Most people don’t really understand the power they have over their own mind and therefore their lives. With NLP, once you have an understanding about how your mind creates these programs you can then apply a variety of tools to enhance what is working well, change what isn’t working in the way you want and even create new programs to get you to where you want to go.
Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) contains tools and exercises you can use with yourself or with others to help change behaviours, capabilities and beliefs to align yourself closer to your values and ultimately to be who you want to be.
Our amazing mind at its core is quite simple to understand and, in turn, quite simple to reprogram. According to Dr. Morris Massey, a developmental psychologist, the majority of our beliefs and values have been generated by the age of 7. During the imprint period between 0-7 years old there are no filters yet in place and most of what we see, hear and feel can become part of our strategies and belief systems. A belief is something, which is true to you, that has emotions connected to it and gets hardwired into the brain. The majority of beliefs that we hold simply are not actually true or factual for our lives now; yet – our mind reacts to them as if they are.
For example, one of our NLP students, Melanie, was working with her mind/body connection to assist her in losing weight. She identified a pattern of behaviour where she put on weight when she was feeling stressed and was able to release the weight when the stress was reduced. She utilised a variety of the NLP tools she learned to help her mind process perceived stress in a new way – but she still needed to identify and change the belief which was underlying her weight gain. To do this, one of the tools that she was using was her timeline. Just like history has a timeline, you do too – it stores everything from your past, your present and even your future.
Her unconscious mind, which contains every single memory ever had – revealed to her a movie of her three-year-old self with her parents, who were separating. She could see her younger self wanting to know what was going on, and the response she was getting was, “you’re too little – you can’t handle it… when you’re bigger you’ll be able to handle it”. Listen to that again – “you’re too little… when you’re bigger you’ll be able to handle it”.
Now, the unconscious mind takes everything literally and is unable to judge, and, before our conscious filters of analysing and reasoning pop in (usually around 6-12 years old), we have only the ability to make meaning from the interpretation we make unconsciously.
While her parents probably meant, “when you’re older you’ll be able to understand”, her little unconscious mind took “you’re too little” to mean SIZE instead of age. In turn, her unconscious mind created a BELIEF – when you are little in size you can’t handle things, and if you want to handle things (like stress), you’ll need to be a bigger size. For nearly 40 years that belief overrode any behaviours, diets or new habits in food or exercise she attempted to implement in her life. Once she was able to change the belief – her mind helped her to process food and stress in new ways.
In the world today, with so much more understanding about the brain, biochemistry and neurology – we are spoilt for choice about how to best manage our mind. This is where the ultimate question comes in: do you choose to manage your mind or do you continue to let your mind manage you?
Dr. Heidi Heron PsyD is a Master NLP Trainer, coach and therapist with the Worldwide Institutes of NLP. She has been involved in the field of NLP since 1997 and her aim is to help people to truly realise their own potential through the power of their mind. She is also the co-author of the book 30 Days to NLP.
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