Monday 13 - Sunday 19 May 2019
Let’s talk about body image.
Body image issues can affect all of us at any age.
I’m happy to talk about mine.
Ironically it hit me as I was walking past the Nike superstore on Oxford Street in London.
I saw my reflection in a window display of super-fit beautiful looking athletic superstars.
I was huge (read fat) heading to 20 stone. A belly. Jowls. Sweating because of too much booze and fast food.
All I was doing was walking along. Huffing and puffing.
That was my low point.
What did I do? I saw a hypnotherapist.
Hypnotherapy and body image
First things first. What exactly is Hypnosis? Hypnotherapy? And what do I mean by body image?
Hypnosis. It’s a totally natural state. We do it all the time to ourselves. That feeling of being ‘lost’ reading a good book, or watching a film. When you find yourself driving on autopilot.
What's happening is that, in this state, your mind is at its most suggestible, but you're in no way unconscious.
Or, to put it another way, hypnosis means suggestions can ‘cross’ the barrier between your conscious and sub-conscious, rooting them deeply into your mind.
Hypnotherapy. All this simply means is that once you're in hypnosis, we can shift your negative beliefs. Changing your behaviours, actions and thought patterns. This is how you can stop smoking, control anxiety, cure phobias – and deal with your body image.
It’s a process of accepting your body, then changing the way you feed, or move it.
This usually involves a call to strengthen your self-worth. Belief in yourself.
Body image. Quite simply it’s how we see our own bodies. It could be that you’re recovering from an eating disorder or trying to lose weight, by starting to change what – and how much - you eat (I’ll never say diet), or you’re struggling with your reflection: you don’t like what you see staring back at you.
Before hypnosis. Let’s talk about your body image.
We need to be clear what you mean by improved body image. And what a new body image would mean to you. In other words what does success look like?
We need clearly defined goals to introduce during hypnosis to plant in your subconscious.
This changing the mind changes how you think, feel and act when you're ‘awake’/conscious.
Being specific about your body image.
We may start talking about general things, but I’ll want to know more.
- What is it I don't like about my body?
- What specific body part?
- What is it about my stomach I don't like?
- When and how do I criticise my stomach?
- Do you want skinny arms? Why?
- Why is it important to have a six pack?
- What does that critical voice say?
- Whose voice does it sound like?
- How would I like to feel about my stomach?
- What are the REAL words?
- What does all this mean to you?
Think of it like this. The deeper we both dive into your thoughts, feelings and past, the more we can bring up and the greater the result. We’ll talk about:
Turning your talk into hypnotherapy.
From our conversations we take your goals as the basis of what I suggest to you whilst you’re hypnotised.
Remember you’re in control. Always. All I’m doing is giving you ‘permission’ to believe in a ‘new’ you.
To think, feel and act in a different way to get the body image you want.
Let’s be clear. You will never do or say anything you don’t want to under hypnosis, or when you’re conscious.
What’s this got to do with Mental Health Awareness Week?
Mental health is something we all have to talk about. This year it’s all about body image.
Hypnotherapy is a talking therapy. It’s not a silver bullet that makes everything better with your body with a few magic words.
It's a process that teaches you to find your own words that make you change the way you think, feel and act.
It’s not easy. You have to stick at it. Practice, practice, practice. And I set homework between meetings that I expect you to do (what’s the point in paying me and not helping yourself?)
So if you feel you need to look after your metal health maybe this is the week to improve your body image and consider hypnotherapy.
Hypnosis and hypnotherapy are tools that let you be yourself, achieve your goals, and free yourself from the stuff that's stopping you move forward.
It set me free.
James Thomas is a Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist based in Lincolnshire. He runs The Gentle Mind Hypnotherapy Ltd.
He used hypnotherapy to drop from nearly 20 stone to 14. He’s now run seven marathons and completed three Iron Man events.
He believes we are what we tell ourselves. That when we relax we are kinder to ourselves.