3 Keys Of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) that Will Change Your Life

April 10, 2018

NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) can be incredibly effective at changing the way we perceive and interpret reality. We can’t forget that our thoughts and feelings shape everything around us. Hence the usefulness of NLP techniques for gaining awareness of this making appropriate changes.

Maybe you’ve heard of neuro-linguistic programming. It’s more than just a psychological theory; we should see it as a group of strategies to help us grow as people. In the 70’s, Richard Bandler and John Grinder created it, wanting to enable humans to fulfill their life purposes for themselves. 

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought”

-Buddha-

On the other hand, we must point out that some criticize NLP and see it as pseudoscience. That said, NLP strategies turn out to be very useful in many cases. It’s also quite interesting from a psychological point of view. 

One of the main objectives is to connect our neurological processes and language with the behavior patterns we’ve picked up through experience. So by correcting our cognitive representations and taking power away from the rigid mental maps that we sometimes use, we gradually start to create more flexible behavior patterns.

NLP is an interesting, useful way of changing our reality and shaping our mind and how we feel about the world around us in order to see life in a freer, more positive and happier way.

1. Disassociation technique

Neuro-linguistic programming tells us that our lack of trust, as well as our anxiety and stress, are activities and processes, not permanent conditions. Therefore the key is to control these processes and change them to work for us, not against us.

One way of achieving this is through disassociation. The steps are as follows:

  • Identify the emotion you want to stop feeling and clear out of your mind. It could be anger, sadness, fear, disappointment…
  • Focus on that specific emotion and a situation that usually causes it. For example: I feel angry every time my colleague talks behind my back.
  • Visualize the scene as if it were a movie. Then give it a fun soundtrack to take away the drama. Next, repeat the scene in your mind a few more times to reduce the negative emotion. This will make you feel like you have things under control and that the situation doesn’t matter. Maybe it even seems funny to you now. The anger should have now disappeared.

2. Content re-framing

Another key neuro-linguistic programming technique might seem obvious but that doesn’t mean that we actually use it, or use it correctly. If you obsessively anticipate bad things happening, always expecting the worst, you may actually end up causing bad things to happen.

For example, some people can’t stop thinking about what would happen to them if their partner left them. It makes them so upset that they develop obsessive behaviors, jealousy, mistrust, and all kinds of destructive processes. Then that makes their greatest fear come true: their partner leaves them because they can’t stand how they’re acting.

  • One NLP technique that can help is content re-framing. It is based on a cognitive technique in which we shift our attention from fear and re-frame it towards more constructive things.
  • For example, you might need to stop focusing on your fear of losing your partner in order to focus on spending quality time with them.
  • You switch your fear of being alone to accepting responsibility for yourself. You learn to love yourself enough and be strong instead of getting trapped by fear.
Neuro-linguistic programming as pictured by binary numbers and a brain.

3. Neuro-linguistic programming: the anchoring technique

The anchoring technique is a classic NLP strategy for personal growth. What is this “anchor,” then? It’s the connection between a stimulus and an emotion. Here the purpose is to get into a more appropriate yet powerful state of mind. This will then allow you to successfully do what you need to do.

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”

-Mark Twain-

Think about situations that make you feel anxious or insecure: exams, speaking in public, approaching someone you find very attractive, etc. If you can evoke the right mental state, you’ll have the motivation and confidence you need to come out of these situations with flying colors. Here are simple steps to practice anchoring, based on the principles of NLP:

  • First identify what you want to feel: confident, happy, calm…
  • Then try to remember a time in your life when you felt these positive emotions very intensely.
  • Focus on this memory and take a mental snapshot of it.
  • Now choose a phrase that will serve as your anchor: “I am at peace” or “Serenity” or “Everything will go great…”
  • You will repeat this sequence (desired emotion, memory, visualization, anchor word) daily until it is integrated into your mind. This way, eventually it will happen automatically when you need it.
Switching on and off your mind.

Are you curious now about the fascinating world of neuro-linguistic programming? Well, there’s a good reason for it; it’s accessible to all and draws on our enormous potential as human beings. For further information, we suggest the books “Introducting NLP” and “Changing Belief Systems with NLP.” They’re very thorough and great if you want to dive deeper into the topic and learn how to transform your life.