The Gentle Mind

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and hypnosis and nine rules for a better life

If these rules look familiar they are. They’re 2,000 years old. They’re from the Stoic Code. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and hypnosis have shamelessly stolen them.

All these nine points are really the backbone of everything I do with my clients. CBT and hypnosis are simply tools to land these points.

1. Wake up early.

You only get one crack at life don’t waste it in bed. Also if you come to see me with insomnia and restlessness at night, it’s what I’ll recommend. Get up. Tire yourself out. If you can wake up and get plenty of natural light, that gets your body clock going. Then you’re going to automatically feel more tired in the evening. And then get into a pattern of having a good night’s sleep. It’s one of the kindest things you can do to yourself.

If you can’t sleep for stress and anxiety we can work on that. Lower those and sleep is easier.

2. Focus on effort, not results.

Don’t keep thinking about outcomes - winning, getting rich, losing weight. You won’t enjoy the here and now.

It’s put really well in, "The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership", a book written based on a series of interviews with Bill Walsh, who transformed the San Francisco 49ers from the worst team in American football to Super Bowl champions in 1981, 1984, and 1988. Walsh describes how he changed the mindset of not focusing on winning games or a championship. Instead, he got the players to concentrate on getting better every game. Enjoy the journey.

3. Read every day, as General Mattis says, “If you don’t read, you are functionally illiterate”.

This isn’t hectoring, getting preachy, or finger-wagging. There’s good science behind reading. You have to be relaxed to read and the more you relax, the more you understand.

Can’t relax? See me.

Also, listen to this.

4. Be strict with yourself, tolerant with others. Again, you control what you do. You control the standards that you hold yourself to.

This is the core of everything in life. Focus, FOCUS, on what you can control. If you can’t control it, let’s try and reduce the meaning to zero. Give it no meaning. Let it go.

What others choose to do is their business.

5. Seek out challenges. Be comfortable being uncomfortable.

If you keep doing the same thing you’ll never get a different outcome. Nothing will change. Finding it hard to change? We can work on that. Learning new things and not worrying about being judged by others is what. A lot of my hypnosis is about.

6. Always stay a student. Stay focussed on what there is left to learn, not what you’ve already discovered.

Similar to above, really. Keep learning. The moment you stop letting new information in the deeper the grooves become in the existing record. The harder it is to change. Then the more you fear change. And the more you become stressed and anxious. Keep learning. Keep moving

7. Cut toxic people out of your life, have boundaries. If they’re not making your life better then, bye.

Who’s to say you have to tolerate abuse, selfishness, nastiness, bullying, or small-mindedness? No one. You don’t need them. You just need to be kind to yourself. Let them go.

8. We were all born with a fatal diagnosis. To take life for granted. It is an incredible waste. Seneca says, “It’s not that life is short it’s that we waste a lot of it’.

Ok, I know this sounds gruesome, but the Stoics called this ‘memento mori. It’s a Latin phrase meaning 'remember you must die'.

And no one ever on their deathbed wished they’d spent more time stressed and anxious. Don’t waste your one shot. Make it count.

9. Finally, I’m repeating this one because it’s so important. Focus on what you control. You control what you do. You control what you say. You control what you think. Everything else is not up to you and not worth your focus.

Don’t get sidelined. You are the main event in your life. I’ll help you be kind to yourself, reduce the stress and anxiety and be the best version of yourself you can be.

And who am I?

I’m James Thomas a Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist. I’ve used hypnosis thousands of times to deal with clients’ stresses, anxieties, drug addiction, alcohol abuse, PTSD, overeating, low self-esteem, eczema, anger, to name but a few.

And ultimately everything ladders back to this 2,000-year-old idea.

I cover all of Lincolnshire with my rooms in Louth and Lincoln.

And I recommend “Meditations” by Marc Aurelius (remember him? Played by Richard Harris in “Gladiator’) to all my clients.

Get in touch with me at or call 07787563099.

Let’s make a calmer version of you.

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