In today’s busy workplace it has almost become a badge of honour for some professionals to try and function while in a constant state of stress. The results, however, are poorer performance and illness.
Those wanting to get ahead should learn, instead, to manage stress and access their flow state, which can be achieved through self-hypnosis, as Harley Street clincial hypnotherapist Gail Marra explains…
“I am the greatest, I said that even before I was.” – Muhammad Ali
What does it take to be successful? You might fire off a string of words like, “intelligence, determination, motivation, drive, enthusiasm, confidence, self-belief.” And you would be right.
When you succeed at something, your brain releases the neurotransmitter dopamine, one of your ‘feel good’ chemicals which along with serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins, trigger the pleasure and reward centre of your brain. You feel happy and excited; life is good. a good surge of dopamine affects your movement, memory, and focus and helps you to stay at the top of your game.
Until life delivers an unexpected blow. Maybe a knockback, a disappointment, a criticism, a deal that falls out of bed, or an idea that you backed that didn’t back you. Taking a hit like this can have a detrimental effect on your self-confidence and self-esteem. That buzz you had when things were going well has been replaced with stress and anxiety; the adrenaline that was once your friend is now your arch nemesis. And so rather than falling apart, how can you keep it together?
First and foremost, breathe. For those of you who are rolling your eyes right now, bear with me. When you are under pressure, stressed or anxious, you shallow breathe. You breathe into the upper part of your chest, taking in less oxygen and increasing your levels of carbon dioxide.
Now, we are pre-programed to shallow breathe when the sympathetic nervous system is stimulated; in other words, our ‘fight or flight’ response. Fight or flight is needed for short, temporary bursts of energy. For example, early man comes face to face with a sabre-toothed tiger; fight or flight response is activated. Man either takes the tiger on or flees from it. After the situation has been avoided or averted, calm is restored and early mangoes back to feeling calm. The problem with many professional people today is that they remain in this heightened state of alertness for so long that it becomes a habit. The human body is not designed to be in a constant state of stress and as has been proven, chronic stress is the cause of many diseases that can bring even the mightiest tumbling down.
Deep diaphragmatic breathing—or abdominal breathing—on the other hand, is our natural breath. A fine example of this is if you were to observe the steady rhythmic breath of a newborn baby. Babies naturally breathe by using their diaphragm, a muscle under the lungs that pulls oxygen into the body. Their stomach expands as they breathe in through their nose and as they exhale, their stomach contracts.
Deep diaphragmatic breathing lowers your blood pressure, reduces your heart rate, relaxes your muscles, decreases stress hormones, releases your ‘feel good’ chemicals, and increases energy levels. What’s not to like?
I know that in business, time is of the essence. I hear people all the time saying, “I don’t have time for that. I’m too busy. I have a deadline.” Well, the great news is that in order to feel the effect and experience the calming benefits of deep breathing you only need to find 60 seconds. That’s right. All it takes is five cycles of deep diaphragmatic breathing over the space of one minute to stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system—the opposite to fight or flight—and, just like early man, calm is restored.
Try taking this a little further into the realms of self-hypnosis.
Self-hypnosis is a way in which to reprogram your subconscious mind—thoughts, feelings and behaviours—and has been a secret weapon for successful people around the world for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. CEOs, entrepreneurs, celebrities and elite athletes use it all the time, and often without even realising it. When you are in a state of focused attention—often described as ‘the zone’ or ‘the flow’—or are so engrossed in what you’re doing that everything else seems to fade into the background, then you are in a hypnotic trance. It is in this space, or more accurately, this brainwave frequency, that you can get to work rewiring your subconscious mind. But how?
The language of the subconscious mind is imagery and emotion. Words and affirmations are simply not enough to evoke the power of your subconscious mind. Repeating words like, “I am successful” when the emotion or feeling behind the words are, “Things always go wrong for me” or “I’m no good at this”, will be a fruitless exercise. Instead, try aligning your emotions with your vision of success, as though it has already happened. This is known as mental rehearsal and it’s key to success. I’m sure you’ll agree, there are not many people out there who have visualised failure and gone on to succeed.
In my book ‘Health, Wealth & Hypnosis – The way to a beautiful life’, I write in more depth on the subject and the art of self-hypnosis.
At my clinic in London’s Harley Street, I work with aspiring and already successful individuals who, by taking control of their subconscious mind, have gone on to create and enjoy the life of their dreams. With this same knowledge, and with practice, there’s no reason why you can’t achieve the same.