Tag Archives: anxiety

Power in your hands

The guy who cleans the windows on my house is also a fireman.  He’s read my book, and we often talk about business.

A while ago I learnt a trick where you can reduce anxiety by squeezing the middle two fingers of a hand.

I told him about this, thinking it might be useful for when he attended traffic incidents and needed a simple way to easily calm down injured and shaken people.

I thought nothing more of it until our conversation today.

He is going for promotion and had to attend a fairly intimidating interview.

He was asked a particular question and found himself panicking and unable to think. He remembered my trick and squeezed his fingers. He said he calmed down instantly and was able to answer the question well enough to notice the interviewer putting a tick in the box.

So next time you need a quick way to calm down, why don’t you try it?

Beware of destination addiction

destination addiction

It is hard to see how far you have come. It is in our nature to always be looking out for stuff that hurts us, and so we are more in tune with things that are wrong than things that are right.

Every client is at the start of a journey the minute they reach out to me. It doesn’t matter whether they message me on my Think it Change it Facebook page, or drop me an email, or pick up the phone, or even if they read my book “The Caveman Rules of Survival”. Everything that you do in an effort to improve yourself is the start of a journey.

You do it because you believe there is something better out there for you.

Every client that sees me in person is given a little book. This book is used for them to write down the changes they experience (the online clients are given the same task but I can’t give them the little booklet).

Initially most are able to spot many changes, but that tends to drop off as they begin to focus more on where they want to go instead of where they have come from. That’s where the book can be most valuable

We only compare where we are with where we want to be, and often fail to notice how far we’ve come

Since May 2011 I’ve experienced a level of transformation that I didn’t believe was possible. It’s that personal experience that allows me to help my clients. Everyone is unique, and I never know what we will do until they sit in front of me, but I know there is always a way to get them to where they want to be. And I know, when they have doubts and dips in their journey, that it’s all part of the experience of change. I know 100% that we will be able to work through it to get them to where they want to be.

These days, I am aware enough of how changes work to notice them. The other day a client gave me a hug before they left. It happens quite a lot. Most people wouldn’t notice. But I did, because 5 years ago it would not have happened. I would have sent very strong “back off” signals. Hugs were not safe. Trevor, the therapist I went to see, was a hugger. But he recognised that not all clients would be comfortable and would only hug you if you hugged him – which of course I would never do. Until one day, when leaving after a brilliant weekend of learning in London, I went to say goodbye to Trevor and gave him a hug. It surprised both of us. Apparently hugging was now ok.

Everything can change. The challenge is to not be so focused on where you want to get to, that you lose sight of where you are

The three steps

  1. Initially I am a guide to show you how to change
  2. Then I become a mentor to coach you through the change
  3. Then I become a distant friend that you can talk to when life throws stuff at you

My hope is that one day you almost forget about me. You don’t need me. I just have to teach you that.

To get started on our journey together, email dawn@thinkitchangeit.com or if that’s too much, come and join in my discussion group on Facebook at  https://www.facebook.com/groups/DawnsCave/


A need for labels

It’s funny isn’t it? How we feel the need to be part of something.

A couple of weeks ago I joined thousands of people screaming at the TV when the first episode of The Apprentice 2014 was aired.

Now, in fairness, shouting at the TV is what makes this programme so much fun– but this year my shouting reached a new level.

Why? Because of this lady (please ignore the fact that she’s a hypnotherapist!)

This lady didn’t just label herself but also put the same expectations on everyone else.

She said women could sell better because they could wear short skirts and make up. She started off the first week as a project manager for the women’s team and tried to get all the women in her team to wear short skirts.


Whilst this seems ridiculous, it is not unusual for us to put ourselves into boxes – to label ourselves. We criticise others for imposing these labels on us but have you ever really thought of how often you do this to yourself?

Labels make us feel like we belong. They make us feel like we are not alone. In a way, they make us feel “normal”.

I have heard many interviews lately about depression where someone who had been really struggling went to the doctor who labelled them as “clinically depressed”. You can hear the relief as they are interviewed – they are not crazy – they have a label.

Because a label implies someone somewhere knows how to treat you. Because you now belong.

But how do you get rid of a label? Once you have found your place, it is so much harder to give it up. So we cling on to the labels we have been given (or give ourselves) for way longer than needed.

You are not depressed. You are experiencing the symptoms of depression.

You are not an anorexic. You are experiencing the symptoms of anorexia.

You are not anxious. You experience anxiety.

You are not your label. You are you.

Sometimes the first step in moving forward can be to accept that you are so much more than a label you have been given.

Just because Sarah on the Apprentice found she could sell reasonably well, doesn’t mean that it was because of her short skirts and make up. Maybe there was more to it than that. So applying that formula to other women might not have the results she would expect.

That’s the problem with labels. They are black and white. And people aren’t. There is so much more to you than a label.

I don’t work with labels. I don’t care what your ‘diagnosis’ is. What I do know is that the way you experience your problem is unique to you. I also know that no matter what you are struggling with, there is a way past it. You see that’s the other problem with labels – if the standard solutions don’t work, there is nowhere left to go.

So think about the way you label yourself and ask yourself “If I was not X who would I be?”

Give me a shout if you need some help. dawn@thinkitchangeit.com

And don’t forget to like my Facebook page for information, special offers and the occasional giggle.

More therapy options


Talk therapy ‘best for social phobia’, study finds


This article is one of many articles I read online, or hear on the radio every day. They talk about how we need more therapies instead of giving out so much medication for depression and anxiety.

The irony is that this is all talk and no action.

Every client that comes to see me answers a set of questions, using tick boxes, before our session starts. The data from those forms goes anonymously into a database and is collated as research. Research that shows, using NHS definitions and measures, how effective Cognitive Hypnotherapy is for treating conditions like depression and anxiety.

The results are amazing.

This year they will go into a white paper and hopefully, soon, GP’s will be able to send you to see a Cognitive Hypnotherapist on the NHS.

I went to my local medical centre several weeks ago. I took my data. Data that shows I generally help people within 3 sessions over a period of 2-3 months. No matter what their problem is. People that have been on medication for years. I send them back to their GP to discuss how they can come off their medication.

The doctor sounded interested. He said he would discuss with the other partners and be in touch.

They never got in touch.

All talk and no action. Ironic really. When everyone acknowledges that we need less action (issuing medication) and more talk (therapy).

Bottle that feeling

Have you heard the phrase “Bottle that feeling”? When things are going well you want to find a way to keep that feeling so you can use it when things are not so good.

Well the good news is you can. It’s called an anchor and it might come in particularly useful over Christmas where there tends to be more stress around. 

Imagine if you could recall a feeling of being calm and in control in the heat of the moment when everything is starting to get on top of you. 

Well here you go…this is my Xmas gift to you. A YouTube video to help you build your very own bottled feeling.

Oh and if you have examples of how well this worked for you feel free to share them here and/or like the video on Youtube and share it with your friends. (you can get the link here if it’s not showing)

Beauty is what you see in the mirror

I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here

Last night I was watching one of my guilty pleasure programmes “I’m a celebrity get me out of here”

This year Rebecca Adlington, the very successful Olympic swimmer, is in the jungle and so is a lady who may be less well known called Amy Willerton who is GB’s Miss Universe.

A discussion started about body image and what effect pageants have on how girls see themselves and how they should look. It was a relatively good natured discussion between Amy and an actress who stars in Emmerdale called Lucy Pargeter. Lucy was sharing how she didn’t even feel comfortable getting naked to get into the shower and how she has always struggled with body image. A few others joined in.

Rebecca made a few comments and then went off to talk to the camera at which point she started talking about how anxious and bad she feels about the way she looks. How little confidence she has in herself. How she wished she had the beauty of someone like Amy.

This wasn’t a result of any comment made by Amy but was about the way Rebecca sees herself.

And the things is, I was probably one of tens of thousands of people who were yelling at the telly trying to somehow get through to Rebecca how amazing she was. She is a true role model with all her achievements. Something to inspire any of us to chase our dreams.

As I sat there I thought it was such a shame that she wasn’t in a place where she could accept that because these other things are perceived as being so much more important.

It’s something I commonly deal with in my clients, especially weight loss clients.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you measure a person by the way they look?
  • Do you choose your friends based on their size or hair colour?
  • Do you think if you had one friend who is a size 16 and one who is a 10 you’d like the size 10 friend more?

I suspect the answer to all these questions is a very emphatic “No!”

So then why on earth would you think that other people would be any different?

What we see when we look in the mirror is not what is there but is an image filtered through our own perceptions.

Small or large, Olympic swimmer or couch potato, we all see a different person based on how we think or feel.

And as I watched Rebecca become consumed by her own reality I just wanted to reach out and help her in the way I know I can. In the way I have helped so many of my clients be ok with themselves…accept themselves…and accept their achievements in life.

I would love to help Rebecca accept her amazing achievements and move on.

If you want a special download which may help you get a bit more confidence in who you are just click on this link and listen every day.

** it will take you to the MailBigFile website to fetch your download. If you download to a PC/Mac first you can put the MP3 on any device to listen to. If you just click on it, it will play but not download and will require an internet connection every time you want to play it (and use your data!)

Dealing with stress over Christmas

In everyday life most of us experience varying degrees of anxiety. Maybe we have an interview or a big presentation to do. Maybe we are meeting someone for the first time. Or maybe just getting out of the front door is enough to make us anxious.

Somehow, for a lot of us, Xmas presents all sorts of new opportunities for stress. 

The feeling of nervousness or anxiety is driven from our subconscious. Believe it or not it is attempting to protect us. You might wonder how getting nervous before an interview is protection. Or even how getting nervous about stepping out the front door is useful?

Think back to the stone age where we had to hunt.

If you came across a predator such as a sabre toothed tiger, then you didn’t have time to evaluate the best option, so run a brainstorming session on the best approach to take. You had to react and do it instantly.So you had 3 choices

1.    Fight – go for it! All-out fight the beastie

2.    Flight – leg it as fast as you can and hope you’re faster than your fellow hunters (let’s face it as long as you can outrun them you don’t need to worry as much about the sabre toothed tiger)

3.    Freeze – don’t move, stay totally still and hope it doesn’t notice you

Each of these responses would be an instant choice based on circumstance but would require a physiological response to make possible.

An increase in heart rate, blood and adrenalin flowing through your system, breathing shorter, ready to give you a burst of physical super juice to allow you to survive.

Do those sound familiar?

What happens when you get really nervous? Do you think about it logically first or do you find that you notice the physical symptoms first?

In the absence of sabre toothed tigers in modern society, our subconscious is still trying to protect us by putting us into fight, flight or freeze mode when it perceives a threat.

To help deal with those moments as and when they happen I have developed two things 

1. An MP3 download that you can stick on any device to have it with you whenever you need it. 

Get the Ease that stress/anxiety download here

2. A YouTube video clip you can watch when you’re at your PC to teach you a couple of coping techniques 

Just breathe – 7/11 breathing

There is a technique called 7/11 breathing that is useful to calm yourself down in any situation. It works because the mind body connection is two way. The brain can tell the body how to behave, but the body’s behaviour can tell the brain what to think.

When your breathing increases and the adrenalin starts to flow, your brain thinks “What’s going on here then, something must be wrong”

It might kick in a survival response “We are running away from something! quick increase the heart rate, shorten the breath body – we have to escape” and suddenly you find yourself having an attack of anxiety. 

As the brain and body are connected we can change this thought either through the brain or through the body and a simple technique for this just involves breathing. 

  1. Take a deep steady breath in from your diaphragm whilst counting steadily to 7 (this is not 7 seconds, this is a count of 7 at a pace that works for you – you shouldn’t be going red in the face!)
  2. Exhale steadily for the count of 11. 
  3. Repeat for as long as it takes for you to calm down.

This difference in the count serves multiple purposes. It calms your heart rate and breathing down from the physiology of fight, flight or freeze, helping your brain to understand there is nothing to worry about. 

The act of counting serves as a distraction from whatever thought may have hijacked your brain allowing your thoughts to calm down and focus elsewhere. 

** if you find 7 and 11 difficult then try 5 and 8 – it will be just as effective!


Strong emotion makes us stupid

The doors bang open and in they storm in with balaclavas and shotguns.

Anger, upset, fear, anxiety. Emotional Hijackers!

You don’t move. You barely breathe. Your heart is racing. 

There is lots of shouting and noise. 

You are under an emotional hijacking and you are unable to do anything other than respond.

Your ability to think rationally will be severely diminished.

Your ability to think logically will be severely diminished.

It’s not a fun thing to have happen to you. 

Afterwards you think “Why didn’t I do something more? Why didn’t I act? Why didn’t I take control”


If you find yourself getting emotionally hijacked why not drop me an email and see how I can help dawn@thinkitchangeit.com or visit my website to learn more www.thinkitchangeit.com

Seeing Red

Have you heard someone describe being angry as “Seeing Red”?

It’s not uncommon for feelings to have colours associated with them in our heads – it’s just something that we don’t usually think about. 

Imagine the power you would have if you could control a feeling just by using colours?

If the colour of anger was red, I wonder what would happen if you changed it?

Now imagine when you are in a bad mood or a negative frame of mind. Maybe your are right now. 

I wonder what would happen if you first took a moment, with your eyes closed to ask yourself “If negativity/a bad mood had a colour, what would that colour be?”

Don’t worry about feeling a bit weird. Just go with whatever pops into your head. 

Got it? 

Spend a litte time thinking about that colour. Is it dark or light? Does it have a texture? Does it have a shape?

Next take a moment, with your eyes closed to ask yourself “If happiness had a colour, what would that colour be?” This might take a little longer to find because we’ve just been thinking about the negativity. 

Got it? 

Spend a litte time thinking about that colour. Is it dark or light? Does it have a texture? Does it have a shape?

Now what would happen, if you started to flood the negative colour with the colour of happinness – spinning them together faster and faster until the colour of happiness has totally drowned out the feeling of negativity. 

How does that make you feel?

You can use this in many different ways for lots of different emotions and feelings. You can use it for stamina in sports (spinning stamina over the top of exhaustion) or anxiety (spinning calm out with panic) 

If you are struggling with strong emotions that are taking over your life, why not drop me an email and see how I can help dawn@thinkitchangeit.com