Exercising Mindfulness While Driving

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So why would you choose to practice mindfulness while driving?

There are numerous reasons why being mindful while driving can be incredibly beneficial to a daily commuter. First of all through being more 'present' while driving and not having your mind elsewhere you can better learn to enhance your focus rather than reduce it. Many road accidents tend to result from people driving without due care and attention because, for one reason or another, their minds are more focused on the day ahead rather than the road ahead. Apart from making driving safer, mindul driving can also ease the stress associated with commuting so that you can arrive at your destination more energised, refreshed and focused, rather than frustrated, irritable and unproductive.

Let's try a short exercise. Next time you are driving try switching off your phone, or at least make sure its silent or placed where it can't distract you. Avoid eating and just for this exercise, as a kind of experiment, switch off any background music or radio so that you can give your full attention to the exercise. Now as a first step, give your full attention to what's going on around you. Notice everything from the cars, trucks, bikes in front to any you can see with the use of your side and rear view mirrors. Notice your speed, if you know intuitively that you are going faster than the limit try slowing down. Remember this is just an experiment to teach your subconscious more mindful living. With me still? Great let's continue….

Back to driving within the speed limit. Too often we are in a hurry to get somewhere even though it's only an illusion born out of our 'go go go' society. You are more likely to reduce stress by driving slower if you know as a rule you may not always honour the code. Moreover you will also be setting a good example to all drivers. Just making this very small change can help you switch out of the normal habitual state of mind, which for most people is part of the subconscious norm which is responsible for more stress in life than we actually need. Next instead of focusing on your radio or background music which actually can make you more mindless than mindful, focus more on your breathing as you drive. Take a deep breath in through your nose and as you exhale, breathe slowly out through your mouth while paying attention to how calm that out breath makes your entire body feel. Repeat this over and over and as with any new habit you will begin to realise that not only is your mind feeling more clear but you are more readily able to concentrate on your driving almost without effort. Instead of getting lost in trains of thought, you can feel more present and aware. At first your mind may try to wander, so simply keep bringing your attention back to your breathing each and every time this happens until it becomes trained to 'behave'.

While driving and as you keep the majority of your attention on your driving, turn a percentage toward your bodily sensations. Scan for any tension and release that tension if you can. Be aware of any feelings of ligament or muscle tension in your head, shoulders, neck, back, torso, hips, legs, calves and feet and simply choose to let those areas go limp loose and relaxed. If you can't then just be aware of whatever comes and accept that awaress. This is what we refer to as mindfulness. Next you can open your attention to your surroundings again. If you approach a red light, try to slow down and see the red light as an opportunity to pause rather than something you should resist. The red light is there to remind you to pause. While you pause take some more mindful breaths maybe focus on the colour of the sky or shape of the clouds or if you are in the UK more likely listen to sound of the rain. With practice you can end up looking forward to the red light instead of dreading it, seeing it as a chance to breathe and refocus.

Even traffic jams can become a mindful experience. Realising that the traffic is already there you can learn through mindfulness to accept not resist. Fighting the traffic, constantly trying to win the lane battle, ultimately makes no difference. Instead let your mindful attitude encourage smiling and again just focusing on the breaths. Use this time to glance at other drivers and mentally wish them well. This may sound an unsual practice, but as you do this you will notice your attitude automatically becoming more friendly toward other drivers. Even when someone cuts you up while driving use the same technique to wish them well and hope they will be happy. You will find that swearing at people or feeling angry has only one outcome to enhance your overall stress and it's too late anyway so just let it go and return your thoughts to your breathing.

Mindfulness can help the journey be far more enjoyable and can make the entire experience on average sixty to eighty percent safer and more focused. As you drive in this mindful way, feeling more present, value your driving and arrive at your destination in a far more positive and balanced frame of mind.

Here at the Cumbria Hypnosis Mindfulness clinic we teach several strategies as well as mindfulness to anyone wishing to overcome any limiting belief, behaviour or emotion. If you would like to learn more then please click here


Wishing you a balanced and positive day

David Faratian (NLP Practitioner and Clinical Hypnotherapist)

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What is the Subconscious Mind?

the-subconscious-mind

It is believed that the subconscious mind accounts for 90% of the mind and stores habits and beliefs, memory, personality, self image and such things. Picture an iceberg where only the very tip is shwing above the water line. Now imagine the rest of the huge bulk which lies below the water. That would represent the subconscious, ‘invisible’ part of our minds.
In fact with more than ten thousand external stimuli every day, imagine how difficult it would be if our mind had to deal with so many stimuli. For this reason the brain has evolved in such a way so as to protect the mind and to process many of these stimuli on auto pilot
In between the conscious and subconscious mind is a filter called the Reticular Activating System (R.A.S.). This particular filter has the job of scanning all the new stimuli from the outside world and decides the priority of each item. It is then sorted and some information is sent to the conscious mind and some to the subconscious mind.
The subconscious is responsible also for conducting basic functions like making your heart beat and putting one foot in front of the other. Without the power of the subconscious you would have to divert your attention to making the heart beat every second and would simply not be able to function effectively. Think what is was like last time you drove a car. Did you have to think about every manoeuver or were you somehow able to get from A to B with little or no conscious awareness of how you conducted such complex actions and maybe you still had your mind on a hundred and one different other thoughts. Your subconscious in effect drove for you based on the R.A.S. Anything we learn is processed and retained by the subconscious mind which is why we can use this to chnage many of our unwanted behaviours.
With access to your unconscious or subconscious mind you have the power to modify the internal neurological pathways which can sometimes be responsible for all kinds of unproductive behaviours and thoughts, from addictions to phobias. This internal framework relies on all kinds of multi-sensory process which sometimes become corrupted by years of patterned behaviours. Something we process subconsciously becomes a part of us like our names and cannot easily be modified without using a key to unlock the internal mechanism. The tool most commonly used is NLP or Neuro Lingustic Programming. At Cumbria Hypnosis we use NLP as one of the many ‘keys’ to accessing the subconscious mind so that these traits and feelings can be effectively changed for the better. Whether you are wanting to overcome a particualr phobia, like fear of flying or maybe you are just wanting more control over you nerves in meetings, or even have some desire to stop eating as much or outgrowing any number addictions, then NLP and in particular SCRT (Subconscious Code Reprogramming Therapy) may be the answer you have been looking for.
To find out more about how Cumbria Hypnosis can help you follow our links above to more information and professional advice.
David Faratian BA(hons) DcHp AEPT MPNLP


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The Alternative Doctor

How do I treat….. Where can I find help for…

When people have problems where is the first place they turn? In most instances, if it can’t be dealt with through talking, it is either toward their doctor, their counselor or their priest. With today’s technology most people will even ignore all the above and head straight for Dr.Google, that font of all knowledge and solutions. The internet can certainly provide many answers as can conventional medicine but these solutions usually involve medication, chemicals and sticking with what makes scientific sense, which may explain why alternative therapies rarely get a look in. How often do we type ‘how can I treat weight problems’ or ‘what helps with smoking addiction’ and get back a list of solutions which tend to leave out the many successful alternatives which have a proven track record but for some reason people don’t really know about, like homeopathy, reflexology, aromatherapy, nlp and of course hypnotherapy and hypnosis.

How many people really know that hypnotherapy can offer treatment for a and help with a full range of niche conditions including
Irritable Bowel Syndrome, migraines, sexual problems like impotence, premature ejaculation, vaginismus, insomnia, pain control, fears and phobias for flying, needles, heights, dentists, fear of horse riding, fear of childbirth to name but a few; general anxiety, addictions and habits like gambling, alcohol and sex, habit control for losing weight and smoking, solutions for relationship problems, anger management, improved self confidence, children’s problems like bed wetting, nightmares, bullying, and even relief from menopause symptoms, and developing better sports performance. The list is actually extensive and yet the fact that these complimentary remedies are ranked so low in search engines says a great deal about how narrow minded and conditioned we are as a society to be skeptical about anything that doesn’t always have a logical basis.

The truth is though, that alternative therapies like hypnotherapy are gaining more and more credibility from medical organisations like the British Medical Association even though the NHS (National Health Service), still appears to relegate hypnosis to the same category as trivial showmanship and voodoo. Fortunately though more and more general practitioners are welcoming alternatives for conditions like hypertension and
sleeping disorders because often the Doctor can only treat symptoms with a medical cause and in the case of primary or essential high blood pressure, in 90% of cases there simply is no medical cause and so hypnotherapy, meditation and relaxation strategies are regarded as the most sensible route. Insomnia, like hypertension can often have no visible medical solution because the symptoms are driven by latent stress and therefore a psychological alternative is needed.

Most conditions, which have a medical diagnosis are undoubtedly aggravated, at least in some respect, by psychological roots and the causes are more often than not given the title ‘stress’, so it certainly stands to reason that neuro-linguistic therapies come into their own when dealing with the vast majority of medical conditions.

Certain phobias, which for years were treated with several sessions of psychiatric interventions, can now be dealt with through rapid phobia NLP in just a handful of sessions and more importantly, the cure is permanent. NLP is also particularly effective for habit control and although weight loss and smoking are a given, the efficacy of NLP to deal with habits as niche as addiction to
alcohol or gambling, is hard to disprove. The reason is also logical, because despite medicine being able to dull or numb certain emotional triggers, which lead to the compulsions and obsessions of the habits mentioned, they rarely offer enough of a change in attitude or behavior, which could be seen as sustainable and visible in the long run. Tranquillizers and anti-depressants cannot take away the emotional attachment a gambler has for the momentary win or the person who exercises an unhealthy interest in porn because of the perceived high. NLP and hypnosis can however recondition the patterns of behavior by firstly teaching the person how to disconnect emotionally from any ‘buzz’ associated with habit and then helping them to develop recognition strategies for neutralizing the first signs of the old pattern.
In fact the exciting realization that alternative therapies can not only be effective for standard habit control and phobias, but can more directly affect the human immune system is opening up the debate about complimentary therapy even more. The relatively new study of psychoneuroimmunology has shown scientifically that there is a relationship between the mind and the human immune system. Encouraging the client to think about their immune system, and focus on what it can do for them, does have a beneficial effect. Guided visualisation and positive affirmations, while either meditating through self-hypnosis products, or being treated more directly in real time by a professional hypnotherapist can give the psychological edge a patient needs to deal more productively with conditions even as serious as cancer.
This clinic offers treatment for all the areas discussed whether you live in Cumbria, Barrow-in-Furness, Dalton-in-Furness, Ulverston, Kendal, Windermere, Whitehaven or you are looking for more indirect supportive measures for self-hypnosis through our full range of audio relaxation
self- hypnosis CDs and mp3s


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