11 July 2014


For most, life rarely runs smoothly, all the hearts and flowers you see in films are often the fantasy we long to buy into. Not to say everyone is moping around feeling sorry for themselves but reality dictates for the average adult, we have to experience the lows so we can appreciate the highs whether these are our day to day stresses of work, financial commitments, relationships, parenting anxieties, health and general wellbeing. It is very easy to feel like a bad day is in fact a bad life, when we are overwhelmed and stretched to the point where we start to question ourselves and what it is we are actually doing in this life of ours.

Some people long to live like stars basking in the limelight, others for wealth and riches, others for romance and love and for some there is only the want of a simple life with health and happiness being a key part to play. All of these may be different and as viewer in a virtually social world it is easy to look at snippets of others projected lives and feel inadequate, where you are potentially missing a trick.

But what if there were ways to think yourself happy? Rather than look for external factors to determine your wellbeing, perhaps it is better to raise your happiness baseline allowing you to attain more of a feel good factor in the day to day. I caught up with Annette Sloley, Clinical Hypnotherapist to see what tips and tricks we can use ourselves to create a positive mental attitude.

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Hi Annette please introduce yourself?

Thank you, Lori. I decided to take a career break after giving birth to my delightful son, and doing this enabled me to spend time with him, and have a think about what I wanted to do.  I wanted a change in career, in a role that would allow me to raise my son, but also speak to my core values, two of which are making a difference and helping others.

I have always been fascinated by the power of the human mind, and the role of the conscious and the subconscious mind in our daily lives, and its effect on how we see and view ourselves and the world around us.  What I find especially interesting is that we all have the ability within us to change our mindset and our lives in order to be happier, and we can train our brains to make positive patterns more automatic which, in turn,changes our behaviour.

Having had my fair share of anxiety, and depression early on in life, I was introduced to mindfulness, meditation and positive thinking in my teens. I continued to apply it to my daily life and still do so now.  So, after much research and deliberation, this led me to explore Clinical Hypnotherapy, and I went onto study Solution Focused Hypnotherapy, which uses well researched and clinically proven strategies to help people make significant, positive changes in their lives in a relatively short period of time. I am based at The Berkeley Centre, Bristol, where I have a practice helping people to overcome anxiety and fear, build confidence and achieve goals.

How can you generate a positive mental attitude?

Think in a positive way, interact in a positive way and act in a positive way.

You need to remember that you have total responsibility for your thoughts.  Thoughts turn into feelings, which in turn, inform our behaviour, and how we choose to see the world and the people in it.  There are lots of ways of learning how to think positively, one of them is replacing negative thoughts with a powerful positive image or memory, working on our self-compassion and self-love to help us manage negative thoughts about ourselves, and other people. We can raise our anxiety levels by negatively forecasting about the future or negatively worrying about the past. So focus on what you do want rather than what you don’t want.

Manage the information that you absorb, and make sure it is positive as it feeds into your subconscious. Don’t read a front page of a newspaper before 10am  in the morning or you will be willingly stocking up on the worst kind of negativity; the kind that is out of your control– our brains are so receptive first thing in the morning that we need to pay greater attention to what we take in. Avoid rolling news, sensationalist gossip and destructive and dark reporting. Think before you read the headlines on the news stand turn on the TV or switch on the radio. Take control and feed yourself positive brain food, listen to engaging podcasts, read inspiring articles, listen to music that makes you feel good.

Do not underestimate the power of exercise. Exercise helps produce endorphins, can help build self-confidence, reduce stress. Certain types of exercise such as running or aerobic exercise help with a process called neurogenesis, the production of new brain cells.

Have faith! It will happen. Positive new habits are created through repetition, treat your mind like your body, you need to work at it over time in order to see positive change happen. What is really exciting is when other people notice it in you before you notice it yourself.

Image via Pinterest

Please can you give three techniques to use when the stresses of daily life builds up?

“Breathing Deep”
An oldie but a goodie…and it is a natural resource that is underused.
Breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body and deep breathing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which is associated with relaxation. When you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain telling it to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to your body. Practice this when you are waiting for the kettle to boil, in the car, in bed before you go to sleep… OK, so this is how you do it: With one hand on your tummy on the area just below your ribcage, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth with a gentle ‘ahhhh’ sound, (you should feel your tummy rise and fall) Repeat, then breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth like you are pushing a feather up in the air….repeat….now in for 2, out for 2, in for 3, out for 3, in for 4, out for 4…..Relaaaaaaax…

“So What’s Been Good?”
At the end of every day, write down three things that have been good about your day. Maybe you would like to keep a ‘What’s Been Good’ Journal. Just positive experiences, interactions etc. For example ‘Spending five minutes appreciating a beautiful painting’, ‘Drinking a bright pink smoothie,’ ‘Washing the dishes before heading off to bed.’

By practicing this it will help you to end your day on a positive note, so that you can go to bed without worry on your mind, which of course directly impacts the quality of sleep we have, and how we feel the next day.

“Progressive Muscle Relaxation”
I remember doing this in drama class when I was four years old, and I still use it.  This technique allows the body to tense up and relax all the muscles which, after releasing the tension, alters your mental state and helps your mind to be as relaxed as your body. Ok, so you might want to do this in the loo at work, not at your desk!

Start by tensing all the muscles in your face, one at a time, your forehead, cheeks, mouth, jaw for 10-15 seconds, then allow everything to relax. Move down through all of your body.

Have faith! It will happen. Positive new habits are created through repetition, treat your mind like your body, you need to work at it over time in order to see positive change happen. What is really exciting is when other people notice it in you before you notice it yourself.

How as parents can we help our children to be happier, confident adults?

Children learn from what they see around them and of course they see lots of mum/dad during their informative years so here are three things you can do…

Manage your own fears when you are with your children.  For example don’t scream when you see a Spider or their learned behaviour will be to scream and fear spiders.

Move your child into a positive thought pattern by using the ‘So What’s Been Good About Your Day’ Technique.

Be playful. Kids love to play and learn through play so leave work back at the office, put yourself to one side, and have some fun, be silly, and play even if it’s just for 15 minutes and play, after all, it’s what they love.

Thanks so much Annette for giving us an insight into a happy healthy mind. If you would like to find out how Clinical Hypnotherapy can help you make positive change in your life then make an appointment with Annette Sloly on 0117 370 1177 www.annettesloly.com and via Twitter



  1. As someone who has had two doses of PND, and is a lifelong anxiety sufferer, these tips were really useful. I already practise most of these things, and agree that focusing on the positive things can be really helpful. Great post, really informative :-)

  2. Love this, thank you for posting

  3. So timely for me, thanks Lori, and your introduction is so well put.

  4. When my son was struggling at school I always insisted he told me three good things about his day before we tackled the difficult topics. Definitely helped.

  5. I have no idea where I've heard about the "so what's been good" thing but I do it with my 4 year old. I love the idea of writing it in a journal so we can look back at it.

  6. I write a weekly gratitude list to remember and focus on the positives. I totally understand thoughts eventually becoming behaviours x

  7. I really liked the tips about helping with your child's early years. I think blogs are a great place to document all your highs and lows and I am sure we are going to look back on ours and laugh/smile etc. Lovely post btw

    Laura x

  8. This is a really interesting post. I have found out things which I never knew. Thank you for sharing. x

  9. This is a great post, I'm guilty of not focusing on the positive things! x

  10. I so agree with everything that she aid. We have a daily gratitude session at home and I had CBT after a really bad depressive episode and it changed my life

  11. Brilliant post and great tips, especially Don’t read a front page of a newspaper before 10am in the morning or you will be willingly stocking up on the worst kind of negativity, I would go further and say avoid altogether at times when feeling anxious or sad. They just steal all your good thoughts in the main.

  12. Fantastic tips! It is sometimes hard to focus on the positives but that extra bit of effort to do it is always worth it. Thank you for sharing, this is very helpful.

  13. I'm a very positive person generally and I find that by seeing the best in every situation, it really helps me to stay that way x x

  14. Really interesting tips here, especially the one about looking at the positives from the day with your child. I've just started doing this recently, and I have to say that I've noticed a difference - it's great that these techniques can work so quickly.

  15. Love this post, fantastic post .x

  16. Great post and solid tips - another one would be to avoid the company of negative people, you know, the ones who drain all the happiness out of you by constantly complaining or bitching? Waste.Of.Time.

  17. A brilliant post with some really good suggestions and idea.

  18. love this. I've struggled with depression on and off for most of my life. Positive thinking really does help - telling myself that i'm happy and acting the part helped me loads. Great tips in here x

  19. I have never tried hypnotherapy for relaxation, but mindfulness most certainly works.

  20. Some great advice here. It's so easy to steam through each day without giving this kind of thing a

  21. Some great advice. As someone who works with young children I often get my silly on!! lol



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