What is High Functioning Anxiety and How to Spot the Signs

We often think of anxiety as something that affects our ability to function and is visible to everyone. This is one reason why many people with High Functioning Anxiety don’t recognise that they have anxiety, because they are still productive and able to function at a high level.

To other people, a person experiencing High Functioning Anxiety may appear successful, driven and able to cope with anything that comes their way. 

They may appear to “have it all together” and not appear obviously anxious but under the surface, they’re fighting a constant battle with worries, fears and self-doubt.

All of this can mask the struggle that is happening internally and make it difficult to realise that High Functioning Anxiety is present. 

How to recognise the signs in your own behaviour

It’s important to recognise when anxiety is debilitating and proving harmful, even if it’s not negatively affecting your productivity or success. The anxiety you feel is very real, regardless of whether it’s impacting day-to-day life or not. 

If you’re living with High Functioning Anxiety, you may see these feelings or patterns of behaviour in yourself: 

You’re likely to be highly ambitious and seek perfection. You may be scared of even the thought of failure.  This combination can mean that you’re very successful and excel at what you do but it can cause significant anxiety too.

Rather than avoiding situations that trigger anxiety, you may continue to push through and work even harder in a bid to fight the inner anxiety. 

You probably find it very difficult to switch off and are prone to burning the candle at both ends. By the end of the day or week, you tend to crash – if you manage to take time off at all. 

You’re likely to be a people pleaser who worries about letting others down and consistently puts everyone else before their own needs.

You may feel that you’re always a little too busy but are unable to step back or stop pushing through. 

Your social schedule may be crammed with activities, to the point that you often feel overwhelmed and are secretly relieved if the plans fall through. 

You may find yourself feeling irritable and frustrated very easily. Sleep issues are also common with High Functioning Anxiety, especially if your mind is racing at night. 

How can Hypnotherapy Help With High Functioning Anxiety?

Hypnotherapy can help you to notice feelings and patterns of behaviour that can be linked to High Functioning Anxiety and address them. This can boost self-esteem, encourage the mind and body to relax, improve sleep, as well as reducing the anxiety and overwhelm you are experiencing. 

Hypnotherapy enables deep relaxation, which allows the subconscious mind to be more receptive to positive suggestions and can bring about changes in thoughts and behaviours. It can help to rewire the brain to let go of unhelpful and debilitating pattterns and replace them with alternatives that don’t contribute to anxiety. 

If you want to explore the role that hypnotherapy can play in overcoming High Functioning Anxiety, I would love to help you to get to the root cause and develop effective coping strategies. 

About me

I’m an anxiety specialist and I help women to overcome anxiety and self-doubt, and live the life they were truly meant for. Together, we can retrain your brain to manage your self-doubt, build your confidence and reframe the way you feel about yourself.

Why not book a call with me to take the next step towards achieving a more Positive Resilient Mindset that sets you up for a happier and calmer life?

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Overwhelmed in Midlife

Does it sometimes feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day?
Do you struggle to get everything done and find it difficult to say no?

You may have been putting everyone else’s need first for years – maybe even decades. You may have been caring for others for so long that you’ve forgotten what it feels like to prioritise yourself.

It’s one of the reasons why you may be feeling that you’ve lost part of yourself now you’re in midlife. You’ve put your own needs at the back of the queue for so long that you may need a little support to help you identify what you want, and notice the skills and strengths that you already possess, so you can achieve your goals.

The importance of self compassion

It’s important to show yourself some compassion and look after your own needs. In a nutshell, self-compassion is about providing yourself with a loving voice, no matter what. Self-compassion is never selfish. A great metaphor is the safety advice you receive on airplanes – you need to put on your own oxygen mask first before you are able to those around you.

When we show ourselves compassion on a regular basis, we can cultivate a Positive Resilient Mindset, increase self-esteem, and build confidence.  Research actually shows that women who practise self-compassion have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Recognise that thoughts are NOT facts

Your thoughts aren’t facts, they are just thoughts, and they come and they go. Everyone has negative thoughts, but you get to choose whether you listen to them or not. This also means you can stop worrying about what others think of you – no one else is paying that much attention to what you are doing, and by the time you consider what they think, they’ve probably already moved on.

Talk kindly to yourself 

Imagine how you would support a close friend who is having a tough time in their life. Kindness and positivity would be in abundance in this situation and you deserve to treat yourself with the same compassion and love.

Whenever you catch yourself talking negatively to yourself or being self-critical, why not take a moment to pause and reflect. What would someone close to you say if they could hear you? How would they lovingly reframe it? Focus on this to help you to flip the conversation.

Positively reframing negative thoughts and self-talk can counteract the situation and give you a boost of positivity.

Prioritise physical self-care too

Self-care can be physical too. Relaxing activities such as deep breathing exercises, a warm bath, taking your time over a cup of tea or coffee and progressive muscle relaxation are just a few examples of this.

Prioritising sleep is another form of self-care.  Sleep acts like a secretary, sorting through the paperwork from the day. The secretary files away the stuff we might need for the future and chucks away the bits we don’t need.

If sleep does its job properly, we should wake up with our desks cleared ready for the new day. Creating a good sleep routine, going to bed at the same time each night and listening to a relaxation track really help to process the day.

About me

I’m an anxiety expert and I specialise in helping women to overcome anxiety and self-doubt, and live the life they were truly meant for. Together, we can retrain your brain to manage self-doubt and reframe the way you feel about yourself.

Why not book a call with me to take the next step towards achieving a more Positive Resilient Mindset that sets you up for a happier and calmer life.

How To Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Setting Healthy Boundaries

It’s nice to be popular and to make people feel good but it can come at the expense of your own happiness (and sometimes, your sanity!). People-pleasing can be a truly lovely quality to have and usually goes hand-in-hand with being warm and empathetic. 

But people-pleasing can also be unhelpful and harmful. You may sometimes feel you have been taken advantage of, and you may start to feel resentful and overwhelmed by the demands of others.⁠ 

By the time you get to midlife, you may have spent decades putting everyone else first and feeling unable to set boundaries or say no to people or situations that don’t serve you. 

Now is the time to put in place some boundaries that will protect you, your energy, and your self-esteem so that you can move through this stage of your life with confidence and self-belief.

Why IS it so hard for midlife women to create and maintain healthy boundaries and stop being a people pleaser?

Setting boundaries can be uncomfortable but boundaries are important for building self-esteem and maintaining healthy relationships. Saying no, when you don’t want to do something lets other people know where your boundaries are, and it also lets YOU know where YOUR boundaries are. 

Consider what YOU want

Take some time to think about your goals and what you actually want from your life. This can feel challenging and it may be the first time in your life that you’ve truly considered what YOU want in the future, rather than trying to make sure everyone else is happy. 

Prioritise your needs 

If you’re a people-pleaser, it’s likely that you’ve been putting the needs of others before you’ve even considered what you need. 

Knowing what your priorities are can help you to work out where you want to devote your time and energy and if doing what you are being asked to do is really in your best interests. 

Be selective with what you say yes to

As a chronic people-pleaser, you’ve likely been saying yes to everything that’s asked of you. 

There’s nothing wrong with stalling for time while you work out your response. Take some time to consider whether you’re being asked to do something that is both reasonable and possible, and most importantly, something that you actually WANT to do. 

If you take a moment to pause and consider, you’re far less likely to feel obligated to please others or be overwhelmed by their demands. 

Practise saying no

Understand that you CAN say no and it can lead to you saying yes to yourself much more often.  ⁠There is so much power in a simple no.⁠ 

When you say no to something, you don’t have to apologise, justify yourself or make excuses. I know it can feel scary to say no without giving a long list of reasons and justifications. But “no” is a complete sentence and it doesn’t need an explanation.

Saying no gets easier over time. The more you exercise your “no” muscle, the more comfortable it becomes. Keep showing up for yourself and putting yourself first, even if it feels hard and you’re tempted to go back to people-pleasing. You might start with emails or texts and build up to saying ‘no’ out loud in person. Practise saying no in front of the mirror if it feels really hard. 

Are you ready to say goodbye to people-pleasing and set healthy boundaries?

I specialise in helping women to build unshakeable confidence in midlife and live the life they were truly meant for. Together, we can retrain your brain to move away from people pleasing, set strong boundaries and find the confidence to prioritise your own needs and goals. 

Book a call with me to take the next step towards achieving a more Positive Resilient Mindset that sets you up for a happier and more empowered midlife. 

What Causes Anxiety in Midlife and Menopause?

Have you arrived in midlife and can’t understand why you’re suddenly struggling with anxiety and other symptoms?

You probably expected physical symptoms to come to the fore at this time of your life but the emotional impact of hitting perimenopause has taken you by surprise.

Rather than having it all together, your confidence has disappeared and self-doubt and anxiety are running the show. 

What on earth has happened to you now you’re in midlife?

This is a question that so many of my clients find themselves asking and I’m here to tell you that you’re NOT going mad. Understanding how your brain works is a crucial first step in recognising why you feel this way and how you can create change. 

It’s all linked to the delicate balance between rising cortisol levels (the body’s main stress hormone) and declining oestrogen levels. Oestrogen acts as an emotional regulator in the female brain and it has a similar effect on the brain as antidepressant medication. When oestrogen levels are low, it sets the scene for more stress, anxiety, depression and crazy mood swings. 

The adrenal glands have a lot to do with this, given that they regulate stress levels and are also impacted by the drop in oestrogen. Almost overnight, it can feel like you’ve become super sensitive to stress.  

But it’s not all bad news and you have more control over this than you think

High levels of cortisol can really affect oestrogen production, so learning to manage stress and anxiety is a great place to start. 

Hypnotherapy is a safe, gentle and highly effective way to reduce your cortisol and train your brain to be more relaxed in situations where you might otherwise feel stressed and anxious. When you reduce your cortisol levels, your oestrogen levels can rise again. 

What else can you do?

  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Spend time with people who lift you up and make you feel good
  • Make time to take regular exercise

The power to change how you think and feel is within YOU, and you can reframe your experience of midlife. You CAN feel calmer, more confident and more positive by rewriting your thoughts, beliefs and behaviours. 

Are you ready to say goodbye to midlife anxiety?

I specialise in helping women to overcome anxiety and self-doubt in midlife and live the life they were truly meant for. Together, we can retrain your brain to address anxiety, manage self-doubt and reframe your experience of midlife. Book a call with me to take the next step towards achieving a more Positive Resilient Mindset that sets you up for a happier and calmer midlife. 

How To Beat Imposter Syndrome For Good

Imposter Syndrome is that nagging voice in your head that tells you that you’re not good enough. Impostor Syndrome is an incredibly common issue and if it’s affecting you, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that up to 70% of people will experience Impostor Syndrome at some point in their lives and although many men experience Imposter Syndrome, it appears to disproportionately affect high achieving women. 

Imposter Syndrome can show up in different ways but the basis is always the same – self-doubt and self-criticism. 

  • You never feel good enough, despite everything you’ve been able to achieve
  • You doubt yourself and what you’re capable of
  • You can’t accurately assess your skills and competence and downplay them
  • You believe your success is the result of good luck 
  • You feel anxious that you won’t be up to scratch
  • You give yourself a hard time about your performance
  • You self-sabotage yourself so you don’t fail
  • You work even harder to ‘prove’ yourself to others
  • You assume that it’s only a matter of time before you’re ‘found out’ and exposed as a ‘fraud’

Imposter Syndrome is a huge disconnect between how you see yourself and how others see you. Others may see you as the successful person you are, but inside you may feel unworthy and incompetent. 

But you can rewrite negative thought patterns, and eliminate the self-sabotaging habits, beliefs and behaviours that are holding you back from the life you truly deserve and rebuild your self belief.

Here’s how to start doing this: 

Challenge the voice in your head

When that nagging inner critic starts to shout loudly, try this strategy.

  • Notice the voice and what it’s saying
  • Give it a name
  • Stand up to it 

Stop comparing yourself to others

They say that comparison is the thief of joy, and it’s absolutely true. Social media can fuel comparisons to others, especially if you spend a lot of time engaging with accounts that add to your feelings of being a fraud. Try to remember that most of what you see on social media is exactly what people want you to see. It’s much more of an ‘edited highlights’ rather than the true reality of their lives. 

There will always be someone bigger, brighter, richer and “better” than you and that’s okay. We all have different skills and strengths, so ask your friends and family to tell you what makes you unique and special. There is no one else in the world quite like you and that’s genuinely worth celebrating.

Move away from perfectionism

If you’re experiencing Imposter Syndrome, you’re probably an overachiever and highly motivated to succeed. This combination can push you towards perfectionism, and may result in you giving yourself a hard time if you miss the mark.

Start to remind yourself that you DON’T have to be perfect, because let’s face it, being perfect isn’t a realistic goal. Any action – including messy action – is better than staying stuck on the start line. 

Reframe ‘failure’

If you stopped every time you experienced failure, or encountered a setback, you wouldn’t ever move forward. If you want things to change you have to be prepared to make mistakes.

Mistakes are a normal part of learning and every setback teaches you something you didn’t know before. When you see setbacks as learning curves rather than outright failures, it’s much easier to pick yourself up and carry on. Failure just lets you know that you don’t know how to do it… yet.

Be kind to yourself

Self-compassion is one of the most effective ways to stop Impostor Syndrome. You need to understand that your critical inner voice isn’t helpful to you and replacing it with a kinder, more forgiving one leads you to being more hopeful and motivated. 

Showing yourself compassion helps you to recognise you’re only human and you don’t have to be perfect. Being kind to yourself stops the nagging imposter voice and makes it easier to achieve your goals. 

It’s time to change how you feel in midlife – starting TODAY

How To Improve Your Sleep in Perimenopause and Menopause

Have you found that your sleep has changed since you entered midlife?

Sleep disturbances are very common in perimenopause, as the brain experiences changes that can significantly impact your ability to get a good night’s rest.

You may have been a good sleeper until you arrived at midlife, only to find that hormonal shifts have thrown off your sleep. And that’s before we factor in the stress of the last few years and the effect it has had on our ability to sleep (which is enough to derail anyone’s evening slumber!).

What happens when we sleep?

Sleep is as vital to your survival as food and water, it removes toxins in your brain and body that build up while you are awake, and is crucial for your recovery and performance.

REM (or rapid eye movement) is a really deep part of your sleep cycle which helps to consolidate your memories. REM acts as a ‘secretary’ in your brain, sorting out and filing information on your behalf. It keeps the stuff you may need in the future and chucks away the bits that aren’t necessary.

If your sleep works its magic, you wake up with your “desk” cleared and feel ready and prepared for a brand new day.

The impact of poor sleep

And the opposite is true too – if you sleep poorly, it can be much harder to process your thoughts and experiences, and you may struggle with your focus and energy.

Poor sleep has a significant impact on mental clarity, performance and mood and no doubt you’ve experienced some of the effects of this after even one poor night’s sleep.

And then there’s the physical impact too, especially when poor sleep is a chronic problem. Poor sleep is linked to lower immunity, poor energy, low mood, irritability and weight gain. Given that you may already be experiencing anxiety, mood swings and brain fog now that you’re in midlife, sleep is an even greater priority.

How to improve your sleep

Make sleep a priority – Creating a good nightly routine that allows you the necessary space to wind down before bed can make a huge difference. Try to go to bed at roughly the same time each night for consistency and a time that gives you enough “sleep opportunity” to get a good night’s sleep. If you don’t go to bed until midnight and you need to be up again at 6 am, there just isn’t enough time to get a refreshing night’s sleep.

Stick to the same bedtime routine – Getting in a solid routine with going to bed and waking up can help to train your body to adopt good sleep habits and a predictable internal sleep pattern.. And yes, this does include weekends too!

Avoid caffeine after 2 pm – Caffeine is a very powerful stimulant so it can be a big culprit for struggling to sleep well. If you find it hard to sleep, you may find it helpful to keep your caffeine intake to mornings and have your last caffeine hit before lunchtime.

Switch off tech – Avoid using your phone, tablet or laptop for at least half an hour before bed (longer if you can). There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that using tech stimulates the brain and suppresses melatonin – neither of which is conducive to good sleep.

Breathe deeply – If you can’t get to sleep or you find yourself waking up in the night, try taking a few nice deep breaths. Focus your attention on your breath and keep returning your attention to it each time your mind wanders (which it will and this is completely normal!).

You don’t have to put up with poor sleep in midlife and there are lots of things you can do to start addressing the midlife changes that have impacted your sleep patterns. Hypnotherapy can help to dial down negative reactions and emotions and switch the brain into ‘rest and digest’ (or relax and chill out) mode. This makes it so much easier to fall asleep quickly and easily.

The state of hypnosis actually replicates REM sleep, which is great news for consolidating memories and relaxation. It’s not a magic wand or a quick fix, but with time, effort and a little determination, you can significantly improve your sleep.

If you’d like to find out more about how Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can improve your sleep, you can book a call with me.

How Online Hypnotherapy works

Online hypnotherapy became a necessity at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic but like many hypnotherapists, I’ve chosen to continue working in this way. I find it not only highly effective but also much more convenient for the majority of my clients.

Although I’m based in North Wales, I now work with all my hypnotherapy clients online, via Zoom.

Working online allows me to support clients from anywhere in the world and I now see clients across Europe, USA and Australia. There’s no travel involved and we can arrange sessions at times that work for both of us, no matter where you are located. We can work together in an environment that feels safe, comfortable and good for you.

All you need is a reliable Internet connection and a quiet place with no distractions, where you can feel relaxed enough to get the most from our online sessions.

How it works

Research conducted in 2023 suggests that online hypnotherapy is just as effective as face-to-face. Online hypnotherapy follows exactly the same format as traditional face-to-face sessions.

The session is split into the same two halves – the “talking” bit, where we discuss what you want to achieve, followed by the hypnosis.

During the hypnosis part, you become deeply relaxed and your subconscious mind takes over. Through a combination of relaxation and visualisation, you can focus on the positive changes you want to make, and start to shift your mindset.

The main difference is that we’re looking at each other through a computer screen, rather than face-to-face in the same room.

You can work with me to supercharge your confidence and self-belief, manage fear and anxiety, and stop your Imposter Syndrome in its tracks, even if you live on the other side of the world.

What happens if we lose connection?

There’s a small chance we may fall foul of technical issues during an online hypnotherapy session and you may wonder what that means for you.

If we lose connection while you’re under hypnosis, you can still come out of the trance by yourself, just as you do when you enter (and later exit) a trance naturally in your day-to-day life.

What you need for online hypnotherapy 

With online hypnotherapy, we need a few things in place to make it effective:

  • Because we’re conducting sessions online, you’ll need to have a computer (or another device) with a microphone and webcam, and a reliable Internet connection.
  • Ideally, you’ll be able to use this device hands-free and it will allow me to see you clearly during the session (from the neck up, at the very least).
  • You’ll also need a comfortable place where you can fully relax and won’t be disturbed. You may prefer to sit or lie down during the sessions.

If you’d like some help to set you up for working on Zoom, I offer a free 15 minute call to get you started.

If you’re ready to experience the benefits of online hypnotherapy for yourself, you can book a call with me to take the next step towards positive change. I specialise in helping women in midlife to supercharge their confidence, reduce anxiety and overcome Imposter Syndrome.

How Does Hypnotherapy Work?

How Does Hypnotherapy Work?

If you’re not familiar with how hypnotherapy works, you probably have lots of questions about what it actually is and how it can transform the way you feel and behave.

Hypnotherapy combines deep relaxation techniques with positive suggestions to encourage change at a subconscious level, which enables your brain to take suggestions on board. With hypnotherapy, you’re retraining your brain and reframing how you feel. It’s a way to intentionally train your brain to focus on what you want, rather than focusing on what you don’t want, and this can have a significant impact on how you experience life going forwards.

During hypnosis, you enter a trance-like state, which is perfectly natural and very safe. You’ve probably never realised that you drift into trance several times each day – when you’re so engrossed in a TV show that you forget where you are, or when you are on a long car journey and you can’t remember part of the route.

Hypnosis is nothing to be afraid of and, despite what you might have heard, it’s definitely not mind control. Contrary to the popular myth, I cannot turn you into a chicken (even if you want me to…) or encourage you to do anything that your subconscious mind isn’t fully on board with!

Visualisation techniques are a really powerful part of hypnosis and my job as a hypnotherapist is to help you to switch your thoughts around and assist you in visualising a crystal clear picture of what you want your preferred future to look like.

I help you to visualise a future version of yourself where your best hopes are realised, and the problem is no longer there. Since the brain doesn’t know the difference between imagination and reality, visualising what you  want to achieve in great detail, increases the likelihood that it will actually happen.

But visualising, without taking action, isn’t going to get you very far – it’s just wishful thinking. If you want to make changes in your life, you actually have to do something about it. So, the next step is to break down your goals into small achievable steps each week, which will make it easier to make your vision a reality.

Hypnotherapy can completely revolutionise the way you feel and help you to create the positive resilient mindset you deserve. A future in which you are a calmer, more confident version of yourself, and one where you feel strong and empowered and ready to thrive in the next chapter.