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Neurolinguistic Programming helped save my life


Up until November last year I'd not really come across NLP before, except for the odd random video on YouTube with messages of how you can "change your life" blah blah blah.


So I'll be completely honest and say I take it all back.


One of the biggest hurdles I faced towards the end of therapy was a relentless internal critic and immense emotional shame that would continuously leave me mentally crippled and unable to grow as an individual. In fact I wrote a blog in December called The Mind Troll, explaining how terrible this was to live and how I'd spent my life as a prisoner of my own mind.


The concept of being mentally "free" was without doubt a pipedream, as I'd become so used to my dark passenger, and had accepted that this was how I'd spend the rest of my life.


You can absolutely re-train your thought patterns

We all experience negative thoughts on a daily basis. You don't have to suffer with mental health issues to catastrophise over events that haven't happened yet, imaging the worst case scenario, but not having any factual evidence to back it up. Or perhaps you need to have an important discussion with a partner or work colleague and decide to have the conversation played out in your mind before you've even approached them on the subject. By then its too late though as the brain has taken over and told you numerous outcomes, all of which are terrible and will result in some form of stress, anger or misery. Crazy isn't it?


From my understanding it's a built in coping mechanism to measure threats and risks associated with those tasks, but with the volume turned up to 100, adding absolutely no value whatsoever. The beauty of it though is you don't have to live a life like that and you can train your brain to be more objective with your thought processes with some simple techniques.


Here's an example;


You have an interview in 1 hour and have got ready early. As you get outside you notice the car has a flat tire. For some people this could be interpreted as "I'm going to be late, they're going to think I'm useless, what if there's more traffic because I'm leaving later" and so it goes on.


NLP helps to reframe the thought pattern by looking at the reality of the event. So perhaps it could look like "I'm going to be late, so I just need to call the agency and advise them of what's happened. Please pass on my apologies and I'll keep you updated as soon as I'm on the road". And that's it.


The FACT is, you have a flat tire. Yes you will probably be late and yes you can call them to let them know.


The FICTION is, they'll think you're useless (based on what?), there's going to be more traffic (is there? who said so?)


You have full control over how you interpret a situation and how you mentally and physically react to that event. It's far easier to let autopilot kick in and worry about things that have no substance than it is to really think about them and question the reality of your thoughts. But the beauty of it is, once you start doing this on a small scale, you soon realise how many other things you can apply it to.


"I can't walk the dog, it's raining". Take an umbrella. The dog will love you for it.


"I can't complete that task today and they're going to think I'm stupid". Communicate with them and express your concerns. People can be very understanding believe it or not.


And finally, keep a note of your successes and don't forget to congratulate yourself on winning against that idiot inner critic every time it tries to knock you off balance. And if it seems really difficult to do, don't worry. These things take time and effort, but the reward is beyond amazing.



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