Nowadays, adapting to the new circumstances of life compels your brain to think and behave similarly to a first day at school scenario where you don’t know what to expect. You enter a new world with different sets of rules and guidelines that provoke naturally high levels of stress.
I fell in love with Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), a psychological methodology, when I was heartbroken and couldn't deal with the emotional toll for over a year. I felt so emotional yet so angry for the fact that I have been left alone after years of promises for a lifetime commitment. Anxiety took over my health, and day after day, I got worse.
I remember my NLP teacher inviting me to do a technique on a broken heart cure that I jumped into passionately as I was sick of being depressed. The technique we did on emotional freedom tapping enabled me to create a healthier and better-looking image of myself. It took me exactly 24 hours to throw away all the stuff I kept devotedly for over a year. I have reframed my statement from being left and lonely to living free and independent, and actually starting to enjoy it.
It seemed a logically reasonable solution to stop the vicious and purposeless cycle of making the same mistakes in life over and over again and not being able to interpret the pattern. I guess the NLP course found me and offered itself to me as an instant gratification of my desire to get out of my painful body.
NLP teaches us how to programme our linguistics aiming to change our neuronal network and communication. As my NLP teacher said: "Think of your mind as a flexible tool and not a fixed one, instead of a mindset, think of it as a mindflex." Start looking at unconventional and out-of-the-box ideas that are feasible now and implement them at the earliest rather than going through regrets over the lost reality. What she uses as an example is a jelly that adapts to the shape of the mould. Similarly, through powerful NLP techniques, you can shape your mind into a form to suit your desired outcomes.
The basic internal protective mechanism of our brain is called the ‘fight-flight-freeze’: the response to threat, anxiety and fear. Dissect fear to understand that it is not real and accept stress as a good stimulus in your life to promote growth, resilience, and strength of mind. Since you love your life, choose and work towards a flexible mind and learn new ways to move ahead on your journey.
Three Powerful Techniques to Deal with Anxiety and Stress
Circle of Excellence
This is an easy yet very powerful NLP technique that can help in times of inability to move ahead in life or when you’re missing a sense of direction.
Think of the time when you felt best as an individual or a leader, or when you felt great at anything you do. Analyse the circumstances where and when you felt it, the colours associated with the scenario, the intensity of the achievement, the words that you remember, or even the taste or smell connected to that experience. Get all of your senses involved in that memory. All the collective experiences of these memories are what we are going to call your 'excellent state'.
Set up a 'circle' on the floor, one big enough where you can stand. Associate the experiences of excellence with standing on this circle: this is what you're going to call your 'circle of excellence'. Focus and let your senses flood your mind to effectively anchor the 'excellent state' to your circle.
Imagine stepping inside your circle of excellence. Go back and forth and make observations. Evaluate all the feelings and senses you had. The ‘excellent state’ should return whenever you go step into the circle.
You can decide to put that 'circle of excellence' in the chair where you study, work, or in the bed where you sleep. You will have a more productive or more tranquil state of mind.
The Spinning Feeling
This NLP technique allows you to locate and reshape a bodily feeling of stress and anxiety and give it a different positive sensation. This method works by lending a sense of direction and speed to negative feelings, such as mentally ‘reversing’ the direction and spin of these feelings in the mind will also change or divert the negative feeling into positive ones.
Think of a situation that caused you anxiety. Think about the feeling: what triggers it and what result it yields. Close your eyes and immerse yourself in that situation. Observe your own bodily responses: do your eyes go up and then down, or both ways? Where does the feeling originate—right, left, or centre of the body? Does your body clench or vibrate?
Follow the path of the feeling in your mind and notice its size: does it start small and grow big? Is it within the body or beyond the body? Track the path of the feeling as it enters and exits through the same points, making a ‘disk’ as ‘spins’. Note the direction: is it clockwise or counterclockwise? You may even see that this ‘disk’ has a colour.
To reshape the negative feeling into a positive one, the trick happens in the mind: this time, reverse the direction of the spin and change the colour of the ‘disk’ to a pleasant one, add some sparkles to it, and make it fun and amusing!
Put yourself back in another situation where you most likely have the old response and see if you can get the old response again using the ‘spinning feeling’. You can try this method whenever you’re experiencing a stressful and anxiety-laden situation.
Time Line Therapy®
The Time Line Therapy® is anchored on the concept that memories are stored in a linear or chronistic manner in our brains. With this therapy, you will reframe your perspectives about an upcoming challenge and prepare yourself to perform at your best. An individual’s ‘timeline’ is the result of the unconscious process of storing his or her memories, as well as how he or she unconsciously distinguishes the difference between a past memory and a future projection.
To apply this NLP technique, imagine a timeline of your past, present and future. You should be able to point your past, present and future to any direction from your body. Visualise your timeline clearly.
Think about an event that is causing you stress. Close your eyes and visualise that future situation playing out. Where do you feel that nervousness in your body? Rate the strength of the feeling from one to ten. Open your eyes and take a deep breath.
Take a moment to close your eyes and ask yourself for the opportunities of this future event that can benefit you. If things went better than you can ever imagine, what are the benefits of taking on this challenge and what could make you excited about this opportunity? See what you like to see, hear what you like to hear, and feel it.
With your eyes closed, go back on your timeline. You are in the present moment of your timeline, facing the future. Imagine floating above the timeline until you are on a comfortable height looking from above. Gently turn into the direction of your future as far as you need to go.
Float all the way in the future and go even further until you are an hour past the successful completion of that event. The event is completely over, and you made it through; you realise that everything turned out even better than you imagined. Gently turn and look back towards the now, from a safe place in your future back to your present moment. Notice that the anxiety you had before is completely gone.
At the moment, you will come back to the present to prepare yourself for the success of that event. Your subconscious mind made all the adjustments you need for this event to happen with all its success. Take another deep breath in and all the way down to your belly and wake up. Try to think about that event again. You might even realise that the anxious feeling has become more elusive.
NLP to combat stress and anxiety
Many recent studies suggest that NLP has potential as a therapeutic tool in the treatment of symptoms of anxiety and depression associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Studies also show that individuals who work with NLP experts experience a dramatic improvement in their emotional states.
Much of our modern anxiety is based on the fear that we are not in control of our own minds. NLP takes a different approach to treating anxiety as it taps the power of the subconscious mind to make big changes within our consciousness. NLP also utilises the power of language to bridge our conscious and subconscious mind, using techniques that may help us feel better, be more resourceful, and be more empowered to live a life we appreciate and desire.
About the Author
Wellness, Spa and Retreats Business Consultant
In over 19 years, Vyara Tosheva has gained professional experience in hospitality, leisure and wellbeing. Vyara graduated in Tourism Management and holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology and Sociology. She also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism, as well as internationally-accredited certification courses in Hospitality and Spa Management. She travels the world to enhance her expertise through further certifications in Ayurveda, Wellness and Fitness Consultancy, Coaching and Psychology.
She is a certified NLP and EFT master coach and Reiki practitioner. She also led the opening of The Retreat Palm Dubai, the first wellness retreat resort in the UAE and GCC, as well as the Rayya Wellness and Poli-clinic Centre. She created and managed the first holistic retreats in a hotel environment where in-house and visiting master practitioners, energy workers and doctors combine their knowledge with fitness, spa and beauty professionals to deliver transformational retreats.
As a consultant, she advises and consults with hospitality and spa executives on the creation of wellness projects and their execution.
Vyara’s mission is to empower busy executives to create or enhance their business models geared toward a wellness lifestyle on both professional and personal levels. Her vision, on the other hand, is to create worldwide wellness and health retreat centres that provide premium services for its employees, guests and visitors.
Learn more about Vyara at vybewoman.com