Claire Aristides is a mother, wife, and the woman behind not one but three successful businesses. One of which is the Mindology app, where she has housed all of the tools, techniques and learnings from her own life experiences and training as a clinical hypnotherapist. Claire shares some relatively simple yet effective techniques to help navigate a time where many of us are feeling stressed, uncertain and overwhelmed.
How can we start the day with a positive mindset?
As we wake up our mind is not fully switched on into conscious thinking so it’s a great time to plant ideas and seeds of positivity in your mind. Even if your kids are jumping all over you in bed like mine do, try to think of how you want to feel today. Imagine yourself calmer and more relaxed, even saying to yourself that you will have a calm and focussed day. I use affirmations and I repeat them continually throughout the day to keep me focussed on what I want. We naturally tend towards negativity; it’s human nature, so we need to find ways to ‘steer the ship’ in our minds in the direction we want.
What are some quick and easy calming techniques to put into practice throughout the day?
I mentioned affirmations, so creating affirmations based around the outcomes you want for yourself. Put a reminder in your phone, or every time the kids say ‘Muuuuummm!’ use it as a cue to say your affirmations.
Deep Breathing is also incredibly powerful. Each day when you shower, for example, practice deep breathing to stimulate your vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is the longest cranial nerve in our body and it runs from your brain down through your neck and chest to your abdomen. It’s known as the ‘wonder nerve’ because of the crucial role it plays in your well-being. When it is stimulated, it activates your body’s relaxation response to help deal with stress. Breathing is so important; we take about 20,000 breaths a day and for many of us these are shallow. Stress causes shallow breathing and shallow breathing causing stress. Because your breathing directly controls your nervous system, it can be the remote control to instantly calm your brain and body. Involve your children in these techniques – show them that mummy and daddy see self-care as important and that managing stress is a priority.
Can you please share healthy, mindful habits to incorporate day to day?
The key here is habits – ask yourself what are the self-care rituals that calm you and empower you? Find what works for you, whether it be walking, running, yoga, listening to music, and make them a habit for yourself. Build them into your daily routine, like before brushing your teeth each morning, or as you prepare the evening meal—do a deep breathing exercise or say your affirmations.
How important is a bedtime routine?
A bedtime routine can be helpful to prepare you for sleep and send a cue to the mind and body that it’s time for bed. Developing a sleep routine can take time and it may involve tweaking what works and what doesn’t. Once you find what works make it a routine. We are constantly ‘on’ these days – our iPhones allow us to shop, text, photograph, calculate something, etc. Learning to just be still and switch off is so important.
What should we do if we are having trouble getting to sleep at night?
Sleep is so fundamental. I know its really tricky with young ones – I myself have two young children so I completely get it. It’s really important to build a routine that supports your sleep. Many of us are over stimulated yet exhausted by bedtime and it can be a bad combination so learning to unwind and let go of the day is really important. It’s so tempting to be on the iPhone before bed but its possibly one of the worst things we can do for sleep health. Keep a journal by your bed to write out any thoughts or your to-do list. I repeat to myself I am sleepy and tired as I lie in bed, as well as some slow breathing while listening to the Mindology app, which has a series of soothing sounds and sleep audios!
Can you explain to us more about your background, hypnotherapy and the benefits?
I am director of Aristides Fine Jewels and Futurae Lab Grown Diamonds. After being in the corporate world, I launched my jewellery brand over 10 years ago. Hypnotherapy had come into my life 20 years before with my dad’s cancer treatment, and I came back to it when I was so burnt-out with my business and having fertility issues. I spent a year with a clinical hypnotherapist, de-stressing and letting go of old stories about myself. After this experience I decided to train as a clinical hypnotherapist to really understand what was happening, and it brought profound changes to my life — to my stress levels (reducing them) to understanding myself, and also bringing out the best in myself. I see self-hypnosis and hypnotherapy as an incredible tool to calm and empower your mind.
I use self-hypnosis daily as part of my mindset practice to get me in the zone. One example I have made is to that nasty ‘inner critic’— I have managed to completely shut down that voice. I would never dream of talking to myself in a harsh way anymore but that wasn’t the case five years ago. For me, hypnotherapy is more powerful than meditation as you relax your mind but also there is an empowerment goal or positive change involved. I could talk all day about it; I think it’s such an incredible technique and process for change. I have put many of the tools and techniques into the app Mindology that I have built — it’s available on the App Store and Google play.