By Karen Meager and John McLachlan
Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a collection of techniques that help people do more of their good ‘programmes’ and change their unhelpful ones. The techniques get your conscious and unconscious mind working together for you, making it much easier to make changes than by will power alone. Here are a few simple NLP approaches to try out:
Use this approach to help you plan your career in around 15 minutes:
- Allow yourself to think freely, ‘If you could do anything with your life or career, what would you like to do?’. Take some paper and write it down, it’s doesn’t have to be detailed just words or even draw a picture. The key here is just to dream freely, you will critic it later.
- Now look at the dream and make a plan, if you were to do this, what are the steps needed? Think about it as if you were planning for someone else, which will avoid you over thinking it at this stage.
- Now look at your plan and look at what’s missing. What’s needed that you haven’t thought of? What are the problems or objections to this?
- Apply your plan and critic to your dream in 1. Refine the dream as necessary
The purpose of this technique is to separate out the dream, the plan and critic as people often sabotage their dreams too early, just as you as you have an idea another part of your brain says ‘can’t do that because …’. This way you consider each in turn rather than let each thought process contaminate the other. People find this helps them to generate both bigger and more achievable career goals.
Miscommunication can be a relationship destroyer. This is where the ‘linguistics’ in NLP are so powerful. By consciously listening more actively and considering your verbal communication carefully, you can improve relationships. One way you can ‘match’ people better when relating is to tune into whether they have a preference for:
Visual – processes using picture descriptions and words like ‘look’ and ‘see’, what they see is important to them
Auditory – processes using words and sounds, what they hear is important to them
Feelings – processes based on emotions and touch, what they feel is important to them
Pick up their preference by listening and paying attention to what they focus on.
Then try communicating with them in a way that suits their preference. Top tips are:
Visuals – draw it out, uses pictures and diagrams, don’t just talk at them
Auditory – listen carefully and invest time in discussion, give them time to talk things through
Feelings – honour how they feel, don’t dismiss their feelings
To find out more about these tests, try this guide
Take control of your emotions. Here are a few techniques to help you get started:
- Take a few deep breaths into your belly, breath in through your nose and out through your mouth.
- As you breathe do an internal scan of your body, directing your breath to any areas of tension or stiffness
This takes just a few minutes will result in your ability to build emotional regulation, a top ingredient for your general wellbeing.
What do you say to yourself?
Pay attention to your internal dialogue, when you say negative things to yourself you are harming your wellbeing. If you have a habitual phrase you say think of a more constructive way to say it.
‘I’m useless’ instead say ‘Not the best way to do it’ or ‘I could do that better’
Chang your bad habits – we all know this but it is hard to change habits consciously. Here is a way of changing habits more easily:
- Think of a bad health habit you have and work out what starts it – the ‘trigger’. Do you have a thought, feeling or promise yourself a ‘treat’?
- Find another way to meet the positive intention of the starting trigger. If you are tired take a short break or find healthier ways to treat yourself for example
Even bad habits are trying to do something useful for us, if we can find better ways of meeting that need, change is easier without the focus being on stopping something.
About the authors: Karen Meager and John McLachlan are the co-founders of Monkey Puzzle Training and two of only a handful of NLP Master Trainers in the UK. Karen is a UKCP registered Psychotherapist (DipNLPt), an INLPTA certified NLP Master Trainer and a Principal Practitioner Member of the Association for Business Psychology. She is an NLPtCA recognised Supervisor and runs a supervision practice for Coaches and Therapists of any modality. She also has training in other psychological models, human development and social psychology which she uses in her training and coaching. John is an INLPTA certified NLP Master Trainer, a Master Practitioner of NLP, a Principal Practitioner Member of the Association for Business Psychology, a Therapist and a Clinical Hypnotherapist.
They are regular contributors to the press on a range of subjects relating to NLP, behaviour and the workings of the mind and will be delivering a seminar on ‘Real Healthy Families’ at the NLP International Conference in London on 29th April 2017.