If you’re into personal development, you’ve probably heard about Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP). While it’s a broad and complex topic, it’s definitely something worth diving into. NLP has many uses but given the uncertainty, our lives are experiencing now, we’re sharing about using NLP for anxiety.
But first things first.
What is NLP?
NLP is a practical approach to using neurological processes, language, and behavior and rewiring them to reach your goals in life. You can say it’s a form of life coaching.
At its core, it teaches you how to take control of what’s in your head or how you feel so that in the end it positively impacts your life. Some of the techniques include anchoring, visualization, and weakening the critical voice.
Self-help author Richard Bandler and linguist John Thomas Grinder Jr. came up with NLP in the early 1970s. They studied what made certain psychotherapists successful in working with their patients. Eventually, they were able to create a model people can use to practice effective communication, be better at learning, achieve peak performance, and experience more happiness in life. And they made many training courses to help others.
In short, through NLP, you can discover patterns that make a specific person excellent and model it to improve your life. And possibly, teach these to other people.
One of the interesting concepts in NLP is that we’re biased towards a particular sensory system, also called preferred representational system or PRS. For example, saying “ I can see what you mean” can mean you’re more inclined to have a visual PRS whereas saying “I hear you” can point to an auditory PRS. In this regard, the NLP practitioner can set up a therapeutic approach around this.
Is it effective?
We found several studies supporting NLP. In 2009, a Croatian study concluded that NLP was an effective intervention in dealing with psychological difficulties.
More recently, a 2015 meta analysis of studies remarked that NLP can “hold its ground in comparison to other psychotherapeutic methods.”
How To Use NLP for Anxiety
There are many therapeutic approaches you can use when you experience anxiety. With COVID-related anxiety becoming more prevalent, you can use hypnotherapy or mindfulness to keep calm. In any case, stress management is something we could all use every day.
Now, let’s talk about some NLP techniques to reduce anxiety.
1. Focusing on the best outcome using NLP for Anxiety
When you worry, you tend to focus on what could go wrong. In your mind, you see a catastrophe waiting to happen.
How about asking yourself, “What do I want to happen?” or “What are the good things that can happen.” You can create those positive outcomes in your mind or even describe them in writing so you can go back to them when you’re feeling anxious.
2. Surrendering anxiety over to a higher power
If you believe in an all-powerful higher being, then you might want to hand over your worries to someone who can handle it 24/7.
You can imagine your stress as a dark heavy cloak. This spirit then lifts this cloak from your shoulders and wraps it around himself or herself. Your worries are no longer yours to bear.
3. Rescripting Oughts, Shoulds, and Musts
The words ought, should, and must can bring about a lot of pressure. Some things don’t go as they should. When you rephrase and let go of these words, you’ll feel much more relaxed and less anxious.
4. Pretending You’re Excited using NLP for Anxiety
Viewing something as stressful can mean more stress for you. However, if you view anxiety and stress as something to be excited about, everything becomes a more positive experience.
For example, you’re anxious about meeting a potential client. If you reframe your mind and say, “I’m excited to meet this person” or “I can’t wait to talk to her” you’ll feel yourself looking forward to this event rather than cringing at the thought.
5. Highlighting Feel Good Moments
As mentioned earlier, anchoring is one useful NLP technique. It’s associating an external or internal stimulus to give a reaction.
Using this technique, you can build on habits that make you feel good such as doing a hobby you love, or listening to your favorite music so you can use them when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
So, would you consider NLP to help you deal with anxiety?
EveryBody in Mind Wellness Center in Sudbury, Massachusetts, is hosting an amazing online workshop teaching NLP empowerment techniques for parents, Sunday, June 4th. Mohammed Sheikh, of Coach the Mind, voted Toronto’s best hypnotist and life coach in 2020 will be presenting the workshop. To learn more, or sign up, click here.