Here you will find the answers to the burning questions that you have about hypnosis and hypnotherapy.
Mark Bowden is one of the leading Hypnotherapists across the globe. He is not a stage hypnotist and does not use hypnosis for entertainment purposes.
Everything that you read here is about hypnosis and hypnotherapy for improving yourself and taking your life to the next level. Mark is consistently keeping himself up with the latest in neuroscience and indeed the field of hypnotherapy itself.
Whilst the information here can change as we are constantly learning more about how the brain works and how hypnosis impacts upon it, you can be assured that Mark will always endeavour to bring you the latest information.
If you do have any questions about hypnosis and hypnotherapy that are not covered here please do not hesitate to contact Mark through the ‘Contact us’ page. Mark will get back to you and he is also likely to update this page with the answer also.
Remember that this page is going to be updated regularly. Also do not hesitate to contact Mark at the contact page if the question that you have is not answered here. Hypnotherapy and neuroscience (research into the brain and the nervous system) is a rapidly growing growing area. We are learning so much more every year. It is a very exciting area with what could be possible as we learn more.
Be aware that there is a lot of information on the internet about hypnosis and hypnotherapy that is outdated. Even if it looks like the information has been published recently the source of the information is often from outdated articles and journals.
Click on the thumbnail above to watch the video to turn failure into success.
If you would rather read the script of the above video please read on.
So, failure; it breeds success! We kinda know that. Gurus will tell us all the time, these great motivational speakers will tell you that failure, the more you have of it, the more successful you will become.
However, they are missing one vital ingredient, one ingredient that ensures that if you do makes failures, that these failures will become successes much, much quicker.
My name is Mark Bowden, and I’m from https://mbhypnosisdownloads.com and this video will be all about giving you that one vital ingredient that will turn your life around and create successes much quicker from your failures.
So failure. We do know it does help you towards that road to success. We know because you put action into place. You do things, you’re out there creating momentum and motivation to get things done. When we do this it stands to reason that the end result is gonna be a little bit closer to success However, the difficulty is that we miss out on that one vital ingredient that gets you there and that is what I’m going to give you now.
The Great and Famous Failures
Throughout history we have many, many anecdotes on why failure will breed success. To begin with the great Thomas Edison. The man that created the light bulb. He actually said, “I have not failed 10,000 times. I’ve just found 10,000 ways of how not to make a light bulb.”
And there are numerous other people throughout history that have pointed to the reason for their success as being the failures that they’ve been making. People such as Michael Jordan, one of the most successful basketball players in the history of basketball. He famously said, and you may even have heard this quote,
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot, and I’ve missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed.”
After hearing brilliant quotes like this is it’s any wonder why the gurus and the motivational speakers will jump on this bandwagon and say, “Right, failure! The more failure you have, the more success you have!”
I’m not actually going to argue with them because that is actually something that I believe in myself, but we’ve just got to tweak that, we’ve gotta tweak it slightly.
So for example, when we think failure is a good thing, what we’re thinking about is making this failure into a real positive thing. We are saying that the more failures I have, the more positive this will be and the more successes I have.
The Problem With Pure Positive Thinking
The problem I have with that comes from the problem I kind of have with positive thinking, now, positive thinking is infinitely better than negative thinking. Negative thinking engages an awful part of your brain, the primitive brain. Positive thinking will engage the intellectual part of your brain.
Wonderful, absolutely brilliant. But if you pull it back, take it back to the real basic term of what positive thinking is and if we think about it in just what it is, positive thinking. Let me give you this anecdote.
So you have someone who’s just lost their job and they think negatively. Their negative thinking is, “I just lost my job. What is the point of applying for another job because there’s nothing out there.”
Now, positive thinking would be: “I’ve just lost my job. What is the point of applying for any more jobs? They’re just gonna come to me! I’m just gonna have to sit down here and in they’ll flow.”
So you can see the problem with that. And it’s the same with this positivity around failure. The more positive we are, it’s like going from one failure to the next failure, to the next failure. What we need to do is we need to critically look at every single failure we’ve had and we have to be adaptable.
More Than Just Adaptable
Not just adaptable, but solution-focused, as well. So we need to look at these failures. We don’t need to look about what’s gone wrong, we need to be looking at what we can improve upon. Every single failure is a new failure, and each time we can have this same approach, so we think, right, okay. This hasn’t gone so well, what do I need to improve upon this?
We don’t want to be looking at what’s gone badly, we want to be thinking what can I improve upon . If we don’t focus on what we want to improve and instead we focus on what’s gone badly (subtly different), we look at it from that mindset. What we’re doing is we’re engaging the primitive part of our brain, the part of our brain that isn’t very creative and it isn’t gonna help you moving forward.
Make that Critical Change in Your Approach to Failure
So just that critical change, as we say to ourselves, “What can I do better?” We also need to be positive. Okay, what went well with that? What are the good parts that I did in terms of this failure? Giving us leverage, putting us into that intellectual, creative part of the brain, and then it’s how can I improve upon this? And really looking at it, in a real critical way. Critical, but not berating yourself.
You need to be looking at it from “how do I improve upon that?” point of view. Just that tiny, tiny, little change in the way that you think, it actually engages the intellectual part of your brain, the real creative part of your brain. The part that makes us different from animals, the part that’s enabled us to accelerate far, far beyond the reach of any other animals.
You don’t see cats and dogs driving cars or on mobile phones, they simply don’t have that amazing, advanced part of the brain, which is the intellectual brain. So every time you’re looking at what’s that failure, how could I improve upon it? Think about it in a real solution-focused way and you’ll take that failure, and you’ll move it onto a success much, much quicker. Even my hypnosis downloads on Positive thinking and Positive Mental Attitude are focused on solutions rather than simply positivity alone.
Make this subtle change to the way you approach failures and you’ll move forward quicker and more effectively on the road to success!
Anxiety impacts upon everyone at different times of their life. In this article I’m going to help you explore and and start moving on from anxiety naturally and effectively. It’s quite a read, but the knowledge and awareness that you’ll get from this will be very much worth it. Not only this but you’ll also find out what you’ve been inadvertently doing that has been making your anxiety worse. You’ll also know some brilliant things that you can do to overcome anxiety and take your life to a whole new level!
That being said, why should you listen to me?
In my career as a hypnotherapist I have helped hundreds possibly thousands of people to overcome anxiety and depression. It is perhaps the one thing in life that I am exceptionally good at!
If you are new to my website (and me!) don’t let the ‘hypnosis’ aspect throw you, or make you think that what you’re about to read is going to be in any way fluffy or a little bit ‘out there’. Hypnosis and hypnotherapy is a field that has attracted many doubters simply because it has previously been misunderstood.
Thanks to studies and research into the brain and hypnosis this is no longer the case. We know that hypnotherapy and hypnosis is far from mystical and has proven benefits for you and your amazingly powerful brain.
As a Solution Focused hypnotherapist much of what I do is brain based therapy and the actual hypnosis part is only a part of the therapy.
First of all it is vital for you to start to understand your brain and how anxiety impacts upon it.
The Amazing part of your brain where anxiety does NOT live.
As a human being you are part of the most advanced species on the planet. The reason why you are so amazingly advanced is in large part down to your brain. That 3lbs of flesh in between your ears is the most advanced object in the known universe.
The most advanced part of your brain is what I like to call the intellectual brain. The intellectual brain is mainly the neocortex and in particular the most advanced part being the left prefrontal cortex.
When we have this part of the brain engaged we are confident, we’re motivated and we are full of drive and self belief. It’s also naturally very positive in it’s thinking.
It isn’t just the way that you feel either. When the intellectual brain is engaged you will be more creative, make better decisions and even have better control over your body. In
short, the intellectual brain is phenomenal!
If there were no other parts of your brain I would not need to write this article as you would be happy, operate brilliantly and anxiety would be like a foreign language that you had absolutely no comprehension of.
However there is another part…
The primitive part of your brain that LOVES to make you anxious!
Although your brain is hugely complex, when it comes to anxiety and certainly overcoming it, we can think of the brain in two broad areas. The intellectual brain (that we’ve just discussed) and the primitive brain.
If the intellectual brain is the neocortex part of the brain, then the primitive brain is the limbic system. It is the original part of the brain. It’s emotional, makes irrational decisions and it’s sole function is your survival and the survival of the species.
When you’re operating out of this part of the brain there is no room for complex decision making. There is also no room for happiness, wellbeing, contentment or confidence.
You’ve got two choices fight or run away. Exactly what your anxiety is there for.
When we were prehistoric man and woman this anxiety response saved our lives on countless occasions. When the wild animal approached, your anxious, anxiety inducing primitive brain kicked into action and the anxiety response did what it was there to do.
The hypothalamus(which is part of your anxious primitive brain) released stress hormones into your blood stream. Hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline ensured you were in exactly the right state to fight or run.
It created the physical response of making you sweaty, increasing your heart rate and tensing your muscles.
In short, the anxiety response of engaging your primitive brain was a life saver and maximised your chances of staying alive!
The outdated anxiety response
Fortunately, as humankind has evolved we have less and less life threatening experiences. In fact, many of us can go a life time without being attacked by anything that threatens our life. Whereas this was likely to have been an everyday occurrence for our prehistoric ancestors.
The big problem with the anxious and anxiety inducing primitive brain is that it isn’t the brightest of minds. Whereas the intellectual brain is highly advanced, the primitive brain is extremely basic. It thinks: stress or not stress? Anxiety or not anxiety? Life Threatening or not Life threatening?
Not only this but it cannot tell the difference between worry about an attacking tribesman and worry about an upcoming deadline.
When the primitive brain interprets something as worry or danger it kicks in to save you. So when you need to be calm and composed in order to do well at the meeting, your primitive brain senses danger. Life threatening danger! So it steps in, pumps you full of stress hormones and you find your anxiety levels going through the roof. The worst state to be in when you need to be calm and composed!
What does an anxiety attack feel like?
As you are reading this, I’m sure you already know exactly what the anxiety response, or the anxiety attack feels like. However, if you are still unsure you’ll like feel one or all of the following symptoms
Racing heart beat (heart palpitations)
Shortness of breath
A sense of doom or impending doom
Feeling like you might pass out
An urgency to escape or run away
Feeling like you are in grave danger
How is anxiety created?
In order to do something about your anxiety it is important to realise how anxiety is created in the first place. What causes you to move from the rational and wonderful intellectual brain and engage the anxious primitive part of your brain.
Anxiety is caused by negative thinking.
I’ll say that again as it is extremely important. Anxiety is caused by negative thinking.
There are going to be lots of people who read that and think to themselves ‘negative thinking causes my anxiety!?’ It must be more than that!?
Every event that we encounter in our lives is neutral in terms of the event itself. If I look out the window and it’s raining, this is neutral.
When I think about the rain, however this is when the event loses it’s neutrality.
What I mean by this is if I think to myself. “Great it’s raining, my flowers will get a good soaking! Just what they’ve been needing!”. This is going to make me feel good. It’s going to engage the intellectual brain. I’m going to be feeling good and happy.
However, if the same event happens and I think to myself “I hate the rain! Look how miserable it is out there. I’m not even going to attempt to go out in this. Other day ruined because of the awaul English weather!’.
The same event has happened, yet the negative thinking is going to start bringing me down into the anxious primitive part of the brain. Engaging the part of my brain where anxiety lives.
This one thought might not produce a full blown anxiety attack, but it gives the primitive brain a bit more power and control.
Then when you encounter something that is more likely to cause anxiety, the primitive brain already has its hooks into you.
Another specific example around negative thinking and anxiety is giving a public speech. Here we can clearly see how the event does not cause the anxiety, but our thinking around it does. If it was the event itself that caused anxiety then we know that every single person that had to do a public talk or speech would have an anxiety attack and we just know that this is not the case.
Some people will get prepared for a speech by thinking empowered thought. They will be thinking about what a great opportunity this is etc. This will be engaging their intellectual brain and getting them brilliantly prepared.
However, others will be dwelling on all of the things that might go wrong. How the could look bad or look silly on stage and we know now what part of the brain that this is engaging?
Your imagination can also cause anxiety
The other fascinating aspect about your anxiety inducing primitive part of your brain is that it cannot tell the difference between imagination and reality.
An example is if you have your driving test coming up in two weeks time. Naturally most people will think about this as the date approaches. The draw of the anxious primitive mind to think negatively is very powerful.
If you are worried about the test, the chances are that you think about the test going badly. Intellectually you know that these are just thoughts, but you still experience some of the anxiety responses in your body because parts of your brain cannot tell the difference between what is real and what is imagined.
2 weeks later when you turn up to take your test you think you are doing this for the first time. However, your brain remembers you doing this over and over and each time has gone disastrously. Hardly great preparation! This is another example of when you need to be calm, composed and in control, but because of your negative thoughts you are a trembling mess!
The more negative you think the more anxious you become
Whilst an attack from a wild animal or a rival tribesman will cause your anxious primitive brain to become fully engaged and the anxiety response to be intense, it can also be a gradual process.
The more negative that you think, the more and more the primitive part of your brain kicks in and the more intense the feelings of anxiety become.
In a metaphor that I borrow from psychology you can say that every negative thought is accumulated and stored in a stress bucket. The fuller the stress bucket becomes the more ebnaged the primitive part of the brain becomes.
If it becomes full and overflowing, anxiety becomes a real problem.
Reducing your anxiety with a great night’s sleep
Thankfully our brains have an inbuilt way of reducing your anxiety naturally and autom
atically. It’s part of a process and a natural period of your sleep called REM (Rapid Eye Movement).
When you go to sleep at night your brain enters this pattern of sleep which is often seen as the dream state. In this state your brain is working hard, filing memories of the day away and resetting you for the next day.
One of the functions that your brain does in this state is to take the emotion out of your memories, so that they become more factually based. In this way your brain is resetting so you so that you can start the day with little or noting in your stress bucket.
An example of this is that you may have had an argument with someone at work. When you come and tell your husband/wife about it they say that you should forget about it. However, your annoyed and perhaps a bit emotional about it. Maybe even angry!
One of the functions of REM is to take this negative emotion out of the memory and file it away as simply a factual memory. In this way you wake up the next day and you may have forgotten about the argument. If you’re still thinking about it the likelihood is that your wondering how you let it get to you so much.
The problem with REM sleep is that it takes an enormous amount of energy. Your brain is burning white hot during REM sleep and cannot sustain it for very long.
If you have too much in your stress bucket, it isn’t going to be able to empty it and you’ll often be abruptly awoken if you try to over do your REM sleep. This can then lead to sleep problemsand reducing your REM sleep even more, which creates further issues.
Overcoming your anxiety
I am hoping that the above is now showing you how you can start to help yourself to overcome your anxiety.
Firstly we need you to stop piling so much into your stress bucket by improving your thought processes and secondly we need to get you sleeping well to maximise the REM sleep that you’re having.
We are going to come on the the 3 P’s in a moment that will support you overcoming your anxiety. However the 10 minute audio session below should be something that you listen to often (once per day if possible). Make sure that you bookmark this page or even feel free to download it. Get into the habit of having this time to relax.
It is a relaxation session. It will help to relax you and think in a good way. This will start to assist in helping to combat any anxiety and anxious feelings. It can also help to induce a supplement of REM sleep to assist in emptying your stress bucket.
Remember, bookmark this page and try listening everyday for the next 7 days and you’ll see the improvement that this alone has upon the way that you feel and your anxiety.
So I’m sure you can see from what you’ve read above that we need to banish negative thinking from your world in general. This would be the first of the 3 P’s: Positive thinking.
I say positive thinking because it fits nicely in with the 3 P’s. However, it is more than just positive thinking. Yes, positive thinking is infinitely better than negative thinking to help with your anxiety. However, in order to take things to an even better level I want you to think SOLUTION rather than POSITIVE. So Positive thinking in actual fact is Solution Focused thinking.
If you want a simple explanation of the 3 (and I’m being VERY simple here!), imagine you’ve just lost your job and you have 3 options. Thinking 1) Negatively, 2) Positively, 3) Solution Focused.
Here is how it might be:
Negative thinking: What is the point of applying for jobs there are none out there!
Positive thinking: What is the point of applying for jobs, one is bound to come to me!
Solution focused thinking: I’m determined to get a new job, what is the best way to get one. I know, I’ll get my CV up-to-date. I’ll also make some phone calls to people that I think might be able to help. I’l also….
I’m sure you can see how powerful solution focused thinking can be from this! It is very empowering. It also stops those negative, anxiety inducing thoughts in their tracks!
So, what about the other 2 P’s? Before I tell you about these, I want to show you why they are important and what we get out of them.
Our reward that combats anxiety and makes us feel good
When we were early man and woman we were given a reward for carrying out certain evolutionary tasks that were for our benefit.
Things such as hunting and gathering, looking after our family as well as interacting with other tribes people.
By doing these things the reward gave us confidence, motivation and made us feel happier. It also helped us to cope better with physical pain. All of the rewards that it gave us took us further and further away from the discomfort of anxiety and put us in a better place.
From neuroscience and studies into the brain we now know how these rewards came about. It was the release of various neurotransmitters in our brain. The one that I refer to the most as it seems to be the most important is serotonin.
When we are releasing a nice, steady and constant flow of serotonin we create these wonderful feelings. They also give us the feelings stated above, such as happiness, contentment and motivation.
These days, although we don’t have to go out and hunt and gather, we do still need to be active in a positive way and interact in a positive way. This then produces those amazing feelings and that wonderful release of serotonin that makes us feel better and certainly removes anxiety.
Therefore the other 2 p’s to take you away from anxiety are:
The 4 step plan plan to overcome anxiety
Now you all of the information that you need it’s time to put all of this into action.
Make sure that you listen to the relaxation often. Everyday if possible. It will help you to relax and it will also give you some extra REM to clear out that stress bucket!
Positive thinking. Remember that this is really solution focused thinking
Positive Action. Exercise and being active is a wonderful thing to make you feel good and banish anxiety
Positive interaction. Meet up with fiends, family and colleagues regularly. Keep the conversation positive, upbeat and happy.
These 4 steps to overcoming anxiety might seem simple. However, when you do them consistently you will start to notice brilliant changes to the way you feel. You’ll feel happier and more confident.By doing this you will also have a positive influence on the quality of your sleep, which is also very important in this process.You’ll cope better with day to day life
Start doing this today and and you’ll push your anxiety out the way as you stride forward with strength and poise!
If you listen to my self hypnosis downloads or anyone else’s wouldn’t it be great to maximise all the goodness that you can get from the session?
Listening to self hypnosis is a wonderful way to get so much more from life, but what I’m going to give you today is 5 simple steps to do, before you start listening to the session. This will put your mind and your body in the perfect state for getting the most out of it.
If you listen without doing the following steps you will still get a great deal out of your hypnosis session. However, if you take these steps first you will get your mind, brain and body into the perfect state to maximise its positive impact.
When you first settle down to listen to your self hypnosis, this can be the most difficult time. If you haven’t had a good day or you’ve got things on your mind it can be difficult to get the most out of your session.
When you’ve had the stresses or the dramas of the day the primitive part of your brain can be engaged. This can present in a number of different ways. Some of these ways can include feeling irritable or you might have racing thoughts. You might be experiencing something else that is equally negative.
When we are feeling stressed or anxious self hypnosis is a great way to get over this. However, if you can give yourself a kick start or a helping hand this will be even more effective from the very beginning.
What we need to do is to try engage the more productive part of the brain as much as possible from the very start of the hypnosis session. Even before you start listening to the audio session.
When you engage the intellectual brain from the very beginning of your self hypnosis session you start in a great place place and you’ll get a lot more benefit from it.
Indeed, when I work one to one with clients we have done some brilliant work before we get to the hypnosis part. My client is firmly in the intellectual part of the brain and feeling good.
Why is this good?:
Because they are primed and ready to take on and absorb the positive suggestions that are for their benefit.
The way that you can ensure that this happens when you are on your own is to simply focus your thoughts on positive things.
Of course you’re going to have days when you don’t feel good. Day’s where you’re not having the best of times. If this is how you are feeling, change your focus. Focus on something that you’re grateful for. Or focus on something that is going well in your life.
You haven’t got to spend a great deal of time doing this. Just allow your mind and your thought processes to become focused on this good thought to engage your intellectual brain.
It is something that only takes a few seconds to do but will leverage the positives from your self hypnosis session.
Step 2 – Trust in the self hypnosis process
Hypnosis is a researched and proven way to make wonderful improvements in your life. However, it isn’t mind control. Contrary to what entertainers would have you believe. You have to allow the process to happen.
If you go into anything and think ‘I doubt this will work’ or ‘this is bound to be pointless’, then you are priming yourself to put up barriers and resistance.
It would be like going on a training course and putting your headphones in as the instructor is teaching the class. Needless to say this approach to your self hypnosis is going to hinder you at best.
If you can allow yourself to believe and trust in the process you won’t be putting up barriers to the process.
I’m not asking you to believe in fairy dust:
Self hypnosis is not fluffy, their are countless studies that demonstrate it’s effectiveness. So it isn’t like you are asking yourself to belief in fairy dust.
So trust in hypnosis and and let it take you and your mind on a wonderfully relaxing journey. You’ll get even more out of it when you do.
Step 3 – Think of a small improvement that you would like to make over the coming days or weeks.
This one is optional. If you’re listening to the session to simply relax then you can pass on this. However, if you’re listening to improve something. Maybe more confidence, improvement in a sport, to overcome anxiety. Then it is valuable to think of one thing that you would like to improve upon. You don’t need to have the answer of how you are going to do this. Simply have it in your mind just before you immerse yourself in the session.
Your amazing brain:
Your amazing brain is extremely resourceful and when you are in their wonderful state of hypnosis your brain can work on the seeds that you are planting without you even being consciously aware of it.
My personal favourite:
This is a personal favourite of mine. I like to always think of an improvement or something I would like assistance with before I begin my meditation. There is noting mystical about this. The power of the subconscious part of your brain is amazing and this can then help you to find solutions.
This subconscious part of your thinking will work in the background. It will be busily working away whilst you are simply listening to the self hypnosis session.
Have you ever had an idea that came out of nowhere? A spark of genius or a solution to a problem? This will be that amazing part of your brain and it’s great ability to find solutions and help you.
Step 4 – Immerse yourself in the self hypnosis
There are obvious things that you can do such as making sure that you are comfortable. Making sure that you aren’t going to be disturbed by friends, family or your mobile phone.
I don’t think I need to go into how to do these. Once these are all in place now you are ready to immerse yourself in the session.
Of course there are going to be times where your conscious mind drifts off or you fall asleep. However, at least at the beginning of the process really immerse yourself in the directions of the voice.
Listen to what is being said and follow the voice for as long as you can. This will ensure that you are completely immersed in the session.
Step 5 – Don’t worry
Am I doing it right? Nothing seems to be happening. I fell asleep, will it still help? I can’t stop my mind from thinking about other things.
Even the mere fact that your sitting or lying comfortably with the meditation playing will be having a benefit. Don’t worry about getting everything perfect. When you are worrying about these things, you start letting in the primitive brain again (see step 1) and this will hinder you.
Once you put all of these steps in place just do your best to relax and immerse yourself. To begin with you might find this difficult. However, like with anything it takes practise to get better. You might also have had a particularly difficult day and be finding it hard to tame that primitive brain.Just accept this and do your best as your best is the perfect way to listen. second guessing or worrying that you aren’t getting it right is only going to be a hinderance!
So get yourself comfortable. Follow these steps and start to make those positive changes!
Make self hypnosis a regular part of your daily routine!
If you are looking at performing self hypnosis without the guide of my voice here is a great guide from wikihow
September is an important time for our children. The time of year when they go back to school, start in a new class and are beginning to learn so much throughout the year. It is important that we are also teaching them how to be positive individuals and how to learn to cope when life gets tough.
I’ve pulled together some of my favourite messages that can be found within popular children’s literature. Why not have a sit with your little thinker and have a read of these. See what they say about what they read in these excepts. You’ll be surprised what you yourself will learn from the mind of your child.
1: “Promise me you’ll remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.”
– AA Milne, Winnie The Pooh
2: “Watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
– Roald Dahl, The Minions
3: “We can all dance, when we find the music that we love,”
– Giles Andreae, Giraffes Can’t Dance
4: “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, I know I can.”
– Watty Piper, The Little Engine That Could.
5: “The moment where you doubt you can fly, you cease forever being able to do it.”
– JM Barie, Peter Pan.
6: “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and the job’s a game.”
– P.L. Travers, Mary Poppins
7: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because in the end those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter.”
– Theodor Seuss Geisel, Dr Suess
8: “Working hard is important. But there is something that matters even more: believing in yourself.”
– J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
9: “It is when we are most lost that we sometimes find our truest friends.”
– Brothers Grimm, Snow White.
10: “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
Why is it that England’s footballers lose so many penalty shoot-outs? And what is it about some players that they always seem able to rise to the big occasions, while others go missing?
Harley Street practitioner Mark Bowden works with professional footballers and says it’s literally all in their heads, or, to be more accurate, their brains.
For strikers, it means a hot streak of form or a goal-less run isn’t down to luck or chance, but to neuroscience. And when people say “confidence breeds confidence” they’re right – but it’s only made possible by the brain and the way we harness it.
Mark, 38, is a brain performance specialist who has helped professional footballers across England, from the Championship down. He’s just written a self-help book for players called Use Your Brain Raise Your Game and offers a 12-session ‘Top Form’ course from his practice.
Mark, a qualified clinical hypnotherapist, says that psychology in football has largely failed to inspire players like it should do because players in the most part just haven’t bought into it. “This is different,” he said. “The science is clear. It’s all about the neuroscience of the brain.
“From a football performance point of view, there are two broad parts of the brain involved – the more modern part, which is the intellectual part of the brain, and the primitive part of the brain, which hinders us from a performance perspective. The intellectual brain and the primitive brain are fighting for control in our brains. The primitive brain can have a lot of benefits, but not when it’s in control. The intellectual brain has to be engaged and dictating what the primitive brain does, not the other way around.”
So what does this mean in simple terms? “With footballers, a lot of the habits they do on and off the field are actually the worst possible things they can be doing for them to be on the top of their game. It’s about training the person to harness the best out of the brain. That’s through a number of different techniques including conditioning their thinking and through creating habits that engage the right parts of the brain to improve performance.
“So we have a choice. Either we use the brain the right way, or we us the brain the wrong way. One way helps, the other way hinders and often, footballers hinder themselves without even realising it.
“If you’ve just scored a hat-trick, naturally your intellectual brain will be there and you’ll be full of self-belief so when the ball comes into the box you’ll stick it in the back of the net. Your game is going to be really high.
“If you’ve missed a couple of chances, your natural instinct is to engage the primitive brain with your default thoughts and actions. You’re going to be thinking anxious thoughts, your self-belief and confidence goes down. But more than just a feeling, this also has a detrimental physiological impact. So when the ball comes to you, you’re much less likely to put it in the net. Same scenario, different result – and it’s all down to how our brains are engaged.
“A lot of people think it’s just down to chance but it’s not. It’s your influence upon your brain that’s causing you to be the way that you are.
“Every single thing that we do is controlled by our brains. With footballers, this includes passing, shooting, tactical awareness, vision, creativity and the list goes on. If they can get their brains doing all the right things, then they’ll find the improvements are huge. Footballers train their ability to a high standard throughout their lives, but it’s the performance side that is what can cause them to have good game or a bad game, a good season, or a bad season. Even a good career or one that peters out without achieving what was truly possible.”
Mark believes that even players enjoying the form of their lives can perform better if they tap into the brain science: “They can still be doing better by understanding how their brain works so they can influence their performance and avoid slipping into an unhelpful way of thinking that would cause their performance to deteriorate.”
Mark says most of the players he has worked with “get” the science very quickly: “In the first session, I’ll briefly go through the neuroscience specifically to how it impacts on football performance and this is the light bulb moment. They say ‘yeah, that’s exactly what happens’. This is where they see the evidential side of it and understand that how and what they’re doing affects their performance on the football pitch. It’s also where they start to see the possibilities ahead when the do put this into practice.
“Then it’s about conditioning their behaviour, which they start to do straight away. It’s just little incremental changes and improvements, taking small steps further each time. The real changes start to take effect at around about sessions 4, 5 and 6.
“The early work gets them to think differently, behave differently and move differently. Now that the new habits have become more of an automatic behaviour, it’s connecting with the intellectual part of the brain more consistently, and because of that, they’re starting to play better more often. And rather than just superficial changes to the way that they feel, they are changing the infrastructure of their ever-changing brain to assist them to perform better as a matter of course.”
Mark’s specialism with footballers stems from his work as a solution-focused hypnotherapist: “The hypnosis part is very normal and very natural. It can be accurately described as relaxed, focused and directed thinking. It’s nothing like stage hypnosis that portrays a mystical and magical persona. Nothing could be further from my work. There are no zombie like states and it is all about the player concentrating their thoughts on where I direct them to do so. They are always in control and it’s very much like being engrossed in a movie or a book. The specific hypnosis part takes up about 20% of the book and 30-40% of the sessions that I do. The other part is very much about getting the player to get a real understanding of how the brain works; what it’s doing at any one time; why it’s doing it and the best way to influence it to ensure they can play on top form.
“I’ve worked with footballers for a number of years and these techniques have worked extremely well, which is why I’ve written the book. I want more players to know about it.”
The good news for players of all levels is that they can benefit from the brain science just as much as top players: “If they are able to put what’s in the book into practice, then it’s very similar to what I do in a one-to-one session with professional footballers. It’s a very powerful book.”
I have some exciting news for all of you aspiring and competing athletes out there! I have just launched my new website that is focused on sport hypnotherapy.
Although the website is mainly focused around football/soccer, there will be other sports orientated material added over the coming weeks and months. Indeed there is already a golf hypnosis session available following the successful work that I have been doing with a PGA golfer.
If you are interested in conditioning yourself to high performance using a combination of hypnotherapy and and an understanding of the brain I am sure that you will find this website a great resource.
If you are interested in hypnotherapy/hypnosis for improving you football performances then in further (and perhaps even more) exciting news I have just had a new book published. This book is currently available on Amazon
I will be releasing a press release shortly that talks about the new book, my work with athletes as well as my new practice in London. From 24th August I will be working out of my new office in Harley Street, London where I will be focusing mostly on my work with professional football players.
However, this does not mean that I will be neglecting everyone out side the sporting world… far from it!
When it comes to the brain it doesn’t matter if you are a house husband/wife, an office worker or a professional athlete, the brain is still the brain. The anxieties and the stresses of the world will often manifest themselves in different ways, but the way to overcome, move on and be the best you can be is always very similar.
Whilst I might be working with professional athletes to help them achieve their specific goals, my research and my work transfers across to all areas of human improvement.
So whether you are looking at improving your golf swing or you are looking to be more confident behind the wheel of a car, I am absolutely committed to helping you get there. I’m also looking to produce more audio sessions here and increasing the library that I have on offer for people in their day to day lives. Therefore, if you do have any thoughts or ideas of new programs and issues that you want to overcome, or aspects of your life that you want to improve upon, please contact me using the contact page here and let’s make it happen.
If you are a sports professional or a professional footballer please feel free to contact me through http://topform.global and we can discuss what I can do for you as well as sending out my brochure to you. Unfortunately, due to limited time I can only work with a small number of clients on a personal basis. I am also only looking to work with sporting professionals who have a real desire to improve and take their careers to a whole new level.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their continued support.
For centuries people have used music as a way of expressing their emotions, feelings and personal journeys. It is no surprise therefore that within some of our favourite songs, we find uplifting, motivational lyrics to help us live our own lives.
Below are ten of my favourite inspirational quotes from songs that will help keep you motivated and feeling positive for the week ahead.If you want some more inspiration after reading these check out these 10 Inspirational quotes from children’s literature.
1: You can’t always get what you want But if you try sometimes well you might find You get what you need
– The Rolling Stones- You can’t always get what you want
2: So throw those curtains wide, one day like this a year will see me right
– Elbow- One day like this
3: Nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be, it’s easy. All you need is love.
– The Beatles- All you need is love
4: Cus every little thing, is going to be alright
– Bob Marley – Three little birds
5: Sun is shinin’ in the sky There ain’t a cloud in sight It’s stopped rainin’ everybody’s in a play And don’t you know It’s a beautiful new day
– ELO – Mr Bue Sky
6: Don’t stop me now, I’m having such a good time, I’m having a ball
– Queen- Don’t stop me now
7: What you don’t have now will come back again You’ve got heart and you’re going your own way
– Noah and the Whale- Life Goes On.
8: Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear Here comes the sun, here comes the sun, And I say it’s all right
– The Beatles- Here comes the sun
9: In every life we have some trouble But when you worry you make it double Don’t worry, be happy
I did another vide recently on what to do if you do wake up during the night. You will see the link to that video on the right hand side. If you’re on a mobile device you will find the link to it at the bottom of the screen. However, what if you don’t want to wake up during the night in the first place?
Well if that’s the case then this video is for you!
How do I ensure that I don’t keep waking during the night?
If you find the video helpful please could you share it. Many thanks 🙂
The following article is based on the video above ‘how do I stop waking up during the night’. It is for when you can’t watch or listen, or simply if you would rather read it. Although it isn’t written verbatim, it is the tips and advice for sleeping better as I give in the video above.
What I wish to discuss here is intermittent sounds, why they are not good for effective sleeping and what you can do about them.
Have you ever been in a blissful state of the most relaxing kind. When all of a sudden you’re rudely awaken by a car horn or a bang outside? It doesn’t have to be a loud noise either. Sometimes it can be something subtly, like the creaking of the floor boards or a soft gust of wind on the branches outside. However, that is all it takes to have you alert to the noise and awake. Your blissful sleep is now in the past! Sometimes, the noises are so subtle that you don’t even realise what has woken you up.
The reason why these quiet intermittent sounds can cause us to be startled and awaken easily is because of our brains natural wiring for survival. This of our brains of our ancestors in prehistoric times. They needed to be helping us to stay alive every moment of every day. It was when we were asleep that we were likely to be at our most vulnerable. Anything could creep up on it us. Rival tribesman that wanted to kill us, wild animals that wanted to eat us. Both of which our brains would need to signal to us to wake up and prepare ourselves to fight or run away.
How to stop from being woken up
Nowadays, the likelihood that the changing noise in your environment is a danger that is going to harm you is unlikely. However, this survival response is still hardwired into our brains. So what do we do about it to ensure that we get a good night’s sleep?
The obvious ways to overcome this are things such as wearing ear plus and using white noise. A great idea is to have a fan in the room. Someone chanting your name as you go to sleep (I’m kidding!) A cooling fan! That rhythmic whirring noise can assist you in going to sleep in the first place, but it can also drown out those subtle noises that would have woken you up.
One think that a lot of people do to help them stay asleep is to leave the television on. This is a very bad idea. When you are going to sleep at nigh, it might drown out other noises but the content of television at night is often violent or at least not happy and upbeat. If the news comes on it’s often talking about things such as terrorism, murder and the plight of people around the world. This gets absorbed by your brain and your thinking and is not healthy.
If you do currently use a television to help you drift off to sleep, I would definitely recommend switching to a fan!
When people come to see me at my practice a fair percentage of them are taking sleeping pills. Is this a good thing? Find out in the video below!
Are sleeping pills or natural remedies best for helping me to get a better night’s sleep?
You can access my other tips and techniques on the right hand side of this page. If your on a mobile device they will be underneath the article. Also take a look at my article to help you stop waking during the night.
If you find the video helpful please could I ask you to share it. Thank you 🙂
As when I talk with any of my clients about sleeping pills it comes with a big disclaimer. If you are thinking of going onto sleeping pills or coming off of them, this is a conversation that you need to have with your doctor. I would never say that you should go onto medication or that you should come off of any medication. This is a conversation that should always be had with your doctor.
Sleeping pills and their impact on REM sleep
The reason for this video and this article is to make you aware of what sleeping pills actually do. This article and video will be very similar to the one that I did about alcohol recently. When I talked about people who self medicated with alcohol to get them to sleep. The reason why the two videos are similar is simply because the effects of the two can be very similar.
Alcohol wipes out one of the most important parts of your sleeping cycle. Which is REM sleep, which resets your brain and prepares you for the next day. Sleeping pills do exactly the same. They make you feel like you are sleeping brilliantly. Totally out for the count without waking until then next day, which you would assume has prepared you brilliantly for living the day on top of your game. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.
If you are taking sleeping pills I’m guessing you wake up the next day feeling tired and miserable. You’ll likely be finding it hard to concentrate the next day also.
This will be because the REM part of your sleep has been wiped out.
Tips and techniques to improve your sleep
So my suggestion would be that if this has put you off sleeping tablets that you have this discussion with your doctor. My personal preference is that you start to incorporate improvements into your sleeping habits. Improvements that can start conditioning you to sleep better naturally. Take a look at some of my other articles and videos which give advice on different techniques that you can incorporate into your life right now to assist you in sleeping better. Particularly this one on creating a great sleeping environment.
Should I take natural remedies to improve my sleep?
When it comes to natural sleeping remedies, I’m referring to things such as herbs and formulas that you can buy. My suggestion is that you use caution with these. Although they might only use natural ingredients, be aware that natural ingredients can be very strong and can potentially have a major effect on you. Just because something is marked as having ‘all natural ingredients’ it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s entirely safe and it certainly doesn’t mean that it’s effective.
Again, I would suggest having a discussion with your doctor before taking any kind of natural remedy to help you sleep better. If you use alcohol to help you to sleep check this link out to find out why this is a very bad idea!
Check out Mark's new app, with access to his entire library!