What is NLP?

An NLP Sampler

1. Changing feelings and behavior by changing how you think:

In order to gain the most benefit form this exercise, take a couple of minutes to fully participate in this small example of how the structure of your thoughts influences your emotions and behaviors.

First, think of a specific pleasant experience you've had. Focus on the part of the experience that was really pleasant for you. It might be something simple that you do regularly, or it might be a special time or event.
Some people will have a clear image of the experience and some people will have a sense of the experience. Either way is fine. Just enjoy it now.

Next, notice what happens if you bring the experience closer to you. Now make it a bit bigger. Now make the colors even brighter. How do those changes affect your feelings about that memory?

Now, move the images far away. Make the image dim and gray and small. How does that affect the feelings associated with the experience?

In closing, now put the brightness, distance, and color back the way you like it so that you leave that memory as pleasant as you'd like.

People report that their feelings change when they change the color, brightness, distance, and size of the images. You can neutralize unpleasant memories just that easily. Most people do not know that they can immediately affect their feelings and behavior just by adjusting the components of how they think.

2. An example of how language affects us:

Let's move on to a little bit of the "linguistic" part of NLP.
"Do NOT think of a blue striped elephant."

What did you do in your brain? Most people think of a blue striped elephant, then try (in vain!) to think of something else. In order to make sense of the words, our brains have to recall an experience of the very thing that is being asked NOT to do. This simple understanding has many implications.

For example, telling a child what NOT to do may actually increase the likelihood of the action., "DON'T spill" may result in more spills! In business, "DON'T be late" may increase the likelihood of being late. "Be here five minutes before nine" is clear and easy to understand. Telling someone "DON'T worry" can start them worrying! Instead, let them know what to do, such as: "Enjoy your afternoon!"

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Updated October 10, 2011, © 2011 Lindagail Campbell

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