José Penrose

Mind to Change


If you have a problem, there are many ways in which you can help yourself. This part of the Mind to Change website will give you an insight into some of the techniques you can learn and practise to break the cycle of stress, depression, insomnia or whatever your problem may be. After all, if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got.

The first bit of good advice is, if you can’t change something, then change the way you think about it.

Many people come to Mind to Change because they have a bad situation at home or at work which they believe is being caused by an individual or group with whom they have to interact on a regular basis. If only, they say, this person would leave, behave differently, change their attitude.

Now, no matter how much we discuss the situation sitting in my office, no matter how deeply we delve into the psyche of the third party, we cannot change them. All I can do is to help my client change the way they react to the individual or group whom they perceive to be the cause of their problems. We all have free choice and we can choose not to allow our buttons to be pushed.

So, next time someone pushes your buttons – makes you feel hurt or angry – change the way you react and see what effect it has on them. If they no longer get the pay off they expect, then maybe their behaviour will change. It’s worth a try.

STOP doing what you’ve always done...

Sometimes we get locked into situations which are not helping either party. Take, for instance, the man who was married to an extremely overweight woman. He had become her carer, leaving work to devote himself to looking after her, adapting the house, cooking and cleaning. His whole reason for being was caring for his wife and, of course, it was no longer in his interest to help her to lose weight, because he would then be obsolete. She wouldn’t need him around to look after her.

And what do you do to take care of yourself? A while ago a young woman came to see me suffering from panic attacks. As we talked she told me she had a very stressful job as business development manager for a firm of accountants. Her sisters lived some distance away, and she felt obliged to meet her widowed mother a couple of times a week for lunch. She and her husband were doing up the house so, once she had cooked a meal, evenings were spent on DIY, painting and decorating. Her husband’s family liked the couple to have Sunday lunch with them each week. And then, of course, there were shopping, washing and cleaning to fit in too. I asked my client what she did to relax and take care of herself. Well, she said, she was too busy and too tired now to fit in her aerobics classes.

Through the panic attacks this young woman’s body was telling her she needed to take time out to relax and nurture herself in between all her other commitments. It’s not selfish to take care of yourself. If you don’t, no-one else will and you will suffer stress, burnout and even depression.

So take stock of your life today and set aside time for yourself on a regular basis to ensure that you recharge your batteries. Check out all those “shoulds” and “musts” and “oughts” and see if they are telling you the truth – the choice is yours. And, take a look at our new self help tools available to purchase now.


Visualisation is a useful tool to help you achieve your goals. Do you want to play sport better, be more confident in meetings or when making presentations – or, indeed, just in social situations in your daily life? Maybe you’d like to lose a few pounds or give up smoking.

The first step is to visualise what you and your life will be like when you’ve achieved that goal. How will your life be different, what will you look like, who will be the first to notice? Will those around you be affected by your success?

Find a comfortable place to relax for a few minutes. Close your eyes, allow yourself to become aware of your breathing and conjure up a picture or sense of yourself having achieved your chosen goal. Maybe you’re now consistently hitting good tennis shots, speaking up in meetings to make valuable points, chatting confidently with friends and strangers in a social situation. Or perhaps you’ve achieved your goal weight and clothes size and you can see clearly what you will be doing – swimming regularly, enjoying wearing a new outfit or taking part in an exercise class. Perhaps you’ve stopped smoking and are beginning to feel the benefits of improved health, feeling fitter, with clear skin and more energy.

Whatever your goal, get a clear picture or sense of what life will be like when you’ve achieved it. And once you have that picture in all its detail – feelings, scents, sounds and a visual image, then anchor it by pressing your thumb and forefinger together. Then you can use that anchor to recall that good feeling any time you need to boost your confidence, get back on track or refuse that tempting cigarette.