belief that all the possible scary outcomes simply 'Wont happen to me!' A strong emotional dependency is formed.

Smokers tend to believe that cigarettes are emotionally beneficial, helping to ease stress and anxiety. They report smoking increases concentration and relaxation, stabilising their moods and even help to alleviate the symptoms of depression.

It is reported that even health professionals can be reluctant to advise people with mental health problems to stop smoking, in case quitting makes their mental health worse.
The authors of a new UK study published in the BMJ today report

"This pattern of behavior occurs in smokers with and without diagnosed mental disorders. Unsurprisingly, views about smoking predict whether or not people attempt to quit and whether or not they are successful."

a cigarette shaped liked a battery

Smokers say that when they haven't had a cigarette for a while they can experience irritability, anxiety and low mood. However they are most often confusing the physical aspect of nicotine withdrawal with the incorrect perceptions that smoking delivers calming and comforting emotional benefits. This is usually why they quit the quitting and take up the habit again.

So this study looked at loads of other studies and conducted its own experiment into the mental benefits of sticking with the ciggies as opposed to packing them in.
They tested smokers (average age 44 smoking about 20 a day) from the general population as well as patients suffering physical or psychiatric conditions and found that…..wait for it….

Quitting smoking improves all facets of mental health

And concluded that 
Measuring mental health status by anxiety, depression, positivity, stress and psychological quality of life, the researchers found that quitting smoking was associated with improvements in all of these factors.

This applied to the participants both in the general population and clinical patients - including people with mental health disorders.

Three broad explanations have been suggested, the researchers note, for associations between smoking and poor mental health:

• Smoking and poor mental health might have common causes
• People with poor mental health smoke as a coping mechanism for low mood and anxiety
• Smoking causes mental health problems or makes these problems worse.

Whatever the cause, the researchers believe that the relationship between smoking and mental health requires further attention. If smokers believe that their psychological wellbeing will be adversely affected by giving up, then they will be less likely to do so, which has implications for their physical wellbeing.

a man stuck in a prison of cigarettes


Anxiety over Facebook photos linked to eating disorders.

08/04/14 11:16 Filed in:

a photo of a girl wearing an 'untag' me t-shirt

The frenzy to psychoanalyse social media effects on its millions of users has resulted in an explosion of studies, experiments and k…k…k….k…..KRAZY theories.

This one however rings true….sadly.

A study was taken of Facebook users, 95% of whom were considered to be 'normal' users. Their criteria was summed up as an average of 3 visits to Facebook a day of about 20 minutes duration each visit. I can get with that… doesn't seem excessive considering that Facebook is now so much more than a social site. People use it for business, playing games, watching videos and catching up amongst other things.

So the female participants were graded on their Facebook usage, on how much value they placed on 'likes' and how often they would 'untag' themselves from photos.

Women who spent more time on Facebook reported a higher incidence of appearance-focused behaviors and reported greater eating pathology. These women were more likely to give greater significance to receiving comments and "likes" on status updates, frequently untagged pictures of themselves and compared their photos to friends.

The fact is that Facebook is probably the epitome of a globally successful social media website and regretfully is equally as successful as a social comparison website.

The effect is most notable amongst younger women and has been shown to have a causal link between self perception, body image and anxiety. The researchers conclude that…….

"Facebook merges powerful peer influences with broader societal messages that focus on the importance of women's appearance into a single platform that women carry with them throughout the day. As researchers and clinicians attempt to understand and address risk factors for eating disorders, greater attention is needed to the emerging role of social media in young people's lives."

Our relationship with food and our own body image is cemented deeply into the unconscious mind in these socially developmental years. The effects can last a lifetime and if the mindset of self worth being linked to size and shape is adopted it can prove to be an unhappy consequence. 

In my practice we see many clients with weight management issues and it can be wonderful to deal effectively with the specifics of different food cravings and addictions….happily knocking chocolate on the head or seamlessly giving pasties the swerve, crisps can be cardboard and unappetising and portion sizes reduced to satisfying. However the greatest life changing or should that be diet changing work we do is challenging the existing mindset. You think differently therefore you behave differently.

Hypnosis & Hot Flashes

01/03/14 19:29 Filed in:
a meme: I call them hot flashes, my husband calls then temperature tantrums!

Ever watched Have I Got News For You? And then smirked at the ridiculous passtimes of the obviously ludicrous producers of the magazines in the slot 'this weeks guest publication,' it might be something like 'Bottle Tops Monthly' or 'Befriending Sheep on a Budget.' 

Well I was reminded of the above when I was caught engrossed in a recent study published in the journal "Menopause" And yes there is more to know about the subject other than
are you going commando or packing some HRT protection??

Soooo….about 80% of women suffer hot flashes going through the menopause…..if you are menopausily unaffected you can switch page now but those of us who have been or will be soon know that they are not just
'Oooh goodness gracious me, is it a little warm in here?' They are unfairly flippin' frightening, intense and totally uncomfortable. 
A photo of hudson from Aliens

Having just experienced the first……hence the google research!……whilst lying in bed reading a book and relaxing, this fire storm crashed into my toes and thundered upwards exploding out the top of my head….No, don't call me a drama queen!! I thought I was having a panic attack whilst simultaneously observing in the voice of Hudson from Aliens 'What the **** is happening, man?'

So for the hypnosis part of the above title, which explains why this is here in this blog and not just some icky facebook status update……Hypnotherapy has been proven to reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flushes….Oh Yeah!

2 groups of women, one group given weekly info and advice sessions for 5 weeks and the other group given hypnotherapy weekly for 5 weeks. 

Twelve weeks later, the hypnosis group was found to have had 75% fewer hot flashes, while the control group only reported 13% fewer. The hypnosis group also reported an 80% decrease in frequency and severity of the hot flashes, while the control group only reported a 15% decrease.

The skin conductance monitors found a 57% lower rate of hot flashes among the hypnosis group, compared with a 10% reduction for the control group. The hypnosis group was also found to sleep better and have less disruption in their lives compared with the control group. The hypnosis group reported being happy with the method of treatment. 

How hypnosis helps hot flashes is still not certain, but the researchers explained that it may be due to the fact that hypnosis can boost the function of the parasympathetic nerve system, which plays a part in hot flashes.

Full Article

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.