A friend of mine really made me laugh the other week. We were having a cup of tea via Zoom, she lives up in Scotland, so it’s a bit of a way to go just for a cuppa. Anyway, she’s a hypnotherapist like me and we were chatting about the advantages and disadvantages of seeing clients online versus face-to-face in a clinic.
One of the advantages about online work is that you can keep your slippers on and no-one is any the wiser! What made me laugh was when my friend told me about going in for her first clinic session. She’d put her high heeled shoes on and within five minutes she’d taken them off and got her flat-heeled shoes out. She went on to tell me how she’d been ‘wobbling about all over the place’ and felt she’d never be able to walk in a straight line again wearing anything more than ½” heels.
We went on to talk about how we must have learned to walk in heels at one stage, so it was just a matter of practice. But did we want to practice feeling uncomfortable?
Now, what’s all this got to do with mental wellbeing and my job as a hypnotherapist, as that’s what I normally ramble on about in these articles? Well, feet can be a bit like the brain. Feet will become uncomfortable if we shove them into ill-fitting shoes for the day. Fashion trends can dictate that some of us shove our poor feet into high heels that can be highly uncomfortable?
Bizarrely, our brain can be the same as our feet. We can follow trends or do things that hurt our brain. For instance, we can take our brain for a walk down a negative pathway by negatively forecasting the future or negatively reflecting on the past. We can watch negativity on TV or on the internet and be negatively influenced by it. Come to that, we can overwork our brains, similar to taking our feet on a 10-mile hike, without giving it a rest.
Yet, when we turn our attention to happy thoughts or watch something that makes us laugh or smile, then we feel better. Negative thoughts are like ill-fitting shoes whilst positive thoughts are like comfy slippers! The only difference is that by taking our shoes off after a long day we get instant relief, whereas positive thoughts and actions take a little bit longer to have positive relief on the brain.
I’m a bit repetitive on this next bit, but I make no apology because it’s important and it works. If you’re feeling negative, anxious or simply downright miserable, start training your mind to look out for the good things. These can be small things, but good nonetheless. Whatever rocks your boat. It doesn’t need to be something you’ve actually done; it might be something you’ve seen or heard. We do have a certain amount of choice about what we ‘tune into’ on the TV, radio or computer, but make a conscious note of it.
Making more of a mental note of what has been good can really start to balance the chemicals in the brain and offset the negative chemicals that are produced by so much bad news around us.
A lot of clients will respond to my question of “What’s been good” with “The sun came out on Tuesday” or “I went for a walk” or even “I turned off my computer at 6pm”.
I was working with a lovely chap recently who had been suffering from depression. He followed a trend that quite a few clients pick up on, he found himself a notebook and each day he’d jot down what had been good. Sometimes that list was very short, other days it was longer. However, he waved the book at me one day on a Zoom session and said “Hey, this works”!
Welcome to happier days then.