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Breaking the Habit of Emotional Eating – Sophie’s Story

Sometimes my clients will contact me after a few days of listening to their RTT recording and tell me that it’s not working. I can hear the despair in their voices. Often clients come to me after trying everything else, and when nothing else has worked. So, there’s a lot of expectation and hope invested in RTT being the “thing” that finally fixes their issue.

When this happens, I do what I always do. I reassure them and tell them to persevere and keep listening to their recording for the full 21 days.

21 is not a magic number. Research shows that, on average, it takes 21 days to form new habits.  (Incidentally, there’s also new research that shows 66 days as the average time it takes to form a new habit. But as RTT works with the subconscious, results are often faster – and that’s why it’s called Rapid.)

This was definitely the case with *Sophie, an attractive successful business-woman in her 50s, who came to see me to help beat her addiction to drinking wine and eating junk food. She told me she would often drink a whole bottle of wine after work and eat bags of crisps while she cooked dinner. She had gained weight and her eating and drinking felt out of control.

Her RTT session uncovered deep-rooted beliefs about her own self-worth and attractiveness, about being lovable and deserving of happiness and love. Over decades she had buried these feelings of not being good enough, in food and drink. She was eating her emotions.

For women especially, so much of our self-worth and self-esteem is tied up with how we look and feel about our bodies. True self care is about understanding that we are all fundamentally lovable and about having a whole new mindset, where food is nourishment not punishment.

In the session we worked to change Sophie’s subconscious beliefs about herself. For her recording  I focused on the messaging that she would no longer have any cravings for wine or crisps, and that she would be able to look at a bottle of wine and feel completely indifferent.

A few days after her session, Sophie texted to say she didn’t feel the RTT was working. She was still drinking after work, still eating crisps. Christmas was coming up and she felt she was too stressed to carry on. I could hear the despondency in her voice. She had previously told me that RTT was her last resort and she was desperate for help.

I told her not to worry, but to keep listening to her recording anyway, and that I would wait to hear from her when she was ready to book in her follow-up session with me.

Christmas came and went. I thought about her, as I often think about my clients, and hoped all was well.

And then, yesterday, I received this.

“Hi Dawn, sorry it’s been so long. I had a bad run up to Christmas and I didn’t think the therapy had worked. But I’ve now not had a drink or any crisps for 23 days and I’m feeling pretty focused.

It has worked! It has been as you said it would be. No cravings!”

For all my clients, I say:

Change with RTT happens in one of three ways:

  1. Instantly – clients experience a massive and sudden transformation during their session.
  2. Gradually – transformation occurs over the 21 days of listening to the RTT recording.
  3. Retrospectively – sometimes there may be no noticeable improvement, and then after a period of time clients notice they no longer have the issue.

Change happens once mindset is set to a new direction – and sometimes this can happen in an instant, sometimes over a period of time. But it does and can happen.

If you’d like to have a chat about how RTT can help you, please email me at dawn@dawnquest.co.uk for more information.

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When your teen leaves home

When your teen leaves home…

As teenagers head off to University or higher education this week, many parents may be feeling a mixture of emotions: pride, excitement, maybe even relief, but also underneath it all a sense of loss, and something that feels just a little bit like heartbreak.

You’re never ever ready. And it always feels too soon.

Your child is leaving home and there you are, wondering why it feels like someone just ripped out your heart and ran all over it with a juggernaut.

You knew it was coming. You just spent your child’s entire early life preparing them for eventual independence – primary school, then secondary or senior school, then the all-important exams, then applications for Uni or college or work. All the evenings going over their homework. All the football matches and dance classes. All the battles and hugs.

But when it  finally happens  and the time comes for them to go, you’re left wondering why it feels so much like a  hammer blow to the heart. You’ll think thoughts like “they don’t need me anymore” and you may even laugh at yourself through the tears, for being so silly. You’ll cry remembering them as a tiny little thing whose hand gripped yours so tightly. Or you’ll cry in secret because it somehow feels wrong – after all, you knew what you were in for – you love your children but they will always leave.

It sounds so odd to say you feel heartbroken when your child flies the nest, that word being so associated with  romantic relationships. But when it comes to describing the pain you feel, then heartbreak is  exactly what it is. It’s a feeling of grief and loss that you somehow feel embarrassed about admitting. You may burst into tears for no reason. You may brood for a bit when you see their old football boots or even the disgusting state of the room they left behind (so, that’s where all the bowls and glasses went).

As you help them get organised for Uni or college, as you help them pack and sort out  student accommodation, as you hear them chat with their friends, there may be a growing sense of being left behind. Although you will always be Mum or Dad, you know that you will no longer be at the centre of their new life and this bright new future they are heading off in to. The reality stares you in the face: you are now an adjunct.

Maybe they’ll talk about you to their friends, they’ll message or text (but don’t be surprised if they don’t), but they’ll be dealing with the daily issues and problems of life on their own. The world they inhabited with you, where you were at the epicentre of the whirlwind vortex of their lives, the hub of their life’s spinning wheel –  this world no longer exists.

A chapter has ended. Well and truly, You can’t go back, even if you wanted to.

The boundaries of parenting have been reached. You have raised them. And here and now the job of raising them ends.

So you think back about maybe how you could have done things differently. How you should have spent more time teaching them how to cook. Or how to do their own laundry. Or how to manage their money. And by beating yourself up about all the things you should have done but didn’t, you’ll start to make comparisons with your own life.

As they set off on the path to independence, you’ll be reminded of when you did the very same thing to your own parents. You left home without so much as a backwards glance, glad perhaps to get away from Mum and Dad, thinking Mum was a bit embarrassing for getting so upset, and never really appreciating how deep that wound went.

We didn’t realise the hole we left behind. And neither do our children. They don’t know you’re heartbroken and you can never tell them.

Jokes are often made about “Empty Nest Syndrome” as if it’s not a real thing but some indulgence made up by over-protective mothers (bit of a clue: It’s not just a Mum thing. Dads feel it too). Maybe you joked about it too until it happened.

But here you are, entering a new phase of being a parent. Your role in your child’s life has shifted and you may be wondering how to be a Mum or Dad to a newly independent person. Where do you fit?

As with all emotions, the only way through it is to feel it.  To really wholeheartedly accept that you are feeling the way you are: heartbroken, sad, upset. Your feelings are not silly. They do not have to be explained away. You don’t have to justify feeling sad.

Your role has changed and that means letting go of the old way of interacting with your son or daughter and embracing a new way, whatever shape or form that takes. It means taking your cues from them about how much or how little they want your involvement in their lives; practising acceptance is key.

As is getting on with your own life.

Someone once said, grief is about having so much love still to give to someone who is no longer there. After your child leaves, you will still have so much time and energy and love to give to them but they’ll be off living their own life, no longer in close proximity to receive it. So what do you do with all that time and energy and love?

You raised your child well and they are now standing on their own two feet (sort of). You did a good job. And now, how about turning the focus on you? On what you love doing, On where the gaps in your life are that need filling and enriching.

Your role has changed but the fundamentals of your love haven’t. You may not be at the epicentre of your child’s brand new life, but you’ll be their roots, and their foundation, the place they know they’ve come from and where they’ll come home to when they need to most.

Photo: Tim Gouw/Unsplash

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Keep Calm in Anxious Times: Choose Your Response

Choose Your Response: Keeping Calm in Anxious Times

It can be hard to keep calm and positive in the midst of our current Coronavirus pandemic. If you are struggling with worry and stress, know that there are steps you can take to feel calmer and more resilient through this stressful time…

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In difficult times, such as the ones we are all currently experiencing, one of the hardest challenges can be dealing with uncertainty and the sudden lack of control over our own lives and events.

Some of us may be worried about catching Coronavirus – or  Covid-19 – while at the same time trying to work out what we’ll do to keep our children entertained and busy if schools close (if they haven’t already). We may be concerned about how we are going to survive financially, especially if we are self-employed or run our own businesses. Or we may be feeling upset about having to cancel holidays or special events like weddings and other family celebrations.

It is hard to manage these worries at the best of times, not least without having to deal with a global pandemic.

The advice may be to Keep Calm and Carry On but how do we actually achieve that? Telling yourself to stay calm is like accidentally cutting yourself on a sharp object and telling yourself not to bleed.

The simple truth is, life will always throw challenges our way; this is something we will never have control over, however much we feel we do. What we can control, however, and what can help us stay calm and more resilient, is how we choose to respond.

 

Reaction Versus Response

When we’re in the grip of a powerful emotion like fear or anger, it may feel as if we have no choice or control over our thoughts and feelings whatsoever. But we do.

How people have responded to the Coronavirus pandemic is a case in point.  On one hand we see people rushing to the supermarkets and panic buying toilet roll and soap. On the other there are people rallying together to form community groups to look after the elderly and vulnerable in our society. Two very different ways of dealing with potential threat.

A completely natural response to perceived danger is the stress response – fight, flight or freeze. Our bodies and brains are hardwired that way and, for the survival of the species, have to be.  However, our brains have a difficult time deciding what is real and what is perceived threat – danger is danger to the brain. It’s black and white.

But whereas panic may be our brain’s first automatic response, what comes next is completely within our control, however much it doesn’t feel like it.  And that is: we can choose how we act.

 

How to stay calm when all around us feels overwhelming

Every day we face a constant barrage of external stimuli – from people, situations, the news, the weather, our environments, the list goes on. Without us even being conscious of it, these external stimuli trigger a thought, which leads to a feeling which leads to an action, This is called a Looping Thought pattern – the diagram below shows how it works.

Keep calm in anxious times - choose your response

By understanding our own Looping Thought patterns, we can break the negative cycle of fear, stress and anxiety.

When we pause to examine our thoughts, feelings and actions, we can re-wire our own ingrained responses to stressful situations and choose better, more positive thoughts and feelings which lead to healthier actions. This results in a positive feedback loop, as calmer actions then calm the body’s stress response leading to calmer thoughts and feelings. Instantly,  this creates greater resilience and stronger coping mechanisms.

If you are struggling to stay calm in times of panic,  uncertainty and stress, try this simple exercise.

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A Calmer Response Exercise

1. Trigger: Take a piece of paper and write down what has happened – the event/person/situation – to cause you to feel stressed or anxious.
eg: reading an alarming headline about the spread of coronavirus.

2. Thought: Then write down the thought this trigger had created.
eg: What if we all have to self-isolate. What if the shops run out of supplies? What if my business suffers?

3. Feeling: Write down the feeling that follows this thought.
eg: fear, anxiety – include the physical symptoms that accompany these feelings.

4. Action: Then make a list of what you usually do next after you’ve had this thought and feeling.
eg: Start to panic, google Coronavirus symptoms, and read more news articles looking for reassurance but which only makes me feel worse.

5. How can I respond differently? Now think of a more positive action you can take following the thought and feeling.
eg: Informing yourself (getting the right information from official sources so you are prepared instead of feeling panic); distracting yourself (reading, listening to music, doing some exercise); comforting yourself (making a cup of herbal tea, chatting with a friend); or being proactive (thinking of positive ways to respond to the situation).

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Once you have thought about more positive actions you can choose to take in response to events or situations that usually cause anxiety or stress, visualise yourself taking these actions. Close your eyes and rehearse how you will act differently, what you will say that’s different to what you usually say, and what steps you will take to stop the negative thoughts and feelings in their tracks.

This takes practise. Changing old habits of behaviour is just like changing or stopping any habit. Practise, be patient and be kind to yourself.

If anxiety or panic is becoming an issue for you and interfering with your daily life, please get in touch to discuss how Rapid Transformational Therapy can help.

 

Additional Resources:

This Simple Breathing Tip Helps Reduce Anxiety
Inner Calm Meditation
UK Government information – Coronavirus information
World Health Organisation – Coronavirus information

Try the Inner Calm Meditation

Banish the stresses of the day and unlock inner calm and balance. This 15-minute guided meditation is designed to calm frayed nerves and soothe the body’s stress response, allowing you to  slip into your own personal inner oasis of peace and calm.


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Breathing tip helps reduce anxiety | dandelion clock |www.dawnquest.co.uk

This Simple Breathing Tip Helps Reduce Anxiety

During moments of stress, anxiety and even panic attacks, the common advice tends to be to “take deep breaths”.

But that advice is now being seen as outdated, and in some cases might make stress and anxiety worse.

About a year ago, I learnt of a breathing technique that really does nix moments of stress, not just in the short-term but longer-term, and relatively quickly too. It worked for me (I’ll show you a fascinating little self-experiment in a mo), and it has also worked for my clients, so much so that I now teach my clients this method for general wellbeing regardless of whether they are suffering from anxiety or not.

Coherent or resonant breathing is a technique that helps bring both emotional and physiological systems in the body into balance in order to boost overall health and wellbeing. The idea is to make breathing slower and more rhythmic by making sure every exhalation is the same length as every inhalation. Scroll to the bottom to find out how to practise coherent breathing.

I’ve read a couple of different accounts of how and why this works. The creator of the trademarked Coherent Breathing method, Stephen Elliott proposes the theory that moving the diaphragm in a rhythmic manner stimulates the phrenic nerve thereby promoting optimal circulation, better brain function and “nourishing every cell in the body in a positive feedback loop”.

Other research shows that coherent or resonant breathing helps bring Heart Rate Variability (HRV) into a smoother, more even pattern which promotes the better functioning of every organ in the body, most importantly the brain.

HRV, by the way, is the measurement of the gaps between heart beats – and is now recognised as a far better way of measuring overall health and fitness, compared to just measuring heart rate. If you’re intrigued by HRV there is excellent information over on the HeartMath website.

First, a bit of science

Our Autonomic Nervous System is the part of our nervous system that governs automatic bodily functions like breathing, digestion and our heart beat, The ANS is in turn divided into two parts: the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. Both regulate the same bodily functions but have opposite jobs. The sympathetic nervous system prepares the body for intense physical activity (fight or flight); while the parasympathetic nervous system prepares the body for relaxation and rest.

While we are awake, our optimal state is when both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems are in balance. When  brain function, heart rate and breathing are all in balance, we cope with stress better, we are more sociable and positive, and tend to be more resilient.

When we are stressed, however, our bodies stay in high alert, with our sympathetic nervous systems constantly firing. Although still evolving, research into HRV and coherence is showing a link between lower coherence and disease and aging.

Coherent or resonant breathing works by hacking the ANS to bring both sympathetic and parasympathetic systems  back into balance almost instantly.

You can find a number of apps that help you track your own personal coherence index and HRV.  I use WellTory.  The results below show my body before and after 5 minutes of Coherent Breathing.

How to Practise Coherent Breathing

Relax and find a quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed. Breathe in for 6 seconds. Then breathe out for 6 seconds. If 6 seconds feels too long, start with 4 seconds and build up to 6 seconds. Make sure both your inhalation and exhalation are the same length.

Start with a minute or two then build up gradually to however long feels comfortable. Some recommend a daily practise of 20 minutes, but I tend to follow the principle of “little and often” as a guide,

You can find a number of apps that help guide you through a timed breathing technique. Calm’s Breathe setting allows you to set the timings for your breath and plays a different note for inhales and exhales (so you can practise with your eyes closed.).

The Breathing App by Deepak Chopra and Eddie Stern (with music by Moby) allows you to choose from a pre-selected format of breathing patterns with five different screens. 

Try the Inner Calm Meditation

 

Banish the stresses of the day and unlock inner calm and balance. This 15-minute guided meditation is designed to calm frayed nerves and soothe the body’s stress response, allowing you to  slip into your own personal inner oasis of peace and stillness.

For a limited time 50% discount


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