Changing your thinking can change your life. This deceptively simple concept is the fundamental premise of neuro-linguistic programming.
It may seem simplistic, but its logic is irrefutable. If you change how you view your circumstances, you will be able to see how you can change the situation itself. If you have a fear of heights, changing how you perceive height, perhaps by viewing it as an exhilaration rather than a danger, may help remove your fear.
The Birth of Neuro-linguistic Programming
NLP dates back to 1970s California where author and self-help trainer Richard Bandler set out to discover why some therapists were more effective than others. With the help of linguist John Grinder, he analyzed how therapists approached their patients, how they listened, how they spoke, how they interacted.
Together Bandler and Grinder discovered patterns in how successful therapists handled their patients. Those patterns — in speech and behavior — formed the foundation for NLP.
What Can NLP Do For You?
NLP has a wide range of practical uses and benefits. A few areas where neuro-linguistic programming has been found to be particularly effective are:
NLP can treat phobias by changing how you perceive them. An NLP practitioner might have you distance yourself from your fear by having you pretend you’re watching it on a television screen. You can observe it without letting it overwhelm you. As your sessions continue, you may find yourself able to view your fear this way even outside your NLP sessions. So a fear of heights becomes something you observe in a detached way.
Anxiety revolves around negative expectations – you become anxious when your mind dwells on potential catastrophe. “If I go for a walk outside, something terrible will happen.” Your therapist can guide you through the process of retraining yourself to remove this expectation of catastrophe. Your thoughts can be turned thoughts to more positive things.
Changing Unhealthy Behaviors Like Over-eating
Your NLP therapist can help you reframe how you view food. He or she may suggest you view good, healthy food, as a reward and junk food as a form of punishment you are inflicting on your body. NLP can also make you more aware of what you eat.
A lack of self-confidence tends to come from comparing ourselves to others. NLP is based on a simple question: “What do you want?” It looks at this question deeply, to get past our natural defenses and see the truth of what we seek. When we understand what it is we truly want, we can develop the confidence to pursue it. So if, for example, you are seeking a promotion at work, understanding your value to your employer can give you the confidence to go after that new job.
Maintaining Healthy Long-term Relationships
Neuro-linguistic programming can make you into a better listener and communicator. It does this by showing you how to recognize the underlying intents and desires in your partner’s behavior and speech. We all communicate differently. And during any interaction, what is most important to one person is not the most important thing in the conversation to the other. Recognizing this and learning to satisfy both parties helps build trust and a solid foundation for the future. Let your NLP practitioner be your guide through this transition to healthier, longer-lasting relationships.