“What does it all mean?” Understanding existential crisis (and what can help)

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If you’re feeling anxious, low and questioning what the point of life is, you could be having an existential crisis

“What does it all mean?” Understanding existential crisis (and what can help)

There are certain things that happen in life that make us question the meaning of it all. The death of a loved one, illness, the breakdown of a relationship or other life transitions. For many, the pandemic and the general state of the world have left us reeling in uncertainty and angst.

It can be hard to know what to do with this feeling, but putting a name to it can help. Everyone is different of course, but I think some of us are having existential crises.

What is an existential crisis?

This is a term used to describe that sense of unease you feel about the meaning of life, the choices you make and your freedom. You may be asking ‘what is the meaning of life?’ or ‘what’s the point if I’m going to die one day?’.

You might feel isolated, overwhelmed and unmotivated. This feeling may have come out of the blue, but many of us experience existential crises after a major life event. Some mental health conditions like anxiety, BPD, depression and OCD can also make you more prone to existential crises, but they don’t cause them.

If this is all sounding painfully familiar, know that you’re not alone in how you feel and that there are tools to help you break free.

Questioning the meaning of life and thinking about ending life are different entities. Learn more about passive suicidal ideation and suicidal thoughts, and where to get help.

What can help?

First of all, it can be helpful to recognise that an existential crisis may not be a wholly bad thing. It could give you the nudge you need to reassess what makes you happy in life and how you can find a sense of fulfilment.

When we’re in the midst of existential thinking, we’re zoomed way out. We’re thinking about the big picture and some big topics, so it’s no surprise that we get overwhelmed. Thinking in this way isn’t necessarily bad, but if it’s causing you anxiety, it could help to zoom back in.

Try to narrow your vision to your life and what you find enjoyable and meaningful. Gratitude journaling can be a helpful way to keep track of what makes you smile and what you find personally fulfilling. Connecting with loved ones can also help to lift any feelings of isolation and bring you back to the here and now.

Speaking of the here and now, mindfulness could also be a tool to try. Helping you ground yourself in the present moment, mindfulness encourages us to simply ‘be’, which could be exactly what you need.

What is existential therapy?<

How can hypnosis help you to put procrastination in the past?

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Nearly one in five of us are chronic procrastinators. Could hypnotherapy be the answer to help us stop idling, and get more proactive for good?

How can hypnosis help you to put procrastination in the past?

Procrastination. Who hasn’t been guilty of putting things off until the last minute? We all procrastinate from time to time, but why is that? Is it really due to laziness? And what could we be doing to instil healthier habits around all those little tasks we inevitably put off?

Why do we procrastinate?

The reasons behind why we procrastinate can vary significantly from person to person. Perhaps you always leave the laundry until the very last moment – the thought of all that folding and finding space to put everything away is your worst nightmare. Maybe you avoid sending in your expenses to work as the system feels overly complex, or it’s frustrating to find every single receipt so you put it off until the last minute.

Procrastination can often be confused with laziness or poor time management. However, procrastination is, by definition, an active process: you intentionally avoid a task, often doing other, smaller tasks while avoiding the one thing you just don’t want to do. When we procrastinate, we aren’t just putting something off, we’re doing so while knowing it’s against our better judgement (and often, that it will potentially cause us more problems further down the line).

One expert, Dr Fuschia Sirois, professor of psychology at University of Sheffield, said procrastination is “essentially irrational” in an interview with The New York Times. We know that it doesn’t make sense to do something that will cause us to experience negative consequences, and yet, by continuing to engage in a cycle of chronic procrastination, we know that we will experience more stress, anxiety, loss of sleep, and increased feelings of pressure. These, in turn, often create an outcome that is rushed, incomplete, past the deadline, or that may need to be redone entirely.

A 2013 study found that procrastination is, essentially, caused by our inability to self-regulate our negative thoughts or feelings around a task. These negative impressions can become attached to the idea of completing the task, leading to procrastination in the form of avoidance (‘I’ll do that later’), self-doubt (‘I’m not smart enough for this’), or even undertaking other tasks (‘I’ll just clean my desk before starting that report’).

Feelings of anxiety, resentment, boredom, frustration, and self-doubt can all lead to increased levels of stress, anxiety, self-blame, and lower self-esteem. Over time, avoiding a certain task can lead to these negative connotations growing, which can make even thinking about some of them feel stressful and overwhelming. In turn, this can lead us to avoid the tasks all over again, creating a cycle of chronic procrastination.

How can hypnosis help you to put procrastination in the past?

How can hypnotherapy help?

If you think you’re ready to take that next step in trying to overcome procrastination, it’s important to ask yourself: am I ready to change? Without the desire to change and improve, old bad habits are bound to return. Once you are ope

Is intimacy really that important in a relationship?

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Is intimacy really that important in a relationship?

Intimacy generally refers to the closeness between people in a personal relationship. Typically building over time as you feel a deeper sense of connection, grow to care more about each other, and feel more comfortable together, you can be physically and/or emotionally close to someone.

For many people, the more you work on deepening your sense of intimacy within a relationship, the stronger your relationship feels. But what if you struggle to feel those connections? What if your partner avoids intimacy, or it feels like you are growing apart? And can you strengthen intimacy after your connections have begun to fade?

We explain more about your most commonly asked intimacy questions, and share how (and where) you can find help.

Are there different types of intimacy?

There are many different types of intimacy. Fostering a sense of intimacy requires a mixture of openness, trust, and vulnerability. Physical intimacy alone doesn’t guarantee a deeper sense of closeness and connection.

While not all relationships will involve all kinds of intimacy, many romantic relationships, marriages, or long-term partnerships involve a mixture of several different kinds. These can include:

  • Emotional intimacy - being open with your feelings, thoughts, and fears (often leading to feeling safe and able to be open without judgement).
  • Intellectual/mental intimacy - sharing ideas, life perspectives, and opinions whilst being open to learning, challenging each other, and respecting differing viewpoints to create a sense of mutual respect.
  • Physical intimacy - holding hands, hugging, cuddling, kissing, and other physical touches including (but not limited to) those of a sexual nature.
  • Spiritual intimacy - feeling safe to share your innermost ideas and beliefs on the purpose of life, your connection with the world and/or divine energies. (You may have differing beliefs, but feel validated in sharing and discussing these, and may share underlying values such as being honest or faithful).

Other types of intimacy can also include experiential, creative, aesthetic, recreational, commitment, communication, and more. There are many different ways to build a sense of intimacy, bringing you closer to each other and strengthening the bonds that create and hold your relationship together.

Is intimacy really that important in a relationship?Read more

I can’t afford therapy – What do I do now?

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If you're looking for help but can't afford private support, you still have options. Here we look at some alternative routes you can take

I can’t afford therapy – What do I do now?

At the time of writing, we’re existing in a very strained time. More people are struggling financially as the cost of living crisis escalates. This in itself is taking a toll on mental health for many.

Even without this crisis in the picture, it’s important to recognise that paying for private therapy is inaccessible for some.

This doesn’t mean you don’t have options though. Here we want to talk through the different routes you can take to look after your mental health without spending more than you can afford.

Look into counselling on the NHS

This is the first route a lot of us go down. If you’re registered with a GP, you can access therapy for free through the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme. The types of therapies you can access in this way will depend on your individual needs, but include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), guided self-help (where a therapist supports you as you complete a self-help course, using a workbook or online) and counselling for depression (a specific type of counselling for those with depression).

There are several different ways your therapy may be delivered, from one-to-one and group sessions, to over-the-phone therapy and self-help courses. Going to your GP in the first instance can be helpful as they often suggest a therapy type and refer you. You don’t however need a referral from your doctor to access these therapies.

You can easily self-refer directly to a therapy provider in your area. Depending on where you live, you will need to be over the age of 16, 17 or 18 to do this. If you’re younger than this, you can get support from your local child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS).

If you do self-refer, you’ll need to contact the therapy provider and they’ll come back to you within a few weeks to give you an assessment (usually done over the phone). This is where they’ll ask you for some more details of what you’ve been experiencing so they can understand how best to support you. They will then let you know when your first appointment will be.

What can be a barrier for some people on this route is the waiting time. The amount of time you’ll have to wait to get treatment will depend on a number of factors, including where you live. If the wait is long and you need help sooner, you may want to look into the other options below.

Consider low-cost therapy

There are some private practices and organisations that offer low-cost therapy. This may be a blanket fee for everyone, or they may offer concessions for those on benefits or low-income households. Never be afraid to ask about these when researching private therapists, while some will advertise them, others will work on a case by case basis.

You may also want to think about reaching out to therapy-training providers to see if trainee counsellors offer reduced rates. Trainee counsellors will need to complete at least 200 hours of therapy work before graduating, s

Could hypnotherapy be the key to cultivating confidence?

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We explore an untapped resource in building confidence and self-love

Could hypnotherapy be the key to cultivating confidence?

Self-acceptance, confidence and self-worth are all subjects I’m passionate about. Why? Because I believe the lack of these can have devastating impacts on our mental health.

In building our sense of worth, we recognise our value and treat ourselves more kindly. This paves the way for better self-esteem and confidence as we realise our voice deserves to be heard and that we’re more capable than we think. It helps us build resilience and feel more able to handle life’s ups and downs. It encourages us to set healthy boundaries, honouring our own needs without guilt.

I’m not saying confidence is the sole key to mental wellness, but it plays a pretty important role. So, dedicating time to work on our confidence could have some far-reaching results.

There are many ways you can look at improving your confidence, from changing the clothes we wear to neuroscience-backed tips, but today I want to take a closer look at a potentially untapped resource – hypnotherapy.

How can hypnotherapy improve confidence?

Hypnotherapy for confidence is a type of therapy that works on the subconscious. This means it looks to make changes that we may struggle to do ourselves through willpower alone, like changing thought patterns and behaviours.

When it comes to a lack of confidence, this can often stem from negative thought patterns. Perhaps you’ve been offered an opportunity at work, but you immediately think you aren’t the right person for the job. Maybe you want to strike up a conversation with someone new, but your thoughts tell you that no one wants to talk to you. We often refer to this as our ‘inner critic’ and for some of us, it can be tough to recognise and change this voice because it’s so automatic.

The aim of hypnotherapy is to change these automatic negative thoughts. In her article, Three strategies to let go of self-doubt, cognitive behavioural hypnotherapist Morag Stevenson shares more on how cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy can do this.

“With cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy, you learn to experience a hypnotic mindset of deep relaxation, clear focus and concentrated attention.

“Together with your hypnotherapist, you can use this mindset to freely explore your current unhelpful thoughts and their root beliefs. Once uncovered, you can consciously decide to swap these out for more self-loving ones that power and revitalise you. You discover how to take back control.”

Hypnotherapy isn’t a magic wand that will instantly eliminate self-doubt, but because it works deeper than many of us can go consciously, it can turbo-charge your efforts, making everything feel that little bit easier.

Can hypnotherapy help my imposter syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is when we have fraudulent feelings, usually at work, where we don’t believe we deserve to be where we are (and are sure we’ll be found out one day). This phenomenon has many roots, but it often has ties to low confidence.

“Put simply, imposter syndrome is a n