Free Your Mind: A Practical Process to Overcome Limiting Beliefs

“PSYCH-K® is a set of principles and processes designed to change subconscious beliefs that limit the expression of your full potential as a spiritual being having a human experience.”
~ Rob Williams, originator of PSYCH-K®

As last Tuesday was #WorldMentalHealthDay it seems timely to talk about a recent experience which has helped me immensely, and I’m certain can help others, especially those struggling with mental health issues.

We all have mental housekeeping to take care of  in varying degrees, from how we face and manage everyday stress, to more serious  conditions such as anxiety, depression and Bipolar disorder.

A few months ago I had a fortuitous meeting with someone who would have a massively positive impact on my life, Lorna Kennard. Lorna is a lady of many talents; she has a treatment room at the Lotus Centre in Bourne End, Buckinghamshire, where she sees her many therapy clients.

Her main areas of expertise are sports massage, CranioSacral Therapy and PSYCH-K® facilitation.

Here’s Lorna to tell you more about herself:

During our meeting she told me how her interest in examining her own beliefs and the relationship between them, her subsequent actions and outcomes lead her to learn, practise and train in a system known as PYSCH-K®, which was originated by Robert Williams M.A.

Wise words from Robert Williams on high speed mindset change:

I had never heard of PSYCH-K® before, and was intensely curious. Lorna told me how she had tackled her own self-limiting beliefs with this method, and was teaching others to do the same. I decided this was information I really needed to hear.

I was struggling. I felt overwhelmed (as I’m sure many mums do), juggling various career strands, running my children to various activities and auditions and supporting their studies, all whilst running a home in a sense of increasing chaos and despair. I felt like I was chasing my tail and failing at all of it.

I decided to keep an open mind, but at the same time the unhelpful voice in the back of my head piped up that it probably wouldn’t work for me – nothing ever does.

Well, with friends like that…

I knew I had to silence this inner critic, the one who always makes me feel that I’m never quite good enough once and for all. I realised I had believed her lies too often, and they were keeping me anchored, holding me back from reaching anything like my full potential.

Many of my habitual thoughts were not the type of thoughts I knew I should have running on autopilot…

I have big dreams, I am driven and motivated, but back then I was frustrated, I was stuck. The importance of having a dream is worth another post in itself, but I owed it to myself to continue regardless, even if my ‘voice’ was telling me it would be a waste of time.

Lorna was good enough to give me a PSYCH-K® session and I am happy to report back!

PSYCH-K® has been a balm and blessing for my frazzled and at times, overwrought mind. Physically I’m stronger, leaner, healthier and fitter than I have ever been, which is not bad going for a middle aged mum of four.

In the last twelve months I’ve got my body into gear, but I knew in order to successfully face life’s challenges and overcome self-doubt, my mindset needed to do some heavy lifting and develop more muscle and resilience!

I’m so much more in control of my thoughts a few months down the road. I feel like I’m in the driving seat again. My awareness is continually expanding, so I notice negative self-talk and unconscious behaviour much quicker.

About PSYCH-K®

Ninety five percent of our lives are lived in an unconscious state.  We are making decisions and having thoughts that are derived from experiences since we were born, and this map of reality can get pretty distorted by the time we are adults. Somewhere along the line I developed fears and blocks.

It was that old analogy of the iceberg, with the bulk of its mass unseen underwater, powering everything, and it suddenly clicked in me.

This interview with Lorna and Cazzie Dare completes the picure!

I have done a lot of work on myself, getting over many hurdles, but it seems I needed to keep pulling back the layers of junk from my mind, just like peeling an onion, to get to the core of who I am and what I want out of life.

Lorna was very patient with me. She asked a lot of deep and searching questions that helped me to sort out the psychological jumble that was whizzing around my mind. She really helped me to pin down the areas that I wanted to improve in my life and clarify exactly what I needed by getting to the crux of the beliefs that were holding me back; and therefore perpetuating cycles of unwanted feelings and results in my life.

From this discussion and questioning we wrote down half a dozen core statements and then verified them via muscle testing to ascertain that they were right and ‘true’ for me.

All of them tested ‘strong’ except for one particular statement, which required a resolution balance to integrate the belief. It had not tested strong due to an inner conflict, as both brain hemispheres must be on board…

PSYCH-K® can untilise a variety of ‘Balances’ to integrate new beliefs and the balances are varied and integrate aspects of a variety of both ancient and modern practices and understanding of how the brain works.

Afterwards Lorna retested me on the belief and my muscle response was strong.

Muscle testing and kinesiology talks to your subconscious mind while bypassing your conscious mind. This was really powerful for me, knowing that I’m in alignment with my highest Self.

Lorna was incredibly professional, she followed up our session in writing and with all my statements. The next step was down to me to walk my path,  ensuring I followed through on the agreed action points  that resonated with what was needed to carry my new beliefs forward.

Since then I’ve made good progress on some key projects. I found reading them twice a day, first thing in the morning and at night before bed helped me to integrate the beliefs.

I can’t report that my life is perfect and that my desires all manifested instantly thereafter, but what I can say with absolute certainty is that it has changed me for the better.

I am emotionally stronger, happier, more confident, less stressed, and I think and act differently. It follows that results will come. I have had some small successes and noticed auspicious meetings and circumstances have been coming my way. Before I felt hopeless, now I feel powerful…

I still have challenges; that’s the nature of the cycles of life for most beings in physical form, but I am handling them better. Someone I respect very much has a saying:

Trials and tribulations are mandatory – misery is optional.

I feel I can now better embody the wisdom in this quote. I’d like to thank Lorna from the bottom of my heart for her help and support and would recommend her 100% for anyone in the locale.

If geography precludes a visit to Lorna in person, she also offers remote consultations via Skype.

Lorna and her partner Rachael have also developed amazing ergonomic cushions to help those with back pain who are sitting at a computer for long periods of time, or doing a lot of driving through their brand Sittingwell.

In conclusion, working on our mindset and beliefs is the most important, empowering work we can do. My life has changed for the better in a sustainable way, because my beliefs serve me in a more collaborative and supportive way.

I love this series of PSYCH-K® videos with Rob Williams:

Your Divine Guidance System – GPS:

Catching the wave at the right time:

I don’t know what the future holds, but I intend to do my bit to enrich my own life and the lives of my family and friends, and be of service to others to the best of my ability. Now that the shackles that were holding my mind prisoner have been removed, I am empowered to do that.

The brakes are off!

Until the next time, believe the best in yourself and look up Lorna or a local PSYCH-K® facilitator if there are areas of your life that you want to improve. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

“If you believe you can or if you believe you can’t…you’re right!” ~ Henry Ford

The Way Gut Bacteria Affects Anxiety and Depression Will Blow Your Mind

 “Every molecule in your brain starts at the end of your fork.” ~ Dr. Drew Ramsay (Nutritional psychiatrist).

Have you ever had a gut feeling about a person or a situation, or perhaps had butterflies in your stomach? Has hunger ever changed your mood? It certainly brings on grumpiness in my children!

Our digestive system and brain are physically and biochemically connected in a number of ways, meaning the state of our gut microbiome can alter the way our brains work and behave, giving a whole new meaning to ‘food for thought’!

In my first post, What You Need to Know About the Most Influential Organ in Your Body I covered some pretty startling facts about the microbiome, but today I’m focussing on how the second brain in our gut microbiome can literally ‘speak’ to the brain in our heads, controlling mood as well as impacting on our mental health.

#MicrobiomeMorsel: There are more microbes in the gut alone than there are cells in our bodies.

Lifestyle and the Microbiome

Hippocrates was telling everyone back in 400 BC that all disease begins in the gut, and that food is your medicine.

Life in the 21st century has strayed a long way from this ethos. Global populations live mostly in urban areas and are exposed to Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs,) such as Glyphosate which is prevalent in the western food chain. We lead busy, stressful lives, with many relying on shelf-stable, processed food that is high in sugar and salt, with no nutritional content, which have been designed and marketed for taste buds and not for health.

Simple carbohydrates such as pasta and white bread are another nail in the coffin. Whilst we all resort to pizzas and fast-food once in a while, it’s worth remembering that on a regular basis, convenience kills. And it kills us with a raft of modern plagues because it is damaging our microbiota.

If we don’t feed our microbiota with the food to make them flourish then we are self-harming at a fundamental level.

Western medicine, it seems, has a pill for every ill. Drugs are adding to the problem rather than solving it – what has been termed rather aptly as ‘Pharmaggedon’.

There are 50 million prescriptions for anti-depressants every year in the UK alone.

Poor gut health is the root cause of the global health crisis we see today: obesity, diabetes, allergies, auto-immune and disgestive disorders, and believe it or not, mental health challenges like depression, anxiety, OCD and autism.

Obesity and diabetes alone threaten to bankrupt the NHS in the next 10 years unless as a society we take a more proactive attitude to our wellbeing.

I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: If you fix the gut, you fix the problem!

The genes contained in the microbiome outnumber our human genes by 100 to 1 – and by that reckoning we are only 1% human! We are literally walking bacterial colonies. Humans have evolved over millennia alongside these micro-organisms in a symbiotic relationship.

The Invisible Universe of the Human Microbiome:

The friendly, essential bacteria helps us to synthesise and absorb nutrients, control appetite, manage weight, make short chain fatty acids (SCFA’s such as Butyratethe primary source of fuel for the cells of the colon), activate our genes, regulate metabolism, signal the immune system (of which 75% resides in the gut), and affect our mood and skin.

Harmful pathogens can upset the balance and if not rectified, a toxic gut microbiome will evolve, known as dysbiosis– a dangerous state indeed.

Causes of Dysbiosis

In addition to a poor diet, a toxic environment caused by traffic pollution, pesticides/heavy metals in food, personal and household products; emotional stress is also a big factor. Because the microbiome is so sensitive, even two hours of severe upset and worry can have a negative impact.

When we are under emotional stress our bodies are gearing up for an emergency response, and need extra fuel, therefore using more of the amino acid L-Glutamine, which is stored in the gut lining.

The mucous membranes are the primary interface between the external environment and the internal environment of the body. Most absorption of nutrients and toxins occurs across the mucous membrane. Most pathogens enter the body by binding to and penetrating the mucous membranes.

If this becomes ravaged over time the damage to the gut lining causes leaky gut, where pathogens escape through the now permeable gut wall, and can travel all over the body, igniting many potential health challenges.

Inflammation starts in the gut but generally ends up manifesting in any number of symptoms:

  • Constipation/diarrhea – many people who suffer with depression also suffer with constipation or dysfunction of the gut.
  • Gas and bloating
  • IBS
  • Joint and muscle aches and pains
  • Anemia
  • Increase in allergies
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Immune dysfunction

Inflammation Assesment Quiz

The Second Brain

Our gut microbiome is part of the Enteric Nervous System and weighs about the same as our brain. Even though our brain only makes up 2% of our body weight it uses up to 20% of our energy resources. Inflammation in the Gastrointestinal tract also directly impacts the levels of the feel good chemicals of serotonin and dopamine in the brain.

Through evolution our species has had 4 billion years of optimising inter-cellular communication. Our second brains have 100 million nerve cells sandwiched in between layers of the gut which regulate digestive processes. These nerve pathways go both ways, but predominantly travel from the gut to the brain via the Vagus Nerve.

These powerful neurotransmitters and sensors communicate with our brain which then processes the information and acts accordingly. The second brain can survive being cut off from the brain via the Vagus Nerve but cannot generate conscious thought.

A fascinating TED talk about how our bellies control our brains by Ruairi Robertson:

Moody Microbes!

A whopping 95% of the serotonin used by our bodies is stored and produced in the gut in special cells; by far the largest store of that molecule that plays such a crucial role in modulating our mood and wellbeing, appetite, pain, sleep and sensitivity.

Serotonin is synthesized in the gut from precursors that come from the food we ingest, because the microbes that live in our gut microbiome produce powerful mood regulating neurotransmitters.

It is estimated that 60% of chemical production in the body is due to signals that come from our gut bacteria.

Food for thought…

The food you eat determines the bacteria you grow in your ‘gut garden’.  Bacteria turn on different genes, and genes either prevent or activate disease. Bacteria follow the diet not the other way around…

Ladies, be aware that the contraceptive pill depletes vitamin B12, folate, zinc levels and kills off beneficial bacteria. When certain beneficial bacteria are missing from the microbiome, so is their protection from disease.

Cravings – the devil in your gut!

In my best Bridget Jones moments I used to regularly sit and consume a whole bar of Galaxy after my evening meal. I felt powerless to resist these cravings.

If bad bacteria and fungi such as Candida Albicans get out of control they communicate via the information highway from the gut to the brain that you must consume sugar, which they thrive on. It’s almost impossible to resist.

The more they get fed the more they crowd out the good guys and the more acidic our bodies become, creating a cycle of cravings for carbs, sugar and chocolate, continually feeding our harmful bacteria, creating a vicious cycle of dysbiosis and ultimately disease.

In my next installment I’ll cover the best foods and nutrients that promote a well balanced gut microbiome, as well as a holistic supplementary 21-day programme that turned my gut health around.

When you reset the gut and alter your body chemistry these cravings disappear – they did for me. Since last October chocolate has had absolutely no control over me whatsoever. Seven months and counting!

Helping people to improve their energy levels and overall health and wellness is a passion for me, so I will soon be setting up an Elite Health Page on the main menu, with links to my health articles (and others), as well as the Holy Grail of supplements I personally use to achieve elite health.

Until the next time, be well.

Kicking OCD’s Butt and Teenage Mental Health Issues

Word cloud for Obsessive-compulsive disorderUntil my younger son recently developed OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), I hadn’t realised just how prevalent it seems to be. I discovered some very well-known people (past and present) suffered with it, including one of my all-time heroes.

William was always prone to worry, and had certain proclivities towards cleanliness that his older brother didn’t! But the onset of adolescence seemed to take it to a whole new level.

I think there were several factors responsible for his increased ‘sensitivity’, and an overall increase in anxiety was definitely one of them.  He continues to work hard at school, and so far his grades are up at grammar school level, but he worries about his homework and his work in general.

On a personal level he seemed suddenly unsure of himself. Growing up he’s mostly been a confident and self-assured boy, but lately he started asking me if I still loved him. He seemed to need extra reassurance. I was happy to give him this, but it didn’t appear to quell his anxiety.

William was just the sweetest, kindest, affectionate and most lovable boy until his hormones kicked-in. Now I have to endure a know-it-all attitude, frequent rants, his being argumentative and confrontational with me and his siblings, mood swings, and on top of his typical teenage behaviour there is a debilitating voice in his head – his OCD; which undoubtedly adds extra strain to family life.

His appetite seemed to diminish, foods he liked previously were assigned to the ‘rank list’, and suddenly he started going a whole day at school not eating any of the restaurant food available. He couldn’t sit down without first putting an item of clothing on any seat and he had to have two showers a day. His hand washing became so bad his skin got really sore and cracked, and he developed an aversion to pretty much every smell in the universe! At one point he would only eat crisps with a fork!

After a visit to his GP (who made a referral), and a lengthy wait, he was admitted to CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services), part of the NHS that deals specifically with this age group, to have some CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). Looking round the waiting room at the tired and apprehensive faces of the other parents I took comfort from knowing that I wasn’t the only one with teenage offspring going through some kind of melt-down.

CAMHS has been a Godsend for us, and I feel that William has made some good progress. Whilst there is still work to do, his therapist, Sue, has really helped him to understand that he has the power to kick OCD’s butt.

I thought that sharing the generic information and tips she has given to William would be helpful for other parents and their children who may be going through similar trials and tribulations…

rsz_cbt_drawing (2)On his first session they talked about the relationship between his thoughts and behaviour. He was asked to focus in on the different emotions and sensations that he experienced, and he wrote them in a pie chart relative to what he was feeling. Sue then drew a couple of quirky pictures to illustrate to William how his thoughts created his feelings, and how they, in turn contributed to different sensations in his body, which then had a direct impact on his behaviour.

She drew him an ABC of thoughts:  Activity – Belief – Consequence

She asked him to consider:

“How helpful is my thought?”

“What evidence do I have to support my thought?”

“What evidence do I have to disprove my thought?”

“What would be a more helpful thought?”

“What’s good about this thought?”

“What’s bad about this thought?”

She then mapped his reactions to OCD to illustrate how the OCD wins, how he wins, and what happens at the intersection between the two.

OCD_Cycle_lrg

In later sessions he worked through an ERP programme (Exposure and Response Prevention), which is laid out according to the individual’s specific circumstances, where the activities and situations that cause the compulsions are deliberately undertaken.

At first, William was asked to participate in the actions that caused him the least amount of stress so that he could expose himself to the anxiety for short periods of time, gradually increasing the time and severity level of his activities. Sue drew a graph, and explained that his stress would always be high if he let his OCD rule him, and that to sit with the discomfort for a while would gradually lessen his overall anxiety around those activities, providing he made the effort to do the tasks that upset him.

“Exposure and Response Prevention (E&RP) encourages participants to expose themselves to their obsessions (or to situations that will bring on the obsessions), while they prevent themselves from using compulsions to get rid of the resulting anxiety.” ~ Fred Penzel Ph. D.

Over the weeks that followed Will worked on the strategies that were set specifically for him, and he began to see success. He gained confidence from the lesser tasks, so that he is now tackling the situations that he thought he never would be able to deal with.

My eldest son, Max (now 17 and towering over me), still has a few issues to deal with, but I feel we navigated his teen years through some scary storms into relatively calm waters. We have the odd squall, but on the whole he’s much happier. He also had a period of visiting CAMHS for different reasons, and they were instrumental in diagnosing his high functioning Autism. It also helped me enormously; mainly how to be a better parent to him, and I learnt not to take it personally when his lack of compassion or ‘mind blindness’ affected either me or the family.

I was dismayed to read in The Times last week that more cuts have been made to services directly affecting teenage mental health.

Modern society seems to be taking its toll on our youngsters, with increasing cases of depression, self-harm, eating disorders, mental disorders and in some cases suicide.  Government cuts to CAMHS are indefensible. Our youngsters need this service! The implications for society are dire if this vital service is diminished.

I am bracing myself for the next teenage era with my daughters, but thankfully I have a few years yet before I have to deal with that dreaded phase. My challenge before then will be to help shore up their self-esteem, confidence and our relationships so that even rough seas won’t be able to destroy the safe harbour we have built, or, at least that’s the idea…

Now it’s time to inject some humour!

I watched the ‘Kevin’ sketches again recently to have a laugh and reassure myself that we’d all get through it, even if I did have a few more grey hairs to show for it!

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer