The Belief Distillery Melanie Parker Hypnotherapy anxiety,Fears / phobias Anxious about going out? 3 easy steps to get you out of lockdown

Anxious about going out? 3 easy steps to get you out of lockdown

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Before lockdown were you a social butterfly? Maybe not, but still you enjoyed going for drinks with friends and thought nothing of going to the hairdressers. You have spent 12 months looking forward to things going back to ‘normal’ and now there is a light at the end of the tunnel and soon we will be able to do all the things we have longed for. Now the excitement from the announcements has subsided you are faced with the reality of going out again, and now you aren’t so sure. Just like a lot people, you are feeling anxious about going out again.

You are not alone, although it is too soon to have any data on anxiety related to lockdown easing, there is plenty to suggest the Coronavirus pandemic has had a negative impact on our mental health as you can see in the below graph from ONS

Anecdotally, many of my friends and family have expressed concerns around socialising again, feeling worried or anxious about being in social situations. These anxieties range from getting used to larger groups again, being in close contact with service professionals and just generally leaving the house.

If any of this is true for you, if your stomach churns at the idea of going for a meal, if you break out in a sweat at the thought of going to the hairdresser or your breathing becomes shallow and fast just thinking about going clothes shopping; then I am going to guide you through how you can prepare your mind right now to make these things not only easier, but fun again!

  1. Change how you describe feeling anxious
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The founder of Rapid Transformational Therapy®, Marisa Peer, told me a story about two fabulous interviews in a popular music magazine. One was with Bruce Springsteen and the other was with Carli Simons. In the Springsteen interview, he was asked a question along the lines of how he is still touring at his age and giving 150% on stage. He explained that it is like a life-force to him. Before he gets on stage he is so EXCITED. His breathing quickens, he has insane butterflies like they are trying to escape, his heart rate increases and he is literally vibrating with energy. He can’t wait to get out on that stage.

Carly Simon was asked a question focusing on why she no longer performs live, and she responded that she would feel her heart rate and breathing get fast, she would feel sick with her stomach churning, and she just knew she was having a massive PANIC ATTACK.

Now go back and read those two descriptions of what it felt like to them both again, notice that they feel exactly the same! The only difference is what each person told themselves those symptoms meant. Your brain is like a sponge, it really doesn’t care if what you are telling it is helpful or unhelpful, it just soaks it up and believes it. From right now, start telling yourself these are feelings of excitement, it doesn’t matter if you feel like a fraud, because the mind doesn’t care if you believe it right now. The more you tell yourself you are excited, the more your brilliant mind will start to take it in and believe it.

2. Stop owning it and give it a new name

How do you refer to the feelings of anxiety you have? If you are constantly saying to yourself or others, “I would do the thing, if only it wasn’t for MY anxiety”?

When we possess anxiety (or any other condition) this way, we are making it part of us. We are saying that we want to rid ourselves of it, but also claiming it back – often in the same sentence. This contradicting talk doesn’t sit well in the mind, it can not handle conflicting beliefs, so it will go with the most familiar feeling that has had the most repetition and ‘air-time’ in our mind – usually the anxiety.

Once the anxiety is no longer part of you, it is much easier for your mind to let it go.

It is normal to feel some anxiety or worry in certain situations, it is an important emotion that keeps us safe when it is appropriate. It will continue to be appropriate for some time to feel a degree of worry around certain social or busy situations. This is what your body is supposed to do to keep you safe but this emotion has a spectrum.

There is a tendency in today’s culture to hyperbolise everything we feel. Nothing is fine anymore, it is awesome. We don’t have bad days at work, our jobs are killing us. We aren’t a little stressed out by are children, they are driving us crazy. These metaphors make for great story telling, but they aren’t helpful when we are talking to ourselves.

Remember, I mentioned the mind doesn’t care if what we are telling it is helpful or unhelpful, it just lets it in. Well emotive mental pictures like this are it’s favourite food and it will believe these emotionally charged words more than any logic, and worse than that, will start to make those images your reality.

So just as we assign a new word to the physical feelings, rather than exacerbate our language we also need to understate the words we use to describe our emotions as well. We may well feel highly anxious or that our children are driving us crazy, but if we flip that to the lowest possible denominator we left saying, “I’m a little nervous“, “I’m finding the children challenging today” or “I dislike my job”. We take the fuel out of the fire.

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3. Do it anyway

Look ahead to when we can finally do these things, and picture yourself doing them. Picture talking to your friends and going out for lunch or whatever it is you are feeling nervous about doing again and when the time comes, do it.

Have you ever been getting ready for a night out thinking, “I can’t be bothered tonight” but then got out the door and had a wonderful evening? This is exactly that situation. Our minds like what is familiar and over the last 12 months we have made sitting on the sofa every night in our pjs by 8pm familiar. It is normal, natural and indeed expected that our minds have adapted and now the unfamiliar idea of going out seems a little worrying. By doing it anyway, time and time again, we are changing that wiring and making what used to be our every day lives, familiar again.

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As always, if you feel you need further help with feelings of anxiety, please speak to your healthcare professional. I am not a doctor and this in no way replaces any medical advice you have received.

If you have other triggers around anxiety and would like to explore ways to help put these ideas into practice, hypnotherapy is a fantastic complimentary way to heal past trauma’s that have caused triggers for anxious thoughts or feelings in your mind. Please follow me to stay updated with my journey and reach out if you would like specific help and advice.


Related Post

Why we procrastinate and how to get moving againWhy we procrastinate and how to get moving again

The chances are, while reading this, you are putting something off right now. We all procrastinate, we put off the difficult or unpleasant tasks until a time we feel we will be more prepared, sometimes though we just don’t know why we can’t seem to get a task done. Here I am going to share with you why that is, and what you can do about it to find motivation right now.

This week, I had a phenominal Hypnotherapy session with a lady who wanted to stop procrastinating. Using RTT to get to the root of her issues and distil her beliefs, ridding everything that was unhelpful and adding new beliefs to help her achieve her goals in life, I learnt something about myself and how I procrastinate too.

This session was so informative for me as well as my client, and some of what was revealed to me is outlined below.

We don’t only procrastinate when it comes to putting off icky like tax returns. There are many reason’s we may not do something important, and sometimes we are affected by more than one of these things at the same time.

For those tasks, understanding how the mind works can easily help you find the motivation to complete it. Did you know, the most successful people in life do the things they hate, FIRST. Getting the unpleasant tasks out of the way at the beginning of the day sets you up for success. You no longer have the thing hanging over your head, you are filled with a sense of achievement that will motivate you throughout the day.

How you perceive the thing is also important, if you are telling yourself, “I have to do my taxes, they are so hard and I hate the paperwork”, your mind, who’s job it is to move you away from pain and towards pleasure, will immediately start working on ways to avoid the pain of doing your tax return.

Just don’t let the Mother-in-Law know you scheduled the zoom call at 8am to get it out of the way!

Another reason we can put off jobs is fear. You are asking yourself, what if I fail? what if I can’t do it? what if I’m not good enough? And you have lots of images in your mind of exactly what would happen in those scenarios. Again, you are telling your mind that doing the thing is going to cause you harm, or has a high likelihood of doing so. Your mind doesn’t care that this is completely untrue, or the chances are four-billion to 1, it believes everything you tell it. You have told it the thing will cause you pain, so it makes sure you have no motivation or inclination to do it, clever hey?

The last reason, is also fear. But this time, it’s a fear of success. That sounds crazy doesn’t it, but the idea of being singled out could terrify someone who was bullied as a child. The idea that money corrupts and that those with money are evil, are going to subconsciously behave in a way that keeps them from having an abundance. The fear of leaving our oldest friends behind as we move forward with our lives. This fear of success and having ‘money blocks’ is holding many of us entrepreneurs back from even taking that first step, let alone the next.

Again, the mind is trying to be our best friend and the best PA, understanding that subconsciously, these thoughts are saying, “I don’t want that”, and doing it’s best to help us avoid it.

If you re-frame these thoughts into a choice, then your mind is less likely to react and help you to stay focused. “I am choosing to do my taxes early, and feel great about knowing they are out of the way for the rest of the day.”

By improving the words and pictures we give ourselves, we can radically change how we feel about things, including how motivated we are. If you feel you have a specific block to moving forward or a fear that is holding you back, you may find that getting to the root and distilling your beliefs is something you wish to try under hypnosis. If procrastination is something you want to work on with yourself, please reach out.

I am currently looking into building a mailing list with useful tips on how you can help yourself improve your levels of motivation. If you would like to be on this list, please drop me an email at


5 Things you can do when panic strikes5 Things you can do when panic strikes

You know the feeling well, you feel frozen in time but your heart is beating quicker than ever. Your hands are sweating, you are shaking and everything has become so incredibly overwhelming. You confirm to yourself, you are having a panic attack.

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I have been there, so many times and I had no idea what to do. One time, my husband and I were shopping in London and I was having a great day, part of the busy throng of people in Piccadilly Circus chatting easily and effortlessly. We stopped to light a cigarette, moved to the side and smoked casually, still laughing about the overpriced milkshake we had enjoyed. Then it came to move on to our next destination, I noticed the shear number of people, how tightly packed they were, like a swirling torrent of rapid water. A tsunami of people, pinning me to the wall, no way to join the current. My wonderful husband was as helpful as he could be, and did eventually get us moving while I focused on nothing but his hand holding mine and my breath as it gradually slowed and deepened.

What I didn’t have then, and what my husband didn’t have, was some easy, quick techniques that would have stopped that overwhelming panic before it had even taken hold. I don’t want anyone to be in that position again, so here are some amazing techniques that have kept me panic free for over a year; without ruining my social life:

  1. Lie to yourself. The first thing you should do when you feel a panic attack coming is lie. Rather than the normal things that go through your head, “I’m having a panic attack”, “I hate this”, “This is really overwhelming” or even “Fuck, fuck, fuck…” tell yourself instead how exciting the situation is. How energised you are and how great your coping skills are. The mind doesn’t care if you are lying, it listens to the words and pictures you make for it. The more you say it, the more true it becomes until it IS your truth.
  2. Breath! When it feels like there isn’t enough air and you start to hyperventilate you increase the fight or flight response in your body, increase your levels of anxiety and worsen your panic attack. Instead, Breath in slowly and fully through your nose and into your belly. Notice how your body expands as you inhale and then slowly breath out all the negativity and tension from your body as your body softens and relaxes. Repeat this as a minimum of 5 times and for as many more as you need, and notice the changes this has on your body.
  3. If your body is starting to shake, increase it, shake more. Your body has stored energy for you to either fight or fly from the situation and this energy needs an outlet. Shake your hands, your arms – even run around your home if you feel the need to. Increase the feeling and then stop. You will see how you can control this feeling and if you can increase the shaking, your mind is powerful enough to decrease and stop it.
  4. Use the “5, 4, 3, 2, 1” method.
    • Look at 5 separate objects around you and really notice them. Focus on the size, shape and colour.
    • Listen for 4 distinct sounds, focus on what makes them different from each other and where the sound is coming from.
    • Focus on 3 different things you can feel, notice the texture, the temperature and material.
    • Identify 2 different things you can smell, can you smell your scent, your detergent or food around you. Try and find where they are coming from, and how they make you feel.
    • Name 1 thing you can taste, whatever taste is in your mouth or have a sweet or some gum to savour.
  5. Finally, Remember this shall pass. Repeat it to yourself if you need to. Your success rate for overcoming panic is 100% and you are strong and capable.

If I had known these things through my life, or if someone close to me had this knowledge, I would have had a much easier time. I hope that by sharing these tips with you, you have the tools to overcome anxiety attacks when they strike and be the best you.


The Guilt PandemicThe Guilt Pandemic

We all know that feeling of guilt, when you start to feel guilty for being happy. I have found myself thinking “I shouldn’t be this happy” or “Why am I so lucky?” It’s a syndrome many people are familiar with. But what if there was a cure? What if it wasn’t your fault?

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Studies show that millennials are more prone to the Guilt Pandemic than other generations. It is because we grow up in an environment filled with messages about how much better everything else could be and how wrong it feels to enjoy ourselves while others suffer. We’re constantly reminded of our privilege, told not to take anything for granted, and made aware of every single thing that should make us feel bad instead of focusing on what we have.

Some guilt is good, it keeps us functioning as active members of society, it acts as a driving force to help us make better choices. You feel guilty for letting your friends down so you don’t. A charity advert with a starving child could make you feel guilty if you haven’t donated to charity in a while. This level of guilt is a normal and healthy response.

Increasingly however, we are experiencing disproportionate amounts of guilt for things we have no control over. We can find ourselves feeling guilty for the books and music we loved growing up, the disgraced stars we looked up to – even though we had no way of knowing what they were doing behind closed doors. Feelings of guilt have been found in people because they were born into a white, middle class family. Guilt because they are men. Guilt because someone else treated them differently. Guilt over the environment.

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Healthy guilt, that is directly linked to our actions causes us to change our behaviour and do better next time. This unhealthy guilt mentioned above, cannot be mitigated in the same way, I can’t do anything about being a white, cis gendered female for example. This kind of guilt can manifest itself in your life. It can grow and cause anxiety and depression. It can hold you back subconsciously from getting a better job or buying something you have worked hard for and becomes a toxic force.

We are not our ancestors. I did not take part in slavery, I was not a supporter of the crusades, I did not sexually abuse someone just because I liked a book where, hundreds of years after the authors death, I found out he probably did and I don’t need to feel guilt or shame because of it.

I recycle, I donate to charity, I use a green energy provider and walk wherever possible.

I treat people equally and fairly, I abide by not only the laws of the land I reside in, but also my own and society’s code of ethics and I believe that most people who feel this unrealistic, exacerbated guilt do too (I believe this of most people to be honest, regardless of how guilty they feel). I feel shame when I think about the atrocities humanity has committed before and during my time, but it was not in my name, it was not me and I do not feel guilt and you don’t have to either.

Let’s face it, we all feel guilty from time to time. What type do you experience most often? And why? We would love your feedback on this topic!