Happy minds … write happy words

By David Stewart

Sufferers of Social Anxiety will often verbalise their condition in a multitude of ways, “I can’t go outside”, “I cannot walk down that street”, “I’m worried about speaking to people.” These statements are a description of the limits Society Anxiety can put upon an individual but they do not contain within them the root cause of the problem itself. All phobias ultimately break down further into more specific fears that we forward- pace in our mind.

Consider the aforementioned statement: “I cannot walk down that street.” Unless the sufferer is physically handicapped, this statement is a well intentioned but misunderstood analysis of the situation. It is better therefore to analyse Social Anxiety and its origins by asking questions that elicit how a person has come to the conclusion that this particular area is not a place through which they feel comfortable travelling. One can do so by asking questions that eliminate non-fears that are not a component of the phobia itself but rather merely serve to muddy the waters in finding out the real issue.

“If there were no people on the street, would you be comfortable walking down it?”, I would expect the answer to be “No” in the case of Social Anxiety, otherwise one would be looking at a fear of open spaces and not socialisation. By questioning the client on what parts of the situation are not a worry to them and eliminating these components, we are left with the one card that holds up the entire house.

“If everyone who passed you in the street was incapable of thought, merely robots following a programme, would you be socially anxious?” An negative reply to this question chunks down even further the condition from one initially stating an ability to move, to a more understandable fear of others’ thoughts about us. Herein lies the root of Social Anxiety. In the absence of self-worth, we will search for self-worth in the judgement of others. Just as a country seeks to import what it does do not possess, an individual devoid of confidence will look for validation in the outside world.

Unfortunately, the majority of people around us are so concerned with their own lives that they are not in the business of mothering us, no one is able to fill an emotional void other than the individual who feels the emptiness.

Furthermore, by looking outwards, via others’ estimation, for validation of our worth in the world, our facial expressions and tone take on weak and suspicious characteristics that compound the problem. One who walks into a store looking for the one positive glance from an assistant that will refute their self-doubt, appears to him or her as an anxious individual.

Anxiousness is contagious, panic spreads like wild fire. There is some comfort in this, it removes any paranoid theories one might hold about the world being ‘out to get us.’ The reactions of other people, for the most part, result from the verbal and physical communication we give them; one who is anxiously seeking validation unwittingly sends a frequency to others that they are insecure, reminding others of their own security and causing them to act in a defensive manner.

It is the matter of judgement and that search for support in others’ eyes that underpins Social Anxiety as a condition. Circumstantially the origins of the condition are vastly disparate, from childhood abuse to perhaps only a mere sensitivity as a child that was not nurtured into confidence in one’s formative years. Despite these differences in past experience the destination is ultimately the same – an absence of the self-worth that gives us a grounded contentment in the presence of others.

This hole in one’s esteem can only be addressed by the client re-evaluating or even mentally discarding the importance of past events in shaping their current beliefs. By accepting that the past is dead we allow for the birth of a new future, in combination with encouragement in loving oneself the fear of social situations diminishes.
Cognitive Restructuring of this type can be an exhausting process and one can resort to the familiarity of their discomfort rather than embracing the world in a more rational light. Light to the newborn will cause tears whether it is a rational enlightenment or not.
The client must make a decision: remain painful but protective cell, or emerging from behind these walls into a world that is not the judgemental dystopia previously accepted as reality.

The second choice may be difficult, but with repeated work on resistance to change; anxiety can be transformed into an exciting curiosity about others and a deep inner contentment. Our fear of others’ judgement evaporates in the realisation that we write our own future and require not the hand of others to define our meaning as human beings.

Dave Stewart, Marketing assistant



Before the Daily Record deletes this i wanted to repost it here. Original article can be found on the daily record site, also original copyright holders are to be respected legally in every sense.


This is a exact reproduction of the original article nothing has been changed or altered in any way. Looking back upon this, I realise what an achievement it was both for Cat and myself. I remember when I arrived to cure cats phobia the interviewer Laura asked me how many times I had already saw Cat to help her over her phobia, to which I replied “none”, Laura was incredibly shocked and exclaimed, but she is terrified! And I replied “good, that’s why I am here”. I am confident I can help anyone over there are phobias. Which is why I knew I would be able to help Cat Harvey over hers, however I do feel incredibly proud about this particular phobia cure because I had very little time and an extreme amount of pressure to get the job done.


However get the job done I did as the article below describes, phobia is easily treatable especially when you seek the best to treat you. Please contact me for more details after you have enjoyed reading this article.

Real Radio DJ Cat Harvey overcomes her fear of planes thanks to shrink

Apr 17 2011 Exclusive by Laura Coventry, Sunday Mail

cat harvey phobias Image 2cat harvey phobias Image 2

HAVING survived three hours of turbulence, a power cut and an aborted landing on three separate aeroplane trips, it’s no wonder Real Radio’s Cat Harvey has a fear of flying.

To see a video of Cat battling her fears, click here.

But her anxiety is so severe that each time the radio presenter boards a flight, she carries out a ritual consisting of tapping three times on the aircraft door, counting repeatedly to 250 and wearing her hood up.

As a youngster, Cat was fearless but when she entered her early twenties her phobia emerged.

It was after experiencing three terrifying mid-air incidents - and crash-landing in a tree during a hot air balloon trip - that Cat’s extreme aerophobia (fear of flying) was triggered.

The 37-year-old, who is also a Sunday Mail Seven Days columnist and travel writer, explained: “In the space of two years, the electrics cut out on the plane on a flight back from Rimini. Then on a flight to New Zealand we had three-and-a-half hours of turbulence and I remember crying and saying, ‘Just get me a parachute’. And last year I had an aborted landing at Dublin.

“When that happened I started thinking too much. My fear has become so irrational it has totally taken over my life.

“I love visiting other countries but I dread getting on that plane. How many travel writers do you know who are petrified of flying?

“I work myself up into such a ridiculous frenzy. I do a ritual before I board, I have to sit on an aisle seat on the left hand side of the plane. I also have to have my hood up during take-off. Taking off, landing and turbulence terrify me.

“I have been a fairy in pantomime for the last five years - I must be the worst fairy in the world who can’t fly.”

Now Cat’s phobia has become so bad that each time she flies she experiences the shakes, a tight feeling across her chest, palpitations and sweaty palms.

But in a brave attempt to address her fear , she volunteered to have a trial flight with Leading Edge Flight Training at Cumbernauld Airport.

Cat explained: “It has become ridiculous. I made all my friends pay an extra £250 to fly direct from Aberdeen airport to Oslo because there was only one take-off and landing, whereas the Glasgow flight had a stop-off.”

Two weeks ago, Allan Falconer, owner of Leading Edge, invited Cat to the North Lanarkshire airstrip where she taxied on the runway in a single-propeller, four-seater aircraft.

During the five-minute trip - despite never leaving the ground and travelling at a speed of 30 knots (34mph) - Cat was a nervous wreck and was in floods of tears.

This week, she ventured back into the cockpit of the propeller plane for a trial flight with Real Radio competition winner and aspiring cabin crew member, Darren Lynch, 26.

Before take-off, Cat called on hypnotherapy trainer and anxiety management expert Andrew Milne of Happy Minds to help her cope with her fear during a 40-minute one-to-one session in the flight centre’s briefing room.

Andrew, who has cured people with social anxiety and a range of phobias including spiders, dogs and pigeons, said: “Using neuro-linguistic programming and techniques of the mind, I made Cat aware of what she was doing, then spoilt her ability to do it and replaced it with a more appropriate way of behaving.

“Because the problem lies in the imagination, we use the imagination to get over the problem.”

Andrew, who cured his own phobias of frogs, sharks and bears, insisted: “There is no fear you can’t get over.

“What you are actually afraid of is this horrible feeling inside your body. If you can get rid of this feeling in the moment and tackle your biggest fear, then there is nothing in the world you can’t achieve. There is nothing to be afraid of.”

After climbing into the cockpit, Cat confidently sat next to the pilot, Captain Ian Haggis, while her Real Breakfast Show sidekick Ewan Cameron sat in the terminal building feasting on sandwiches supplied by Galway Gourmet.

Feeling more calm and in control since her hypnosession with Andrew, Cat was able to conduct a short radio interview with Captain Haggis as they taxied along the runway.

However, on the first attempt, the flight was grounded due to foggy and rainy weather.

On the second attempt, the plane sped down the runway at 60 knots (70mph) and was finally airborne.

With Captain Haggis, a former Eye in the Sky pilot, by her side, Cat bravely faced her fear - and took it a stage further when she f lew the dual-control aircraft at 600ft.

Cat was a natural, her confidence boosted by an earlier flight simulator experience when she landed a virtual plane at Glasgow Airport , and by five-year-old fan Jasmin Toms who’d turned up at Cumbernauld airport to show support.

Back on the ground, an excited but relieved Cat said: “During my session with Andrew he made me realise my thoughts were irrational and taught me to think of a reason I’d want to get on a plane, so I imagined Johnny Depp on a Caribbean island.

“All I kept saying when we were taking off was ‘Johnny Depp, Johnny Depp, Johnny Depp’. I was a little bit calmer. I was still shaking but I was determined not to feel the way I used to, and I didn’t. I didn’t even put my hood up.

“I was elated because I’d done it - I even flew to Falkirk and back. I liked being in control but was happy to hand back to Ian for the landing.

“I am proud of myself, I have learned that I can do anything if I put my mind to it but I was so angry at myself for being so fearful. It’s been a brilliant day. I am so glad I did it.

“I hope my fear is conquered. Now I will try not to count to 250, I’ll try not to put my hood up, and I will try not to dig my fingernails into the passenger next to me. I will also try to enjoy it.

“If I can fly a tiny plane on a rainy day with wind, then I am sure a qualified pilot in a jumbo jet with four engines will do okay.

“Thank you to Leading Edge, to Andrew for making me think about Johnny Depp quite a lot and our Real Radio competition winner Darren, who was very supportive. Airlines may not be queuing up to employ me, but they should be queuing up to take Darren on, he’d make an excellent cabin crew member.”

Captain Haggis, who only qualified as a Civil Aviation Authority flying instructor the day before, said: “Cat absolutely loved it. Andrew seems to have worked wonders.”

Later this year, Cat will take to the skies again in panto as she stars as Tinker-Cat the fairy in Peter Pan at Glasgow’s Pavilion Theatre. You can hear her on the Real Breakfast Show, 100-101FM weekdays from 610am or on www.realradio.co.uk.

The Leading Edge flight school are offering Sunday Mail readers 20-minute flight experiences for £59.99 (usual price £64.99). Visit www.flyleadingedge.co.uk.


Andrew Milne, of Happy Minds, uses speciallycrafted exercises to cure phobias. He says the key to tackling the fear is utilise the power of your own mind and your own imagination to:

Remove the negative feelings

Remove the terrifying thoughts

Silence any voices of fear

Dissolve any key memories of terror

Completely remove the phobia

For more information or to have a phobia cured, visit www.happy-minds.co.uk

My passion for social anxiety

I am extremely passionate about helping people over social anxiety so they can see beyond the learned behaviour towards being the person they wish to be. The majority of the client that come to see me sufferer social anxiety, the majority of these have been through the various forms of counselling, had been prescribed what they have found to be ineffective drug treatments and are desperate enough to give anything a go.
I have been working directly with phobia sufferers for over five years, a straightforward phobia can in most occasions be completely eradicated in one section. Social phobia, or social anxiety is much more complex set of issues/rules that need to be unlearned in order for the person to begin to see the world differently. Take a typical spider phobic, they have a trigger (the spider) and a response (panic, need to flee) therefore in order to create lasting change all we need to do is target the response to the trigger. So instead of see spider feel panic, the response will be see spider feel fine. There is no ifs or buts with the response in a typical phobic person, there is a stimulus and the response.
With social phobia as well as the stimulus response model, there are additional rules to when the stimulus response model can be applied. Most people who come to me with social phobia will have rules for when the social phobia can kick in, so they may feel comfortable or even confident around friends or family, many people will tell me that one-to-one they are fine with, occasionally someone will say that they are better in groups of  three or four people, most will say they have an allotted time before they can feel comfortable with the new person. This makes perfect sense as any human relationship will go through a period of judging for suitability and safety.  So even just taking and highlighting that one rule ” I will feel anxious with someone until X amount of time has passed.”  highlights social anxiety goes above and beyond the typical stimulus response model the majority of phobics suffer.
Since social anxiety is a set of learned behaviours,that could be referred to as programs or strategies. Once we have discovered the strategies we can easily (in most cases) unlearn the strategies do not produce the results we wish and learn effective strategies for dealing with situations.
I often say I do not cure social anxiety because the person with social anxiety is doing it correctly, they have just missed learned strategies. These can be picked up to our formative years, so if we have a mother who is socially anxious, the child is more likely to see mom behaving in a certain way around certain people and they learn this is how you behave around people. If we consider that nearly every social anxious person will have times in their life where it is perfectly acceptable to be the centre of attention, to speak freely and openly, to be able to enjoy other people then we can realise that they already have an effective strategy they just need to extend that strategy into the wider social world.
The majority of my adult life had been blighted by social anxiety, my partner was diagnosed as socially anxious about nine years ago and upon reflection had been socially anxious all her life. After going through various counselling sessions and not getting the results she wished (one less than helpful CBT councillor informing her” you will just always be like this”). At first this enraged me since I knew my partner was more than capable of being able to hold a conversation, enjoyed being around people and to me was a very friendly happy wonderful woman.  What also annoyed me was whilst I was always aware that she never seemed to enjoy having friends, I never realised that it was not by choice. At some stage it dawned on me that not only was my partner missing out on all the joys that human interaction and friendship can bring but also the world was missing out on finding out what a wonderful person she was. Recently I have realised that throughout my life I have always been attracted to conversations with people who may have considered themselves shy, throughout school I made a point of talking to all people. Looking back at parties, social gatherings, I could see that I would always start conversations with the quietest of people because I realised that the quite people were usually the ones that had something worth listening to.
This is one of the reasons I am incredibly passionate about helping people over social anxiety because I realise the world would be a much more interesting and wonderful place if all the people who felt anxious in social situations were able to stand up and let themselves be heard because not only are they missing out but the rest of the world is missing out on discovering many many beautiful personalities.
There is a point with each and every socially anxious client I work with where I can literally see them transform in front of me and start to take on self belief, and it is one of the most rewarding experiences of my work. I have seen wallflowers turned into the most beautiful social butterflies. I believe strongly that everyone should have the confidence to be able to feel comfortable in any situation. For a lot of people suffering social anxiety this can be achieved incredibly painlessly, quickly and with a great sense of satisfaction.
After working with socially anxious people for this amount of time I am getting used to the rules and regulations of social anxiety, as well as the how to be socially anxious. My client often look at me like I am inside their heads because I can tell them the kind of thoughts and voices that generate those feelings, it is then that they understand that if I can describe their model of the world accurately to them, then I will be able to instruct them on how to easily change their model so that they can feel comfortable where ever they wish to. So over the years we have gathered up many teachings and importantly techniques that can quickly unlearn the old behaviours and replace them with new empowering behaviours that can lead to social freedom and more importantly fun.
if you would like to learn more about my treatment of social anxiety or even ask me a question then please get in touch.
Andrew Milne
Tranceformations coach
happy minds …. make happy people.

Do you deserve the life you once dreamed of ?

Sometimes in life you take stock of things and start to notice all the things that are missing, maybe you compare it to the life you had dreamed of living and realise that there are a few things lacking, that maybe it just does not feel right.
For whatever reason you never quite got to the place that deep down you still believe you deserve to be, maybe it was circumstances that got in your way or lives inevitable hurts and misshapes that knocked you of your path.
Now you could be one of those people, who decide that things are just never going to be attainable and life isn’t quite as wonderful as you once hoped it was going to be. Or you could begin to realise that there is more beyond these thoughts, that in fact just because you lost your path or stumbled a few times its OK to begin to believe that there is more everywhere. Sometimes its enough to look inside and ask your self what is it you truly want in life, what can make you happy because we spend so much of our time thinking about what could of been and not enough imagining what can be.
Dream about who you can be
How would it be different if you began to forget about who you could of been and start allowing yourself to dream about who you can be and how you can make your life better everywhere, in lots of little ways.
If you where to imagine all the little ways you can begin to make your life better, pretty soon you will realise that your life can almost instantaneously begin to appear brighter and better and will grow with a staggering rate towards the life you deserve it to be.
Sometimes we need to see beyond the problems and old limitations of the past towards the bright and more fulfilling life each and every person deserves to have.
Sometimes the single thing that stops people moving forward is old anxieties about the past or there situation. Learning to cope and dissolve anxiety can have a life transforming effect beyond what most people can even imagine. Anxiety and negative emotions hold people back, removing these tiny feeling that you yourself are creating can unlock a new dream and a new life beyond what you have up until now allowed yourself to dream about.
Anxiety is easier to overcome than most people think and the rewards for doing so goes beyond just freedom to feel anyway you want to and to experience the life you truly deserve to have.
Remember this is your life and you should be able to see you deserve to enjoy it the way you want to live it.
I believe every person deserves to enjoy living life free from anxiety/fear/stress or any other negative emotion I hope you understand that its never too late to go for it, to reevaluate an old dream or to create new goals and ambitions and believe you do deserve it. Raise your expectations and you will begin to create a ripple within your unconscious that tells you now is the time to go for it and let yourself enjoy thinking about the life you deserve to have.

Andrew Milne
tranceformation coach

The other day while perusing through my facebook threads I came across a book recommendation. The person who recommended the book does not recommend books often so i thought “this is interesting” mainly because it was on a topic I have been thinking about a lot for the past few months. Not having much on that day I decided to go into town (although i live in a city and not sure this is the correct term, maybe i went into the city(that sounds wrong). Any way i went shopping).

The closest bookstore to me is Waterstones. I actually checked on line prices first and deciding that I could save myself a pound buying on line, there is something lovely and wholesome about going to a book store. The rows of book, the smell that you only get in a book store, have you ever noticed the smell in a new book store is similar but different to the smell you get in a second hand book store. Less musty i guess, the smell of fresh knowledge waiting to be absorbed, is different to the second hand smell of books that have already given themselves to someone. We recently bought a Kindle, it does make me sad to think that books are departing from my life but I am also exceptionally excited about the Kindle its a lovely little device. So here I am in Watterstones, wondering if they employ people who look bookish, or if people employed in bookshops become bookish over time, as the invisible radiation of knowledge seeps into there very core changing and altering the very fabric of who they are.

I go up to the floor where i suspect i am most likely to find my book but i dont have time to browse so i go over to the very first ‘bookish’ assistant i can find, and simply ask him if he could check if the book is in stock. As i am telling the assistant the authors name, he completes it “Jonah Leher” now i could of just shrugged this of as a coincidence, but i was feeling a bit more enquiring so ask

“do you know every book, or is this a particularly important book ?”

It turns out my new bookish friend is quiet a big fan of the author in question and he goes to some length to explain the authors theories, his life and importantly that there is a talk on TED by the author. Wonderful ! I thank him for his time, pay for my book and head out the door.

As I wander home, I wonder to myself just whats the chance of this happening ? i dont really care to work them out, but i do believe i would be a fool not to watch the said talk, to not pay attention to this serendipitous moment, lets believe for a minute that this is serendipity in action a chance coincidence that  will lead me to discover something wonderful maybe about myself maybe about where I am going in life. It may even lead me to making better decisions (the book and talk is on the science of good decisions.

So if by chance random or design something crops up in your life and you think “funny, i was just talking/thinking about that” why not follow the rabbit for a bit and see where it takes you, who knows it might be a message from some higher plane prodding you along in the direction you are meant to be going in. Its the flow of life leading you to your own personal destiny, its serendipity in action. Or at the very least its a random happening that you unconscious mind thinks important enough to mark out for you. Pay attention its happening all the time.

and if you have stumbled across this and your reading thinking I know the name Jonah Lehrer, here is the first part of said talk, If your reading this and your suffering anxiey/scocial or other wise you will find more out about me and my work at


This is just one of those things that makes me feel good inside when ever I watch it. Its a short lecture by Alan Watts, the purpose and point of life eludes many and I think this is as good a point on the subject as any, so I thought would share it.

If you would like to find out about Alan Watts, his Wiki pages are a good place to start.


Happy Minds – Reframing Emotions 

I really wanted to give you some information that you could instantly put into practice. Something that when i am working with clients with emotional issues really helps them and quickly. This is a very simple emotional reframing, its very effective and is the beginning of

Ownership and transmutation of feelings and emotions through language (c) Happy Minds 

The purpose of this is to enable you to find away out of negative emotions and begin to reframe your emotional state, through the use of ‘bridging states’ ( a bridging state is a state that opens up possibilities of change feeling manageable is one of these, there are others)

First of all it is important to understand the following :

         Mary : How are you ?
         John  : I feel sad 

When a person states how they feel they lock that state in, so in the above example when John tells Mary he feels sad, it reinforces the feeling and John is left feeling sad. Now we do this to ourselves all the time
       I feel depressed : Locks in the negative feeling of depression
       I feel bored : Locks in the feeing of boredom

Locking in emotional states : This process locks in the state by reinforcing it within the mind, what we want to do is open up the mind to the possibilities of change.

Its important to understand this, whatever we believe to be true our minds will work towards making true for us. We are going to work through an example below on how to simply reframe your emotional state and open you up to changing how you feel

     I feel depressed : this is a statement that locks in the emotional state of depression
now try adding this
    I feel manageably depressed : What is it like to feel manageably depressed ? it already feel like change can be made
    I feel manageable  : this is a small leap from feeling manageably depressed and open up the emotions to feeling something new
    I feel manageably happy : Again the leap from being manageable to being manageably happy is easy to make.
    I feel happy : now we are starting to lock in the new state ‘happy’ so we have reframed the original state ‘depressed’ to the state of ‘happy’, we can go further and add possibilities
    I feel increasingly happy : Now you open yourself up to the possibilities of feeling even more than happy.

I hope this has been easy to follow, we are taking control of our emotional state through language. It would be difficult to go from depressed to happy in one go but we use the ‘bridging’ state of ‘manageable’ to get there.

Exercise (written) 

Ask yourself how do you feel ? 
Write it down : I feel ——- (we will use the example anxious) 
now write out : I feel manageably ——- (anxious) 
Now write out : I feel manageable 
then write : I feel manageably happy (you could pick any state you wish to feel not just happy)
Then write : I feel happy 
Then write : I feel increasingly happy (increasingly is a great piece of language it opens up brighter opportunities)

Its good to write things down, writing things down locks in thoughts and emotions with actions but we can equally do this as a thought experiment.

So the steps are

1) Name and shame the emotion you wish to change
2) Add in the bridging state of ‘manageably’ to the negative emotion
3) state I feel manageable
4) I feel manageably happy (or new empowering/positive state)
5) I feel increasingly happy

You could also add in : i feel increasingly happy about —— whatever it is you want.

Fun example for my benefit and to show flexibility in process

I feel confused by this blog
I feel manageably confused by this blog
I feel manageably good about this blog (bad english yes, but it works)
I feel good when i think about this blog
I feel increasingly good when i think about this blog.

This is one of the many tools you can employ to gain Emotional mastery, its brilliant because it takes ownership of your feelings and empowers you towards change.


For more information please go to www.happy-minds.co.uk to find out how you can begin to overcome your emotional issues and feel good about who you are.

Andrew Milne


Like most people I know. I know I am internet addicted. The increasing time I spend in the virtual world makes up more and more of the ‘person’ I am. My photos are stored in a virtual cloud space, i connect to the majority of my friend in the virtual world. Recently I have re connected with extended family members over facebook.  This coming year I plan to move more of my business activity on line and continue to contemplate the effectiveness of training people over the internet.

A recent client was telling me about how you can look back on your search history and even create a google trends analysis of what you have searched for and when. It sounds fun and for many a dark night of the soul and for others a skip down a virtual memory lane.

Google knows more about me than George Orwell’s the Ministry of Information could ever of known about Winston (George Orwell 1984). We all willingly plug google with as much personal information as we can, it knows about my health fears, it knows about my hobbies, where I eat, my plans for the future, the darker desires of my mind and any other thing I have typed into it over the years. Google knows more about me over the past ten years than I can even remember. Like Orwell’s vision we all have miss information boxes and even cameras feeding us and feeding them with a growing amount of disinformation.

In the film the Matrix, a vision of the human race enslaved to the machines, connected via a computer terminal plugged into there mind via a socket on the back of the head, its a scary vision. The fact remains tho, we do not need machines or a totalitarian state to ‘plug us into the machine’ we are willingly doing it ourselves.

I saw the ‘zeitgeist’ films recently one of the visions they say the so called evil powers that be are working on is a chip, implanted into our wrist, that tracks our movement, controls our financial status, contains all our personal data will be forced upon us in the name of freedom. How does this differ from my smartphone, which i willingly cary around with me, that stores who I am, what I think, knows where I am going and even tells me how to get there. Th truth is we need no chip to give up who we are, we are already doing it.

I have no belief in a all powerful evil group that controls our destiny, that is shaping to remove my freedom from me. Its much more simple than all of that, its human nature that is shaping this new world, we are willingly becoming enslaved to the machines, to systems of control, we give up our information gladly so that we can live a more convenient and technologically entwined life.

One day we will work in this virtual world, we already spend money and our leisure time there, and if someone invented a human implant where we could just connect ourselves up to the net via a USB port or something similar, we would gladly stick it into the back of our heads and live forever in a virtual world, experiencing virtual success, virtual fitness, virtual sex and if it was as real or better than the world we live in would it matter ?

I have no idea. Are all things not just an illusion ? So would it matter if we created a virtual existence that could feel more real.
Where in the virtual world are we heading ?

It is said that in order to create an emotional state three factors come into play. Mental focus, Breathing and posture

Mental focus 

Where is your mental focus at ? What are you thinking about and how are you thinking it ? When we talk about the how, in NLP terms we are thinking in terms of modalities (Visual, Audio, Kinesthetic), what pictures do we make in our minds, what sounds (voices) do we hear, and what feelings do these thoughts generate ?


How we breath is so very important, breath takes oxygen into out lungs to enrich the blood suply and to fuel the mind and body. SO many people have terrible breathing, it is one of the things i see most in my work with people with social anxiety. Bad breathing causes bad states of mind.


How we stand how we sit, not only conveys a message to others but also helps create a physical and mental state of being. Think about the times you look at someone and say “they look down” or “hes standing tall and proud”. The posture we adopt has a massive impact on the way we feel. Think about the times you have felt sad and compare your posture with the times you felt strong and confident.

To think about this in a slightly mathematical way

Posture + Breathing + Mental focus = Emotional State

Typically with a person suffering anxiety the posture will be rounded around there chest (where they feel the anxiety) there breathing will be short and fast and there mental focus will be fast and panicky (maybe making picture of people looking at them, with a little scared voice rattling away inside).

Now if we only change one of these things it can have a massive impact not only on the resulting state but also the other two components. 

At happy-minds.co.uk I train people mostly in the ways of taking control of the mental focus, and i enjoy watching the impact it has on the posture and breathing. However I would recommend for those interested in complete control of there emotional state to learn a discipline that focuses on breathing and posture as well as mental focus. There are of course many out there tai chi, hatha yoga, any martial art.

One of my very dear friends a year or so ago started to learn Kundalini yogo, and has now moved on to becoming a Kundalini teacher. It has been a joy to watch her strengthen both emotionally and physically and her passion for what she does more than matches my own passion for what I do.

“Kundalini yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual discipline for developing strength, awareness, character, and consciousness” while this is all true, i would recommend Kundalini for anyone who wishes to learn more about breathing and posture and lives around the Glasgow area you should check out her website (contact her for more details)


I was asked this the other day by a reported “what is social anxiety ?”
I replied “social phobia, a fear of social events/people”
Still she looked blankly at me, at first i thought it was strange that someone would have no concept of what social anxiety was, since  my life has been guided or even dominated by social anxiety for over 12 years. but i guess some people are lucky enough to have never needed to know. 

The reason of course my life and now my work has been guided by social anxiety is that my long term partner has been a social anxiety sufferer all her life. It was her that got me started in my quest to cure social anxiety, by the time the quest had stated I was suffering various other anxieties and emotional issues. So it was a quest worth taking and along the way i have become quiet the expert on social anxiety and have discovered we all suffer it from time to time.

So what is social anxiety ? 

In its simplest form its having anxiety when faced with social situations/people. People feel anxiety differently sometimes they feel a tightness in there chest, sometimes butterflies in there stomach. These can lead to shaking of hands, sweating, it can be an uncomfortable feeling around people. it Can be characterized by feelings of low self worth as well. Social anxiety suffers believe themselves to be almost telepathic mind readers, reading negative thought into whoever may be around.

Nervous are one thing but what I feel the worst thing about social anxiety is that the suffer misses out on one of the biggest parts of life, being social, human being are social animals we are at our happiest when we are together. It is very difficult for a social anxiety suffer to go to a bar and not imagine every person is about to start to laugh at them.

This of course makes work life very hard. Sometimes social anxiety surfers just have the negative feelings, at other times they suffer low self esteem and crippling self doubt making working or socializing almost impossible.

You generally find the negative feelings bread negative thoughts, which in turn lead to an increase in negative feelings. So someone on a night out, starting to feel a bit anxious has the thought “every one hates me” increases the anxious feeling which then increases the thoughts its a viscous circle !

Over the years I have had suffers tell me about how they feel overwhelmed by things, big characters intimidate them.  This is something that bothers me greatly,  believe any one has the right to be whoever they want to be, but this should not be at the cost of others. So i teach social anxiety sufferers how to effectively deal with these situations in there minds, because its there minds that are interpreting things wrong. That is for another blog post.

So in short social phobia, social anxiety is in fact a fear of social situations(some times large some time one to ones, sometimes just going to the shops, peoples, events). Its a terrible anxiety which cripples and paralysis a persons life and holds them back from being part of the tribe.

Andrew Milne runs www.happy-minds.co.uk they treat all anxiety related issues effectively and quickly, we are based n Glasgow but will travel around the UK. Relief comes quickly and effectively.

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