Thursday, 20 March 2014

What is NLP?

Neuro Linguistic Programming can sound like a bit of a mouthful at times. 

Each practitioner has their own way of describing what is with some calling it both an Art and a Science and others explaining it as a way to achieve excellence in your life. I usually use the following description...

NLP is a tool to understand unhelpful patterns we may be creating unconsciously in our lives. To enhance or alter our patterns of thought, behaviour and emotion so to become the best version of ourselves. 

It's like we have a DIY toolkit for life.

I don't see it as becoming a completely new person (although it can feel that way sometimes!)... its more about uncovering the layers of limiting beliefs and emotional baggage we may have picked up along the way, uncovering the real you beneath. Its about remembering our strengths and capabilities which on an super conscious level we have always known and realising this both on a conscious and unconscious level.

Since the beginning of time, aspects of NLP is something that some people have used without realising it however it really came to light in the 1970s through the pioneering work of Richard Bandler and John Grinder. Everybody has the skills and the ability to achieve their desired outcome, however sometimes we can become a little lost along the way which is when the guidance of a friend, family member, doctor or practitioner can help during difficult situations

In short:

Neuro is to do with how we process information internally from our senses to our brain
Linguistic is to do with how we use language to communicate to others as well as ourselves
Programming is to do with our internal strategies we use in order to achieve outcomes.

Through the use of visualisations, goal setting techniques, creating triggers to recall positive emotions and much more, NLP can be a very practical, useful and life changing tool. More than anything its a way to re-frame events, helping us to see things from another perspective and no longer having the same painful emotional charge as before.

Notice how great it would be to go through life understanding yourself a little better, being able to create happy emotions whenever you need to and letting go of past hurts and negative thoughts about yourself!

That's not to say people cant achieve this without NLP, of course they can, there are many useful techniques out there. However NLP can help many people kick start the process and find the balance, great health and happiness that they desire in a very quick and efficient way.

One of my favourite quotes is that of Henry Ford...

"If you always do what you've done, you'll always get what you've got"

If we want to achieve something in our life that we have never had before, we need to do something different. If we havent got it at the moment then there is obviously something that is preventing you from having it whether be it a belief about ourselves beliefs about the world, self sabotaging behaviour or a limiting perspective on the situation. By understanding ourselves, our thoughts and beliefs, and then installing positive behaviours and beliefs we can then start to experience the life we want to experience.

Simple, powerful, effective.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

What To Do When You Make A Mistake...

Mistakes, imperfections, and flaws... something that in society we often want to cover up and ignore. 

To show our 'perfect' side whilst hiding fears and vulnerabilities below out of fear of rejection. If we only show this 'perfect' mask we have created are we being truly loved for ourselves? If we share our fears with loved ones they are seeing all of us, therefore we can feel a stronger, more genuine connection. 

"True belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world" Brene Brown 

Making a mistake can be hard. If something doesn't go to plan it can come as a shock, a disappointment, a fear of 'what next?' and 'have I really got the energy to try again?'. It can be embarrassing, a fear of being laughed at, being seen as wrong or at the very core of it 'will I be rejected?' If inventors stopped after the first set back we would be missing a lot of things in the world that we enjoy today. True courage comes when we get back up and try again, using our set backs as stepping stones towards our desired outcome.

Here are 4 pointers I created to help with self forgiveness after making a mistake, and making the best choices for when you give it another shot...

1) Be kind to yourself

Self love is true self love when you comfort yourself with caring words during tough times or when you may have made a 'mistake'. How would you comfort a dear friend in this situation?

2) What have you learnt?

I say 'mistake' previously with apostrophes because if you have learnt something positive from a situation is it really a negative outcome if you now know what not to do next time? How has this experience benefited you and your future?

3) Make choices for your highest good

What will you benefit from most in the long term? To miss part of a course waiting for a friend as you fear going into room by yourself, or to meet your friend at the event so not to miss any of the course? For each person the choice will be different, its about finding what is right for you and your future. After all this is your life. What do you choose to do differently next time?

4) Choice check: Love vs Fear

Double check, are you making these choices out of fear or love? Love for yourself and your future, or fear of an uncomfortable situation and wanting to avoid it? What will give you the best outcome in the long term?

We are all perfectly imperfect. We can either ignore, despise it, or embrace it learning a great deal in the process, continuing to live life to the full.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Is It Selfish?

Pressures we tend to place on ourselves through the influence of society, our beliefs and values came into conversation the other day when talking with a friend.

We can sometimes get caught up in the ´need to please everyone´ and ´mustnt let people down´ that we can push ourselves too far. I used to be a very high achiever in this area many years ago in London. Constantly burning the candle at both ends regardless of how I felt. There was always an excuse to why I had to do something. Whilst I may have to remind myself occasionally, I can see how things have improved greatly since many years ago.

The underlying reason is often more to do with self worth than anything. Are we really valuing our needs in that moment? Or are we prioritising somebody else´s before ours?

Where do you place health and well being on your priority list?

What is your body whispering to you right now? What does it need?

Sure, its important to continue evolving, moving forward, and experiencing life to the full. However sometimes that experience is simply enough to sit still for a moment and listen to the sound of the wind in the trees. Being aware of our surroundings and really experiencing every moment through our senses.

Its all about balance. Knowing what feels right for us in each moment and acting on that to make our decision whether we want to enjoy some quite ´me time´ to relax or whether we feel like going out for a fun evening with friends.

Are you feeling guilty for taking time out for you?

What beliefs and fears are behind this?

Finding a balance is knowing your boundaries, trusting your gut feeling and being ok with saying ´Sorry I have plans already, is there another time we can both do?´. Time out for you, is just as valid as plans with a friend. Its more about what we prioritise in our lives, our level of self worth and our beliefs about the world rather than being seen as ´selfish´ as some may say.

By caring for yourself as one of your highest priorities, you are also being more loving and caring to others. Allowing yourself to be fully present, energised and and the most help to them rather than turning up tired, drained and distracted.

So its not so selfish after all!

Saturday, 8 March 2014

How Changing One Word Can Alter How You Feel

We often under estimate the power of language.

We speak to ourselves and others without much thought to what we are really saying. Self talk to ourselves is where we often really let loose and we can learn a lot about our beliefs and values by noticing what we say in our internal dialogues.

Are you loving towards yourself or critical?

When are you more loving to yourself?

When do you give yourself permission to be kind to yourself? 

A few years ago I started to become aware of the energetic differences between particular words, in other words the feeling that they created within when used. For example, the difference between the word Should and the word Could.

Sometimes in the past I felt this so strongly that I physically felt nausea or dizzy spells when I regularly used the word Should. Almost as if I was one of those cartoons that had just been hit on the head and their head was spinning. It took me years to understand what was going on, through trial and error and a few trips to the doctors and other healthcare practitioners to find out what was wrong with no success, I finally realised the majority of the issue was my self talk and choice of language that I used.

If I felt a symptom I would trace back my thoughts and notice what I had just said to myself a few seconds before...99% of the time there was the word Should.

SHOULD brings a sense of pressure, a sense of have to, must do, need to. A sense receiving orders with a heavy feeling, especially if you are talking about a task you do not wish to do.

COULD brings a sense of possibility, opportunity, and optimism. A lighter feeling without the pressure as you are giving yourself an option. You could do that task, however its not a demand.

Awareness is the first step to making a change, you cannot change consciously without being aware of what you want to change in the first place. I started back tracking my thoughts, if I realised I used the word should, I'd simply back track and restate the sentence to myself changing the word Should for Could.

This felt like a weight being lifted off my shoulders, fog clearing and a great sense of relief. The most important thing is to do this with kindness. It defeats the purpose to beat yourself up about using the word Should as you are continuing the effect of the word itself.

Another technique that we use in NLP is a pattern interrupt. For example, if you notice you use the word Should, straight away do something completely different to what you were doing before such as humming a nursery rhyme, jumping on the spot, pulling your ear...the list is endless.

This distracts the mind and interrupts the pattern. If we can disrupt the flow enough times then we can naturally reduce the amount of times we use the word Should.

Try it and notice what changes!

Disclaimer: This blog contains thoughts and opinions expressed by myself, other individuals along with links to other websites. Please use your own discernment related to all material and always seek advice from a health care professional for serious health concerns.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

What Is Your Reticular Activating System (RAS) And How Does It Affect You

´You get what you focus on´ is often said on self development blogs and in manifestation books... what is the meaning behind that? 

In NLP we talk about a part of our brain called the Reticular Activating System (RAS) and how it is fundamental in goal setting. Our RAS is like a filter between the conscious and unconscious mind, acting as a faithful servant to our thought process. If we feed it with positive beliefs, it will set out to prove those true, just as if we were to feed it limiting beliefs such as ´Im no good at anything´ it will also set out to prove those true. Our RAS cannot differentiate between positive and negative beliefs.

We create our reality whether we are aware of it or not. 

Two people going to the same party can describe it in very different ways, each person has their own belief system that they feed their RAS. Almost as if we each wear a different pair of glasses, looking through another pair you would see a very different world. By holding onto our limiting beliefs we then delete/distort or generalise the information so that it fits in with our belief system.

If we believe 100% that all people are always kind, we will (on an unconscious level) not notice if somebody is rude to us. This works vice verse as well. If we have the limiting belief that all shop assistants are rude, our RAS will point that out to us and we will encounter more rude shop assistants than those without that belief.

Notice what happens if you buy a red car. Before you may not have noticed many red cars, however after buying one they seem to be everywhere! What has happened? Its just your RAS continuing with ´red car´ on the brain and continuing to point them out to you. There is still the same amount on the roads (more or less), you just didn't pay attention to them before.

Your RAS is also the part of the brain that notices when somebody calls your name, you immediately take note.

This knowledge can prove very useful when working towards our goal. If we can feed our RAS positive beliefs through the use of visualisations, affirmations and anchors, it will start making us aware of situations, people and resources that can help us along the way.

So its not just luck after all!

5 Steps To Uncover and Remove Limiting Beliefs

How do we uncover hidden limiting beliefs? 

The following steps can help find any hidden limiting beliefs. By removing limiting beliefs we can help align the unconscious mind with the conscious, therefore achieving the life we desire.

For example...

Person A:
Wishes to loose weight, starts a new diet, exercises, and consciously thinks about loosing weight however on an unconscious level (or even conscious level) they believe that they are fat/unattractive and that they will never succeed.

Person B:
Wishes to loose weight, starts a healthier lifestyle made up of balanced meals and exercise, consciously thinks about a healthier lifestyle, and on an unconscious level believes that anything is possible and that they are lovable and worthy of success.

Which person do you think succeeds in the long maintaining a steady, naturally healthy weight?

Which person do you think ends up with yo-yo dieting and self sabotaging behaviours that affect their desired outcome? 

Uncovering Limiting Beliefs

Sometimes limiting beliefs can be hidden. We may be aware of some consciously, however there may be others that have gone unnoticed...that is until now!

STEP 1: Ask yourself;

What is it that I want? (Be specific!)
What are the reasons why I haven't achieved it already? 

(List EVERYTHING that comes to mind - even if it doesn't make sense, or if you are repeating yourself) keep going until you cannot think of anything else.

STEP 2: Look back at the list that you have written. Do you notice any similarities? Any repeated reasons (excuses)? Any patterns forming?

Notice the wording that is used as well, often limiting beliefs are stated with child like language such as ´I can't do it´ or ´They're better than me´ rather than, ´I'm not sufficient in my actions´. Limiting beliefs are often formed between the ages of 0-7 which explains the use of simpler language.

Out of all of the statements written down, which resonates with you most? Which creates the strongest emotional reaction within? Chose one and move onto the following step.

STEP 3: Write down your chosen limiting belief to work on, and next to it write down the positive opposite of that belief. For example, if the limiting belief is´I'm lazy´, next to it write down ´I'm hardworking´.

STEP 4: Write down 3 pieces of evidence in your life (past and present) that prove each of those statements true.

´I'm lazy´ (I wake up late, I don't do household chores...)

´I'm hardworking´
(I stick to deadlines, I gained qualifications for my studies...)

Notice how if you have 3 pieces of evidence both proving the positive, opposite statement and the limiting belief then neither one can be 100% true. There must be a truer statement somewhere in the middle.

´I work hard when I'm passionate about something´

Notice the difference when you say to yourself the limiting belief and then the truer statement. By noticing this and continuing to reinforce the truer statement through the use of post it notes, reminders on your phone, positive image or song to represent the truer statement, we can remove the old limiting belief and align our unconscious mind with our conscious. Therefore allowing ourselves to achieve our goal easily and effortlessly.

Now I'd love to hear from you... in the comment section below what did you find most useful in this post and why? 

Have a friend who would find this useful too? Offer them a helping hand and share this post. 

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Spring Clean Your Mind

Its that time of year that I just LOVE... 

flower blossom on the trees, warm sunshine creeping in and a sense of activity after the winter months.

Spring cleaning is often mentioned at this time of year, an opportunity to clear out those cluttered cupboards and unwanted clothes. Whilst the physical/material aspect of spring cleaning is great, we often forget that there are other types of spring cleaning that can be a huge help in achieving goals.

Many people set new years resolutions in January and by the second or third week give up due to lack of motivation and blaming themselves for not being good enough. If a friend was struggling with something, would you beat them up about it and tell them that they are useless? Treating ourselves with the love and respect that we deserve can make things 100 times easier to achieve goals.

However sometimes there can be a few little things that can get in our way...

Limiting Beliefs.

We all create our own map of the world, forming beliefs about ourselves, others and the world through experiences and influence from family, friends and other individuals. Sometimes there are helpful beliefs; eg) "I mustn't touch the hot stove as I can burn myself", and sometimes there are unhelpful ´limiting´ beliefs, eg) "If people don't say hello to me that means there is something wrong with me".

Notice how the later can limit us in our lives and add to feelings of insecurity, lack of self worth and lack of confidence. If we continue to believe limiting beliefs, even on an unconscious level, we will continue to limit our true potential in our lives, thus finding it more difficult to achieve what we want.

What we believe (both consciously and unconsciously), we receive. If we focus on not being good enough and believing that we are worthless, we will attract into our lives situations that prove that true thanks to a part of our brain called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). More information on the RAS coming soon.

So, its a great time for spring cleaning! If you have been working towards something and doubt starts creeping in, notice what thoughts are present.

What limiting beliefs have been holding you back?

Tips on uncovering and loosening limiting beliefs coming next!