Hello everyone! I hope that you are managing to enjoy the Summer despite some of the uncertainty we are all coping with right now.
I’m excited to invite you to a free online presentation designed to help deal with the increased levels of anxiety many people are experiencing at present.
On Tuesday 27th July I'm offering a video presentation (on Zoom) about LOOPING THOUGHTS.
Watch to help yourself, or to help support your friends and loved ones - there is so much we can do to help ourselves.
We all have looping thoughts.
Join me at the event to find out:
This is an online (Zoom) presentation I will be giving at 6.00pm UK time on Tuesday 27th July. (If you're in the USA, that’s 10am PT and 1pm ET, and for most of Europe it’s 7pm your time).
Tickets are free but you need to register at www.ticketsource.co.uk/whats-on/online/online/looping-thoughts-how-they-affect-you-and-how-to-break-free-from-them/2021-07-27/18:00/t-apgxng
So all you need to do is click the link and book yourself in!
I do hope you’ll join me.
If you ask people to describe communication in a sentence, they may tell you it’s about what you say when you are speaking. While this is partly true, it’s an incredible fact that only around 10% of our communication is verbal. It’s the other 90%- the non-verbal communication- that can make or break successful communication.
So what do I mean by non-verbal communication?
Nonverbal communication, or NVC, is the application of physical behaviour, expressions, and mannerisms to communicate nonverbally. It’s not WHAT you say, it’s HOW you say things - whether you make eye contact, if it’s too much or too little, your body language, posture and your gestures all add up to powerful statements which can either support- or contradict- the words that you are using. And remember, even when you are not talking, you are still communicating. NVC tells us if someone is being sincere, if they are truthful, if they are listening to us, and if they care.
Now, what makes this relationship of verbal to nonverbal communication particularly interesting is that our minds consist of two distinct parts - 10% which is the conscious and 90% which is the subconscious. This is interesting because the words we speak come from our conscious mind and all the nonverbal behaviour comes from the subconscious. And how telling that the percentages correlate- 10%-verbal/conscious mind and 90%-nonverbal / subconscious mind.
What does this mean to us? Well, often a mismatch between what is said and how the speaker is behaving can highlight a disparity in truth or sincerity. You’ve probably heard of recruiters using body language to “tell” if someone is being truthful in an interview situation, and indeed many clues as to mismatching communication can be observed.
Nonverbal communication comes direct from your subconscious, which is where emotions and feelings live. Therefore, when faced with a mismatch between what is said and the nonverbal communication supporting the words, people often choose the NVC as the most “honest” response.
When NVC matches the verbal communication, then you are in a position to build trust, kinship, understanding and closeness. However, when there is a mismatch, this sows uncertainty, confusion and mistrust.
So let’s look at the key strands of NVC –
Facial expressions - as humans we spend a large proportion of communication time looking at others’ faces, and therefore it is probably the most important area of NVC to be aware of. Expressions are a universal language which effortlessly overcome verbal language barriers – when we think of expressions of fear, happiness, sadness, rage and others we can instantly recognise these. Silent films were played in every part of the world, because there was no language barrier - it was all about what audiences saw. When we recall mime artists, we are reminded that the human face can express countless feelings and emotions, often in very subtle ways. Eye contact also comes into play here, of course.
Eye contact – this is one of the most important as the majority of people are visual learners. There is an optimum balance of eye contact for good NVC- too much and it feels like a staring contest and can make people feel uneasy, too little and you may appear disinterested and disengaged. Eye contact is important to be able to “read” others, too.
Gestures – people have a range of gestures they use, often for emphasis of some sort. It’s important to gauge the way others respond to our gesturing. As well as the difference within cultures, there are huge gestural differences from other cultures, and this should be borne in mind- especially when on holiday or on business trips abroad. You may not mean to cause offence, but take care to ensure you don’t!
Deportment – the way that you carry yourself says a lot – how you walk into a room, how you sit, the way you hold your head, your posture and stance, all affect the impression that you radiate, and influences how others interpret what you say and what you do.
Physical space – it’s not just how someone stands, it’s where – are they too close, invading your personal space, or are they too far away, perhaps causing you to have to raise your voice or move towards them?
Physical contact - touch can be a very powerful NVC. It can suggest or emphasise a connection (a hug), support or affection (holding someone’s hand), aggression (pushing with force), warmth (a pat on the back) or lack of impact (a weak handshake). Cultural differences must again be brought into consideration here, especially when dealing with other genders than your own. People may prefer not to engage in Physical communication which involves touch as it may be against their religious beliefs and it is important to be aware and respectful of this. If in doubt, ask!
Sounds - this is not what you say, but how you say it. There are a number of strands to our understanding others- including how they say things – forcefully, loudly, softly, with emphasis on certain words, their intonation, together with the many different sounds and noises that we instinctively make during communication - by that I mean the “mm”-s and “uh-huh”-s and “ah”-s that infer some kind of understanding, agreement or questioning.
We must always remember the power of our communication - it can bring people closer to you, make people feel at ease and respected, or it can make others feel confused, hurt, alienated or upset. Much of communication is about interpretation, which you cannot often control. However, by learning to be in control of your own communication you can convey the correct message in the most effective way - and in doing so, better encourage the responses you wish to see from others.
Did you know that you and I are mostly water?
The average male adult body is approximately 60% water, while the average female body is around 55% water. And our brains are over 70% water!
Yes, water - you can see right through it, you can’t taste it - we take it so much for granted. And yet water’s powers are extraordinary in the way it allows our bodies to function.
Even at a cellular level, one of the fundamental components of our cells is water. Water enables the cells to do their work in assisting the body and brain with its many functions and processes, transporting vitamins, minerals and chemicals more efficiently.
Too little water - or dehydration - can significantly impact upon the body and brain.
Often the body tries to signal to us that it is in need of water, but we don’t – or can’t -listen. The feeling of being thirsty is an indicator that we are already dehydrated! Also, on many occasions the feeling of hunger is actually an indicator that you are thirsty and not really hungry. The same part of your brain is responsible for interpreting hunger and thirst signals, which can result in mixed signals which the brain struggles to distinguish between the two different types of intake- solid food and liquids.
The amazing thing is that we would all be so much healthier if we all just drank a few extra glasses of water every day! Yes, it’s as simple as that!
So let’s look more closely at the many and powerful benefits of water.
Water lubricates your joints, which makes movement easier and less likely to be painful or stressful on the joints.
Water aids your digestion through assisting the production of saliva, which helps to break down your food within the digestive system, allowing more efficient extraction of nutrients from your food and carrying those around your body.
A good level of hydration, like drinking a glass of water before each meal, will help to ease the passage of food through your digestive system and protect against slowdowns in your food processing cycle.
Water flushes out waste products and toxins from your body, which can make you feel healthier.
Water helps your cells to function effectively, growing, replicating and working to keep you well.
Water also helps in carrying oxygen around the body.
Water also helps with regulation of the body, such as respiration, keeping necessarily moist areas lubricated and also during illness with temperature regulation through perspiration, when the body needs to cool.
That’s all impressive enough. But let’s come back to my earlier point about our brain being more than 70% water. Water is vital for your brain – it uses water to help to create hormones and neurotransmitters. The oxygen-carrying ability of water is vital to help the brain function at its best. Water helps to flush toxins and waste matter from our brains too. And here’s an important point - when the brain recognises that we are dehydrated, it panics – it starts to create more of the stress hormone cortisol, which you seriously do not want hanging around in your body, doing harm.
It’s even more important to up your water intake as you get older, because the older we get, the weaker our thirst response becomes – that why it’s important to help older friends and relatives remember to intake enough fluids.
Not all the water we consume is in a glass. Some of the water is contained in your food, especially fresh fruits and vegetables.
So how much is enough? It is suggested that men should aim to drink 3 litres a day, women just over 2 litres.
Isn’t this all a bit OTT I hear you ask? So what if we don’t drink enough water? Well, actually being just a little – even 1%- dehydrated can impact your performance. So here’s the risk. When we don’t intake enough water, we are at risk of feeling unwell- whether that is temperature, irritability, digestion problems, dry and itchy eyes, headaches, joint or muscle pain, and more, as well as poor cognitive functioning. Not where you want to be if you’ve got a busy life which already takes it out of you!
So in short, drinking water helps you avoid headaches, moods, constipation, joint pains, toxic waste, feeling sluggish, illness, bad chemical build-up, fuzzy thinking and much more. A few glasses of water help you and your body to feel better, work better and play better. So what are you waiting for? Drink up!
Water is good health - on tap!
Here are my three top tips to top up your H2O.
Drink water before, during and after exercise.
Have a glass of water before every meal (as a side benefit, this will help you feel fuller, so if you are looking to manage your weight, this helps).
Next time you get a mild headache, before reaching for the paracetamol, try drinking a couple of glasses of water- often your headache will disappear, without the need for pills.
It is incredibly rare to see hypnotherapy given centre stage in a theatrical work of any kind, let alone a musical. Next month (May), the Southwark Playhouse encores one of its biggest successes of 2019, Dave Malloy’s PRELUDES, which places hypnotherapy centre-stage. I saw it. Let me tell you about it.
PRELUDES is a fascinating musical journey through the mind of composer Sergei Rachmaninoff as he struggles with writers’ block at the end of the nineteenth century. The way that he chooses to face his fears is through hypnotherapy (the use of hypnotism for therapeutic purposes), a relatively new science at that time. Hypnotherapy in various forms had existed through many centuries, but when reintroduced by Franz Mesmer earlier in the late eighteenth century it began to be regarded with more respect as a scientific therapy.
During hypnosis, the client achieves greatly heightened focus and concentration, and a dramatically enhanced capacity to respond to suggestion. The application of hypnosis as a psychotherapy tool to deal with deep rooted issues in the subconscious mind can bring about enormously positive changes. What is surprising is that even today, certain misunderstandings and misconceptions about this therapy have lingered.
Three-time Tony Award-nominated writer/composer Dave Malloy has created a deep and significant show which is not at all showy or blasé; no, this is a very thoughtful and almost meditative show. The audience I saw it with were as focussed as the clients in a therapy session, and their reactions quiet and thoughtful. The show gives no “built-in” pauses for applause except at the conclusion of each act, another highly unusual move which allows an acute maintenance of focus upon the subject throughout.
What is fascinating is that, although this is a show about a musical genius, it is principally about a human issue that we have all encountered: failure. This helps to make the show enormously relatable. We can identify elements of ourselves in Rachmaninoff’s struggle; the negativity, the doubt, the hopes, and loved ones rooting for us. Malloy has given us a very human Rachmaninoff, played expertly by Keith Ramsay.
It is dangerous when someone finds themselves dominated by a chain of thought that tells them that they are not good enough, that they don’t deserve much, and that other people look down on them or tolerate them out of politeness. When they find themselves snagging, hindering or impeding their wellbeing on memories of things they did wrong, or relationships that they didn’t get right, that is the time to seek help.
To ask you directly, reader; do you feel that you have to be a success in life just like you think someone else is -and are you consequently critical of yourself? This place in psychology is called ‘the inner Tyrant’. This was Rachmaninoff’s reality for a long period.
The show portrays the numbing state of depression and anxiety Rachmaninoff was experiencing very convincingly, climaxed at the start of the second act and skilfully performed by Norton James playing the demon in Rachmaninoff’s head. This feeling of being uncomfortable was palpable within the audience as I took time to observe my fellow theatregoers’ facial expressions of unease and discomfort. All of the actors gave highly-committed performances, with Rebecca Caine playing Dahl the hypnotist giving a solid and compassionate portrayal, conducting the sessions calmly whilst effectively supporting and reframing Rachmaninoff‘s state of mind and beliefs about the earlier traumatic event in his career.
Let’s not forget the superb quality of cast here. Caine’s operatically trained voice is superb, as is the sweetness and purity of the voice of Georgia Louise. Ramsay masterfully ranges across the emotions and vocal registers as Rachmaninoff. The whole, complex, highly-detailed score comes fully to life under Jordan Li-Smith’s responsive musical direction.
Talking to several audience members after the show, as well as being delighted to have seen such a mould-breaking show, several said that they almost felt that they had undergone a sort of therapy too. And as mentioned before, the intriguing thing about the show is that it deals with failure- allowing the audience to share in some degree of their own catharsis as a valuable by-product of seeing the show.
PRELUDES is a brilliant piece of theatre which helps people understand the immense value of hypnotherapy – both historically, and today in helping millions of people live happier and more fulfilled lives, less burdened by the past and more energised by the future.
Of course, hypnotherapy – along with all branches of therapy – has evolved dramatically over the last century. In the therapy I offer, RTT (Rapid Transformational Therapy), I use a pioneering combination of four therapies – hypnosis, NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and psychotherapy – to deliver extraordinary, permanent change from physical, emotional and psychological pain by reframing my clients’ beliefs, habits and emotions that lie deep in their subconscious mind. This gives each client immense value – and it gives me enormous satisfaction to help them.
PRELUDES will play as a concert performance for a short set of live-streamed performances online on May 7 and 8, performed by the excellent original cast as seen at Southwark Playhouse in 2019. PRELUDES is an exceptional piece of theatre, and an utterly engrossing love letter to the power of hypnotherapy and music. I urge you to see it if you can. Tickets are only £15 and the livestream can be viewed anywhere in the world (please note that all times mentioned regarding the livestreams are GMT).
You can find more about the show via this link here
If this show prompts you to think about the potential value of hypnotherapy in your own life, please feel free to get in touch, and we can discuss it, free and with no obligation.
Can you recall a time when you have eaten in a state of anger? When someone has upset or annoyed you, or something hasn’t gone well? Perhaps you have suffered some kind of loss or defeat? Angry eating is a response to the feeling of anger. When you’re feeling anger that means that you are feeling hurt. It is important to address that anger, otherwise you will be storing it up. That will affect how you relate to others - and to yourself.
If you eat while experiencing feelings of anger, even the way you eat can be angry - you’ll favour crunchy foods like crisps and raw vegetables – anything that makes use of your jaws - experiencing the sound of your biting - you like the violence of the jaw action as you bite heavily into these foods. This is just a response to hurt, you use those mechanisms to soothe it. But the thing is, when you don’t heal your hurt you are more likely to hurt yourself - and others.
So what can you do to help yourself in the moment? In the short-term, you can help yourself by being aware of your feelings and emotions. Are you eating in a peaceful or relaxed mindset? Or are you eating to soothe some underlying issues? Eating in order to soothe your emotional state is likely to lead to putting on weight because you aren’t dealing with the emotion, so you’re eating to pacify it – and so you’ll need more food as the short-term soothing subsides. And the danger here is that you’ll keep repeating this cycle, because by now your mind has made it familiar- and the mind sticks to what is familiar. *
It helps to try to be in the moment, be in the present. I like the quote of Lao Tzu who said “If you’re depressed you are in the past, If you’re anxious you’re in the future and if you’re at peace you’re in the present”. So awareness is one key. When you are aware of your emotional state you can deal with the feelings more effectively. A good way of mastering awareness is to practice mindfulness. When you are eating, monitor how you’re feeling – you can do this quietly, focussing on yourself; ask yourself “how am I feeling?” - anxious, angry, sad, joyful - whatever you’re feeling, acknowledge it. If you are experiencing anger or anxiety, can you do something about it before or while you’re eating? You have maybe an hour’s lunch, and you have an issue that is in the forefront of your mind. Can you do anything about that issue at that precise moment? Most probably not. So as an alternative, can you try asking your mind to postpone dealing with whatever it is until after your lunch and not eating while that is sitting in the forefront of your mind.
Whatever action you take, bring awareness to the fore. And then you’ll come up with a strategy. “OK this is my lunch hour, I‘ve got an hour (or whatever), I’m going to devote this time to focusing on my eating and the food itself”. And a good thing to do is to eat slowly, thoughtfully, savouring the flavour in every mouthful that you take. The habit of eating can so easily fall into a mechanical routine whereby we engage our mind in other thoughts and distractions, to the point where sometimes we hardly even notice what we are putting in our mouths. How many times have you eaten lunch with a hundred and one things on your mind and by the time you realise that you’re eating, you’ve finished! Can you even remember what you had?
If your habit has become to take your meals quickly, in one bite, chewing it once or twice and swallowing it, you’re denying yourself so much of the pleasure of food. But now with mindful eating you can slow things down - you bite, you chew it ten (or more) times now, you experience the flavours for longer, and then you ingest it. It’s going to be strange at first, yes, because it’s not familiar to you yet, but the more you practice the more you are in the moment and therefore present, then the more likely you are to be increasingly at peace and relaxed. If you want to you can reinforce that mindful state of eating with affirmations like “I am putting the best and tastiest food into my body because I deserve the best”, “I am supplying my body and mind with quality, nutritious food that will enable me to function at my best”, and “This is my way of looking after myself by giving my body useful nutrients that it can use to make me feel better, work better and enjoy my life more”.
When you are focused on being more relaxed and rested and well fed, you’ll have more space for creativity. Because anger depletes the blood supply to your brain. And if the blood supply to your brain is diminished because of that feeling, you won’t have the capacity to enable the creativity to sort out the problem because your main priority is to get out of the situation - to run, to fight, to do whatever you need to do, body-wise. So from the anger you will get a rush of adrenaline and a rush of cortisol which is compelling you to move – to get up and out of your chair. But the thing is that so often we don’t – we feel angry, upset, but we are sitting with that flood of stress hormones in the body and they don’t go anywhere and they don’t get used, which is very bad for us.
These hormones and chemicals have to go somewhere - so where do they go? They go into your stomach, your gut, your lungs, your heart. They go into places you don’t want them to go because they’re not designed to go there and stay there; these are fast-creation chemicals, designed to be fast-released. That’s their purpose. So by creating unused chemicals you can get stomach cramps, they might go to your heart and constrict your heart, they can even go to your brain and cause you all types of different problems. The adrenaline is created specifically for the purpose of reacting to your anger - a certain amount of stress is good to have, yes, it propels you to do something - but you do have to do something. And when you use that energy, then it gets dissipated, but when you are sitting with it and you do nothing, your body will let you know. We can forgive others, we can forgive ourselves, but our nervous system does not forgive us – indeed, it cannot, because it has created these on-demand chemicals and it cannot un-make them.
The brain is saying “hold on, I’m flooding your body with stress hormones, yet you’re not moving. So I’m going to direct those chemicals somewhere else”. And only you know where you feel them. Only you know where in stressful situations which parts of your body will get affected. For some people it’s in their lungs, others their back, others their gut or throat.
So the best way to help yourself is through awareness, mindfulness, meditation. Walk or sit in nature if you can – even a window onto an outside space can be a valuable way to change your viewpoint. If it’s a sunny day go outside and look at nature while eating your lunch. If it’s a bad weather day, find a relaxing, calm or quiet space and pop some relaxing music on your headphones while you eat. While you’re eating avoid social media, the news, negativity of any sort. When your awareness is already telling you that you’re in a negative or stressed state of mind, the best way to help yourself is to do something opposite- or at least different and positive. Mindful breathing techniques can also be enormously helpful in encouraging a more positive mental environment.
So by applying mindfulness techniques you can substantially calm your mind before eating. This will allow you to enjoy your food more, digest it better, and hopefully help you to go into your day with a more positive attitude.
Enjoy your meal!
*Our brain wishes to move us from a place of pain to a place of pleasure - and food is one of the easiest options at our disposal. For those of you who feel you may be in this cycle, this can feel uncomfortable. However, this isn’t the only possible outcome. When RTT enables you to identify the root cause of the issue you don’t need those amounts of food to overcome the pain that you are suffering. Because the root has been eliminated. RTT can go to the root cause of your anger- what caused you to be like that, because until you solve it subconsciously, you haven’t solved it at all.
We can talk about issues consciously but you’re not dealing with them, you’re just talking about them. For anyone who would like to discuss any issues around eating, please book a Free Discovery Call where we can talk over what's troubling you, and you can discover how RTT can help you eliminate it.
Juan Carlos is a therapist and author with over 22 years' experience as a diagnostic scientist.
All blog entries are Copyright ©2019-2021 Juan Carlos Gouveia, except quotations and where stated.