Have you ever heard of NLP? I hadn't until 3 years ago and I will honest I was as baffled by it as you until I studied it and because a Master in it. I found it really funny how I and well all of us use it every minute of every day but haven't a clue how it works and even what it is.
Life pre and post pandemic is a blur, a rush, a chaos, it jumped from pre Covid time, a life we all swept along with, it was normal and actually I don't know about you but I still often say things like "before Covid" or "when we could do things like..." and I fully believe that from now on we will live in a before and after Covid world. During and after Covid, we learnt a different side to life, we slowed, we started to appreciate actually what was the basics of living, many people started to grow more fruit, veg and plants in their gardens, they went on walks near by and found more ways to participate in free activities due to the high percentage of workers who were furloughed and business being affected.
A lot of people came out of Covid with a whole new outlook on life, they wanted to make the most of every day, see more things, visit people more often etc, and what I feel we learnt the most was actually how resilient we are, how much we can cope with, how strong our characters are. We had more time than ever to really think, look inside ourselves.
NLP is largely based on communication, but not just communication as in conversation but how we interpret what our senses see, hear and feel. Our brains are truly fascinating and i genuinely believe we will never know exactly how they work and all parts of it. It's so complex. What I'm hoping to achieve in this blog post is explain at least the very basics of NLP and be able to provide exercises for you to take away and practice. This will help you in your every day life feel stronger in your abilities and communication skills.
Neuro means the brain
Linguistic means language
Programming means your thinking pattern
NLP is based around our past present and future. Our memories we have stored away, situations we live through daily and events that we will face.
Here's a little exercise to help you get in the NLP frame of mind.
Think of your happiest ever memory! It has to be positive!
1:- Close your eyes and go back to that day.....sit quietly and breathe slowly.....
2:- Visualise the exact scenario...
Where are you.... What do you see....What can you smell.... What can you feel....What sensations are you feeling.... What can you hear....
3:- BE IN THE MOMENT !
4:- Now imagine that it's a picture. You've taken a photograph of that exact moment, or a screenshot like you do on your phone.
5:- Now, just like you can change the settings on a photo by making it brighter or black and white, or making it less blurry, this is what you need to do with your photo.
6:- You need to make the noises LOUDER, the smells SMELLIER (nice smellier obviously), the views BRIGHTER, your emotions STRONGER.
7:- Feel the sensations and emotions within your body now, are you excited, happy, heart racing, contented etc. Make them bigger....
Do you see what you have just done, you've essentially manipulated your memory to make it bigger, You've taken something which although was already a happy memory, you've made it even better, bigger and bolder! Just by thought!
So imagine something which doesn't make you happy. Not a traumatic experience just something that has annoyed you or caused you frustration. What you need to do with this memory is essentially the opposite. You need to make it darker, further away, less noise, and take away the emotions from it. Make it a bare boned memory of just the situation without you involved, step away.
These exercises are called to associate/to disassociate. It helps you move in and out of memories and be able to control them. Be the one in charge and make it what you want. A happy memory happier, a negative memory just a snapshot without you involved.
Moving on slightly from memories, it's now time to look at what actually goes into the brain. With every situation and event we go through in life, we hold that in our brain. Whether it be conscious or unconscious. Every happy, sad or uneventful event is in there somewhere and along with it we have attached feelings, emotions and behaviours with it. So what if we experience something similar to something we have already been through hundreds of times? Well we actually have the capacity to Delete, Distort or Generalise these events. Have you ever gone out and couldnt remember if you locked the front door, or driven home and can't remember driving down a road? Thats perfectly normal to delete information that isn't needed. We know we have done it but it's not something we need to remember.
The other thing our brain can do cleverly is actually distort information, so that it fits with our beliefs or make it feel more normal to us. We don't like things that are out of comfort zone so we need to distort it slightly to make it sit better with us. Distortion can also happen when we convince ourselves of a way a situation will go before we have even lived it. Like when we have thought we have lost our keys and walked around the house looking for them and convinced they are lost forever and then we start to look methodically and low and behold there they are right in front of our face. We are so determined they are gone we actually distort our vision to overlook them.
The last thing we can do is Generalize things. Running along the same lines as Distortion, generalizing means that we fit groups of scenarios together rather than having loads and loads of files of the same thing we stick them all in a folder together. So riding a bike, learning to swim, cooking etc. It's all the same thing so we generalize it under 1 heading and stick it in the back somewhere to pull forward when we need to.
Lastly I want to look at learning types, this is how we communicate and understand information given to us. Not just when we are in education or at work but this can relate to everyday conversations aswell. It helps us to understand why we struggle to communicate our points of view effectively. There are 3 main types of learners. AUDITORY, VISUAL and KINAESTHETIC. Auditory is learning through hearing such as podcasts and events, being able to communicate, ask questions, with sounds etc. Visual is through graphs, PowerPoints and pictures. By taking a screenshot in their mind and being able to relate to it. Kinaesthetic is through practical work, hands on, getting stuck in. You may notice when speaking to someone that if there is distractions around you, their eyes seem to wander off to the surrounding areas, its because they are visual. If the radio is on someone may not listen to you talking to them because they are Auditory and if there is a way for someone to do a practical task a Kinaesthetic person would be first to put their hands up to join in.
I have told you all of this not just because its interesting to know how someone learns but you can learn a lot about yourself knowing which you fit into. It can help you be more productive, more efficient and be able to retain information better. Why are you listening to podcasts to learn when a hands on college course is the way for you !
So this is a VERY basic overview of NLP, it doesn't even break the surface of what's involved but I will be adding more and more as the months go on, along with videos and tutorials so please stick with me so you can see how much NLP affects us and the way of the world!
See you next time!!