We caught up with bestselling author and number one hypnotherapist in the world- Paul McKenna to ask for his advice on how to get through lockdown- here’s what he had to say...
Firstly, how are you spending your time and what techniques are you using to stay positive?
I’m actually really quite busy, as I’m doing interviews for radio, TV and print (like this one) to give advice on controlling stress, insomnia and how to keep happy in your relationship. I do a podcast called Positivity and I’ve been recording some special versions of that to help people during this challenging time. To stay positive, I meditate and sometimes listen to my own hypnotic trances, which I’ve uploaded to my YouTube channel so people can use them for free. I walk my Great Dane in the park every day for an hour – scientific research shows that a 20-minute walk in nature, reduces stress. I also FaceTime with friends all over the world and enjoy an addictive box set – I’m currently just finishing off Homeland – what a brilliant show!
It is inevitable that relationships will be put under strain, so what is your best advice to keep the peace with your partner?
It is inevitable, because when you’re in close proximity with someone all the time, things become amplified. Plus, because there’s a heightened level of stress in the world right now, that can also contribute to conflict. Usually, arguments come down to an unmet need. Very often, rather than discussing these needs, people jump straight into personal criticism and that just escalates it. If you continually bring it back to what you need and what the person who is arguing with you needs, that usually breaks the cycle.
Parents will find their time incredibly difficult to juggle, what are your top tips for giving your best to both your children and your job?
The research shows that one of the things that people fear the most is the unknown, so, for everyone, it’s a good idea to have some kind of routine or schedule and stick to it, but also, remember, these are uncharted waters and all you can do is your best.
For those who are feeling the stress of this whole experience, how can they reduce feelings of unease and anxiety?
I’ve posted online videos of The Havening Technique. It’s a new psycho-sensory therapy which involves touch and lateral eye movements and is scientifically proven to be really effective in immediately reducing stress. Indeed, Justin Bieber recently endorsed Havening saying it had helped with his anxiety.
If people are suffering from insomnia as a result of feeling anxious, what are your suggestions for getting more sleep?
Some of the things that people can do include:
- Only sleeping or making love in bed. Do not watch action movies, or even worse at the moment, the news.
- Only go to bed when you’re genuinely tired, rather than trying to force it.
- Don’t have any caffeine after 2pm.
- Make sure your bedroom is cool and as dark as possible
Why should we all be maintaining healthy eating habits during this time instead of reaching for junk food to make us feel better?
Pretty much everyone changes the way they feel by external means – drinking, drug-taking, gambling, sex, shopping and, of course, food. In particular, those foods that are rammed with sugar. Understandably, given the challenging times we’re going through, people may well resort to food for comfort reasons. Next time you feel like want a snack, Ask yourself, “Am I really hungry, or do I just want to change the way I feel?” If you’re not genuinely hungry and you want to change your feelings, use the Havening Technique.
Many are focusing on the negatives of being at home with the family, but what good can come from being with your nearest and dearest so much?
It’s a bit like Christmas in as much as it’s nice to be with people you love but at the same time, you will know when you need your own space. Provided you build those boundaries in, you’ll be in much better shape than if you all sit cooped up in the same room - take that hour walk, read a book in your bedroom, have a bath. Make sure you have some ‘you’ time every day, even if it’s not very much.
What little things should we be doing each day to give ourselves a little boost?
I personally like to do a gratitude list, because even in the darkest of times, there are always things to feel grateful for. When you sit and make a list of all those things, you focus your mind on the positive things in your life and that makes you feel happy. You get more of what you focus on in life, so if you regularly, each day, make a joy or gratitude list, not only will you create good feelings in that moment, but also when you re-read it at a later date and then your brain will search for good things during the rest of the day, rather than the negatives. Please remember, challenging as this time is, it will pass.
How are you making the most of this beautiful weather?
I am lucky enough to have a roof terrace where I live and Hyde Park nearby, where we can walk our dog. Seeing flowers and trees coming into bud and that spring is unaffected by the challenges we face right now is one positive that I’m really appreciating now more than ever.
For more information on Paul’s books and Positivity podcasts, visit PaulMcKenna.com