Are colds inevitable? Should they be affecting Commonwealth Games stars?


“I came down with a bit of a tummy bug and had nothing to give today, I pretty much couldn’t stand up after my final

Fran Halsall, Day 3 of the Commonwealth Games.

I saw Fran talking about her Bronze medal achievement today and this got me wondering whether the English team have access to hypnotherapist. I have not allowed myself to get a full blown cold since New Year 2007/2008. Here is how I discovered this could happen.

Over the New Year period of 2007/2008 I went with Scouts to Kandersteg in Switzerland. I had only just started my training as a Hypnotherapist so I was still in my full blown stages of ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

We had arrived a time with lots of snow but it hadn’t snowed while we had been there. On a previous trip 18months before I had used my mobility scooter to get to a cable car. Then at the top got a horse and cart down to a lake called Oeschinensee.

Oeschinensee Lake Summer 2006

I had a morning where everyone was doing something too tiring for me so I had mentally pictured myself going to the lake and seeing it so frozen it was totally covered in snow and safe to walk on. Unfortunately around 2am the night before I woke up and was sick. I was gutted because, as I sat around not sure whether I would be sick again, I saw it had started to snow and it was snowing heavily. Not only would it be a good to see the lake I would now be able to see Kandersteg with fresh snow.

I was confident in what I was learning as hypnotherapist so I decided to focus on being well. I decided to see how I was at Breakfast. I ate breakfast but I was then sick again. I decided as long as I wasn’t sick after 9am I might still be OK to get up the mountain. I went back to sleep and woke up at 9am and was sick. How curious I thought.

I decided to go back to sleep and if I woke up before 11am I would perhaps see if I could get my mobility scooter down to the foot of the cable car. I woke at 11am on the dot. My interest was really spiked now. Two targets and I hit them both. How intriguing.

My mobility scooter made it to the cable car and since it was all downhill to the lake I decided to walk down to it knowing I would have to get back up but I would do it one way or another. It was probably a stupid thing to do but I made it despite feeling very tired and being desperate for the toilet. The difference between the two years was amazing so I was pleased to get to the lake.

Oeschinensee Lake Dec 2007

This whole experience got me thinking about colds. I knew now I had an ability to control how I felt. I also knew it is quite common for people to work and never get a cold and then go on holiday and relax and then get a cold. While this could be coincidence I think most people like this “can’t afford to be sick from work” so don’t accept being ill as an option. When on holiday all pressure is off and then they relax so far they are susceptible to viruses, especially if they are away from home.

I therefore set myself a challenge: Could I avoid having a cold for a year? The first couple of colds in the house were really easy to deal with. I noticed potential symptoms of a cold starting and immediately started focusing on be healthy. Normally for me it is in my throat I notice a cold first so I would focus on it becoming comfortable and normal.

On about the third cold I noticed it took me 2 days to feel totally normal but having the cold was almost irrelevant. I got the idea that perhaps I had the virus but that I was keeping it under control. (As I write this I feel this is perhaps something I need to challenge)

I easily made the year and have continued my game. One day I totally unexpectedly woke with a red raw chest. This was a major surprise as I had no inclination the night before and no time to send in the comfort. “Never mind” I thought, I will still not let it progress now I am aware of it. I got a very light cough and the next morning I went networking. There I saw what my cold could have been like. Nobody even realised I might have a cold my symptoms were so light.

One last bug that is worth mentioning was one that took me 5 days to clear. At the end of it my wife was diagnosed with Swine Flu. I think it highly possible I gave it to her as I had spent two days with someone that I feel gave me my “cold”. One of the key things of Swine Flu diagnosis was temperature. When I took mine out of curiosity it was very low. It was like my body was keeping me cooler so the virus was easier to handle. It does not matter to me if it was true. I kept well and that was the main thing.

The only side effect I notice of “not having a cold” is I can still be a little tired as mentally my unconscious is working harder.

And so back to swimming at the Commonwealth Games, I wonder what would have happened if Fran Halsall had been taught what I am doing. Perhaps she already has and perhaps that was why she could achieve her Bronze. If not I wonder if she could have primed her body to forget the infection for the duration of the races and therefore kept all of her performance.

Fran seemed philosophical about things

“I don’t know why I put myself through it sometimes. It’s frustrating more than anything, I know at my best I can swim a lot faster.

“But what can you do? I got in and gave it my best shot. I’ve got to be proud of it, really.”

She then had just 20 minutes’ rest before getting back in the pool for the semi-finals of the 100m butterfly where sadly she came fourth and missed qualifying for the final. Again I wonder how she focused herself in those 20 minutes. Perhaps she didn’t get chance with the press and the Bronze.

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