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NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) techniques can be powerfully effective in changing how you experience the world—and, since our thoughts and feelings shape our reality, this means that these techniques can actually transform your entire life.
Here are five of the most impactful when it comes to changing your behavior and helping you manifest a better future:
It’s extremely easy to have a kneejerk negative reaction and then feel stressed, angry or sad as a result—for example, think about an office dispute, a disagreement with your partner, or a friend who shows up late for every meeting. The NLP technique of dissociation helps to diffuse these negative feelings in such situations, restoring objectivity.
- Identify the emotion (e.g. fear, rage, discomfort, dislike of a situation) that you want to get rid of.
- Imagine yourself encountering the entire circumstance from an observer’s perspective.
- Play this “mental movie” backwards, then fast forward the movie before playing it backwards yet again.
- Add a funny soundtrack as you play it backwards 3-4 more times.
- Try to imagine the scenario like it’s happening right now—the negative feelings should have disappeared, changed, or at least reduced (but you can repeat the exercise many times for greater impact).
2. Content Reframing
Try this situation when you feel powerless or angry, as it helps to empower you by changing the meaning of the experience. Say, for example, that your relationship ends—that seems awful, but try to see it from different perspectives.
For example, you’re now open to better relationships, you have freedom, and you have learned valuable lessons. This is an example of reframing a situation—taking the focus off the more negative elements.
In expected situations, it’s natural to panic or focus on fear, but this just leads to more problems. In contrast, shifting your focus in the way just described helps you to clear your head and make responsible, even-handed decisions.
3. Anchoring Yourself
Anchoring yourself helps you to associate a particular, positive emotional response with a particular phrase or sensation. When you choose a positive emotion or thought and deliberately connect it to a simple gesture, you can activate this anchor any time you’re feeling low, and your feelings will immediately start to change.
- Identify what you want to feel (e.g. confidence, happiness, calmness, etc.)
- Try to get into that state by remembering a time you felt this positive emotion very strongly.
- Make your mental image sharper, more vivid and more intense.
- Choose an anchoring phrase or touch (e.g. “I am ____” or touching the back of your knuckle).
- Repeat the above every day at least once, until you find that simply touching your knuckle or saying your phrase immediately elicits feelings of happiness, confidence or calm.
- Use this technique any time you need to change your mood.
4. Establishing Rapport
This is an easy set of NLP techniques, but they have the power to help you get along with virtually anyone. There are lots of ways to build a rapport—one of the most effective involves following the other person’s breathing pattern, but subtly mirroring their body language is similarly effective (think crossing your legs in the same direction, rather than instantly scratching your nose the moment that someone else does).
A less well-known but equally potent rapport technique involves listening to people to pick up whether their main sensory perception is kinesthetic, visual or auditory (before employing the same perception yourself).
Clues that you’re talking to someone with a predominantly auditory perception include phrases like “I hear you”, “his voice was loud” and “I’m listening.”
Meanwhile, visual perception is suggested by words and phrases like “I see what you mean” and “my vision is clear” and kinesthetic perception is often expressed by phrases like “I feel that’s the wrong choice” and “I have a good feeling about this.”
5. Belief Changing
When you use the content reframing technique mentioned above, you reduce the amount of limiting beliefs you form.
However, when it comes to previously established beliefs, you need to use a different approach. Say, for example, that you’ve had a difficult boss and start thinking that all your bosses will make life hard for you.
To change that limiting belief, you first need to start gathering more positive facts about the relevant situation than negative ones. For example, you might read about good experiences people have had with their bosses, reflect on previous bosses who have treated you well, and remember your good friends who have managerial roles.
It’s also smart to affirm the opposite to your limiting belief every day. For example, you might say “I will find a great place to work, and I’ll have a boss who supports me” every morning. Really focus on the words and understand their meaning.
The new beliefs will go straight into your unconscious through this process, and after 30 days of repetition you should start to see a real difference.