Mention the term NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and many people think of tools and techniques associated with mindset.

And, yes it is this… and much more.

You see, at its core, NLP is about modelling, and no I don’t mean the catwalk sort! It’s about modelling what works effectively in terms of human thinking, communication and behaviour to create desired results – you might hear it talked about as ‘modelling success’. NLP is about understanding how the language we use influences our thoughts, feelings and actions, and if necessary, how to change it in order to get the results we want in any and all aspects of our life.  

NLP was originally developed through modelling experts in their field and then this got transcribed into processes and frameworks that anyone can use. It’s a very practical methodology and technology. Although ‘feeling’ isn’t often mentioned explicitly, it is integral to NLP.

The body and mind are one

NLP presupposes that the body and mind are inextricably connected and in constant communication. Therefore, anything occurring in one part of the system will affect the other. One of the guiding principles in NLP is, “All procedures should increase wholeness” so all that we do is intended to increase congruence. When you attend an NLP training you experience this first hand

The old idea that the body and mind are separate entities with distinct functions, has its roots in ancient philosophical traditions. In the 17th century, philosopher René Descartes proposed a theory known as Cartesian dualism, which stated that the mind (or soul) and body are fundamentally different substances. It became a widely held theory by scientists and psychologists and the West, until the mid 20th Century. Some  still hold it as true today.

Be careful what you wish for!

Dr Deepak Chopra, a clinical professor at the University of California and author of 90 books said, “Your body is eavesdropping on what the mind says”, because signalling molecules called neurotransmitters transmit electrical signals from the mind around the body. This is supported by the fact that you can have a physical response as a result of your thoughts.

Our thoughts can bring on temperature changes, muscle tension, pain and other sensations, to which we give labels to describe what we believe is going on. Things like happiness, sadness, frustration are conscious mind labels we use to describe our feelings or emotions. In our body, excitement and nervousness produce the same physiological sensations, and the label we give them depends on the context.

You can experience this right now. Close your eyes for a moment and think back to a time when you were really happy, really go there and hear what you heard, see what you saw and feel what you felt – you’ll feel sensations in your body as well.

Your memories of past experiences and all your learning is held out of consciousness in your unconscious mind until you require it. Think of it as a huge filing system where everything is stored with an individual code. Each time you experience something, you mentally and then physically match the experience with one that’s been stored before. For example if you have a phobia or intense dislike, say of spiders, each time you see one your body produces the same response. The same goes for anything we experience.

The mind is in the body, that’s where we operate. We’re always sensing what is going on with our feelings.

Now, the unconscious mind has huge change potential. Just as it can learn to be afraid or dislike something after one experience, it can learn to do the opposite too. It’s a case of decoding the exact strategy (pattern) that’s being run and then scrambling it and inserting a different pattern to change the physical and mental response, which is exactly what we do with NLP.

here are several NLP techniques that help us to shift from an un-resourceful and unwanted stressful state into a more desired and resourceful one in both mind and body. Through tapping into the power of language and perception, NLP enables us to effect change by reframing our thoughts and emotions, so we have ourselves feel more calm, energised, motivated or any other desired state. Below is an outline of 3 techniques:

Anchoring

“There are no un-resourceful people, only un-resourceful states.

Our thoughts affect our emotional state, which then influences our body and physiology. With NLP anchoring we consciously harness the way this happens to create resourceful states that help us positively.

During our lives, we unconsciously create positive and negative anchors. Consider how you can end up feeling in response to certain voices, places, smells, textures and memories.

We can utilise this response pattern to consciously create a positive resource anchor by recalling times we felt strongly motivated, happy, determined, loved, joyful, energised or any other positive feeling, which will generate the corresponding feelings inside. We then apply a stimulus (eg. pinch the earlobe or touch a knuckle) and the two become linked neurologically – they are anchored. We can repeat the process several times to create a strong connection as well as sit, stand, move and breathe accordingly.

Then any time we need to be in a more resourceful state, such as feeling motivated, energised, determined etc. we touch the anchor and go instantly into that state. If we change our state to a resourceful one, we can change our results.

Simply by changing our posture and breathing, we’re actually able to influence how we feel any time.

Peripheral vision

This is a simple process beginning in the mind, which has a positive effect on the body.

Keep your head level and focus on a spot straight in front of you and slightly above your eye level. Continue to stare at that spot and broaden out your field of vision so you can notice what’s on either side of that spot. Have your field of vision become wider so you can see right around to either side of you and above and below.

This process activates the parasympathetic nervous system, helping you to feel more calm and brings your mind and body back into balance. In this state of expanded awareness you’re unable to focus on a problem. Try it! If you can, guess what, you’re not in peripheral vision!

Dissociation

Another way to change how we feel in NLP, is to deliberately dissociate ourselves to achieve specific results. When removing a phobia or a trauma response, it’s useful to distance ourselves and become the observer in order to take the charge off painful past experiences. Going over and over, reliving past experiences can re-traumatise people and wire in the response more deeply. Through identifying the pattern a person runs in their head, we can change how it’s held (coded) in the mind and body so they no longer have the same intense emotional response.

NLP is about modelling excellence, which means modelling what is healthy and being healthy is an essential foundation to consistently get the results we want. It’s about thinking about our thinking in a flexible, adaptable way. It’s about recognising there are an infinite number of other possibilities and being willing to hold them in mind.

When you attend the Enhanced NLP Coach Practitioner you learn these techniques and many more. You also get first-hand experience of them working for you too.

So if you’d love to make powerful positive changes in your life and / or support others to do the same too, sign up for the Dynamic or Enhanced NLP Coach Practitioner training and make it happen for you.