The Gentle Mind

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and hypnosis for World Cycling Day

We all know exercise is good for us, but it’s not just our physical health that benefits, getting outside on your bike can do wonders for your mental health too.

It can help with better sleep – by making you feel more tired at the end of the day. It can improve your mood by releasing feel-good hormones that make you feel better in yourself and give you more energy and it helps with managing stress, anxiety, or intrusive and racing thoughts.

Doing something physical releases cortisol which helps us manage stress and being physically active also gives your brain something to focus on and can be a positive coping strategy for difficult times. Studies have shown that doing regular physical activity can reduce the likelihood of experiencing a period of depression.

That’s all well and good, but you have to feel good about cycling before you go.

I’ve listed a few of the most common fears and concerns that cyclist have that I help them overcome so they can enjoy life on two wheels.


It’s hard to avoid. We’re a small island with 35 million vehicles all, it seems, in a hurry. And, yes, you are more vulnerable than in a 38-tonner.

I can teach you how to be alert and relaxed. See the gaps. Boss the road. Think nothing of going around Hyde Park Corner, cycling on the continent (on the ‘wrong’ side of the road), or making roundabouts less of a deal.

If you’ve built it up in your head, I’ll help you make it smaller

Riding in a group

Riding in a group is far easier than riding on your own as you can maintain a higher average speed in an efficient group, and it is also part of the fun of taking part in events and riding with friends.

Riding in a large group can appear daunting at first but anyone can learn how to be a safe, smooth rider and benefit from the faster pace of riding in a bunch.

I’ll help you learn how to keep a relaxed posture on the bike. You can waste when you’re tensing up your body and panicking about keeping up. Relaxing your shoulders and holding a smooth, straight line will help you to feel confident and avoid expending unnecessary energy shifting around in the saddle.

And don’t worry about getting dropped (falling behind). You’re out with friends. They’ll wait. They’re not judging.


It’s the same as thinking about crashing your car. You don’t do it. You’re catastrophising. It’ll kill the enjoyment - even the thought of cycling. We can work together to take the thought out of your mind.

And if you’re cycling with someone who’s better than you. Don’t worry. Go at your own pace. On the road, or off-road.


This can feel like the bike is running away from you. And it doesn’t have to. Think of it as energy to get you up the hill on the other side. A ‘free’ ride. Gravity is your friend.


Cleats make your pedalling more efficient. You can push on the downstroke whilst pulling with the upstroke on the opposite foot. And they also provide added security when you’re out of the saddle riding: like climbing or sprinting.

It just takes a bit of time to get used to them. You’re not ‘trapped’ and ‘locked’ in. You just need to re-frame this as a way to cycle faster and easier.


Everyone gets nerves before an event. Some butterflies in the stomach help keep you focused. Not too many. There’s no need to let nerves take over. We can work on downplaying the jitters and your sticking to your race plan. And enjoying the process. It’s that simple.

Climbing hills

This can be tough. Especially as the gradients rise in, say, North Yorkshire or The Lakes. But, hey, let’s enjoy it.

We can work on the following:

  • Just keep looking straight ahead. Have an endpoint in mind.
  • Have a mantra - “I’ll spin it to win it”, “Kill, kill, kill the hill”
  • As the pain comes breathe out and smile
  • People are watching. No matter. Your race, your pace. Just get to the top and enjoy the view.
    If you have to get off and push, take the learning. Go further next time. You now know what to do.

Who am I?

I’m James Thomas. A Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist. I work with all sorts of sports people. Then help them be better versions of themselves.

I’ve also used Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and 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 I love cycling (I’ve got six bikes).

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

Get in touch with me at or call 07787563099.

Let’s make a calmer version of you so you can cycle and feel free.

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