Recently I’ve been using various processes for coping with the stresses and strains of day to day living, called NLP – Neuro (the mind), Linguistic (the language used to understand particular processes of the mind), and Programming (the process of removing/adding belief systems in the mind).
Part of the theory is that we have from our earliest years been inculcated by those around us with negative beliefs, that many of our belief systems have been founded on false assumptions. For example:
Jane’s mother was petrified of dogs. When Jane was growing up she watched her mother run in fear of every dog she saw. Jane began to believe that dogs were something to be feared. And naturally Jane grows up with a phobia of dogs. Now Jane may not even remember her mother being afraid of dogs. As a result she may not understand why she is afraid of dogs. But this has now become a negative belief system which blights her life. As simply as it was for Jane to be ‘programmed’ in her early life, so can it be that Jane can simply be ‘unprogrammed’ - by herself.
So NLP believes that we do not have to accept who we are, how we behave, or what we believe. We can reprogramme ourselves such that we can live in a completely new way, as long as it doesn’t conflict with our current set of morals.
But where do these belief systems reside? The fear appears in the conscious part of Jane’s mind, but it has been imbedded in the unconscious part of her mind. All of our habits and beliefs are rooted in the unconscious, therefore a language is required that can access these beliefs. We can tell our conscious mind a thousand times that it is irrational to be afraid of dogs, but while the unconscious mind still believes it, nothing will change.
The human mind is said to be made up of 10% conscious activity, 90% unconscious activity. To be able to access this 90% of our minds would be to access an extremely resourceful part of our minds. NLP believes it has the necessary tools for unleashing this potential.
So what NLP processes could Jane use. First we need to understand how negative beliefs exist in our minds. Imagine your first car. Picture your favourite food. It could be that you picture a colour, a blue car say, or the spicy smells of a pizza. The point being that our fears our made up by the way we ‘picture’ them.
Now Jane’s irrational fear of dogs might include an image in her head of large dog, teeth gnashing, whites of eyes flaring up, loud maniacal barking, the increasing size of the dog as it nears. Now this is like a film that Jane runs in her head each time she nears a dog. This film has been programmed in. If I ran this film every time I saw a dog, I too would be petrified of dogs.
But if Jane were to imagine that she were the director of this film, she could change it in a fundamental way. Now in order to decrease the fear she has, the film might have to change dramatically. Rather than picture the dog as just mentioned, she could rather begin to reduce the image of the dog so it is a tiny image, almost like a puppy; she could see it as a black and white image rather than a brilliant bright emotionally-charged colour image, she could see it as chasing its own tail, licking her face, or that rather than bark it squeaks.
Now every time she nears a dog, rather than the horror film beginning to run, the newly created film runs. In order for this film to run Jane would have to reprogramme her unconscious mind to trigger a new set of beliefs. So to use NLP terminology she would need an ‘anchor’ to trigger this new film to start.
As mentioned, I attended a two day seminar on NLP and one of the speakers, an extremely accomplished professional Master Practitioner spoke about how he fell into a deep depression. For all his experience, life got the better of him - for a while at least. He’d reached absolute rock bottom, where life lost its meaning. With all his skills he couldn’t extract himself from his suffering. I think this is worth bearing in mind. You never know when Life’s going to hit you, and just how it will. Another way of viewing it is he obviously had the skills to ultimately find a way out. He found a scrap of paper and wrote all his achievements down and this began to loosen his depression and start the long process of change.
What I can say with all confidence is that I have used many of these techniques and have always found them to be extremely beneficial.