Tag Archives: health

Dealing with Anxiety in the Workplace

Anxiety is one of the biggest mental health and well-being challenges faced by adults. In a survey covering Great Britain, 1 in 6 adults had experienced some form of ‘neurotic health problem’ in the previous week. The most common neurotic disorders were anxiety and depressive disorders.

Since the majority of us spend the vast majority of our awakened adult life at work. It makes sense that anxiety will if not caused by the work itself begin at some point to affect it.

Anxiety happens when there is a sense of overwhelm or the idea that there are many things that need doing, and all of them need doing now (and often that they are all monumental tasks to do).

However, if anxiety is rehearsed enough – and by this, I mean that you simply are anxious on a regular basis, not that you are consciously deciding to deliberately be anxious that day – then it can easily become habitual. This means that the smallest of triggers can activate it and cause the anxiety to start feeling as if it has arisen without prompt or thought.

There are in fact only two types of anxiety. No matter how complex your anxiety maybe it is useful to remember that:

Anxious apprehension
Anxious arousal

Anxious apprehension, is verbal worrying. Talking to yourself, inside your mind in an anxious way. What is interesting about anxious apprehension is that when people’s brains have been scanned during an EEG, primarily, it’s the left brain that’s lighting up if someone is running anxious apprehension. When they’re having those anxious thoughts, it’s their left brain that gets illuminated and that’s because the front lobe of your left brain is associated with speech. That’s why self-talk comes into it.

The other kind of anxiety that we have is anxious arousal. This one relates more to anxious feelings like fear and panic. This kind of anxiety typically lights up the right brain. If we conduct an EEG brain scan on someone behaving fearfully or showing panic, it activates the temporal lobe which we associate with danger – and it sends the message that we need to avoid that danger.

If you have anxiety in the workplace, you can begin to unpick your anxiety by assessing how your anxiety works. There is a sequence of steps that you follow, which you probably do very quickly and have not been aware of until you begin to slow down the process and study them. To do this it may be easier and more effective to work with a Hertfordshire-based NLP Practitioner or Hypnotherapist who will be trained to help you have more awareness of your thoughts and actions.

For example, you may start the process of anxiety by making images in your mind of all of those tasks at work that cause you to feel overwhelmed. Or a picture of your boss’s face looking disappointed. It might be that you self-talk in a particularly panicked or aggressive way. You may be particularly good at tuning into your internal sensations and notice small flutters that are then distorted to be out-of-control stomach-churning worries.

The anxiety you experience could be caused by work itself, in which case a therapist can work with you to help you have better control of your emotions. This isn’t just to enable you to be more productive – it is important to increase your overall enjoyment of your time at work so that you do not keep putting your body through unnecessary stress.

As an NLP Practitioner in Hertfordshire, I often work with my clients in practical ways too. For example, it might be that there are changes to your routine or working habits that can alleviate the anxiety at work too.


By Gemma Bailey

Developing Pride in Yourself

What is the value of having pride in yourself?

We all have days where we just can’t be bothered and that’s fine every now and again. It becomes a problem though if you have weeks or maybe even months where you have that sense of not really being bothered either with yourself or the rest of the world.

For me, I know that this is happening when I perhaps do not take as much pride in my appearance. I’m a highly visual person, so you can tell what’s going on for me by how well I’m dressed that day and if I have bothered to put any makeup on. (This excludes when I am going to the gym. I look terrible when I go to the gym but that’s allowed.)

With some people, being able to iron their shirt that day and maybe take a little more time in their appearance will be enough for them to get back into their stride, boost their confidence and to have that sense of pride in their self worth, return. But, for other people it doesn’t work like that, so what I’m going to suggest that you do, is that you find other ways to develop a sense of pride.

Now just last week, we had a very special event happening here at People Building HQ Hemel Hempstead. The town granted passage to the RAF, which meant that there was a big parade and celebration. The RAF band was here and there was also a triple fly over by a spitfire. It was very exciting.

As I run the Facebook page for the Hemel Hempstead old town association, I was there taking photos for the Facebook page. I hadn’t really gone along to that event for myself, I was doing it more because I just wanted to be nosey and I to see what was going on. However it was actually a day full of pride, everyone was there, dressed really smart, cheering when the spitfire was flying over.

I was able to develop a sense of pride and self-worth by what was going on in the world around me. So, if you are in a situation where you want to bump up your feeling of pride but can’t find it within yourself, start looking in the outside world. Maybe go to an event, or if have got family or relatives that you can be really proud of, tune into that feeling. When you develop that sense of pride in other people or in the world around you, it becomes much easier to be able to access the feeling and start applying it to yourself.

By Gemma Bailey


Releasing Disappointment

Disappointment is one of those feeling that we all experience but fail to discuss as much as other more (seemingly) significant emotions such as anger, stress and anxiety.
It may be because emotions like humiliation and disappointment tend not to be crippling. Life still goes on in spite of them, but they cast a bit of a cloud over what might be a perfectly happy human.

Disappointment tends to bring with it feelings of sadness and failing. It can have undertones of anger and bitterness and has the potential therefore to be a very complex emotion.

Often, though not always, disappointment brings with it a continual whirring or ‘what if’s’. If only things had been different. Returning to what might have been is what creates the stuck-ness that disappointment has and it cannot really be overcome until someone is ready to put a greater degree of energy and focus into what will happen next than they are currently putting into what might have been.

Living in the past rarely serves us unless it is to learn from the mistake we made and to make contingency plans for how we will be better prepared in a similar situation in the future.

Essentially, once the driving process of what might have/should have been has passed, the only way to really move on is by asking (and answering) the question:

“What are you going to do about it? How can you be ready for what happens next?”

Some of you reading may be old enough to remember the old BT adverts with Maureen Lipman in the late 80’s. In one such advert she calls her grandson to find out about his exam results. They are not as good as his grandmother would have wanted. You see the disappointment flash across her face and you can hear it in his voice too as he recites each subject he took and each one a failed exam.

Finally she says “You didn’t pass anything?”

“Pottery” he replies with a sigh.

It would have been a fleeting “What can he do about it?” thought that causes her to respond with: “Pottery? Very useful! People will always need plates. Anything else?”

“And sociology.” He responds glumly.

“An Ology? He gets an Ology and he thinks he’s failed! You get an Ology and you’re a scientist!”

As she continues to reassure him you see his eyebrows lift as he begins to consider that his grandmother might have a fair point in what she is saying.

Releasing disappointment doesn’t just come from finding ways to make the best of what you have or what you are left with. It also comes from being honest about what you’ve got and creative about what you chose to do with it next. It might also be a case of forgiving and deciding to set the bar in a different place to where your prior expectations had previously thought it could go.

Recover first, then make a plan for moving forward and make that plan have multiple prongs that can safeguard you from having the same sort of disappointment again in the future.

By Gemma Bailey

Find Your Happy

Some might say happiness is the absence of fear, stress or anxiety. For me it is more than that. Happiness helps us to access confidence more easily and is responsible for generating your overall feeling of positivity and contentment.

Since happiness is an emotion, it means we have full-time access to it, after all, we are the generators of our emotions. Of course, our circumstances might cause us to feel other emotions too. Ones that interfere with out ability to access happiness in that moment. Although it is estimated that only 10% of our overall happiness comes from your environment.

This means that whilst we could take a universal tragedy, that depending on how someone perceived that situation, there could still be people who would consider themselves happy in spite of it. This can only be caused by how they chose to think about the life rather than what life actually presents them with.

Learning to find happiness (especially if you have grown up with or work in an environment with particularly negative people) can be a real challenge. How can you condition yourself to have more happiness more of the time?

Comparative thinking is just one of the ways that we teach clients at the hypnotherapy and NLP Clinic in Hertfordshire. Comparative thinking is when, if you’re in a bad place and you notice someone who’s in a worse position than you, it starts to make you feel better as a result of comparing your situation to that of somebody who is, in some way, worse off. Comparative thinking comes from the school of positive psychology and is a way that people can effectively begin to change how they feel about their present circumstances.

Another way to increase your levels of happiness is to stop only rewarding yourself with happiness when you have achieved a goal. You’ve probably heard about the dangers in seeing yourself as successful once you have completed something. The problem this creates is you only have a very short moment of feeling successful before you have to create another goal post somewhere further away. If you do this with happiness too, it’s something you will constantly seek and never find. Avoid telling yourself things like “I’ll be happy when I’m with my perfect partner” or “I’ll be happy when I’ve bought a new car.” Find happiness in the now.

If happiness for what you have right now seems like to big an undertaking, then a smaller step can be to begin to find happiness in the every day things that you have learned to take for granted. For example, seeing a butterfly or a moment of warm sunshine on your face before the clouds blow over. When you have these experiences remark out loud or in your mind how lovely they are, or how grate fun you are. This will start to reprogram your mind to seek out more experiences like this. Plus it increases your positive memory references so that you have good memories you can return to for a top-up or ‘happy’ when you need it.

By Gemma Bailey

Bringing Down the Barriers – Dealing With Someone Who is Defensive

“Have you thought about getting a part time job?” I asked
“What are you trying to say?” Was barked back at me. |
“Errrm, literally just that. Have you thought about getting a part time job?” “Oh for God-sake!”

This was a recent encounter with a relative who, unbeknownst to me at that time, had, having recently retired, been asked the same question by many of our other relatives.

I hadn’t anticipated that such a simple and innocent question could prompt such a defensive response. If I had, I would have avoided asking it.

But sometimes we need to ask questions or make suggestions that we know are going to be provocative, either because of who we are dealing with or what the subject matter is going to be.

It seems unreasonable that you should have to formulate strategies to avoid upsetting the apple cart and so assisting the other person in changing their behaviour may be a more desirable alternative.

At The Hypnotherapy and NLP Clinic in Hertfordshire, we subscribe to a set of NLP presuppositions. One of these is “You cannot change others. When you change yourself others change also.” So when I make the suggestion of changing the other persons defensive behaviour, this is a change that will occur as a result of your new way of managing them.

Firstly, you’ve got to start thinking about life from their perspective. What are these unjust that they are protecting themselves from? What are the ways that their perceive their value to be challenges or violated? When you have identified these consider their other motivators too. What do they like, what gets their interest?

If you can begin to communicate with them in a way that has them feel as if their needs are being met, as if you too have their best interests at heart they will not have the need to defend themselves as they felt they did before.

You need to create the sense that you are on their side or, that at the very least you understand there side, if you want to remove from them the feeling that they need to defend themselves from you.

In the example above, my relative was complaining about not getting enough pension. This told me that they were concerned about the finances. The rest of us were concerned about how much money she was spending due to boredom. But having recently gained the freedom of retirement, she was in no hurry to put herself in a position of employment as the above outburst had demonstrated.

I waited a while and had to pick the right moment to casually say “Wow, that’s a decent amount of money.” As I flicked through the newspaper.
“What? What’s that?” She asked.
“Huh? Oh nothing. It’s an advert for part time Christmas work at the post office. I didn’t realise they paid such a good hourly rate.”

The ‘planting of the seed’ proved to be a useful way to covertly work around what would have otherwise been a suggestion that was disregarded due to stubbornness and defensiveness.

When you begin to see the world as they do, you can change how you communicate to fit with them. As the trust between you develops the barriers of defensiveness will soften meaning that when you need to cut-to-the-chase with them, they will already regard what you say as being reasonable.

By Gemma Bailey

Learning to Make Connections After Overcoming Social Anxiety

The anxiety is gone (or at the very least is entirely manageable now) and you’re ready to start getting out there in the big wide world, making new friends and forging new relationships. But wait? How do you do that exactly?

I remember being about 7 years old and able to walk up to a child and say “Hi, I’m Gemma. Would you like to play with me?” It was a pretty cool strategy that worked almost all of the time. Except this one time when I was on holiday with my grandparents. We were in Spain and I was playing alone in a swimming pool. I saw a little girl just like me and thought it would be nice to play.

The challenge was that I hadn’t realised she was Spanish. So when I approached her to say hello, she looked at me and freaked out because I was speaking to her in the wrong language. I watched her swim away hurriedly to her father, talk to him in her own language and point at me as if I had threatened to kill her. It was a big wake up call. Making friends wasn’t always going to be as easy in the future as it had been in the past, and clearly there was a little more that I need to know when it came to making relationships. “Hello, do you want to be my friend?” wasn’t the fail safe that I thought it was.

There’s a rule when it comes to communications that ‘People like people who are like themselves’. Meaning that we prefer to connect with others who in some way appear to be like us. That could be something about their posture or how they use their body, the tone of their voice or even the sorts of words and language they use.

Therefore, a good first step in building up relationships with others after overcoming social anxiety, is to observe others first. Notice the communication styles they use. At the Hypnotherapy and NLP Clinic in Hertfordshire, we teach people all of the different clues you can look out for to identify someone’s communication style; how to replicate it and communicate back to them in that style causing them to feel comfortable and at ease with you.

We’ll also teach you how to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. It goes without saying that we have all experienced an uncomfortable social encounter at some time, but when someone has had social anxiety, they have felt that feeling (or at the very least feared having that feeling) for a significant period of time. Taking that first bold steps to ‘get back out there’ and face up to whatever may come your way takes an honest acknowledgement that just because you feel better, it doesn’t mean that everyone you meet will be lovely, or that they’ll love you. Becoming comfortable with the idea that sometimes your conversations may be stilted or that people might not be as friendly as you would have liked; whilst still maintaining the knowledge that many people will be friendly and many other conversations will be wonderful, takes a kind of acceptance of the idea that that things may not be perfect every time and that this is perfectly natural and okay.

By Gemma Bailey

Moving On After a Relationship Break-Up

There are no set rules when it comes to the best way in dealing with a relationship break up because most of the actions you need to take will need to be customised to your own unique situation.

That’s why at The hypnotherapy and NLP Clinic in Hertfordshire, we always perform a consultation (fact finding) session first to find out more about how you are thinking and feeling presently and where you’d like to get to in your thinking and feelings to be able to cope better with what has happened.

Some people will feel hurt, anger or simply lost when when a relationship fails. Part of moving on can be to look at why things didn’t work out so that you can be better prepared in the future to avoid the mistakes or clues that might have shown you that things were not as you would have hoped.

If you feel you have been wronged in some way, these are particularly important emotions to resolve so that you are able to be more robust in the future and avoid having what could otherwise remain as a vulnerability from being exploited.

Of course, we all know that time is a healer and that pain can fade with time. However, I also fully appreciate that when you are in emotional pain, waiting for it to pass with time can be an unrealistic expectation. When the heart break is interfering with your interactions in the rest of your life or preventing you from functioning as you need to, then it’s time to take some action to speed up the process of recovery.

When a relationship has gone bad and there were clear signs, perhaps for some time, that the partnership was toxic in some way, you’d think that this would accelerate the healing process. In my experience I have found the reverse to be true. Often when a relationship is already showing signs of unpleasantness, we have a tendency to want to fix it before jumping ship. All of that effort and energy that goes into tolerating abuses, helping the other person, making excuses for the way things are is suddenly redundant. It’s proven to be a waste of time and this can make us feel that not only have we lost someone who is part of our lives, but we have lost a battle to save them/the relationship/ourselves too. It’s an extra blow. Logically your mind may say “Look at all the trouble you had. Remember how unhappy you were, all of those bad things they said!” and then it seems almost crazy that logically knowing that to be true, you’d still feel so sad.

A baby step that you can take to start moving in the right direction is to begin to slowly build yourself back up. What do you deserve in a relationship? What kind of standards do you want to set for yourself that your next partner should (within reason) adhere to? What will you not tolerate?

You can begin to remove the emotional charge from this situation by reminding yourself in a way that an empowering coach would say “You deserve to be happy. You deserve to be treated well. Remember that and move forward with your focus there.”

Make moving forward about becoming the best you can be and really knowing what you want from a relationship. That doesn’t mean you are seeking another relationship necessarily, it simply means that you are making a point of knowing yourself, knowing what you want and refusing to take anything less than that.

By Gemma Bailey