6 ways NLP can help you
Have you ever met someone who just seems to make life effortless? They might be using neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) strategies to reach their goals, build great connections, and float through the ups and downs of life.
Is it really possible to change old habits and feel more confident? Let’s go through six ways NLP can help in your everyday life.
What is NLP?
NLP utilises the power of language to overcome emotional blocks. “Neuro” is the way our nervous system processes information from the outside world through our five senses. “Linguistic” refers to the way we use language to give meaning to this information, dictating the way we communicate with the outside world. And “Programming” is the way we influence the outcome of something through our decisions and behaviours. It was first devised by Dr Richard Bandler and John Grinder in the 1970s who observed the strategies used by successful people.
6 ways NLP can help
More people recognise the benefits of NLP to help others overcome unhelpful patterns. So how can NLP bring about a greater enjoyment of life?
1. Improve self-confidence
Hands up if you’ve ever told yourself you’re not capable of something. These negative thoughts can feel quite ‘loud’ or sometimes, and more worryingly, we hardly notice the way we talk to ourselves in an unhelpful way.
Sometimes what holds us back from achieving our goals are self-limiting beliefs, such as comparing ourselves to others, or putting ourselves down for not being good enough. They are usually formed in our early years and can hold us back from having the life we want. NLP takes us into the future; to a place of possibility and growth.
Creating these powerful states of confidence through NLP techniques can even help you overcome unexplained fears and phobias; taking you out of the distress of the here and now. It asks, how do you imagine life will be when you feel good about yourself or good about this situation?
2. Achieve goals
When we have good self-confidence, we are more likely to reach our goals. There is no such thing as a failure with NLP; not being where you want to be is simply feedback.
NLP teaches us to be curious about this feedback. Sometimes we can stop ourselves from achieving what we want by going about things in the same old way. NLP encourages us to wonder about how we can do things differently.
This solution-focused mode reframes disappointment or regret associated with ‘failure’, getting a fresh perspective and opening the mind up to the possibility of change.
3. Build rapport with others
Have you ever felt really far apart from someone else’s view of the world? NLP can help us build or rebuild connections with others, creating a sense of mutual understanding and rapport. Some of us possess a bit of a natural flair for connecting with others, while some of us have to mindfully set out to create it.
A key aspect of building rapport with others through an NLP lens is to ‘mirror and match’. Mirroring and matching mood, posture, and speech patterns can be an effective way to show “we have common ground”.
So next time you find yourself chatting with someone new, try echoing their verbal and non-verbal communication (in a subtle and sensible way) to create a lovely affinity and sense of warmth between you both.
Please note mirror and matching is different to code-switching.
4. Communicate more effectively
Our nervous system is bombarded with information through our five senses. To categorise this information into neat boxes, we tend to do three different things to make it easy.
Delete: putting a red line through some of this information is the brain’s way of disregarding anything that doesn’t feel significant.
Distort: adjusting or tweaking the information is a quick way to make sure it fits in with how we see the world. Or, more specifically, how we like to go about things.
Generalise: this is where we tend to make sweeping statements of broad generalisation based on our previous experiences.
Development and wellbeing coach, Caroline Knight talks about the difference between ‘your truth’ and ‘the truth’ in her article 6 steps to positively shift your limiting beliefs. She says, “Without hard facts, we only have our own thoughts and just plain guesswork based on what we see and hear.”
NLP takes into consideration that so much of our daily processing is being deleted, distorted, or generalised, but it doesn’t necessarily make us good communicators. NLP encourages us to listen to other people’s experiences with care, even if it doesn’t fit in with our modality of the world. When we are engaged and emotionally attentive, we can empathise more easily. Empathy leads to better understanding and communication.
If you’re wondering how NLP can help you change some of these unhelpful behaviours, hypnotherapist Debbie Williams explains NLP in three minutes.
5. Change habits
If you’re getting stuck with a habit you’d love to change, NLP challenges us to step outside the ‘blame frame’ of overanalysing problems and look towards the future of possibility.
Bad habits start for a good reason, usually because, at the time, they made us feel better. In their article, How to change our habits, life coach Barbara Bates says, “Habits in themselves are in fact very useful because they free up the brain’s resources to do more interesting things.”
But often we don’t need these habits any more as they are now causing us more harm than good. NLP seeks to introduce new, healthy habits. Barbara goes on to say, “pathways you don’t want, can be overlaid with new habits that in turn will become embedded and strengthened.”
6. Help others
What’s great is when you learn some basic NLP strategies, you can actually help others. Simply being more communicative, empathetic, and hopeful will mean you naturally inspire others to be the same. Positivity breeds positivity after all.
How do I continue my journey?
Life Coach Directory has a list of over 250 practitioners who can assist with confidence-boosting, communication, rapport, habit-breaking, and achieving goals. Creating a tool kit for the mind to help you thrive in relationships, at work, at home, and in everyday life can help you feel great about yourself – and motivate others to change too.