In my mind, there are three times of year when the time always feels particularly ripe for new beginnings.

If I ask any person, when they most start thinking about changing their lives or developing new habits, they’re bound to say ‘New Year’: Well yes, of course – resolutions. It’s become a bit of a cliche but just knowing it’s the first day of the year suggests the possibility of change.

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As we go through life, stuff just happens. It can feel like we are being carried on a wave and there just isn’t time to properly focus on what is happening and what we are feeling. But moods and states change constantly through the day as we all know.

Even the most depressed people have moments of feeling calmer and more positive. Even the most anxious people can forget to worry in a particular moment.  The best state of all can often be the one we haven’t even noticed. That state of being in ‘The Zone’, so focused that you have forgotten where you are, all sounds become a background buzz and your attention is solely on the task in hand.Read more »

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discarded cigaretteWe all know that there are a plethora of solutions and approaches to smoking cessation – from smoke aversion to nicotine replacement, from hypnosis to acupuncture.  Naturally the scientific world, Government health organisations and charities are very keen to study the various approaches and pin down exactly which ones are the most effective.

There are a host of studies, and the outcomes vary slightly from one to another. Hypnosis, which is my favoured approach, (although I combine it with cognitive behavioural therapy and neurolinguistic programming) comes out quite well overall, usually significantly higher than nicotine replacement for example.

But I have to admit that there is something that consistently out-performs all the other techniques!
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There are an expanding number of products, programmes and processes on the market which seek in various ways to ‘detox’ your body. I think the idea of purging your body of toxins from time-to-time is probably very sound. We are exposed in so many ways on a daily basis, to a bubbling cauldron of mysterious chemicals, hormones, and other substances. Sometimes we just need to give our bodies a good clean-out:

  • eat only fruit and vegetable
  • drink green tea
  • exfoliate
  • exercise
  • sauna

These are just a few popular ways people choose to do this.
What if we were to do the same thing to our minds? Maybe we should even be thinking about the mental detox first. With a clear, clean mind we are in the right place mentally to embrace the same process in our bodies.

Symptoms that might suggest we need a mental detox

  • Overload
    In every day life our minds are racing with a hundred things. We’re mult-tasking – or at least we think we are. Really we are flitting rapidly back and fore between multiple projects, emotions and ideas very quickly and erratically, putting our conscious minds into constant overload even at those times when we think we are at our most relaxed. Do you watch TV and flick through your phone or Facebook. Do you browse the internet while typing a letter or working on a project? Do you start one job, then go and do something else for a while, then come back to it and feel less motivated to complete it? These are just a few signs of overload.
  • Toxic thoughts
    Sometimes we allow negative and disruptive thoughts to poison our minds and bring us down. Many people have one or more voices in their head that tell them things like – ‘it’s too difficult, I won’t bother’, ‘nobody really cares for me’, ‘I will never get a better job’, ‘I always put weight back on after I diet’. When you say ‘I can’t’ you make things unattainable. When you say ‘I can’ you make them possible and you give yourself the choice to pursue them.
  • Looking at others instead of ourselves
    It can be very easy to be drawn in to gossip and criticism of other people. Often we do this to our loved ones, to our friends, and to those who seem to be very well-off or successful. We chat to our friends and sometimes it can be interesting and satisfying to complain about other shared acquaintances. The things we say are often perfectly true, and we use that as a justification, but it can leave you feeling uncomfortable about yourself. You may be anxious that the comments get back to the wrong person. You may just feel that you have let yourself down. Most common of all, if you gossip about others you are likely to be mistrusted by the people you gossip with! Can you really trust them?
  • Decisions
    Often we can end up moving down a particular path in life because of certain decisions we have made in the past. It can feel very difficult to change paths, particularly if we have made promises or commitments along the way, or if others have made commitments to us. It is very important to be consistent and to keep our promises, but sometimes we are just wrong, and we may have to let go, gently and with compassion. First though, we need to detox our minds so that we can see clearly what is the right decision and what is wrong. Until then, make no more promises, not even small ones, unless you are absolutely sure you will keep them.

Sometimes we all need a bit of a detox. Even if it is just to take some time out for ourselves, alone, to think things through. Most people need something a little more structured, and the help of somebody who knows how to work with them to bring things into alignment. This is where a life-coach or an NLP practitioner can be really effective. It can be so much easier to see things clearly if you have someone committed to supporting and helping you make choices wisely and painlessly.
Many people are willing to devote some time to detoxing their bodies, isn’t it only right that they spend a similar amount of effort and time clearing out their minds?

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