Hypnosis vs. Nutrition: Post-Hypnotic Ways To Overcome Stress, Worry and Anxiety
Over a decade ago, I was attending back to back trainings with some of the finest minds in the fields of hypnosis and NLP, including John Grinder, Julie Silverthorn and John Overdurf. I was also in the presence of some experienced nutritionists.
And a question came up that haunted me ever since:
“To change, do we need the help of the subconscious mind or can we achieve most or all of the gains simply with diet and nutrition?”
I struggled with this for many years because I take change and personal development VERY seriously. I have had my share of stress and anxiety and worked with hundreds of clients to overcome chronic problems that were holding them back. Whilst I can’t offer any medical advice (and this article should not be construed as anything other than “what works for Richard”) it may provide a way of thinking that could be very useful for you.
What we now know about the workings of the subconscious mind, and also the studies in diet and supplementation lead us to a very different place than even a decade ago. And this is important because the numbers of people suffering from stress, anxiety and depression have skyrocketed.
Stop for a moment and consider this: how many people do you know who have been signed off work with stress, or who who have become ill through stress or anxiety or who are depressed? Family, friends and work colleagues.
The list is large. And it is growing.
I believe that there is a LOT more we can do to change this: it starts with personal responsibility and taking good care of yourself. Based on the current research and my experience of successfully working with hundreds of clients to make positive lasting changes, I believe that there are certain changes we can make – and that the answer to the question that was hotly debated all those years ago is coming into clearer focus.
Before making any changes, you always need to consult a registered medical practitioner.
It Starts With Attitude
As unsexy as it sounds, the starting place of all change, and dealing with stress and anxiety is to acknowledge that “I can influence this. This is my responsibility to sort out. And I will find the best support, and keep going as long as I need to change.”
I know that is probably the hardest thing when you are stuck, but think about it. If you don’t do that, who will? How will you manage the inevitable time that it takes to get from A to B?
You have got to adopt the right attitude of determination – simply to allow you gain some momentum for change.
A Hypnotist’s Story
Some time back, I was feeling tired, stressed and anxious. I had a series of things happen that caused those circumstances. But this was frustrating: I was low in energy and couldn’t sleep.
Fortunately, I am stubborn. I don’t give up. I read everything I could and looked at everything from gadgets to technology to therapists to nutrition for solutions. I was open to change. And I felt motivated!
And I discovered something startling:
The human body is incredibly sensitive to what we eat, nutrition and what happens inside. So sensitive in fact that omitting or adding things to your diet can be the difference between feeling anxious, memory impairment, concentration, poor sleep – even depression and bi-polar can be triggered by foods or lack of core vitamins.
I was quite frankly stunned by the detail of the research. It is conclusive. (Don’t worry. I will explain where hypnosis fits in to the equation later).
Over a period of a few days and weeks, I completely regained a sense of calm and confidence. I slept better. My concentration soured. My determination, focus and enthusiasm returned. I tracked the changes that worked, and the things that seemed to be inconsequential. And I was amazed at what happened.
Here are the stages I went through, most of which you can start simultaneously.
Stage 0: Adjust Your Attitude
You’ve got to have a sense of “enough is enough. I HAVE to get control of this now.” You need to be so fed up with where you are that making a change is NOT optional. This is DESIRE that Napoleon Hill talks about in “Think and Grow Rich”. Once it is a burning desire, you will find a way.
Stage 1: Cut Out Aggravators, Irritants And Common Allergens
I didn’t use to perceive myself as being allergic. I thought this was something that only happened to other people.
There was the guy at school who was allergic to dairy or a friend’s sister who experienced anaphylactic shock from eating Brazil nuts.
BUT I had no idea how common allergens affect many people – in less obvious ways, in which you don’t always immediately notice a connection. In fact, the usual suspects are very much part of the fabric of social life (and we’ll talk about how to manage that side of things in a future article).
Five allergens are widely considered to be of special concern:
- Gluten and wheat
Here’s what I did: not knowing which ones were affecting me, I cut all five allergens out all for a period of 6 weeks.
It is commonly accepted now in the field of nutrition (and increasingly so in medical circles) that the #1 “food” we all need to minimise is SUGAR.
We are not just thinking of biscuits and chocolates here or even the overt sugars that go by many other names (sucrose, dextrose etc), but also breads, pastries and pasta – any “simple carbohydrates” that break down to sugar. These all have a high Glycaemic Load: they stimulate extra insulin production, which in turn causes mood changes (you see this in kids very markedly) and fat to be deposited around the waist.
Here’s What Happened When I Cut Out Allergens
Because I felt so good, I extended the “nutrition experiment” to 10 weeks. I figured this was a small amount of time to assess results. I was feeling good, having regular blood tests at my surgery (including cholesterol, blood sugar, B12 and thyroid function tests), and this process forced me to re-assess all my dietary (and other) habits. This is a good thing!
Here’s how I adjusted subsequently.
To my amazement, the #1 offender (for me) was caffeine, especially coffee. It caused a greater degree of anxiety than anything else. So I have it infrequently now, although this is also the hardest for me because my body practically craves it. I won’t pull any punches: the smell of coffee is one of the finest I know and it is intoxicating.
However, I found it easy to avoid bread. Other than with an Indian meal or the rare burger, I don’t touch it now. Occasionally I have crackers, which I use in cooking. Large amounts of wheat aren’t great for many of us, and they DO break down to sugar in the body, which triggers insulin production – and cause weight to go on, as well as the shift in mood that goes with it.
Alcohol and most sugar products taste too sweet now because my taste buds changed.
I re-introduced dairy in moderation, but most days I am without it.
During the process of elimination and gradually introduction, it was clear to me that caffeine affected me unduly. Alcohol clearly has the potential to ruin lives, so that is permitted once a week and generally now I find most wines too sweet.
Everybody’s biochemistry is different and your body will let you know. But you do need to eliminate these things first and then gradually reintroduce, so you get the chance to see how much (if at all) they are messing you up.
When you do this process, it will require self-discipline and it develops self-awareness. Many of my clients like to have hypnosis and learn self-hypnosis to help them through this process because it is hard. You are not aiming to do this forever necessarily, but you are looking to identify what is causing problems – over the period of 6 to 10 weeks.
Some people have problems with soy, and I generally avoid all soy products. You can Google “problems with Soy” if you want to find out more about how they mimic oestrogens.
So that is Stage 1: However on day one, you also start a healthy eating and supplement regime.
Stage 2: Healthy Tasty Eating Regime
This took a long time for me to figure out. If you’re like me and you look over the many diet books, you will be equally as confused and feel guilty around food.
What to eat? What’s good for you today was bad yesterday, right?
However, we are looking here for ways to help you feel better, more grounded, and relaxed. And there are proven ways to eat that help.
Principle #1 Protein With Each Meal
This is simple. Breakfast is 3 eggs in whatever way I have time to prepare them. Truly, this is a simple matter of being prepared!
Lunch will be salads with chicken or fish.
Evening meal is some form of protein with vegetables.
Fruit, lots of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds during the day…
You are not calorie counting here!
This causes your blood sugar to stabilise and stop high insulin spikes (the high insulin causes fat to be stored and deposited…often in the stomach).
Principle #2: Salads And Vegetables In Abundance
Each meal contains vegetables and salads. You can have a pear or apple with breakfast. As much salad items or vegetables as you want.
Principle #3: You Never Skip Breakfast, Especially If You Aren’t Hungry
If you are going to maintain balance in your blood sugar, then you need to eat breakfast. I skipped this and was guzzling coffee and I can tell you, this has consequences. Stabilise your blood sugar early and keep it stabilised.
Principle #4: Eat Lots Of Fats And Oils
Olive oil, avocadoes and coconut oil contain lots of wonderful nutrients. The nutritional view has shifted over the last few years. Fats are essential to health, even saturated fats, but the real problem is sugar. This is a problem because a lot of low-fat foods contain high levels of sugar that cause insulin spikes that cause weight to go on!
Drizzle oils. Food tastes nicer and is more filling.
Principle #5: Be Prepared
You will never succeed with these changes unless you get organised.
Plan your meals and shop for the week. Never leave your food to chance, or you will tend to go back to old habits. Sketch out before your week starts what meals you will have. Make sure you have enough fresh foods for lunchtimes at work, and make sure you have the right foods available for those times when you will be beat, hungry or tired. The time to choose you meals is BEFORE your weeks starts and before you get too busy. Otherwise, you will grab whatever you are used to grabbing.
This is critical and, in my experience, the reason that 90% of people fail is that they do not plan. With online shopping and the fact we all need to eat, there is no earthly reason why this can’t be achieved quickly and easily. Plan to eat lots of salads, vegetables, fish, chicken, other protein foods (if you are vegetarian). Make sure you have snack foods that are going to fill you up and give you some nutritional benefit too (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, fruit etc).
You will be organised by making a decision now to get out a pen and paper and draw up a timetable – just like you used to do at school. It is often helpful to have the same or similar things for breakfast and lunch on work days because it removes the likelihood of making poor choices. It also helps to batch cook or prepare salads for several days on Sunday – before the week gets busy. Just make sure that you are prepared and consciously choose what you know will help you feel better upfront, so you do it!
Stage 3: Boost Nutrition
Supplementation is essential, but where to start?
Over the years, I tried everything from chelated minerals to wheat grass or spirulina to kelp to hemp seeds. Some of that stuff is truly revolting. Very little made a significant difference. I discovered a reliable hit list that nutritionists consistently encourage because of the science behind them and the positive difference they can make, when combined with a balanced diet. I call these “The Big 4”:
- B-Complex: a B-Complex that contains vitamin B12 in the form of methylcobalamin. When I was tested my B12 levels were around 380 (on a scale of 200 – 900 picograms per millilitre (pg/mL) ). Many nutritionists now believe that this figure needs to be over 500 to ensure optimal cognitive functioning). As a result of supplementing with the most easily absorbed form of B12 (methylcobalamin), my B12 levels rose to 780. And I could see the difference every day: my thinking was quicker, clearer and sharper; concentration was effortless; my memory improved! Don’t be tempted to look at cheaper supplements, as they are not well absorbed and won’t provide the benefits you want to see. The most effective B-Complex I have found is Jarrows B-Right. The two best stand-alone B12 supplements I’ve tried are Jarrow Methylcobalamin B12, 5000mcg Lozenges); and for people who don’t like tablets or capsules, BetterYou B12 Boost Oral Spray is superb. I’ve used both together and now alternate. B vitamins are so important, I prefer to take both the B-Complex and a standalone B12 supplement.
- Probiotics: these are essential for so many things it is hard to know where to start: immune system, digestion, and stress, anxiety and depression. The gut is the source of good health and communicates directly with the brain. We now know that when it misfires (if it is overrun with ‘bad’ bacteria) then this can cause the brain to respond with depression, anxiety, stress, and so on…you name it. Daily probiotics can therefore help support your internal environment for good health. The best product I’ve found at a reasonable price is Bio-Kult: uniquely, they have a superb nutritionist you can call for advice – free of charge!. I found the guidance from the Bio-Kult nutritionist, who is available on a regular UK landline number, to be incredibly useful in integrating probiotics into my daily regimen. She is knowledgeable and her guidance and suggestions were worth more than the price of the product.
- Omega 3: High EPA and DHA capsules have been shown to make a significant difference to mood and energy levels. I take two in the morning and two in the evening: just ensure you get at least 300 EPA and 180 DHA twice a day. You may need slightly less or more depending on your bodyweight and personality. These help improve the function of brain cell membranes, as well as help with mood/emotion and protect the heart. It is important to take enough of these, and a single capsule may not contain enough EPA and DHA. To get a potent one-a-day dose, consider Solgar, Omega-3 EPA & DHA, Triple Strength.
- Magnesium Malate: this is one of the most absorbable forms of magnesium and if you take around bedtime can help improve sleep. Magnesium malate can help stop headaches, protect your heart, is essential to stop cramps, as well as many other common symptoms. It almost instantly leads to a sense of calm in many cases. Many nutritionists now consider magnesium an essential supplement because it is often lacking in our diets and deficiency causes a wide range of serious problems that medical professionals would struggle to otherwise help us rectify. A good affordable option is Source Naturals Magnesium Malate.
How To Boost Your Energy Levels in 5 Minutes
If these are the “Big 4,” there are 2 further supplements that are especially good if you lack energy, pep, vim and vigour. And if you are replacing caffeine, you might need something to get you going in the morning:
- L-Tyrosine. This supplement quickly increases levels of dopamine: the neuro-transmitter responsible for focus, impulse control and a sense of well-being. Taking this amino acid changed the way I felt within about 5 minutes. It is natural, considered safe and very cheap. If you have a high heart rate or are currently overactive thyroid, then you should exercise caution. This increased my concentration, focus and sense of well-being: my productivity has therefore increased. Take 500mg twice upon waking up, and another two 500mg capsules mid-morning.
- DLPA. This is the precursor to L-Tyrosine and I’ve found it works very well together taken with L-Tyrosine. For the first few weeks, I just used L-Tyrosine. But I found DLPA supports a much greater degree of focus and well-being, as well as being an adjunct for pain control. DLPA has also been shown in some studies to be beneficial for a range of problems from depression to Parkinson’s to PMS and chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis. As a result of DLPA, I am more alert and focused than I ever was with caffeine. And there is no afternoon “crash”. Again, these are considered safe and are sold in health food shops; some people might notice a slight increase in heart rate, so be sensible and seek proper medical guidance. I use Source Naturals DLPA. This has been exceptional for helping achieve greater focus, increased alertness and energy. Taking one 750mg capsule of DLPA (along with L-Tyrosine or by itself) upon waking and one mid-morning works quite nicely.
If you naturally have clear focus, concentration, high spirits and super-high energy levels, then you might not need DLPA and L-Tyrosine. However, I’ve found that my personal ability to focus and maintain concentration and clear thinking is better than I can remember in quite some time.
Stage 4: Master Self-Hypnosis
Once you start to use nutrition and diet to master your emotions, hypnosis becomes much more effective, simple and easy to do. You need to be able to focus and you are in the midst of caffeine or sugar crashes, this makes is a more problematic to focus.
Over the past 15 years, I have seen miraculous changes and things happen with my clients. So much so that I developed a powerful form of self-hypnosis I now teach them because everyone can benefit from reprograming their mind. I don’t finish a course of sessions now, until my clients can use self-hypnosis and program their minds. That way they are empowered the rest of their lives.
Once you have the right internal environment and have made the necessary nutritional changes (and really, it is a simple list to go through), then you have more focus, confidence and a sense of control.
So then you want to get fitter, get more relaxed or focus on making the changes easier. And self-hypnosis comes into play.
Hypnosis can help, even without nutrition, but if you are worried with caffeine, it will be a lot harder!
Here’s what I did. As I started to feel better from day #1, thanks to L-Tyrosine, cutting out coffee and a good breakfast, then I made up my mind learn how to access the deepest states of somnambulism, Esdaile and Sichort states using self-hypnosis, starts that feel so good, states where you feel so empowered and so refreshed that you are motivated to go back – and thereby take good care of yourself long-term.
I also used self-hypnosis to reinforce my determination to continue, handle setbacks, and release any accumulated tension and stress.
A clear answer to that question, which was raised a decade ago: both nutrition and self-hypnosis are necessary.
How can you develop new behaviours and lifestyle choices that will support you long-term and help you manage day to day stress and pressure?
You need a way to relax, focus your mind (hypnosis) and give yourself suggestions, as well as have the right internal environment (nutrient and supplementation).
This experiment on myself also answered some of those nagging questions.
Every week I would read a new headline about this or that supplement that would boost memory, improve performance or help you feel better. And I would try them, and very little or nothing would happen.
If you try to do one of these in isolation, you won’t see the changes. The exception might be L-Tyrosine. But if you are looking to change your life, then you need to make sure that you are making all the right preparations. Your internal environment needs to be ready and nurtured. Rarely, will a single supplement do it. You need to take care of the whole package: thoughts, emotions, what you eat and supplement.
If you were to decorate a whole house, you wouldn’t just buy a paintbrush would you? Even if it had the finest bristles and the best number of hairs on it, you still need other raw materials, some time, a clear vision of where you need to go, you need to employ those tools at specific times and in a specific manner.
Making changes to deal with the great problems of our times: stress, anxiety and worry- requires the right attitude, attention to nutrition and also self-hypnosis or some other way to make sure you are focusing your mind, taking care and distressing.
I don’t want to exclude the other factors that cause stress: unemployment and being single are big risk factors in depression and anxiety, for example. And these are uncertain economic times. But for many of us, the lifestyle choices we’ve adopted are directly causing us to have stress and anxiety problems.
I can tell you that having been through a time of great stress and discovering that I can manage and overcome it with a simple diet, a few fairly inexpensive supplements and deep self-hypnosis, I feel quite excited. For great fears and phobias, then hypnosis is going to be the essential first step. But don’t neglect the opportunity to see how what you eat and drink affects you. It DOES take effort and time to make these adjustments. It does require a DEEP PERSONAL DESIRE to change.
And sometimes this is hard to do at the outset. So again, learning hypnosis and self-hypnosis will help. It is not especially hard to beat cravings or change eating habits – If you have the right kind of support. As an experiment, the results could be very powerful.
Take Your Time And Get Professional Medical Guidance
One last thing: this isn’t medical advice and this is just what I have found that works. Many of us under-estimate how food and drink affects us. I get clients all the time who tell me when they arrive for the first session they don’t have much sugar. Then they tell me they drink one or two glasses of wine a night (Please don’t make me spell out how much sugar is in alcohol (or soda/pop) and why that is like mainlining sugar).
Don’t over-do the supplements: stick to the guidelines! I was going through a phase of taking everything (before I whittled it down to the “Big 4”) and mega-dosed on vitamin D. Whilst it probably doesn’t matter how much vitamin B12 you take (it’s a water-soluble vitamin and you get rid of it fast), vitamin D is fat-soluble and builds up and caused headaches, irritability and contributed to waking up at 4am. Go easy!
Good Things Take Time
This will take 6 to 8 weeks to see results, although, as I have mentioned L-Tyrosine kicks in fast (and should only be taken in the morning and early afternoon). However, B12 levels take time to build up and there are some people who can’t actually absorb it (and need injections). It can be a good idea to get blood tests with your registered medical professional for B12, thyroid, blood sugar/glucose and cholesterol. It gives you something measurable and specific that you can chart your progress against in 3 months’ time.
Take time to look at your life honestly and ask what you are willing to begin changing right now.
In life, there are always 3 areas to get in balance: health, wealth and relationships. It’s a lot harder to do things if you are suffering from chronic anxiety – and sometimes a person needs that special specific help from a doctor (for example with an undiagnosed over-active thyroid, which can cause life-threatening problems, which mimic anxiety.) So get the right professional support, but get educated in the area of good mental and emotional health. The science of nutrition is coming of age, and there is MUCH more we could say about it. But this is a basic skeleton to get you started thinking differently.
Make sure you have the right support and advice if you are looking to make changes, but realise that there are a lot of people now waking up to the fact that they can change how they feel. It begins with an attitude and an understanding of how important this is and what will happen if you don’t change. Hypnosis makes this whole process of lifestyle choice adjustment much easier. Please feel to drop me a line if you have any questions about how hypnosis could help you.Google+