Stuck in a rut? Here’s how to get out…

We can define ‘stuck in a rut’ as any area of life we want to change but can’t seem to bring about that change. We want to lose weight but can’t seem to change our lifestyle habits. We want to progress in work but are afraid to speak up or put ourselves out there. We want to meet someone but feel too bad about ourselves and can’t handle another rejection.
If we lack motivation, courage, information as to how; if we are scared or embarrassed or frustrated going round in circles then what can be done about that?
First thing is to get clear on the ‘why’ we want this change – and make it as emotionally compelling as possible.
Two ways to look at this:
1) what will happen to me / my relationships / my health / my finances if I don’t make the change in 6 months time, 1 years time, 5 years time – THIS IS THE PAIN/COST of not changing and
2) what will it be like making progress towards changing and making the change for real in 6 months time, 1 years time, 5 years time – THIS IS THE BENEFIT/RESULT.
When we find a compelling and moving ‘why’ – we often find all the motivation necessary to change. It has to become a ‘must’ rather than a ‘nice to have’.
Then – get support. Change means rewiring the brain so that we can be consistent and follow through on making our goal happen. We will be met with challenges and set backs. We will have to face fears and limitations head on and we will need to go beyond them. This is difficult, so respect the challenge for what it is and get support.

There are many means of support:

1) Write out the goal – in clear language as if it’s already achieved. Use emotional compelling language and images. Put the goal somewhere you see it often (e.g fridge, car visor) and pay attention to it, focus on it, tend to it….and take ACTION.
2) Make yourself publically accountable. Record a video of yourself declaring your intention (e.g target weight, target for business and so on) and post it on social media. This has been proven to help people stay focused and incentivised to follow through on the goal.
3) Ask for higher help and surrender to a higher power i.e pray: AA calls this the God of your understanding or we can think of it as our higher self, our transcendent self, angels etc. The act of faith in something greater than the problem being able to assist us to go beyond where we are stuck brings hope and belief when we lack it.
4) Get coached or therapy – a coach helps keep us on track, supports us through the tougher moments and works through the negative limitations holding us back. Change is usually quicker and easier with someone who can guide us through it.
5) Ask for help from friends and family.
6) Stack the odds in our favour by getting the environment (house, car, workplace) set up to succeed. Environment trumps will. Not having the option of icecream in the house is easier than trying to resist it. Keeping a gratitude journal of listed positive things helps when we are beset with self-doubt.
7) Read and study those who have done what you want to do – and then act, think, feel like they do. Mirror, mimic and follow them. If there is someone who will let you shadow them then do that.
8) Watch, read and listen to inspirational and motivational documentaries, books, stories and so on. And then take ACTION!
9) Join a meet up or facebook group or other appropriate group that will support.
So to get out of the rut:
1) find out why you MUST change
2) respect the challenge for what it is and
3) get support.
It’s my pleasure to facilitate change work, so if you feel stuck in a rut please feel free to contact me and we can see about getting you un-suck.
Change is easier that you may think.
Wishing you a lovely week.
087 2201 453

GOOD NEWS: To fix anxiety, depression and obesity; fix gut bacteria.

What if overcoming excessive nervousness, low mood, low appetite or binging was as simple as eating more veggies?
gut microbes
By gut bacteria manipulating just two neuro transmitters they profoundly influence our mood and behaviour – whether we are anxious or relaxed, how much and well we sleep and how much we eat.
The gut has a kind of ‘brain’ (about 500 million neurons, not many less than the brain) and it produces neuro transmitters. The two main ones are 1) dopamine (50% produced in gut) which is responsible for feelings of reward, pleasure and compulsions and 2) Serotonin (almost all is produced in the gut) which regulates our mood, memory, sleep and cognition. Deficiency in serotonin is linked to depression.
There are hormones produced in the gut that regulate appetite; hormones that signal feelings of hunger and hormones that signal feelings of satiety and fullness and it’s the balance of these two that determines appetite – how much and when we eat. Gut bacteria can alter the levels of these hormones.
The type of food we eat selects for certain types of bacteria which in turn gives us feedback that result in us eating more of the same food. For example eating processed food causes the bacteria that thrive on processed food to grow and they influence our desire to eat more processed food. Likewise eating whole plant based foods cause the bacteria that thrive on whole food to grow and we then enjoy and desire whole food (through the bacteria’s influence in our gut).

If we increase the diversity of gut bacteria we have a greater chance of normalising our appetite, mood and health. How can we do that?

• Play in nature and allow some mud!
Probiotics to support the growth of healthy bacteria – through supplements, yogurts, fermented foods.
Prebiotics – these feed the healthy bacteria which eat different types of sugars; Inulin, FructoOligoSaccharides, PolyDextrose, lactulose, lactitol. From: Breast milk, Whole grains, Onions, Garlic, Bananas, Honey, Leeks, Chicory, Artichokes, fortified foods and beverages. Can also come from dietary supplements. Fruit and vegetables are an excellent source of prebiotics.
• The healthy gut bacteria need FIBRE (soluble and insoluble) which is ONLY available in fruit and vegetables (meat, dairy, eggs and processed juice have no fibre)
• Can also have faecal microbial transplant – this is where healthy patient faecal bacteria is transplanted into very ill patient with excellent results.
Reduce processed foods, avoid alcohol, processed fats, antibiotics in meet and excessive use of antibiotics and other drugs.
A clean diet of whole plant based foods, exposure to bacteria through nature and exercise all long standing health advice has been proven to improve the beneficial gut bacteria and they in turn hugely influence how anxious, depressed, happy or relaxed we feel.
It’s simply a case of eat more veggies and avoid processed food for a few weeks and you’ll want to keep eating that way – and will feel the better for it long term.
Couple of interesting mice study:
• Put the gut bacteria in an adventurous mouse into a timid mouse and the timid mouse became more adventurous i.e gut bacteria influences shyness
• Put slim mouse’s gut bacteria into fat mouse and vica versa and feed them the same kind of food and the slim mouse got fat – the fat mouse got slim i.e gut bacteria determines appetite and weight gain.
Have a lovely week.
With Love,
087 2201 453

3 depressing habits and how to correct them…

With a ball of dread stuck in the pit of the stomach and the head feeling like it’s cloaked in a black cloud of fear and worry it’s very hard to get perspective or find any energy to make progress. Getting through a day is struggle enough – trying to engage but feeling cut off from others and thinking that everyone else seems to be doing ok so ‘what’s wrong with me?’. This is what it’s like when our thoughts are on a downward spiral. There can be many factors contributing to these anxious and depressive states but three likely culprits are the following:
1) Mind Wandering: It’s estimated we have 60,000 ‘self talks’ (thoughts, memories, fantasies, imagined conversations, planning etc) a day – most of which are subconscious. Many of us have not learned to focus our attention and commonly we let our mind wander undirected. It could flicker from 10’s of subjects in a few short minutes – much like channel hopping. Our energy flows where our attention goes, so mind wandering is like having 100 files open on a computer – nothing much is getting done, and the energy is draining – especially when the self-talks are worrisome.
2) Negative / Survival Bias: The brain has a ‘natural’ negative bias of about 4:1 negative or survival based thoughts to positive or growth based thoughts. We evolved and survived because we looked out for, noticed and handled danger. What’s fine and safe and working commonly get’s ignored. We are (mostly) no longer in any physical danger yet the bias still remains as a part of the brain. Coupled with undisciplined mind wandering this tendency can result in a lot of stress.

3) Spot-lighting. As mentioned the brain is wired to notice potential danger. Whenever we hesitate in our actions the brain ‘wakes up’ out of the habitual conditioned responses and is alerted to the fact that we are trying something new, going to take a risk – going off script. Example, we might have an inspired idea in a meeting but hesitate to share it; we might want to approach someone with a business idea or to ask them out but hesitate to do so. It’s the brain’s job to keep us alive and it does that largely by comparing this situation to past situations and employing the thoughts and behaviours that got us through last time. If we are deviating by changing our normal response the brain will spot-light all the potential risk (even imagined and unlikely ones) and blow them out of proportion. The resulting anxiety and fear is usually sufficient for us not to take the chance and revert back to how it’s always been.

Knowing about these built in tendencies we can counter them by developing three distinct skills:
1) Discipline our focus of attention. Make conscious choices for what we are going to give our attention to and be deliberate in developing the skill of focused attention. We will achieve more, be less fearful and have more control over our feelings and actions.
2) Deliberately work on the quality of our thinking to improve the 4:1 negative bias. Develop the art of gratitude, paying attention to what’s going well.
3) Act before we hesitate. Make a decision, choose to go/do/be and act. Hesitation will result in worry and ‘worst case scenario’ thinking so ‘just do it’. Don’t wait for feelings of motivation before following through on an action as new, risky, growth based choices can cause fear based spot-lighting to occur and that kind of thinking is de-motivating and is designed to talk us out of changing.
Left to its own devices, conditioned by survival bias and fear based ideas and inputs the mind can be a torture to live with. Yet, it can be disciplined, corrected, made beautiful and be lived with a lot more easily.
It’s worth the effort.
I’m happy to help facilitate change.
Feel free to drop in for a chat.
All the best,
087 2201 453

Easy to use tip to help low self esteem sufferers today!

Consider this: Feelings are signals. Hunger is a feeling that tells us to eat so we will survive. Thirst is so we will drink water to survive. What if feelings of, ‘self esteem’, ‘confidence’, ‘loneliness’ and so on are also signals telling us something to ensure our happiness and survival?
you change life changes
A feeling of ‘togetherness’ is letting us know we are bonded and cared for – a nice feeling that tells us we are included and therefore likely to survive. Whereas, feeling ‘lonely’ is uncomfortable and tells us we are alone and therefore not as likely to survive (social animals i.e people do better in mated couples, communities and groups) – so we better pay attention and do something about the loneliness signal (e.g meet up with someone for a chat) to improve our odds of survival.
For most people, in order to survive and have a meaningful life we need to be approved of by others. The only people who thrive alone are people who are bonded to nature and live in the wild and spiritual people who are very closely aligned with a higher/inner power. Everyone else live interrelated with others. The four main groups we need esteem/approval from are 1) lovers/mates (if we are attractive to others we can procreate the species and have support in life to rare our young) 2) friends and family (for fun, support, belonging) 3) work partners (to survive financially and be regarded for our work) and 4) our inner audience that is either encouraging or putting us down.
If we are esteemed by others (lovers, friends/family, in work) we are getting feedback from the environment that how we are behaving is meeting with their approval. We will then have a feeling signal of high self-esteem.
If we are not esteemed by others (e.g potential mates are not interested, we find it difficult to meet friends, our family are critical, our work is going unnoticed) we are getting feedback from the environment that how we are behaving is not meeting with their approval. We will then have a feeling signal of low self-esteem.
If coupled with external approval we esteem ourselves – i.e our inner audience is telling us we are doing well then we will feel high ‘self esteem’ and vica versa.
Understanding that the ‘low esteem’ feeling is a signal we can see that it is telling us to either 1) change our behaviour so that we are met with approval or 2) find another tribe or group to interact with who will find our behaviour acceptable and get esteem from them or 3) if external esteem is forthcoming and we still feel low self esteem then we need to work on our inner audience so that we can let the feeling of self esteem rise.
The important message is to consider the feeling of self esteem to be a signal. We can then view it as something we can use to our benefit rather than something that’s intrinsically wrong with us. It’s simply a bad feeling prompting us to pay attention to how we might not be getting our needs met and letting us know we may need to change. In this way we can take charge; we can improve our inner audience and/or change our behaviour with our mates, friends, family and work colleagues to get esteem externally and in that way the self-esteem feeling will improve and in all likelihood so will our lives.
Once we discover what needs to change we may feel challenged to do so. Yet support and advice is always available through books, on-line, in person with a coach or therapist, through support groups and so on.
If we were to understand and act on the low esteem signal the same way as we would a hunger signal we would greatly reduce our suffering and quickly improve our life.
I’m more than happy to discuss further if you are interested in dropping in for a chat.
You can get me at
087 2201 453

It’s February – is your NY resolution already broke?

4 steps to actually succeeding to change in 2017:

There’s always much inspiration and hope for change with a new year. Yet we tend not to manifest our new year resolutions. This may help to understand why AND what to do about it. If we don’t want to be setting the same resolution next year – then we have a whole year to rectify what’s holding us back & take meaningful action now to bring about the change we desire.
make change happen
1) Clarify our purpose.
2) Recognise the difference between the power of attention and the contents of the mind.
3) Develop and PRACTICE concentration and will power.
4) Invest energy wisely and with what & who is in alignment with our purpose.
1) Clarification of purpose. “Know Thyself” – this is an ancient instruction, given to us by every one of our greatest teachers. Spend time truly becoming aware of our heart’s desire. What is it that lights you up? If our dreams have been squashed or we have been controlled by conditioning or we have the bad habit of ‘people pleasing’, or have a pattern of disappointment then it’s likely that we have suppressed our hearts true longing – deemed it too painful to hope for, or for whatever reason have become disconnected from it.
Take the time and support (if necessary) to reconnect and clarify what is it we wish to contribute, who is it we wish to be, how is it we wish to live.
Set aside past hurts and explore: if money was no object and I knew I wouldn’t fail – what would I do? Who is it I love being with – what traits do they have or activities we do together that is meaningful to me. If I died soon how would I like to be remembered? What would I put before myself – what would I willingly sacrifice my time, life or money on?
Once we have clarity on your purpose – even if it’s not specific like “I want to open a soup kitchen”, and is rather a direction like “I want to be of service in a meaningful way” – we can start directing our energy in that direction and unplug our energy from what’s holding us back.
Really explore “why I want what I want”. Make sure it’s not a fear based or compensatory desire. Maybe we feel we want a bigger house – examine why. If it’s because we feel ashamed of our current one – then a truer desire is to gain a genuine sense of inner worth. Once that’s achieved we may still want a bigger house, but only because it reflects our worth rather than makes up for a feeling of lack of worth.
True heart’s desires feel good and both expansive and grounded – they feel unapologetically ‘right’ for you.
2) Recognise the difference between our attention and what we give that attention to. One of the greatest powers we have is our attention; energy flows where attention goes. Momentum builds in the direction of your attention. If our attention is scattered, there is little momentum going in any 1 direction, and as a result not much progress is attained in any area. If our attention is on the radio show, the traffic, the shopping list, picking the kids up from school, something you saw on facebook, that you’ve gained 3 pounds, the new person at work who’s bugging us etc etc – that’s a lot of scattered attention – and results in ‘same old, same old’.
Yet if we look at high achievers, in any discipline or area of life – they all have one thing in common – they are single minded. The Olympic swimmer – eats, breathes, reads, practices swimming and little else. The singer – eats, breathes, reads, practices singing and little else. The person developing higher levels of consciousness – eats, breathes, reads, practices spiritual practices and little else.
Once we know our passion/purpose – we’ll want to be like the singer or the swimmer and make our true purpose manifest for us.
The mind has about 60,000 self talks a day – but we can decide what we’re giving our attention to. And much like a well tended garden what we attend to will bloom and bear good fruit.

3) To gain mastery in the art of purposeful attention
we need a) gain awareness of what we attend to at the moment b) learn how to and practice concentration (it’s a skill after all, so it requires practice. Concentration is the ability to keep our attention on a subject for however long we require it to be there) c) develop willpower so that we can wilfully give our concentration and thus our attention to our purpose (to the exclusion of all other distractions).
When doing our daily tasks practice conscious concentration – deliberately, as best we can, give our full concentration to the task at hand. When the mind wanders, and we notice it’s wandered, bring it back and concentrate on what we are doing now. This way our ordinary life becomes our practice ground for developing skills of concentration.
How we develop will power is by consciously finishing what we start and by following through on our promises / declarations. Again we use our ordinary life as our practice ground. If we’ve decided to clean the house, give our full attention to the cleaning and finish the task and so on for all our tasks. Consciously acknowledge the quality of our concentration i.e the capacity to hold attention & give energy to a task and consciously acknowledge your will power i.e you made a decision and followed through.
Once we have developed the skill of concentration and willpower we are in a position to manifest our purpose; as all we need is unwavering attention and unwavering action in our purposes’ direction to bring it about.
4) Be very mindful of energy investments. Energy is invested through attention. A lot of attention invested in our goal results in the achievement of that goal. There are two things to be aware of here: 1) the energy that’s invested in others and the outside world and 2) the energy that’s invested in the mental world.
Outside investments – do we hang out with people we feel uplifted being around or drained being around? Do we watch, read, listen to TV, books and music that feels good or frightening? Do we spend time in nature or only around screens? Do we eat for nourishment or to numb out? Everything either enhances, neutralises or drains our energy. Pay attention to how we feel and choose wisely what we invest our energy on. What is aligned with our purpose and what takes us off course?
Mental investments: We have imprinted stressful, painful and upsetting memories that have not been cleared energetically / emotionally and they are an energy drain. We also entertain draining and poor quality thinking – investing in bad habits of doubt, fear, worry, worst case scenario thinking. These have got to be released, resolved and stopped so that we can put our attention on our purpose and achieve it.
Once we are clear on our purpose, have gained skill in concentration and willpower and are able to hold our attention on what is aligned with our goal then make an affirmation of our goal to keep us conscious of it and build our life around lining up with people, places, media that supports it’s fruition.
An affirmation is a concise choice of positive words that summarises our heart’s desire, have a clear visualisation of its fulfilment and most importantly FEEL what it would be like once it’s done.
Repeat the affirmation while visualising and feeling its completion to imprint our mind with our goal.
Weed out any objections – mental or external that block its fulfilment.
Affirmation Examples:

    I surround myself with financially successful business owners who will teach and help me start my own successful jam making business.
    I am ready, willing and able to attract a wonderful, loving and committed partner to share my life with.
    My work is recognised and I receive a promotion with ease and warm wishes from my colleagues.
    I love spending time with myself, feel so comfortable in my own skin and love myself unconditionally and totally.
    I am a wonderful parent and my children flourish with the quality of love, care and attention I give them.
    I knock 2 points off my golf handicap with my steadier nerves, consistency of play and


Knowing this information is the 1st step, applying it to completion of a goal is the next one.
If you would like assistance with any of it let me know and I’ll be happy to support you in making meaningful and lasting change in your life.
To your every success in 2017.
Ailish McGrath
087 2201 453

“Stinking Thinking” – the tragedy of having vicious self talk.

When we feel held back by our own inner voice telling us ‘I can’t’, ‘I’m going to come across stupid’, ‘they don’t like me’, it’s like we have a mental coach forever criticising us and putting us down. And we listen and believe that voice – it seems full of authority and true. How can we get on and enjoy life with an inner mean tyrant abusing us like that?
A while back I watched a ‘Would you believe’ interview with the world class opera singer Celine Byrne. I remember her story of how she could go from a standing ovation in La Scala opera house – attended by people who know what they are listening to and who consider her the best in the world right now – to crying in her room with feelings of depression and worthlessness.
The interview moved me and once again I was reminded of how torturous the inner critic can be. It doesn’t take into account all of the evidence of how good, accomplished or deserving of a night off of self loathing we are and instead just keeps berating us with negative comparisons and put downs.
I was privileged to go see Andrea Bocelli in the 3Arena in Dublin and for the first time got to hear Celine Byrne – his guest soprano – in person. We use terms like ‘amazing’, ‘world class’, ‘transcendent’, ‘unbelievable’ when we witness excellence and a human being expressing themselves at the top of their game and yet those terms can’t ever fully describe how we’ve been transported by a performance. She was all of those things.
If I didn’t understand psychology I would be dumbfounded to comprehend how someone that effortlessly competent, and instantly likeable, could complete a performance like that and end up in tears of self doubt.
Our “stinking thinking” is relentless, ever on the look out for danger, ever fearful of our capacity to make it. It can ruin our experience of life.
It saddens me that this is the case. I was saddened that someone who gives so much and is so appreciated would not be able to feel good about herself and saddened that all of the various techniques and practices that are helpful in stopping ‘stinking thinking’ are not more widely known and available to the people who most need and most deserve the release for the inner prison of abusive self talk.
So yet again I’m inspired to let it be known – we don’t have to keep suffering, to keep battling demons, to keep struggling to have a good day. And if your ‘stinking thinking’ is saying ‘well I’m not world class – I’m not that good at anything’ it just is an indicator that you are unnecessarily holding yourself back and limiting yourself by listening to such thoughts. There are ways out and those ways can be thought, learned, applied and you can get results. Anyone can. World class performers and people with more ordinary lives, all of us can silence the inner critic.
I’m always happy to discuss how life can be experienced with more ease and happiness.
If you’d like to have a chat you can get me on
at 087 2201 543
Have a great week,

Magnesium: Natures aid to Stress

If you have ever had a panic attack you know it is one of the most terrible experiences you can have. This information may help you from having to experience the awful dread, fear of losing of control, racing thoughts, and overwhelming emotions associated with panic/anxiety attacks.

Anxiety attacks are intense moments of an extreme chemical imbalance in the body and mind that can cause physical symptoms such as palpitations, dizziness, abdominal distress, shortness of breath and emotional symptoms such as panic, fear of dying, and dread.

This post is not about the psychological issues behind anxiety. Instead, it references the occurrence of anxiety as an effect of magnesium deficiency and/or an exacerbation of stress-induced anxiety because you don’t have enough magnesium to keep your body relaxed in the face of overwhelming stress.
Dr. Carolyn Dean has written about the biochemical cause of anxiety as it relates to magnesium deficiency and the adrenal glands in The Magnesium Miracle. The following excerpt is from Chapter One:

When the adrenals are no longer protected by sufficient magnesium, the fight-or-flight hormones, adrenaline and noradrenaline become more easily triggered. When they surge erratically, they cause a rapid pulse, high blood pressure, and heart palpitations. The more magnesium-deficient you are, the more exaggerated is the adrenaline release. Magnesium calms the nervous system and relaxes muscle tension, helping reduce anxiety and panic attacks.


When the body is stressed – and it can be for a dozen different reasons, our magnesium reserves dump this crucial mineral into our blood stream and we immediately become one of those people blessed with the ability to cope. We are both calm and alert.

If the stress continues and we don’t rest or replace our magnesium between episodes, our magnesium stores become depleted. Then, when you are faced with a stressor, the stress hormones (adrenalin and cortisol) do not elicit a magnesium response with its calming effect. In its place, adrenalin revs up your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and tenses your muscles in a fight or flight reaction.
You’re stressed out, not sleeping, tense and irritable and you don’t know that simply taking a good magnesium supplement could pull you out of that downward spiral.

Chances are you can alleviate your anxiety and panic related symptoms with therapeutic doses of magnesium.
The most important fact in magnesium therapy for anxiety is to use a form of magnesium that is non-laxative so you can take enough to make a difference in your health. That form of magnesium that we recommend is ReMag – a picometer, stabilized ionic magnesium at the highest concentration available – 60,000ppm.
The next most important fact is that you have to be committed to your protocol and stick with it long enough to achieve your desired results. Magnesium is not a drug that will suppress your symptoms; it is a necessary cofactor that makes the body function properly. You need enough magnesium to make all your enzyme processes perform smoothly, and to have sufficient magnesium tucked away in reserve. That does not happen overnight. However, within days or weeks most people start to feel somewhat better and that improvement builds over time.
Hope this information is helpful to you.
Have a good week,

087 2201 453

How to stop going red for ‘no reason’.

“My face burns hot anytime they ask me anything. It’s so embarrassing and for no reason. It could be just a simple request to pass something over to them or a comment on what I did at the weekend and that’s enough.”

People who don’t blush often find blushing “endearing” or “cute” and generally feel people who blush to be non-threatening and relax around them; but for the people who blush it can be a daily torture.
They tend to hate it. And as a result often times hate any situation that is gives rise to them blushing. They’ll avoid presenting, speaking up in meetings, asking for assistance, telling a story, chatting someone up. It’s so challenging for them to fell judged and exposed they try to minimise the amounts of time during the day that they have to endure it.
And many blushers go through life preoccupied with when and if they will blush and how to set it up so they suffer the least. It can be very restrictive and hold blushers back from achieving what they are (otherwise) capable of.
In the extreme there is an operation that some blushers undergo to help stop the blushing, but before it gets that invasive there are other approaches that work very well.
Hypnotherapy to resolve the emotional causes works wondrously well. As does an application of EFT (emotional freedom technique) and EMDR (eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing).
Most people who find blushing an issue can remember it becoming so – normally during school years – being asked to read in class or being singled out in some uncomfortable way. Some relate that it got to be an issue around puberty when we naturally become more self conscious. And others feel it’s been a problem from even earlier.
In any case it’s a learned response to a perceived threat and because of that it can be unlearned. Those ‘triggers’ can be neutralised.
I’m happy to chat about how being the centre of attention can become more comfortable for you.
You can get me on 087 2201 453 or by email
Wishing you a lovely week.
With Love,

Top 5 fears of presentation (& top ways to resolve them)…

This is how someone described a work presentation to me. “I can feel my heart beat out of my chest, to the point I feel dizzy. I can hear my heart beat in my ears – and it’s making me unable to hear or concentrate on what they are asking me. I can’t think of what I’m saying so I rehearse the talk and hope I’m repeating it properly as I’m not sure of what’s happening – other than I’m terrified. I just want to get through it. It passes – somehow I do it and I can’t remember any of it – it’s a blur. People tell me it went well enough but I don’t believe them, I think they are just being nice. “
Many people experience presenting with this degree of nervousness. It’s one of the most common fears I work with in my practice.

What most presenters fear is:

1) Looking stupid. Making and learning from mistakes as we grow and mature is part of normal human development. Some of us were laughed at and ridiculed when we made mistakes and that resulted in feelings of stupidity. We fear we could be laughed at again. Presenting in front of others often triggers the fear of looking stupid or being laughed at.

2) Looking nervous. Most nervous presenters dread that others can see that they are nervous. They hate that their skin glows red, that their hands shake as they point to information, that their voice has a higher pitch than normal or is also shaky. They hate that the nervousness is visible – otherwise they could handle the feelings –if only they could keep them hidden.

3) Being judged as inadequate. Some nervous presenters don’t believe in their abilities, have perfectionist tendencies and have huge fear of coming across as ‘not good enough’. The fear of being exposed puts pressure on the person and results in a lot of fear.
4) Being compared negatively to other work colleagues. Competitiveness is a natural part of our animal make-up. There is healthy competition. There are also competition fears: that we won’t ‘win’, that others are better, that we won’t be picked, that we don’t have what it takes and that we will miss out. We compare or are compared to others – implicitly and explicitly and if we feel we are lacking that brings with it much fear.

5) Making a mistake or not knowing the answer. Some people feel a lot of internal pressure about having to know the answer to anything asked. This can be compounded by external expectation that they know the answers also. With high expectation and an intolerance towards making mistakes or not knowing there can be a lot of fear – fear of losing the job or promotion or reputation.

To reduce the fear of presentations there are many helpful approaches:

1) Positive visualization, positive self talk and mental rehearsal for an enjoyable experience.
2) Breathing practices that help calm the body.
3) Inner child work to resolve the fear of negative attention, authority figures and of looking silly or making mistakes.
4) Self esteem work to build a better relationship with ourselves.
5) Skills development to become more competent and therefore more confident in our work.
6) Practice! E.g joining a speaking group or chairing meetings etc
Many surveys put presentation fear in the number 1 position. Most jobs require some presentation and many people are held back because of the fear. Please be reassured that it is fully resolvable.
I’m available to discuss how what I do can be of assistance to you, so feel free to give me a call.
I’m contactable at 01 207 9615
Or you can get me by email
Have a lovely week,

PHOBIAS: How to 1) identify 2) understand the origins and 3) resolve phobias.

Feeling intense feelings of fear, dread and overwhelm around a person (boss, attractive people, successful people, audiences), place (planes, heights, lifts), animals/insects (dogs, spiders, wasps) or things that are not directly threatening is considered to be a phobic response.
We want to avoid the fear inducing situation and the idea of it is enough to make our stomach churn and the body to quiver.
We ‘know’ we can’t face it and don’t unless we absolutely have to (e.g travel for work, go to dentist, give a best-man speech, go to a crowded seminar).
And when we do confront the phobia we hate every minute of it, feel more scared than even and vow to avoid it at all costs in the future.
Yet, part of us wants to be done with it, we want to get over it, we want to get on. Usually this part doesn’t feel ‘strong’ enough and we revert back to dodging what we’re afraid of.
Sometimes we don’t know that there is something we can do to resolve phobias.
My hope is that this post informs and reassures that phobias can be sorted out – very often quickly and easily.


1) Direct fearful experience that was overwhelming…
If, for example, we were attacked and bit by a dog when we were younger and did not get the chance to de-brief the experience emotionally i.e get over it. It can result in us developing a phobic response to dogs that is reinforced by feeling fear and thinking fearful thoughts every time we see a dog.
By releasing the original fear and changing our thoughts, feelings and attitude towards dogs we will resolve these types of simple phobias.
2) Conditioned and learned response…
We pick up many of our beliefs from listening to and mirroring those around us. If our mother screamed and ran out of the room afraid of a spider then we can – through feeling her fear and mimicking her behaviour – develop a phobic response to spiders.
We can watch frightening movies (read scary books, watch a documentary etc) and be hypnotised into being fearful of the dark, people in masks, being alone, sharks and so on.
We learn thinking styles from our family and people around us. We can learn to think catastrophically – imagining in full HD drama what could go wrong. In this way we misuse our powerful imagination and frighten ourselves with our imagination.
We can learn to think negatively and powerlessly and develop a relationship to the object we’re afraid of in which we believe ourselves to be less than or smaller than it (in terms of our ability to remain calm around it).
We learn to listen to a negative voice in our head and internalise the fears of those around us.
Sorting out our true voice from our parents, teachers, authority figures etc and making choices about how we think and use our imagination can help hugely with this kind of phobic response.
Develop the habit of asking yourself “who’s voice is talking right now?” or “who does this feeing belong to?”. It’s very simple yet also very helpful. We begin to realise how little of our thinking is our own true thoughts.
By becoming aware we can make different choices of thoughts and therefore get different feelings. This small yet powerful question – constantly applied brings big results over time.
If you are afraid of flying (or whatever you are phobic of) play a fantasy in your mind of you happy, relaxed and at ease on the plane. Listen to a hypnotic visualisation of positive suggestions and entertain it going well for you.
We can retrain our thinking styles and improve the suggestions we give ourselves through thinking and imagining in better ways.
3) Symbol / trigger for fear associated to something else..
Sometimes we have had traumatic fearful experiences that we haven’t fully resolved. We may not even consciously remember them. Yet our minds can project the unresolved fear into a symbol and it then triggers the original fear. We aren’t normally aware that this is happening so it can seem odd to us that we feel phobic of certain things.
‘Sponges’ for example: I remember a client who as a young girl in the bathroom overheard a particularly violent row between her parents outside. She froze in fear and found herself staring at a bathroom sponge. Afterwards she developed a phobic response to being washed with sponges and never understood why or resolved it until the memory was worked through.
Many of the more complex phobias like social phobia (intense fear of being judged, being the centre of attention, looking foolish, making a mistake), fear of public speaking, commitment phobia etc fall into this category.
We have past hurtful experiences of being made fun of, being ridiculed, singled out and embarrassed, being put down, abandoned, betrayed and / or abused and these hurtful unresolved memories are triggered when we are in front of others (in the ‘firing’ line).
By releasing the blocked and unresolved hurt emotions and getting a chance to de-brief our painful experiences much of what we are phobic of can be resolved.
Doing emotional resolution work, facing our fears or looking at our hurt can seem daunting and most of us would prefer ‘not to go there’. We have a tendency to minimize the impact fear has on our lives ‘it’s not that bad that I can’t fly – I like staying in Ireland for holidays’, ‘I’m sure I’ll meet someone naturally – why put myself through dating’ and so on. It’s understandable that we’d be resistant to change work. However for many there comes a time when it really is important and necessary to do something about the phobia – the cost of managing the fear becomes too great. Please be reassured that it’s never as hard or as painful as we might expect and often it’s surprisingly enjoyable to be released from life long bondage to fears.
If a phobia is causing you undue distress it can become something you got over. Many hypnotic and NLP (neuro linguistic programming) processes help as does positive visualizations, EFT (emotional freedom technique), EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) & coherence psychotherapy.
I’m happy to discuss how phobias can be fully resolved.
You can reach me at 01 207 9615 or drop me a line to
Have a great week,