Why can’t I sleep?

Sometimes those everyday stresses can start to mount up. The more stressed we are, the harder it is to sleep. The more our sleep is disrupted in some way, the bigger the negative effect it has on our mood. We become even more stressed and even less likely to sleep. It is all a bit of a vicious circle.

What happens during a normal night’s sleep?

When our brain is tuned in to the natural flow of our circadian rhythms, we find everything synchronizes perfectly. Our body and mind are attuned, and hormones work in balance. The circadian rhythms govern our sleep/wake cycle. So when the light starts to fade, we begin to produce a hormone called melatonin. It gently prepares us for sleep by making us drowsy. We start to unwind and relax and eventually drop off. Towards the end of the night we start to produce another hormone, cortisol. This hormone provides a burst of energy. It makes us feel alert and hungry. When the sun starts to rise, we are ready to start the day.

sleep when the sun sets and the moon rises


Our sleep cycles

Over the course of a night we experience between four to six sleep cycles lasting about 90 minutes in length. Each cycle has different stages within it. It starts with a period of light sleep, followed by deep sleep and finally rapid eye movement or REM sleep. The amount of time we spend in each stage of sleep varies. During our first sleep cycles we tend to have more deep sleep but more REM in the later ones.

What happens during each stage of sleep?

During light sleep we are not fully awake and not yet fully asleep. We are aware enough of our surroundings that if needed to, we would be able to respond to something that required our attention. This stage is really about preparing us for deep sleep.

Deep sleep is when the body takes precedence. The mind slows right down. Growth hormones are produced during deep sleep and the damaged cells in the body are repaired or replaced.

It is during REM sleep that our brain takes precedence. The body is at its most relaxed, but our mind is most active. This is the stage of sleep where we tend to do most of our dreaming. As there is more REM during the second half of the night there is a concentration of dreaming before we wake. Dreaming is a really important part of sleep. It is when our brain takes the days memories from their holding bay; in particular, those niggling events that have stayed on our mind. It evaluates them, prunes away any irrelevant information and removes it. It then stores what might be helpful for future use, in long term storage, where it can all be accessed far more easily. This is how memories are formed.

Our brain also uses dream time to process our emotional responses to the day’s events. Our dreams replay these events, giving us an opportunity to try out and rehearse different emotional responses, so that if we were faced with this situation again, we would already be prepared for it. This is how dreaming helps us regulate our emotional responses during the day.

picture of a man dreaming

REM is also the time when we produce new brain cells and when toxins are washed away from the brain by cerebral fluid.

The stress response

When we become stressed or face a challenge, our body switches into a more heightened mode. This reaction is governed by our primitive brain and is an ancient response that evolved as a survival mechanism. It helps us react quickly to threat and defend against danger and predators. In the days of early man, we had to contend with many actual life-threatening situations and without this response we never would have made it as a human race.

Picture of a man under stress

How does the stress response work?

The amygdala, which can be found in our original primitive brain, is always judging any situation for potential threat. It does this by processing the sensory information coming into the brain via the thalamus. It also scours the hippocampus for stored memories to see what we did and how we responded the last time we faced something similar.  Once the brain has decided there is a threat, a distress signal is sent to the hypothalamus (a bit like the brain’s chemist) and signals are sent via nerves to the adrenal glands that sit on the top of our kidneys. Here the stress hormone adrenaline is produced. Adrenaline causes a biological response to help fight the threat or flee from it. Blood pressure increases, making your heart beat harder and faster so that your muscles get a good supply of blood. Glucose and fats are released by the liver into the blood, providing extra energy to keep the muscles working well. Breathing speeds up. Small airways are opened in the lungs so we can take in more oxygen. Extra oxygen is sent to the brain which increases our alertness and senses become sharper and the mind more vigilant. The thinking part of the brain is de-activated. If you were a primitive man under threat from let’s say a wild animal, standing around thinking about the threat could have cost you your life. Any non-essential processes that do not help with survival are restrained in an effort to send energy where it is needed most.

If the amygdala still perceives a threat after the initial burst of adrenaline, it sends a further series of signals which end up at the adrenal glands. This time to produce cortisol. Cortisol acts like a gas peddle keeping the body revved up and alert until the threat is over at which point cortisol levels fall.

Now as modern man we have different stresses to our ancient forbears, money worries, deadlines, job losses, divorce etc. These stresses are not life threatening but the primitive part of our brain still reacts as if they were. Even thinking about stressful memories from the past or imagining negative future ones can trigger the exact same response. As these modern stressors tend to be longer term, this keeps our stress response activated for longer than is helpful. We keep churning out the cortisol and this can play havoc with our ability to sleep well as well as having a negative effect on our mental and physical health.

a brain

How does cortisol affect sleep?

When we are anxious, our amygdala becomes hyper-alert, constantly on the lookout for threats and danger. Worries and fears race through the mind building up over the day and into the night and feeding off each other. Generally, cortisol production drops off as night approaches, but if our mind is still racing, the cortisol keeps on flowing. The overload of energy that the cortisol brings, keeps the mind so active and restless we cannot relax and drift off to sleep. So, we lay awake with our mind running riot.

When we do manage to sleep it is often not of a good quality. The mind needs to be relaxed and calm for deep sleep. Missing out on some of that slow wave repair time means that it is harder for the body to heal itself. Instead we spend more time in light sleep where we can be more easily disturbed. REM sleep often increases too, due to an influx of emotional input from the day to work through and process.  This disrupted sleep can leave us feeling very tired during the day. To help us keep awake we produce even more cortisol. The amygdala remains on alert.

Many sufferers of anxiety often find themselves waking at 3am or 4am. When the brain is more vigilant, there is often an early spurt of cortisol and it is this that wakes us, leaving us wide awake, grumpy and missing out on much needed sleep.

The brain consolidates and strengthens memory during sleep and without this the brain finds it harder to lay down memory. There is also less emphasis on setting down positive memory. This focus on negative memory, creates a pessimistic outlook, influencing mood and our emotional reaction to the situations we face throughout the day.

The amygdala then on alert, not only notices the negative but actively looks for it at the expense of anything positive that might have happened. Chances are it won’t even have been noticed. Less energy goes to the pre-frontal cortex, (the sensible, rational, analytical part of the brain) and instead is directed to the emotional reactive and impulsive part of the brain, making it a lot harder to regulate emotions which in turn can affect how we respond to difficulties. Once the amygdala has been frequently triggered, it can often become stuck on alert thus keeping the cycle of negativity going.

If we do not get enough REM sleep then toxic chemicals remain in the brain. This buildup of toxins is thought to be one of the causes of some brain degenerative diseases.

So how can I help myself get to sleep?

a child sleeping soundly

The things listed below might help you to consider whether you are giving yourself the best opportunity to sleep.

Do you have a regular bedtime? The brain loves structure. The mind builds associations very quickly and if it knows that at certain times, we do certain things it is far more likely to comply. Besides which you really want your body to produce melatonin to help you to relax. If you are keeping yourself awake into the late hours, then the melatonin won’t be able to do its job.

Make sure that your bedroom is cool. When we are in deep sleep, we cannot regular our temperature, so it is important to make sure we are not too hot or too cold for that matter. The best temperature is about 20C.

Try not do activities that keep your mind buzzing such as playing games or using a laptop for a few hours before bed. When you expose your eyes to bright light artificial or blue light emitted from screens, this is a signal to stay alert. You mind needs time to unwind enough so that when you hit the pillow you can switch off.

Try and avoid medicating with alcohol. It may well get you off to sleep in the first instance, but it will disrupt the quality of your sleep leaving you tired and cranky in the morning.

If you cannot sleep, don’t stay in bed. Get up and go somewhere else. You do not want your brain to form an association with your bed as somewhere you go to toss and turn.

What can I do to lower my cortisol?

If your sleep is elusive, it might be that your cortisol levels are too high. Sometimes this can be for an obvious reason such as having suffered a recent trauma. We can understand why in this situation sleeping becomes more difficult. We have a reason why we cannot sleep, and we know that it will pass. At other times it is not so clear why the cortisol levels have crept up. Very often our stresses can build so gradually that we don’t notice that they have taken over. We just accommodate more and more stress until something gives. Often as not this is sleep.

To lead a happy and healthy life, the trick is not to avoid the stresses. We could never do that anyway, they are inevitable. But they are so much easier to contend with when there are things in place to mitigate or balance them out.

Ask yourself are you are spending too long at work or too much time looking after everyone else’s needs?  Perhaps you have so much going on in your day from competing priorities that there is no time at all for you?  If so, the chances are your life is out of balance and perhaps without an opportunity to produce happy chemicals. With a consistent flow of oxytocin, dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin we have a natural buffer against the effects of stress and more resilience for life’s challenges. It is so important to consider the balance of your day; what must be done, what can be left and what might be helpful to introduce. Imbalance leads to stress.

a picture of a woman doing too many things

If we are trying to do too much, overload stops us from doing anything to the best of our ability. Our mind is too rammed to have capacity left to consider anything else. Pressure to get things done and move on to the next task can tarnish the enjoyment. The brain will experience overload as stress.

It isn’t just about making sure we are not doing too much. When stresses mount, we often stop doing the things that could help. This is where things go wrong. It is important to consistently build things into the day for ourselves. Spend time with your tribe whoever them may be. A little bit of positive interaction can really calm us down. Humans always work better together. Sharing experiences and thoughts can offer alternative perspectives and gives a sense of belonging. Time spent doing something enjoyable like reading a book, baking, or developing a new hobby or skill offers a sense of achievement and purpose and can makes us feel good about ourselves. It even increases our motivation for new experiences. Exercise gets the body moving creating a lovely flow of endorphins whether taking a walk with the dog, gardening, or running. We were not meant to be sedentary. Plus being outside and exposed to sunlight boosts out serotonin making us feel happy, calm, and brave!


If you have been really struggling with sleep, you might want to consider having hypnotherapy with a therapist like me. Solution focused hypnotherapy can help you to consider the balance of your life so that you can be the best version of you that it is possible to be. One that can sleep well!

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Does the change in season affect your mood?

For some the arrival of Autumn brings an unwelcome yearly challenge. Days become shorter, leaves change colour and for many the anticipation of cosy nights in by the fire are a welcome change.  But for others it is at this time that the happiness of summer begins to slip away and mood changes from upbeat to depressed, usually lasting throughout the Winter months. Although many of us will notice that we feel different during seasonal changes, for those who suffer with SAD it can really interfere with everyday life. If you have noticed this happening to you on a yearly basis, starting at the same time each year, then the chances are you may be suffering with Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD or otherwise known as the “Winter Blues”.

What does SAD feel like?

SAD does not just bring about a change in mood. There are other things that you may notice. Changes in energy levels can drop, affecting motivation and bring about a state of lethargy.  You may no longer feel like doing the things you love to do or seeing people you enjoy spending time with. You may notice yourself becoming withdrawn. You might find that getting out of bed becomes a real challenge and if you could, you would stay there all day. You have to literally will yourself out from under the duvet.  Even when you have got out of bed, you may still feel tired all day, and thoughts of climbing back under the sheets are never really far from your mind. Everyday tasks become a struggle and it can be hard to concentrate or focus. Sleep patterns can extend on either side of the day.

I remember a few years back that one client described the feeling of being raw; as if their emotions had become like an external skin that was constantly open to attack. Not only was this painful but they were aware that they found themselves feeling unable to manage conversation without becoming extremely irritable or even angry. It struck me that facing that level of difficulty everyday must have been a gigantic challenge and an extremely exhausting one.

Other changes you may notice are with appetite. You may find yourself drawn to different foods, particularly heavy, stodgy or sweet foods often loaded with carbs. They become so much harder to resist. Because we live in warm, centrally heated homes we don’t have the same opportunity to burn the extra calories off and we may find our waistlines expanding.

Why does it happen?

There are thought to be a few reasons why some people suffer with SAD and they are linked to the reducing daylight.

In our brain we have something called the hypothalamus. It is a bit like our brain’s chemistry set and it is in control of creating a lot of hormones that are released into our body by the pituitary gland. One of these hormones is called melatonin; otherwise known as the sleep hormone. We produce melatonin when daylight fades and its role is to get us ready for sleep.

Our brains are extremely sensitive to changes in daylight and our natural body clock or circadian rhythms are in fact synchronized by sunlight and the subsequent production of melatonin. During the day when there is more light, we produce less melatonin and when the light fades we produce more. So, in Autumn and Winter we produce more melatonin than in summer and so we can feel noticeably dopey.  It might also explain why countries that are nearer to the equator do not have as many cases of SAD.

Another reason why SAD develops in Autumn is because one of our five “happy” chemicals; serotonin; also becomes depleted. Serotonin is produced in the gut and in the brain and is triggered in part by sunlight. When there is less sunlight there is less serotonin and this imbalance can lead to feelings of depression or anxiety. Vitamin D also plays a part in the synthesis of serotonin and dopamine; another of our bodies feel good chemicals, and it too decreases with a lack of UV radiation.

If you look at nature, many animals start to eat and store food in readiness for a Winter of hibernation. Although we are no longer a primitive species that would have hunkered down through the Winter months, we still have the same response to the change in seasons as our forebears. We now live in homes with lighting and heat and we go to work in the dark and often come back in the dark. This works against our natural physiology. For those that suffer with SAD they are perhaps more in tune with these natural responses to the changes in light.

What can I do?

One of the simpler things that you can do is to make sure that you maximise on the daylight available to you.  Sleep with the curtains open. Then as soon as the sun rises you will already be tuning in to the light.  Or when you get up make sure the first thing you do is open the curtains, but either way make sure you get light first thing in the morning. You can also try and sit by a window and get yourself out into the fresh air and have a kickabout in the leaves even when you don’t feel like it. It will help to top up those happy chemicals.

Getting some exercise is also important. Not only does it boost your immunity which can often take a hit when you feel depressed, but it will get the endorphins going; another happy chemical that can lift mood. Being in nature can be healing and it is good to enjoy some of things that Autumn can offer. It is spectacular time after all. I often feel a lot better when I take my fury friend with me. The silly grin on his face is enough to make anyone smile!

Try and increase your intake of Vitamin D. Try and eat food that is rich in it such as fish, chicken, duck, turkey, lamb, beef, pork, milk and even evaporated milk! If none of those appeal, then maybe consider using a supplement.

Make sure that you do connect with people. You might want to do the exact opposite and withdraw, but becoming insular only takes you on a downward spiral so try and keep connected. Besides which History has shown us that we always do better when we are linked in with our tribe. So why not arrange a coffee with a friend or if you are in lockdown why not do a virtual date?

Plan things to look forward to. There are a number of celebrations coming up with Halloween, Bonfire night and Christmas.  It maybe that all these things are going to be a different this year but that doesn’t mean that they need to be forgotten. Where I live, they have set up a drive through fireworks display. You can sit in your car and enjoy the view and maybe even put some tunes on to add to the atmosphere. If this sort of thing is not for you, you could plan a few trips or a weekend away. Whatever it might be do put something in your diary to get excited about, especially after Christmas when a lot of people can feel really flat and fed up.

Doing simple things that make you feel good can also be a help. One of my client’s likes to spend half an hour a day at the piano. Another has taken up creative writing. I have quite a few that like to wile away their time gardening. Whatever it is that floats your boat, keep doing it. Any activity however small can give a little boost of dopamine that will keep you afloat and inject a little motivation and happiness into the day. It can be hard to do at first because you won’t necessarily feel like doing much, but once you get going you will start to notice the benefits.

If you have tried all these things and you are still struggling, then you can seek out some professional help. There are lots of different types of therapy out there so do your research and find something that appeals to you. If you feel like giving solution focused hypnotherapy a try, then why not give me a call. You can get in touch via my website.


Will this feeling ever end? – Making sense of grief

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of grief? It might bring back your own memories of loss or feelings of pain or perhaps the journey you went through to accommodate it. Some of you will still be on that journey. Wherever you are in your journey I hope these thoughts might be helpful.

Right now much of the world has been influenced by grief; the loss of the world as we knew it with restrictions on travel, the loss of human connection, the loss of financial stability and of having to find new ways of being and doing even the everyday things.  After lockdown in Wuhan had ended, we heard of a surge of people looking for divorce lawyers. From March we heard stories of those losing loved ones to COVID 19 or from other illnesses. We saw harrowing pictures of grieving family members without anyone around them to comfort them or attend a ceremony with them. We were told of the increasing daily death toll.

We all will experience grief at some point. It may be the end of a relationship, or the loss of a job, but one thing is for sure, we all experience it differently. There is no right or wrong way to do it or to feel it.

The loss of a loved one

When someone we love dies, often the sense of loss is profound. Loneliness and isolation can take centre stage for a time. We yearn for those who have gone, imagine we have seen them, dream about them, talk to them. The smallest things can set us off and leave us feeling as though we have entered the realms of madness. Early on those feelings of grief can be overwhelming, invading every thought and every minute of every day. An endless onslaught of pain. Some will try burying themselves in tasks, while others will retreat from the world and withdraw into themselves to that place of safety and comfort. Some will cry, but not everyone will. It does not mean the loss is not felt. It might just be being expressed in other ways. If our loved one suffered a long drawn out or painful illness, there may be a sense of relief that they are no longer suffering. Guilt is not an uncommon response and it is always surprising what we can find to feel guilty about. More often than not, the things we wished we had said or things we wished we had done differently.


My experiences of grief

I remember when I lost a close family member in my twenties, I experienced a roller coaster of many differing intense and powerful emotions. I knew death was imminent and thought I was prepared for it. Initially my response was a really calm one and I remember being pleased that I had kept everything together and was so in control. How wrong I was. The reality hit and I realized that it just was so awful I had gone numb and had been in shock. I suppose when I look back, I didn’t really believe what had happened. I hadn’t even begun to adjust. My mind was protecting me from what was coming next. The waves of sadness and desolation could not be held back. I found it hard to focus, my head was constantly churning. It was exhausting. I was angry at everyone around me that seemed to be carrying on with their lives as though nothing had happened when my life had fallen apart. I was so envious of those experiencing normality. I felt really removed from everyone and everything. I remember sitting at the wake and watching everyone chatting away and thinking that the only person I wanted to see was the person who was no longer there. I found myself staring at pictures and reading old letters, desperate to find a way of keeping them close.

Eventually I noticed, after a period of time, those waves pain became less frequent and less intense. I even had periods of sunlight breaking through. That brought a new challenge. I felt guilty that I was starting to move on. I felt that I should be grieving all the time and that my loved one should be centre stage in my mind.  Then there were those events in the calendar when we would have all been together. Then the pain came crashing back. It still does from time to time. The loss is always there. But now my life has grown around it and there is more to think about. I have learned to live with the space that was them. I miss them. I always will. But it feels OK now though I do still talk to photos…

Working with those who are grieving and what they have said

As a therapist I have often worked with those who are grieving. It is an area of my work that I really value. Having had the privilege of client’s sharing their experiences with me. I have witnessed those small things that helped them on their way. They are not rocket science but in those moments of intensity they are easy to forget.

First of all, taking care of yourself is a must. You won’t feel like getting out of bed, eating or exercising. It is better if you can try to do these everyday things because your body will already be stressed, and a lack of self-care will stress it even more. It also helps to have a structure to get you through those first days. Exercise can keep your immune system that little bit stronger and it can be good to have something else to focus on when feelings are overwhelming you. Many of my pet loving clients have said that it was getting out with the dog that got them through. Knowing their fury friend was relying on them was what kept them going. That was also true for my journey. I will be forever grateful to my dog Pip.

Some clients have said that talking about their experiences of loss was helpful. Talk about your memories and your feelings if you want to; all of them, not just the good ones include the bad. It helps to keep it real. When we share our vulnerabilities with someone else it can create an opportunity for others to connect with us and keep isolation at bay. You may feel that you do not want to burden other family members with your feelings of grief as you will be aware that they will be experiencing their own. That’s OK. It doesn’t need to be a family member. Talk to someone who you feel safe and comfortable with. Go to a group where others have experienced loss. It can be comforting when you know that there are others who understand what you might be going through. Nowadays there are many support groups on social media where you can reach out. I would try and stick with a closed group. It is important to make sure that you are safe.

Don’t try and resist or avoid your feelings. Squashing them down never really works as they have an uncanny knack of popping out at the most inconvenient moment.  In some cases suppressing your feelings can even prolong the healing process because they eat away in the background and unhelpfully influence you in subconscious ways. You may not know how you feel to start with so give yourself time to let your feelings work themselves out. Feelings may even change on a daily basis as will the support that you need. You might find that here are even moments of normality. It is all a process of adjustment that needs to be worked through and there is no designated timescale on how long this should take or which emotions you should be feeling at any given point. My clients have often told me that they felt as if they were trapped in a washing machine full of emotions on full spin. Expect some days to be harder than others and try and be ready for them. Set up someone to talk to or somewhere to go that will help you navigate these more difficult times.  If you want to cry then do it. It is not weakness to let your feelings out. It can actually give you a sense of relief and calm you down.

It is so important to be compassionate with yourself. Give yourself the space that you need to accommodate what has happened and come to terms with it. Don’t expect too much of yourself. I have known some clients that feel that they should be able to carry on with life despite what has happened, that not being able to do that was a sign of weakness. It isn’t. Be gentle on yourself.

Don’t hide away from those around you. We generally feel calmer when we have our tribe around us. It is common to feel that you want to hide from the world and withdraw to safety but that never really helps in the longer term. Being with others can stop us from ruminating and solely focusing on the painful parts of our lives. And there are other parts. They may dim for a while but they are there.

Some of my clients have said that they found it helpful in finding alternative ways of expressing themselves, such as writing their thoughts and feelings down or using them creatively, composing poetry, songs or even a physical memorial of some kind. If you have any creative skills what ways could you use them to honour your loved one? Put up pictures of them or make an album. Grow a garden or make a sculpture.  It can be a positive focus for how you feel and a lovely way to remember someone. I used to live next door to a cemetery. I loved walking in it as it was a very peaceful place. I liked to see the ways in which people decorated their loved one’s graves with little things that they had made or collected for them or letters they had written. I remember that one grave had a cherry tree with beautiful wind chimes hanging from it.

If you know of someone who is grieving you may be wary of imposing on their grief or perhaps you may worry that speaking to them will remind them of their loss and make them feel sad. As Elizabeth Edwards said, “ You are not reminding them. They did not forget. What you’re reminding them of is that you remembered that they lived. And that is a great, great gift.




If you are struggling with feelings of grief that feel unmanageable you can try talking to your GP, access bereavement counselling or you can try a therapist like me. For those that would like to do that then call 07989 944053 or email me at librahypnotherapies@gmail.com if you would like to arrange a chat. Alternatively, you can contact me via the website. Do read my testimonials on those I have helped with grief.        

Does it feel as though anxiety is taking over your life?

What is anxiety?

We all worry at times. Often it is over something quite specific, like taking an exam or going for an interview. In these circumstances a little anxiety can be quite helpful because it can sharpen the focus of the mind, enabling us to tackle the situation we are facing with an added determination.

For some though, anxiety can take over and when it does, it stops being helpful. If you are someone who has experienced anxiety regularly then you will know how devastating it can be. One negative thought can take root, leading to a spiral of negative thoughts and scenarios, usually at the expense of the person thinking them! It can also have a physical effect on the body such as butterflies, palpitations, headaches or cramps for example  In this state of mind, it is hard to see a way out and to imagine that life will ever feel good again. It’s exhausting.

Why do we do it?

The thing about anxiety is that it is a normal and ancient human response to a stressful situation. It’s all about survival. How can that be the case I hear you ask? Well when our brain thinks that we are undergoing some sort of a threat or impending danger there is a part of our mind that leaps straight in there to protect us. One of the ways it does it, is to encourage us to imagine the worst-case scenario so that we can be prepared for the danger and we will be able to tackle the situation effectively and survive! The difference between our ancestors and us is that they usually were genuinely under threat. Nowadays the threat comes from different situations such as being made redundant, or moving home, being asked to isolate during the COVID 19 pandemic. All of these situations are not actually a true threat to life in the physical sense. But we still operate from the same part of our brain as if it were, as we did millions of years ago.  When we imagine threat so the same protective response kicks in.

What can I do about it?

The first thing is to notice what negative thoughts you have on a regular basis. Once you recognize that you are having these thoughts then you can start to think about a different response to them. But when you first try doing something different don’t expect the thoughts to disappear overnight this all takes practice.

One thing you can do once you realise you are at it again is to try distraction. Distraction gives less power to the negative thought and so gives a bit of space for your brain to calm. Whether its reading a book or watching a film, just be curious and notice which activities work the best at distracting you and then do more of them. The brain loves novelty so have a few things up our sleeve!

Look at the situation you are in and ask yourself what you have control over. Those things you cannot control can be let go in favour of thinking what you do have control of. Recently I had a client tell me he was getting annoyed at people who were not social distancing. He realized he could not control what others did so he decided to let it go and focus on doing what he needed to do instead.

Finally, you can accept that you will have some negative thoughts. So don’t try and resist them and wrestle with them in your mind. All that does is create a whole bunch of pressure that you could do without it. Notice them and then perhaps try challenging some of them. Especially if you are having anxious thoughts about yourself. Look for evidence that challenges the perspective of your thinking. You might have a thought like “I can’t do this, I am useless”. I doubt very much that this thought would be remotely accurate. So look for evidence that shows you all the times in your life when you have been successful. Challenge the accuracy of the thought. Once we open the door to possibility then those negative unhelpful thoughts have much less power over you.

Or you could do what one client of mine did and that was to visualize blowing up all his negative thoughts in his mind!

Whatever you try, stick with it. It takes time and practice.

If you feel you need help then do get in touch and let’s think about getting you back to being the best version of you that you can be.