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NLP provides a practical toolset for self improvement.
Neuro Linguistic Programming, or NLP for short, is a unique approach to personal development, communication skills and psychotherapy developed in the 1970s. Its approach is to draw connections and parallels between the neurological functions of the brain and the social function of language—and the subsequent effect on the way people behave.
In other words, if you change the way you speak, it will have knock on effects in terms of the way you think and behave. Likewise, a change of thought patterns will manifest itself in a changed means of expression through language, and in a person’s social behaviour.
In short, NLP offers individuals an extremely powerful tool to effectively change thought patterns, negative behaviours and social problems, simply by concentrating on their words, thoughts and body language! Many books have been written on the in-depth functions of NLP; and many practitioners make a handsome living out of providing therapy and self-help courses.
The simple fact is that you do not have to understand the physiological processes behind NLP in order to take advantage of its empowering truths. This article introduces five basic techniques that allow you to harness the power of NLP to change your life today.
The art of rapport is perhaps the most accessible of NLP techniques and beyond doubt the most important in terms of how it will affect your life. Rapport is the means by which you can empathise with and get on with other people; and is a blend of tact, body language and listening.
A person who is instinctively able to build rapport with their fellow human beings will be more likely to be happy at home and at work, to have more friends, be more healthy and live longer. The good news is that building rapport is not a matter of chance. There are a number of methods that can enable you to improve your relationships with others; which are accessible to anyone and everyone!
Much of the stress, depression and negative emotions we experience in day-to-day life are the result of trigger reactions to common experiences. For instance, you may notice your temper rising whenever you hear someone mention a particular word or phrase. Alternatively, it may be a particular habit of your partner’s that sends you into a paroxysm of rage or inertia.
Dissociation essentially severs the link between the negative state of mind and the trigger event. As such it is a very effective long term treatment for deeply entrenched psychological issues such as anxiety, depression, stress and phobias. It is also a positive way of dealing with difficulties at work, home or in our relationships.
3. CONTENT REFRAME
Content Reframe is a group of visualisation techniques that encourages you to think differently about situations in which you feel disempowered, victimised or out of control. The technique allows you to view negative situations in a new light, and thus enables you to see how positive outcomes might be derived from seemingly hopeless and frustrating situations.
This NLP technique can be of benefit to people who have experienced severe trauma in their past such as battlefield stress or childhood abuse—or who are suffering from chronic or life-threatening illness. Content Reframe is also useful for helping you deal with acute and unexpected trauma, such as losing a job or suffering bereavement.
Anchoring aims to elicit a habitual, positive emotional response to a specific word or physical stimulus. For example, a therapist may be able to induce a patient to smile whenever someone touches their shoulder. This is an extremely powerful way of instantaneously changing the way a person feels, and works well in long term therapist-patient relationships. However, it is also possible to generate these responses yourself, and thus provide yourself with an instant pick-me-up to see you through hard times.
5. BELIEF CHANGE
From childhood onward we gather around ourselves a complex web of beliefs, assumptions and opinions that guide and affect our everyday lives. Many of these are so deeply ingrained that we spend most of our conscious time being completely unaware of them. Some of these beliefs are inherited from the society in which we were formed and others are of our own idiosyncratic creation. We are often unaware of some of these core beliefs until we find them challenged, when we often fly into an otherwise inexplicable defensive rage.
When taken together, an individual’s beliefs constitute a person’s unique worldview, a web of assumptions whereby we filter and interpret the events going on around us. All beliefs limit our behaviour in some way and many have a positive effect. However, some beliefs reinforce negative behaviour patterns that have a deleterious effect on the way we think and interact with other people.
NLP offers an effective tool set for re-programming your belief set and revising the way you view the world in order to act more positively within it.
In the following series of articles I will examine each of these core NLP techniques in detail and show you how they can be utilised to unlock your latent power to transform your life for the better.