The Power of the Next Small Step

Clients and supervisees are often talking to me about the need to get things done. Getting started on that goal, big or small. Whether its clearing out the garage or starting a new career. What is it that seems to be holding us back. I’ll not get in to the neuroscience of why we might procrastinate here, but I will tell you about one of the most powerful tools I have learnt to help beat procrastination, at least some of the time.

Several years ago I was lucky enough to attend a CPD (Continual Professional Development) event at CPHT Bristol, where I trained to be a Hypnotherapist in the first place. The CPD was on Mindfulness and Acceptance Based Strategies. The highly respected lecturer, Matthew Dyson, asked the group the following question: “where do you get the motivation to get on the treadmill from?” The group gave several answers including: “by visualising yourself getting fitter”; “reminding yourself how good you feel when you are done”; “thinking about the guilt free glass of wine afterwards!” None of these were the answer he was looking for. As Matthew explained, “The truth is you get the motivation for getting on the treadmill when you get on the treadmill”!

The next small step

And it’s true of course, you get motivation to get up and do, when you get up and do.

Small steps make a difference.

Again I won’t go in to the details of the neuroscience behind that, but it does remind us of the importance of simply focusing on the next small step.

Let me give you an example. I am a regular gym goer. I enjoy being at the gym. Notice I write “I enjoy being at the gym”. I often don’t enjoy getting there. Getting myself changed, ready, in the car and down to the gym with the thought in my head that I am going to put my body through its paces is often very difficult.

More recently I have chosen to simply focus on the next small step to get me there.

First I might simply focus on the task of getting my trainers on. Then I focus on finding the car keys (why does that always take so long?). Then I focus on the job of getting in to the car. Throughout this whole process and on arrival I am telling myself: “just ten minutes and then you can go home, just ten minutes!” I stick out 5 minutes and then 10 and then, usually, the strangest thing has happened. Now I am warmed up, my heart is pumping, I am becoming less stiff and awkward, energy is returning, and the oxygen to my brain increases. I am building up momentum, I have got myself on the treadmill and that is where I find my motivation!

Now that I am there and have done my 10 minutes its rare I do less than 50, but my intention on arrival is always to do only 10.

The same principle can be applied to anything. We know the primitive brain can over-inflate the size of any task and underestimate our ability to achieve it. By focusing on that next small step with the understanding that we can stop and go home at any point we can gently steer ourselves more towards those activities which lead us to our goals and further from those that don’t. Just one small step!

Are you thinking of becoming a Hypnotherapist? Do you live in Northern Ireland and want to train in Belfast? I wonder if your next small step is simply to complete this application form: cphtbelfast.co.uk/application-form/… After all a “journey of a thousand miles starts with just one small step”- Lao Tzu.

Hypnotherapy with us is fun!

David Newton, Founder of CPHT
David Newton: “It has to be fun”.

As David Newton, founder of CPHT, is always saying: “It needs to be fun” and “We need to get on with it”.

If we were to take these two sentences and put them into practice with regards to our whole life, wouldn’t life be different?  Sometimes this isn’t always possible, but when it comes to training at CPHT Belfast we really do like to ‘get on with it’ and have fun.

Are all courses this much fun?

One of our students asked “Are all courses this much fun”? Our answer to that was “Yes, but the people from NI and Ireland seem to laugh more”!  On occasion there were absolute tears of laughter.

In addition to this there was also a great deal of concentration.  Especially in the early days as the students were getting to grips with neuroscience and how the brain works. However, we’d encourage them with words such as “Sometimes we just need to get on with it”.  Or we’d lighten it with one of Alex’s great drawings!

Alex’s drawing of the brain, nick-named ‘Paul’ by students on course 1.

Why do we sometimes have to ‘get on with it’?  Well the subconscious mind is an absolute professional at procrastination.  This isn’t a recent development, the word procrastination has been in the English dictionary since the 1600’s.  We suspect it was around well before then too.  Therefore gentle encouragement to get on and do something, or even simply start a process, can be very useful.

By not over-thinking things and taking the mental attitude of ‘yes I can’, we allow ourselves to concentrate more easily on what is being said.  Whether that’s about the chemicals in the brain; the physical symptoms of stress; the signs of depression.  All the things that make a CPHT Hypnotherapist knowledgeable, even in the early stages of their 10-month gold-standard diploma course.

Fun and laughter is good for the brain.

We encourage our students to transfer the fun to the therapy room so the client can benefit. Nic can recall coming down the stairs at a clinic with her client when the receptionist turned round and said with a smile: “I could hear you laughing down here, it’s not supposed to be fun you know”.  Ah well, that’s the good thing, yes it is – that’s how the brain learns more easily.

Take any child at school, they will do better in a subject if they’re enjoying it.  In therapy sessions with solution focused hypnotherapy, the brain can learn that it can laugh, despite what’s going on around it, and then not only can it overcome issues more easily, but it can come up with the correct assessment of any given situation and each individual can arrive more easily at the right solution for them.

One of solution focused hypnotherapy’s tenets is ‘find what works and do more of it’.  This can then help change negative beliefs and negative patterns of behaviour.Alex and Nic having a laugh whilst lecturing.

So keep smiling, it’s proven to be very good for you, and if you want cheering up, then perhaps it’s time for a change of career so have a chat with us! 😉

Nic and Alex

Tel: 0773 866 5172 (Nic) or 07917 415926 (Alex).

 

Scientists discover how hypnosis actually works

We just love Stanford University!  They do a lot of research on what happens with hypnosis.  In fact there’s buckets full of research going on about hypnotherapy as scientists glimpse how it affects the brain.  And it’s all good stuff.

A group of researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine just used brain imaging to see what was actually happening to people while they were under hypnosis.

Stanford psychiatry professor David Spiegel, reported “That [hypnosis] has therapeutic potential. You can get people to shake up the way they react to problems and approach them from a different point of view.”  He added “”It is a neurobiological phenomenon.”

If you’d like to read the full article, just click on the link below:

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/07/28/youre-getting-very-curious-scientists-discover-how-hypnosis-actually-works.html

We love it!

Focus on solutions

Over the last few days we’ve been inundated with enquiries for our Hypnotherapy Practitioners Diploma course. Possibly the surge in interest is because we’ve crossed the mental border into the new year and people have focused on what they want to achieve, seen the course starts in April and that’s prompted them into action? Perhaps they’ve realised halfway through the first month that life is still the same old, same old and they want to change?  Whatever it is, we’ve been benefitting from the action that some people are taking!

Focusing on solutions allows for action to be taken.  Although Alex and myself were happy with the trickle of enquiries we had about the course last year, we knew we’d see an upturn as we stepped into the actual year of the course (admittedly we did have our fingers crossed too).   As we get closer to our kick off date we expect the momentum to continue building, prompting those people who’s subconscious might have had them procrastinating into taking action.  It’s amazing what a deadline will allow us to achieve.

As senior lecturers at CPHT Belfast, we understand how the brain works – we were well taught on our Hypnotherapy Practitioners Diploma course!  This enabled us to look generically at how our enquiries might come in and to not panic last year!  On our course, students learn the importance of focus and making sure that the focus is on the positives not the negatives.

Focus on the solution

A significant part of the Diploma course is talking about “What’s been good” and then focusing on ‘where we want to be’ rather than where we are now or where we’ve been.  Why do we focus on what’s been good?

Two main reasons:

1) If we focus on what’s been bad we magnify it.  This makes it more difficult to deal with as we empower the problem by making it larger than it really is.

2) If we focus on what’s been good (despite any difficulties) then we move to our positive prefrontal cortex within the brain which empowers us rather than the problem.  We then actually change the way the brain works which gives us more control!

The majority of our clients come to us with problems that have them disempowered. Whether that’s anxiety, panic attacks or phobias or general lack of confidence and negative beliefs.  These problems can end up wrapping us around their little finger and thereby bring on both mental and physical negative symptoms such as insomnia, loss of control (eating too much, smoking, drinking too much alcohol) or things like Obsessive Compulsive Disorders etc.

Neuroscience shows us that if we focus on how we want to be, the brain is much more likely to get on board and help us achieve that.  They call it Neuroplasticity, explaining that our brain is like Play-doh, we can mould it to be how we want to be as long as we show our brain what it is we want.  As we then step into a more positive future, the negatives symptoms fade into the past.

So, we need to focus on what we want.  We need to focus on what we want to do and how we want to be.

If you want to learn more about the very well established CPHT Hypnotherapy Practitioners Diploma and what we teach on this great course, then do get in touch.  Email us at info@cphtbelfast.co.uk to ask any questions or come along to our Open Evening on Thursday 3rd March at the Source Wellbeing Centre in Beersbridge Road, Belfast. We’ll be there from 6pm to 8pm!

Nicola Griffiths