This is a transcript from our session with Robyn Spens, a Clinical Hypnotherapist, Functional Nutritionist, and Master Coach on 8 October 2020. This is a part of LBB’s 7 Days of Wellbeing, a virtual retreat to celebrate our 1st birthday. October is also Black History Month (BHM) in the UK, and as a black owned universal skincare and wellness brand, we believe representation matters. So we are also elevating some phenomenal black voices in wellness. Note that this transcript begins after a 15 minute guided meditative hypnosis session which isn’t included below… and we can attest that no one quacked like a duck or barked like a dog 😁
Introduction to the power of our minds
Robyn: Thank you for experiencing that, and I’m sure and hopefully I’ve changed your mind about what, hypnosis and meditative hypnosis means. I’d just like to speak into how our mind works a little bit, what hypnosis is and how we declutter our thinking. So I think of hypnosis as a state of heightened suggestibility, it influences your brain and your ability to adapt, to learn and specifically focus your awareness. A great deal of hypnosis is self-hypnosis, it’s an inside job, and so I can’t do things like make people quack like a duck or bark like a dog, which is what people think. It’s an inside job. We go into states of hypnosis all the time. It is how we take in new information, it’s where everything is classified and stored in our minds.
So, when you think about your conscious mind that only represents about 10 percent of your total mental capacity and your unconscious mind holds the other 90 percent. It is where we process our feelings and emotions, it’s where our habits and memories are stored, it’s the part of the brain where your automatic capabilities are stored. So why does any of this matter?
It matters because the words we tell ourselves are powerful and the pictures we paint in our minds have an impact. So if the words and pictures are negative, it has an impact on our thoughts, our emotions and our bodies.
Feelings are directive, feelings are caused by what we think. And that’s different to sensations, sensations are involuntary. Bodily reactions such as hunger, thirst, cold, being tired, feeling sick, these are all physical sensations. But your thoughts have an impact on. However, frustration, sadness, feeling angry, bored, cranky, all of these are feelings and feelings are caused by our thoughts. And I’m going to throw this in. Our thoughts are optional.
So right now, we’re witnessing a lot of things in the world that are extremely traumatizing, and I think all of you know what I’m speaking into, but many of us are feeling stress, we’re feeling overwhelmed and frankly, we’re tired.
The link between emotion, stress and behaviour
And we experience these emotions quite acutely, alongside having to show up at work, put a smile on our faces, look after our children and all the other things that we as women do. So how do we process that stress? How do we process the overwhelm? How do we process the negativity? So some of us process emotions by buffering, and what I mean by buffering is we eat too much, we drink too much, some of the shop too much. Some of us spend money that we don’t have. And all of these things make us feel better temporarily, but it also doesn’t allow us to process those emotions and this buffering behavior is hard to sustain without it creating other issues. So, learning how to manage our thoughts and our emotion is a key part of the wellness regime. One of the things I want to offer each of you is that, yes, there are a lot of things we cannot control, there are a lot of things which we can control. And our thoughts and our emotions are within our control…if we learn how to manage them.
So I know this is an audience full of high achievers and high achievers, when they feel vulnerable, they tend not to listen until their bodies force them to. And I know that story. Being able to recognize your own vulnerability and act on it is a great tool to have in your wellness arsenal. And one of the things I want to highlight is when you start to listen to your body and understand how to process your thoughts and have an awareness of what you are doing inside your mind, that gives you the result you don’t want. There are ways to change it. Hypnosis is just one of those ways, but it starts with cleaning up your thinking. And that’s what I’m speaking into tonight.
So decluttering our thinking, why is this necessary?
Well, I look at decluttering my thinking in the same way brushing my teeth or cleaning my house, if you don’t clean your house, it gets dusty. If you don’t clean up your thinking, you get stress. The fact is we have sixty thousand thoughts a day every single day, and I want you to imagine you have sixty thousand thoughts coming into your home every day. And I want you to think of your home as a metaphor for your mind. And in this house, there are lots of rooms and the rooms, the rooms where your memories are stored. There’s the room where your judgment and your criticism is stored. There’s a room where your feelings and emotions are stored. There’s a room where your thoughts about the future are stored, all these emotions, and then imagine the sixty thousand a day that you have rushing in and they’re kind of running subconsciously. And what I mean by that is the emotions and the thoughts that you have to allow you to lift your arm, to move it out, to raise your eyebrows.
All of these, are kind of repetitive program thoughts, which are superefficient. They’re organized and the brain does that really well. But what the brain doesn’t do well is those repetitive, programmed thoughts that don’t serve us. And they definitely need to be organized, and I want you to think of those thoughts as the ones that are kind of stuffed in the closets, they seem harmless, but they create unwanted emotions and feelings. Thoughts like I’m not clever enough, I’m not good enough. I’m an impostor. I can’t cope. I’m stressed. I’m too fat. I’ll never find a husband.
We need to pull all these thoughts out of the closet and into our consciousness and make decisions about that. Is this thought serving me? Do I really want to hold onto it? Is it current, is it outdated? You see, the thoughts determine our feelings and our feelings, determine our actions. Our actions determine our outcomes and our results. So why do we hang on to thoughts that make us feel bad and we all do it? Habit!
So imagine those sixty thousand thoughts you have every day, coming in, to your house and you start to hoard them. Your brain is going to feel cluttered, cluttered with judgment, cluttered with negativity, cluttered with overwhelming ideas. And when you start to clean up your thinking and put everything into place. You figure out what thought you need to keep. And what thoughts you need to let go? And then you start to feel less stress, so that’s what I’m going to tell you how to do that.
How to declutter your thinking
Tip No 1. Take your Rubbish Out!
So my first TIP is to take out your rubbish. Take your rubbish out. And you can do this every day. In my profession, we call it a THOUGHT DOWNLOAD. You write all your thoughts on paper. It takes about 10 minutes. You separate this thought, you separate your story, the story you’re telling yourself from the facts. When you do that, you put the thoughts back, the ones that are healthy, the ones that serve you, the ones that value you. And you chuck out the other ones out. That I’m not good enough. I’m too fat. I’m the imposter. We chuck those out.
TIP No 2. Question your thoughts
The second tip I want to share with you is to question your thoughts. Because your brain loves questions. And it loves seeking the answer. And the most important question you can ask yourself is – Is this true? Is this thought I’m thinking true? Because out of the 60 thousand thoughts we have a day, only half of them are. But they need us to take actions. And most of them are not TRUE!
- Your thoughts are optional
- You can change them, you can delete them, you just need to learn how
- The process of organizing your brain works
- When you clean up your thinking and you take out the rubbish. Your brain is organized, and when your brain feels organized, you feel organized.
Thanks for listening and I’ll take your questions.
Do you have any tips for throwing out the rubbish thoughts.
Robyn: Yeah, we like to hang on to our thoughts, especially the ones that kind of don’t serve us, and I think of it as becoming aware of what you’re thinking. Just becoming aware and questioning your thoughts every morning we wake up. I don’t know about you, but when I’m brushing my teeth, I have a million thoughts going through my head. You know, I’m thinking what I need to get for dinner. You know, my daughter’s doing this. And then I’m thinking of what happened when I was 13. And then I’m back to what I need to get for dinner and then I’m back to my hair, your hair looks terrible. And this and this. And this becomes a habit, when we self-criticize and we hold on to thoughts that don’t serve us.
Challenge your thoughts, is this true? And if it’s not and if you can’t show yourself evidence for what you’re thinking. Toss the thoughts. Because we get to choose anything we want about ourselves. And why we choose the thoughts that don’t serve us, it is just what the brain does, because the brain is always looking to protect you.
Thanks for that. That’s really interesting. But as I listen to you, as someone who has lots of thoughts and lots of them that annoy me, I think it’s almost easier said than done. The issue is while rationally, I don’t think I really believe those things, they just keep coming back. So the question is, how do I really start to shift the needle? Because telling me to write this down and not to tell myself those thoughts, while helpful and I feel I’ve tried that for a while – nothing has changed.
Robyn: It starts with awareness, awareness that you get to think whatever you want. If you want to sit in the space of allowing yourself to continue to think those thoughts, then you’re creating evidence for the thing that you don’t want to happen. For example, so I’ll never get that job because I’m not smart enough. If you’re telling yourself that, then that thought creates the feeling, the feeling of maybe unease and lack of attention, and then that feeling creates actions that you don’t prepare for the job that you ruminate. And then through those actions, you have proved your thoughts! You don’t get the job because you are too busy ruminating and you’re not taking the action you need to take! So our thoughts create all of our actions. And we get to choose the thoughts we want to think. When you get a chance, just think about that. Your thoughts create your actions and the thought may not even be true. So really becoming aware and questioning your thought, is this true? Do I have evidence for this that? And if I don’t, I let it go. Thought work is not easy, it needs to be practiced. Just like punching yourself in the face every morning and saying, you know, I’m stupid, I’m this… You know, that is the same thing. We do it because it’s a habit. So thought work needs to become a habit in the same way.
How do you feel about stepping away from negative events you don’t want to participate in deliberately?
Robyn: If somebody is making you feel bad and you don’t want to do something, make a decision and back yourself. When we start to back ourselves in the decisions that we make, that feels better than participating in something that you don’t feel in yourself an honesty about. So make your decision and back yourself. And then look at all the reasons why you don’t want to attend an event. Not the reasons that you should. The reasons that you don’t want to attend the event. And then look at the reasons and then the reasons that you feel that you should attend the event. What feels honest to you? Why are you doing it, questioning yourself? Your brain knows the answer. It’s just like we think doing certain things makes us feel better, but it makes us feel better temporarily. And then the honesty of what we’re feeling comes back. So I’m going to go on that diet on Monday. And every Monday, I find a reason not to do it, and that reason not to do it makes me feel bad. But the fact that I don’t do it makes me feel bad as well. So you have to take a decision and back yourself. And it’s always the right decision because you’ve taken that.
Are there daily practices we can do to manage the sabotage thoughts?
Robyn: If you’re having the same sabotaging thought, I do something called the model, and now we don’t have long enough to introduce it here. Downloading your thoughts and separating what is your story you’re telling yourself versus what is the actual fact of the story. And then looking at it. What is the thought that you’re having? What is that feeling? If it’s the thought that I’m sabotaging myself. Getting why are you sabotaging yourself and when you sabotage yourself, how does that make you feel? And that feeling, what has that feeling caused you to do? And it’s probably been creating evidence for whatever you’re sabotaging yourself for. I need to know a little bit more about what it is you’re sabotaging yourself for and to kind of get further into it. And I’m happy to take that question if you want to, but sabotaging yourself again is thought work really questioning why you are having that thought about yourself. And sabotage usually is linked to I think that I’m not worthy of doing whatever it is. So let me sabotage myself so that I don’t have to do it. So in hypnosis, we always say your words are powerful. I don’t want to take that meeting tomorrow. I’m really nervous about taking that meeting tomorrow. And you keep telling yourself that and you wake up and you have the flu. So you don’t have to take that meeting tomorrow, and that’s what I mean by words being powerful.
Is there a course or a book you can recommend? I feel like I need to practice.
Robyn: We’ve had Byron Katie is fantastic for Thought Work, her books about how we feel about ourselves. Byron Katie, she is the master of thought work. I would start there. And Byron, Katie, is it true? Are the thoughts you’re telling yourself true? https://www.amazon.co.uk/Byron-Katie/e/B001H6S8B4
Do emotions store themselves in the body? If yes, how do you release stored emotions in your body? Sometimes, there’s heaviness or tension in specific body parts and it feels like something needs to be released.
Robyn: Absolutely, every emotion creates a vibration, and when we don’t get those emotions out they do build up in our body. And sometimes this manifests itself as illness. So it’s important that we do clean up our houses, dust our minds, declutter our minds, because that power, the power of stress has an effect on our bodies.
So, Robyn, you’re also a nutritionist. So let’s talk about food, because that’s something a lot of us think about. One of my bad habits is eating really late at night. How would you suggest I try to stop, and manage that? I’ve done intermittent fasting and all of that good stuff, and I go for it for a while and then I break it. I want it to be more sustainable.
Robyn: And why do you break it? That’s the question I ask. I’m not a fan of eating late at night. I try to have my dinner done by you know 6.30 / 7pm. But, you know, if I know I’m working, because a lot of times I have clients at night in this environment, you know, it’s easy to have clients 7 & 8pm, then I eat my biggest meal at lunchtime and then in the evening have something lighter. If you are eating late and you’re up and you’re allowing yourself to digest it and you’re moving around and you’re doing things, but it’s not great for the gut. So I’m not a big fan of eating late at night. But eating lighter meals, making sure you have a little bit of protein if you’re someone that has problems with blood sugar. So you’re not waking up through the night. All of those things are important. Having that balance, and eating lighter meals before you go to bed is preferable. And it’s better for your gut as well.
So why do you feel many of us connect thoughts to negative views of ourselves rather than the positive?
Robyn: I think because of the way our brains have evolved. Your brain is there to protect you, to kind of look for danger, and now that you know in terms of evolving, your brain was protecting you from being eaten by something in the old days. And now the dangers are very minimal, but the brain still reacts like that. So the back brain is the brain telling you have another biscuit, you know you’re not worthy. You’re not sure, you’re this, you’re that but the prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that takes the action and controls what I call the primitive brain. So I think a lot of the times that we’re telling ourselves different things because we are making comparisons and this world, social media is not great. And so we’re constantly comparing ourselves to others and we’re constantly feeling inferior and feeling under threat. So we tend to criticize ourselves for not being good enough, for not being perfect. And there is no perfection. But we all strive for that. 50 percent of our life is going to be things that we have to deal with, it’s not pleasant. The other 50 percent is going to be great! We can have the balance one, without the other. And so allowing ourselves to process emotion is really important. How do we process emotion is we feel the emotion. We go out of our way not to feel, we eat something to make ourselves better. We go shopping to make us feel better. We’re so afraid of processing that emotion. Just kind of standing still and processing the emotion that we’re running from, allows us to know that it’s just the vibration. And It allows us to change our habits when we are not afraid of the emotion. Because we all do things because of how we want to feel, that’s why we do anything. It’s because of how we think we want to feel e.g. when I’m thin I’m going to feel great. When I’m rich, I’m going to feel great. When I’m this, I’m going to feel fantastic. But we can feel that right now, and use that energy to get where we want to go. But we feel we have to be negative to ourselves in order to get there. No, and it’s a choice we get to think how we want about ourselves.
You talked about giving everything words. It seems like I would have to trust that those 10minutes I ‘dump the thoughts’ each day are done with the right words. And that, in time, it could help. How will I recognise the results?
Robyn: So I think Ehryn is talking about the thought download. Yes, so the thought download, you do it without analysis or judgment, Ehryn, you just write down the thoughts that are coming into your head and write them all down. And the purpose of that is to get them out of your head. And then you look at them and you weigh whether they are the stories you’re telling yourself or they’re actual facts. And if they’re not facts. Those things on paper are just thoughts that you’re having. Remember we have sixty thousand of them a day and most of them are not true. They’re just thoughts we’re having. E.g. You know, I know my husband doesn’t take out the rubbish and I’m like – he’s ridiculous, he doesn’t care about me and that’s just, I’m going over the top. And actually, the truth is he just didn’t take out the rubbish. But what I’m telling myself is that this means he doesn’t care about me. So that’s a story I’m telling myself versus the fact that he just didn’t take out the rubbish. And so when you start to separate the story you’re telling yourself from the actual facts, you’ll see that a lot of it is just not that important. Those thoughts can be just chucked in the bin. That’s the purpose of doing the download. It is to get those thoughts out of your head and to make room for thoughts that serve you. How do you want to feel? Instead of how you don’t want to feel. How do you want to feel? What’s a thought that can serve you, what’s a thought that feels better? What’s the thought that brings you, Joy? Rather than what is terrible about me? So when you choose that thought, that feels better than choosing the other.
When I’m calm and rational, I’m able to download thoughts easily. However, in a panic situation, I can easily spiral and start filling my head with silly thoughts. Do you have any tips on how to get out of that panic mode?
Robyn: Meditation, bilateral stimulation, you know when people are in an anxiety mode, passing things from side to side and just saying “I’m calm, I’m safe”, because anxiety works on one side of the brain more than the other. And so by really going right brain, left brain, “I’m calm, I’m safe”, it just brings things back. Now when we are in our own mess, nobody can kind of see it, including me. When it comes to Logic and emotion, emotion wins every time. We know logically, what we should and sometimes shouldn’t be doing. But emotion is stronger than logic. So as you say, when you’re in your panic, when you’re in your soup, as I call it, you don’t see it. And this is when, you know, people come to me for coaching or you know, they do hypnosis, or they do self-hypnosis, just calming themselves down, sitting quietly, counting down stairs from one to 10. And just really centering yourself, centering your mind, and just allowing yourself to just centre yourself. And then going back to that. And asking, Is it true? Is what I’m thinking true? Do I need to do some thought work around this? Is this thought serving me? Or is this one that needs to go? And thought work seems so simple? It’s easy to think it can’t be that simple, but it is. Taking out that rubbish every day and questioning your thoughts has a powerful, powerful impact.
Are there any books to help parents teach kids about decluttering and managing emotions?
Robyn: Yeah, I think Byron Katie is great on that. I think she has a couple of books which talk about decluttering your mind. Also Brooke Castillo is another fabulous person on thought work. And that’s a good thing for children to start doing. Really doing that thought work in a very, very gentle way. And maybe giving their thoughts like a name or an animal name. You know, so there’s that bunny again that’s kind of making me anxious, you know, what do we want to do with bunny? Do we want to calm her down? What could we do for her? And so there are some children’s books. I think Brian Katie does do one that that that sort of talks about how to work with children around thought work. However children are much more open with this. I use something called a shining diamond for children. I have this this paperweight diamond, and I show it to them. And I say you are this beautiful diamond. And the diamond has lots of facets, and how are you feeling? And they say, Well, I’m feeling like I’m ugly, or I’m feeling like nobody likes me. And I write those on sticky papers. And I stick them all over the diamond. And I let them know. Now if I take this diamond, I can still sell it. It’s still valuable with all of these things on it. Because underneath, when we take off all those things, it’s still a beautiful diamond underneath and that is something that when I work with children, I use the shining diamond analogy.
That’s really, really powerful. I feel like we all need the shining diamond reminder from time to time…
Robyn: And I have a sticky from a little boy I was working with the other day – he was doubting himself. So I said to him, Doubt your doubts, not your goals. And he loved that. So he put all this stickies on the diamond. And then we take them off and he could still see this diamond was still beautiful, still priceless. And that’s for all of us.
Where do we find you Robyn?
Robyn: My website is robynspens.com. I work with people in a blended approach, a large percentage of my practice is women. But I also do work with a lot of teens who have anxiety and do hypnosis as well as coaching. I specialise in infertility, anxiety and issues around disordered eating. And what I mean by that is people who binge or have urges and have tried, you know every sort of every diet and it’s really getting into the mindset of why they’re doing these behaviours.
Nnenna: You’re based in London, but also do remote sessions, don’t you?
Robyn: Oh, yeah. I work with clients all over the world, in Australia, India, so. Yeah.
Nnenna: Fantastic. So we’re coming up to three more minutes to go. Does anyone have anything they want to share? I mean, just unmute yourself and speak.
Ehryn: Thank you, Robin, and Nnenna. I think powerful reminders of the things that we just don’t do you know, there are so many obvious things that we do. We pull our bodies around and make ourselves do all these things. But you know, you’re right. All these thoughts are happening and are just responses to that. Those things that say, gosh, you’re so tired, just don’t do it. Then you do it anyways, and we ignore in a way like pull on ourselves, don’t we and end up crashing.
Robyn: That’s what I was speaking in to, a lot of us who are kind of you know, high achievers, we just don’t listen. These thoughts have been in our head for weeks days, you know, I’m really tired, I’m not listening to my body. And then we’re forced to listen, because I’m ill. And then, you know, we look after ourselves for that small amount of time. And then we jump headlong back into the old behaviour, instead of sort of thinking about, you know, what got me to this place in the first place? and what wasn’t I listening to now? And how can I start to future proof myself? So that’s yes, a great point. Thank you. Thank you so much.
Nnenna: Absolutely. I’m ordering myself a notebook as my thought diary and really curious to see what I actually end up with after a week of Thought downloading. As I listen to you, it sounds so simple, like you just said, Ehryn. I can’t wait to see what actually happens. There was a simple exercise I did in lock down when I was feeling all over the place. And I can’t remember where I picked it up, it was a simple energy diary. Each day, I record my feelings twice a day in the morning and evening. And I would just record a word on how I was feeling and rank my emotions on a scale of one to 10. And the insights I had from just a week of doing that, and actually reflecting on my activities – is a bit like the awareness piece you talked about, because that’s half of it. I was like, Oh, these are the activities that give me energy and make me happy. These are the ones that are draining me – it really was that simple. These exercises are so powerful. So I’m definitely going to take that one away and practice it.
Robyn: Even the words, you know, why am I repeatedly telling myself the same word about myself? What does that mean? You know and why am I doing that? And just that awareness, I think is powerful. And when you have the awareness that you’re doing that, then you have the possibility to change it. Yeah. Without the awareness. You know, we just continue with the same behaviour.
Nnenna: Anyway, I think we can wrap up. I can’t see any other questions. Thank you so much, Robin. I’ve gotten so much out of this. I really enjoyed the meditation will be coming back to you for that one. Yes, I might go back and just play this back to myself, like, over and over again.
On Wednesday: There is a session on Self-Care planning with Yvette Ankrah MBE, and she has a method she goes through to really get thinking about how we can focus and start to prioritise our self-care and to come up with a plan for how we’re going to pay attention to those underserved areas of our lives that are important for our wellbeing.
On Thursday, we have Millionaires Kids Club with Funmi, who in the throes of lock down, while we were all doing whatever we were doing, found that starting her very own young secret millionaires kids investment club to really empower children to build that financial confidence became a game-changing movement. She can tell us more about it, and you have to hear the story because I did and I was just in chills, it’s going to be a fun session. So I’d say tell your friends, you can still book. All the funds raised from the tickets go to charity. The charity is called Inspiring Tomorrow’s Leaders and they do important work matching children of AfroCaribbean descent with mentors and resources and people like Robyn who work actively with that practice to really help those children and to lift them out of these disadvantaged backgrounds, open them up to opportunities make leaders. for the future. So it’s important work. The reason I’m saying that is for you think about it as well as you book, so please give charitably – just buy the £20 ticket. I hope to see some of you back next week. LBB is on LBBSKIN.COM, we are a skincare and wellness company and focus on multi-tasking skin & mind essentials that help you look after your wellbeing and find those moments even when all you have is 1 minute. We have a birthday offer on currently, with 20% off – the code is LBBISONE (and it ends in October). I hope you guys go and check out the website and see what we have in store. So thank you again everyone and see you next week.
Nnenna: Unless anyone has any objections, I will share the recording with all of us so that we at least have all of these nuggets as something we can reference and access even after today. So thank you again. This is day three of a seven day session and next week. We have another two sessions lined up .
About the Speakers:
Robyn Spens is a recognised leading therapist who makes a difference in people’s lives. She is an empathic communicator and understands how the power of the brain and the words we tell ourselves have an immense impact on our behaviour and our bodies. Robyn runs a full-time transformational practice supporting professional women who struggle with stress, anxiety, weight loss and fertility issues. She is a coach and mentor for the Amos Bursary and Inspiring Tomorrow’s Leaders – both organisations that support young people. Having experienced her own transformation first hand, Robyn understands how anxiety and stress can destabilize your growth and stop you in your tracks. She spent 16 years as an accomplished corporate consultant until a serious health challenge left her struggling to cope. She made a conscious decision to change her life and transform her health and is now passionate about helping others to do the same. She is a qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist, Functional Nutritionist, and Master Coach.
For more information please visit or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Nnenna Onuba is an experienced global corporate finance executive and qualified chartered accountant with a track record in mergers and acquisitions, strategic business development and deal execution. She has worked in top tier organisations such as PwC and Rothschild, advised global businesses, several on the FTSE 100 and Governments.
As a woman in a busy, high flying career, Nnenna knows life is much easier when we feel confident, calm and in control. Combining a passion for holistic wellness and the knowledge of how hard it is to make time for self-care when you have none, inspired her latest venture. LBB skincare – short for Life is Beautiful in Balance is a skincare and wellness brand that harnesses the power of clean, high-performing natural ingredients to design products that are streamlined, rejuvenating and easily adaptable to our needs, time and schedules – all without compromising on efficacy, performance and pleasure.
Nnenna is passionate about inspiring others to lead full lives without limitations, promoting topical content and conversations that educate and challenge our perceptions of balance and self-care. Because how amazing would it be to look great, because we feel great? If that’s interesting to you – get even more value here.