A recent study* of 2000 women by Herbal remedies company A. Vogel has revealed a large percentage of women felt they no longer received the level of attention they once did after hitting 51.

The study showed that many even went as far as to admit they felt ‘ignored’. More than two thirds of women over 45 had walked into a room and felt ‘completely unnoticed’ by the opposite sex. The women claimed their confidence plummeted after hitting 50 and blamed greying hair, having to wear glasses, or even struggling to find fashionable clothes. More than half said they felt ‘left on the shelf’ and that they’d been ‘judged negatively’ because of their age.

Health expert Eileen Durward, who provides advice and support to women through the A. Vogel website and helpline, said: “The results show a worrying decline in confidence and self-worth in women when faced with the prospect of growing older.”

Cooke, 49, is a professionally qualified Hypnotherapist, practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and Negative Belief-eliminating coach. She has developed a series of techniques and methodologies which remove the limiting and unhelpful beliefs and thinking that result in feelings of low self-esteem and lack of confidence in women.

Cooke helps her clients to identify the core self-esteem beliefs that are behind their problem, keeping them feeling stuck and unhappy. These negative beliefs can include thoughts like “I’m powerless”, “I’m not good enough”, “I’m unlovable”. Negative beliefs, in her construct, are like some internal programming running us, and most people don’t even know they have them, let alone that they’re running their lives. Once identified, Cooke takes her clients step-by-step through a process to eliminate these limiting beliefs one by one.

Cooke says “lack of confidence and feeling worthless as women get older, comes from negative beliefs women hold about themselves. These are the filters through which we view our world. Using my techniques I have helped many women change their limiting beliefs and achieve freedom and a sense of real self-worth”

Jane, a 48 year old client of Cooke’s, says of her techniques, “Nina worked with me using different techniques on several areas where I felt 'stuck'. The results were often surprising and profound. Nina's manner is a lovely mix of professional and yet personal. I enjoyed the process and have definitely felt benefits from doing it.”

Another client, Marie, 45 from Stansted, says of Cooke’s approach: “I have the confidence in myself not to allow or accept poor behaviour from people there or in any part of my life! I will continue to remember to look at what the root cause of people's behaviour is if I am finding it difficult and I know it will always go back to being about them and not me. Although I knew a bit about this before we met, it has still been a huge learning curve to actually implement it in my life.”

Cooke’s methodology asserts that people derive their value and self-worth from what people think of them. Women thus spend a lot of time mind reading what others think of them, leading to unhappiness. Says the Confidence Coach, “Once we eliminate our negative core self-esteem beliefs such as I'm not good enough, I'm unlovable, I'm invisible, it frees us up to know we're good enough exactly as we are. We then begin to see new opportunities around us and have the confidence to say "yes" to them.

Cooke is expanding her practice and offering her services to women in the Home Counties and beyond. She does face to face consultations and for client convenience and also works via Skype. The first 30 minutes is free while the client tells of the changes they wish to make in their lives.

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My market is women 40+ who are struggling with low self confidence and low self esteem. They have limiting beliefs eg. I'm not good enough, I'm not important, I'm not worthy, what makes me good enough is having people think well of me, etc. These beliefs are the programming running them and keeping them stuck and unhappy. I help them to uncover and then eliminate these beliefs so they can start to make more resourceful choices and say "yes" to new possibilities and opportunities.

Here is a story about an imaginary client:

Once upon a time, there was a woman called Sarah. She was 47, a wife, daughter, mother and friend.

Every day, Sarah looked after her family's and friends' needs. She kept everyone else happy, but felt neglected, unimportant and worthless.

One day she decided she was going to put HER needs at the top of the list without feeling guilty, selfish and anxious, and start asking for what she wanted in a powerful, congruent and confident way.

Because of that, she started to feel good about herself, and realised she had all along been good enough just as she was.

As a result, she felt free to be who she was and live a life she loved.