Coughs and sneezes

I’ve been fighting a cold for 3 days and now that it’s at its peak, the central-heating’s packed up. Typical.
According to theory, this is an opportunity.


Difficulties are easy to find. My immediate challenge? I have to keep away from my hospitalised daughter. Heavily immunosuppressed, a cold ridden parent does not a welcome visitor make. Tough but there you are. Gill’s having to take it all on. Again.

What’s love got to do with it? Every damn thing.

Anyway in the work/cold balance of the last few days, I decided to let the slight-edge habits drift. And to keep doubling them up so that I would be on back track as soon as practicable.
It could have been the start of a long-term slide but in accepting it as my decision, the responsibility stays firmly in my own backyard and I keep control.

As it turns out, a bad cold (trust me, it’s pretty nasty) is an opportunity to practice. It provides essential feedback. An opportunity to find out whether I’m at least a little serious about my intention to be in charge of my own fate.
To accept the risk that I might fail despite my best efforts.
To take the risk that I might succeed even though I don’t know what success looks like yet.

And the upshot of all this?
Well, to paraphrase a good book:

Feel the Sneeze…
And do it anyway.

It isn't easy © Tony Burkinshaw 2013

It isn’t easy
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

…and the plumber turned up in good order. We have heat.

Kindness, Chaos & Satchmo

This could be good. Not only will you get the eponymous mash up triple bill, you’ll be thrown into the phenomenon of Origami Space Travel. Intrigued? Read on…

As you know, I write the random Acts of Kindness column for Perception, the Cognitive Hypnotherapy ezine and this particular missive was fun. I trust you’ll enjoy the ride.

Let’s kick off with a cliché.

When you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you.

Clichés have cropped up more than once in this section and for good reason. Clichés become clichés because they’re phrases that somehow repeatedly best capture the moment and it’s rather pleasing to find out just how much this seems to be true out there in the land of reciprocating kindnesses and ever widening smiles.

This particular cliché comes from the classic song, ‘When You’re Smiling, (The Whole World Smiles With You)’. Apparently we have that renowned trio of songwriters Clay, Fisher & Goodwin to thank for penning this great piece of musicality. Of course without Louis Armstrong’s unique voice making it famous we may never have heard of it. He even managed to keep in line with our cliché theme because it was so good he did it twice. But then of course, as all Armstrong fans will know he went and recorded it again in 1959, so actually it was so good he did it thrice.

Whatever the case, this started me thinking and lead my tangential creativity to wander, (and it’s good to wonder, as all you Cog-Hyppies know). Just to make sure that this was absolutely going to happen, Editor Tina checked in and nudged me in the direction of Butterfly Effects and Chaos Theory.

So here we go: Chaos, Kindness and Satchmo. I did warn you…”


You can read the full article on page 14 of the following link: Perception ezine

Just in case you’re interested, you can jump straight to Origami Space Travel here: Click to Jump!

hypnotherapy mp3

Calmly chaotic
© Tony Burkinshaw 2014

Special offer on ‘Now’

There was a time when I brewed and tasted beer for a living. If it weren’t for one of those forks in the trousers of time so to speak, then I might still be doing something similar to this very day. To be fair, I am, it’s just that I no longer receive financial reward for my efforts.

It occurs to me that there’s a difference between those far off days and my current more meagre brews and socially adapted taste buds. It’s not simply that back then I had yet to uncover the trials, tribulations, successes and delights that the intervening period was to bring. Nor that nowadays I tend to ferment fruit rather than grain, though on occasion the wine does actually taste pretty damn good, (although unfortunately every now and then, it tastes pretty damn poor and finds its way drainwards more directly than the circuitous route the good tasting stuff traditionally takes).

Which brings me to my point, unusually quickly it has to said.

It’s all a matter of taste.

Back in the day, when it was part of my role to join the daily taste panel in one of the largest breweries in Europe and pass judgement on numerous brews, I knew what I was doing. There are a stunning number of potential flavours in, well everything, when you know how to find them. And many of those potential flavours tell you a lot about what’s going on in the beer. So it pays to focus.

If a beer is good, it’s important to know what makes it good so that it can be replicated more often. And importantly, if it isn’t as good as it might be, what’s caused it. Especially as depending on the cause, it might be destined for those drains, (albeit far larger ones than my wines occasionally find their way into), or it just might be that the particular problem has an opposite in another brew, neither of which are perfect on their own but their particular deficiencies or excesses can combine to even out or enhance each other so that the blended result is, well, bang on.

This requires an attention to tasting detail that we seldom use unless we frequent some very particular taste-panel-esque environments. It requires us to concentrate our attention onto the extraordinary variety of experience that our senses really can pick up and alert us to.

A lot of the taste is in the aroma. And, weirdly, in the appearance. And the texture. It’s a proper multi-sense extravaganza. And yes, this is beer we’re talking about.

We almost always miss this. Unless there is a very specific requirement to do so, we prefer to go for the overall experience. The sum total of the tastes, rather than being interested in the underlying flavours which make up the whole. It tends to be the preserve of experts.

We don’t deconstruct flavours or aromas or music or painting  or plays or comedy. We just experience the effects that it brings as a whole. We like it or we dislike it. We want it again or try avoid it in the future. But we don’t really know why. We just do.

It’s like that with emotions.

We experience the emotion and react accordingly, shaping our lives and relationships. We rarely focus on the complexities that drive the emotion, so we miss what it is trying to alert us to. We treat the emotion as if it were a problem to be solved by our 21st century brain, existing as we do in a world of primarily cerebral rather than physical challenges. We seem to have lost the innate ability to, for want of a better phrase, deal with our feelings.

This is what mindful awareness, usually reduced simply to ‘mindfulness‘, is all about. Taking the time and effort to experience the different component parts of what we are actually experiencing. Not to pass judgement or to find a way to do something about it, just to become fully aware of what is going on with us at that very moment.

Emotions want us to feel. That’s why they’re there. Their purpose is not to drive us to think about how to solve a problem, rather they try to get us to experience the problem. It turns out that simply by learning to turn our attention onto Now, we dramatically improve our ability to cope, not just mentally but physically too. Even the structure of our brains can change as a result. Just by focussing on Now. By becoming aware. (By the way, did you notice the triple homophonic homonym? It’s surprising what you notice when you try).

It’s as though a fundamental part of us has been forgotten and allowed to atrophy through lack of use, drastically affecting our health. So I would highly recommend  that you spend some time learning how to reawaken your natural awareness. Getting back in touch with what is actually happening, right Here, right Now, [as an aside, those of you who are particularly aware and dedicated followers, you’ll know that both the Fat Boy and Mr Davies have been here before].

If you don’t re-awaken, you might just spend the rest of your life worrying about a future that hasn’t happened because of a past that is no longer there, falling foul of the Born Under Punches lyric: Don’t you miss it. Don’t you miss it. Some of you people just about missed it. You can always rely on David for a good turn of phrase.

As you might expect, I’d love to help. So, if you have 10 minutes a day to spare (yes that’s all you’d need – that and an mp3 player), simply click on the link below and take your first steps into the world of mindful awareness. There are two Mindfulness mp3s. One is a first step into Mindfulness Meditation, the other is Mindfulness for Anxiety. They’re both good.

To save you having to choose, the ‘bundle’ of both mp3s is available at half price to WP readers for the rest of this week (until 18th May). Just use the code WPMAY50.

If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to ask me.

Live life in the moment…


Mindfulness MP3 Bundle: (Use the code WPMAY50): Click Here

Related Post: Be Mindful of what you know

Mindfulness mp3

Keeping It All Inside
© Tony Burkinshaw 2014


Embracing the word of work?

If absence makes the heart grow fonder, then this is destined to become my most popular post, although there’s always the possibility that you’ve moved on because I’ve not been around for some considerable time and it is time, as the saying has it, which will tell.

Oh and trust me with the title. I know what I mean. Read on.

As with most events there have been reasons, some of them good, some of them not so good. It boils down to this: I got busy. Far busier than I had anticipated, so that by the time I thought about laying my next diatribe out in front of you, it was too late in the day. Habit took over from habit and I lost momentum.

Apologies, one and all.

On the other hand… I have been much busier than I had anticipated! Things seem to have come together this year so that I now find myself having to set aside time when I don’t work, rather than being content to let work happen in its own time. It’s lead to some interesting revelations.

One my initial tenets when I opted to accept redundancy and forge my own path was not to work for a living, rather I would do certain things with my life, some of which gave financial reward, others which gave other rewards. This was fine whilst I was under utilised. The problems came with increasing numbers of clients seeking therapy. I found that I was no longer getting time to rebalance. Whilst I’ve been reasonably skilful in keeping myself separated from clients’ concerns, I have nevertheless discovered that old joy (not) of an overactive nighttime mind.

In the past this familiar beast has been active in times of stress and anxiety, one of those work-related side-effects I had hoped to put firmly behind me with my new way of relating to the provision of income. I absolutely was not expecting insomnia to turn up when I was neither stressed nor anxious.

But turn up it did.

Over the last few weeks, I have been increasingly prone to waking up with my mind buzzing quietly over inconsequential nonsenses. I know well enough what the stresses and strains of employed sales management can bring and this wasn’t it. This was a new-fond version of lying-awakeness and I found myself at a bit of a loss.

It is especially odd and slightly galling because I’ve been successfully helping a number of individuals overcome their own insomnias whilst gradually succumbing to my own. Weird and confusing? It is to my befuddled senses, which even managed to consider for a short period whether I was becoming successful in this particular therapy by transferring the clients’ various insomnias into my own head and living it for them.

There seems to be a mismatch somewhere. An imbalance.

And then a thought occurred. I have many a client who want to achieve a particular goal but keep sabotaging themselves. Oftentimes with this there are underlying stresses and anxieties, patterns of behaviour learned long ago and thrown up on auto-pilot by the ever watchful unconscious mind. Standard therapy fare. Familiar territory.

Occasionally, though, this is not the case.

Occasionally, there is minimal stress or anxiety. Behaviour patterns are under conscious control. No comfort eating, no outburst of anger or embarrassment, no demons shouting to be heard over the metaphorical chocolate and slices of toast. Just behaviour which the client would like to guide elsewhere. There is,  as far as you can tell, nothing preventing the habit from breaking, it’s just that the toast tastes nice and the client likes eating the way that they do. Yet they genuinely want to be slimmer/calmer/happier/more outgoing.

Or so they think. Which is a clue, to those with an AD sensitive outlook.

It is very difficult to uncover your own deeply held beliefs. It’s akin to opening the box with the key that’s locked safely inside so no-one can open the box without permission. Including you. There are techniques which can help, deriving those beliefs from other sources, behaviours and feelings.

Occasionally you get to x-ray the box & make a copy of the key when no-one’s looking. When it works, it’s a real Houdini moment.

In my experience, such clients as these have been trying to achieve the wrong goal or have been trying to achieve the right goal for entirely the wrong reason. Trying to become slimmer and fit into clothes you used to be able to wear won’t work if what you really want is a future you that is healthy and fit and you don’t really care one jot what size or shape you are.

Getting yourself properly aligned can work miracles.

Which is where my sights are currently set. I’ve spent nearly three years trying to avoid work: (the word not the task).

I’ve been attempting to forge a lifestyle which involves doing some things that provide income and doing other things that don’t. A lifestyle where both carry equal validity in the scheme of, well, things.

I’ve been living in dream world. (Well, it is time Morpheus made another appearance and as I’ve been exchanging comments with someone who’s considering going a Quest, (Hi again, Sarah!), he’s fresh on my mind once more).

I find that avoiding work carries pitfalls. Work, it turns out, is not a dirty word. By avoiding ‘work’ I’ve also been avoiding the necessity of allowing myself the opportunity to recuperate from the intense interactions that occur with clients. Therapy is hard work and this needs to be acknowledged. If I don’t, the next stage on from casual insomnia beckons and to be honest, I don’t want to go there again.

So I’ve reinstated time-off. Days where I don’t ‘work’. I’m gently increasing the import of exercise. I may even practice what I preach and get some refuelling therapy as a part of routine maintenance, so to speak. I also need some time to let my mind assimilate and address all that I’ve experienced during the day. I’m mindful of the benefits of meditation so might even instigate some routine quiet time.

I did so tonight, for the first time in a while.

And for the first time in a while…

…I’m back.

hypnosis mp3

No more work…
© Tony Burkinshaw 2014


Related Links to interesting things…

Cognitive Hypnotherapy & Quest

Tony Burkinshaw Cognitive Hypnotherapy

 A damn fine meditation mp3…

Pain & Hypnotherapy. What’s the answer?

I’ve been having long distance virtual conversations again. People have started asking me interesting and searching questions. I like it. It keeps me on my toes. Grounded.

Occasionally stops me waffling.

Dawn, of Finding My Inner Courage fame, asked one which cut straight to the heart of what I do. It sounded so simple…

“Could you please explain to me how hypnosis works with chronic pain?”

‘Ah, one of the difficult ones’, I thought, paraphrasing Wen, enlightened figment of Terry Pratchett’s fertile imagination.

This was either going to involve writing my first book, (quite a good idea actually but perhaps not just yet), or would really test my ability to be succinct. You may have gathered that I tend to pad my prose with sideways off-shoots as they arrive in my head whilst I type. What I sent her was quite a good summary of this complex subject and I thought it might be worth sharing.

So here is my bite-sized reduction of the totality of the Chronic Pain Experience and how Hypnotherapy addresses it:

There are two parts to this: How does ‘pain’ happen and How does Hypnotherapy address this?

How does Pain  happen?

In essence, pain is the result of lightning fast calculations that your brain makes as a result of the totality of the many sensory inputs it has. This includes your nerve impulses, hormonal communications, emotional state, and your unconscious thoughts/feeling/beliefs (which are internally created sensory inputs).

Your brain uses these to assess your current situation and various potential future situations and makes decisions about your current and future safety, particularly with regard to the potential for physical damage.

Pain is an alarm which your brain can choose to trigger (PLEASE NOTE: this is not a conscious decision or choice – it is automatic. You can’t consciously choose not to feel pain!). Your brain will only decide to trigger pain if it assesses that you are in danger AND that pain is the most appropriate alarm to use. (Think about soldiers in mid-battle, athletes in competition, parents whose children are in danger – all have been known to suffer major injury and still function without pain – The pain comes later, if at all).

Pain is essentially an attention-grabbing alarm. It stops you in your tracks and insists, (very loudly), that you do something to protect yourself.It is vital to survival.

When you feel pain, your brain increases the sensitivity of the nerves which indicated the damage. It wants to know as much as it can, quickly.

It triggers healing & protection responses (inflammation, muscle tension etc.). These in turn can trigger increases in sensitivity.

Important: You should always seek medical advice if you have persistent or unexpected pain

The pain alarm can misfire in two ways:

  1. The sensitivity fails to reduce when the healing process has completed. The brain misinterprets increased sensitivity as increased damage and increases the sensitivity yet again to be sure it knows as much as it can about the damage. Instead of gradually lowering the threat level, the alarm hyper-sensitises itself and sets up a vicious circle. You keep feeling pain because you keep feeling pain because you keep feeling pain…
  2. If your environment is threatening, your brain’s base level for alarms is set very high anyway. You are constantly on high-alert. You get very jumpy about injury and so feel pain much more quickly than ‘normal’. A key point here is that your ‘environment’ includes how you feel, so if you feel bad about yourself. (limiting beliefs, self-loathing, lack of self-worth, lack of love etc.), your brain treats this in the same way as a physically threatening environment.

How does Hypnotherapy help?

Essentially hypnotherapy works in 3 ways.

  1. It uses hypnotic trance to temporarily convince the brain that it is safe. As an example, ‘Dissociative Trance States’ dissociate ‘you’ from your entire ‘body’ or just the ‘part’ of your body which hurts. This convinces your brain that the threat is longer relevant to ‘you’. You now feel no pain. This is really effective for hypnotic anaesthesia. It can be dangerous to use these techniques in isolation because pain is an essential warning tool. 
  2. Hypnotherapy can be effective in the longer term by addressing the perceived level of threat in your environment. This can be either by helping you discover resources which give you perceived control in a physically threatening environment or by addressing any deeply embedded underlying personal issues as discussed above. This reduces the environmental threat level and ‘resets’ the sensitivity of your pain alarm to normal levels.
  3. Hypnotherapy can re-connect the mind and body, which Western Society believes to be separate. This allows you to bring some control and guidance to your natural healing ability and to focus this healing on those areas which have been injured or damaged. This is effective in long term pain relief because healing actually does improve AND increases your unconscious’ sense of control, reducing the need for a pain alarm to be triggered. Essentially, if you are already dealing with the threat, your unconscious doesn’t need to remind you of that threat. (This is one of the reasons that toot-ache often stops once you sit down in the dentist’s waiting room – you have already taken the action needed, so the alarm stops).

I thought this worked quite well as a high-level walk down the road I travel and it’s a different style of post than I usually do, although as you can tell, I couldn’t completely resist the chatter.

Let me know what you think. I

It might be worth writing some more of these.


Hypnotherapy mp3 for Relief for Chronic Pain Conditions

Hypnotherapy mp3 for Migraine Relief

Hypnotherapy mp3 for Healing & Relief Pre & Post Surgery

Hypnotherapy mp3 chronic pain migraine

You say that’s safe?
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

3-2-1: The Launch – A traditional offering…

Exciting Times! 

I suppose it’s been building up to this for a while and I almost can’t believe that the day has actually arrived. My website, (thanks to the sterling efforts of my web-building daughter, Katherine), now sports a brand new, spankingly-good Shop, containing brand new destruct-tested hypnotherapy recordings for you to download at your leisure… if you’re prepared to part with a modest sum for the privilege, of course. Distributor of words of almost-wisdom I may be but I can’t yet run to full-blown charitable works. Mouths to feed and all that.

As with all such enterprises, there are a multitude of people to thank and seeing as the most multitudinous of these multi-whatsits are those of you who are actually reading this post right now, here goes:


This blog has been invaluable in honing my thoughts and skills to the point where people I’ve never met in person were happy to trial these downloads for me and provide me with the feedback I needed to refine them to the point of, in my own modest way, perfection. Well, pretty close, anyway. You know who you are, all you trialling people and believe me it has been a pleasure to work with you. Thank you all extremely much.

Here are some snippets of feedback so far;

I have used the recording nonstop daily. It is now at the top of my list of things that work for controlling my degenerative disc disease, permanent nerve damage and chronic pain. I owe you so much!”

“For me personally the audio has been a blessing. Changes are happening (& being noticed by others) & it’s having a positive effect on me. I’d like to say a really big thank you.”

“The surgeon and nurses couldn’t believe how quickly the bruising disappeared after my operation”

Now, I know the how and why of all of this but I’m still in awe of the realisation that what I’ve learned might enable you to re-engage with such immense natural healing ability. The recordings are all based on what I’ve learned from helping my face to face clients which means that they cover chronic pain conditions, migraines, and healing after undergoing medical procedures.

So here’s where I really can give something back at last…

In recognition of all the help and inspiration I’ve had from everyone here on WordPress, I’d like to give you all access to a special discount just for you.

Until 31st August 2013, anyone who reads this post can get 40% discount on any of the Hypnotherapy downloads on my site.

Here’s what to do to:

  • Simply click on this link Tony Burkinshaw Cognitive Hypnotherapy Shop …
  • ‘add to cart’ whichever download or downloads you would like to have
  • enter the code PHSBF13 before you pay
  • and get a massive 40% off the price.
  • Download your chosen MP3s
  • Relax and give yourself the chance to heal

If you think any of your own blog-readers might benefit, all you need to do is re-blog this post and the same code will be available for all your readers as well, right up to 31st August this year.

Given the positive feedback I’ve had so far, you might be surprised at just how glad you are that you read this.

I know I am.

Over the next weeks and months I’ll be designing, writing and recording more downloads and gradually adding them to the Shop once they’ve been tested and refined.

As always, I welcome feedback. Especially on these.

Once again, many thanks and welcome to my brave new world.

Hypnotherapy MP3 Downloads

If only you could hear
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

Another Way is Possible.

This is the very first Guest Post on this blog and I’m excited for the future.

So welcome to my very first guest blogger, who is none other than Grace Quantock, wellness provocateur, writer and founder of Healing Boxes CIC and Sick Chick to Trail Blazer. She is thriving with multiple autoimmune illnesses and lives in south Wales. Feel free to join the Trail Blazers’ Movement by signing up to the newsletter at and follow Grace on twitter @grace_quantock

Another Way is Possible.

This is an urgent SOS sent direct to your hopeful heart. The way things are now is not the way they must stay. There is a place between cured and always sick, and you can play there.

I am writing this to you now, but I am also writing to the me I was 5 years ago.

Slumped in an old brown arm chair in front of a window that faced a blue tit’s nest, I stared at the tiny black box of a TV. I was dressed in a blue checkered cotton shirt of my husband’s, worn soft with age and I had crawled to the armchair directly from bed.

I was tired, my days seemed filled with insurmountable tasks – like moving, dressing or brushing my teeth.

And after all the diagnostic dead ends that we had reached over and over, the doctors and I all puzzled about where to go from here. How to even begin to correct my recaltricant body back onto a healthy path?

I realised that under all that, under the pain, and all the exhaustion, I was bored.

Truly, utterly, incalculably bored.

I hadn’t planned for my life to go like this (who does?) but once I’d cried myself out, I’d slumped in bed and spent months gazing at ‘Friends’ and wondering if I could ever get my hair to go like Rachel’s if I couldn’t lift a hairbrush.

But TV is boring and ultimately, I wanted to know, now I was stuck with these illnesses, what was I going to do with my life?

The answer to that came gradually, but it began in the moment I asked that question.

Because struggling under the weight of an illness is not our only option. We do have hope and access to support – I’m not talking cures, I’m talking about ways we can learn to live well with the challenges we face.

We can learn how to rock our hospital appointments

Make a check-list of packing to support us

Learn how to deal with a new diagnosis

Rehabilitate our attitudes to rest

Find ways to deal with our emotional tangles

And turn our challenges into leverage. 

I know you are amazing and I want to be part of a world in which your talents are expressed and enjoyed. I believe they are too important to allow illness to hold them back.

Are you with me?

Related Articles :

Pain, Procrastination and Broken Cycles (Posts of Hypnotic Suggestion)

A Slice of Time and a Tortoise Kebab, Please (Posts of Hypnotic Suggestion)

You’ve Got the Power (Posts of Hypnotic Suggestion)

just chillin' © Tony Burkinshaw 2013

just chillin’
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

Sergeant Majors, Maccy Ds & a nice bowl of fruit.

If how I’ve felt for the last three days is any guide to the amount of tox that’s being released by this diet then I should be feeling on top of the world by Wednesday. Right now, I’m just hoping that the headaches, nausea and tiredness will be worth it.

I don’t do these detox diets often, partly because I don’t like choosing to feel really manky the next day but mostly because by the time I need one, I can’t be bothered with the hassle and rethink of all the auto-recipes I use. Fortunately I have Gill, who came to the rescue both for me and her as she took an executive decision, to which she is legally entitled what with being on the board of Burkinshaw Consulting Limited, (the company that Tony Burkinshaw Cognitive Hypnotherapy trades under), and after extensive research judging by the number of laptop hours she invested in the venture, she laid it on the line as to which particular detox we would pursue.

This one majors on juicing, although we do have alternatives of soup or brown rice and steamed vegetables. For a treat. Obviously.

I’ve never really got my head around the benefits of juicing. I absolutely get it that the juices of raw vegetables and fruit, particularly of the organic variety, are full of vitamins and enzymes together with a shed load of that catch word of dietitians the world over ‘nutrients’. These are good for the body because our evolutionary path was very much via the hunter-gatherer root, (pardon the pun), and we evolved with raw fruit and vegetables as one of our main sources of energy, vitamins, minerals, (it’s always good to have a smidgen of dirt knocking about on your food – that’s where a lot of the minerals are, after all). At the end of the day, we function better eating the food we were designed to eat.

This makes sense. Unlike MacDonald’s and its ilk, (a sort of miniature Elk, I’m told), who firmly believe that we need a large dose of manufactured foodstuffs carefully designed to keep us going or, more likely, coming back for more depending on your point of view. Not that I’m averse to the odd Maccy D’s every now and then, I don’t want to get all evangelical about this. This is a personal detox after all, not one that I have any intention of recruiting you to.

So why the hell am I putting you through all of this dietary nonsense? Basically its this.

I was surprised by the degree of feeling proper crap that has come about as a consequence of this round of detox, together with a minor sideline about juicing which I have yet to some back and finish off. Think of it as a looped metaphor. It will all come together in the  end. I hope. I haven’t planned this particular post out, so I’m not entirely certain that I’ll succeed. Let me know how it goes.

As is my wont, this has got me thinking, difficult though that may be in my current state of fluxing toxins. If you’re one of the ever-increasing number of regular readers of this blog, many thanks to you. By the way, did you know there have been very nearly one hundred and fifty new followers of this blog in the last month? Neither did I until I decided to count them up just now. I was, to put it mildly, pretty gobsmacked and slightly in awe of you all. Meanwhile back to the future, (good idea, pity they had to go through three evolutions to get to make the one they most wanted to, although I suspect there’d have been a good deal more dust and grime than the film seemed to think was apt for the wild and the west).

Anyway. You’ll probably have noticed that one of the themes running through this blog is that there is such a thing as the mind-body connection. You know, whereby what you thinks affects how you feel and how you feel affects how your body responds and how your body responds affects your health, which then goes and affects every damn thing you’ve just read through and sets up one or more of those vicious circles, although why they’re vicious and not just negative feedback loops is probably all down to marketing and advertising. Eh, Rachael?

Mostly, however, I’ve focussed on how past experience affects stress, anxiety, fertility and how we hold pain, finding it almost impossible to let these go without someone showing us the way.

I’ve not talked much about how constant pressure from the world affects your general state of health whilst you’re still coping, albeit you may not be particularly at peace with the world or revelling in unbridled happiness. It’s a bit like the situation Jonathan Miller referred to way back in the 70’s when he talked about the idea that becoming ill was a tactical choice we make at the point we find we can no longer function. Think about it. If you have a cold, you tend to go to work, look after the family, and generally function normally other than a tendency to moan a lot or act like a true martyr not complaining at all whilst making sure that everybody knows that you’re not complaining at all. You know the type. I’m not letting on which one I am.

It gets different if the initial cold turns out to be ‘flu by which I mean actual influenza and not just that your cold is far worse than everyone else’s. I’m talking about temperature spikes, the shivers, hallucination, chronic muscle ache, migraine style headaches, you can’t see properly and it’s pretty much impossible to move let alone think. That sort of ‘flu.

There comes a point in the progress of wellness to ‘flu where you’ve been struggling on, forcing yourself to function way beyond where it was sensible to stop because you don’t want to let anyone down. And then, despite your best efforts, you can’t make it in to work, (always assuming that you thought it was worth making an effort in the first place). You decide that you can’t carry on. And what happens? Your mindset changes from being unwell to being ill. You take yourself off to bed and can’t get out of it for three days.

You went from hero to zero in 60 seconds. This is what Jonathan Miller was referring to when he said becoming ill was a choice. He absolutely didn’t mean that we choose to bring illness on ourselves, he meant that there is a point beyond which each individual tallies up the pros & cons of forcing yourself forwards and once that reaches a sufficiently negative tally, (which is different for every person and situation), you make a choice to down tools and enter a self-protection mode of being. You shut down as much as possible so your body can recover and recuperate. You move from being unwell but functioning normally, to being ill.

This is why some people can ‘soldier on’ (where do you think that phrase came from – there are way more important things on your mind than being ill when life or death threatens, including having to face down a drill-sergeant bellowing in your ear to stop being a whatever it is he’s telling you to stop being and which is way too impolite for this post), and others can’t. (Back track, it does read correctly, honest). It all depends on you personal tally and your personal situation both external, (caring for children is a big driver to continue functioning), and internal, (your father despised weakness so your unconscious is locked into ‘we’ll show him’ and you’re never going to give in. Even though he died fifteen years ago).

It’s a fairly obvious changeover with illness or injury. At one moment you can carry on, at the next a switch flicks and you can’t. Decision made. The cons outweigh the pros. It may be an unconscious decision but it is a decision nonetheless. According to Jonathan.

Unfortunately, it’s more subtle with stressors of the mind. If the particular stressor is slow and insidious, you may not even notice just how much pressure you’ve been under. If the pain is ongoing and permanent, then even at a level most people could handle for an hour or so, after six moths and longer it gets tougher to function. It drags you down. Yet you may not have reached that point that your unconscious flips the recovery switch and shuts you down. Sometimes it just doesn’t notice how tough it’s got.

Enter again the mind-body connection. If you’ve been under prolonged stress, low-grade illness, long-term pain at a level which hasn’t stopped you functioning, you’ve never been dumped into recovery mode by your unconscious. So the mind-body connection link has been working in full reverse for some time, storing up the negative processes which have followed as a direct result of this long-term difficulty. Guess what one of the consequences is?

Your body doesn’t metabolise particularly well. You crave foods that give short-term relief because that’s the nearest thing you can get to looking after yourself. You slowly deplete your body of essential long-term micro-nutrients and don’t metabolise away the build up of waste. Toxins.

Enter the detox diet beloved of magazines whenever there’s a lack of other interesting articles to publish.

So I find myself on one of these diets.

Why oh why am I so surprised that there’s apparently so much crap to be flushed out? I really should have expected it. Without any detail, because sympathy is not the aim here, here’s a brief resume. Since 2005, we found out that we all had undiagnosed conditions which affected our ability to function, I’ve had two (minor) heart operations, both daughters were diagnosed with serious and permanent health conditions, I became redundant and set up a business and Gill had to leave work for health reasons. There is more but so what, you get the gist. This has all been low to medium, (and occasionally high), level stressfulness. And it’s been going on in the open for 7 years and for many years before that when we weren’t even aware of it.

Most of the time I’ve been functioning ‘normally’, so that mind-body connection must have been building up a mass of wonderfully toxic crap in my system for years. No wonder it’s taking more than a couple of days of detox to flush it out. The worse the headaches are now, the better I’ll feel by the end.

See what I mean? If I wasn’t detoxing, I’d more than likely have taken to my bed feeling really ill and wondering what the hell I’d caught. On the other hand, maybe it’s got nothing to do with the diet and there’s a manic virus running riot in my system. Time will tell.

in the end, I suppose this post is really about those people who haven’t reached the point, mentally or physically, of having to down-tools because of their stress or health.  Sometimes the answer may be as simple, if unpleasant, as a detox. A change of lifestyle. Out with the old and in with the new.

Sometimes though, even that is too big a step to take. There simply isn’t enough left in the tank to consider it. It just doesn’t fit, doesn’t feel right. Yet you know something must be done. Over the years, toxic thought-habits and reality tunnels build up unnoticed and start to take over. Perhaps what’s really needed is a detox of the mind.

Guess who can help with that one? Feel free to get in touch if that sounds useful.

And what of the missing juice loop? The part I don’t get is that juicing fresh fruits and vegetables leaves an awful lot of ‘waste’ behind. But isn’t this ‘waste’ that self-same fibre these self-same dietitians promote in their other, non-juicing, diet books. The stuff that gives fresh food it’s crunch?

Whatever happened to a nice salad and a bowl of fruit?

Juice that!© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

Juice that!
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

Media virgin? Not any more…

I might have mentioned in earlier posts that I was interviewed by a local magazine ‘Only Peterborough’ about Cognitive Hypnotherapy and the role it can play in helping couples undergoing IVF and other related assisted fertility treatments.

Well, the big day duly arrived and the March issue of Only Peterborough has hit the streets. Lo and behold there I am, smiling in a not-quite-hypnotic style at the readers, encouraging them to find out all about Cognitive Hypnotherapy and, coincidentally, me.

The best bit of all is that I didn’t write a single word! It is all the work of Kim Hughes the magazine’s Features Editor. It goes without saying that I think Kim has great taste and superb insight into issues that need to be aired for the benefit of the local populace, (but then me being me I’ve gone and said it anyway).

The link below is a copy of the article itself reproduced by kind permission of Only Peterborough [available in all good shopping outlets in, you guessed it, Peterborough (UK)]

‘Only Peterborough’ article

As the more astute amongst you might have noticed, I’m quite pleased. Not only (pardon the pun) is it useful from a marketing point of view, it also gives really good information and whether people do choose to contact me or not, this means that they are in a better position than before. Nice one Kim.

So all in all, my marketing campaign has begun, my website and contact details are out there in the inter-web, even appearing on my latest Google Alerts email, (other good search engines etc.):

and… finally…

I am no longer a media virgin thanks to Kim & ‘Only Peterborough’

somehow it all comes together© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

somehow it all comes together
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

…and Greece makes it 50 !

OK. I admit it. I check my stats every now and then.

Sometimes they’re not so hot.

And sometimes they really make me smile.

Greece has now joined the party that is Posts of Hypnotic Suggestion and I’m really proud to welcome them as the 50th Country to be involved!


Thank you to everyone (2,880 of you!) who has read this blog and especially to those 170 of you who have joined up as Followers. It’s what keeps me blogging.

That and my over-active imagination.

And if you think your readers/friends/tweeters or FB buddies might like what I have to say, feel free to re-blog or share any of my posts. The more the merrier!

...and Greece makes 50!

…and Greece makes 50!

See you soon.


P.S. Since I drafted this post this afternoon, Nepal & Kenya have joined in making it 52 countries, I have had 5 more followers, bringing the total to 175 and I’ve just been informed by WordPress that this is my best ever day for new followers! A good day.

I have therefore dutifully applied the ear-to-ear grin!