Category: changing your thoughts

What’s holding you back ?

What is holding you back in life ?

What’s stopping you achieving what you truly want?




It might be that you crave peace of mind, success in your work , contentment in the family, achievement in sport, weight loss or whatever else that is important to you.

If only wanting were enough surely you would have it by now, yet do you never seem able to get where you want to be?

What is it that is holding you back ?

Perhaps I can use the power of story telling and analogy, both powerful tools in a hypnotherapists tool box, to illustrate what might be going on.


elephant 1


Many countries with less stringent animal rights still use elephants as part of their circus acts. These huge majestic beasts are often tethered in the circus compound by a weak rope tied to a short stake in the ground. How is it that this can hold a huge adult elephant who should easily have the power to pull such a stake out of the ground.

That is the power of conditioning !!

tied baby elephant


As a small cub the trainer tethers the elephant to the stake and however much he tries to pull the small elephant cannot get free. A powerful loop of conditioning is set up in the elephant’s brain. This becomes so effective that by the time he grows up the process is fixed and the belief so strong, he doesn’t even try to break free.

Can you see such how such conditioning could have been set down in your mind.

Are there beliefs from your past that are so fixed that you are not even aware of them ?

How can you break free of what is limiting you and harness the wonderful mechanism of your brain’s neuroplasticity, it’s power to change.

It is often said that the potential for change is in the power of the questions we ask ourselves.



Would you like to shine the spotlight of awareness on the limiting beliefs of your past,

Start by asking yourself some good searching questions. Our excuses about why we are stuck is often a very good place to start.

After all no one argues that they haven’t grown out of the shoes and clothes they were made to wear as children and so can now choose their own individual style.

school uniform




In the same vein why hold onto old beliefs that you were also given in your past.

Today why not choose your own style in your beliefs as well !

Mind your own biscuits !

How are you getting on with your ‘ subtraction ‘ homework.




Letting go of our need to control others, our judgements and comparisons is the key to happiness but it isn’t always easy is it?!

Accepting it is never what happens to us that causes us stress, but what we think about it that does, can be a challenge.

We may know that on an intellectual level but once you are in a situation with that person in front of you, saying and doing all those things that push your buttons, before you know it you automatically go down the path of judgment and comparison and feeling bad again.



The mind often takes this short cut without awareness so it seems like ‘they’ have caused the bad feelings in you whereas in fact it wasn’t them it was your thoughts all along !

Realising this does put the power of change in your court though, no need to wait for them to change before you can feel good but it can also feel like a big responsibility , sometimes it is easier to blame others isn’t it ?!

All religions, spiritual teachings and practices have this message in common because it is a universal truth. Sometimes, however, the mind can object and hear all this as control, shoulds and oughts and judge these messages as shame and blame and want to rebel.

Sometimes the mind responds better to a different approach.

What about this message in music !


mind biscuits


There is really interesting research that has been done with people with advanced Alzheimer’s disease. Even after they have lost all short term memory teaching them something completely new as lyrics of a song set to music means they can retain and remember it, whereas just using words they can’t.

Could you use this song on You Tube to utilise a different pathway of your brain to remind yourself to let go of judgements , control and comparisons.



Good luck with  Minding Your Own Biscuits  today !

Who do you think you are ?

I wonder what you thought when you read my last post on the psychology of luck. Basically Professor Wiseman demonstrated that those that think they are lucky, are …. and those that think they are unlucky, are too!

Perhaps this started you reflecting on all those thoughts and judgements you have about yourself and what self fulfilling prophesies are being set up in your life.


buddha 2


Maybe you were inspired to start questioning these thoughts and beliefs or instead did you wonder if the people in Professor Wiseman’s study were born that way and this is just their basic personality. Did you decide that there are two types of people in the world, lucky thinkers and unlucky thinkers, and there is not much you can do about which group you are in?

That is why I wanted to write more about Professor Wiseman’s work because his psychological study didn’t just stop at observation. Once he identified the unlucky people he devised a plan of psychological exercises and therapy which he called Luck School.

He identified four basic principles that lucky people use to create good fortune in their lives.

Principle One: Maximise Chance Opportunities
Lucky people are skilled at creating, noticing and acting upon chance opportunities. They do this in various ways, including networking, adopting a relaxed attitude to life and by being open to new experiences.




Principle Two: Listening to Lucky Hunches
Lucky people make effective decisions by listening to their intuition and gut feelings. In addition, they take steps to actively boost their intuitive abilities by, for example, meditating and clearing their mind of other thoughts.




Principle Three: Expect Good Fortune
Lucky people are certain that the future is going to be full of good fortune. These expectations become self-fulfilling prophecies by helping lucky people persist in the face of failure, and shape their interactions with others in a positive way.




Principle Four: Turn Bad Luck to Good
Lucky people employ various psychological techniques to cope with, and often even thrive upon, the ill fortune that comes their way. For example, they spontaneously imagine how things could have been worse, do not dwell on ill fortune, and take control of the situation – often referred to glass half full thinking.




Prof Wiseman then developed techniques that addressed all four principles and helped the unlucky people think and behave like a lucky person. The efficacy of these techniques has been scientifically tested in a series of psychology experiments referred to as ‘luck school’. The project proved highly successful, with almost all participants reporting significant life changes, including increased levels of luck, self-esteem, confidence and success.




Does this inspire you to change how you think ?

Always remember that famous saying of Henry Ford….



Do some people have all the luck

4 leaf clover

Do you live from your Outside – In or when you actually become quiet and still to consider this can you see it might be more like living from your Inside – Out.

Are you somebody who considers that what you think and believe about yourself comes from what has happened to you in your past or do you feel a significant amount of what’s happened to you has actually been as a result of your thinking and beliefs.

This is often described in psychological terms as having either an internal or external locus of control and which we operate from can have a significant impact in wide ranging aspects of our lives.


locus of control jung

Richard Wiseman, a Professor of Psychology at The University of Hertfordshire has done a fascinating ten year long study into luck and whether this stems from outside or inside of ourselves. He came to talk at the National Council of Hypnotherapy’s Annual Conference a couple of years ago and outlined a really interesting psychological study he undertook which clearly demonstrates the difference in behaviour and experience resulting from the beliefs we hold about ourselves.

He placed advertisements in national newspapers and magazines, asking for people who felt consistently lucky or unlucky to contact his department and over the years has included over 400 people from the age of 18 – 84 in various studies including this newspaper study he told us about.

“ We gave both lucky and unlucky people a newspaper, and asked them to look through it and report how many photographs were inside. On average, the unlucky people took about two minutes to count the photographs, whereas the lucky people took just seconds. Why? Because the second page of the newspaper contained the message: “Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper.” This message took up half of the page and was written in type that was more than 2in high. It was staring everyone straight in the face, but the unlucky people tended to miss it and the lucky people tended to spot it.

We also placed a second large message halfway through the newspaper: “Stop counting. Tell the experimenter you have seen this and win £250.” Again, the unlucky people missed the opportunity because they were still too busy looking for photographs.


Personality tests revealed that unlucky people are generally much more tense than lucky people, and research has shown that anxiety disrupts people’s ability to notice the unexpected. In one experiment, people were asked to watch a moving dot in the centre of a computer screen. Without warning, large dots would occasionally be flashed at the edges of the screen. Nearly all participants noticed these large dots.

The experiment was then repeated with a second group of people, who were offered a large financial reward for accurately watching the centre dot, creating more anxiety. They became focused on the centre dot and more than a third of them missed the large dots when they appeared on the screen. The harder they looked, the less they saw.

And so it is with luck – unlucky people miss chance opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else. They go to parties intent on finding their perfect partner and so miss opportunities to make good friends. They look through newspapers determined to find certain types of job advertisements and as a result miss other types of jobs. Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore see what is there rather than just what they are looking for ”



So Richard Wiseman’s research seems to confirm that it is self belief that you are lucky that results in certain patterns of behaviour and positive results in your life and not the other way round.

Can you recognise a similar pattern arising from a unsupportive belief playing out in your life ?

It might not necessarily be around luck, for example it could be about how loveable you believe yourself to be. As a hypnotherapist I find that the belief of not being good enough or not being loveable lurks in the recesses of so many people’s minds and then plays out in unhelpful ways in their everyday lives.

As you reflect on this yourself, a completely different life shaping belief might become apparent to you. Hypnotherapy can also bring these type of beliefs to the surface and once uncovered we can work together to question the validity of a particular belief and after inquiry replace it with one that is truer and more supportive to you. Then be interested to see how the ramifications of this new held belief play out in various positive ways in your everyday life.

Imagine the positive ripples that could come from tossing that pebble into your pond !


Planting seeds of change

Ideas for new blog posts often come to me when I am walking Monty. He loves to run in Ashton Court but today he had to have a local pavement walk as I needed to get back early to see a client. As we walked along I was wondering about what metaphor or image I could use to help explain the mechanism of change. Metaphors, images and stories are the language of hypnotherapists because they are the language of the unconscious mind. Just as I was wondering I came across these beautiful red and yellow poppies.


The flowers were vibrant and vivid in colour and the leaves luscious and green , both strong sturdy plants. However neither was planted in a flower bed with regular watering or fertiliser. I’m not sure if you can see from the photos but both were growing from teeny tiny cracks between the pavement and wall. Obviously the poppy seeds had managed to find a small space in the hard rigid roadside and from this seemingly inhospitable start these lovely plants and flowers had grown.


Here was my metaphor ……….The Seeds of Change !

When you really analyse it, all change starts with our thoughts.

Change your thoughts and you change your experience of life. Simple but not always easy !

But just like poppy seeds, the seeds of change can also grow from the tiniest cracks in the hard rigidness of our thinking.


What do you want to change – What could open up such a space for you ?

Perhaps you could start to question your thoughts and be open to the possibility that you might be able to view your situation in a slightly different way. Can you be absolutely certain that what you are thinking is true, if not does that change the perspectacles you are using to view the world ? Could you let go of some of your preconceived ideas and become open to a different point of view or perspective. If this sounds good in theory but feels impossible in practice then hypnotherapy could help.

Remember it doesn’t require much, the tiniest of openings is enough for a seed to take hold and grow !

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