Category Archives: Psychology

Relaxing in the bath

The artist Joe Fletcher Orr recently told Culture 24 that the bath is where he finds most of his ideas. Instead of a traditional studio, he’s planning on getting a membership at a luxury spa so he can spend time in a relaxation pool.

He’s not alone in the regard with which he holds the humble bath. Famously, Douglas Adams found it a perfect relaxing antidote to deadlines which allowed his ideas to mature unconsciously during bouts of procrastination.

Less famously, I, and others, find the bath an ideal place to perform mindfulness meditation.

Hot water, locked door, maybe some lavender essential oil, maybe some relaxing music in the background. Sounds an ideal recipe for beneficial altered states of mind.

Instant relaxation

Recently, there’s been press  coverage of a wearable gizmo called Thync, that provides its wearer with electric shocks to the head. It’s reported to cause instant relaxation.

I’ve no experience of using the device, but see no reason why it shouldn’t be effective. Shifting states of mind is something that we can all do, very quickly either unconsciously (you don’t need to be told to start pumping adrenalin when you’re threatened, for example) or consciously, such as when relaxing or meditating.

Nearly all of my clients have seen how they can quickly relax in a minute or so, just by adjusting their breathing so that they’re breathing out for longer than they’re breathing in. For those who don’t like the idea of counting breaths, I’ve used different breathing rhythms as the basis for a few music tracks – just listen and let your breathing match the rise and fall of the music.

Breath Of Calm
Relaxation Response
Breathe Easy

Rewiring the brain with meditation

An Australian psychologist David Roland , has written a book about his recovery from stroke – How I Rescued My Brain. In the book he describes how he effectively rewired his brain to be arguably better than it was before the medical trauma.

He used brain-training programs to regain basic auditory skills.  And he practised mindfulness meditation: “The evidence is pretty clear,” he told the Express, “even in an eight-week programme, that it changes your brain structure long-term.”

He also ensured that he exercised, enjoyed good sleep routines, ate well and listened to music. “Listening to music is a little bit of magic for the brain, as countless studies have proved,” the Express reported. “Scientists believe it’s because music activates lots of brain regions at once – attention, memory, verbal, emotion and meaning. One study in Finland among stroke patients who listened to music every day for two months found they had better verbal memory and focused attention after the trial.”

Roland’s tale is inspirational and the methods he used are available to all. Meditation and relaxation are much more than enjoyable states of mind and body, they’re drivers of beneficial effects throughout out entire biology.

Sleep well for a better brain

Psychological research into sleep sometimes offers us fresh insights into the benefits of good  sleep, and sometimes it reinforces widely held beliefs.

It seems obvious, for instance, that a good night’s sleep is necessary for health, well-being and optimal performance. And recent studies on shift work and sleeping patterns back-up this common sense belief.

The British Medical Journal’s Occupational & Environmental Medicine publication demonstrates that disrupted sleep due to shift work can prematurely age the brain and result in cognitive problems. Ten years on antisocial shifts can age the brain an extra six and a half years – it takes five years of normal sleep patterns to recover.

This is one more thing for insomniacs to worry about (as if they didn’t already worry enough), as some of them will end up with lifestyles emulating the worst of shift work sleeping patterns. My free eBook and accompanying audio download Sleep Well Hypnotically (on sale here at CDBaby as well as Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk & iTunes) is designed to provide psychological support for establishing healthy sleeping patterns. It is based on years of experience working with clients on a one-to-one basis and has worked well for many people already.

Sleep Well Hypnotically album released

December 16, 201301cdcov

Sleep Well Hypnotically – 1 hour 33 minutes

Hypnotherapy, psychological interventions and music to help overcome sleeping problems

Getting a good night’s sleep is important, not only because it makes us feel human the next day, but also because our physical and psychological health depend on it.
Hypnotherapy is a very useful psychological tool for combatting stress and effectively restoring our ability to go to sleep to its factory default.

In this audio, I have packaged some tried and tested methods and techniques from my work with individual clients who have successfully overcome insomnia. There are breathing exercises, with music, designed to counter the effects of stress, a quick method of self-hypnosis, a visualisation process, and a formal hypnotherapy session. There’s even a lullaby.

You can explore the contents of the album and make your own playlists as you go along. However, there is also a free eBook which accompanies the recording and contains extra background detail and a suggested plan for using the audio tracks. It can be downloaded from here.

The audio download is available through most download stores or direct from CD Baby

Sleep Well Hypnotically

book Sleep Well Hypnotically is an audio download with an accompanying free eBook that uses psychology and hypnotherapy to help those with sleeping problems resolve them and get a good night’s sleep.

It also has some groovy choons to help the processes.

Insomnia is very common. In Western industrialised societies around one third of the population have periods of insomnia in their lives.

There are some typical patterns to insomnia. Some people find it difficult to go to sleep, maybe lying awake for a long time before drifting off and then sleeping for only a short while. Some people keep waking up throughout the night and feel they’ve had hardly any rest. Others wake early in the morning.

In this audio and eBook, I have packaged some tried and tested methods and techniques from my work with individual clients who have successfully overcome insomnia. There are breathing exercises, with music, designed to counter the effects of stress, a quick method of self-hypnosis, a visualisation process, and a formal hypnotherapy session. There’s even a lullaby…

Music for relaxation, meditation, visualization, creativity, yoga, Tai chi, Reiki and self-hypnosis

andyoldfieldHypnotic Timeout – 5min 26sec

This is the music I use in my one-to-one hypnotherapy and coaching sessions with clients. It uses binaural beat technology and has been designed to aid the listener to go into trance easily. It can be used as a single-play track for a short session, looped to any length required in your mp3 player, or combined with other tracks I have composed as a background for relaxation, trance or creative work.

Hypnotic Timeout is available via iTunes and Amazon or direct from http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/andyoldfield

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andyoldfield2Relaxation Response – 5min 30sec

Synchronizing your breathing with this music, and concentrating on using your diaphragm to breathe out fully, will help switch on the Relaxation Response (a physiological response described by Dr Herbert Benson building on the work of Nobel Laureate Dr Walter Heiss and his own research at Harvard medical School) which is the physiological key to activating the parasympathetic nervous system and beginning to counter the bio-chemical effects of stress. This response is one of the reasons why meditation and similar trance states are so good at helping alleviate many stress-related conditions.

This track also uses binaural beat technology and has been designed to aid the listener to go into trance easily. It can be used as a single-play track for a short session, looped to any length required in your mp3 player, or combined with other tracks I have composed as a background for relaxation, trance or creative work.

Relaxation Response is available via iTunes and Amazon or direct from CD Baby

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andyoldfield3Rapid Relaxation – 3min 30sec

Some users of the Relaxation Response single said that they found it difficult to get into meditative 7-11 breathing straightaway, particularly when they are highly stressed or agitated.

Rapid Relaxation is designed to lead the listener quickly into relaxing meditative brainwave states by combining music and binaural beat technology with structured breath-deepening. The structure of the stage-shift cycle is from a high-energy state of everyday beta consciousness through the deep theta relaxation characteristic of near-sleep to a relaxed meditative alpha state that helps to fire the Relaxation Response and all the physiological and psychological benefits that entails.

To move from a state of high energy to one of relaxation, simply synchronise your breathing with that on the audio, inhaling with the rising tune and exhaling as it falls, pushing those last bits of air out of your lungs with your diaphragm.

This track is ideal deal for preceding the Relaxation Response and Hypnotic Timeout singles to make a meditation/relaxation soundtrack lasting just under 15 minutes.

Rapid Relaxation is available via iTunes and Amazon or direct from CD Baby.