Our words create our world… benefits from using NLP
NLP stands for Neuro-Linguistic Programing. It was created in the 1970s, so it is relatively new. NLP explores the relationships between the way we think (N), communicate (L) and behave (P). By handling this useful discipline people can improve their quality of life. This hub is the first one of a series of articles that I will publish aiming to provide enough information to master the basics of NLP in order to be applying it and delight in its benefits to our daily life.
NLP allows you to gain more control over your mind, which will make you feel better. Let me explain. Our words become thoughts, our thoughts become feelings, and our feelings become actions. If I see a negative world I will use negative words, creating negative thoughts, generating negative feelings, which will make me act me in a negative way, then I will see an even worse world, and have even worse thoughts, and you see where this is leading.
More than words…
When we see something we tend make an interpretation of the event, and it can be either positive or negative. For instance, when it rains; we can think of it as a blessing because we all need the water, the air will be cleaner, and because it brings certain nostalgia to our day –which can be enjoyed. Or we can complain about how annoying it is to get wet, how people’s driving gets worse, how ugly and sad the day turns, or whatever. Those may seem as simple declarations, but those declarations get impregnated in our mind via our thoughts, so the mind understands that something is going on outside and has to act on it, releasing certain substances to empower a specific feeling, making us feel good or bad depending on our declarations.
The mind has the ability to process our words and take command under them. I can change the way I feel in no time using just my words. It doesn’t matter how joyful I could be, something as simple as a couple of words can switch it around into a depressive mood. This is why it is so important to master the way we communicate with others, and even more important, with ourselves.
Have you ever seen or heard people around you say things such as: “I feel like I am getting the flu”, “every time I finish my exams I get ill”, “I hate that guy, whenever I see him I get a headache”, “I love the smell of the moist dirt, it makes me feel so relaxed!” Have you noticed that all of them get exactly what they are preaching: the flu, an illness, a headache and relaxation? Sooner than later we get what we preach, our words become thoughts, and as soon as our mind starts to believe them, they become feelings, and feelings become actions. Our mind doesn’t accept jokes, or lies, it just trusts our intelligence without doubting about it, it doesn’t filter anything, and everything is an order to it.
The NLP proposes a way to communicate with our mind in order to get more from it. For example, we as humans were made to be positive, and talk in a positive way. If we say something as a negation, the mind will transform it into an affirmation and will take it as an order. Kind of like Reverse Psychology. Have you heard about “the attraction towards forbidden things”? I think this could be the reason for it. If you tell a kid not to do something, he will do his best to do it anyway. And this works with every single one of us. For example, if somebody tells you “Do not drink water for 24 hours”; maybe you have a lot of self-control, so it doesn’t make you react at the very first moment, but what about a couple of hours later? I can assure you, it will be extremely hard to resist the whole 24 hours without drinking some water, because your body will tell you that somehow it needs the liquid, and maybe didn’t even need it before, or it wasn’t going to need it for hours, but now it got the order and it is telling you to drink plenty of water as soon as possible. Do you remember the last time you had to fast during a long time for a medical procedure? This is pretty real for me, I eat loads, but I also spend a lot of time without eating, and I hardly ever eat at night, but when the doctor tells me not to eat anything for X amount of time, I spend the whole night starving!
You can’t tell a smoker not to smoke, to an overweight person not to eat, to a stressed man not to worry, to a family having troubles not to think about their problems, to a guy/girl in love not think about that special someone not reciprocating, to a depressive someone not to feel bad, to a mourning person not to be sad, to someone with economic struggles not to think about money issues, to a guy who hates another one not think about him, to a wife whose husband just left her not to think about the resentment toward him and the fear of facing the future by herself saying goodbye to all of the dreams she had for that marriage. You can’t say to a kid not to worry about the exams at school, neither can you tell him not to worry about the troubles he/she is having with some classmates. And of course, you can’t tell an ill person not to think about the disease.
All of the previous things mentioned were examples of problems and issues. We know the solution may be in not doing a specific thing. But if it were so simple to stop doing it then he or she wouldn’t need us to tell him/her not to do so. In this case, what needs to be done is to take the mind somewhere else, and fill it with whole new thoughts.
A quick exercise…
Allow me to introduce you to an easy exercise… please, follow it slowly, step by step, to prove it yourself.
- Think about the Eiffel Tower; spend as long as you want imagining it.
- Stop thinking about the Eiffel Tower. Don’t think about the Eiffel Tower anymore for the next 30 seconds.
What happened? Did you manage to stop thinking about it? I’m guessing no. So let’s proceed to the second part of the exercise.
- Again, think about the Eiffel Tower; spend as long as you want imagining it.
- Now, think about a German Shepherd Dog running freely and majestically in a beautiful meadow enjoying every single step of the run, visualize the energy flowing thru his body, and see him running all the way, all over the meadow, from the river at the right end of it, until the trees on the left end, picture the birds flying away when he’s getting near them. Smell the air of the open nature and enjoy the view for as long as you want.
What happened this time? Where did the Eiffel Tower go? If this exercise is done right it should work every time.
This exercise brings a new way to deal with our daily fights, don’t focus on the big building in front of you, you already know it is there, bring your mind someplace else. If you smoke and want to cut down, avoid thinking “I will not smoke, I will not smoke!” because it will make it harder to quit. Instead fill your mind with other thoughts, anything but smoking, keep your mind away from thinking about smoking, and stay away from the things that remind you of smoking. Think about your family, sports, nature, or whatever works for you.
This is not a hub about how to quit smoking; this is just about how to replace thoughts by the use of your words, so I am not saying this is the ultimate recipe to stop smoking. Although it might be all someone may actually need to cut down radically, but not everybody. The exercise presented here does not exclude the professional help the patient may need.
Back to business…
If you can’t keep thinking about a special someone who doesn’t reciprocate, then think about something else (anything but another special someone of course), focus on the things you love to do, go outside, get together with your friends, and most importantly focus on yourself, think about the great value of yourself, think about the virtues you have that makes you who you are, and think about how to improve yourself.
If you don’t like your job, your environment, or the life you currently have, think about something else, look at the bright side of it. If it is your job, think that it gives you an income that helps you make a living, and focus on what you would love to be doing, and pursue it, concentrate your energy on it, instead of repeating over and over that you don’t like your job. Same thing with the environment and the current life you may have. You can have anything you want, but it won’t happen satisfactorily if you keep focusing on the things you don’t like at the moment. Use your words only in a positive way; consistently give constructive and encouraging messages to your mind, and it will follow eventually, then you will feel better, and will act consequently. Your world is going to change for the better, and the change will be here to stay.
See what we did there? We kept our minds away from the problem, focusing on the solution. And the solution is within us.
Keep in mind…
With our words we create the world we want to see.