Without question we are experiencing lies filled with escalating demands, expectations and responsibilities. Many of us type A personalities depend on the constant adrenaline rush. But there does come a time when a thrill of it all dissipates, and we find ourselves in the stressed out zone. At this point, it’s easy to blame the circumstances that we’re in. But professionals, such as my guest today, Liz Davies, knows that more often than not, this is not the case. Of course, she recognizes that the pace and volume of life is indeed getting greater. But what she is telling us is that the cause to what makes us feel stressed out, wherever that may be on the stress scale actually can be found in our own beliefs, thoughts, feelings and memories. Liz is a hypnotherapist as well as a happiness and well-being coach. She has been practicing for over 15 years. Over which time, she has worked with adults, with moderate to severe mental illness, and now operates as a psychological well-being practitioner. Liz is a hands-on coach, and one who believes that her clients need to leave her clinic armed with their own ability to maintain their health and well-being, using some of the very techniques that she has practiced with them. So today’s program is really a how-to approach as Liz walks us through the specific steps involved in cognitive behavior therapy, which is a psychological approach that challenges our thoughts, beliefs and feelings. Hypnotherapy: a form of psychotherapy used to create subconscious change in the form of new responses, thoughts, attitudes, behaviors and feelings. A new area that she’s very excited about is Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), and this uses a tapping technique on different energy points throughout the body to release tapped feelings, memories and experiences. When it comes to this particular approach, here’s where audio falls down and video would’ve been so much better. Liz refers to the karate chop point in one of the tapping techniques, and this is the area just below the base of the thumb when the hand is on its side and straightened out. In anchoring, she is talking about the triggering technique that creates a pathway to the subconscious, so that one can immediately access a state of calmness. She’s referring to applying the pressure point between the thumb and the forefinger as this way of triggering the subconscious, or the pressure between the index finger and the thumb. I would urge you to take a moment, and try some of this yourself. Even if you’re so familiar with them, you say, “Well I already heard about it.” Have you done it in the last week or so when you found yourself reaching a point where you want to scream? That’s what this show is about, to remind us that we have within us the capability to distress in a moment’s time. I found Liz Davies in Brighton, England.
Lesley: Well hello there, Liz. Thanks so much for taking this time out of your day helping others, to help our audience in terms of whole notion of well-being and our different responses to stress. So I’m going to start with this question. You’ve been a mental health practitioner for over 15 years, and I’m wondering if you see any distinctions or changes in the type of people that are coming to you, that illustrate that we are, in some way in society, increasing or decreasing are challenges and things that get under our skin.
Liz: Yeah. It’s definitely more people have been coming to talk about this lower level more common mental health problems which I found really encouraging, because catching things early is so important. So instead of people waiting and tell they are in a really bad state, and they’ve been signed off work and they’re on anti-depressant or whatever. People have noticed over the years it started to get more vocal, and go, and speak to the doctor which was primary referral in that service. About the fact that they are struggling, perhaps they are feeling overwhelmed. They’re not sleeping properly and they started to feel that, “I need some help.” And they would start to ask for help sooner.
Lesley: So, this is one of the interesting things that I find is that men and women do respond to stress differently. And men tend to withdraw and women tend to seek relationships, because they seek their support through others, and in that emotional connection feel like they are distressing in telling their stories. Whereas men do the opposite, they go and play a really strong game of rapid ball, or some type of physical activity to download what’s stressing them. Do you see a difference in the way in which men and women present to you?
Liz: Yeah. I suppose women are a lot more vocal, and women tend to like to talk about the problem a lot more… I think it’s fair to say men will be a bit more reserved in how much they will explore their issue and shorter in terms of what they say, but actually it’s interesting what you say about the solutions. So what I would work a lot of the time with would be helping people to find that solutions and explore why they are struggling. And it would normally because they didn’t have a good support network, or they weren’t doing things that make them feel good. And for women, it would be about getting out of the house more to see friends, or getting some time away from childcare to stay with other people… Whereas men would actually get a lot more from just getting out there and getting some physical exercise for example.
Lesley: Right. There’s also some interesting science on the fact that, when women are under stress, their brain produces more oxytocin than men do, in fact quite significantly more. And so, somehow we’ve been genetically created to respond to stress in a different way, and therefore obviously found different ways of dealing with what stresses us. Have you found there’s a difference between what stresses women and what stresses men?
Liz: That’s an interesting question. I’ve never dealt about that before. Um yeah, I would say, women speak up more about being overwhelmed. I will say, “I can’t cope with this, it’s too much. I’ve got too much to do.” All of those kinds of overwhelm feelings would be quite clear when I speak to women. Whereas men would just say, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I don’t know what’s right. I just can’t. I seem to be removed all the time and I’m snappy. I’m getting angry.” And that would be because they were internalizing how they felt, and that was resulting in them becoming angry, and snappy, and stressed. And so normally they would come for help because their part and I would say to them, “You need to get some help. I can’t stand you being like this anymore.”
Lesley: So it’s often a referral from a spouse or partner that’s sends into you.
Lesley: Now what would you say as most overwhelming women… I mean, we do know that we are mostly professional women these days that are working. We still maintain a strong responsibility in the home for the well-being of family. There’s a constant barrage of daily activities that can stress us out. But are you finding that’s really the trigger point for women, where they get to the point of saying, “I’m overwhelmed”?
Liz: I think all those things you just mentioned certainly within… and quite often, it would be the women that were working and parents as well and just trying to fit everything in. And they will find him that the relationship was suffering because they didn’t have time to speak to their husband. So they were a lot missing that connection with their partner, and not really seeing friends as much because they don’t have time. And so, overwhelmed with responsibilities and not enough time to anything that made them feel worthwhile, and flag more if somebody had perhaps perfectionist traits, put pressure on themselves, high-achieving types. So people that would really think quite, “The house has got to be clean and tidy. I’ve got to do my best. I’ve got to be brilliant.” And it’s just not physically possible. So those would be the things that would stress women out, and it would normally boil down once you start going down the layers. And so, “Well, what’s underneath that? Ok but what’s underneath that?” And ultimately would be this “I’m not good enough. Therefore I need to show that I’m good by working very hard, making things perfect, making things look excellent.” And that would be the thing ultimately could cause the stress.
Lesley: So, this is one what we call a very universal limiting belief that we hold. And this held by both men and women, we just manifest the behavior differently in many ways. So tell me, I show up and you’ve done the layers with me, and you’ve uncovered the fact that I just don’t think I’m good enough. How do we start to work with that so that so that I start to build the capability to deal with that in a way that doesn’t keep me in a chronic state of recycling that belief?
Liz: Well it depends. I mean when I was doing my mental health job, when I worked at MHS, the main thing that I did was cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). So, that would focus on both your beliefs, your thoughts, and have those fed into the cycle, feelings and behaviors. And what helped me to look at what are those thoughts, what are those beliefs, I look at challenging them. I look at the evidence and against those beliefs. Because more often what we do is we catch and match, so we look things that fit our belief. Anything don’t necessarily fit our belief or they even contradict our belief, which is to disregard it because it doesn’t make sense. So we might have lots of evidence in our lives that we are coping very well, that we’re doing a good job, that we are actually perfectly fine. Well I overwhelmed which completely blows the picture, and also you got that belief that you’re not good enough, and you’ll just ignore anything that says contrary. So it would help you to look for the evidence, and to really search for that evidence and to focus on that, to find a balance of seeing things and that is the CBT fights us the most psychological therapeutic point of working on the self-approach.
Lesley: Right. But now recently you’ve gone to another field of how you deal with this, and tell us about what that is.
Liz: Right now, I do hypnotherapy which is so much quicker, and because these limiting beliefs which is such a universal, and everyone how limiting beliefs but there’s a lot of common ones as well. And they’ll send from childhood, they normally begin before the age of six. Because before we get to the age of six, we’re all just like a sponge and we just absorb anything around us and we think it’s true. We think it’s real. We think problems are assholes. So it’s very, very easy and very simple to just take on a belief that you are to blame for mommy’s softness, for example. Or the fact that just some little tiny incident happened and somebody shouted at you, it made you so really scared or really to blame for something it wasn’t your fault. But it just got absorbed, straight away, right in there “This is me, it’s my fault.” And then you grow up with this belief, and you might not even be aware of it but it’s rumbling away in your subconscious. So hypnotherapy is brilliant because we use it to just get straight in there, straight into that belief which is in the subconscious. So instead of talking on a conscious level up here and being very kind of cerebral about it and trying to battle away without subconscious beliefs are really governed by a subconscious belief. Hypnotherapy gets to the root. So it goes in regression hypnotherapy, which takes you back to the course of the problem.
Lesley: So just stop for a second because I think these are such powerful techniques. And just before we go into the regression which is extremely powerful, what exactly is the methodology? So if I come to you and we’re going to undertake this experience, what exactly would we do?
Liz: Okay. So, to relax you first of all, to help you to get into a state where your subconscious is more open and more receptive. We would need to help you to relax, because when your body relaxes then your conscious mind relaxes too. So that chattering mind, that also kind of slows down and calms down. So once your body and your mind be more of a relaxed state, you’re feeling really chilled out and really nice. And then that allows your subconscious part of you which is your feeling. It’s important for you to have some feelings, imagination, memories, it’s all in there. And so that part of you becomes more easy to access once you are relaxed.
Lesley: How do you access it?
Liz: Well things just pop up, it’s quite bizarre. So, I normally get people to getting in touch with the feeling that is causing them the problem. So, generally we can identify that it’s the feeling that’s bothering us. And once we work out where that feeling is, actually it sounds strange but pretty much everybody ends up doing this successfully. So I would say to you, “Wait. Just sit with your wife close for a moment, this is actual hypnosis. This is just to know me and you talking. Sit with your wife please, and focus on that feeling that you get when you get overwhelmed, or when you feel like you’re not good enough.” And that feeling that comes up, it’s a very easy to notice feeling because you’re familiar with it. You felt it a lot. And then, I’ll get you to become that feeling for a moment. So you’ll kind of go into that feeling and become it. And then, I’ll ask you some questions and help to discern more details about that feeling, which is basically starting to trigger your subconscious because we’re getting into imagination. So, I’ll say, “Where about are you in the body?” So people will say in the chest, the throat, the stomach, the liver. And then, “What color are you? Do you have a shape? Are you warm? Are you cold? Are you heavy? Are you light?” I just did some characteristics to that feeling. And then once we get into that, it’s like you’re talking to the subconscious. You’re asking for it to act and you’re giving it permission to stay, and that starts to trigger stuff. And it starts to help the memories, and things start to pop up. But then I might say, “Okay, so you’ve got a red circle in your chest, and it talks, and it’s heavy.” And you know, they’re just like, “Wow! Where does that come from?” But it does, it comes. And then I’ll say, “Did that remind you anytime when you’re constantly aware of?” And often people go, “Yeah memories just come to me from when I was really young. I’ve just started to think something that happened to me when I was really small.” And it does start to come up. And that might happen straight away which is wonderful, because that means it’s already starting. It’s this subconscious is already talking. But if that doesn’t come up straight away, that doesn’t matter because once we’re going to the hypnosis or relaxation, then that allows you to give more time to just start pulling up with these memories.
Lesley: So do you use particular some kind of music, or what’s the stimulus that from a hypnotherapy point of view that you used?
Liz: No I don’t use any music. It’s quiet in the room as far as we can make sure. What you do is, once somebody is in hypnosis and they’re lovely and relaxed then they’re feeling totally chilled down, blissed down, and it’s a really great feeling. Then I get them to what we call “the feeling” that we’ve already talked about just earlier on. And then, I’ll get them to into that feeling more and more, so we kind of ramp it up so it’s getting stronger and stronger. And then I literally just switch, and say, “Go back to the first time we felt that feeling as I can’t back down to one.” But we can’t back down. So, we can’t up to ramp it up, and we can’t down to go back to the cause. And that pretty much works 95 percent of the time.
Lesley: So this whole notion of about 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 really works. And I’ve done it where people get on an elevator and they press the button, and they actually watch the elevator numbers go down and then the door opens. And then I say, “Where are you?” And also, they realize that they’re walking out into a space that they haven’t remembered for a very long time. So it is amazing how countdown with the right experience, with the right person helping you do it is an incredibly powerful tool for accessing our subconscious.
Liz: Yeah. It’s just that counting down, it really works a lot for so many different elements.
Lesley: Now in the regression therapy… I just want to comment that my mother didn’t experiment with one leading physicians in this area with children that could not hear, they were deaf. And they did a regression journey back through the birth canal. And so they were actually placed back in the womb, and then were brought back out into through their entire birthing experience again and into the world. And they have a success rate of about 48 percent of these children could hear after they had done the complete regression. Because something had happened in the birthing process that they had chosen to snap off their hearing capabilities, which when taken back in and reframed again allowed them to open it up. So these are very powerful tools, aren’t they?
Liz: Yeah. That’s incredible. That’s amazing. I love that story.
Lesley: Tell me now; you also have another technique that you’re using. It’s EFT, tell us about that one.
Liz: Yes. That stands for Emotional Freedom Technique, and it’s based on Eastern Medicine, so they’re kind of meridian lines which are used in acupuncture and reflexology. But it’s basically like acupuncture for the emotions but without needles, so you’re tapping instead of putting needles in. You’re tapping on different energy points throughout the body to release memories, to release emotions, to release trapped feelings that causing problems. And it’s incredible, I was quite skeptical at first. Even now, very I can mind it and I embrace everything. I’ll give anything a go. I was still a bit like “That sounds a bit bizarre, this tapping is not going to work.” And I didn’t went on the course, and I was actually blown away by it. So yeah, some personal experience from watching other people and then from using it on my clients is just amazing. So you tap on different parts of the body. So there’s a point on the top of your head at the back, there’s one here in between your eyes.
Lesley: In the third eye kind of thing, and then beside your eye up in the temple, yes.
Liz: Underneath the eye, underneath the nose, underneath the chin. And then there’s the collarbone kind of the fleshy bit in between where the collarbone, just beneath that and then into the arm.
Lesley: Yes that one is very sensitive.
Liz: Yeah. Any of these spots can be a little bit full. And then you got the wrists, and then the fingers in turn. So you tap each side of your finger, and then the karate chop point which is that one there. And we go through all of those points while using a very similar method to the hypnotherapy I was talking about before, where I say, “What color is the feeling? What shape is it? Where is it?” And so we still use that kind of method to get in touch with the feeling first of all. But then you tap through that feeling, and I just get people to copy me. So I’ll say, “All of this red…” that sort of thing. You set it up first of all, so you have to do a setup statement tapping the karate chop point. Even though I have this feeling, I still love and accept myself anyway. That’s important start of beginning and that’s to make friends with the problem, and just sort of state it, and you wait how strong that feeling is at that point. So is it ten which should be the most strong? Is it a zero which is not at all? So anywhere in between one and ten, and then you tap through. And generally, what you find is that the number goes down and the feeling shifts. So first you might just change color, or change shape, or change location. It will also drop your number, and so you tap again and then you shift again. And then it just kind of goes out, and then people go, “I can’t feel it anymore. I can’t remember what it felt like.” You kind of try and get to feel stronger. Try and really get into that feeling again. Just a few minutes ago, that was level nine and then I can’t even remember it. It’s gone.
Lesley: It is amazing how the meridians carry such a flow, and the acupuncture being the breaking down of the juggernauts of the places in that system that are bunched up and not letting energy flow. And so as you tap you open up a flow of that energy field.
Liz: That’s all it is, isn’t it? So you just let the energy flow freely, and rebalance the energy system in the body, and then they go. You kind of feel so much better, and it’s blowing my mind actually. There are so many things. You can use it to pain, physical problems, health problems, and also emotional problems.
Lesley: And so these are things that people can actually do at home. I mean, once they know that… I mean obviously it’s like anything. When you’re with a professional, it’s much higher level of efficacy. But it’s also something that you can continue to do when you’re facing a situation at home, and take yourself through that process which at least will bring that heat down so it becomes a little bit more culpable. So what are other sorts of techniques that you suggest to people as they leave you from a session, and you’ve helped them to identify the source and to re-pattern that experience for them. What’s the go-home homework you tend to give people so that they can continue to maintain as much of the state of well-being as they can, as they confront life’s challenges?
Liz: Well I tell you, I like to teach the EFT because that’s one of my favorite self-help techniques. So I teach people that in order that they can use that when they’re at home. And so, that’s one of the main take-home things that I like now. But then also, I use anchoring to trigger positive feeling as well, so it’s part of the hypnotherapy session. So, doing it hunting down exercise then I suggest people that they find themselves in a very peaceful, relaxing, safe, calm place, and people often choose like a beach, or a mountain, or a forest. And then once they really get into feeling those positive feelings in that place, you start with what you can see and then you look at “What can I see? What can I hear? What can I smell?” And you’re really trying to get that visual as much as you can like experience and then the feelings. So then you say, “What are the feelings?” I really notice the feelings that you got in that piece of place, and get those feelings to start flowing through the whole body. You can start to just feel this piece just filling you up, really. And then when you’re really in that feeling and you’re really feeling those strong peaceful feelings, you then trigger to set it in the subconscious. So you need to squeeze it with the middle finger or the forefinger, those are generally the most common, and take a deep breath. And as you breathe out, think the word “relax” or word like that that helps you to feel calm. And once you’ve done that, you’ve then created a trigger in the subconscious. You created halfway. So next time you those actions, it will take you back to those feelings. So that’s something that people can use in the moment, they can use it perhaps. I’ve saw someone yesterday, who’ve got interviewed to go to. And so, we used that to help her, to set a trigger so that before she goes into the interview even while she’s in the interview, she can use her trigger to stay calm and to just stay focused rather than spinning off into this anxious headspace that we can get into.
Lesley: And it becomes really addictive that kind of crazy self-talk that takes us into our anxiety in the middle of the situation. And this technique does great deal of just repositioning what we already know, because you’ve trained the subconscious to anchor into that experience. You have a really great blog on your website, which I love your website by the way, and hypnotherapy help with stress and anxiety. And you have this terrific quote with a picture, it says, “A diamond is just a piece of charcoal that handle stress exceptionally well.” Now tell me, how did you come upon that fabulous quote? The diamond, and we say, “We want to be like that.” And really what it is, is a piece of charcoal that really did well with stress.
Liz: I just love trolling around and looking for quotes, it’s one of my favorite past times. And I look for inspiring quotes and just things that also may help me, and often would be something that I think somebody might need to hear this right now. And I’ll post it on twitter or in a blog, and people will say to me, “Oh my gosh, that really spoke to me and I really needed to hear that today, it was just the right thing.” So I just love doing that. I love finding quotes. There are so many amazing inspirational quotes out there.
Lesley: And they trigger that subconscious, you know. They go in and they hit a memory that’s in our cellular memory that we’re not even aware of exists, and all of a sudden it’s speaking to that part of us. So as we come to a wrap up, I want to ask you, if there is one piece of advice that you could give both men and women about how to embrace a state of well-being and to recognize when that well-being is out of sync. What would be that piece of advice that you would offer us?
Liz: How to recognize when it’s out of sync or what to do about it?
Lesley: Let’s do both.
Liz: Okay. So, recognizing it, I say, if you are not feeling yourself and you noticed you’re getting more snappy, you notice that you’re not doing the things that you normally do to take care of yourself, that’s when you need to get back on track because that’s the most important time, which is normally people say, “I haven’t got time right now to do my yoga, and to do the things that make me happy because I’m too busy.” And I’ll say, “Oh no, that’s so common and that’s so normal. Actually, those are things that you need to be doing right now. So, as soon as you start dropping the things that help fill, that’s when you need to do more than ever.”
Lesley: Looks extremely a good point. Okay. And then once you’ve recognized it, then?
Liz: I think, a good thing that I learned a while ago is when we’re stressed, it’s because we’re trying to get to be when we’re just actually…at the moment. We’re just living in that kind of future state of, “I just want to get there. I just want to get to where this is done.” You know, that feeling of just not being happy where you are right now. Whereas, if you can accept that, “This is where I am right now, this is what’s going on for me right in this minute. How do I feel?” I mean, this kind of mindfulness stuff here really, but I think it’s just so valuable. “How do I feel? What’s going on for me? Where do I feel it?” And just allow yourself to feel where you’re feeling, and just go okay from feeling stressed right now. “What does that feel like? Where is that?” And then, just accept that, take a breath. And then, just think, “What can I do now that will help me? What is the best thing that I could do right now?” It might be just writing a list of what you’re going to do. Picking one thing off that list and just focusing on one thing at times that that headless chicken overwhelmed mood. Or it could be, you just need to take a walk, a 2-minute break and then just clear your head, because when you’re getting in that overwhelmed state, you can’t think straight and you just start doing things wrong. You make mistakes or you get paralyzed, and you don’t do anything. And you say, “Well I haven’t got time to take a break. I’m too busy.” I’m like, “Well actually, your productivity level is going down right now the longer you keep slogging along. So, take a moment, just look how you’re feeling, acknowledge how you’re feeling, and then do something different.”
Lesley: Well that is great advice. Bang on! So Liz, I want to say thank you on behalf of my audience for giving some really amazingly practical and self-directed types of support that we can use. But also to really illustrate that there are professional people like you out there that can help through lots of different medium, now is Skype and other forms of interactivity. Your services go international, so it’s important for us to realize that you’re only a click away.
Liz: Yeah I am indeed.
Lesley: Thanks for talking with me today.
Liz: Thank you! It’s a pleasure to speak with you. Thanks for having me on this show.
I hope you have a chance in the next little while, when you’re feeling that moment where you’ve gone pass the stage of saying, “I’m okay” to the point of saying, “What the heck is going on here?” to use one or more of these techniques. It also can work with a partner or a friend in helping them move to a state of relaxed approach when things are getting out of hand. There’s no question that neither Liz nor I are suggesting that we do these complex treatments with one another. This is when you definitely need to seek out a professional, in terms of applying some of these more clinical techniques to triggering our mind into a state of release and in a state of changing our response to the circumstances we find our self in. Just one quick note and that is that, I found a fascinating in doing my research for this program that women actually produce more oxytocin in their brain. More is released when they’re under stress by a substantial amount compared to our male counterparts. And then I started thinking, isn’t that interesting if we have the original stress reaction in our biology which was for the dealing with animals and creatures of fear approaching us in our very primitive times, why would women have more oxytocin than men under those circumstances? It started making me think that the biology of us as women, knowing how much we need to cope with, had it worked out long before maybe we figured this out. To find out more about my guest, Liz Davies, you can find her at www.synergy, that’s S-Y-N-E-R-G-Y-hyphen-well-being W-E-L-L-B-E-I-N-G-dot-com. And, as you know in leading out, I did asked Liz what she would like to have as her musical theme, and she chose “La Ritournelle by Sebastien Tellier.”
You know where to find me at lesleysouthwicktrask.com, at womenwholead.co. Facebook: women who lead radio show, and on Twitter: LsouthT. Remember, this is your show and I am your host, Lesley Southwick-Trask. Thanks for listening. See you next time.