NLP: What is it and how can it help you?
NLP is a powerful system for personal change.
It gives us a way to change what’s happening in our minds not only consciously, but at an unconscious level. And making changes at that level can have the same effect as throwing a stone into a pond. The positive changes that result can ripple out easily and naturally into multiple aspects of our lives.
In this article I want to give you an idea of what NLP is, where it’s come from, and what kinds of things it can be used to help you with.
What does NLP stand for?
NLP stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming. To understand what that means, let’s look at each piece in turn.
‘Neuro’ is about the mind, and ‘Linguistic’ is about language. Putting those together, that means NLP is about the language of the mind, or in other words, the way we think.
The ‘Programming’ part of NLP then refers to systems and habits, and specifically, the systems of thinking. Putting it all together then, NLP is basically about how the mind works, and how to use that knowledge to make positive changes in life.
What is NLP used for?
At one end of the scale, NLP is used to help people overcome problems they are struggling with and address the issues that are holding them back. Examples of this include things like anxiety, depression, recent or historical trauma, low self esteem, lack of confidence, changing negative thinking or mindset, changing unhelpful behaviours, grief, phobias, stress, or issues with work, family, and relationships.
At the other end of the scale, NLP is used to help people be the best they can be - to help them get motivated and stay that way, communicate well, positively influence others, install good habits, maximise their health and fitness, climb the career ladder, and maximise happiness, success and fulfilment in their lives.
What's special about NLP?
What I particularly love about NLP is that it has a number of techniques within it to help create positive change.
The first of these were developed by looking at the best therapists at the time, the 1970s, and figuring out exactly what they were doing that made them so effective, and by looking at successful people and figuring out what was happening in the background to help them get their amazing results.
These techniques have then been added to over the years and NLP continues to grow and evolve, becoming more and more effective over time.
Here are 5 examples of what can be achieved with NLP techniques:
1. Clearing phobias and fears
Phobias exist normally because of an emotional or traumatic event in the past, or because our minds have significantly distorted the threat that something poses.
By using a technique to neutralise the emotion around the traumatic event, or one to change how the mind is thinking of the stimulus, we can change our state of fear around the object to one of complete resourcefulness and even ease.
2. Clearing trauma
Traumatic memories are usually stored in the brain in a particular way. Specifically, when we remember them, they are usually vivid, in full colour, moving and with full sound - in other words, it’s like we’re right back there experiencing it all over again.
By rewiring how the brain is remembering those events, we can take the emotion and power away from them, so we can recall them safely and without emotion if or when we choose. This rewiring process also usually disconnects triggers, stops nightmares, stops flashbacks and helps calm the nervous system if it’s been on edge for a long time.
3. Clearing limiting beliefs
We often have beliefs that are holding us back. Some are deeply personal to us, for example, ‘I’m not good enough,’ or ‘I’m not worthy’, and some are about the world or other people, for example, ‘Bad things happen to good people,’ or ‘People can’t be trusted.’
NLP gives us a way to clear these beliefs, and doing so is like resetting the baseline of our experiences in life, or changing the lenses through which we’re looking at the world. It opens up new thoughts and feelings, which creates new behaviours and ways of responding to the world.
4. Changing unhelpful behaviours
Some unhelpful behaviours are learned from others, some are leftovers from a time in the past when they were useful, and still others serve a hidden purpose, for example, helping to fill a void or give us comfort or confidence.
NLP helps us identify why your unhelpful behaviours are there and whether they are serving some kind of purpose. More importantly, it gives us a way to change those behaviours, often by rearranging things at a deeply unconscious level, increasing our motivation around making the change, and by putting a good plan in place to make it happen.
5. Installing positives
If we want to be successful in life, whatever that means to us, we need to make sure all our ducks are in a row - that we know what we want to achieve, that there are no objections or limitations holding us back, that our mindset is fully supporting us, that our motivation is high, and that we have a plan of action which feels good and is completely in our control.
NLP helps us do all those things, so we can be fully aligned towards creating what we want, at both a conscious and unconscious level.
How do I know if NLP can help me?
If you want to learn more about how NLP could help you with a specific issue or problem, or help you towards a specific goal, please feel free to get in touch. I’m happy to have a short, no obligation chat with you to find out what’s happening for you now, what you want to achieve, and outline how I think I could help.
Or if you’re curious and would just like to find out more, try some techniques out for yourself, and see what they can do to make your life better, then please check out my video e-learning programme, where I share the techniques I use with my clients in an ever-growing collection of resources. Please click here to find out more.