The I-T-I-A Formula

I-T-I-A stands for:





The I-T-I-A Formula takes into account everything known about how mind processes information and brings about change. But you must do all four; otherwise the effects won’t be permanent.


Personal change starts with a decision – to learn a new skill, to develop a new personal quality and so on. For example, you could decide that from now on you’re always going to treat yourself with love and respect and behave confidently. It’s as simple as that.

Ask yourself:

What do you want out of life?

  • What kind of person would you like to be?
  • What changes would you like to make?
  • What are your goals? Are you prepared to commit to them?

Remember, the clearer your goals and the stronger your intentions, the more likely they are to be realised.


Step back and observe your self-talk (your thoughts). Are they generally positive or negative? What questions do you ask yourself? What are you trying to achieve by thinking that way?

Examine your attitudes and beliefs. Are they true? Do they serve you well? Where have they brought you so far?

The more positive your thinking, the happier you are and the more likely to succeed at whatever you set your mind to.


Learn to use your creative imagination and intuition. They are the key to a successful future.

Imagine achieving your goals. What will they look like when brought to fruition? What will they sound like? Feel like? Do this often, especially when you are physically and mentally relaxed.

The imagination is the fast track to your unconscious mind. You can imprint your desires – and the belief that they will be met – on your unconscious using your imaginative faculties.


Take small steps in the right direction – towards your goals – every day. You may feel uncomfortable, but ignore your discomfort, feel the fear and do it anyway.

Monitor your progress and make adjustments if necessary. Do more of what works and stop doing what doesn’t. Change never feels right, but when you act ‘as if’, eventually the uncomfortable feelings fade.

Keep going until success becomes a habit – every step reinforces your progress. And don’t be put off by others.

The process is a little like the old domino trick where the performer pushes over one domino and all the others fall over in sequence. Every change you make influences the next step, which in turn affects the step after that, and so on. The important thing is to begin. Go on – push over that first domino now. Promise yourself that you’ll give it your best and never give up!

©David Lawrence Preston, 2018

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Anxiety is distress prompted by abnormal worry or apprehension. It is usually accompani9ed by a feeling of loss of control.

Most of us experience it from time to time, but if allowed to get out of hand, the body becomes highly sensitised, with physical effects including headaches, ulcers, muscle tension and lack of energy.

Many things can trigger anxiety. When we stay within familiar territory (physical or psychological), we feel most comfortable; any new experience can trigger anxious feelings. The unconscious part of the mind likes us to stick to existing habits and, acting through the nervous system, makes us feel uneasy when we move out of our comfort zone.

Chronic anxiety is a long term condition recognised by the psychiatric profession as a mental illness. It is often treated with anti-depressant or anti-anxiety mediation. CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is also widely used.

As an Aspergic, I know from painful experience that there are not always easy solutions for chronic anxiety. However clients past and present have found the following approached useful:

  1. Understand why you react this way. Identify the thoughts and beliefs that trigger the anxiety response and work on them using the I-T-I-A Formula.Keep active. A busy mind has less opportunity to focus on anxieties.
  2. Talk to a caring friend, relative or therapist, someone who’ll listen without judging you. Often when you talk things through, problems don’t seem quite so bad.
  3. When you have a problem, concentrate on finding solutions rather than focussing on the problem.
  4. You’ll never eliminate anxiety by avoiding the things that cause it. For instance, if driving in traffic brings on anxious feelings, drive on progressively busier and busier roads until you have de-sensitised yourself.This is the basis of the ‘extinction’ technique. Put yourself in anxiety provoking situation and (in theory at least) you eventually learn that there’s nothing to be worried about.
  5. Remind yourself of – and be grateful for – all the good things in your life. List them. Think about them. There are plenty! Remember, there is no anxiety in the world, just people thinking anxious thoughts.

And remember, see anxiety as another name for a challenge and you can accomplish miracles!

David Lawrence Preston, 25.5.2019

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F.M.Alexander – the orator with no voice

Frederick Matthias Alexander (1869-1955) was an Australian actor who had made a good living from poetry recitals in the 1890s until he encountered a career-threatening problem: he developed breathing problems and chronic laryngitis, and lost his voice! He went from doctor to doctor, but none could find any physical cause nor any cure.

Since no-one seemed able to help him, he resolved to help himself. He studied anatomy books and surrounded himself with mirrors, carefully observing himself. He discovered that the way he had been been trained to carry his body and project his voice was the very cause of the problem. He was tensing his body as he prepared to speak, dropping his head backwards and pressing his neck into the spine. This constricted the air passages and inhibited his voice box. He noticed that others with voice and breathing problems often did the same.

Alexander was a man with little regard for others’ opinions unless supported by scientific evidence and proven by results. So he experimented on himself. He discovered that eliminating muscle tension in the neck prevents the head from compressing the spine, so the spine is free to lengthen. This frees the windpipe and allows the voice to function properly. Within weeks of starting to apply this to himself, the problems were gone and he was able to resume his profession.

Others began to seek his help, so he applied what he learned and developed a hands-on healing method that allowed all the body’s natural processes to work, thus stimulating its capacity for self-healing.

As his research progressed, he made further discoveries. He noticed that he mind could play tricks on him so he developed methods to increase mindfulness. In essence, the Alexander Technique, as it became known, focuses on attention, thoughts, posture and movement. It centres on:

  • Self-awareness: identifying harmful habits that restrict breathing or result in poor posture.
  • Inhibition: pausing for a moment before acting to interrupt and prevent destructive patterns.
  • Choice: knowing that we have the freedom to choose new responses (i.e. not to follow habitual, conditioned reactions).
  • Primary control (neck, head, spine): positioning the head, neck and spine so that the head is up and slightly forward, allowing the spine to lengthen, releasing tension from the neck and throat.
  • Directions: Oral suggestions, self-administered, which send conscious instructions to parts of the body which he had struggled to control before.
  • Using gravity as a healer; positioning and balancing the body so that gravity can do its work. One example is the semi-supine position: lying on your back with your knees in the air, head resting on several books, arms relaxed at the side. This releases muscle tension and brings the body back into alignment.
  • The whispered ‘ah’: To remove unnecessary effort from using the voice.

Alexander practitioners are known as teachers (not therapists). They explain and demonstrate the technique, and use hands-on methods to bring about change in their clients.

Alexander is best known for his work on movement and posture but he also believed that the mind and body were as one. When we take good care of the body, we fell better mentally, emotionally – and spiritually – too. Many physical problems are caused by our behaviour; people behave according to their way of thinking, so to cure some physical problems means changing our thinking. This is a conscious process which takes effort and determination.

The benefits of the Alexander Technique have been well documented especially for chronic back pain, but in the eyes of the medical establishment he remains a quack. Surgery, they say, backed by drugs, is quicker, cheaper and more permanent, and more in tune with our modern lifestyles. But at what cost? Those of us who believe in natural healing methods must not remain silent!

©David Lawrence Preston, 1.11.2018

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What are you?

What are you? When you think, exactly who or what is doing the thinking? When you stare into a mirror, who is doing the looking?

There’s a story of a young philosophy student who went to see his professor. ‘Please help me,’ he pleaded. ‘There’s a question that’s been eating me alive. I can’t sleep through worrying about it. Tell me, do I exist?’

The professor turned to him with a withering look and replied, ‘Who wants to know?’

The question of what we are and why has always occupied great minds. Socrates, for instance, advised anyone who would listen to ‘know yourself’. Someone asked, ‘You tell others to know themselves, but do you know yourself?’ He replied, ‘No, but I do understand something about this not knowing.’

Nowadays, we know a great deal more than in Socrates’ day. Powerful microscopes reveal the building blocks of our physical form at cellular level and quantum level. We now understand the brain so well that we know which clusters of tissue house which types of mental activity. We can even predict whether an individual is at risk of certain diseases from their thought patterns and emotional make-up. And yet how many of us can truly say we know ourselves?

A human being is a complex organism made up a body, a mind, and an energising force that brings life to the physical form. This energising force – call it Spirit, soul or anything you like – is present in every atom and cell, and when it leaves, we die. That’s why we don’t become spiritual beings – we already are.

‘You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.’ (C.S. Lewis)

©David Lawrence Preston, 28.5.18

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The Law of Attraction is not what it seems

The two great principles that are said to determine what we make of our lives are the Law of Cause and Effect and the Law of Attraction. Some people have always known their significance, and now this knowledge is becoming known to many more. As the Buddha said,  ‘All that we are arises with our thoughts; with our thoughts we make our world.’

We have the power to think. That’s what makes us human. It’s also what puts us in charge of our lives. What we think about and the way we think determine how things work out for us. Life is like a mirror, reflecting our thoughts back to us as the circumstances of our lives.

But it’s not just a matter of playing with words or repeating affirmations parrot-fashion. The Law of Attraction works at all levels – conscious and subconscious, physical, mental and emotional – and to get the most from it you have to believe and feel with your whole being.

Of course, a positive attitude help you to live a healthier, longer life and be more successful at everything you do. When life is tough, pessimists lapse into in negative self-talk and limiting beliefs and quickly become demotivated. Not only does it lower their chances of success, it actually weakens the body’s natural defences.  Optimists, on the other hand, stay focussed, seek solutions and act quickly to put things right. They have the courage to try out new ideas and are more fun to be around.

But – and this is a big but – there are many misconceptions about positive thinking.  If you were to read some of the mass market books on the Law of Attraction, it sounds so easy. But it’s not. You could be forgiven for thinking that all you have to do is focus your thoughts on something you want and it will show up in your life. Then you’ll be happy.

There’s a downside. If you use this Law from a consciousness of selfishness or greed, you may get what you want, but you will also reap the effects of your intentions. You will attract the effects of selfishness, greed and uncaring (yours and other people’s) and like King Midas will not benefit from what you have.

The Law of Attraction only works to your advantage when you align your thoughts with the highest good for all – love, joy, prosperity and health, not just for yourself, but for everyone and all beings.

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©David Lawrence Preston, 24.1.2018

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The same keys that produce discord will produce harmony too

You may recall the famous sketch in a Morecambe and Wise Show featuring Andre Previn. Eric Morecambe sits down at the piano. The audience is expecting him to play a concerto conducted by Previn, but instead plays a honky-tonk rag.  This happens several times until Previn stops the orchestra and approaches Morecambe.

‘You’re playing the wrong notes!’ he says.

Eric Morecambe grabs him by the collar and says emphatically, ‘I’m playing all the right notes – but not necessarily in the right order.’

Viewers probably thought this was an original idea, but actually it wasn’t. The healer and psychotherapist Phineas Parkhurst Quimby had said in the middle of the 19th Century, ‘Take a piano. The same keys that produce discord will produce harmony.’ Were Morecambe and Wise’s scriptwriters aware of Quimby? We don’t know.

What did he mean? That the same metaphysical laws that can produce discord and misery can also produce harmony and contentment. The difference is, of course, one’s consciousness.

Everything in the universe, including every idea, is underpinned by perfect wisdom, but it can only manifest if we apply our mind-power. Our purpose is to align ourselves with this source of wisdom and perfection. Then miracles can happen.

It’s taken a long time – but at last people are waking up to the incredible contribution made by Quimby. Science still hasn’t caught up – but one day it will.

©David Lawrence Preston, 11.5.2017

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The greatest mind-body healer?

The greatest mind-body healer of recent times was a diminutive and rather brusque character
who lived in New England in the first half of the nineteenth century. His name was Phineas
Parkhurst Quimby. He deserves to be much better known.

QuimbyHaving cured himself of tuberculosis, considered impossible in those days, he developed a healing method that focused on changing the destructive beliefs of his patient. These dysfunctional beliefs, he asserted, were the root cause of all health problems.

He wrote, ‘If you have been deceived by some invisible enemy into a belief, you have put it into the form of a disease, with or without your knowledge. By my theory or truth, I come into contact with your enemy and restore you to health and happiness.’

Quimby’s methods were highly unconventional. Usually he imagined a courtroom
scene in which he (an attorney) pleaded with a judge (the patient’s subconscious) to release
the thought patterns that created the illness. Sometimes he challenged the patient’s beliefs aloud, but as his skills developed, would challenge them without a word being voiced, as he silently ‘intuited’ the cause of the problem and ‘projected’ healing thoughts into the mind of the patient. This he could do in their presence or at a distance. He brought about many cures without even meeting the patient!

Quimby fervently believed – in opposition to the medical and clerical ‘wisdom’ of his day that health is the birthright and natural state of every human being. The life force or ‘Intelligence’ which sustains us was like a TV station broadcasting health and well-being for all, but could be blocked by erroneous beliefs which prevent us from enjoying long and happy lives.

I’m guessing you’ve never heard of him. Few have, even though his achievements were well documented. He helped over ten thousand people  and left behind a voluminous body of writings. He influenced almost every mind-body healer who came after, whether they were aware of him or not. The best accounts, though, came from those whom he had cured. Several testified to his prowess and wrote detailed accounts of his methods and results, including one, Mary Baker Eddy, who founded her own healing movement and claimed his discoveries as her own.


Quimby practised an early form of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy).  His methods were also a forerunner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (hypnotherapist Milton Erickson, on whom much of NLP is based, knew all about him). Many best-selling authors have made a fortune writing about the mind-body connection – they would be nowhere without him.

Awareness, intention, attention, thought, imagination and belief – correctly applied – are the keys to mind-body healing. I sum this up as the I-T-I-A Formula; Intention, Thinking, Imagination and Action. When all four are applied, as Quimby knew, the results can be astounding.


©David Lawrence Preston, 29.3.2017

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For further information on the I-T-I-A Formula, see also

For further information on the place of mind-body techniques in healing, see:


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Illness, Health and Self-Awareness

Scientific research increasingly shows that negative thoughts and emotions can make us ill and positive thoughts and emotions help to keep us well. Happy, contented, emotionally well-adjusted and optimistic people have more energy and get ill less often. They also live longer. How, then, can we use these insights to heal our bodies and stay healed?

The starting point is self-awareness. Every great teacher, from Lao Tsu, the Buddha, Socrates, King Solomon to modern day gurus like Dr Deepak Chopra and Osho have agreed.

Most illnesses arise from miscommunication between the body and unconscious mind, telling us that some issues in our lives need to be addressed. Often, when we address an issue, the problem clears up without further intervention.

Correctly handled, illness can be the trigger for personal development and the gateway to spiritual growth. Along with the pain and suffering comes the opportunity to change. Many health problems are primarily due to poor self-management.

If you think this is an exaggeration, here’s an example. Mick was a wealthy businessman, forty-three years old. He was diagnosed as suffering from gout, a disease in which an excess of uric acid in the blood causes excruciatingly painful swelling in the joints. On some days, he could only walk using crutches.

For several years he relied on medication but had no idea what was causing. Then one day a health practitioner told him the main cause of gout was opulent living – especially a poor diet. Mick was certainly guilty of that. His alcohol consumption was well over the recommended limit, and he loved high fat, sweetened, refined foods, especially generous helpings of meat, blue cheeses and desserts.

The practitioner gave him a diet sheet which prohibited (among other things) red meat, dairy foods and alcohol, and advised an increase in salads, fresh fruit and vegetables. ‘Sod this,’ he said. ‘I’m not a flamin’ rabbit! If I follow this I’ll starve.’ So he carried on as before. Needless to say, the condition did not improve.

In time the agony got worse and he came round to following the practitioner’s advice. He made a full recovery.

Mick’s was a very obvious wake-up call. Usually, though, the problem is not so apparent. The sufferer may have adopted a lifestyle that harms them physically, mentally, emotional and/or spiritually without being aware. But if they ask themselves, ‘What could I learn from this? What needs to be addressed? What is it telling me about my lifestyle, my way of thinking, my hopes and fears, beliefs, values and personal relationships?’ the answers may be revealing. Then changes can be made.

Self-awareness includes:

  • Intention: Do you want to be well? To be healed? If this sounds like a silly question, be aware that some people would rather stay ill! Why? Because illness can itself be the solution to other problems. It can provide justification for failure, avoiding responsibility and inability to cope. It attracts sympathy and attention. Practitioners can quickly spot such people because they know that if the patient does not want to be healed, their healing efforts will be in vain.
  • Habitual thinking patterns can block the healing process. Every thought you entertain affects every cell of your body and can weaken the healing process.
  • Beliefs are powerful thought-forms that deliver a direct command to the nervous system. Author Norman Cousins (who cured himself of a terminal illness after doctors had given up on him) wrote: ‘Drugs are not always necessary. Belief in recovery always is.’ Beliefs do not have to be conscious; they continue to influence you even when you’re not thinking about them and affect us whether they are true or false.
  • Recurrent emotions that need to be addressed.
  • Faith: another word for total belief. People with faith in a positive outcome are often the best fighters.

Self-awareness and mindfulness are the starting points for all progress, from confidence building and self-esteem to physical wellness.

©Feelinggoodallthetime, 27.3.2017

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Toxic thoughts and emotions create illness

We’ve always known that there’s a close connection between the body and the mind. We’ve all experienced it. That’s why more and more sufferers of chronic physical conditions are referred for counselling, and why, in the UK at least, the ‘talking therapies’ are over subscribed.

Some experts predict that they’ll soon be able to identify people at risk of contracting serious diseases such as cancer from their psychological profiles – others claim they already can.

For instance, in her book, ‘Your Body Speaks Your Mind’[1], Debbie Shapiro suggests there is a direct link between specific attitudes and emotions, and afflictions in specific parts of the body. For example, if you have problems with your ears, it’s because you cannot accept what you’re hearing and subconsciously withdraw energy from the hearing ability. Ear infections denote irritability with what you’re hearing. Eye problems, she writes, indicate that you’re having difficulty accepting what you’re seeing. Short-sightedness suggests introversion; long-sightedness extroversion. Blurred vision denotes confusion, and so on.

She is not alone in believing that it’s possible to link thinking and behaviour patterns to specific parts of the body:

‘Any distress of the mind slows down the liver. Living in the past, condemning one’s self, and regret of the past affects the liver…. Resentment and pettiness are reflected in the liver, since a healthy liver casts out the untrue and holds fast to the good.’ Catherine Ponder[2]

 ‘The lungs represent our capacity to take in and give out life. Problems with the lungs usually mean we are afraid to take in life, or perhaps we feel we do not have the right to live fully.’ Louise Hay[3]

‘There’s a surprising correlation between one’s choice of words and the ailments one suffers: ‘That makes me sick!’ (linked to ulcers); ‘I made a rash decision (linked to skin problems); ‘It’s doing my head in’ (headaches)….’ Arielle Essex[4]

Far fetched? Then consider this:

The body is constantly regenerating itself. Every second more than a million cells in your body die and are replaced with new cells. The cells of your heart, skeleton, liver, skin and digestive system are replaced every three to six months, and even the cells in your brain are constantly regenerating. Some say that every cell is replaced at least every two years – some say it’s more frequent than that.

We know through the work of cellular biologist Bruce Lipton[5] and others that every cell in the body has intelligence and responds to our ‘instructions’ (thoughts, mental images and beliefs). As they reproduce, they respond to the pattern we give them. This way, every emotion is locked into our physical makeup.

‘I’ve hurt my arm’ could be reinterpreted as ‘A hurt inside me is manifesting in my arm’. If you notice yourself thinking, ‘You’re a pain in the neck’ or ‘this is a real headache’, don’t be surprised if you get one.  Phrases like, I can’t stomach this,’ and ‘It’s too much for me to shoulder’ have obvious repercussions. When you talk like this you’re sending a direct message from the brain to that part of the body via the nervous system.

If you’re a generally positive person, the new cells are likely to be healthy and you’re improving your chances of a vibrant good health. If you’re generally negative in outlook, the new cells are weakened and you may even be curtaining your lifespan.

Over time, your body becomes a walking autobiography, because every physical state has an underlying non-physical state. One’s thought affect the shape of your face! The ancient art of physiognomy (face reading) is based on this premise. Indeed, the idea that a person’s character can be seen in his face is more or less taken as given around the world. Research shows that such traits as honesty, social dominance and aggression are indeed linked to facial features[6].

Over a hundred years ago, Sigmund Freud wrote: ‘Often repressed emotions will manifest either as behavioural problems or physical problems’. Although widely derided at the time, the evidence is now overwhelming.

©David L. Preston 24.3.2017

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[1] Deb Shapiro, Your Body Speaks Your Mind, 1996,  Piatkus Books,  ISBN 978-0749915957

[2] The Healing Secrets of the Ages, pg 240, De Vorss Publications, 1967, ISBN 0-875 16-550-8

[3] You Can Heal Your Life, pg 128, Axis Publishing, 1987, ISBN 1 870845 01 3

[4] The Eight Factors of Healing, pg 30,, 2009

[5] Bruce Lipton, The Biology of Belief, Hay House Inc, 2008, ISBN 978-1401923112

[6] See The Economist, 21st August 2008

Raise your sights to a higher way of being

One of the visitor attractions in the holiday town where I live is a balloon tethered to a 500 metre cable. Patrons enjoy a stunning panorama which extends for over twenty miles.

Imagine a balloon flight: the higher you rise, the further you see. Features on the ground, including all the things you fret and worry over, get smaller and lose their detail. If the balloon could rise even higher, they would disappear almost completely. Similarly, when you seek happiness and security in a higher way of thinking, your anxieties seem less significant.

How do you attain a higher way of thinking? The way is represented by the letters I-T-I-A.

  • Intention: Aspire to your highest potential. Direct your will. Keep your intentions pure and everything is achievable. The more you stay focussed, the more certain it is.
  • Think: Shake off the thinking patterns and beliefs that have constrained you, raise your thoughts to the underlying Intelligence that governs the universe and all our lives.
  • Imagine: Imagine yourself charged with spiritual energy, like a giant rechargeable battery absorbing power from the source as effortlessly as breathing. Imagine yourself putting it to good use in the service of your fellow beings.
  • Action: Be the master of your actions, making wise choices guided by your intuition. Act as if source energy is flowing through you and have faith in all that is good. When this becomes your natural way of being, your Inner Power is truly awakened.


When you decide to change, you’ll come up against mental inertia – warring thoughts in your mind. Ignore them. There will probably be times when you feel tempted to go back to your old ways.

A friend recently said to me, ‘Yours are lovely values to have, but you can’t live that way.’ Why not? Did she mean that spiritual ideals somehow interfere with other priorities, such as the scramble for status and material success? Greed, envy and selfishness are all too common in today’s world: you don’t have to be a part of it.

No words can express how you feel once you have awakened the infinite power within you. All along your Inner Power had been lying dormant, and you didn’t realise it. But now you do. To quote Kahlil Gibran, ‘You are greater than you know, and all is well.’

‘Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be; and whatever your labours and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace within your soul.’

From ‘Desiderata’ Max Ehrman


©David Lawrence Preston, 23.1.2017

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