Be Ready to Create Your New Life, Your New Way of Being, in 2015

Gradually the days begin to start earlier and a little brighter, giving us glimpses of new starts, tentative hopes of new enterprises, positive changes, moving forward into ways and projects that we have been dreaming of but have not yet got underway..  The weather still gets in the way, up and down, unpredictable, challenging our intentions and persuading us sometimes to sink back into lethargy and “hibernation”, not wanting to galvanise ourselves and get going with our plans for the future..

Christmas.. Winter.. Short days, long nights, gloomy dark mornings, oppressive early evenings, cold and clammy weather, defrosting the car, walking in the sleet and rain, standing in the freezing cold for a bus..

For Nature, Winter is a time to rest, take stock, regenerate, nurture the tiny seeds that hold the promise of new growth, conserve and consolidate energy, nurture the inner living spark, readying the ever-present potential to move forward, spring into action, grow and shine, when the time is right..  And we can learn and heed many lessons from Nature’s wisdom – taking time to nurture our inner selves, be patient, pace ourselves, reflect on the times just past, appreciate our achievements (and simply our being-ness and our survival..), dream and plot and plan for what we envisage or wish to be ahead of us.. Then gradually..  finally..  as the energies become stronger..  we start to notice the mornings are becoming lighter, the days longer, the weather (more or less..!) becoming a little more forgiving, a little less harsh..

And, before you know it, you wonder where the days and weeks have gone..!  And, believe it or not, we are now in the rapid run up to the Spring Equinox – well okay, there is still a little way to go yet..  And there have been so many jobs to do and stuff to attend to after the brief respite (or not!) of the so-called Festive Season, that all of a sudden, weeks have gone by and we are well into 2015..!!  Can you believe it?  Already nearly 2 months into the New Year..  and more than that, 15 years into the New Millennium!?  Well, isn’t it about time we started to get our act together to get going on co-creating the New World, New Earth, that many of us have dreamed of and planned for?  It may be a grand cooperative vision of a new harmonious, supportive and blissful all-encompassing Community on Earth.  Or is may be a personal vision of self-respect, self-expression, self-love and self-appreciation, and expressing our own, individual, unique, beautiful, creative way of being, giving, functioning and living.  Or perhaps, and maybe more likely, it is somewhere on the myriad of states and stages in between..

What is in your dreams, intentions and inner visions, urging you to set in motion?  The impending Spring Equinox could be seen as a beckoning for you, and each and all of us..  an encouragement to start to see and have trust in new beginnings, new (and old) hopes, new projects, renewed motivation..  More and more, you start to see the signs that Nature provides, here and there..  and as you look, consciously, searching out, noticing, paying attention… the signs are there more and more..  Snow drops and crocuses pushing through the damp and barren soil, birds starting to sing earlier and earlier in the day, blue skies starting to appear more frequently, the temperature outside not requiring quite so many layers of clothes or gloves, the pale sun gradually becoming stronger with each day, maybe even signs of baby birds emerging from their nests, tiny blossoms daring to push through on the branches of trees and hedges..

The Seasons and Nature are great reminders of the cycle of life, providing us with their example of the natural course of things..  and, if we pay attention, giving us the teachings, the lessons, of how to let go of the past, the dead, worn out and gone.. and to consolidate and conserve our energies and resources..  rest and regenerate..  self-heal..  nurture..  and then, once again, when the time and conditions (opportunity) are right, to spring forth into action into our renewed lives, with new energy, trust, strength, hope, courage, faith, vision, inspiration, creativity and renewed momentum..!

Are you struggling to make the changes you want or need to make?  Can you see a glimmer or slight prospect of new beginnings, new ways of being, new hopes, new dreams, feelings of peace and fulfilment, thoughts of accomplishment, balance, cooperation, harmonious relationships, self-respect, uncovering and giving light to your talents and gifts, greater health and wellbeing, expressing your creativity and inner truth..?  But you can’t quite figure which way to go, what steps to take, how to shake off your fears, doubts, insecurities, feelings of inferiority, fatigue, inertia, muddled vision..?

If you are struggling with any of these issues or others, do give me a call or send me an email, and just maybe we can work together to find a new way forward for you.  See above right for contact details.

Amanda Jackson-Russell, BSc, PhD (Neuroscience), Hypnotherapist (MNCH (Reg.)), Emotional Therapist/EFT Practitioner, Relaxation & Meditation/Mindfulness Instructor (BWY Dip), Spiritual Healing Facilitator & Counsellor (MNFSH), Reiki Master Practitioner & Teacher (Usui Shiki Ryoho System of Natural Healing).

Stressed? Anxious? Meditation and mindfulness may improve the way the brain handles stress


Daniel Monti and co-researchers, at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, investigated methods of reducing stress in patients with a diagnosis of breast cancer. 18 patients who were not currently in active treatment were assigned to one of two groups: 1) those to take part in a mindfulness-based art therapy course; and 2) those to take part in an education programme (serving as an “active control” group). Those patients in group 1) underwent an 8-week mindfulness course that combined meditation exercises that stressed awareness of breathing and emotions with expressive art exercises to provide opportunities for self-expression. Patients in both groups were assessed before and after the programmes according to a symptom checklist. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was also used to assess cerebral blood flow before and after the study programs.

The researchers found that the patients who underwent the mindfulness programme had significantly increased blood flow to areas of the brain associated with controlling emotions and regulating stress. In addition, these increases in cerebral blood flow correlated significantly with reduced stress and anxiety as indicated by the symptom checklist. The findings suggested that the brains of those patients who underwent the mindfulness programme worked in a different way to those patients in the education programme control group. The former patients also reported feeling better.

The researchers speculated that methods that change the way the brain handles stress could help improve the quality of life for cancer patients. In addition, it is fairly widely accepted that most people could benefit from lowering their stress and anxiety levels. The findings of this study suggest that a programme of mindfulness could help do this by changing the way the brain deals with stress.

The conclusions drawn from this study obviously cannot be extrapolated to a great degree, as this was a small study, using a specific intervention of mindfulness, meditation and art therapy, versus an education programme (“active”) control group. Nevertheless, the findings showed that a programme that incorporated mindfulness was able to alter the brain and, correspondingly, improved the way in which a group of potentially high-stress patients handled stress.

For information on how hypnotherapy, meditation, mindfulness, relaxation skills, self-hypnosis, EFT and/or cognitive therapy can help manage and reduce stress and anxiety, contact AJR Hypnotherapy Surrey. See above top right for contact details.

Monti, DA, Kash KM, Kunkel EJS, et al (2012). Changes in cerebral blood flow and anxiety associated with an 8-week mindfulness programme in women with breast cancer. Stress and Health, 28 (5), 397–407.

What Is It You Wish For In 2014?


Hello there, fellow travellers on planet Earth..!

I was going to write a blog post about manifesting your dreams and goals in 2014 – and I may still do that – but for now, I would like to take a slightly different tack..

For many people – especially those who may be of a slightly introspective nature, but also those who have hope and aspirations for the future, but may have experienced numerous set-backs over the last few years..  maybe longer – this time of year is not only a time of reflection, to look back and see where we have been, how far we have come…  but it is, more importantly, a time to look to the future with renewed hope, excitement and expectation…  to remember our dreams and plans and hopes for the future…  to renew our faith and trust…  to galvanise our resolves and energy reserves…  and make the decision to GO FOR IT..!!

But again, for many people – especially at this time of year, when the weather and daylight hours are less than encouraging, and maybe the “festive season” has been less than rewarding in its “promises” (often fraught with disappointments and regrettable family discords..), and some may be suffering health problems and/or seasonal flu bugs or the like, and the economic “climate” of our societies has been so depressing and unrelenting – it can be a very hard task indeed to get that TRUST and FAITH going again, in ourselves, in others, and in the world at large, and to galvanise the MOTIVATION and ENERGY to get our lives moving forwards again in the direction that we want it to be going..

If you don’t’ feel this way, then fine, this blog is probably not for you, so no need to read further! But if some of this strikes a chord with you, then you will probably also realise that getting the necessary STRENGTH, MOTIVATION, IMPETUS and ACTION going for you would be much easier if you had someone to work with you, to support and encourage you, to help guide your intentions and keep them on track, and help you focus your energies sufficiently so that you are able to actually get on the road to realising (“making real”) your desires and goals for your future..  your life..  your self.. Now, you may have a really good friend or partner who can help you do this.. If so, that is fabulous – lucky you!! And I hope you acknowledge your good fortune and express your gratitude to the universe (and also congratulate yourself) for your ability to have attracted to yourself what you have needed..

However, unfortunately, many people find that they do not have the support systems they need readily available to them, for whatever reason..  or for no reason at all.. But, nevertheless, they feel in their hearts and souls that, given the right support, they might be capable of amazing things..  infinite possibilities..  the stars are the limits..!!  (okay, let’s not get too carried away..!!)

But you get the drift, don’t you? Unfortunately, none of us (generally) is an island paradise, living in totally self-sufficient isolation.. We all need each other, even if, sometimes, we don’t recognise it, want to see it, or don’t like to admit it.. We are in fact a world-wide community and we are co-dependent, and need to be able to give and take, offer and receive, support and seek/accept support…  from each other..

Let me leave the point there with you for now, and just say that, if you are feeling that you could benefit from some structured support in helping to get your life on track and realise your goals and dreams – whatever they may be – then I may be able to provide you with professional guidance, support and methods that could help you. Well, at the very least, I’m willing to give it a shot if you are! So please contact me if you would like any information as to how I might be able to assist you, or if you would like to have a consultation. Please see above right for contact details. I look forward to hearing from you.

(Well, in the end, it did kind of turn out to be a post about manifesting your dreams and goals..!)

Amanda Jackson-Russell, BSc, PhD (Neuroscience*), Clinical Hypnotherapist, Cognitive-Emotional-Behavioural Hypnotherapist, Emotional Therapist, Reiki Master, Spiritual Healing Facilitator, Spiritual Development Coach, Relaxation Skills Trainer, Meditation & Mindfulness Instructor, and Medical/Health Writer & Editor. AJR Hypnotherapy Surrey and Energessence Natural Healing. Epsom, Ewell, Ashtead, Leatherhead, Bookham, and surrounding areas, Surrey, England, UK. (*I am required to provide this extra information for legal reasons.)