What’s Einstein got to do with hypnobirthing?

What’s Einstein got to do with hypnobirthing?

Pregnancy coach Suzy Ashworth’s recent blog shares how Einstein’s words of wisdom can be related to birth hypnosis. For example, Einstein encourages us to “look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better“.  Suzy says we can learn a lot about the primal act of birth from other mammals who birth calmly and without fear.   A sentiment shared by extensive birth researcher Dr Sarah Buckley who believes we birth best and don’t disturb the important hormonal physiology of childbirth (e.g. we produce optimum levels of hormones that benefit childbirth, bonding and lactation) when we are able to birth like how our mammal cousins chose to birth: that is, finding somewhere they feel private, safe and unobserved. The impact of a disturbed birth, one where the elements of feeling private, safe and unobserved are interrupted, is perhaps most clearly demonstrated in births where labour stalls or even stops.  Countless labours proceed really well in the comfort and privacy of a woman’s own home, yet these same women that were progressing so well experience a stalling or stop in labour when they arrive at the hospital, a less familiar environment, or when an unknown medical attendant enters the room. Another Einstein insight Suzy relates to hypnobirthing is: “imagination is everything, it’s the preview of life’s coming attractions”.  This key neuroscience principal is the force behind many hypnotherapy techniques, including birth hypnosis.  Our ability to build neural pathways of what we want to have happen (e.g. feeling calm and in control during birth) is accessed via our imagination.  Using hypnotic imagination to rehearse an outcome is like creating a blueprint of how...
Neural Pathways to Happy

Neural Pathways to Happy

Would you like to know a simple 5 minute practice that could help you feel happier, enjoy better health and make more progress towards your goals?  There is a growing body of research that demonstrates the simple practice of gratitude has wide reaching positive effects on our well being.  In this post I’d like to share with you some of those benefits and the neuroscience behind practising gratitude. First, lets understand what gratitude is   Gratitude is not a Pollyanna style of being blindly optimistic about every situation.  Research shows that whilst gratitude enhances positive emotions, grateful people don’t deny or ignore the negative aspects of life.  Gratitude is about noticing and appreciating the positive in life, and it seems to be that the more you practice gratitude the more things you’ll have to be grateful for. So what are the positive benefits to our well-being by practising gratitude? Results of numerous research studies shows that people who keep a gratitude journal are more likely to: Have fewer health complaints Exercise more regularly (on average 1.5 hours more a week) Feel more optimistic Have higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy Display more pro-social behaviour – such as empathy, generosity and offering help or provide emotional support to others Feel happier and have overall more satisfaction with their lives Be more connected with others Make more progress towards their goals Get better quality sleep and awaken feeling more refreshed (this sleep study consisted of adults with neuromuscular disease – so people with clinical impaired sleep) Do you think that’s a pretty impressive list?  Well there’s more, gratitude has...
Transform your words, transform your reality

Transform your words, transform your reality

How is it that a bunch of letters arranged into a word can carry so much power? Because the words we choose to use, or more accurately what we associate to these words, can evoke emotions and physical sensations that carry great meaning when we hear them. You see, the words that you hear or use to represent an experience ultimately become your experience. And these words we use to label our experiences also actually have the ability to increase or decrease the intensity of the emotions we feel. For example, imagine when something happens that angers you – if you said quite colourfully that it “really f$#ked you off and made you furious” – these become associations which most likely serve to intensify the anger you feel. On the flipside, you could decrease the emotion by saying that it “bothered you a smidgen”, or “tinkled you” – and these such frivolous labels can even change your emotional state completely because they’re rather amusing! Simple word substitutions like these alter our perception of things. For example, imagine the positive shift in your confidence if you classified the “nervous anxiety” you feel before a big presentation as “excited anticipation”. We’ve tagged associations to words at a subconscious level, and because of this people can link tremendous levels of pain, anxiety and even fear to particular words. I know with ophidiophobia (fear of snakes) clients, just hearing the word “snake” can make their skin crawl or even trigger anxiety symptoms. Another example is a client I worked with who had experienced two traumatic childbirths. In our first session, just mentioning the...
Your words influence the results you get

Your words influence the results you get

Words influence: what you say impacts the results you get.  By understanding how your mind processes the words it hears you can learn to phrase what you say in ways that will positively influence the results you want.   If I say to you “don’t think of a black cat”, notice what happens.  In some shape or form your mind had to make an association of what a black cat is to understand the sentence – maybe a quick image flashed into your mind of a black cat, or you thought of a black cat you knew, or maybe you thought about the superstition about black cats and ladders. Even if you were not consciously aware of this it happened at a subconscious level because the processes that are involved in comprehension had to think about a black cat even though I told you not to.  Therefore the use of words like “don’t” are negated in terms of how the brain comprehends.  In this instant “don’t” was filtered out and your mind obeyed the end of the sentence and thought of a black cat. So if you are consciously telling yourself “don’t eat chocolate” or “must not eat chocolate” you’ll be undermined by the part of your mind that comprehends what it hears and the part that controls your behaviours  – because it is getting the instruction to “eat chocolate”. How about what you tell your kids (or your partner!)?   When the kids are carrying a hot drink and you say “careful don’t spill it” – three things happen: firstly, their brain filters out the “don’t”; secondly, they have...
Smile and pass it on!

Smile and pass it on!

A lot of hypnotherapy is about accessing positive and resourceful states to help you be more healthy, happy and successful.  There are simple ways you can influence your biochemistry to feel less stress and boost your mood.  One of these is smiling. We know smiling is good, but what goes on outside of our conscious awareness when we smile? Smiling produces changes in brain activity that corresponds to a happier mood.  It activates our limbic system – the part of our brain responsible for processing emotions. The hypothalamus, which is responsible for how we physically respond to emotions, is also triggered.  In response to a smile feel good endorphins, serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters are released.  Endorphins make us feel good and act as a natural pain reliever, serotonin acts as an anti-depressant boosting our mood, and dopamine increases our feelings of pleasure and reward.  One study found that a smile can provide the same stimulation level in the brain as eating 2000 chocolate bars! Smiling also improves our stress levels, because when we smile our stress hormones (e.g. cortisol and adrenaline) reduce and our blood pressure and heart rate lower.  A study published by Psychological Science concluded that smiling while completing a stressful task lowered stress indicators such as heart rate. Besides making us feel good and reducing stress, smiling may help us increase our life span.  A study by Wayne State University reviewing baseball cards of Major League Players found that the players with wide beaming smiles lived on average 7 years longer than their non-smiling team mates. Smiling also positively influences how others perceive us.  Research from...